Thunderbirds by Corgi

Mike Pigott looks at Corgi’s models from 2003 and 2016 that were based on Gerry Anderson’s classic Thunderbirds series.During the 1960s, Corgi Toys was the leader in TV-related diecast vehicles. In 1965 Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds was the top-rating children’s TV show, and Corgi was so confident of obtaining the franchise that a working prototype of FAB-1 was developed even before a contract was signed. In a surprise move, the Thunderbirds franchise was awarded to rival Dinky Toys of Liverpool, a company that had no history of licensed products. It wasn’t until 2003 when Corgi finally acquired the Thunderbirds license, with two models produced that year and a further two after quite a long gap, in 2016.

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Corgi Juniors Military Models

Mike Pigott looks at the different military themed models that appeared in the Corgi Juniors range in the 1970s and beyond.

Q_The full range of Corgi Junior military vehicles from the 1970s

Diecast models of military vehicles seem to come and go. They were very popular during the 1950s, right up until the late 1960s. Then they appeared to vanish from the market completely for several years. The Matchbox 1-75 range was loaded with Army and Air Force vehicles up until about 1968, and then they all disappeared for several years. In 1974, military vehicles came back into vogue again. Corgi introduced a large range of tanks in its big Corgi Toys line, and Matchbox introduced the flashy – but less realistic – Battle Kings. Miniature vehicle ranges also began to introduce army vehicles into their lines in 1974, including Corgi Juniors and Matchbox 1-75 series. Hot Wheels also produced a number of U.S. Army vehicles from 1975.

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Harry Potter by Corgi International

Mike Pigott looks at a small range of models from Corgi based on the adventures of the boy wizard, Harry Potter.Corgi Ford AngliaHarry Potter first appeared in the 1995 novel Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling, and proved to be a massive success around the world. The book spawned five sequels and several spin-offs. In 2001, Harry made the transition to the big screen, with a series of seven big-budget, star-studded movies. Unsurprisingly, there was a great deal of Harry Potter merchandise produced, including a range of diecast models from Corgi, based on three very diverse vehicles seen in the films.

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Tom & Jerry by Corgi

Mike Pigott looks at the many models made by Corgi of the famous cartoon cat and mouse duo and their pals over the years.

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The cat and mouse duo Tom & Jerry was created in 1939 by the now-legendary team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. As domestic animals, they were unlikely subjects for a range of diecast vehicles, but they were modelled by Corgi on a number of occasions, spanning three decades.

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The Golden Compass by Corgi

Mike Pigott looks at this unusual range from Corgi, which was based on the 2007 fantasy film.

CarriageWhile there have been a lot of diecast models based on science fiction movies, ones based on fantasy films are quite rare. The 2007 film The Golden Compass featured some stunning looking fantasy vehicles, and these were soon modelled by Corgi. Despite being of excellent quality, they did not sell well, possibly due to the disappointing performance of the film at the box office.

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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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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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BLAKE’S 7 by CORGI

Mike Pigott looks back at Corgi’s model (or is that models?) based on the 1970s British dystopian sci-fi series, Blake’s 7.

Liberator box set

Blake’s 7 was a British science fiction programme that ran from 1978 to 1981. Set approximately 700 years in the future, it featured the struggles of Roj Blake and a motley group of rebels against the totalitarian regime that rules Earth and its planet colonies. Despite the grim premise, the show was very popular with viewers, and a range of merchandise was produced, including a model by Corgi in its miniature Corgi Juniors line.

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Star Trek II by Corgi Juniors

Mike Pigott looks at the very short relationship between Corgi’s miniature range and Star Trek in 1982, tying in with the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Corgi Juniors models

The first Star Trek models were made by Dinky Toys of the UK in 1977, with large models of the USS Enterprise and the Klingon D7 Battle Cruiser. To tie in with the 1979 feature film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Dinky produced smaller scale models of the Klingon Cruiser and the refitted Enterprise. However, by this time Dinky was in serious financial difficulty and the company collapsed in 1980.

In 1982, Corgi obtained the franchise to produce diecast Star Trek toys. This was quite an unusual move as Corgi had very little experience producing toy spacecraft, unlike Dinky, which had produced a wide range of licensed sci-fi toys including Space: 1999, Thunderbirds and UFO. Corgi’s only model spacecraft was a replica of the starship Liberator from the British dystopian space opera BLAKE’S 7. This was a small but reasonably accurate model in the miniature Corgi Juniors range, and perhaps good sales of this item encouraged Corgi to attempt more small spacecraft.

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