Wednesday, 22 June 2022

THE NAME'S MARTIN - ASTON MARTIN, D.B.5...


Yup, they're mine - all oh... oh... seven of them

The first issue of the Corgi Toys James Bond Aston Martin D.B.5 (261) went on sale in 1965.  The model had been considered for release earlier, but was decided against, only for a subsequent change of heart by management necessitating it being rushed into production to be ready for the run-up to Christmas.  There was no time for new tooling, so an existing mould of Corgi's D.B.4 was modified, with three engineers working separately on the trio of working features, namely the extending machine guns and over-riders, the bulletproof shield, and the opening roof-hatch and ejector seat.  (The D.B.4 rear lights gave the game away, despite what it said on the box and base.)  The toy was a huge success, with supply not being able to meet demand for Christmas '65.

Three years later, a newly-tooled more accurate model (270) of the car was issued, with two extra features along with the original three.  This time it also had revolving number plates and rear tyre slashers, and this version was around 4-5 millimetres longer with the proper silver birch colouring, as opposed to the impressive-but-inaccurate gold colour of the '65 model.  (It's said that early test-cars looked like unpainted bare metal in silver [h'mm - really?], and that the gold hue tied-in better with the name 'Goldfinger', hence the colour-change.)  Interestingly, the main vehicle in the movie (several were purportedly used) was actually a D.B.4 Mark V (5) Vantage, which was the prototype for the D.B.5, meaning that Corgi weren't too far off the mark with their toy version.

In 1978, Corgi issued a larger model (271) with only the original three working features from '65, and since then, various versions (with diverse finishes and features, as well as variable degrees of quality) have appeared over the years, but none really matched the 261 and 270 releases.  Despite claims to the contrary, the original 261 wasn't reissued until 2021/'22, when a pretty faithful replica became available via the Corgi Model Club and also their online shop (at a higher price than club members paid).  Previous models described as the 'original' were actually based on the 270, with a gold coat of paint to make it look like its predecessor, and sometimes packaged in a replica of the 261 box (or something resembling it).  In the photo above of my own cars, the middle one in the top tier is just such a model - a 270 passing itself off as a 261.

Anyway, that one car aside, the others in the photo are a mixture of originals and replicas, and don't they look impressive all grouped together?  Perhaps one day I'll find the time and energy to dig out all my 270s and 271s and share a piccie or two of them with you also.  I know, don't tell me - you're counting the seconds, eh?  Did you have a 261 or 270 as a kid?  Share your reminiscences in the comments section.

Incidentally, you can currently buy the Club model for around £35 (plus p&p) direct from their online shop, but better be quick while there's some left.  Some unscrupulous sellers are already asking for well-over £100 (approaching £200) on eBay.  Chancers, eh?

4 comments:

Rip Jagger said...

The action sequence at the beginning of No Time to Die featuring the DB5 was my favorite part of the movie. It's a bit of a confusing slog after that bit, okay but not prime Bond.

Rip Off

Kid said...

I've been disappointed with the last four Bond movies, RJ, particularly Spectre and No Time To Die. Good bits, but overall, pretty lacklustre.

baggsey said...

I had the original Corgi 261 for many years, receiving it as a gift for Christmas (was it really 1965??). It seems amazing that Corgi waited over a year to bring out the model when the film premiered in Sept 1964. The ejector seat in the model seemed so cool to me, and whetted my appetite to see the film (which I was not allowed to see by my parents until a few years later). Even at that tender age I kept all the boxes of both my Corgi and Dinky cars. I ended up selling all of my Corgi and Dinky cars for £90 back in 1983. I have now re-acquired the 261 DB5 replica from the Corgi Model Club, which I joined early last year, following your post on the Saint’s Volvo, Kid.

Kid said...

I'm glad to hear that this blog comes in useful for something, B. There are a few minor differences between the original 261 and the reissue, but nothing really to kick up a fuss about. I only noticed because I've got two originals (in their boxes) with which to compare the CMC version. I hope they do a replica of the 270 before too long. I've got an original of that too, plus a few different versions of it, but it would be good to see a brand-spanking-new release.



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