As many of you know Oxford makes three release programme announcements each year. Roughly the end of January, end of May and end of September. Back in 2007 the original plan was for four releases a year, but we found that this cycle was just a bit too fast. Throughout these announcements there have been hidden messages within these programmes.
As each release approaches, I receive many emails as the excitement builds, and of course we are nearing one of these now. I often get asked about the straplines which appear on our catalogues, they are a lot deeper than many understand. Here I will try and give you a better understanding on Oxfords movement from what was predominantly promotional diecast items 10 years ago, to the hobby market we are in today; it wasn’t an accident, it was a long term calculated plan and the first part of the Journey was made with this statement.
You wil have seen this on our catalogues between 2008 and 2012
In 2006 I published the book A Journey Through Time, this covered the period of my journey up until 2006, just as we were entering 2007. If you look closely at the bottom of the front cover of that book you will see these words very faintly under the words 'by TAFF'.
In 2007 the first of the catalogues started releasing with A6 and A5 sizes. If you can find the A6 copies follow the sequence of releases. I show here copies.
The first catalogue in 2007. The front cover shows the intent ' Making The Small Great'.
We were small and relatively unknown, but we will become great. The rear shows the feint words 'The World is Waiting'
The second catalogue in 2007. The front cover stating that the 'Game Begins', because business is a game.
The rear showing the words 'The World is Waiting' now more brightly.
The third catalogue in 2007. The front cover stating that ' Who cares Wins', because I care - I will win.
The rear adds an additional message 'Taking on the World', because that is exactly what I plan and you will see it in our catalogues today.
The fourth catalogue in 2007. The front cover stating that 'The Battle Begins', because that is what I have done to build Oxford - I have battled.
Also note the third additional line 'What is this world', the 'world' in small letters.
The last line of the Journey is hidden elsewhere.
We are currently
You will have seen this on our catalogues since 2012
So with those mind provoking thoughts, what about the new programme, what will be in it, to help you better understand I can give you today the following information.
Product Description Release Retail Bodyshape Scale Barcode 1:148 Oxford Automobile NHI001 Hillman Imp Willow Green Q1/2018 £4.35 Hillman Imp 1:148 5055530128804 NXF001 Jaguar XF Carnelian Red Q1/2018 £4.35 Jaguar XF 1:148 5055530124714 1:148 Oxford Commercials NFDE001 Ford 400E Van British Rail Q1/2018 £5.25 Ford 400E 1:148 5055530124448 NFT022 Ford Transit Mk5 Network Rail Response Unit Q1/2018 £5.25 Ford Transit MK 5 1:148 5055530124516 NPB008 Commer PB Royal Mail Q1/2018 £5.25 Commer PB 1:148 5055530120334 NTRAC004 Fordson Tractor Matt Grey Q1/2018 £4.35 Fordson Tractor 1:148 5055530124677 NTRAIL006 Mobile Trailer Buns on Wheels Q1/2018 £4.65 Mobile Trailer 1:148 5055530124684 1:148 Oxford Fire NSFE007 Scania Pump Ladder Surrey F & R Q1/2018 £7.45 Scania Fire Pump 1:148 5055530120396 1:148 Oxford Haulage NMB006 Mercedes Actros Curtainside Sparks Q1/2018 £13.95 Mercedes Actros 1:148 5055530124585 NSHL03TK Scania Highline Tanker