Cheaper than China

By Robin Godwin

This article was published on the old MAR site at which no longer exists. We have added it to this site as part of the exercise to keep interesting articles from the old site available to our readers. Please note that the model described is no longer a current issue.

This Ixo is cast in Bangladesh for the Eaglemoss Russian Combat Machines series. It’s a nice clean casting and virtually indistinguishable from anything coming from China. There are some fantastic pieces of Russian military hardware in this series. Typically, you need to live there to subscribe, but many of the models are available on the secondary market, especially on eBay. More info can be found at

There is also an Eaglemoss Russian Tanks series, with more information at This series was up #110 in December 2014. Many are duplicates from other “combat tank” ranges.

Above: Very nice little 1:72 model of Russian PC30 9K57 (Russian nomenclature; NATO calls this the BM-27 220 mm 16 Round Multiple Rocket System)

Above: no country of manufacture marked and otherwise very little detail on the ZIL chassis. IXO unique screw heads visible

Above: base of packaging. Google translation of Russian text reads “Manufacturer”, and it states it is Ixo owned Sonic (Bangladesh) Limited.

Editor’s Note: This was one of the earliest models from PCT Industries spotted as being made in their Bangladesh factory. Since then some DeAgostini sportscars sold to the countries of the former Eastern Bloc and the Buses range from Hachette have been produced there. It would seem that PCT have decided that rather than accept pressure from the Chinese Government to move production out into the Chinese provinces they have moved to a country with an even cheaper labour force.

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Brooklin BRK23 Makeover

By Maz Woolley


The model pictured is an early Brooklin model which has not been available from Brooklin for some years. However such models do turn up from time to time on eBay which is where the author found his.

I have always had a fondness for the US 1956 Ford perhaps because it so clearly influenced the German Ford Taunus 17m Baroque which is another of my favourites. So when a model came up on eBay missing parts for a bargain price I decided to  buy it in the hope that Brooklin could provide the missing parts. The photograph above show the model as supplied missing grille, mascot, and a rear light cluster. Amazingly Brooklin not only supplied the parts for this old model at a very reasonable price but sent them quickly and  in a very neat small box. Brooklin has a fine reputation for its after sales service and my experience shows that this is richly deserved.

This model is typical of early Brooklins in having chrome components moulded in but none of them picked out making for a somewhat plain model. As the model was sold at a low price I thought that I could afford to risk picking out key areas of chrome. Having no skill with bare metal foil I decided to highlight chrome badging, side mouldings, and window surrounds using a Molotow “Liquid Chrome” pen which I had already used on other models to replace the Pentel Silver pens that I used previously.

Whilst the end result is far from the standard achieved by John Roberts and shown in Randall Olson’s Ford in Miniature book I think that my detailing lifts the model considerably allowing it to be shown alongside newer Fordor models from Ixo without looking  out of place.

The 1956 Ford Fairlane Two Door Club Sedan was sold with either the “mileage maker” straight six of 3.6 Litres or two V8s including the “Thunderbird V8” of 5.1 Litres. All models would have theoretically been able to exceed 100MPH. A base price of $2,143 would have quickly increased if the V8 was chosen and any items taken from the extensive options list.

Whilst detailing the model I used Kristal Klear over the metal light lenses to address another Brooklin shortcoming. I am pleased with the effect which makes them a little more realistic than the bare metal studs as fitted.

At the rear attention was needed as the light cluster was not painted correctly by Brooklin. There needs to be a red centre surrounded by a chrome ring and another ring of red outside. Brooklin just paint the central portion. There is also a tiny reflector at the top of the light fitting that has to be picked out. Finally the decorative fitting on the boot lid needs to be black washed as it is completely chromed on the model as sold.

I like to think that I have turned a scrap box item into a neat model. And one that cost less than a new Corgi 1:43 scale model  for the model and the spares from Brooklin.

Readers are invited to send us pictures and descriptions of any detailing or rescue projects that they have undertaken.

