Budgie Models No.236-2
Routemaster Bus Series 2
Issued 1969-1984 Length 108mm
Budgie No.236 Routemaster Bus returned to production in 1969 when Modern Products Ltd, who had previously manufactured the model for Budgie and still had the dies, was put in touch with H Seener Ltd, a company specialising in souvenirs for visitors to London. This was the beginning of 14 years of collaboration between the two and several new or re-vamped models were produced starting with the Routemaster.
The revised model used the same body and base as the earlier Series 1 models (See Budgie No.236 Routemaster Bus) with the engine section being cast as part of the base. H.Seener asked for windows to be included and in fact paid for the tooling needed to make them. However the windows were difficult to fit so sometimes a model was sold without them.
The Routemaster models were painted red like the real buses with silver trim on the grille and sometimes on the headlights. 'London Transport' decals were added to the sides beneath the windows and individual decals put on the destination panels, the front one stating '9 Liverpool St Charing X Piccadilly' and the rear just '9 Piccadilly'.
Several different advertisement decals and labels were used on the Series 2 Routemasters and these are listed below. The wheels were unpainted metal with black treaded tyres and these remained unchanged throughout the life of the model.
In 1973 a special promotional Routemaster was issued to commerate the opening of the Sheraton-Heathrow Hotel on 1st February 1973. This was a normal red model with special side advertisement labels and a large one on the roof incorporating a Union Jack flag which was also used on the special box.
Almost all the Routemaster models were coloured red but a year or two before production ended, two new colours were introduced, both with 'Houses of Parliament' labels, the first a green version and then a metallic gold one. The gold model was in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of London Transport and was issued in a special box carrying a gold label on the main picture face stating 'Golden Jubilee of London Transport 1933-1983 Special Golden Edition'. Later it was sold in a standard window box.
In 1983 the ownership of Modern Products Ltd changed when it was bought by a nearby engineering company called Starcourt Ltd. The new owners were reluctant to manufacture models exclusively for H Seener and began producing different colours and selling the full range of No.236 separately in new-style window boxes. Mr Seener was not pleased and switched his contract to Corgi. Without the marketing skills of H Seener, Starcourt was not successful in the toy business and just over a year later production of all diecast toys ceased.
The final versions of the Routemaster appeared in different colours and liveries under Nos.704-707
Boxes for No.236 Series 2 Routemaster Bus followed the familliar yellow Budgie end-flap style with a colour illustration of the model on each face. Several different versions of the picture were used with a new one usually appearing each time there was a change to the advert decals/labels. Boxes which contained green models often had a green felt-pen mark on one of the end-flaps to identify the colour. For the early issues, the boxes had 'Made in England by Budgie Models' beneath the picture. Later 'for H Seener' was added but this was dropped again by Starcourt on the window boxes which also had a blue inner packing piece.
All the Series 2 Budgie Routemasters are quite easy to collect although the coloured ones are a little more scarce and the special Sheraton issue in the original box is rare.
Budgie No.236-2 Routemaster Bus (Series 2)
Listed in order of issue, all variations have metal wheels and treaded tyres
Colour 'London Transport' Side Advertisement Matching box
1) RED decals 'ESSO GOLDEN ESSO' decals Yes
2) RED decals 'ESSO UNIFLO the tuned motor oil' decals Yes
3) RED decals 'SHERATON-HEATHROW HOTEL' labels Promotional box
4) RED decals 'GO ESSO BUY ESSO DRIVE ESSO' decals Yes
5) RED decals or labels 'UNIFLO sae 10W/50 Motor Oil' decals or labels No
6) RED labels 'Houses of Parliament Tower Bridge' labels Yes
7) GREEN labels 'Houses of Parliament Tower Bridge' labels Yes/Window box
8) Met. GOLD labels 'Houses of Parliament Tower Bridge' labels Yes/Window box