Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Commer

Base Toys, Leyland FG, Commer Karrier

by Peter
Categories: Austin, Base Toys, Commer, Diecast models, Karrier, Leyland, Trucks
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Base Toys have been around a while now and have been released by a company in Hong Kong mainly aimed at the model railway collectors, finding out anything about the company however has proved almost impossible.
Base Toys are now known as BT Models according to many websites but little else is known.

This first model is the Leyland FG and I found it at a boot sale for a few pounds and really impressed with the detail, these certainly give the likes of Oxford Diecast and Corgi Trackside models a run for their money and generally seem to be trucks and cars other makers have neglected to produce.

I have no number or dates for this model but is believed to be an obsolete version although other Leyland FG models are still in the current line up, these are all 1:76 scale.

To try and find out more about the maker, I bought a new boxed Commer Karrier and again really pleased with it, the detail has improved on this later issue model and has tiny wing mirrors fitted and has glass headlights rather than painted on.


I do however have a number for this one and is D-95, the box tells me little else other than made in Hong Kong, they are around about the same cost as Oxford Diecast.


Overall though good quality models in 1:76 scale and a great addition to any model railway layout or diecast collection.

So Base Toys, whoever you are, if you have a website let me know and I will link to it!

The real trucks

Leyland FG

As well as the well known cars Austin also made commercial vehicles, one of which was the FG, previously the Morris FG. The FG was the workhorse that kept Britain running in the 1960s. These Austin FGs and later the Leyland FGs all had petrol or diesel longstroke engines, producing good torque, but very little in the way of speed (40 mph was a good speed out of these vehicles).

The Morris FG (and its Austin S200 sibling) went into production in 1960, differing only in badges and grilles. Their unique cab design tapered towards the rear and had rear-hinged doors which could be opened without projecting beyond the vehicle sides. Below the windscreen corner glass panels helped drivers to park in confined spaces. The FG was designed from weights of 30cwt up to 5-tonnes, and replaced models from both FE and LC ranges.

Commer Karrier


Commer was a British manufacturer of commercial vehicles which existed from 1905 until 1979.

In 1926, after being in receivership several times, Commer was taken over by Humber, which in 1931 became part of the Rootes Group.

The Commer name was replaced by the Dodge name during the 1970s following the takeover of Rootes by Chrysler Europe. After Peugeot purchased Chrysler Europe in 1978, the Commer factory was run in partnership with the truck division of Renault, Renault Trucks. It continued to produce the Dodge commercial truck range for some time, with Renault badges and a small amount of product development, eventually these were cancelled in favour of mainstream Renault models and switching production at the factory to production of Renault truck and bus engines in the early 1990s.

Commer acquired the Karrier company as part of Rootes acquisition of Karrier in 1934. In the early 1960s production moved to Dunstable where Commer, Dodge (UK) and Karrier were all brought together.

The Karrier trademark is now owned by Peugeot.

Text from Wikipedia

Dinky Supertoys, No968, BBC TV Roving Eye

by Peter
Categories: Commer, Diecast models, Dinky, Karrier, Trucks
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In 1959 TV was coming of age and the then BBC had their own outside broadcast vehicles.

Dinky released the three main vehicles in 1959, the Dinky No968 TV roving eye is shown below, my one has the rotating camera but missing the operator and aerial.

This was based on the Commer Karrier, two other models released were No967, the BBC Mobile control room and No969, BBC TV Extending Mast Vehicle.

In 1962 the BBC TV Roving eye was re-released as the Dinky No988 ABC TV Transmitter Van in a light blue and grey livery and the BBC mobile control room became Dinky No987 ABC TV Control Room also in the blue and grey livery.

The real BBC TV van below

An interesting page showing another real BBC OB vehicle being restored, to view Click Here

Commer Walk-thru vans

by Peter
Categories: Commer, Diecast models, Efsi, Husky, Vans
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The Commer Walk-thru vans was once a common sight in the UK used from everything to service vans to parcel delivery, nowadays one will rarely be spotted on the roads at all.

Still a popular design in the US and used by companies like UPS they thrive and multiply.