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Readers Letter – Atlas Editions Cadillac Ambulance

Atlas editions 7 495 002 Cadillac Miller-Meteor 1959

I definitely think that the 1959 Cadillac ambulance by Atlas is NOT a ‘Miller-Meteor‘, but is actually a ‘Superior‘, there’s even a script on the rear fender of the model telling us so.  I found a photograph of the real car on the internet. This one seems to be all white, but it is the exact same car even having the same air-conditioning intake behind the rear doors.

Nevertheless it’s a great model for a reasonable price, much cheaper than the same model made by Neo!

Roel Kuyper by Email

Haarlem, The Netherlands

Editor – Roel’s eMail prompted the Editor to look at the photographs of this model taken by our Consultant Editor in Germany. And yes there behind the rear wheels is a Superior script along with some rather poor tampo printing of the chrome embellisher visible when magnified (See below). A further search on the Internet shows that the 1959 Miller-Meteor had much more upright window frames on the rear passenger door and the rear door. The widely modelled Ghostbusters car is described as a 1959 MIller-Meteor and this has vertical rear passenger door frames and not the sloping ones seen on the Atlas model. Finally a quick comparison with the Neo Model which is described as a 1959 Cadillac S&S Superior shows that it is practically identical to the Atlas, see photographs lower down the page.

We would like to thank Roel for pointing out this error in description by Atlas.


Atlas Model

Neo Model

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Polski Fiat 126P in 1/43

by John-William Greenbaum

This little Polski Fiat 126P NP was called the “Ryjek” compact sedan! In Polish, “Ryjek”, in this context, means “Little Snout”. That’s because the 126P NP basically was the result of taking the rear-engined Polski Fiat 126P and moving the engine around to the front while reversing the entire drivetrain.  The 1/43 model pictured below is made in Poland by Moye Modele!

It was a relatively reliable car, but since it failed to have any truly different variants from the regular 126P (I believe some people were hoping for a hatchback version, which never came), it was really pretty much a waste of money as far as putting it into production went. Since performance tests showed it to be the 126P’s equal and in a few cases, slight superior, it just wasn’t worth putting into mass production, especially with Poland’s difficult economy.

In the automotive world, we have undoubtedly seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright bizarre. For all of its fairly traditional, boxy looks, the Polski Fiat 126P NP “Ryjek” Compact Sedan has to be classified as the latter. The irony is that if not for one design feature, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that it would have reached production rather than languishing away as a prototype. For you see, the Polski Fiat 126P NP was, distilled down to its simplest definition, an attempt to turn the rear-engined, very common Polski Fiat 126P Compact Sedan around so that it was a front-engined car!

The  “Little Snout” was designed in 1977 by a Professor Zdzislaw Pozdziak. He had the help and cooperation of a design team led by Professor Jerzy Ginalski of the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts designing the body and veteran engineer Jerzy Winogrodzki for the running gear. According to Pozdziak, the primary aim of the 126P NP project was to give the little 126P front-wheel drive as well as a slightly more powerful engine. Furthermore, it was hoped that with a front-engined version of the 126P, it would make the car easier to modify into various different versions that had been attempted and generally failed, such as a pickup, a kombi (station wagon), and most importantly, a hatchback.

However, it just had too much in common with the ordinary, inexpensive, and indeed reliable 126P that was being produced in massive quantities.  The Polish Government  ran out of patience: they’d gone severely over-budget when it came to program funding for the 126P NP and wanted a result. As such, the moment they asked the Polish Government for funding to turn the 126P NP into a hatchback, the program was terminated.

The 126P NP “Ryjek” was not an inherently bad car, but it failed to achieve the single most important goal of any 126P-derived prototype in that it could not be turned into a hatchback; or rather, by the time it could be turned into a hatchback, the Polish Government had run out of both money and patience to do so. At least three examples of the well-preserved prototypes still exist in Polish museums, and while at least one is roadworthy, it seems doubtful that it’ll ever take to the streets again.

More details about the design are on the author’s Facebook page.

