Creative Masters - A Short History

I have discovered over the years that the quickest way to get the attention of a Die Cast car enthusiast is to mention the name Creative Masters. Everyone it seems has a tale to tell. I am no exception, this is not a story, but an attempt to detail a lot of the information that is known about this series and make it available to all. I do not profess to be an expert on Creative Masters indeed all the information that follows has been obtained from a variety of sources. The most significant of these being Tony Perrone . As they say, 'Without his invaluable help and support this article would never have been written'. I have also been fortunate enough to have received several photographic scans from Tony who in turn was assisted by Vincenzo Moccia for the European advertisements and Roger Harney the Vice President of Revell for the Hugger Orange Camaro prototype photographs. I have also used my own photographs where necessary and also scans from an original UK catalogue. This then is the history of Creative Masters as I believe it to be.

Sometime prior to September 1989, Revell requested Creative Master International Inc. to produce a sample of the 1965 Shelby Cobra in 1:20th scale. Creative Master being the company that still to this day manufactures models for Danbury Mint. The results were not to expectation, apparently the blue prints that they were working from were inadequate for their needs and the project was put on hold. Revell did however like the name Creative Master but decided to add the 's' to avoid copyright infringement. Eventually in September 1989 the 1965 Shelby Cobra Street Version was created and sold in the now familiar red that we all know.

Click Here For An Original Photograph Of A Shelby Cobra 427
Click Here For A Short History Of Shelby American

It does appear though that a pre-production prototype was finished in blue with white stripes. As shown, this version was used for a European advertising campaign.

It was not until December 1991 that the next model was released, it being the 1967 Corvette Sting Ray L71 in black. This model is still considered by many to be the most accurate depiction of the 1967 Corvette ever released. The attention to detail was at a level not seen before. Even the transmission bellhousing included the 'orange' engine overspray that could be seen on the road car. This was seen by many as further evidence towards the overall realism of the model but to others with less knowledge this detail was considered as a fault. With the latter in mind and with a view to cost savings the remaining production models were made without the overspray feature. Those with this feature are now referred to by many as the 'Overspray' Corvette. Only 35-40% of the total production were made incorporating this feature and they are now considered highly collectible. A review of this model by Ken Luxford can be found on this site in the Creative Masters section, or by clicking the review button below. Ken talks about the model "being an absolute must for any collector of Corvettes".

Click Here For Original "Creative Masters" Catalogue with the 1967 Corvette
Click Here For History Of The Corvette

During 1992 Revell AG in Germany contacted Jouef Industries and discussions began for the production of two new models in 1:24th scale. Revell knew their work to be of the highest standard and soon plans were in place for the production of two new models. These were both to be Ferrari's. The Ford GT 40 was also considered but eventually only the Ferrari's were produced . The first to be produced was the 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO in 1:24th scale. A review of this model by Tony Perrone can be found on this site in the Creative Masters section, or by clicking the review button below. Tony talks about the model being exquisite but in particular refers to the engine bay as being 'One of the best detailed engine bays that he has ever studied'. This remember was on a model released in 1992.

Click Here For a Short History Of The Racing Ferrari 250 GTO 1962-1964

This model was later adapted to produce a 'Le Mans' version #25, which I am led to understand was due for release in 1994 alongside the Ferrari P4. This differed from the previous model in being right hand drive with blue racing seats, plus the usual racing decals, and also a modified roofline. Other modifications were also visible, but the changes tended to be more cosmetic than anything else. To date I have not physically seen this model, though the scan below is reproduced from a European catalogue of 1994. Investigations are ongoing to confirm what is clearly suggested by this photograph.

Click Here For Original "Creative Masters" Catalogue with the Ferrari 250 GTO Le Mans
Click Here For Photograph of the Ferari 250 GTO driven by Damen Hill at Goodwood

In 1994 the 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 Spyder was released again in 1:24th scale. This model was of the same high standard as the Ferrari 250 GTO. It has been described by Tony Perrone as being a 'Model Maker's Masterpiece'. Once again a full review of this model can be found in the Creative Masters section, or by clicking the review button below. Unfortunately the possibility of a merger/sale by Jouef halted any further collaboration between the two companies.

