New Minialuxe 1:66 Models

By Robin Godwin

Minialuxe Volkswagen Beetle 1_66

Minialuxe were a classic brand of plastic model cars made in France which ended production in the later part of the 1970s.
The new Minialuxe brand is based in France but has models diecast in China. The output has a decidedly retro characteristic like Dan Toys or Atlas Dinky Collection. The Volkswagen Beetle models to 1:43 scale have already appeared in previous articles by the Author.

A new feature advertised heavily on their web site is the use of Swarovski crystals to form the lights.

Recently a range of 1:66 scale models has been introduced which is not even shown on the Minialuxe web site but which is already being sold through an eBay shop.  This range includes the following vehicles, photographs are shown in a gallery below:

  • Citroen DS19
  • Citroen DS21
  • Citroen 2CV
  • Mini
  • Renault R8 Gordini
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Volkswagen Transporter

The models seem to have a “Bub like” character with some heavy printing of chrome around some of the crystal lights with some alignment issues. Some may wonder why 1:66 and not 1:64. Well many European ranges of 1060s and 1970s were to 1:66. Schuco Safir, Norev, Politoys Penny Toys and others all made models in this scale.


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Editorial March 2016

By Maz Woolley and Rod Ward

 

In years gone by the Nuremberg international toy trade fair was a major event with toy and model manufacturers  announcing their programme for the year and showing off prototypes of what was to come. Am I alone in feeling that this year’s event has largely passed collectors by? At one point almost everyone wanting to sell models would exhibit at Nuremberg, however small a space they could afford. But times have changed. As Rod Ward has noted in previous MAR issues, those shop owners and wholesalers who visited Nuremberg to place their orders for the coming year, and who made it worth the model manufacturing companies exhibiting, are mostly no longer in business. So this year even fewer model manufacturers were present.

Some companies, like ModelCarWorld who produce Neo, Premium Classix, BoS, and Whitebox models, just invited trade buyers to their headquarters while they were visiting Germany to see other companies at the Trade Fair. In other cases, many of those companies who were present at Nuremberg had, in many cases, already announced their production plans in advance.

This includes Oxford Diecast, images of whose prototypes had already appeared on Facebook or in other advance publicity, so there were few surprises at the fair.

In a world where some collectors’  models are now made in editions of as few as 50 or 100 on a rolling monthly programme, sold direct, or through smaller dealers, a world where even the larger diecast firms make editions of only 500 or 1,000, and where the only mass sales seem to be by partwork or series publishers selling direct or through the newstrade, maybe the old-style trade fair is irrelevant.

Perhaps the business model needs to be re-examined? As a parallel example, the SBAC air show at Farnborough used to be solely a trade fair, displaying the latest aircraft to potential buyers; airlines, air forces and corporate customers. Those deals are no longer done at an air show, so Farnborough lost its original raison d’etre. The show in Hampshire is still highly successful, however, but it is a totally different beast; it is now a public air display with lots of trade stands and ‘family fun’ attractions. Nuremberg in February may not be as attractive for a family day out, but the International Toy Fair may need a makeover to have a relevant role in future years.

MAR Online has always tried to cover some of the partworks and subscription series that traditional collectors magazines have tended not to cover. Readers are often interested because these series may include models that they are interested in, but which may not be sold in the country where they live.  So, if you are collecting a partwork or subscription series, please send us pictures and notes that we can share with fellow collectors. We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone collecting the current 1:43 scale buses and coaches range being offered in European countries, as well as from collectors of many of the Atlas series selling in continental Europe at the moment. We would also love to hear about partworks from further afield; Japan, South America, Eastern Europe or Russia. You don’t have to write an article, just send a few photographs of your models, details of the vehicle and your opinion of the model. That will be enough for us to put together articles of wide interest. And of course we will always welcome material from you, the reader, on your own collections and interests to share with us all. Whatever your modelling interest, please take some pictures, write a few words and share your interests with other MAR Online readers.


