RON’S MODEL SPOT
All the items this month are from Oxford Diecasts. Firstly (or should that be lastly?) is APH001, an Austin Princess DM4 Hearse. It is brave of Oxford to model such a vehicle as it may put some collectors off, but it seems to be successful, as this is the second 1:43 hearse in the range, while others are available in 1:76 and 1:148. The hearse follows on from the limousine released a while back. This is a completely new casting, as the roofline is much higher and consequentially the glass area is bigger. It also has a higher waistline, so the whole vehicle is much taller than the limousine. The panel and shut lines are finely cast. Many plated parts are featured, including the roof rack for the floral tributes and even the fuel filler cap. Other bright-work is represented by silver tampo printing, with items such as the rear door hinges and studs to remove the rear wheel spats being so treated. The glazing is flush fitting, but care must be taken to avoid direct light on the model as the plastic tends to cloud if exposed to ultraviolet, whether from sunlight or fluorescent lighting. Rear side windows are marked with the back section of the rear door, which is pillar-less, plus there is a clear partition behind the front seats. The interior is very well detailed, with a narrow bier for the coffin, with seats each side for the attendants fore and aft. Woodgrain trim is featured, with the seats being moulded in black. There is reasonable detail on the base, and the hearse runs on suitably large tyres with plated trims and hubcaps. The model is flawlessly painted in sombre black, although white and other colours are available. It costs £23 in the UK, so should be about $70 when it becomes available here. The second 1:43 Oxford model is LE002, a Lotus Elan Plus 2. The lines of the car are well modelled. Only a few plated parts have been used on the model, with the rest of the items, such as the door handles and sill trim, being silver tampo printed. Glazing is suitably flush fitting with good interior detailing, complete with woodgrain dashboard. The underside detail is adequate, with excellent correct-style wheels and tyres. The Lotus is painted Lagoon Blue with silver roof and black interior. Strangely it is £22 in the UK, only £1 less than the Austin Princess. The last Oxford is a 1:76 scale Commer Commando one-and-a-half-deck coach. Oxford’s main interest seems to be with 1:76 scale, although it does have 1:18 down to 1:148 scale models available. Normally I don’t collect 1:76 models, but I could not resist this one, as it is reminiscent of the Dinky Toys No. 283 ‘BOAC’ coach (also a Commer chassis). To achieve the flush glazed look, the whole upper section is moulded in clear plastic then painted appropriate colours, which is reasonably effective, although strong light does shine through. This version of the coach is in BOAC colours. Oxford does have some planes that could suit a diorama (the BEA De Havilland Dragon Rapide for example), although the planes are 1:72 scale, mind you the difference isn’t too noticeable at this size.
Clues Across: 7. Australian motor body-building concern — its first car body built in 1914 — which later became General Motors’ Australian operation after GM take-over in 1931 (6) Italian racing driver, first Formula One world champion in 1950 (6) Italian tyre maker, its Cintura/cinturato radial was one of the best tyres for your 1960s classic (7) 11. Side-valve cylinder head with valves on opposite sides of the piston (1-4) 12. Demanding road-racing circuit near Belfast in Ireland, used for classic Tourist Trophy races from 1928 to 1936 (4) 13. Model name for Austin’s successful A40 saloon built from 1947 to 1954 (5) 17. Adelaide-born racing driver and Austin employee, who won the 1928 Australian GP in a supercharged Austin 7 (5) 18. Italian-born owner of the French Talbot company — its successful late 1940s F1 racing car was fondly known as the ‘Large Tablet’ by the gent in 14 down (4) 22. The Mercury ----- was a successful import to the USA from Ford Germany in the early to mid ’70s (5) 23. J Gurney ------- was a successful UK coachbuilder of sporting styles from 1919 through to the late ’40s, with Bentley one of his favoured clients (7) 24. French racing driver, whose long career (1923–’58) brought him success in Grands Prix, sports cars and the Monte Carlo Rally (6) 25. German tuning company, specializing in go-faster versions of BMWS (6)