Click Here For Short History of the Ferrai 330 P4

The next model to be released was in March 1993, it was the 1965 Shelby Mustang GT 350. This was once again released in 1:20th scale in white with blue stripes. Originally the model was produced incorrectly with the engine painted in blue and a chrome grill. The model was apparently made from measurements and photographs of a Salinas, California restoration. These errors were soon pointed out by members of the Shelby American Automobile Club and production of the remaining models was revised. The production was near its end though so very few of the correct black engine models can be found ! More recently this model has been offered for sale with an original signature of the Carroll Shelby emblazoned on the roof. An interesting addition to any collection !

Click Here For A Short History Of The Shelby Mustang

In October 1993 Revell introduced the historic 1968 Ford GT 40 Coupe # 9 Le Mans Version, again in 1:20th scale. The car was built with as much detail as possible. There are not too many models that have been produced since, that come close, let alone surpassed the overall quality and attention to detail that can be found on the Ford GT 40. A review of this model by Michael Amechi can be found on this site in the Creative Masters section, or by clicking the review button below. Michael talks about the model being "easily his favourite Creative Masters model"

Click Here For A short history of the Gulf Ford GT 40/1075 Winner of the 1968 Le Mans 24 Hour Race

In February 1995 the Shelby Cobra # 98 Competition model was launched in the now familiar 1:20th scale. This was made possible by the re-tooling of the original red street version. The color, blue with white stripes. Perhaps there was a hidden message back in 1989 with the European advertising campaign. Once again this model can also be found with an original signature of Carroll Shelby on the trunk. A review of this model by Tom Pine can be found on this site in the Creative Masters section, or by clicking the review button below. Tom talks about the model being a fitting tribute to Carroll Shelby's vision of what a racing machine should be.

Click Here For An Original Photograph Of # 98

This brings us to December 1995 and the red Dodge Viper RT/10 in 1:20th scale. Often described as an awesome car it was indeed an awesome model that was correct down to its screen sticker except for the headlights which were dark instead of clear as on the original car. Apparently the executives preferred the aesthetic look of the dark lights as opposed to the original clear lights!

Click Here For Original "Creative Masters" Catalogue with the Dodge Viper clear headlights.
Click Here For A Short History Of The Dodge Viper.

1996 brings us finally to the 1969 Chevrolet Z-28 Camaro 1:20th scale, that could only be found for sale in Europe. I think it is true to say that there are more myths and legends surrounding this car than probably any other die cast model. The definitive version of the history surrounding this model has yet to be written, and in a way that's why the model remains so intriguing and mysterious to so many of us. The original prototype was produced in Hugger Orange but according to the owner of this model Roger Harney of Revell it looked awful.

Eventually the yellow version with the black stripes that we all know so well went into production. Revell AG of Germany by their own request received these models for distribution in Europe. It is believed that a total of 144 Camaros were produced and of that 14 or 15 were prototypes. Parts for the Camaro were first manufactured in China then assembled in Germany. More parts were produced than models assembled but it seems that there were a number of paint miss-matches and therefore some models were regrettably destroyed.

Click Here For Original "Creative Masters" Catalogue showing the Camaro Z-28

Not too long after the release of the Camaro the decision was made by the company to discontinue current production and the development of any further models. Sales had been effected by the more unusual scale of 1:20th and the rather high price tag that had been set for the series. These problems had been further aggravated by erratic supplies followed by an inability to fulfill orders. A review of this model by Tony Perrone can be found on this site in the Creative Masters section, or by clicking the review button below. Tony talks about the model being "a modern marvel of miniaturization"
On reflection it is only now that the Creative Masters series is being fully appreciated. Which begs the question. Is it possible that the series could be ever be resurrected? Certainly the tools still exist at the Revell Offices at Morton Grove, Illinois. That is apart from the tooling for the 1965 Shelby Cobra Street Version. It seems that these tools were modified to produce the Competition Cobra so to it would not be possible to replicate the Street Version from the original tooling. The official word though is that this is very unlikely. As for me, I am not so certain that this will be my final paragraph about the Creative Masters series. At least I hope not….

New addition to Short History of Creative Masters
Year 2000 a new Millennium dawns and bring with it the re issue of the Creative Masters series! Not just a re issue but new colors and improved specification. It seems that Roger Harney at Revell has argued successfully to re issue the series. It has started where it finished, with a limited release of 3000 for the 1969 Camaro Z--28 but this time in metallic blue with white stripes. Each new model will have a small photo etched limited edition plate underneath stamped with the Creative Masters logo and the respective number from 1 to 3000

The outer shipping box is somewhat larger than before and in addition now carries the Revell logo

Further information will be added as and when it becomes available………………………………

Back To Top