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OK, not 1/32nd but I couldn't miss out my all time favorites

 

last updated 19/3/06

A nicely built original Frog issue Cortina by John Taylor (pics J Taylor)

 

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FROG (UK) - 1/16th British car motorised kits

There was a time when Triang (Lines Bros.) ruled the world, the toy world that is. There can't be a boy (or probably a girl for that matter) over 30 in the UK who didn't have at least one Triang toy. Whatever field, they had an entry in it and usually the market leader. They saw the potential of Scalextric so they bought it, they saw Hornby trains and brought out their own system which many say was better and eventually took over Hornby, they competed with Dinky, Corgi etc. with the excellent if expensive Spot-On range, it goes on and on. Of course they had to have a piece of the Airfix plastic kit action with Frog (Flies Right Off Ground from its model plane origins) models.

Not many cars were made, although they did have a tie in with the US company AMT and marketed several 1/24th kits in the UK under joint names. No entries in 1/32nd (they had Scalextric for that anyway) but had a range of 4 British cars in the huge scale of 1/16th. The E Type Jaguar was an inevitable choice but less so was the Ford Cortina MK1 and Morris 1100 and the Vauxhall Victor FB estate is a positively bizarre choice. Perhaps even more bizarre was the Denis A.V Ambulance kit but thats even further from our original brief!

 

 

Model NumberCar Year IssuedVehicleComments
F.600196260sJaguar E-Type 
F.601196260sVauxhall Victor FB EstateRe-issued by Novo
F.602196260sFord Consul Cortina (MK1)Re-issued by Novo
F.603??60sDennis A.V Ambulance 
F.610196260sMorris 1100 (MK1)Re-issued by Novo

I have found no evidence of any cars numbered between F.603 and F.610, if you know different, let me know here.

Make no mistake, these are simple kits,more toys than models,designed to be motorised and have positionable steering so they can drive around in circles. Detail is minimal but essentially correct and overall shapes are pretty good so for somebody with an interest in these cars (like me) make a superb basis for large scale models that can be detailed to your hearts content in this size. Bonnets and boots open and there is a basic engine to look at under the bonnet. Original UK kits included a few transfers, one of which was a tax disc (road fund licence), which was a nice touch usually over looked in car kits.

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I have lusted after these cars since I was a kid. I even kept the page out of a catalogue in the hope I would one day get one, preferably the Cortina. Scale was not listed in the catalogue so when you eventually get to see one its a bit of a shock!

Triang over stretched itself and the empire collapsed in the early seventies. Profitable parts were sold off and are still going strong (Scalextric, Hornby etc.) so the original products were sound. Frog lasted until 1976 before calling it a day.Many moulds were sold to Anglo/Russian outfit Novo (yes, the same Novo who produced the ex Scalextric Lamborghini Muira and Ford Mirage Scalextric fans) and at least the Cortina, 1100 and Victor were available for a time in Eastern Bloc countries.

Original unbuilt kits are of course quite expensive but thanks to the Novo issues and Ebay I have managed to get all but the E Type for reasonable (ish) prices. They are for my retirement and will enjoy making them as realistic as possible, I always wanted a foot long MK1 Cortina!

Russian Novo issue packaging for the Victor estate

It should be mentioned that a range of models of the ADO 16 and mini ranges were made in the Quick Fit Cars range. These however were aimed at junior modellers and were really quite horrible but pefectly recognisable. Scale is not specified but must be around 1/20th - 1/24thish. They are fairly easy to find (compared with the 1/16ths anyway) and do not command particularly high prices. Box did fold out into a nice BMC showroom though. For those who must know the range was F041 Morris 1100, F042 Austin 1100, F043 MG1100, F044 Princess 1100, F045 Morris Mini, F046 Austin Mini, F047 Morris Mini Cooper, F048 Austin Mini Cooper. Price was 7/6d (37 1/2p) in 1966.

 

Post script - What could have been....

 

 

In 1966 Frog announced the first two planned releases in a new 1/25th range of european cars. Along with F621 Mercedes 220E was this beauty, F620 Morris 1800, you can't say Frog didn't take chances with its choices! This car of course really appeals to me but even more striking is the surreal choice of colouring the body. Usually kits are in coloured plastic and the main chrome bits are, if you're lucky, chrome or you have to paint them silver.Frog decided it would chrome the entire model and you had to paint the bits that weren't chrome. This reversal of standard practice is frankly bizarre but typical of Frog and I would love to have seen it done, you could have an entirely chrome car if you wanted! Sad to say the 1/25th range, which according to Mat Irvine (and I appologise to Mat for originaly spelling his name wrong, thanks for letting me know Mat) in his book Auto Modelling Masterclass was also going to include the Volvo P1800 and a caravan (!), never made it into production. This was as close as we were ever going to get to a plastic kit of the Morris 1800.

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