Welcome to this latest edition of Corgi Diecast Diaries and your regular look at all the news, updates and stories from the fascinating world of Corgi die-cast model collecting.
Are you ready for your latest selection of exclusive Corgi model development images? We certainly hope you are, because we have lot’s to tell you about in this edition. Our headline feature is a blog exclusive, where we focus on an exciting new tooling project first announced with the launch of the current range back in January, but as yet (for a number of reasons) has not been covered in the blog. What is more, it marks a model type which until now has yet to feature in an edition of Diecast Diaries – a new warship model. We are delighted to now be in a position to share an exclusive series of images showing CAD screenshot details, AND the first prototype development model shots of our scale representation of Britain’s latest naval flagship, the magnificent HMS Queen Elizabeth class carriers.
Not content with bringing you one new model tooling feature, we will also be looking at the early development stages of a new Vanguards model which will immortalise one of the most attractive British sports cars ever produced in 1/43rd scale diecast metal, one which is already being welcomed as an extremely popular addition to the Vanguards model range – the handsome and rather purposeful looking Triumph TR6. In addition to this, we have a trio of fascinating Aviation Archive related features for your enjoyment, including one which is linked to the contentious issue of ‘weathering’ our beloved models, one which features a scale version of the first fighter mount of the world’s most famous flying ‘ace’ and an exclusive ‘first look’ at a pre-production sample from a new 1/48th scale tooling project which is getting everyone a little excited. Benefitting from a host of exclusive development images, we are confident that this 71st edition of our blog will be one you will definitely not want to miss. Let’s weight the diecast anchor and select ‘full ahead’ on our latest Corgi model update.
Pride of the nation
Early artwork file produced in support of the new Corgi 1/1250th scale Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier tooling
Throughout five years of producing our Diecast Diaries blog and bringing readers all the very latest model development and release information available, we have never previously been able to include details of a diecast ship model in the Corgi range. Thankfully, that all changed earlier this year, as we announced our intention to produce an all new 1/1250 scale model of Britain’s latest and most impressive warships, the gargantuan Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. With the construction and launch of these impressive ships receiving widespread media coverage over recent years, both the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince of Wales (R09) are now familiar to millions of people, arguably becoming the most recognised British weapons in recent memory.
Britain has been without a purpose built aircraft carrier since the rather hasty retirement and decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal in 2011, a move which not only diminished the influence of the Royal Navy, but also Britain’s international standing as a global power. All that now seems to be just a dim and distant memory, as the sight of our two impressive new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers fills us all with feelings of awe and pride and has re-engaged the nation with the Senior Service in an extremely high-profile manner.
Diecast Diaries readers will now be familiar with the CAD screengrabs we ask our Development Manager to supply in support of these review features, but will never have previously seen ones featuring a new ship model. Feast your eyes on this scale Corgi representation of one of the world’s most powerful warships
The largest ships ever to enter Royal Navy service, the new aircraft carriers will significantly enhance Britain’s naval standing and provide them with one of the most powerful autonomous international offensive capabilities in the world. Equipped with the latest fifth generation Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II multi-role jets, these mighty ships would make tempting targets for any adversary in times of conflict and despite the fact that they are bristling with electronic wizardry and defensive weapons, they will also be protected by a dedicated force of high-tech Destroyers, each one equipped with missiles designed to protect the carrier from air and missile attack. Destined to remain in service for possibly the next half century, Britain’s new super carriers are a highly visible representation of Britain’s naval prowess.
As two of the most impressive feats of military engineering in British history, it was clear that the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers were going to be of great interest to model manufacturing companies and Corgi are no exception. As a high profile symbol of British technological excellence and the very embodiment of the professionalism of our armed forces, we are proud to have started work on introducing these awesome ships to the world of diecast collectables as soon as we could and are pleased to be in a position to bring you a project update now. Taking accurate references from technical drawings and having built up a huge photographic research file for these magnificent ships, our design and development team started work on this new model many months ago and have kindly allowed us to include a development overview in this latest blog. Please remember that all the images we are featuring here represent the early development stages of this exciting new model and as such, may still be subject to significant change before it can be released for production. Nevertheless, for the diecast model collector, they are absolutely fascinating and we knew you would love to see them.
