Daimler DS420 Scale model cars

 

  logo (1.7kB)
 
my scale 1:1 collection

 Although the real DS420 fan holds the opinion that the proper place to keep the car is in the living room of the house, practical considerations are often in the way. A scale model is then an excellent substitute to keep the mind focused properly.

left: my scale 1:1
collection, boxed

a few models
 
 
Oxford Diecast    1:43, 1:76, 1:148

Oxford Diecast in Swansea, UK, produced 1:43 scale limos in "old English white", black, black over dark grey, dark blue, and as a Queen Mother's limo, all for approx. £24.00. A black hearse and a black over maroon one were produced as well, and the latest addition was a black over carlton grey hearse. They also had the white limo in a version dressed with pink "wedding ribbons".

Oxford chose a very early model, with the two chrome waist lines, divided rear side window, square boot license plate etc. All exterior details match this early version accurately.

Oxford Diecast limo  

Plus they have produced the black hearse, and limos in white, black over dark grey, dark blue, black over claret Queen Mother's colours, and black in 1:76 scale: the only DS420 models in this small scale on the market. They are priced at approx. £6.00. This 1:76 scale limo is also available in maroon colour for the Hornby brand name.

Finally: a black hearse, and limos in white, black over dark grey, dark blue, black over claret Queen Mother's colours, and black were produced in 1:148 scale (a.k.a. N-gauge). These are priced at approx. £4.65.

Click on each picture to enlarge.

model colour scale 1:43 scale 1:76 scale 1:148    The Model Collector magazine covered the introduction of the first model in its May 2009 issue over two pages, with a photo of the real car taken from Wikipedia. The French Minauto mag'  followed two month later, devoting one page. The author of this French article describes the DS420 as "kitchissime", kitsch in superlative form:
limo Old English White   DS001  76DS001   NDS001    article article article
limo Old English White
with wedding ribbons
  DS001W          -          -
hearse Black   DS002  76DS002   NDS002
limo Embassy black
(Black over Carlton grey)
  DS003  76DS003   NDS003
limo Black over claret
Queen Mother's livery
  DS004  76DS004   NDS004
limo Dark blue   DS005  76DS005   NDS005
limo Black   DS006  76DS006   NDS006 Merlin Entertainments run a variety of public attractions all over the world, of which the 'Legoland' parks, 'Madame Tussauds' and 'the London Eye' probably are the most well known. For their "Dungeons" attractions, Oxford created a pimped hearse in 1:76 scale:
 
Dungeons pimped hearse
 

 
The company kindly provided photos of the manufacturing-masters for the 1:43 models. All models photographed for this web page are from my own collection, except, of course, these Oxford-masters.
 
Below them is an overview photo with the full DS420 production gamma of 23 models. A nice detail of the Oxford brand is that all colours have different number plates, copied from an actual car in this colour with this number.
hearse Black over claret   DS007         -         -
hearse Black over Carlton grey   DS008         -         -
limo Maroon, Hornby brand         -    R7106         -
hearse Black (pimped), The Dungeons brand         -    SP054         -
 
Oxford Diecast limo Oxford Diecast limo Oxford Diecast limo Oxford Diecast limo
all Oxford Diecast models
 
 
Atlas/Norev

In April/May 2011 the French publisher Editions Atlas released a 1:43 scale Queen Mum's DS420 in its series "Les voitures de Chefs d'État" (Heads of State's vehicles). The actual model is manufactured by Norev. Although it resembles the Oxford Diecast one at first sight, there are many subtle differences. The most visible difference is with the Coat of Arms on the roof of the vehicle: it is the wrong one.

The model is accompanied by a six page leaflet (A5 size) in French language describing the Queen Mother and her Daimlers. The publication exists in English and Dutch language, and probably others, as well.

The leaflet has a photo of the Queen Mum's visit to the factory on May 19, 1970, as is shown here on my site. This visit was to the VandenPlas factory in Kingsbury, London, but the Atlas leaflet "transplants" it to Jaguar at Browns Lane, Coventry. And the text has other inaccuracies as well.

