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

James Bond 007 Moon Buggy/Mustang Mach 1 Corgi advertisments

To tie-in with the release of Sean Connery's comeback film as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), CORGI issued two new toys – the Moon Buggy and a red Ford Mustang Mach 1, similar to the one which performed the spectacular two-wheeled stunt in the film. The Moon Buggy was issued as catalogue number 811 and came in a bubble pack with a moonscape interior, and featured unique artwork on the packaging. The detailed die-cast toy had hinged metal arms which moved in all directions, a lunar dome from which a miniature 007 figure pops up when triggered, and a radar scanner which rotated as the vehicle moved. CORGI's Moon Buggy was issued in June 1972, six months after the West End debut of Diamonds Are Forever (1971), but still whilst the film was on general release across the country.

Prototype Corgi Moon Buggy

ABOVE: (left) The version of CORGI's Moon Buggy advertised in the Diamonds Are Forever UK Exhibitors’ Campaign Book issued in late 1971 differs from the prototype constructed from EON Productions specifications and photographed by CORGI (right) for use in advertising prior to the release of the toy in early 1972.

CORGI's final model differed from the one seen in the Diamonds Are Forever UK Exhibitors’ Campaign Book, and another prototype created by CORGI from the specifications provided by EON Productions during filming. The prototype was photographed by CORGI for use in promotional advertising and also has several colour differences to the final version. The model illustrated in the Campaign Book also appears to lack many of the special features that ended up on the finished model. Nevertheless, the CORGI Moon Buggy proved extremely popular, selling 189,000 units before its withdrawal in 1973. CORGI produced a second version in 1997 as part of their ‘CORGI Classics’ range. This time the model was finished in silver and looked more like the vehicle seen in the film Diamonds Are Forever than the original 1972 issue.

ABOVE: (left) A competition to win one of 50 CORGI James Bond Moon Buggies appeared in the children's magazine Look-In for the week ending May 6, 1972. (right) The full-sized Moon Buggy took part in a promotional tour of the UK during the general release of Diamonds Are Forever, including an appearance at the ODEON cinema Kensington where the film played for three weeks in February 1972.

The CORGI Moon Buggy was very well advertised on its original release and a competition to win one of 50 models appeared in the children's television tie-in magazine Look-In (the junior version of TV Times) for the week ending May 6, 1972. The full-sized film version also made appearances at several cinemas and car shows during the general release of Diamonds Are Forever in early 1972. The prominent appearance of the Moon Buggy on the film poster and in newspaper advertising no doubt boosted its popularity with children eager to acquire their own toy version.

CORGI 811 – James Bond 007 Moon Buggy (1972)

Corgi 811 – James Bond Moon Buggy (1972)

Corgi 811 – James Bond 007 Moon Buggy (1972)

Corgi 811 – James Bond 007 Moon Buggy (1972) packaging
 

CORGI Classics – James Bond Moon Buggy (1997)

1997 Moon Buggy re-release prototype

ABOVE: CORGI Classics 65201 - 1997 re-release prototype made from metal and resin, the radar dish is missing, still rotates when moved, the dome opening mechanism is fixed so the dome remains open.

Corgi Classics Moon Buggy 1997

Released in 1997 as part of the CORGI Classics ‘James Bond Collection’ range, the new version of the Diamonds Are Forever Moon Buggy also included a hand-painted white metal figure representing Sean Connery as James Bond, along with the 1:36 scale die-cast model. Although the model is more representative of the version seen in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), the craftsmanship is not as pleasing as the original CORGI 1972 edition. CORGI reissued the model again in 2000 as part of ‘The Definitive Bond Collection’ series with new packaging featuring Diamonds Are Forever film poster artwork.

CORGI 391 – Ford Mustang Mach 1 (1972)

CORGI's red Ford Mustang toy (catalogue number 391) was issued in February 1972 and coincided with the general release of Diamonds Are Forever. The car was only available for one year and is consequently one of the rarer James Bond toys. The die-cast model featured a black bonnet (not seen on the car featured in the film), opening doors, amber tinted windows and tilting seats. Issued as part of CORGI's ‘Whizzwheels’ range, a small batch of these models were released without an over-sticker on the box linking the car to Diamonds Are Forever. Evidently the toy was ready for release as a standalone edition prior to news that the Mustang would feature in the new James Bond film. Versions with pierced spoked wheels also exist. Although the Mustang featured in advertising alongside the Moon Buggy it was very hard to find after 1972.

Corgi 391 – James Bond Ford Mustang (1972)
Corgi 391 – James Bond Ford Mustang (1972) Whizzwheels

The next two films in the series [Live And Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)] did not have any cars driven by James Bond that CORGI chose to release as scale models. Instead, in the intervening years until the release of the Lotus Esprit in 1977, CORGI would promote the Aston Martin DB5 that was still in production as catalogue number 270, adding further to its popularity. James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 was usually prominently featured in CORGI's annual catalogue along with other screen favourites including the Batmobile (CORGI's second-biggest seller next to the Aston Martin DB5), and that other Ian Fleming related triumph – the superbly detailed working model of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, from the 1968 film produced by Albert R. Broccoli. The Aston Martin continued to sell well throughout the 1970s even though it had not been seen on screen since 1965.

Corgi 1972/1973 catalogues Aston Martin DB5

Next... CORGI 269 Lotus Esprit


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UK CORGI Toys

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