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COLLECTING 007 – UK CORGI Toys
WRITTEN & COMPILED BY KEVIN HARPER

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Unusually CORGI chose not to issue a version of James Bond's Aston Martin DBS as featured in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), although they had designed an accurate scale model from photographs and measurements of the actual car driven by George Lazenby in the film. The DBS was released as a standalone 1:64 scale model in 1970 (CORGI Junior #913) and was finished in metallic blue paint. Perhaps due to the perceived failure of On Her Majesty's Secret Service upon its original release, and the fact the Aston Martin DBS did not feature any gadgets like its predecessor, the planned model was shelved; and instead CORGI issued an Aston Martin DB6 as their latest James Bond car. This version of the toy was first released in 1966 as the first car (along with the Batmobile) in CORGI's new pocket-money priced range called ‘Husky Extra models’. Although the DB6 was not directly connected with the James Bond films, CORGI issued their version with the opening roof, working ejector seat and ejectable passenger seen on earlier releases. The ‘Husky’ series (introduced in 1964 to undercut a rival cheaper series from Matchbox), were available exclusively in Woolworth's stores in the UK, and more widely distributed throughout the rest of the world. ‘Husky Models’ were re-branded ‘CORGI Juniors’ in 1970, and a further range called ‘CORGI Rockets’ was specifically developed to race on track sets.

Husky Extra – James Bond 007 Aston Martin (1966)

Husky Extra Aston Martin 1401

The ‘Husky’ DB6 was also issued as part of a ‘Crime Busters’ Gift Set in 1967 which included the Batmobile & Batboat with trailer, and a The Man From UNCLE missile-firing car as seen in the popular 1960s US TV series. The Gift Set was re-issued with identical contents under the ‘Juniors’ brand in 1970, and later with ‘Whizzwheels’. In addition to the DB6, CORGI issued three new James Bond toys also featuring the recently introduced low-friction ‘Whizzwheels’. The new larger wheels which gave better performance on the plastic ‘Rockets’ race track, and were CORGI's response to rival US manufacturer Mattel's ‘Hotwheels’ - and UK competitor Matchbox, who released similar models as part of their own ‘Fastwheels’ range.

Collector's Note: There are a few variations of the Husky Aston Martin. Those labelled 1001 were sold in the UK; 1401 was for the European market, and 1201 for the United States.

CORGI Juniors 1001 – Aston Martin DB6 (1967-70)

Corgi 1970 catalogue

The three new CORGI toys joining the Aston Martin DB6 were directly inspired by On Her Majesty's Secret Service, although not entirely authentic to their film counterparts. An orange Volkswagen 1300 represented the one seen in the stock car sequence, although it was yellow in the film. As the then current licence holders for James Bond toys, advertising for CORGI was prominently displayed on screen during the stock car sequence.

Corgi 1001 Aston Martin DB6

CORGI Juniors 1010 Volkswagen 1300 (1970)

Corgi Juniors 1010 Volkswagen 1300
Corgi Juniors 1010 Volkswagen 1300

CORGI Juniors 1011 James Bond Bobsleigh (1970)

Two bobsleighs with figures of James Bond and Blofeld were also issued in the same range as the Volkswagen, all were available individually, or as part of a Gift Set, although fewer units appear to have been manufactured and consequently this range is now one of the hardest to find.

Corgi Juniors 1011 James Bond Bobsleigh
Corgi Juniors 1011 James Bond Bobsleigh

CORGI Juniors 1012 S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Bobsleigh (1970)

Corgi Juniors 1012 S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Bobsleigh
Corgi Juniors 1012 S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Bobsleigh

CORGI Rockets D923, D924, D925 & D928 (1970)

1970 Corgi Rockets catalogue

Four further models were also issued by CORGI to tie in with On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969); Tracy's red Mercury Cougar with yellow plastic skis, and a black SPECTRE Mercedes, together with a Ford Capri and Escort as seen in the stock car sequence.

As part of the ‘Rockets’ range the models were designed specifically to be propelled around a plastic track by a ‘Super Booster’ catapult-like launcher, both available separately from CORGI. As an added gimmick, the chassis of these models could be removed using a ‘Golden Tune-Up Key’ – a gold coloured metal tool supplied with each model that had a simple key at one end to unlock the chassis from the base of the model, and a tool at the other end to remove the axles from the chassis; the models could be ‘tuned up’ and the axles lubricated using the separately available ‘Rocketlube’ lightweight oil dispenser designed to look like a felt tip pen. The ‘Golden Tune-Up Key’ supplied with each car was also labelled with the name and catalogue number of the individual model.

The ‘Rockets’ range met with early success and was voted Boys Toy of the Year for 1971 by British toy industry journal Toy Trader. The four OHMSS ‘Rockets’ toys were available individually, and later in the year as a Gift Set containing all four models. As with the earlier OHMSS related toys, these are increasingly hard to find in mint condition and still command very high prices at auction. The seven On Her Majesty's Secret Service models had a relatively short shelf-life compared to earlier CORGI James Bond toys and were later deleted from the catalogue, consequently becoming something of a Holy Grail among toy collectors.

CORGI Rockets D924 Mercury Cougar & D928 S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Mercedes

Corgi Rockets D924 Mercury Cougar & Corgi Rockets D928 S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Mercedes
Corgi Rockets D924 Mercury Cougar & Corgi Rockets D928 S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Mercedes

CORGI Rockets D923 Ford Escort & D925 Ford Capri

Corgi Rockets D923 Ford Escort & Corgi Rockets D925 Ford Capri
Corgi Rockets D923 Ford Escort & Corgi Rockets D925 Ford Capri

Next... CORGI 811 James Bond 007 Moon Buggy & CORGI 391 Ford Mustang Mach 1


FACT FILES INDEX

UK CORGI Toys

FACT FILES The James Bond Films