Budgie Toys No.236
Routemaster Double Decker Bus - Series 1
Issued 1960-66 Length 108mm OO/HO scale (1:76)
When Budgie chose to make a model of the iconic Routemaster London Bus, they could have had no expectation that it would prove such a successful model. They already of course had plenty of experience (under the 'Morestone Series' brand) of selling the old model of the London bus so when AEC, the manufacturer of the real bus, announced a 'New Style Routemaster', Budgie were understandably keen to add it to their range.
To start with, while the real vehicle was still a new sight on the streets of London, Budgie's Routemaster model probably sold only moderately. Coloured bright red with painted metal wheels and 'Esso Golden' petrol advert decals on the sides, it was the first Budgie model to be issued from the start with windows. However, fitting these was not always easy and occaisionally models escaped quality control so there exist some without windows.
Later silver plastic wheels replaced the metal ones and later again ridged silver plastic wheels were used. All three types of wheel were fitted with knobbly tyres.
On the sides of the model 'Esso 'Golden' and 'London Transport' decals were applied to all the Series 1 Routemasters and the destination panels at the front and rear were No.'9' to'Piccadilly'.
By 1964 demand for the Routemaster Bus had steadily increased and Budgie turned to the diecast firm Modern Products Ltd. to take over manufacture. Modern Products already made several Budgie models to a high standard and their intervention proved a great benefit.
In 1966, just after Budgie ceased trading, a fire at the Budgie premises damaged most of the old dies beyond use but the dies held next door by Modern Products were unaffected. This meant that the Routemaster survived and later, after Modern Products had bought the 'Budgie' name, they returned it to production in 1969 for H Seener Ltd with new adverts, and it remained on sale for many years. For more details see Budgie 236-2 Routemaster Bus
The Routemaster was first issued in an un-numbered box (A1) with a lot of description on the sides stating this as '"OO" scale New Type Routemaster Double Decker Bus (with Windows)'. This box was soon upgraded to having numbers on the picture faces as a further part of the description (A2). Later, numbers were also added to the end flaps when the Guiterman name appeared (A8). Finally the Routemaster Bus was given a blue & white open sided window pack (C1).
It is not as easy as one might expect to find examples of the 1960-66 Series 1 issue Routemaster bus in mint condition. Of the many models which appear in auctions, only a few are from this original series.
Budgie No.236 Routemaster Bus
Series 1 variations
1) RED body & base 'Esso Golden' decals PAINTED metal wheels (knobbly tyres) A1 or A2 box
2) RED body & base 'Esso Golden' decals SILVER plastic wheels (knobbly tyres) A8 box or C1 pack
3) RED body & base 'Esso Golden' decals RIDGED spw (knobbly tyres) A8 box or C1 pack