My own scan of that photo had a small damage to the right foot of "Lofty" England, which I had to edit somewhat to get it back in shape. I am not an expert in photo retouching, so I am not too fond of the result I produced. Whenever I see the photo on my website, that point-shaped shoe nose catches my eye. And guess what.....

This suggests that they simply could have read, just a few inches above my photo, that the factory visit was at VandenPlas Kingsbury, and that the host of that day was VandenPlas director Roland Fox, not Sir William Lions as the text states. The quality of this leaflet's content does not exceed that of a typical high school kid's "Internet copy and paste" job.

AtlasQM-limo     AtlasQM-limo     AtlasQM-limo
 
  Casino Royale DS420
Universal Hobbies
magazine issue 49

The British publisher GE Fabbri issued a series of fortnightly "James Bond Car Collection" magazines in a variety of languages, and each of these magazines is accompanied by a 1:43 scale model in a simple photo-diorama setting. The models are manufactured in China by Universal Hobbies.

Initially, issue #34 was announced to have the DS420 limousine from a scene in the "Tomorrow Never Dies" movie. That plan was withdrawn long before the actual publication. But after it was decided to expand the series, this Universal Hobbies diorama became available, albeit for a different movie (Casino Royale) and now with magazine issue #49. The text on the doors of the car reads: Hotel Splendide.

Universal Hobbies DS420 model both Universal Hobbies DS420 models The series also exists in French, German and Dutch language, and possibly several more, but the languages differ widely in their publication schedule. On the UK market, issue #49 had its turn in mid-November 2008. The version for the French market appeared one or two weeks later. The publication date for the German edition was early November 2009 and the Dutch version appeared in February 2010. The magazines themselves don't carry a date.

With a selling price (UK) of £ 7.99 for magazine+model combined (€ 14.95 in France) this was by far the cheapest DS420 scale model that ever has been on the market. The quality of the model is fair, but many small details are besides the real thing. The chrome waistline starts above the outer headlight instead of at the nose of the bonnet. Between 1969 and 1971, when the car had two waistlines in parallel, the lowest one ran that way. But that never was the one and only one as it is on this model.

Outside the James Bond magazine scene, Universal Hobbies sold the same model, but with a partially open roof, a yellow coloured interior, and without the hotel print on the doors.

 
  modelinfo.cn DS420
Chinese unknown

A Chinese company announced these DS420 models in 1:43 scale around January 2008. I have not been able to trace the manufacturer's name or website. The material is resin. An early DS420 was selected: round air inlets but long boot handle, wing mirrors, D-logo on the hub-caps, and the high grille with a tiny flying D. The model has chrome bumpers with chrome overriders, but front and rear overriders are shaped differently. Their shape is slightly more accurate than the other Chinese ones (see below), although it has lights below the rear bumper that shouldn't have been there. It has the round insignia on the air inlets (pre 1973) combined with the long bootlid handle (post 1975). A very typical detail is that these models only have a single petrol filler lid. The seller indicates that there were 100 each produced in black and in white, plus a few with experimental colours. He offered a copy of these experimental ones to me for sale: dark blue, black+white, dark red, gold.

This manufacturer also has a 1:18 scale model, with wing mirrors, overriders on the bumpers, high grille and flying D on the bonnet. The 1:18 scale models are discussed separately below.

modelinfo.cn DS420   


 
The box contained a small card (click on the image to enlarge), with a text paragraph copied from Craig Tiano's website and the year 1963. A bit early...

  
 
inspired by Craig
 
  PMC brand, Shenzhen Jiarun
Shenzhen DOZ Model Arts Co.