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Atlas Touring Cars Series

By Maz Woolley

Regular readers will be familiar with Atlas Editions who create themed subscription series which are supplied by mail. Unlike partworks there is no magazine supplied with each model or pretence that it is  a publication. Here in the UK we have had many such series and another has just been announced Atlas Touring Car Series. This starts off with the usual low cost starter model shown below which Frank Gardner drove to victory in the 1968 British Saloon Car Championship.

Atlas Touring Car Collection Ford Escort Mark I

Subsequent models publicised on the Atlas Editions web site include:

  • Will Hoy’s 1991 Championship-winning BMW (E30) M3.
  • Jason Plato’s 2010 Chevrolet Cruze S2000.
  • Bill McGovern’s 1972 Sunbeam Imp Sport.
  • John Cleland’s 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier 16V.
  • John Fitzpatrick’s 1966 Ford Anglia.

If any MAR Online reader subscribes to this series then we would welcome pictures and comments about these models to share with others.


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A very special TVR

By Maz Woolley

With thanks to Jim Cowen and Alan Audus for their contributions to this article

Most readers will be familiar with the highly detailed resin models produced by Jim Cowen’s Illinois based company Automodello in a variety of scales from 1:43 to 1:12. Automodello produces models of US and British vehicles which have not been modelled to a high standard before. The models shown below are available from  www.diecasm.com, Automodello’s associated trading site, and their dealers. TVRs have been a favourite subject since their first model, a 1964 TVR Griffith Series 200. So the TVR Taimar recently released and shown in the manufacturer’s photographs below is an obvious gap filler.

What readers may not know  is that by enrolling in their Enthusiasts Edition program it enables Automodello to paint an upcoming model in factory colours commissioned by an owner or collector. Indeed as we will see later they will also modify the mould in some ways to make the car even closer to the collectors requirements. This “made to measure” service is expensive, but then so is a hand tailored suit. The enthusiasts edition 1:43 scale models cost 399.95 US Dollars for the first model and 179.95 for additional models. Models to 1:24 scale are also available as Enthusiast Editions at 699.95 USD for the first model and 465.95 for additional ones. Each Enthusiasts Edition build is limited to 15 pieces.

British TVR owner Alan Audus enrolled in the programme as he had always wanted a model of his 3000M. Photographs of Alan’s  beautiful car are shown below. The 3000M was one of the M Series cars like the Taimar and was powered by the Ford Three Litre engine  used in the British sporting versions of the Ford Capri. Like all the M series cars it has a fiberglass body on a tubular frame .

Jim Cowen at Automodello kindly put your Editor in touch with Alan and I asked Alan some questions about the car and the process of having his car modelled. Our question and answer session is below with photographs of the model following them.


How long have you owned your TVR 3000M?

I have owned my 3000M from new. It was first registered on the First of  August 1979 and is 37 years old this year.

Did you have it restored or was it bought restored?
It has never been restored. It hasn’t been on wet or dirty roads for 35 years and when it was it was cleaned, sometimes by torch light, to make sure that it was clean before being put back in it’s Garage.  
Is there any particular reason for owning a TVR rather than another classic marque?
I love the style, looks and above all the sound. If you have heard TVRs on the move you will know what I mean. It wasn’t about owning a fast car, but  car in my mind which is “drop dead gorgeous”. As you can tell I still love it.
Have you ever owned, or do you own, any other classic cars?

No

Has anyone else in your family had/got interesting vehicles?

