Click the small pictures throughout the review to view larger versions.
Review & Photographs by Kevin Ellis.

Corgi Best of Britain New Routemaster Bus - Click for hi-res photo
Corgi Toys: GS89201 - Corgi Best of Britain New Routemaster Bus on route 38 bound for Piccadilly Circus.

   Corgi have now released a lower priced version of the New Bus for London model which is aimed at the souvenir & toy market rather than the model collector. The existing OOC OM466 series model which was launched back in the Summer of 2012 has already notched up an impressive 13 releases and it's clear it must have proved extremely popular with model collectors, however with a retail price of over 30 this was never going to be an attractive purchase for the casual buyer like the old Corgi Routemaster model has been for so many years.

Corgi has no doubt seen a gap in the market for a model of what is fast becoming a icon of London and has those produced this non-limited version for its existing Best of Britain range whic already contains other transport icons such as the orginal Mini, London FX4 Taxi & the forementioned Routemaster bus. All of the models in this range come in distrintive packaging based on the Union Jack, a theme that is also repeated on each of the models.

Packaging front - Click to enlarge Packaging rear - Click to enlarge

So what exactly is the difference between the original OOC model and this new Best of Britain version which retails for less than a third of the price or its OOC cousin.

Near side front view - Click to enlarge Off-side rear view - Click to enlarge
Off-side front view - Click to enlarge Near side rear view - Click to enlarge

At first glance the two models look almost identical in terms of the actual casting and construction. In fact you might be forgiven for thinking this was indeed the OOC casting, but on closer inspection it's clear Corgi have done a completely new tooling for this lower cost version which does lack some of the refinements found on its more expensive OOC model.

The first thing that strikes you is the lack of decals, gone are the operators fleet names, fleet numbers & registration plates. You just get London Buses roundels, "Hybrid" Transport for London logos and the three destination displays on the front, rear & nearside. All these features are cleanly tampo printed on to the model, but unlike the OOC models the destinations aren't printed behind the glazing. The side adverts as per the OOC version are printed on sticky labels.

Off-side front - Click to enlarge Near side rear view - Click to enlarge Off side rear view - Click to enlarge
A close up of the cab showing the low relief steering wheel - Click to enlarge

Further cost savings have also been made by eliminating all but one of the internal grab rails, we are just left with a rather chunky yellow pole on the rear open platform. Internal detailing still includes the seats, twin staircases and the drivers cab although the steering wheel is now just a low relief moulding on the dash board. The basic level of detailing is still more or less on par with the interior seating components found on the OOC model.

The wheels are plastic with painted hubs, there's no trend detailing either although to be honest they don't from a visual point of view look inferior to the more elaborate hubs and soft plastic tyres found on the OOC model.

Off-side view - Click to enlarge Near side view - Click to enlarge

Other details omitted are the driving mirrors and windscreen wipers, the tree guard protecting the upper deck front nearside windows is moulded onto the the new casting rather than being a separate plastic component.

Front & rear of GS89201 - Click to enlarge Tree Guard representation OOC/GS89201 - Click to enlarge

Construction wise both models are almost identical with virtually all the red painted areas being die-cast metal. The front panel is a separate clear plastic component which has been over painted to produce the body panels & window surrounds. The die-cast baseplate found on the OOC model has been replaced with a plastic one, but this still has a similar level detailing portraying the underbody components..
The plastic base plate - Click to enlarge

All the plastic & metal parts fit neatly together with no ungainly gaps and in this aspect there seems to be no difference between this & the more expensive OOC offering.

The new model also has a few improvements over the original OOC, the air vents above the rear entrance are now larger and the front dash panel now has a larger recess for the registration plate, strangely the off-side air grilles haven't been amended and are still based on the mock up vehicle and are thus incorrect justas they were on OOC version.

Close up of the fronts of the OOC & GS89201 models - Click to enlarge The new Corgi model has a more accurate representation of the grille above the rear entrance - Click to enlarge The new Corgi model has a slightly better representation of the rear grille - Click to enlarge

You do wonder why Corgi decided to do a new tooling of this model when it appears so similar to the existing OOC model. This latest offering is slightly larger than the OOC model measuring in at 150mm long compared to 147.5mm of the OOC version. My calculations make the model just a fraction under 1/75th scale, but the difference is so slight that unless both models are stood side by side it really isn't obvious that they are different scales.

The lenght difference between the OOC & GS89201 models is just 2.5mm - Click to enlarge The hieght difference between the OOC & GS89201 models is tiny - Click to enlarge The width difference between the OOC & GS89201 models is almost identical - Click to enlarge

If your building a London diorama & want some additional low coats models then with the addition of a few extra transfers and some driving mirroe you could easily produce an externally comparable model to the existing OOC offering.

On the whole a good model which given the lower price is a welcome addition to the Corgi range, despite the tiny scale difference the model is easily compatible with other 1/76 scale vehicles.

I'm sure those wanting to do some customising will find this model an ideal candidate for repainting and other modifications. It's presumed the model can be disassembled in the same way as the OOC model, a process that involves the somewhat fraught job of removing the fragile plastic front component which is unfortunately glued in place.

OOC & Corgi Models front view - Click to enlarge OOC & Corgi Models rear view - Click to enlarge
Close up of front of OOC & Corgi models - Click to enlarge The worst feature on the model - Click to enlarge

    Pros:
  • Captures the exterior looks of the real vehicle well
  • Good build quality
  • Good paint finish
  • Good value for money
    Cons:
  • Lacks many of the decals found on the OOC version
  • Interior lacks detailing
  • Odd scale choice
  • No driving mirrors
Marks:
Construction: 9/10
Livery Application : 7/10
Decal Application: 8/10
Interior Detailing 6/10
Likeness to Subject: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

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