The Shenzhen DOZ Model Arts Co. Ltd in Shenzhen City, Guangdong province near Hong Kong, with main factory in Dongguan City, Canton province, released these 1:43 scale DS420 models in December 2007 for the PMC (Paul Model Collection) brand name. The production of this Daimler model stopped in 2009. The models are made from resin, and nicely manufactured. The proportions look good, although the shape of the boot lid somehow doesn't look right. The tyres are also out of proportions. PMC logo The bottom hardly has any detail, but the interior is very well detailed: lovely! The model was available in six colour combinations: white (as in the 1981 sales brochure), metallic light bluegreen over dark bluegreen (as in the 1989 sales brochure), and as a Royal car in black over maroon with The Sovereign's coat of arms. In April 2008 the colours black, black over silver and black over yellow were added to the range. The company chose a very late model car, with the low grille, door mirrors, and sidelights in the bumper. The rectangular air inlet that should be under the headlights is replaced by an orange cover, and the bumper is chrome colour instead of rubber. All were made in limited editions of 50 each. The bluegreen one is my favourite.

Shenzhen Jiarun DS420

This manufacturer also has a 1:18 scale model, with door mirrors, thick bumpers and a low grille without flying D. These 1:18 scale models are discussed separately below.

The 1:43 models are also sold as "TRL Models, limited edition". Japanese vendors sometimes offer them under the brand name "Antonette 43", but from photos and other comparisons I have the strong impression that this is a re-badged Shenzhen DOZ product.

 
 
1/18 scale models

DS420 at 1/18 scale

DS420 at 1/18 scale Since the actual car is 5.74 meters long, a 1/18 scale model measures an impressive 32 cm, which is almost exactly 1 foot. There are at least two different manufacturers on the market. They are both from China.

When comparing these models, it becomes quite clear that the manufacturers started from the same body shell and the same interior casts. But from there on the assembly differs in grille, bumpers, hub caps, mirrors, interior colour and decals etc. etc. The mounting point for the front mirrors seems to be the real difference: a cast-in recess near the corner of the front door in one model, versus a mounting hole without recess on the front wing of the other.

The one with the mirror on the corner of the door is manufactured by Shenzhen DOZ Model Arts Co. who also make the 1:43 model with the door mirrors as described above. They stopped production for both scales in 2009.

I have not been able to trace the manufacturer of the model with the front wing mirror. Surprisingly, the Shenzhen DOZ models are significantly lighter than the other ones: 1400 vs. 1600 grs.

The quality of workmanship, for both brands, is not good. Many glued-on pieces come loose within a few years. In one model, that I ordered from China, a large piece of the interior had already come loose early during the shipment, and had ruined the rest of the interior before it arrived at my place. The seller first wanted photos, then asked me to return the item for an exchange (which I did, at my expense), and finally silence. Unfortunately this took longer than eBay's dispute policy allows, so that transaction was a loss.

DS420 at 1/18 scale DS420 at 1/18 scale

 
 
Cheshire Scale Models
 
Cheshire Scale Models produced some 400 to 500 DS420 models around 1993. They made both a limo (300 approx.) and a hearse (200 approx.). Approx. 10 of the limos were made as landaulettes. This manufacturer was based in Nantwich (Crewe Road), Cheshire. Apart from the DS420 limo and hearse they made Bristol and Bentley R-type models. They went out of business a long time ago. The former owner of the company, who provided these figures, also told me that the colours were mostly black, grey, blue over silver, and white.

Cheshire has taken a very early car, with the square number plate and the short boot lid handle on the back. The interior of the car is especially detailed. The proportions of the model are good but not excellent. It looks slightly lower and much more slender than a real car does. All models have the name Cheshire Scale Models and a cartoon of the grinning "Cheshire Cat" embossed under the bottom plate of the car.

