Saturday, May 30, 2009


In 1981, a bright yellow 2CV was driven by James Bond in the film For Your Eyes Only, including an elaborate set piece car chase through a Spanish olive farm, in which Bond uses the unique abilities of the modestly powered 2CV to escape his pursuers in Peugeot 504 sedans. The car in the film was fitted with the flat-4 engine from a Citroën GS for slightly more power. Citroën launched a special edition 2CV "007" to coincide with the 2CV product placement in the film, it was fitted with the standard flat-2 engine, painted in yellow with "007" on the front doors and fake bullet hole stickers. This car was also popular in miniature, from Corgi Toys.

Citroen 2CV with opening bonnet operated by pushing down on front wings from the films 'For Your Eyes Only' starring Roger Moore. See more.

Saturday, May 23, 2009



The first of a long line of Gerry Anderson inspired models was ‘Lady Penelope’s Fab 1’ (No.100). It was an instant success, as was the series ‘Thunderbirds’ from which the model was taken. This 1/45th replica, usually finished correctly in Penelope Pink, had a gold-plated-effect interior with figures of Parker and Lady Penelope seated beneath a clear, domed, sliding roof. Operating features included a concealed firing missile behind the hinged Rolls Royce grille and rear firing missile from the tail light cluster. Variations in the model’s ten year run included a bright day-glow pink finish, clear or body colour frame on the sliding roof section, and three designs of wheels (smooth turned, five stud cast or six spoke cast). An interesting point to note is that FAB 1 as originally seen on television was a two door design, but the Dinky model is based on the later four door version seen in the later TV episodes and in both feature films. Shop here.


In the original Supermarionation TV series Thunderbirds (1965-1966), as well as the films Thunderbirds Are GO (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1967), FAB1 is a modified Rolls-Royce. Owned by Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, the car is usually driven by her chauffeur Parker. The driver sits in a central position at the front of the passenger compartment, which is covered by a bulletproof bubble canopy. The car has been modified by Brains, inventor of the Thunderbirds machines, with gadgets and gizmos, including heavy artillery concealed behind the radiator grille and front and rear headlights. It is also equipped with smokescreen- and oil-dispensors, extendable tyre-studs for increased traction, and hydrofoils or outriggers for travel on water or snow respectively. Rolls-Royce supplied a radiator grille complete with Spirit of Ecstasy for close-up shots of the car.

A full-sized replica of FAB1, based on a six-wheeled Bedford coach chassis, was constructed to transport Gerry and Sylvia Anderson to the London premiere of Thunderbirds Are GO. However Rolls-Royce were not impressed by the car and made several attempts to purchase it and have it destroyed. The vehicle survived and now resides at the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, Cumbria.


Basil Brush is a fox, best known as a British television character aimed at children. He is primarily portrayed by a glove puppet (see picture) but has also been depicted in animated cartoon shorts and comic strips. The character has featured on children's (and later adult) television from the 1960s to the present day.

A mischievous character, Basil Brush is best known for his catch phrase "Boom! Boom!", used after something he finds funny, and also for speaking in a "posh" accent and manner, referring to himself as a "fella". The character claims to dislike puppets, and says his most prized possession is his "brush", this being the traditional name for a fox's tail.

Basil Brush was originally created in 1963 by Peter Firmin for The Three Scampies children's show, but his main popularity was achieved due to appearances on "The Nixon Line" with magician David Nixon and subsequently The Basil Brush Show, which premiered in 1968. Basil was for many years operated and voiced by the publicity-shy actor Ivan Owen, who died in 2000.

Throughout the 12-year run of the show, Basil was always accompanied by an actor, initially Rodney Bewes — aka Mr Rodney — better known as one half of The Likely Lads. Bewes was replaced by Mr Derek — Derek Fowlds, later to appear in Yes Minister and Heartbeat — who was the stooge for Basil's quips between 1969 and 1973. The subsequent presenters were Mr Roy (Roy North, 1973-1977), Mr Howard (Howard Williams, 1977-1979), and Mr Billy (Billy Boyle, 1979-1980). All of the scripts during this period, including songs and the infamous weekly stories, were written by George Frederick Martin, who was also known as The Casual Comedian. After the TV series finished, Howard Williams returned to tour with Basil in his stage act. Basil Brush BOOM BOOM! Basil was in three more shows in the 1980s: the educational programme Let's Read... With Basil Brush (ITV, 1982-1983), Crackerjack (BBC), and Basil's Joke Machine (ITV, 1986).

Basil also came on The Weakest Link in 2006.

Basil recorded two albums (both with the same title), Boom! Boom! It's Basil Brush in 1970 and 1977. His adventures also appeared on the pages of TV Comic during the peak of his popularit.


'Basil Brush's Car' (no.808) was based on yet another veteran car, this time the 1/40th scale 1910 Renault. It featured a larger than life figure of Basil at the wheel. Finished in red with a yellow chassis and solid (not spoked) red disc wheels, the model itself boasted no special features, but the inclusion of a seperate sound box with two characteristic laughter tapes was a novel touch to an otherwise staid release. Basil was at the height of his popularity, and the model was available for two years.-- Model Collector.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


This is the classic Corgi Magic Roundabout series to see the 1971/72 catalogue. Utlising the Paramount Tour de France Citroen casting was the bright yellow 'Magic Roundabout Car' (no.807), featuring red whizzwheels, flower decals on bonnet and doors, very well-sculptured figures of Dougal, Brain, and Dylan placed within the red interior. Not an authentic vehicle, so not to any particular scale, but the charm of this popular children's series was well captured. It was to be joined by other Magic Roundabout releases before it was deleated in 1974.