Husky made a version of the Commer walk-thru and although this one was a recent addition to my collection (by recent I mean in the last year) this is the last upgrade as this one is in great condition.

It has red plastic sliding doors both sides and a glass roof panel, the driver has the only seat in the cab, quite usual for this vans.

Husky gave this the number 17 and released in 1965 withdrawn in 1969.

I often wondered why it had red doors and after some research found the answer, the original casting was painted red with a diecast base and driver, the more common yellow one has a grey plastic base and driver, I have never seen a red version although there is reference to it on various model sites, so no doubt the red plastic doors remained red during the life of this model.

Another one I have is an EFSI model this is No302 with a slightly different grill, this one shows opening doors on the back rather than the roller shutter on the Husky version.

This particular one has the bumpers missing although this is how I remember a lot of the real one’s in their later years, as camper vans etc, the second picture down shows how little metal was holding the bumpers on, making them vulnerable to breakage.

Efsi was a Dutch company making diecast cars and trucks starting in 1959 as Bestbox. The company was based in Heerlen, the Netherlands, which is located in southern Limburg province.

The Bestbox name was discontinued in 1971, perhaps because of the similarity to the name (and competition) of Matchbox toys. At this time, the name was changed to Efsi which a few sources say was apparently an acronym for European Federation for Social Integration. Though similar to Matchbox, and popular locally, Efsi toys do not seem to have been too well known outside the Netherlands, I have seen one of the Commer vans listed as a Lion Cars model also from the Netherlands but not aware of any connection with Efsi

The Efsi model is about 1:64 scale and shown with the Husky van below, the Husky would work at about 1:76.

Another Efsi Commer, also numbered 302 in Fire livery complete with fitted ladder and complete with it’s bumpers.

The real vans

The only thing I know about the real vans is they were produced somewhere between 1960 and 1970 by the Rootes Group, research shows it was brought out after looking at similar type vans in the US, why it didn’t last here I don’t know, the later one’s were branded as Dodge on the bonnet.

This picture shows the Commer van type that the Husky model is based on, with the extended bonnet and grill.

And this Commer what Efsi may of used, with the flatter front end.

An original advert for the Commer walk-thru

Vanguards, Bedford & Commer trucks

by Peter
Categories: Bedford, Commer, Diecast models, Trucks, Vanguards
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This article is the first milestone on this website and is my 100th article posted.

This set I bought just after moving to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, the ‘Ken Thomas’ transport yard on the livery was just down the road.

Vanguards was one of the Lledo brand names, now owned by Corgi Classics.

In 2002, Corgi Classic Limited bought the rights to the Lledo name (and many of the moulds), taking over the popular Days Gone series. The Lledo Vanguards series was also acquired in the deal. Days Gone and Vanguards models were sold by Corgi under the Lledo name until 2004, after which the Lledo name was dropped and the models officially became part of the Corgi Classics line.

History details from,

Today first truck is the Bedford S type and the forerunner to the Bedford TK.

The S type has seen service in every way from military service trucks to tankers, car transporters and specialist conversions, the one below has the box body and seen in many liveries and colours, scaled at 1:64.

The second truck is a classic Commer, and similar to the Corgi commer I posted a few days ago, this one, again part of the ‘Ken Thomas’ set has the dropside body with covered load, again 1:64 scale.

For more on the Commer truck see previous article on Corgi Commer truck or Matchbox Commer Karrier

The real Bedford S Type

The 1950s also saw the launch of the popular S type trucks, the so-called Big Bedfords, which brought Bedford into the 7 ton range. The S series was immortalised in RL form – a four-wheel drive, high ground clearance version, as the “Green Goddess” emergency fire tender, managed by the British Army, and until recently, still used in the event of fire-service industrial action or serious emergencies as of the 21st century.

The real ‘Ken Thomas’ Bedford S Type.

These vehicles were available in rigid and tractor units, with either petrol or diesel engines. The UK military were a huge customer for Bedford RLs using a 4.9 litre straight six petrol engine. Many RLs found their way into the armed forces of Commonwealth countries and later into civilian use.

The picture above is one of many military vehicles pictures I have taken, to see more of the real vehicles gallery Click Here

For more on the Bedfords Click Here