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- Quick Fix #1
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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Corgi still make some fantastic models, even the later issues stand up to scrutiny.
This is the Corgi AEC Regal Duple coach, Number 97193 and in the R.W. Carney livery.
This is one of the 1:50 scale series of buses and coaches issued by Corgi in around 1992 and made in China, despite that the detail and finish is spot on.
They do come in many liveries and colours.
The real coaches
The AEC Regal VI was first seen at the 1960 Commercial Motor Show and was intended to be a purely export chassis. It was really just an updated version of the underfloor-engined Regal IV, having an 11.3-litre AH690 engine instead of the Regal IVs 9.6-litre AH590 engine. It was available in both left and right hand drive versions, other options included power assisted steering and air suspension. South America saw the largest orders for the Regal VI, two orders totaling 150 were destined for the Montevideo area of Uruguay and a larger order of 500 came from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
As some readers know, I have had the task of selling of a large diecast collection over the last few weeks, and among them was a couple of Solido buses I don’t have in my own collection, it’s always hard as a collector to sell models I don’t already have but they did finally go to new owners, the two buses are pictured below.
First the classic red London bus, this is Solido No 4402
Bigger than any other London double decker bus I have and a nicely detailed model too, this can still be picked up on places like Ebay in various colour schemes and liveries.
The second was the French Renault TN6C, and numbered 4401
Again available still quite easily on Ebay and again in various liveries.
Solido is a French manufacturer of die-cast model cars and trucks based in Oulins, Anet, France, about 40 miles west of Paris.
Solido was established in 1930 by Ferdinand de Vazeilles in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre, France. The company was one of the first European firms to champion the “virtues of unbreakable diecast metal” (Rixon 2005, 9). Vazeilles’ first product was a metal Gergovia spark plug on wheels (Force 1993. 5). In 1932 some of the first vehicle kits were made in Zamac, labeled with the theme “toys with transformations” referring to their spring loaded motors that would propel them across the floor. The feeling was somewhat like what Schuco was offering in Germany. In 1953, de Vazeilles bequeathed the company, then called Solijouets SA, to his son Jean René (Militaires Solido website). By 1960, Vazeilles’ three children, Charlotte, Jean and Colette, were running it.
In 1984, older Solido dies were made in a slightly simpler form, at least in packaging, and sold as the Verem brand, a subsidiary started by the Veron concern of Majorette, after taking over Solido. Many models were done very tastefully, but the purpose of Verem is not entirely clear. It appears Verem was a cheaper line using older Solido dies. Boxes from the time say that Verem was based in Rouvres, a couple of miles south of Solido shops in Oulins.
Majorette influence in the 1980s, brought some simplification of models, but without harm to overall quality. In the mid-1990s, Majorette Toys purchased the Portuguese Novacars factory and formed a conglomerate called Ideal Loisirs. Solido production was halted for a time, until January 1996 when Triumph-Adler AG of Nurnberg, Germany, took over Idéal Loisirs/Majorette/Solido (Militaires Solido website). Solido miniature production was commenced again.
About 2000, much production was shifted to China and dies from some other companies, like the Spanish Mira were used. Solido became part of toy producer Smoby when it bought Majorette in 2003. Smoby became part of the Simba Dickey Group which also owns German model producer Schuco. Reportedly, Majorette was to be divorced from Smoby again in 2008 and sold to MI29, a French investment fund which owns Bigben Interactive, but the Simba-Dickie website in early 2011 still included Majorette and Solido.
Solido company information from Wikipedia
I am not a big bus collector, yet, but took a deeper interest in London double deckers after adding a few Corgi Routemasters to my collection.
As one of my favourite scales is 1:76 it seemed only right to add a few of that scale, I found two from different makers and here I will compare the two models.
The first offering is the EFE AEC RT in London Transport livery.
To me this is a good casting with great detailing, somewhat different to the Corgi buses I have, the wheels are very realistic and the decals are crisp, the quality shows on these models against the likes of Corgi as these are more for the model collector, overall I would certainly add more of the EFE to my collection.
The second is from Atlas Editions, as is in fact the RTW a slightly wider bodied bus than the RT, the detail is far more pronounced than the EFE model including the more obvious rear handrails and the silver lining to the windows, what let down my model was the badly applied decals, this came directly from Atlas and could of likely ended up with me buying more, but due to the decal issue decided that their quality control left a lot to be desired.
The next picture show both together.
Overall I would add either to my collection but, decals aside the Atlas bus would be the preferred brand, although EFE are far easier to get hold of, on another note, the display base that comes attached to the Atlas bus, although screwed to the base of the model the screws are hidden by a plastic cover glued into place, to remove it you have to break it open rendering it useless for future replacement, it’s a shame as Atlas could of ended up with another long term subscriber on the buses as well as other ranges, as it was I cancelled my membership as no mention of a replacement was offered.
To see my Matchbox buses and information on the real London Buses Click Here
The Corgi Routemaster has been re-used time and time again, repainted and re-issued, in many cases with a new number.
This is the 1976 issue for the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977 and number 471, I did acquire this one sealed in the box but as you can see the box has certainly seen better days.
It was quickly liberated from the only home it knew for 38 years, although it had been kept should I decide to sell it.
Ther is slight paint wear to the front, no doubt where it has been rattling around in the box but otherwise perfect, this one has the Whizzwheels fitted of the period and I must admit the Routemaster is still one of my favourite buses.
This is my second Corgi Routemaster as I recently acquired the London 2012 issue and is still boxed.
The real bus
The AEC Routemaster is a double-decker bus built by Associated Equipment Company (AEC) in 1954 (in production from 1958) until 1968. Front-engined buses generally with rear platforms, a small number were produced with doors and/or front entrances. Introduced by London Transport in 1956, the Routemaster saw continuous service in London until 2005, and remains on two heritage routes in central London.
The Routemaster was developed by AEC in partnership with London Transport, the customer for nearly all new Routemasters, although small numbers were also delivered to the airline British European Airways (BEA) and the Northern General Transport Company. 2,876 Routemasters were built, with approximately 1,000 still in existence.
A pioneering design, the Routemaster outlasted several of its replacement types in London, survived the privatisation of the former London Transport bus operators and was used by other operators around the UK. In modern UK public transport bus operation, the old-fashioned features of the standard Routemaster were both praised and criticised. The open platform, while exposed to the elements, allowed boarding and alighting away from stops; and the presence of a conductor allowed minimal boarding time and optimal security, but with greater labour costs.
The Routemaster became one of London’s most famous symbols, with much tourist paraphernalia continuing to bear Routemaster imagery, and with examples still in existence around the world. Despite its fame, the earlier and more numerous London bus classes that the Routemaster replaced (the RT-type AEC Regent and its Leyland Titan RTL and RTW counterparts) are often mistaken for Routemasters by the public and by the media
For much more on the AEC Routemaster Click Here