Corgi's latest Guy Arab II bus in Burton Cooperation livery is a real catch
Corgi Guy Arab II Burton Corporation, route 6, Calais Road
From 1903, Burton Corporation’s municipal transport system relied exclusively on the tram system, but in January 1924, with more residents living away from the tram network, the decision was taken to bring in two ‘B’ type motorbuses with Guy B20F bodywork. In 1930, trams were entirely replaced by buses and in 1943, Burton received its first double-deck vehicles, two utility Guy Arabs with Weymann H56R bodywork, built to wartime specifications, which included wooden slatted seating. Eight more were delivered in 1944, including Burton Corporation No. 34, a Guy Arab II 5LW, registration FA 7978, which was fitted with a Park Royal body, as modelled here. The double-deck vehicles proved more popular than the single-deck vehicles, which were becoming heavily overcrowded, but the wartime utility buses had been built using poor quality timber and were prone to premature deterioration. Some were rebuilt by the Corporation themselves, whilst others went to Merthyr Tydfil bodybuilder D. J. Davies, including FA 7978 which was rebuilt in 1951.
From 1914 until 1982, Guy Motors was a Wolverhampton-based vehicle manufacturer that produced cars, lorries, buses and trolleybuses at its Fallings Park factory, playing an important role in the development of the British motor industry. In 1933 the Arab bus chassis, designed for use with diesel engines, was launched and would prove a mainstay of Guy's success for the next twenty years.
Corgi's 43900 series casting first appeared in September 1999 and, 19 years later, this is its thirty-eighth release because the numbering restarted when the OM prefix was introduced in 2001- the last six have been dual destination releases so there are 44 in total to collect - but it still looks fantastic and has certainly stood the test of time. The Burton Corporation's burgundy and cream livery is beautifully reproduced and the paint finish is excellent as are the printed graphics, which are all nice and crisp.
The interior detail is basic, reflecting the austerity of the time perhaps, but it is neatly finished and certainly does not take anything away from the model.
The front end is of particular note and exhibits a pleasing level of detail to the radiator grille in particular and there is always something evocative about seeing a model with the minimised wartime destination blinds.
As is the norm with Corgi's Original Omnibus Company range these days, as mentioned earlier, this is a dual destination release and the limited edition run of 1,100 is split over this and its OM43917A sibling, which replicates the same vehicle but with a destination of Anglesey Road, although still on route number 6.
It's a little beauty.