Eddie Stobart Q1/2018 £13.95 Scania 1:148 5055530124653 NTCAB005 Scania T Cab Tipper Tinnelly Q1/2018 £13.95 Scania T Cab 1:148 5055530124660 NVOL4003 Volvo FH4 Curtainside Knowles Q1/2018 £13.95 Volvo FH 1:148 5055530124691 1:148 Oxford Military NBSA008 Motorbike & Sidecar RAF Blue Q1/2018 £3.95 BSA Motorcycle 1:148 5055530124363 NCHT001 Churchill Tank Kingforce Q1/2018 £6.95 Churchill Tank 1:148 5055530124370 NLAN188020 Land Rover Series I 88" Canvas REME Q1/2018 £4.35 Land Rover Series 1 1:148 5055530124530 NLRL001 Land Rover Lightweight United Nations Q1/2018 £4.35 Land Rover Lightweight 1:148 5055530124561 1:148 Oxford Omnibus NNR005 New Routemaster Propercorn Q1/2018 £9.45 Routemaster New 1:148 5055530124639 NSEA001 Burlingham Seagull Wallace Arnold Q4/2017 £8.75 Burlingham Seagull 1:148 5055530120358 1:43 Oxford Automobile 43AMZ003 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Red Q1/2018 £24.95 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato 1:43 5055530122499 43ASS006 Austin Seven RN Saloon Light Grey Q1/2018 £16.95 Austin 7 Car 1:43 5055530122505 43EMP002 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Hooper Empress Two Tone Blue Q1/2018 £24.95 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Super Empress 1:43 5055530122529 43RSC002 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Black Q1/2018 £24.95 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I 1:43 5055530122710 43RSD002 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Two Tone Grey Q1/2018 £24.95 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn 1:43 5055530122734 43RUB002 Austin Ruby Saloon Dark Blue Q1/2018 £17.95 Austin Ruby 1:43 5055530122741 43TX5001 TX5 Taxi Black Q1/2018 £11.95 TX5 Taxi 1:43 5055530129542 1:43 Oxford Commercials 43AK017 Austin Threeway Van Civil Service Stores Q1/2018 £13.95 Austin K8 Van 1:43 5055530122444 43FDE017 Ford 400E Van Lotus Q1/2018 £13.95 Ford 400E 1:43 5055530122536 1:43 Oxford Emergency 43LR3S002 Land Rover Series III SWB Hard Top AA Q1/2018 £16.95 Land Rover Series III 1:43 5055530122635 1:72 History of Flight 72BE001 Twin Beech G-BKGM - Bristol Airways Q1/2018 £34.95 Twin Beech 1:72 5055530122789 72DR015 DH89 Dragon Rapide X7454 USAAF - Wee Wullie Q4/2017 £33.95 DH Dragon Rapide 1:72 5055530117259 72DV005 DH104 Devon WB534 RAF Transport Command Q1/2018 £34.95 De Havilland Dove 1:72 5055530117297 1:72 Oxford Aviation AC079 Mustang P51D Sweet Arlene - 2nd Lt Arthur Reed Bowers Q1/2018 £14.95 Mustang P51 1:72 5055530124318 AC080 Arado AR196 D-IHQI Prototype 1938 Q1/2018 £14.95 Arado AR196 1:72 5055530124325 AC084 Me163b Komet White 54 - 14JG 400 Niemcy 1945 Q4/2017 £14.95 Messerschmitt ME163B 1:72 5055530129658 AC085 Junkers Ju87 T6+DP 6 St.G2 Immelmann Libya 1941 Q4/2017 £14.95 Junkers Ju-87 Stuka 1:72 5055530129719 AC086 Spitfire 1A N3277 Luftwaafe Q4/2017 £14.95 Spitfire 1:72 5055530129726 1:76 Coca Cola 76S94004CC Scania 94D 6 Wheel Curtainside Coca Cola Q4/2017 £16.45 Scania 94 6 1:76 5055530122147 1:76 Oxford Agriculture 76SET10B Triple Tractor Set Q4/2017 £13.95 Fordson Tractor 1:76 5055530129115 1:76 Oxford Automobile 76AH3005 Austin Healey 3000 Metallic Golden Beige Q1/2018 £5.45 Austin Healey 1:76 5055530122857 76AMDB9003 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Cobalt Blue Q1/2018 £5.75 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe 1:76 5055530122864 76AMV003 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe Quantum