   Cheshire Cat (5kB)
Cheshire advertisement    

The advertisement appeared in the Model Auto Review No. 68, of December 1992 / January 1993.
Cheshire Scale Models 4 Cheshire Scale Models 5
Cheshire Landau drawing

Cheshire Scale Models
The two-tone model is very beautiful: it has a "chrome" waistline which none of my other white metal models have. This colour combination was a special production. The manufacturer did these upon request for customers that somehow were involved in the "real" DS420 cars: owners, sellers, and even Daimler employees. On the real DS420 cars, this "Black over Carlton Grey" colour scheme was the most popular two-tone combination (of the first 2000 limos produced, 1400 were black and 55 were black over Carlton). Both landaulettes in the picture are assembled kits; their colours are not factory-originals. When buying a Cheshire Scale Models car, e.g. off eBay, be aware that factory assembled ones are extremely rare. But a model sold as a kit has often been assembled to a very amateurish standard and may bring severe disappointment. Caveat emptor.

Quite surprisingly, I was able to buy two unassembled Cheshire Scale Models kits: one limousine and one landaulette. Note (front row) the tiny cocktail cabinet, the landaulette window surrounds, grille, steering wheel and mirrors (together in the fork-like shape). Apart from the parts shown, there is a bag of extremely tiny parts such as door handles, boot-lid handle and the like that I did not even dare to unpack. Several years later I came across an unassembled hearse kit and bought it also. All three extremely rare...    Cheshire Scale Models
Cheshire Scale Models    Cheshire Scale Models    Cheshire Scale Models
 
 
 
Specialities International - Illustra

A quite rare specimen is the one from Specialities International from Ashford, Kent. They were manufactured by Illustra Models from St.Leonards, near Hastings in East Sussex. A series of 100 was built for Mr. Ted Webber, who owned a small limousine company. Quite soon thereafter that limousine company merged with a larger one, which was less interested in such an expensive gift item. Then some models went to a local model collectors club in Ashford as a special celebratory item. An announcement in the March 1993 issue of The Driving Member, magazine of the Daimler and Lanchester Owners' Club, offered them to the DLOC club members as well.

Specialities Int'l
Specialities Intl in Driving Member DLOC magazine March 1993  

According to Mr. Webber, only three were fitted as the Queen Mother's car, black over maroon, with the actual license plate number NLT 2, blue roof lamp, the coat of arms, and with a lion mascot instead of the flying D on the bonnet. The coat of arms is not exactly right; the one used here is The Sovereign's one, not the Queen Mother's. Cf. "the real thing" in the photo, which has the "bows" and the "lions". The black over maroon model was also produced without the Queen Mother's livery. It then carries the registration 40EFW (note Mr. Webber's initials in the advertisement to the left). A model in yellowish-gray colour also exists but is missing in my collection.

  Queen Mother coat of arms (wrong) Queen Mother coat of arms (real)

Specialties Intl (28kB)

The design as chosen for the body is from around 1976: the car has round air inlets at the front, but the rectangular license plate and corresponding long boot lid handle on the rear. The car is beautifully manufactured, and especially the front grille is very charming. But its proportions are not accurate. E.g. the triangular body part behind the last side window is not properly shaped, which makes the model look much shorter than it should be. Also, the tail part of the waist line is very wrong, as can be seen on the picture of the two-tone car. The Specialities Int'l. models have yellow head lamps.

 
 
Western Models - Automobilia Collection

Automobilia (22kB)

 

Western Models was the first to manufacture a DS420 model. It was produced for the Automobilia model car shop (then) in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Automobilia had 300 of these made around 1989/1990, in black and in dark red (150 each). The DS420 was the first production ever commissioned by Automobilia, but more (non-Daimler) were planned. Therefore, this DS420 production received the designation Automobilia Collection No. 1.

All models have the license plate number A66NNF. This model has very good and accurate proportions.


Automobilia assassination (14kB)
One day, a high ranking official was assassinated in his limo. An Automobilia employee "adapted" a dozen limos from their stock to this event. This version is shown here (above) alongside an unmodified one.

