The Unimog is really a farm tractor with truck bodywork. They are built to a standard and not a price, meaning they are ultra-tough go anywhere vehicles and really expensive. Unimogs can be found in jungles, mountains and deserts as military vehicles, fire fighters, expedition campers, and even in competitions like truck trials and Dakar Rally rally raids. In Western Europe, they are commonly used as snowploughs, municipal equipment carriers, agricultural implements, forest ranger vehicles, construction equipment or road–rail vehicles and as army personnel or equipment carriers.
1145 Unimog With Gooseneck Dumper
This has to be a favourite. It is a fine piece of modelling mixed with some good engineering and topped off with superb detail. The point of the real Unimog is that it is unstoppable, it is the ultimate off road vehicle, part light lorry, part farm tractor, it's amazing wheel articulation is modelled here with real coil sprung suspension. Back in 1969 my lovely old Land Rovers were still on leaf springs. Look at the chassis though on the tractor unit, all that detail on the drive shafts and transfer and gear boxes, excellent. In addition to all that it has jewelled lights and big mirrors. Wonderful, and proof that, while beginning their terminal decline, Corgi could still produce models of real quality. The Mercedes-Benz Unimog Goose-Neck dumper was added to the range in October 1969 and remained in production until 1976. Early releases were beautifully modelled and detailed in yellow with burgundy and charcoal chassis. In the mid seventies all of the Corgi Unimogs had a simplification of the design with a reduction in detail and a change to more robust plastic wheels. These later models are a brighter yellow with a pale blue chassis and red wheels.
406 Dropside Truck
Amusingly Corgi Toys gave this one the same model number as Mercedes. It is from the first run of Corgi Unimogs with amazing detail and modelling. There should be a khaki coloured plastic tilt over the loadbed. This more detailed version of the truck was produced from 1971 to 1976 when the simplified version was released. There are no listed variations and values are modest.
1150 Snow Plough
This is a beautifully detailed and engineered model. It has real coil springs, a beautifully detailed chassis showing the four wheel drive system, excellent detail throughout, It has the correct wheels & tyres and has jewelled headlamps and a tow bar. In fact it has the lot. The complex and detailed snow-plough on the front is very well done, the truck should have a moulded plastic canvas rear tilt, now missing. The Unimog Snow Plough was added to the Corgi Toys range in February 1971 and remained in production until 1977.
409 Rear Dumper
This is a beautifully detailed and engineered model. It has real coil springs, a beautifully detailed chassis showing the four wheel drive system, excellent detail throughout, There's a spring-loaded rear dumper with a lever to release it However it has not worn well, it does not appear to have been played with to excess, but the wheels are all wonky. Spin forward to 1976 and it is re-released with almost all the details and features removed, oddly though it works better as a toy because it is more robust. This is a lovely model though. This version of the Unimog Rear Dumper was released in August 1971 and remained in production until 1974, there are no listed variations until the updated version is released and values are fairly modest.
GS2 Unimog & Cub Shovel Gift Set
On sale new in 1971 for £1.85p this seems like such excellent value for money. These are two excellent die-casts, well made, well detailed and well engineered. Superb examples of Corgi at the peak of their powers. Not that many of these were sold, less than 50,000 so values seem a bit low to me. GS2 was introduced in November 1971 and remained on sale until 1972.
Corgi Toys 1145; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406 with Gooseneck Dumper; Yellow Bodywork, Grey/Red Chasssis
|Corgi Toys 406; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406; Yellow, Red, Grey||Corgi Toys 1150; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406 Snow Plough||Corgi Toys 409; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406 Rear Dumper||Corgi Toys GS2; Unimog & Priestman Gift Set; Goose-Neck Dumper & Cub Shovel|
In 1976 the Corgi Toys Unimogs were updated. Anyone who has spent any time reading my comments on these pages will have a clear view of my opinion of the dumbing down of Corgi models which occurred in the early Seventies. Here is one that seems to work - at least on one level, that of usability.
There was a re-release of the Dropside Truck (406) the original is extremely detailed. It has a fantastically detailed chassis, the right wheels with the right tread on the tyres, it has door mirrors, jewelled lights, in fact everything that the re-release does not have. However this new one works as a toy, but the 1971 release is so finely detailed that it does not. It is more like a model designed for display than a toy for little boys to play with. This one would work in a sand-pit. the original would break. While the re-released dumper version is mentioned in the Great Book of Corgi, this model is not, which looks like an omission. The original highly detailed versions of this and the dumper are shown as being deleted in 1976. The dumper is mentioned in the book as being re-released so I guess it was not that difficult to overlook this one. This, the second release 406 Unimog (Corgi chose to use the Mercedes-Benz model number, 406, as their model number too) ran from 1976 to 1977 and is always green over a yellow chassis with a tan coloured tilt. Ramsay mentions a blue & red version but I've not seen it anywhere.
There was also a re-release of the Rear Dumper (409), the original came out in 1971 - it was in the same colours, but reversed, blue chassis cab, yellow body. Like the Dropside Truck described above the detail had been removed to make a more durable, and preumably cheaper to make, toy. Ramsay lists this truck in red & white, which is a later release under Tyco ownership from 2002. This release was made from 1976 to 1977 and there are no listed variations.
I have seen both the Gooseneck Dumper (1145) and the Snow Plough (1150) in the simplified format with the plastic wheels but, like the Rear Dumper (409) neither are mentioned in the Great Book of Corgi Pocket Book. Unfortunately I have examples of neither of them. We can only assume that they were released at the same time as 406, ie February 1976.
|Mettoy Re-Releases:||Post Mettoy:|
Corgi Toys 406; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406; Green Metallic, Yellow
|Corgi Toys 409; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406 Rear Dumper; Yellow Cab, Blue Dumper||Corgi TY88201; Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406 Rear Dumper|