Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Aviation

Amercom-Hobby, Lancaster bomber

by Peter
Categories: Aircraft, Amercom, Aviation, Diecast models
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I had no intention of looking for a new part works series while out shopping but just happened to see the first issue of Amercom and the flying fortress aircraft series in the Co-op, so at only £1.99, had to take one home.

Like Eaglemoss Publications and DeAgostini, this is a bi-weekly partworks series of 1:44 and 1:200 scale diecast giant warplanes.

I’ve not had much dealings with Amercom and only had one of their helicopters about a year ago and although a good model, I had issues with the balance.

The Avro Lancaster bomber was a disappointment.


The stand is much the same as the helicopter series and to my mind too light and should of been weighted, Eaglemoss got this right with their Star Trek Starship collection

The actual plane could of been a good starter for any warplane collector but I feel as with many of these mass produced collector models the quality control is lacking and has let through sub-standard models, as it is in my case, ok, I know it was only £1.99 but the price increases and how are collectors going to feel when their more costly issues come out sub-standard.


Generally though I have to say the detailing is fantastic but whoever put this one together needs glasses, on top of the following issues I have with the model two of the props turn and two don’t.


Although this is 1:44 scale and not something I would normally collect I do have a love of some of the big bombers, especially the Avro Lancaster and could of been persuaded to collect more.

The first thing I noticed was the badly fitted undercarriage making the plane sit lop sided on the ground the tail plane also are out of align with the wings and as you can see in the picture below, looks like an amaturish attempt at an Airfix kit.


It’s a shame and has now been consigned to the bin, I won’t be replacing it nor will I be adding more from Amercom.

If you do want to collect these, you should find them in a local store or try their website below, you may be luckier than me and get a perfect one.

If you have had any bad experiences with partworks from any maker, please let us know as I think it’s time we weed out the good from the bad, use the contact form at the top of the page and sent me the details.

I would also like to hear from anyone that got any part works set or series and all are perfect, it’s only right we should sing the praises of those that get it right too.



Bell ‘Huey’ helicopter

by Peter
Categories: Amercom, Aviation, Bell, Diecast models, Helicopters
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It’s not often I go into shops like WH Smiths, but have been doing so to pick up my Batmobiles but in doing so have come across another series of diecast, this time helicopters.

It called the helicopter magazine and each issue comes with a different 1:72 scale diecast helicopter, unfortunately I didn’t know about this one and is at present on issue 11, so picked one up anyway as it is one of my favourite helicopters, the Bell UH-1B affectionately known as the Huey.

This is one of the latest Amer/com collections and have previously issued planes, tanks and military dioramas as well as cars in a larger scale.

The quality is fantastic and the only issue I have is I would of preferred the stand to of been in clear plastic like the older Airfix kits were, but is a good fit and suits the aircraft, the actual model is a bit off balance, if you stand it on the ground on the skids it is tail end heavy so sits wrong.

This is the first one I have acquired and will be looking at what back issues I can get and include other favourites such as the Apache, Chinook and the Sea King, so watch out for more helicopters on these pages.

For more on this series go to

The real helicopter

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois (unofficially Huey) is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor. The helicopter was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet the United States Army’s requirement for a medical evacuation and utility helicopter in 1952, and first flew on 20 October 1956. Ordered into production in March 1960, the UH-1 was the first turbine-powered helicopter to enter production for the United States military, and more than 16,000 have been produced worldwide.

The first combat operation of the UH-1 was in the service of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. The original designation of HU-1 led to the helicopter’s nickname of Huey.  In September 1962, the designation was changed to UH-1, but “Huey” remained in common use. Approximately 7,000 UH-1 aircraft saw service in Vietnam.

For more on this helicopter Click Here

Corgi, London 2012 issues

by Peter
Categories: AEC, Aircraft, Buses & Coaches, Corgi, Diecast models, Locomotives, Taxi
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I’m not a great one for buying the newer diecast models and many have been around a few years and just re-released in different paint and decal schemes.

But a few weeks ago I bought the Corgi, London 2012 bus from a local fuel station, just because it was a Routemaster bus and don’t have any in my collection.

And yes it is still in its box, Corgi No TY82319, this bus casting goes back a way with Corgi and have since aquired the Silver Jubilee version from 1977 and numbered 471, its the same casting but has the whizzwheels of the time, it may differ slightly but until I have liberated them from their boxes I won’t know for sure, a later article will be done for this bus.

The thing that intruged me was the backing card of the box on the London 2012 bus showing not only the London taxi and the Mini, that I knew was available in the service station, but also a Concorde and a London underground train.

I have now tracked these down.

Firstly the Concorde, Corgi No TY84005.

Secondly, the Underground train, Corgi No TY88901, all are from the ‘Great British Classics’ range and re-branded to suit.

Now we have the London Taxi, bigger than I thought it would be and based on the modern TX1 built in 1997, Corgi No TY85907, about 1:32 scale.

I will be keeping my eye out now for the  Mini to complete the set, but the service stations have stopped selling them, so guess the supply is nearing the end.

Updated June 30th 2013

Finally, almost a year after collecting most of this set, the Mini came my way, here it is below.

Remote control helicopter

by Peter
Categories: Aviation, Helicopters, Remote Control
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I’ve flown a real plane and have flying time, but my fascination with helicopters is still as strong as ever, I have never yet been in one but intend to one day.

I have used helicopter simulators and games on the PC and Xbox and learnt how to fly them but there is nothing like a real flying model of one.

Todays article is on one of the cheaper remote control battery powered helicopters and my inital fly training with it.

This is the Volitation 9053 helicopter and got mine from Howes Models via Ebay although you can buy direct.

Helicopter specification

Main rotor, 535mm

Fuselage length, 665mm

Powerpack, 7.4v Li-ion batteries.

Eight AA type batteries required for controller.

The controller is a nice size and as I have found out the trimmer controls need to be right before the helicopter will fly as you want it, there are instructions and guide lines for using it, but are a bit sketchy when it comes to the trimmer controls and really you are left to experimenting with them.

The helicopter really must have a flat surface to take off from as I tried direct from the grass and failed every time.

I was very careful not to just jump in and go mad, and learnt the controls by hovering and turning on the spot, landing back on the board took some doing without crashing but persevered until I got it right.

Charging takes 3 hours and for that you get about 10 to 15 minutes flying time which is not unusual for this sort of craft.

I didn’t get it right all the time and ended up on the grass more times than in the air to start with.

Once I had mastered the controls it becomes a lot easier to keep in the air and control.

Once I felt confident with it, I went a lot higher  and further.

All in all it’s great fun, and yes there are a few battle scars already where I dropped the throttle too quick and landed it in bushes and brambles but will last due to the nature of the build, it comes with a full list of parts available for it so you break anything it can be replaced.

This one was a fraction under £45.00 and worth every penny, this is a reduced price from nearly £80.00 at Howes Models, I have seen pro models of this one anything up to £250.00 so this is a good introduction to helicopters without paying a lot of money.