René Boswinkel, the proprietor of Automobilia, provided this copy of the original model drawing (right):

  automobilia drawing
 
 
MiniMarque43
 
MiniMarque all

MiniMarque and Western comparison

The last white metal manufacturer was MiniMarque43 of Halsham, E.Yorks. They got the Automobilia mould from Western Models, so these MiniMarque43 models are extremely similar to the Western/Automobilia ones mentioned above. The most visible distinction is the front grille, which has a black shade on the MiniMarque43 and is kept in chrome colour on the Western ones. Another difference is on the centre line of the bonnet: body-colour on Western, and chrome-colour (actually "paint scraped") on MiniMarque43. Other differences are the "chrome" window surrounds of the MiniMarque43, not present on the Western, the colour of the front bench, which is grey in the Western one, and black in the MiniMarque43, and the indicator lamp on the side of the front wing, which is body colour, i.e. unmarked, on the Western one, but is orange on the MiniMarque43. The interior mirror and the chrome trim around the front window are present on older MiniMarque43 models. but missing on later ones (as they are missing on Western).

MiniMarque43 called it a VandenPlas model 1967, but it has the rectangular air inlets and several other details that came on the car only from 1980 on. By that time, the cars were not made by VandenPlas anymore. As far as I know, all models have the license plate number A66 NNF, which is the same as the Western/Automobilia ones have. However, the last productions have a blank license plate area.

The MiniMarque43 landaulette, released in September 2002, exists in two different versions: one with hood down, and one with hood closed. The original colour combinations are two-tone grey over black (beautiful!) and two-tone black over light-yellow, although I have never seen the hood closed on a gray/black model. The black landaulette was produced a few years later, as is explained below on this page.

mm_landau
 

Also a limo equipped as a Queen Mother's car has been released: black over (very) dark cherry-red, with maroon side-stripe, license plate number NLT2, lion mascot, and even a badge bar! MiniMarque has not always been consistent with the colour scheme of this car; I have a version with black bonnet and boot lid, and one with these parts in claret. Not in my collection, but spotted elsewhere, I saw a QM-model in black colour overall, except for the coachline.

The dark blue limousine in my collection came with a number-certificate that states that it is from a limited series of 100, the white car with a certificate that states that it is from a limited series of 150 (a model was advertised on eBay with a certificate from a limited series of 180). So one may conclude that these certificates have no value. The later production badges came with no certificate at all. The colour spectrum for "ordinary" limousines was: white, dark blue, burgundy (maroon), dark green and black.

mm_boots A close look to the landaulettes and the QM car shows that several details have been changed over the earlier ones, most notably the surround of the side windows. Note how the triangular ventilation window in the front door has disappeared. The same change was made to newly produced "ordinary" limousines. A nice addition is a tiny Daimler name sticker on the boot lid (as the real cars got from 1987 on).

  mm_2qm

These special models were initially made in very limited numbers (40 for the QM car, 50 for both types of landaulette together). The project was started by Richard Briggs, the owner of MiniMarque43, shortly before his death in July 2002. As most white-metal producing companies are, MiniMarque43 was a very small company. After it had been up for sale for quite some time, it faded away.

The actual manufacturing was done by Scale Model Technical Services (SMTS) in Hastings, who have kept the original DS420 moulds. A few small series were produced from them, introducing new colour combinations, such as black over dark cherry/maroon for limos and hearses (e.g. the hearse in front on the photo below) and single colour yellow or black for landaulettes (e.g. the single colour black landaulette on the photo earlier on this page; the single colour yellow one is not in my collection). Clicking on the landaulette photo reveals more information.

R.M.Toys in Waterlooville (UK), www.rmtoys.co.uk usually have a fair stock of the standard MM43 models, and they cost from £ 110.- to £ 210.- The introduction of the Oxford Diecast models, at a fraction of that price, seems to have ended this SMTS production.

MiniMarque 3 hearses
 
 
Automobilia or MiniMarque43 ?
Automobilia or MiniMarque   Automobilia or MiniMarque   MiniMarque 2

This two-tone model is a very strange one. It came in a box labeled "Automobilia Collection nr. 1" (typography identical to the other Automobilia boxes) and this text is also pressed into the bottom plate. However, the model shows all the characteristics of the MiniMarque43 version as described here-above.