Polski Fiat 126P NP “Ryjek” Compact Sedan
Made in Poland 
Model by Moye Modele, Poland (figure by Replicars)
-Years Built: 1978-1981
-Engine: 26 HP 2-cylinder four-stroke
-Fuel Type: Gasoline
-Top Speed: 65 mph

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Matrix announcements for May/June 2017

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Matrix and are of prototypes not shipped models. Shipping dates shown are as forecast by Matrix

Expected in May


MX51705-272 Rolls-Royce Phantom Barker Torpedo Tourer

Car owned by HRH Maharaja of Kota #23RC with Canon “Tiger edition” red and silver 1925

Expected in June


MX41607-081 Singer Porsche 911 blue 2014 

MX41001-012 Jaguar XK140 Ghia 2-door Coupe red 1955 

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The Vespa in Miniature – Part Five

By Dave Turner

1966 to 2000

Detailed model listings and photographs of some of the models appear after the text.

By the mid 1960s the Traditional 125 line had reached the GT and subsequent GTR that continued through to the re-styled P series in 1978. The 150 that ran alongside was called the Sprint until 1969 and then Sprint Veloce with uprated engine until the arrival of the P Series. Top of the range was the 180 Rally and this developed into the Rally 200 in 1972 and that eventually got electronic ignition becoming the Rally 200 Electronic.

A short lived combination was the 125TS – Turismo Sport, and that combined the body of the Rally 200 with the 125cc engine and lasting for three years from 1975.

For 1978 Piaggio launched the New Line series P125, P150 and P200E based on a new frame that was significantly larger than before and featuring more angular lines with indicator lights built into the bodywork. Spain produced its own version of the P200E from 1981 and called it 200DN. From these, the PK Series arrived in 1983 featuring a restyled head/speedometer assembly and a larger toolbox inside the legshields together with a combined ignition switch and fork lock. The final development of the traditional Vespa came with the Millennium Edition for 2000, identified by having the Vespa name put back into a script.

As far as models are concerned the majority are provided by the Maisto/Edicola operation with a few additional alternatives by New Ray. The plastic kit by Imai was a very detailed production but extremely delicate when finished while that from Grisoni is simplicity in the extreme consisting of just twelve parts..

From Italy, the big Ellegi model came as either a static model with a stand or motorised with the batteries either in the hand control of the remote example or in the model in the case of the radio controlled version. Meanwhile from Spain the MIRA diecast model has twin rear wheels and a pull-back mechanism.

Vespa models 1966-2000
Edicola China AC 026 125GT 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5082 125GT 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6047 180 Rally 1:32 diecast
Maisto China 4343 150 Sprint Veloce 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 034 125 GTR 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 5090 125 GTR 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4275 200 Rally 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 010 200 Rally 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 43341 125 TS 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 015 125 TS 1:18 diecast
New Ray China P200E 1:32 diecast
Edicola China AC 005 P150X 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 042 P200E 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4272 P150X 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6046 P200E 1:32 diecast
New Ray China 42213 P200E 1:12 plastic
Smart Toys 20048 P150X 1:32 diecast
Imai Japan B958 P200E 1:12 plastic kit
Ellegi Italy 200PX 1:6 plastic
Grisoni Italy 396/6 P200 1:27 plastic kit
MIRA Spain 809 200DN 1:14 diecast
Edicola China AC 016 PK125 Automatica 1:18 diecast
Maisto China PK 125 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 39540 PK125 Automatica 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6047 125TS Pole Position 1:32 diecast
Edicola China AC 031 PK125 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC 041 PX150 1:18 diecast

Illustrations: Vespa part 5


MIRA 1:14 diecast from Spain

809, 1981 200DN, Spanish version of the P200, this three wheeled model stands up on its own.

Grisoni 1:27 plastic kit from Italy

396/6, 1978 P200 featuring some over-scale wheels.

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China

4275, 1972 200 Rally.

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China

4272, 1978 P150X.

Edicola 1:18 diecast from China

AC 041 1999150 PX, a few subtle differences from illustration 4 – horn cover and badge at the top of the apron.

Ellegi 1:6 plastic from Italy

1978 200PX, this is the remote control version with the batteries in the hand control and driven stabiliser wheels under the footboards.

Imai 1:12 plastic kit from Japan

B958, 1978 P200E

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Promotional Planes – Part Three

By Fabrizio Panico


Three more models from Premier Planes, British liveries for all of them.