An absolutely fascinating insight into the design of this new diecast representation of the country’s most famous ship, these next two images show the fully designed model, but split into its component parts, each having been designed separately, but all coming together to make this incredibly appealing new model
This next exclusive series of images show the prototype SLA ‘Stereo’ model produced by a specialist company, using the design files from this new tooling project. A crucial stage in the development of any new model tooling, these images are being shown for illustrative purposes only, but still clearly show how impressive this new model is going to be
The powerful CAD software used to produce these files may well be of great interest to us as model collectors, but are absolutely essential to our Product Designers when working on any new model tooling and not only allow each individual component to be accurately represented, but also ensure the designer has ultimate flexibility in preparing the files for the next stage of this process. The component files will be used to produce the tooling blocks which will ultimately be used to manufacture thousands of diecast aircraft carriers, collectable models which will grace display cabinets, shelves and mantlepieces in the years to come.
As you can see from the images above the software allows the designer to view the model from any angle and to isolate individual sections or components as desired during the design process. As we were requesting a small selection of images to illustrate this feature, we also asked if the software would allow the individual components to be exploded, to give some impression of how the model will eventually come together. As you can see, we were kindly obliged and the resultant CAD images make for a fascinating record of the development of this exciting new model.
Once the designer is happy with the model’s CAD design files, it’s time for the next stage in this process – the production of a one of a kind stereolithography prototype model. A rapid prototyping technology process, the resultant model is basically a 3D printed version of the CAD data files produced and allows the designer to assess every aspect of the model’s design before it progresses any further. In some cases, even though these models still represent a relatively early stage in the development of a new tooling project, they may need to be used for marketing purposes, much to the dismay of the Corgi Development Manager – he is usually only happy to show product images once all the design alterations have been incorporated into a new tooling’s design. His stress is definitely our gain, as most collectors love to see the various stages of a new model’s development, as it allows us a fascinating insight into this process, warts and all!
This one off ‘Stereo’ model is a crucial component in the production of a new model tooling and allows the designer check dimensions, scale thicknesses and all areas of the model’s construction, bearing in mind that this will be subject to the diecast manufacturing process once released for production. If you look closely at the pictures featured above, you can clearly see how this prototype model has been produced on a high quality 3D printer and that even the individual cured layers of the media used can be seen. Clearly, this would not happen when the model was produced in diecast and even at this stage, it would be true to say that if it had been produced in metal, the model would be more accurate than this, but we still have many checks to complete before we can get to that stage. Having said that, you can see why the Development Manager is always a little sceptical when it comes to showing these early stage design images.
Already looking impressive, the Stereo model is used to check many aspects of the new model’s design, even though the nature of its production is not as refined as the diecast version will be. Whilst this model is being produced by a specialist prototype modelling company, work on producing the supporting artwork files can carry on apace
As this work is progressing, other aspects of the development process are also taking place, such as the production of product artwork and marketing materials. The artwork itself is really quite important and can potentially go through several different iterations before the DM is happy with it. These crucial files have to be accurate in every respect, as they are followed to the letter by the manufacturing plant during production, so there is absolutely no room for error in their creation. The ideal situation is that these artwork files are so accurate that the receipt of pre-production models is just a final check of colours used and detail placement, rather than a requirement to insist on wholesale changes.
As regular readers of the blog will be fully aware, all the images featured above may still be subject to alteration and improvement and are used for design and illustrative purposes only at this stage. We are allowed to show them in Diecast Diaries because we are particularly good at begging, whilst at the same time reassuring the Development Manager that our readers love to see them and that they know they are not the finished article. The next stage with these beautiful new aircraft carrier models is to see the first metal shots and the first fully decorated sample models and we very much look forward to bringing you these details in a future edition. For now though, we hope you have enjoyed this exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of our new diecast aircraft carrier models and how we are ‘laying them down’.