Mr. René Boswinkel, the proprietor of Automobilia, assured me that he never commissioned this model. Richard Briggs, the proprietor of MiniMarque43, was well known for his "creative" ways of doing business. Therefore, my guess is that this is a clandestine MiniMarque prototype, made in preparation of MiniMarques own production of the model. MiniMarque never used this colour combination on its officially produced models. Note that next to the Automobilia text on the bottom plate, the WM logo of the manufacturer Western Models is still visible. The actual Automobilia models don't have any text nor logo on their bottom plates.

 
 
Gems and Cobwebs (Milestone Miniatures)

In November 2002 the Milestone Miniatures brand released a Daimler Sovereign Hearse in their "Gems and Cobwebs" series. It was available in black, white, or two-tone grey, and upon introduction it was priced at GB£ 75.- approx. When the company still existed, their web site had the following quote (verbatim copy): "The Daimler Sovereign Hearse. One of the most popular hearse in the UK. Used by many Undertaking Company's. Based on a sovereign limousine.[...] Very similar to the hearse used at Princess Diana's funeral."

But this "Sovereign" is a bit strange.... Browsing through the book "Daimler Days" of Brian Smith, you won't find any Sovereign with round air inlets at the front. Round inlets are just typical DS420 (and predecessor Majestic Major) items. Also, no Sovereign had the typical "Hooper" waistline, bending downward to a point below the tail light section.

The photo shows the three different Gems&Cobwebs colours. The white one has the old version of the roof rack, and the black one has the newer version. The two-tone gray model has lost its roof rack. The black hearse in the back is the Cheshire Scale Models brand; the similarity with the Gems&Cobwebs is striking.

Gems and Cobwebs - Milestone Miniatures
  

two hearses The white hearse on the picture to the left is this Milestone Miniatures; the other one is a MiniMarque43 for comparison.
The various Daimler books by Brian Smith and Brian Long show many hearses, but none is Sovereign based. Also, I have never seen Sovereign based hearses listed in the "Used hearses" sections of the web sites of Wilcox Limousines, Woodall-Nicholson (Coleman Milne) or Zenith. I really doubt that "many Undertaking Companies" had such a Sovereign.

So: to me the Milestone Miniatures really is a DS420 hearse that for some reason could not be called as such. Politics? Newer releases had the designation "Daimler 420" on the box: a change from an erroneous model 'sovereign' to one that never existed '420'.

The hearse used for Princess Diana's funeral was a DS420, not a Sovereign. It was a 1985 model, and at that time even the DS420 had no round air inlets anymore.... More pictures on the hearses page of this web site.

  Diana hearse

The Milestone Miniatures hearse was in production (black, white, gray) until the company stopped doing business in mid 2008. Its price was approx. 2/3 times the price of the MiniMarque hearse. In my opinion this reflects the difference in detail and refinement in an appropriate way.

 
 

I do not know any details about this model, which, according to the seller, comes from a German manufacturer. It is small (62 mm, 2.5"), and thus 10 mm (.4") shorter than the Oxford 1:76 scale models. Length 62 mm corresponds to a scale of 1:93. The three parts on the photo are all there was in the kit: no wheels, axles, mirrors, door handles etc. etc.

  Unknown small resin kit
 
 
Mardave body shell   
Banger models: Mardave body shell

Mardave is a brand name of Kamtec Models in Bognor Regis, England, manufacturer of body shells for radio controlled model cars. They produce these 1:14 (approx) scale DS420 limo and hearse shells in ABS plastic, and can deliver many more parts and supplies to make them into moving vehicles. These are especially popular for miniature banger races.
These DS420 shells measure 42×17.5×12 cm. (16½×7×4¾ inch).

   Mardave body shell
 

This is my collection photographed in August 2020: approx. 80 models, all different.

the entire collection

I am always interested in expanding my collection with models in new colour combinations. Please contact me at hjt@xs4all.nl.


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