Miniatures news, February 1971

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Two books which should appeal to miniatures collectors are “Veteran & Vintage Cars” and “Commercial Vehicles”, both by Cecil Gibson, the well-known collector and Aston Martin enthusiast, and both published by Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., 36, Park Street, London, W1, at 80np each. The latter covers tin-plate toys, petrol tankers, pre-war Dinky toys, large plastic kits, commercials on a smaller scale, rare Americana, etc., while the former is devoted to Lesney Models of Yesteryear, Continental veterans, Ancestral motor cars, racing and sports ears, some Corgi classics, etc., including Airfix 1/32 kits and European plastic kits, etc. The idea is a simple directory of past and present commercially-available miniatures, illustrated with colour pictures. A little superficial as a serious directory—and again I am disappointed that those tin-plate Model-T Fords of my childhood, bought at Woolworth’s, are not included—the format is attractive and an incentive to start collecting. The only error spotted is the Lesney “Yesteryear” Sentinel steam waggon quoted as 1905, whereas I would rate, it as nearer 1925, although Lesney may have perpetuated this mistake.

Gibson is preparing a similar book on racing and record-breaking miniature cars and Nelson have, in this series, books about military miniatures by Jack Wheldon and toy locomotives, of 1900-42 by P. G. Gomm and 1947-70 by P. E. Randall, all of 8 in. x 6 in. with 16 colour plates, at 80np each.

Corgi have a miniature of much appeal to motor-racing enthusiasts in the form of a 4 1/2 in.-long Porsche 917, in long-tailed Le Mans-winning form, the transparent cover revealing the mid-placed flat-six air-cooled engine. It carries No. 3 of the Larrousse/Kauhsen car, which finished second to the Herrmann/Attwood car. No. 385 in the Corgi Toys Whizzwheels series, the UK price is 40 1/2np. I normally ignore special models, like Corgi’s Lunar Bug, which is fine for kids but not an authentic spacecraft replica. But Corgi’s GP Beach Buggy, although not based on an actual buggy, shows the origin of these VW-powered sand-buggies for use on the Californian coast. No. 381, this little miniature would make a mascot for a real VW Buggy. It is 2 5/8 in. long and sells for 6s. 6d.

Some years ago we published a picture of a working model of a WWI Gnome rotary aero-engine, made by Frank Boler of Leatherhead. John London of Fife has since built such a model, a Type A 80 h.p., to a 1/3 scale. It took 21 months to complete. This 1913 Monosoupape has dural con.-rods but is otherwise made of alloy and carbon steels. The pistons were cut from the crowns of Ford diesel pistons, each having a single-ring. This little masterpiece, of 0.720 in. x 1 in. bore and stroke, is an easy starter, has run for long periods and drives an 18 1/2 in.-dia. laminated propeller. The recent reference to a plastic-kit Stanley steamer attributed this to Airfix. In fact, it was an Aurora kit and has, we fear, been discontinued. Monogram Models, Inc., 8601, Waukegan Road, Morton Grove, Illinois 60058, have a series of drag-strip clip-together plastic models, and a new Airfix-32 scale kit makes up into a 1/32-scale Series 3 Ford Capri. The makers are Airfix Products Ltd. (Dept. C), Haldane Place, London, SW 18.—W. B.

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