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Budgie Models 1969-1985

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After the collapse in 1966 of S.Guiterman & Co., the owners of Budgie Toys, production of large scale models ceased. Shortly afterwards, most of the original dies were destroyed in a fire but a few of the models which had been made for Budgie by Modern Products Ltd. survived. These included the Routemaster Bus and No.224 Railway Locomotive among others. 


Modern Products Ltd were successful in buying the 'Budgie Models' name and logo and used it to continue selling the Budgie Miniatures range from 1966 to 1970 but the manufacture of larger-scale models did not resume until Harry Morris, one of the founders and former owners of Budgie, introduced Len and Jim Burkett, owners of Modern Products, to H Seener who was looking for a toy maker to produce models of the Routemaster bus to sell as London souvenirs. An agreement was reached and Modern Products undertook to make diecast toys exclusively for H Seener Ltd. 


In 1969 production of No.236 Budgie Routemaster Bus was resumed with some new tooling provided by Mr Seener to include windows. It must have been a success because in 1971 an updated version of No.224 Railway Locomotive was added followed by a newly coloured version of the old Morestone Hansom Cab which was given the number 100.


As business increased, new models were planned, first a Police Helmet bell in 1973 followed in 1977 by a London Taxi (No.101) based on the FX4 vehicle. Next came one of the best models created by Modern Products, No.102 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which was issued in 1981.


The last 'new' model was an attempt to update Budgie No.246 Wolseley Police Car with changes to the casting, new roof lights and a bright 'Panda Car' blue colour. Unfortunately, Mr Seener was not impressed and these models did not enter full production, the stock being later sold off to collectors. 


In 1983 following the death of Len Burkett and the subsequent retirement of his brother Jim Burkett, Modern Products Ltd was sold to Starcourt Ltd, an engineering firm with premises near the Modern Products foundry. Starcourt decided to continue producing models for H Seener Ltd but also seperately updated models previously made by Modern Products for Morestone and Budgie. The first was the old Morestone Aveling-Barford Road Roller (re-issued as No.701) and in 1984 a new yellow version of Budgie No.238 British Railways Delivery Van. Later the same model was issued as No.702 Scammel Scarab in various liveries.


Mr Seener was not pleased by these developments, becoming worried by the expectation that models could be sold over which he had no control and in breach of his exclusive agreement. In 1983 Starcourt started to sell coloured versions of No.101 London Taxi (using a new number 703) in rivalry to Mr Seener who had originally paid for and continued to own the dies for this and other models. In retaliation H Seener Ltd removed the tooling for the Taxi, the Rolls-Royce and the Police Helmet and entered a contract with Corgi Toys to manufacture some of them under a 'Seerol' brand without the Budgie name on the base.


After this, Starcourt rapidly wound-down diecast toy production. A few coloured versions of the Routemaster were issued (Nos.704,705,706,707) and variations of No.702 Scammell Scarab but there were no new models planned. Eventually in 1985 all remaining stock was sold to Merracroft Ltd. including some Scammel Scarab models and a large stock of unfinished castings of No.204 Volkswagen Pick-Up which were later painted in various liveries and issued to collectors. At that stage, it can be said that the era of Morestone and Budgie diecast toys finally came to an end.

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