Friday, May 8, 2009


The Magic Roundabout (known in the original French as Le Manège enchanté) was a children's television programme created in France in 1963 by Serge Danot. Some five hundred five-minute-long episodes were made and were originally broadcast between 1964 and 1971 on ORTF.

The series also attained great success in the United Kingdom. The English version was narrated by Eric Thompson, the father of actress Emma Thompson, and was broadcast from 18 October 1965 to January 1977. This version of the show attained cult status, and was watched as much by adults for its dry humour as by the children for whom it was intended.

Although the characters were common to both versions, they were given different names depending on the language.

The British Dougal was grumpy and loosely based on Tony Hancock. Ermintrude was rather matronly and fond of singing. Dylan was a hippy-like, guitar-playing rabbit, and rather dopey. Florence was portrayed sensibly. Brian was unsophisticated but well-meaning. Zebedee was an almost human creature in a yellow jacket with a spring instead of feet. He frequently went "Boing!" and regularly closed the show with the phrase "Time for bed." In the original French serial he was delivered to Mr.Rusty in a box which he sprang from like a jack-in-the-box, explaining the spring. In the foreword to the recent re-release of the books, Emma Thompson explains that her father had felt that he was most like Brian of all the characters and that Ermintrude was in some respects based upon his wife.

Other characters include Mr MacHenry, Mr Rusty, Uncle Hamish and Angus (in "Dougal's Scottish Holiday"), and the train. Three other children, Paul, Basil and Rosalie, appeared in the original b/w serial and in the credit sequence of the colour episodes, but very rarely in subsequent episodes.

Part of the show's attraction was that it appealed to adults, who enjoyed the world-weary Hancock-style comments made by Dougal, as well as to children. The audience measured eight million at its pea.


'Ed Straker's Car from the 'UFO' TV Series (and also from the earlier film Doppleganger or Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) was a rather poor attempt at what could have been a first class model. Apart from the whole body contours being simplified, the largest and most glaring error is that the up and over gull wing doors (as featured prominently in the series) were portrayed as front-hinged normal doors. The fact that these doors were also modelled non-opening makes the error doubly inexcusable. However, as the model stands, it is at least recognisable and represents a scale of 1/42nd, the real vehicle being based on the Ford Zephyr/Zodiac MK IV chassis with aluminium and glassfibre bodies.

Straker's car was finished in a mid-metallic brown in the 'UFO' series, but the model appeared in two fictitious colour variations, one being gloss yellow with a white interior, the other being a gold plate effect with blue interior. Radial ribbed or center nut cast wheels with tyres could be found on either colour variation, the real wheels being powered by a pull-back clockwork motor. It was the first 'UFO' based model to be deleated, in 1975. --Model Collector See here


UFO is a British television science fiction series created by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson and produced by the Anderson's and Lew Grade's Century 21 Productions for Grade's ITC Entertainment company. The Andersons had previously made a number of very successful marionette-based children's science fiction series including Stingray, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet. They had also made one live-action science fiction movie, Doppelgänger, also known as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, and now felt ready to move into live-action television and aim at a more adult market.
UFO was the Andersons' first totally live-action TV series. Despite the assumption of many TV station executives, the series was not aimed at children, but deliberately sought an older audience; many episodes featured adult themes such as adultery, divorce, and drug use.

UFO first aired in the UK in 1970 and in US syndication over the next two years. In all, 26 episodes, including the pilot, were filmed over the course of more than a year, with a five-month production break caused by the ultimate closure of the MGM-British Studios in Borehamwood, where the show was initially made.

An idiosyncrasy of the series is that the term "UFO" is pronounced as a word ("you-foh"), as suggested by the real-world originator of the term Edward J. Ruppelt, and not as the more common "you-eff-oh". This is particularly true of the lead character, Ed Straker. Technically speaking the series title should properly be pronounced "you-foh" as well. However, the "you-foh" pronunciation was not consistently applied and some supporting characters use the more traditional form.

In a sad coincidence, lead actors Ed Bishop and Michael Billington died in June 2005, within five days of each other.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


The 'Saint's Jaguar XJS' was a larger model than the previous 'Saint's Volvo' model. This 1/35th scale vehicle was just slightly more than a repainted standard XJS model, having 'ST1" licence plate labels, a 'Saint' logo label (not authentic), and a rear mounted aerial. The red interior set off the white paint work nicely, though there was no Simon Templar figure - a pity, as the only features are the opening doors. The final ones were produced in 1982, though the basic XJS is still available.


The Saint's Volvo P1 800S (no.258) was finished in white with a red interior and a figure of Simon Templar at the wheel. A black 'Saint' decal (which never appeared on the real car) featured prominently on the bonnet for most of the production run, but rather a white 'Saint' on a red bonnet-shaped label was substituted. This 1/48th scale model had a five year with rubber tyred, spun metal wheels, before being shod with the mandatory whizzwheels in 1970, the change of wheels coinciding with a change of catalogue number (no.201). The red bonnet label continued for the whizzwheels version, but the interior colour was change to either yellow or black. Jewelled headlights featured on both versions; 1972 was its final year.