Silver Q1/2018 £5.75 Aston Martin Vanquish 1:76 5055530122871 76ASS006 Austin Seven Saloon Light Grey Q1/2018 £5.45 Austin 7 Car 1:76 5055530122888 76CAV003 Vauxhall Cavalier China Blue Q1/2018 £5.45 Vauxhall Cavalier 1:76 5055530122963 76CDS005 Citroen DS19 Monte Carlo Blue/Aubergine Q1/2018 £5.45 Citroen DS19 1:76 5055530122970 76COR1008 Ford Cortina MkI Lombard Grey/Red Q1/2018 £5.45 Ford Cortina Mk1 1:76 5055530123007 76COR3008 Ford Cortina MkIII Strato Silver Q1/2018 £5.45 Ford Cortina Mk3 1:76 5055530123014 76CRE009 Vauxhall Cresta Venetian Red/Polar White Q1/2018 £5.45 Vauxhall Cresta 1:76 5055530123021 76CT006 Citroen 2CV Charleston Cormorant Grey/Midnight Grey Q1/2018 £5.25 Citroen 2CV 1:76 5055530123038 76ETYP010 Jaguar E Type Coupe Bluebird Blue (Donald Campbell) Q1/2018 £5.45 Jaguar E Type Jag 1:76 5055530125773 76FB006 Vauxhall FB Victor Cactus Green Q1/2018 £5.45 Vauxhall Victor FB 1:76 5055530123168 76FF006 Ford Fiesta Mk1 Terracotta Q1/2018 £5.25 Ford Fiesta 1:76 5055530123205 76HI003 Hillman Imp Firebrand Red Q1/2018 £5.45 Hillman Imp 1:76 5055530123281 76IS001 BMW Isetta Signal Red Q1/2018 £5.45 BMW Isetta 1:76 5055530123311 76LRD008 Land Rover Discovery 3 Rimini Red Metallic Q1/2018 £5.45 Land Rover Discovery 3 1:76 5055530123458 76M3001 BMW M3 Coupe E92 Mineral White Q1/2018 £5.75 BMW M3 1:76 5055530123519 76MGB008 MGB Roadster Mineral Blue Q1/2018 £5.45 MGB 1:76 5055530123564 76MN008 Mini Surf Blue/Old English White Q1/2018 £5.25 Mini Car 1:76 5055530123588 76SET07B Triple Morris Minor Q3/2017 £15.95 Sets 1:76 5055530125919 76TP005 Triumph 2500 Russet Brown Q1/2018 £5.45 Triumph 2500 1:76 5055530125964 76TR4003 Triumph TR4 New White Q1/2018 £5.45 Triumph TR4 1:76 5055530123908 76TR7001 Triumph TR7 Convertible Triton Green Q1/2018 £5.75 Triumph TR7 1:76 5055530123939 76VW027 VW Bay Window Camper Savannah Beige/White Q1/2018 £5.45 Volkswagen Bay Window 1:76 5055530124011 76VW028 VW Bay Window Bus/Surfboards Lime Green/White Q1/2018 £5.45 Volkswagen Bay Window 1:76 5055530124028 76VWB008 VW Beetle Lotus White Q1/2018 £5.25 Volkswagen Beetle 1:76 5055530125957 76VWY006 Vauxhall Wyvern Metallichrome Green Q1/2018 £5.45 Vauxhall Wyvern E 1:76 5055530125940 76WO005 Wolseley 18/85 Black/Ivory Q1/2018 £5.45 Wolseley 18/85 1:76 5055530124059 76ZEP010 Ford Zephyr Purbeck Grey Q4/2017 £5.75 Ford Zephyr 1:76 5055530124066 1:76 Oxford Commercials 76ACC007 Pallet/Loads Reckitts Starch * 4 Q4/2017 £4.95 Pallet Loads 1:76 5055530121409 76ACC008 Pallet/Loads Pratts Motor Oil * 4 Q4/2017 £4.95 Pallet Loads 1:76 5055530121416 76J4001 Morris J4 Van Royal Mail Q1/2018 £6.45 Morris J4 1:76 5055530123328 76MM059 Morris 1000 Van British Rail Q4/2017 £5.25 Morris Minor Van 1:76 5055530125780 76SHP006 Sherpa Minibus Wynns Q1/2018 £6.45 Sherpa 1:76 5055530123847 1:76 Oxford Construction 76JCX001 JCB 3CX (1980s) JCB Q1/2018 £19.95 JCB 3CX 1980's 1:76 5055530123335 1:76 Oxford Emergency 76BED007 Bedford J1 Ambulance Dundalk Fire Service Q4/2017 £6.25 Bedford J1 Lomas 1:76 5055530122932 76LAN180003 Land Rover Series I 80" Open Top AA Q4/2017 £5.25 Land Rover Series 1 1:76 5055530123373 76LAN2017 Land Rover Series II LWB Hard Top RAC Radio Patrol Q4/2017 £5.75 Land Rover Series II 1:76 5055530123397 76QLD006 Bedford QLD Wiltshire Fire Brigade Q1/2018 £13.95 Bedford QL 1:76 5055530123632 1:76 Oxford Gift 76SET14A 5 Piece Jaguar Collection Q4/2017 £26.45 Sets 1:76 5055530129108 76SET17E Land Rover 5 Piece Set Q4/2017 £26.45 Land Rover Series 1 1:76 5055530129122 76SET35A VW Bay Window Set Van/Bus/Camper Q4/2017 £15.45 Sets 1:76 5055530129092 76SET51 3 Piece Rolls Royce Set Q1/2018 £19.95 Sets 1:76 5055530123793 76SET52 5 Piece Volvo Set Q4/2017 £26.95 Sets 1:76 5055530123809 1:76 Oxford Haulage 76ATKL004 Atkinson Cattle Truck J Haydon & Sons Q1/2018 £14.95 Atkinson 8 Wheel 1:76 5055530122901 76DT006 Diamond T Ballast Wynns Q1/2018 £15.45 Diamond T 1:76 5055530123137 76DXF002 DAF XF Euro 6 Curtainside Wrefords Q4/2017 £24.95 Daf XF Euro 6 1:76 5055530123151 76DXF003 DAF XF William Armstrong Houghton Parkhouse Livestock Trailer Q1/2018 £25.95 Daf XF Euro 6 1:76 5055530125933 76LO001 Leyland Octopus Box Trailer Tesco Q4/2017 £14.95 Leyland Octopus 1:76 5055530123410 1:76 Oxford Military 76MWD007 Bedford MWD 2 Corps 1/7th Middlesex Reg France 1940 Q1/2018 £6.75 Bedford MWD 1:76 5055530123601 76SHP005 Sherpa Van RAF Q1/2018 £6.45 Sherpa 1:76 5055530119208 76SM001 Sherman Tank MK III 10th Armoured Division 1942 Q3/2017 £12.95 Sherman Tank 1:76 5055530129665 76SM002 Sherman Tank MK III Royal Scots Greys Italy 1943 Q4/2017 £12.95 Sherman Tank 1:76 5055530129672 76TAC004 TACR2 RAF St.Mawgan Q1/2018 £10.95 TACR2 1:76 5055530123854 1:76 Oxford Omnibus 76BI003 Beadle Integral East Yorkshire Q1/2018 £18.95 Beadle Integral 1:76 5055530122949 76IR6003 Irizar i6 The Kings Ferry Q1/2018 £23.95 Irizar i6 1:76 5055530118331 1:76 Oxford Showtime 76FSR005 Fowler Steam Roller No.18873 City of Truro Q4/2017 £12.95 Fowler Steam Roller 1:76 5055530123236 1:76 Oxford Structures Railway OS76R001 Station Building GWR Q1/2018 £44.99 Station 1:76 5055530129139 OS76R002 Signal Box GWR Q1/2018 £24.99 Station 1:76 5055530129146 OS76R003 Goods Shed GWR Q1/2018 £36.99 Station 1:76 5055530129153 OS76R004 Engine Shed GWR Q1/2018 £37.99 Station 1:76 5055530129160 OS76R005 Water Tower/Crane GWR Q1/2018 £24.99 Station 1:76 5055530129177 OS76R006 Straight Platform *2 Q1/2018 £14.00 Station 1:76 5055530129184 OS76R007 Platform Ramp * 2 Q1/2018 £9.99 Station 1:76 5055530129191 OS76R008 Island Platform *2 Q1/2018 £14.00 Station 1:76 5055530129207 OS76T001 Church St.Catharines Church Q1/2018 £39.99 Buildings 1:76 5055530129214 OS76T002 The Bush Inn Q1/2018 £34.99 Buildings 1:76 5055530129221 OS76T003 T. Davies & Grandson Butchers Q1/2018 £26.99 Buildings 1:76 5055530129238 OS76T004 E.I.Sole Newsagent Q1/2018 £26.99 Buildings 1:76 5055530129245 OS76T005 Bungalow AVALON Q1/2018 £25.99 Buildings 1:76 5055530129252 OS76T006 Hazel Cottage Q1/2018 £29.99 Buildings 1:76 5055530129269 1:87 Oxford Automobile 87BC55003 Buick Century 1955 California Highway Patrol Q1/2018 £5.95 Buick Century 1955 1:87 5055530124073 87BS36003 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936 Cardinal Maroon Q1/2018 £5.95 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936 1:87 5055530124097 87CN57003 Chevrolet Nomad 1957 Surf Green/India Ivory Q1/2018 £5.95 Chevrolet Nomad 1957 1:87 5055530124110 87CP65003 Chevrolet Stepside Pick Up 1965 Maroon Metallic Q1/2018 £5.95 Chevrolet Stepside Pickup 1955 1:87 5055530124158
I have had a few conversations of late about moulds, what they look like and the problems encountered when making them. Recently I was reminded that I had made a statement in a review some years ago. It went along the lines of "If you don't know what a mould looks like then you won't work at Oxford Diecast".