Plastic snap-fit model airplanes have been a long time favourite promotional item of the airline and aircraft manufacturing industries, usually to 1/200 or 1/250 scale, made in China and quite easy to assemble quickly. They come with fully printed airline liveries and with a stand to display them. You can found them at Airport Retail Shops, On-Board In-flight Duty Free Catalogs, Airline Company Stores, Airline Marketing/Promotion Departments.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-400 (1/250 scale by Premier Planes)

The Virgin airline was established in 1984 as British Atlantic Airways to fly from London to the Falkland Islands, but the short runway at Port Stanley Airport precluded such an idea. Sold to Richard Branson it changed name and started operating between Gatwick and Newark using a leased 747-200. Today Virgin Atlantic uses a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, being in 2002 the first airline to operate the A340-600. It has recently completed a re-fit of all its 747 fleet.

The current livery dates from 2010, its “Eurowhite” design features purple billboard titles on the fuselage (also on its underside), and red metallic paint for the aircraft’s tail and engines. On aircraft that have winglets, the wingtips are red, with the Virgin logo on the inside facing passengers on board. Near the nose of each aircraft is a pin-up girl, the “Scarlet Lady”, carrying a Union flag, a tongue-in-cheek challenge to BA‘s traditional role as the UK’s flag carrier. The registration number on the model is G-VAST.

Following its introduction in 1969, the Boeing 747 became a major success with airlines and the flying public. As the world’s first wide-body jetliner, the 747 revolutionised air travel: nicknamed “Jumbo Jet”,. Its first first commercial flight was in 1970 and the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years. By March 2017 more than 1500 aircraft had been built, with more cargo variants still on order. The Boeing 747-400 is a major development and the best-selling model of the 747 family. While retaining the four-engine wide-body layout of its predecessors, technological and structural changes produced a more efficient airframe. Its distinguishing features versus preceding 747 models are 6-foot winglets mounted on 6-foot wing tip extensions. It has a cruise speed of up to 920 km/h and a range up to 13,450 km. It entered in service in 1989, and its production ended in 2007 when it was superseded by the improved 747-8.

British Airways Airbus A380 (1/250 scale by Premier Planes)

British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier and the largest airline in the UK, based on fleet size. BA is a founding member of Oneworld, an airline alliance, its main hub is at the London Heathrow Airport.

BA originated in 1974 from the merger of four previous airlines : BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), BEA (British European Airways), Cambrian Airways and Northeast Airlines.


A long-time Boeing customer, in 1998 BA ordered a few Airbus A320 family aircrafts and in 2007 it purchased 12 Airbus A380s and 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, starting its long-haul fleet replacement with the Boeing 777 as the centrepiece.

Its livery went through many different evolutions: the original one was white fuselage with a dark blue underside, blue engine nacelles, a blue speedbird logo (like the BOAC one) near the cockpit, and the tail design representing a quarter of the Union Jack flag with red tail top. In 1984 after some minor colour changes, the speedbird was replaced by a red speedwing, and the red top tail by a blue one with the BA coats of arms. In 1997 BA adopted a new “Speedmarque” on forward fuselage, but the major change was the introduction of tail-fin art (known as “Utopia” or “world image”) representing countries on BA’s route network. Seen as a move away from the traditional British image of the carrier, they were unpopular with many people in the UK. The former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher showed her displeasure at the designs declaring “We fly the British flag, not these awful things.” Virgin Atlantic took advantage of the controversy by applying a Union flag scheme to the front end of its aircraft (to the Scarlet Lady). The model shows a later livery (2011-2014), called “To Fly To Serve Union Flag”, where a crest is added next to titles on the fuselage (white with blue underside), grey wings, blue winglets and engine nacelles. The tail shows one of the old “Utopia” tails (a bit updated), known as “Chatham Dockyard”, initially applied only to the Concorde, a stylised Union flag as flown by Lord Nelson. There is no registration number.

British Airways A380 first service was on August 2013 : it is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner. It is the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft and the upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage. Carbon-fibre is used on key parts of the A380, about 25% of its overall structure is made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. As already seen in part two (Air France A380), its first flight was in 2007 with Singapore Airlines. Its range is 15.700 km and a cruising speed of 900 km/h. Components’ transportation, assembly methods and all airport services had to be modified due to its extra-large dimensions.