No

Is there any particular reason for having a 3000M?
A Boss at work had one when I was 23 years old. I looked at it and wanted one badly but the insurance for anyone that young was too expensive. But when I was 26 I had a test drive and that was enough to get me hooked.
What journeys do you use it for and how any miles does it do each year?
In the first two years I owned it it was a daily drive, except for the winter months when it never came out of the garage. I bought an old car to use in the winter. During this period I clocked up 18,000 miles, but over the last 35 years I’ve only done another 18,000 bringing it up to a total of 36,000. It does not come out in the wet and whether a drive is 10 miles or 40 miles it gets a good clean before it is tucked away under it’s dust sheet. Everything is polished and original, the engine bay, suspension, and wheels on both sides. It is really a working museum piece. No expense has been spared to keep it that way.
Do you collect models, and if so what types/scales?
I only collect TVR models. Mostly Spark and Automodello to 1:43 scale. I also have Jadi 1:18 scale models but they are not the same  quality.
Why did you decide to have Automodello make your car?
I asked Automodello as they already made a Taimar Turbo and my car is the same style and shape. But being a model maker, I love aircraft as well, I thought that if they just filled in the lines of the opening tailgate and vents round the rear window they could produce my 3000M. To me it was easy but to Jim and Raffi it meant making a new body mould. When I spoke to Jim to ask him to make the model I said “If you can make this model all you have to do is tell me how much. I’ve wanted a model of my car for years”. 
Was the process of getting the model produced an easy one?
For me it was easy. I’m an Engineer and a perfectionist and so are Jim and Raffi so they understood my passion and they share that passion for four wheels.
How did they get the information needed to make the model?

I gave them close up pictures of all the differences between my 3000M and a Taimar.

Are you happy with the end result?

How many ways can you say Fantastic! I emailed Jim and said “Automodello = Automagic” or better “Automagnificant”. I still look at the model daily and think that they have done a brilliant job.


The photographs below shows pictures of the model Automodello created specially for Alan. It is a wonderful match for the beautifully maintained original.

1-TVR 3000M 022 1-TVR 3000M 029 1-TVR 3000M 077-001

 

Automodello have now created a series of TVR 3000M cars in other colours which are pictured in photographs from the manufacturer in the gallery below:


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Audi Promotional 1:18 Scale – R8 V10 Plus Coupe 2015

By Fabrizio Panico

Here is a new promotional model of the 2015 R8 V10 Plus Coupe from Audi made to 1:18 scale for them by Kyosho. Opening doors and hatch are featured on this model. This is unlike resin promotionals being issued by many car manufacturers where there is a high level of detail but no play value!

 


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Greenlight in the Business News

By Maz Woolley

Greenlight Precision Collectibles 1 18 scale

Robin Godwin has drawn my attention to an article about Greenlight and its recent sales success, http://www.ibj.com/articles/57402-manufacturer-makes-tiny-cars-big-profits.

After the recent much publicised problems for Hornby Hobbies, it is good to hear good news about a mass market model maker. The article focuses on how quickly Greenlight has grown and how the Film and TV related products have become the companies top sellers. Greenlight have undoubtedly benefited from the withdrawal of the Mints from this sector of the market as well as Ertl and others moving away from making model cars for the collectors market.

The suggestion that the market for this type of models has declined by 50% or more over the last 10 years shows just how tough things are out there for manufacturers, but Greenlight  are doing something right with revenue tripling between 2013 and 2015. Expanding sales outlets through closer relationships with Target stores, Toys r Us, Universal Studios and others has also boosted sales.

The article also reveals that 1:64 scale is the top seller, 1:18 scale number two, and 1:43 scale the least popular. Which is perhaps only to be expected in the North American Market which dominates their sales, though sales elsewhere have been growing.  Unsurprisingly around 80% of their buyers are over 18 and over 80% are male.  The main sales groups are 25-34 year olds and the over 55s.

Like Oxford Diecast in the UK, Greenlight have invested heavily in new moulds to maintain collector interest and have identified product sectors which have proved to sell very well. Clever re-use of moulds in different ranges has helped get the best return from their investment in masters. Innovations like the “hitch and tow” series have caught collectors eyes but the top sellers for Greenlight are all Film or TV related. The Fast and Furious film franchise has been very popular as have vehicles from classics of the past like Bullet, Smokey and the Bandit and the Blues Brothers.

The moral of the story seems to be that those who rest on their laurels and do not understand how the market is changing and/or fail to  invest in developing their businesses will decline whilst those with their “fingers on the pulse” who invest in what collectors want can grow and thrive.


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