Siku Ships

Mike Pigott looks at the semi-waterline ship models in 1/1400 scale made by Siku of Germany.

In 2013, the long-established German company Siku introduced a range of cruise liners to its popular diecast line. These model ships were somewhat unorthodox, being of a semi-waterline design and made to the unusual scale of 1/1400, but were interesting replicas of modern liners not previously modelled.

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TITANIC by Claytown Collection

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


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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Diecast London Landmarks

Mike Pigott takes a break from vehicles, and instead looks at models of famous London landmarks from well-known diecast manufacturers.

Tower Bridge

Some cities are defined by their iconic landmarks. The Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris. Everyone associates San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge. Some cities have more than one famous landmark. New York has the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, while Sydney is instantly recognised by its Opera House and Harbour Bridge. London has many famous structures known throughout the world, including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge plus several more recent additions such as the O2 Dome and London Eye. In some cities the most famous building is a religious one, like Cologne Cathedral or Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmet Mosque.

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Hornby Minic Ships

Mike Pigott looks at Hornby Minic Ships, a high quality but underrated range of 1/1200 diecast waterline vessels from the 1970s.

Cover image

Our story actually starts in 1959, when Tri-ang, then one of the biggest toy companies in the world, introduced a line of 1/1200 model ships and accessories under its ‘Minic’ sub-brand. There was a wide range of model ships available, including ocean liners, merchant ships and military vessels, all to a constant scale. The passenger ships included huge, famous liners such as Queen Mary and France, but also lesser-known medium-sized ships and small vessels like paddle steamers and ferries. Similarly, the naval range included massive battleships and aircraft carriers, as well as smaller boats such as frigates and destroyers. The merchant ships produced were an interesting mix, including an oil tanker, the nuclear ship Savannah, and – although it seems tasteless today – a whaling ship. There were also various ancillary craft such as tugboats and pilot boats produced.

As well as ships, there was a huge range of diecast accessories produced to make a model harbour. The most important components were the straight quay sections, which were rectangular, beige-painted pieces that could link together to form long docking piers. The quay pieces had small studs on top to position buildings and other accessories. And there were several buildings that could be added, such as warehouses, customs sheds, a cruise terminal, factories, petroleum storage tanks and cranes. There were also breakwaters to create an outer harbour, complete with angled joints and end sections for lighthouses and beacons.

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