Technology is changing, but if you need to knock out a lot of components there is nothing better than a good traditional mould. They come in all shapes and sizes and their design is dependent on the component required and the injected material and for Oxford that means Zinc Alloy or Plastic.
You have to get to grips with these materials, as it is an understanding of these that determines how I design the products
The Zinc Alloy I refer to is the old British Standard BS1004, but is designated today as ZP5. We say Zinc but being an alloy it contains other metals predominantly aluminium (around 4%) and copper (around 1%)
Plastic Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a common thermoplastic polymer the plastics used on many of the components – often coloured
GP a general purpose Polystyrene – used on windows
I have to decide on how we will construct our models. It is a big decision, as the final look of the product is determined at the design stage. So having done this the construction of the moulds needs to take place.
To try and better explain I will use pictures of one of our latest moulds along with my experiences to try and explain what this is all about.
This is a moulding shot it comes from the mould below, its material is ABS and will be used for two Oxford vehicles with internal codes 76M3 (BMW M3) and 76TR6 (Triumph TR6).
An Injection mould for plastic components. As it looks closed in our toolroom on a bench (Apr 2017) hooked up ready for lifting. Note tool coding (76M3)- Tool type code-B (Plastic -ABS) and tool number (01)). These are Oxford identifying numbers - we have thousands of moulds so identity is important.
The mould shape and size are determined at the design stage. We could have:
- Made the mould twice the size, producing two of each of the components, not one.
- Produced 10 small moulds each with one components (or more components)
- Chosen to make two moulds, one for each set of components.This mould makes ABS components for the 76M3 and 76TR6. But it is in two sections with a turntable screw.
The decision is just based on the product concerned. A balance between cost, time and money.
This mould is in manufacturing, interesting as we show the mould open, the two halves - missing the insert cavities - which have the components cavities.
In operation as the mould opens a plate brings these ejection pins forward to push the component shot of the mould. A typical cycle time being around 25 seconds for plastic, much of this taken up with the cooling time. If you eject too early the shot will be too soft (floppy). Plastic like this has a memory and once formed it wants to retain its shape. So when you find 'bowed components, the chances are they have been ejected too quickly. Also note the guide pillars, which ensure that the two haves of the mould fit together properly.
This is the other half of the mould still missing the inserts. Note the injection point of the material and also that this mould has slides.
They are required to create the inner sections of the steering wheels and the hole in the dashboard to retain the steering wheel.
So here we have the top pairing of insert which fit into the above block to make the components for the 76M3
Here is the bottom pair of inserts for the 76TR6- note we have designed the mould with a turntable sprue.
This enables us the option of running the full shot - 76M3 and 76TR6, or, just the 76M3, or just the 76TR6. This costs a little more, but avoids us running off unnecessary components.
