Never lost for things to talk about, Rick Wilson delves into his model stash to share his favourites.
With all the excitement about the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, I came to realise that I have a bit of a collection of moon-related models so here is the first instalment of a trilogy celebrating vehicles both factual and fictional on this page.
We’ll start with one of my childhood favourites, Corgi’s No 811 ‘James Bond’ Moon Buggy, released in June 1972.
For a model with relatively low sales – 189,000 – compared to some of Corgi’s big hitters at the time and one that was only on sale for a single year, being withdrawn during 1973, this is a very well-remembered release, and one that commands a high price in top condition today. Due to the superb playability few have survived in truly mint condition as the model was well ‘loved’ in its day. Even the playworn examples, thanks to the readily available supply of reproduction parts, can be brought back to resemble the day they left the shop and provide many more years of joy, although it is more likely to be as display pieces this time around.
A pretty good representation of the actual moon buggy used in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, the model had been carefully planned alongside the film (released in December 1971). The vehicle has two articulating jointed arms, one on each side, with sprung claw grips at the end that actually worked. The radar scanner dish at the back rotates as the model moves along and the domed canopy flips up to reveal our hero, played by Sean Connery in the movie. Moon rover style wheels moulded in yellow plastic finish off the look.
Re-released in 1997 under Corgi Classics branding as “Special Edition” No 65201, complete with 54mm high hand-painted white metal Sean Connery 007 (and later as CC04401 without the figurine), this time the model took on a much more accurate look in terms of colours, closely resembling those of the actual film version. All the same playability was there but, despite the more accurate appearance of the model and identical features, this version is very easy to find in mint boxed condition at around £15-£20.