TITANIC by Claytown Collection

Mike Pigott looks at this unique waterline model of the famous doomed ocean liner.

titanic

Everyone would be familiar with the story of RMS Titanic, the huge luxury liner which collided with an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in June, 1912. The Titanic is, without a doubt, the most famous sunken ship of all time, and is still widely in the public consciousness, having been the subject of innumerable books, films and television programmes. A waterline model of this short-lived ship would seem unlikely, although surprisingly one was made by an obscure American manufacturer in the 1990s.

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Thunderbirds Mini-Metals by Aoshima

Mike Pigott examines this little-known but high quality range of diecast Thunderbirds miniatures made by Japanese company Aoshima.

g_thunderbird 5, shown on its display stand, was the first ever accurate model of the satellite

Thunderbirds has always been a popular subject for Japanese toy and hobby manufacturers. From the 1960s through to the present day, there have been a wide range of toys, models and kits based on the franchise, with significantly more produced than in the show’s home market of the UK. In 2003, long-established Japanese hobby company produced a range of six miniature Thunderbirds models, which included all five Thunderbird craft and the Mole.

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Captain Scarlet by Corgi

Mike Pigott looks at Corgi’s models based on Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, with vehicles from the original 1960s series as well as the new CGI re-boot.

SPV by Corgi

Over the years a number of manufacturers have produced models of the fabulous vehicles from Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Probably the best known models are the large diecast models made by Dinky in the 1960s, although other companies have also made replicas, including Eidai Grip, Vivid Imaginations, Bandai and Product Enterprise. In 2006, Corgi Classics obtained the license to Captain Scarlet and produced three models based on the classic TV series, plus a further three based on the brand new CGI re-make of the series.

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Corgi Growlers

 

Mike Pigott looks at this sub-series of the Corgi Juniors range from the 1970s with working sound effects.

thumbnail_Growlersadvert

During the 1970s, model car manufacturers were constantly coming up with new gimmicks for their diecast vehicles. Matchbox introduced Rola-matics, which had parts that moved as the model was rolled along. Hot Wheels had Revvers, which were powered by rubber bands. And Corgi’s Junior range gave us Growlers, which made ‘engine sounds’ as they were pushed along!

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SUPERFAST…BY DINKY!

Superfast cars by Dinky? Mike Pigott gives us the story behind this small range of Matchbox Superfast cars released under the Dinky trademark.

Dinky packagingIt goes without saying that Dinky Toys is one of the most iconic names in the history of diecast models. The company dominated the model car scene in Britain and France for over three decades, and produced a huge number of legendary models. However, by 1982 the Dinky name had disappeared from the marketplace. But there were plans to bring it back… by the owners of Matchbox!

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Captain Scarlet SPV by Product Enterprise

Mike Pigott looks at this single large scale model based on Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, by British company Product Enterprise.

SPV by Product Enterprise

As most collectors would know, there have been numerous models based on Gerry Anderson’s TV21 series produced over the years. However, the majority of these were toys aimed at children. In 2003, a British company called Product Enterprise Limited introduced a wide range of Gerry Anderson’s models that were aimed at serious collectors. One of these was a very large model of Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

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TV-21 Vehicles by Bandai Charawheels

Mike Pigott looks at three diecast models based on Gerry Anderson’s TV-21 ‘Supermarionation’ series made by Japanese company Bandai in its ‘Charawheels’ range.

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In the early 2000s, long-established Japanese toy company Bandai introduced a range of character-related miniature diecast models based on a wide selection of TV and film properties. Although the majority of these were based on obscure Japanese franchises, the line included vehicles from three of Gerry Anderson’s programmes: StingrayThunderbirds and Captain Scarlet.

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Hot Wheels Hi-Rakers

Mike Pigott looks at this short-lived group of gimmick cars with raising rear wheels, made by Hot Wheels in 1980.

Dodge D-50 with jacked up rear end

Among its new releases for 1980, Hot Wheels introduced a sub-series called Hi-Rakers. These had a novel integral gimmick, which was a rear axle that could be raised and lowered. There were six Hi-Rakers produced, with a mix of classic, modern and fantasy vehicles. Hi-Rakers were not a separate series; they were part of the regular Hot Wheels ‘mainline’, and were sold at the same price as standard Hot Wheels vehicles. They did have unique packaging, however.

The name ‘Hi-Rakers’ came from the fact that you could adjust the rear wheels to give them a higher rake. All the models had metal bases, with a rectangular cut-out around the rear axle. In this place was a grey plastic piece which held the rear wheels and axle. This part was hinged at the front and could be raised and lowered. There were three notches on the pivot allowing the wheels to be set in four positions: level, or with three degrees of height. The models could roll well regardless of which height setting was used.

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Captain Scarlet by Vivid Imaginations

Mike Pigott looks at a range of diecast Captain Scarlet models from 1993 produced by a little-known British toy company called Vivid Imaginations.

SPC by Vivid Imaginations

When Thunderbirds was re-broadcast on British TV in 1991, it led to a new wave of Thunderbirds-mania, with a huge range of toys and merchandise released. At this time, Matchbox gained the rights and produced a series of diecast toys that proved very popular. After Thunderbirds ran its course, an earlier TV-21 series, Stingray, was also re-run. This again proved popular, and Matchbox also produced diecast models based on the show. In 1993, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was the next show to be revived, and again proved remarkably successful with a new generation of viewers. However, this time the toy franchise went not to Matchbox, but an unknown company called Vivid Imaginations.

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Gerry Anderson’s TV21 vehicles in diecast

Mike Pigott gives a concise but detailed history on all of the diecast models based on Gerry Anderson’s futuristic TV programmes, from the 1960s through to the present day.

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Over the past 60 years, the television programmes produced by Gerry Anderson and AP Films (later TV Century 21) have entertained and fascinated several generations of children, and have remained firm favourites with those who grew up with them. From the The Adventures of Twizzle in the 1950s, through to the current Thunderbirds Are Go!, Anderson’s programmes have captivated children all around the world. Many of his shows had science fiction themes and were set in the future. The ingeniously designed future vehicles featured in the shows have been reproduced as toys, including many in diecast. This article gives a detailed overview of the diecast metal models produced by a number of diverse toy and hobby companies over the past six decades, including many little-known foreign releases.

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