I show here the inserts and how they mirror the shot, note the in the block which the ejection pins move through.
It was back in the 1970's when I was 16 and on the first day of my training, 7.00am in the morning, that I was introduced to my first mould. There were three lines of Injection Moulding machines, in what was known as P factory - one of the many factories at Mettoy which was spread over 14 acres in Swansea - a stone’s throw from where we are located today. There were 48 moulding machines in P factory (another 20 were in W factory a quarter of a mile away).
I was given a stopwatch, a clipboard and told to time the machines in P factory, to check the component count and produce an efficiency report, I had one hour for the machine timings and the report had to be circulated by 9.00am - not a minute earlier and not a minute later.
The first machine was an 80 ton plastic machine – an Engel, it had 64 cavities, it was full of wheels and ejecting a shot every 27 seconds. Having timed it I had to count the components, but there were only 58 coming off the mould, or was it 59, I had to recheck. Three of the cavities were locked, The other 3 were somewhere, but I couldn't find them.
Three hours later I had finished the machine timings, five hours later I had produced the report, but when I gave it to my supervisor he rejected it as the additions were wrong. I finally completed the report at 2.00pm - it had taken me seven hours. I then had to circulate it to the managers in the factory. I was new to this, I didn't know my way around, I had no help in finding out where anyone was, I just had a list of names. I didn't realise how sensitive the report was, I was like a lamb to the slaughter. I had calculated an efficiency of 74%, the manager of Plastics Factory P was not happy, he scrunched it up, threw it in the bin and talked about my parentage. Welcome to Mettoy.
I spent two months doing the same timings, but I learnt more and more. I arrived at work earlier each day to talk to the toolmakers and to understand their frustrations. I learnt about the construction of moulds, the design of the moulds,the toolmaking, the pride of the toolmakers who had made these moulds and what makes a good mould.
A few months later I spent my time in the accounts, I became familiar with the cost of a mould and how it impacted on the cost of the product and in turn the retail price of the product. It was (and still is) a constant tug of war between design, production cost and the sales price.
This is the set of components that comes off mould 76M3B01. The components are pretty clear to make out. A couple of chassis,hubs, interiors etc. The material is ABS (chosen for its properties).
This shows you the flow of the material in the mould, but there is more to it - the decision on this layout has been made for many reasons.
This mould will give me around 120 shots per hour . The mould in production has to be set in the machine. The skill in the design of the mould makes this job easier, a well balanced mould means that as the plastic flows through the channels (the runner) it helps the cavities fill in a balanced way. An out of balance mould doesn't have the correct flow patterns and can lead to flashing, or cavities not filling correctly. If the material does't reach the cavity at the right speed, it may begin to slow;it the material is the same consistency as toothpaste as it flows through the mould. The more sophisticated the mould is, the the greater the skills of the toolmaker and the machine setter. The mould shown is pretty simple. We need 'slides' to form the steering wheel holes, which is a separate part of the mould. It is called a slide as it literally slides into position as the mould closes - creating the sealed cavity.
Slides take room and there is a single slide on each of these inserts. More complex components with detail require more slides. The slides shown here move in from the outer edges of the mould itself. If a second slide were required then this would create a need for space
This image is just showing that if a second slide were required, it would need to go within the insert - taking up space and increasing the component space area.
In this tooling programme I am creating a set of moulds for for 4 products at 1:76 scale - the 76M3 and 76TR6 as shown, along with the 76VL Volvo 544 and the 76RRC Rolls Royce Corniche. A second ABS mould has also been produced for the latter two. I don' t always works with sets in this way, it depends on many variables - so I could produce 1/2/4/6/8 or even 10 products in one go. Two products means two research packages and two scans of vehicles, so a block of 10 would mean a lot of cost and research being available at the same time, My decision on the tooling configuration takes 5 seconds - plus 40 years of making decisions like this.
This is the second set of components created in a similar way for the 76VL and 76RRC
We have four sets of ABS components from these two moulds (using four inserts), but what about the other components. To compete the suite we have one window mould which contains parts for the 4 products and two diecast moulds - each producing two components.
