Monday, March 11, 2013


SMN Report:
The ‘Boris Bus’, aka the double-decker New Bus for London, nicknamed after Mayor Boris Johnson, is now available in various new liveries from Corgi Toys.

Corgi is releasing five 1:76 scale Limited Editions of the New Bus for London (NBfL), each featuring a different West End musical - Mamma Mia, Wicked and We Will Rock You. Two of the five are more exclusive: Les Misérables will be released only via the Corgi Direct catalogue and the Corgi website, while Singin’ in the Rain will be a special for Corgi Collector Club members.

Model rail scale
The 1:76 scale (00 gauge) model bus measures 148mm (5.8in) long, and looks to be a reasonably accurate rendering of the original, now on fare-earning service along the streets of London. For any rail fan keen on modern British layouts, the Corgi NBfL should come in very useful, though of course it is a somewhat larger size than the rest-of-the-world standard 1:87 (H0) scale.

Clean machine
The real thing is a diesel-electric hybrid, with reduced emissions compared to older buses, and is built by WrightBus in Northern Ireland. By 2016 there should be some 600 of them in operation - not bad at all for a project that only got going in earnest five years ago.

A real Boris Bus provides a background to Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) and Corgi Marketing Manager Martyn Weaver, holding the 1:76 scale model.

Glass stairs
Reverting to the popular open rear platform of the famed Routemaster double-deckers, the NBfL offers the same hop-on hop-off rear platform as well as two more sets of doors and two staircases. I went on one of these buses recently and have to say that climbing to the top deck is a whole heap of visitor fun, as glass swoops up the side, giving an excellent view as you go up or down.

Good design
Designers Heatherwick Studio have really thought the bus through well, even to the lighting used, which avoids that flesh-turned-to-zombie look at night. Well done, HS.

Here’s the Corgi list for the new Musical range:
NBfL No 38 ‘Wicked’ - Limited Edition, general sale
NBfL No 38 ‘Mamma Mia’ Limited Edition, general sale
NBfL No 38 ‘We Will Rock You’ Limited Edition, general sale
NBfL No 38  ‘Les Miserables’ - Corgi Direct and Corgi website only
NBfL No 38 ‘Singin’ In the Rain’ - Corgi Collector Club only

Old and new set
This neat three-bus presentation group is also available for keen model bus collectors. Note the trolley bus at the back - in their day these vehicles were widely used, and very popular for their smooth and quiet running, with zero exhaust fumes. Cnetre of the group is the classic diesel-powered Routemaster, while at the front is the cleaner (though not fully electric) NBfL.

Visit the Boris Bus at Corgi and note the 2013 catalogue is now available.