Comparing the Premier Planes A380 to the Socatec one (both 1/250) it is easy to find some small differences, but quite visible is the different shape of the wings junction to the fuselage (same could be said for the tail wings). Which is the most correct one ? or are they two different versions? Maybe a  reader knows the answer?

British Airways Boeing 787-8 (1/200 scale by Premier Planes)

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-haul, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. It is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient airliner and is a pioneering one with the use of composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 Dreamliner’s distinguishing features include extensive electrical flight systems, raked wingtips to improve fuel efficiency, and noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles. The airliner’s maiden flight took place at the end of 2009, with the first delivery in 2011 (launch customer All Nippon Airways). The 787 is the first major commercial airplane to have a composite fuselage, composite wings, and uses composites in most other airframe components. Carbon fibre, unlike metal, does not visibly show cracks and fatigue, prompting concerns about the safety risks of widespread use of the material. The rival Airbus A350 uses composite panels on a frame, a more conventional approach, which its contractors regarded as less risky. The aircraft has suffered from several in-service problems, but the most known concerns fires on board related to its lithium-ion batteries. A FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) directive in January 2013 grounded all 787s in the US and other civil aviation authorities followed suit. After a revised battery design the 787 returned to passenger service later in April.

British Airways has ordered a total of 42 Boeing 787 aircraft, the first of which (a 787-8) arrived in 2013, and the first 787-9 (a stretched version) in 2015. With a typical capacity of 214 passengers and a mach 0.89 speed, it enjoys more comfort thanks to increased humidity, low pressurization and larger windows. The windows are interesting as they have no conventional blinds instead an electrochromic dimming system is used so that the windows can pass gradually from completely transparent to completely obscured.

The model’s livery is similar to the one on the BA A380, but it is missing the crest next to titles on the fuselage : it is a 2000-2011 livery, called “Updated Union Flag”, with the UK titling removed from rear of fuselage and the tail flag enlarged and raised higher on the tail compared to the previous livery, the 1999-2000 “Union Flag / Chatham Royal Dockyard” that replaced the unpopular Utopia scheme. There is no registration number.

Premier Planes is a brand of Premier Portfolio International ( ). This company specialises in supplying products to airlines and airports carrying airlines liveries.

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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part Three

By Fabrizio Panico


Three more models from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

In this third part we are back with buses from France and USA, then a new country : Spain, but all of them quite distinctive.

No. 7 (no. 10 in the French collection) GMC 6000 School bus 1989

Since the second half of the 19th century, in many rural areas of the United States and Canada there was clear the need of a transportation system for those students who lived beyond practical walking distance from school. From farm wagons to horse-drawn carriages, switching then to horseless vehicles, upgrading the body design as long as time and requirements advanced, up to 1939 when the design and production of school buses were “standardised” in a set of rules to be adopted by all body manufacturers.

Those standards were then upgraded, but one of them remains a key part of every school bus in North America today : the adoption of a standard paint colour for all school buses, named National School Bus Glossy Yellow, considered easiest to see in dawn and dusk. Another North American icon was born. GMC, the commercial vehicles division of General Motors since 1912, developed from 1940 a series of dedicated chassis for school duty : the baby boom of the 50s validated this choice, the demand from the school districts growing without end. Today almost half a million school buses are in constant use. GMC based the following B-series on its medium-duty trucks series 6000 : a cowled ladder chassis produced in three separate generations; introduced in 1966, the B-series was redesigned in 1984 and 1993. A strong and reliable chassis, with a wide range of engines : gasoline and diesel, and then alternative fuels like LPG (propane) and CNG (compressed natural gas). The body was usually produced by local suppliers, according to the national standards.

Quite an heavy model, metal body and plastic chassis. Dashboard and seats are a bit basic, but the exterior is really beautiful : it well represents the sturdiness of a vehicle found almost in every town of the States. The classic “yellow” livery is beautifully reproduced, rich with tampo printings. There is  nice modelling of all the different mirrors, flashing lights and the swinging (alas not operative) STOP sign on the left side. The front grille is very well represented with the GMC logo behind it.