This is mould 76M3-G-01, (Coding 76,being scale, M3 being a product code,G being Oxford plastic code for clear windows Polystyrene and 01 being sequence of 1st plastic moulds in this development).
- 1/76 BMW M3 (76M3)
- 1/76 TRIUMPH TR6 (76TR6)
- 1/76 VOLVO 544 (76VL)
- 1/76 ROLLS ROYCE CORNICHE (76RRC)
So we have far fewer components here than the ABS, so one mould covers the set.
Here is the window mould, again without the inserts fitted. There is one slide shown here - look for the channels below the pillar bars to the left and right at top of where the slides will move.
Here are the inserts ready for fitment to the mould. The slide bottom left needed for the formation of the lights for the Corniche.
Here is the ejected shot of components, (180 degrees).
On this cavity - note the ejection points (round) and to the left the plastic entry the gate. Also in this case a central guide area for optional police beacon.
That just leaves us with the diecast moulds, structurally these are different as unlike the plastic moulds shown above they need four slides. The flow of Zinc into these moulds is different to plastic, you need to get the zinc to flow into the mould as fast as possible - so the gating is not the same. The metal is over 400 degrees as it flows into these cavities, the surface starts solidifying so quickly it needs to be thumped in before it cools.
The exterior looks very similar, but beneath the surface it is very different.
We can see the mould, but again missing the inserts. We have pillars and bushes to locate the mould halves and if you look at the central section the material feed is different. This will produce two castings (top and bottom half).
BMW M3 Cavity.
The BMW M3 Cavity again. A totally different look to the plastic moulds as seen above. Four moving slides are drawn in during the injection process
The TR6 cavity
The TR6 Diecast Cavity shown again, the larger holes receive pillars that draw in the slides to create an enclosed cavity. If there is mismatch there is room for damage to the cavity or flash in production.
These diecast moulds produce a shot that looks like this
The shot as it comes of the mould. Note the different feed of metal to the cavities
How the metal is fed into the cavities, the molten zinc is spread at speed along the runners into the cavities. Too slow and the cavity is not filled, too fast and the cavity will flash. If the two cavities are not balanced then the zinc will flow though the easiest channel.
The reverse of the spreader showing injection marks.
How the zinc enters the cavity.
The speed and flow is a black art on it own, a whole new subject area, but the zinc has to enter the cavity and fill it before it cools.
The TR6 shows the overflow, a well to draw in the Zinc - all with the purpose of getting the cavity filled.
The Volvo 544 like this
The Rolls Royce Corniche like this
This just scratches the surface of mould making, there are many considerations to be made throughout the design stages - both for volume and cost reasons. Once you have come to terms with these, the rest is about the design brief and the compromise in arriving at a finalised product, because that is what it is. I aim high during the toolmaking process and then let them talk me down.
I recall in the 1970's when a good toolmaker was like an artist. A brilliant toolmaker was one who could span the spectrum of maths, was an artist and who had great communication skills. Nothing has changed.
I struggle to understand the interconnection of management and the products they make and their understanding in how they are made.
The words of one of my best toolmakers.
"The company visited us, they didn't want to see our factory, they just wanted to get a discount off the price of moulds. So we listened and then thought that they didn't care, so we increased our prices."
Rolls Royce Corniche
It's not always as straightforward as it seems when designing products at different scales. I regularly get emails which broadly say, you've made a vehicle at a scale of 1:43rd, why don't you produce it at 1:76. The answer is always, yes we have the shape but that's all we have, to produce at different scales requires a complete set of new moulds.
The Rolls Royce Corniche is a typical example shown here in its 1:43rd form
Rolls Royce Corniche 1:43 Indiigo Blue
When we designed this at 1:43rd we also made a decision to produce it with the hood up and down, it adds more cost as we have more moulds in order to accommodate the variations.
Rolls Royce CAD 1:43 Hood up and down
It also creates the need for more interior detail as it is exposed; as there is a need to show more accurate dahsboard and seat detail etc.
When it came to the 1:76 version, the decision had to be made on how we were going to produce it - having the two body variants is costly. It is only very occasionally that I would decide on producing both, in this case i decide to go with the roof up.
