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Thursday, September 11, 2014

#456 CORGI JUNIORS vs. FEVA / REALTOY – LONDON TAXI (1985 and 1998)

I found not so long ago a London Taxi made by FEVA. I never saw any die-cast made by this brand, so I bought it. The car looked great, had practicable doors, windows, and other features that outweighed the “Made in China” on the base.
When I arrived home, I compared it to the model made by Corgi, and they are very similar. Let’s start maybe with this one first…
The model by Corgi (Corgi Juniors) was designed and launched in 1980. Probably somebody thought it would sell very well among tourists, since the taxis in London have become a symbol of the city, almost as famous as the red double-deck buses.
The taxi was also manufactured in the second “period” of Corgi Toys (now Corgi Toys Ltd.) from 1985 and 1994 (to which the car in the pictures belongs). This second “version” of the taxi is identical to the first one, but the wheels are cheaper and less attractive and the base is plain, just with the Corgi logo, “London Taxi” and “Made in China”.

The FEVA model, as said before, looks great, it is very similar to the Corgi cast, but it is clearly made out of another cast. The wheels look much better and the base plate is decorated with some exhaust pipes, transmission, suspension and so on. This toy is assembled with screws, which is something rare in toys made in the late 90s.
After some investigations, I found out that FEVA was a modern toy designer from the United Kingdom. They manufactured their toys in China, as almost all European toy manufacturers that still exist today. They were focused in toys with some technological component, like radio controlled helicopters or cars, but they also made board games, and other sort of traditional toys.
The company was founded 1998, and closed in 2007 (both dates approximately), and had their headquarters in the outskirts of London (Furlong Road, SL8 5AJ Bourne End, halfway between Maidenhead and High Wycombe). There you’ll find a medium-sized complex of offices that houses many different companies. Since the factories were in China, the facilities in London could have been rather small.

They had a webpage that is no longer active. Old security copies show the company’s vision and other information.
For example, the vision of FEVA was:
"To be acknowledged, profitable, supplier of children’s products"
The company was directed by three men: Kevin Jones, Graham Spark and Paul Thomas, and had a few investors, like the Bank of Scotland.
Also curious is that the name FEVA is actually an acronym for Future-Energy-Vision-Action:
"FUTURE - We are committed to developing the future of the toy and children's products market
ENERGY - We bring a new energy to the business developing products
VISION - We have a vision of the market that has a broad based retail community and products are developed for specific retail channels
ACTION - We make decisions and take the necessary action to develop new opportunities"
The company wanted to establish themselves in the British toy market, but this was a difficult mission. Even though they made and distributed good quality toys, none of them became especially popular or sold especially well. Some of their toys were awarded with differente prizes, like the “Air Hogs RC Sky Patrol Helicopter” or the “Girl Crush Air Brush Tattoo”, that won the Duracell European Toy Survey in 2003 and 2004 respectively, or the that same helicopter and “Crossfire” (an action game), that were among the 10 best toys of 2003 for the ITV’s Toy of the Year.

Among the board games, we find some games based on classic games like the Hangman, Who is Who, Ludo… or more elaborated board games like Robot Wars: the Game (that reminds a bit of Space Crusade), or two licensed board games with the Power Rangers.

UPDATE (JUNE 2018) : Found this model in a flea market, Identical to the FEVA one. Probably the cast went to RealToy, as FEVA shut down. Everything excet the modified base plate is similar.

  • Name: London Taxi (Ref. 71B and 61081)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1985 and 1998
  • Company: Corgi Toys (Great Britain) and FEVA (Great Britain / China) and Realtoy (China)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

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