Licence plates are from Pennsylvania, Loysville School District, oddly an area rich in Amish communities.. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

No. 8 (no. 6 in the French collection) Pegaso Z-403 Monoscocca 1951

Pegaso was a Spanish manufacturer of industrial vehicles and, for a short while, sports cars. Its parent company, ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones S.A.), was created in 1946, based on the nationalization of the Hispano-Suiza Spanish assets, under the direction of automotive engineer Wifred Ricart, of Alfa Romeo fame. ENASA belonged to the state-owned INI (Instituto Nacional de Industria) industrial holding, established in 1941 to promote the development of Spanish industry and economy. INI included a broad range of companies, including SEAT, later on sold to VW. IVECO took over ENASA in 1990, and the Pegaso name disappeared in 1994 after building more than 350,000 vehicles.

The Z-403 Monocasco was a two-level monocoque (chassis-less) coach, fitted with a 125 hp diesel engine asymmetrically mounted amidships, and built between 1951 and 1957. For maximum comfort, independent front-wheel suspension was used, with transverse arms and torsion bars. The Z-403 structure allowed a better use of space, with all the mechanical units located on the underside of the vehicle, isolated from the passenger compartment, allowing great comfort, good weight distribution and high stability. Its structure, which later on inspired the Scenicruiser, was made up of steel profiles covered with steel panels combined with corrugated sheets of light alloy. The roof was made entirely of light alloy. All of them were structurally important parts. Highly though of because of its safety, comfort and passenger amenities, like radio, bar and even a bookcase, 50 vehicles it were produced in Barcelona. Primary customers were Iberia and Aviaco airlines and Atesa tour operator. No survivors are known to exist.

A very interesting model, beautifully reproduced, with many details that add to its value. Metal body and plastic baseplate, with a silver exhaust system. On the baseplate the model is correctly called “Monocasco”, the Spanish word for a monocoque body. The silver and white livery has a red streak along its sides and front. ENASA title and logo on the sides. Two “metal bars” protect the upper deck windscreens from tree branches, whilst the inside luggage racks are well represented. Licence plate says “1950” while the bus is reported being 1951, very likely a manufacturer test plate. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


No. 9 (no. 9 in the French collection) Citroën U55 Currus Cityrama 1955

Creativity, technology. audacity : three words that well represent André Citroën adventure from 1919. A pioneer not only in the automotive field, but also in advertising, sales and even toys, obviously he couldn’t ignore commercial vehicles. The Citroën truck type 55 launched in 1953, remaining in production until 1965, was available with either a petrol or diesel engine inherited from the Type 45. It had a payload in the order of 5 tonnes and was available in three wheelbases and in 2 x 4 and 4 x 4 versions. An economical and robust chassis, with easy maintenance and a straight six petrol engine: the ideal choice for Jean-Louis Dubreuil, the founder of Cityrama, when he decided to modernise its open top bus fleet. For his futurist project the company Currus would build a double-decker bus with stylishly curved, wrap-around windows, like the famous “bateaux-mouches”. Currus was a company founded in 1900, buying and then renaming the old carriage manufacturer Perrotin and Bollinger (Currus is the latin for carriage), and then in 1906 buying Chastel and David, another carriage manufacturer founded in 1805. By becoming their successor Currus could proclaim itself the oldest body maker in France!

Currus had to overcome many technical problems : the structure had to be as light as possible and visibility at a maximum. Steel profiles and panels were used for the body; curved glass was still in its infancy and plexiglass was often used in its place. The roof was transparent, and could be removed so the upper deck could be used for open air touring in the summer months. Two more buses were built in 1957, and the previous one was facelifted to their shape. Later on four more were produced using a chassis by Saviem. They were retired at the end of the 80s.