Rolls Royce CAD 1:76 Hood up - there are quite a few component simplifications
Rolls Royce CAD 1:76 Interior
Note on the 1:76 Interior how the seats are part of the interior. The seats can barely be seen through the window, so now it is no longer two separate parts, the draw of the mould means that the shape is flat to the rear so there is no detail shown there.
Rolls Royce cars are big and when I designed the first two at 1:76 scale (Phantom III and Phantom VI) I didn't realise initially that they wouldn't fit our standard 1:76 plinth and case. It was only when I was looking at the CAD, that the penny dropped, the Corniche is slightly shorter than the first two. The Phantom III being 70mm and the Phantom V at 75mm - the Corniche is 68mm. The bigger cars means I can squeeze in the light detail, as opposed to painting them in. As a comparison a Triumph TR6 at 1:76 scale is about 50mm long.
The Corniche could be squashed into the smaller case, but then it would look strange against the other two Rolls, which will release in the new V plinth (incredibly - we now have 22 plinths!). However I made an error and initially approved the CAD with the hole in the chassis at the wrong distance, so this has had to be updated and I suspect you may see some 'witness' marks in the chassis.
Original chassis (L/H) with plinth holes incorrectly spaced - (R/H) and corrected.
As it will look in the V case.
Above all though what matters the most is how true is it to the real thing.
It is always easy for someone to be critical of your design, I usually respond by asking them to make the investment, so I can critique they offering, they normally refuse and get a bit upset. For this model I have had very few comments, which is the norm when one of models is well received.
Here are the 1st off shots of the 1:76 version - so decide for yourself!
Rolls Royce Corniche 1:76 scale 1st off shots March 2017
Originally this was known Dragon Moth, but some time later abbreviated to the Dragon. We decided to create this model aircraft after the success of our Dragon Rapide. It is such an interesting aircraft, which as a designer gives you all sorts of problems. Initially it was planned to have just one body style, but as the research went on we extended this to include two window variants, plus some other options note the wheels.
We scanned this aircraft then we researched the variations in order to create the second window variations.
The first of the Dragons will release very in Q2/2017
The hardest product to design is when you are dealing with a vehicle that hasn't been released, as you have nothing to look at accept for the CAD. Now some would say having the CAD makes it a lot easier and at larger scales I would agree, but as you come down to smaller scales having the CAD is challenging. Often we get the CAD of the actual vehicle, but there are confidentiality clauses so we have to be so careful. I have to try and capture the shape but at a smaller scale, the interface of components and how they 'connect' also becomes an issue. Sometimes I just look at a model vehicle design and know it looks wrong (visual), but trying to explain why (logical) is not always as easy. If you had lots of images of the real thing then just taking a few pictures would make it so easy.
The Jaguar F Pace fell into this category (code 76JFP) , but we got there eventually. Having the CAD shape agreed, we are now left with the delicacies of the split lines on the slides of the mould, which causes further debate. The four slides come together and at that point there is a 'witness line', have a look at any Oxford Diecast vehicle and see if you can see where they are. Some are invisible, others aren't and it can be often to do with the way the paint is formulated - the pigments. Some flow, other don't and are flat - they are often the worst - in my experience yellows and greens.
This is something for Oxford to decide and it can be a problem when you deliver a painted sample to the brand owner for approval - with a witness mark where the slides meet. I first encountered the problem in the mid-eighties with a Volvo no matter what i did to the mould after a few thousand shots - the witness line would re-appear.
- What' s that line there ?
- Why did you do it like
- I wouldn't have done it that way
Many can be so wise in hindsight. Fortunately the Jaguar F Pace is a beautiful looking car and creating this model vehicle was challenging, but worth all the effort.
These are the pre-production samples of the 76JFP001 in Ultimate Black
This is the second release in white the 76JFP002 - pre-productions sample.
So the 76JFP002 will release some time in April.
I find it amusing to hear other companies talking about Design Cells, there is a story of why we created this - but it will wait for another time.....
See what went wrong - the simple things sent to test us.
76JFP001 Design Cell - (Incorrectly coded as 76JXP001) grrr.......