Wow, this is really quite a strange model, but it well represents the original vehicle. Due to its complicated shape the body is part metal, part plastic, while the chassis is plastic. The silver livery has the Cityrama logo and red and blue accents. Nice details are included like the open top of the upper deck and the green windows to reduce solar radiation. The interior is basic though the driver’s area is a bit more detailed. Correctly the upper deck seats are in rows of two (right side) plus one (left side), but they are of the new simpler type, without the integrated individual speakers. The lower deck seats are arranged in rows of two plus two, but all the pictures showing the older seats have them in rows of two plus one. Is it possible that the new seats allowed an increased capacity? Maybe a reader can answer the question?

The body represents the vehicle after the 1957 “update” with three front grilles to help prevent the radiator overheating in the heavy Parisian traffic. The licence plate is from the Paris department, and is the plate on the first 1955 Cityrama Currus. The frontal “rostrum” sports the “Ville de Paris” shield, with the legendary Isis boat. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

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The Ford in Miniature – Transit 1965 to 1970

By Dave Turner

“Made to your measure from widest choice” – Transit

A detailed model listing and photographs of some of the models described may be found after the text.

If the success of a vehicle can be measured by the number of miniatures made of it, then the humble Ford Transit must rest up there with any exotic Ferrari. Naturally describing them all at once might become tedious as there are so many models and toys of the Transit. So I will divide coverage of the Transits and I will cover vans made after 1970 in a future posting.

It is alarming that for the 30 plus years this ongoing review of miniature Fords has been going, the Transit has not as yet been included. Especially (or maybe because!) since the late 1960s Transits, and few vans of other makes and of various ages, have been the basis on which the writers livelihood has relied.

Launched in the UK in October 1965, the Transit was the result of a directive from Ford HQ in Dearborn that a ‘common van’ should be created for the European market by Ford UK and Ford Germany…. in co-operation with each other! At that time in 1961, Ford UK were selling their forward control Thames 400E van quite successfully, while Ford Germany were selling their FK1000 Taunus van, very similar in outline to the 400E but totally different in detail, and already actually called Transit.

The main features of the new common van was that it should benefit from the better handling of a semi-forward control vehicle while at the same time maximising cargo space. Early experimental layouts were based on the US Econoline van while the idea of having the short nose required for a power unit like a V4 and providing a wider platform than was previously considered acceptable seemed to promise what was desired. Ford Germany had already produced a range of V4 (and V6) engines in 1962, the smallest for their Taunus 12M, while Ford UK were going to retain a bit of individuality by producing their own V4 and V6, their V4 making its debut with the new Transit in October 1965 simultaneously with the Corsair V4 passenger car.

From the start, the range and choices for the new Transit were vast. Two wheelbase lengths were 106” and 118”. On the smaller with a 1.7 litre V4 engine came 12cwt, 17cwt and 22cwt vehicles while the larger came with a 2.0 litre V4 plus twin rear wheels and offered 25cwt, 30 cwt and 35 cwt units. From September 1966 a 290 van arrived, based on the 17cwt chassis cowl, similarly treated the 35 cwt chassis cowl could form the basis of the 390 van while from January 1968 the smaller vehicles had the option of the larger 2.0 litre V4 engine.

With the increase in popularity of diesel propulsion, it was obvious that such a unit should be available in the new Transit. A crafty modification involving a 4” extension to the front panel, providing a distinctive ‘diesel nose’ enabled the Perkins 4/99 4 cyl diesel to be accommodated. From April ’66 this was changed to the Perkins 4/108. Selected customers could specify Fords rapid V6 petrol engine and this special long nose could accommodate the longer V6, and at the same time was ideal for hiding the identity of such a potent vehicle. Bulky but relatively light loads inspired the 100L conversion by Martin Walter, replacing the twin rear wheels on the lwb with singles and at the same time removing the need for the projecting mudguards.

Famously the Transit has come in every form possible, one of the early sales brochures from late 1965 included the initial range of Ford produced examples – the simple van of course and a Combi on all but the 12cwt, featuring bus type side windows as a basis for personnel carrier, caravan or ambulance conversion. Then there were complete buses on the 17,22 and 25 cwt base vehicles having a variety of internal seat layouts. For aftermarket body conversions there were chassis cab, chassis windscreen and chassis cowl options available. The simple choice of doors on the Transit van takes some understanding, like the two front side doors, the second van side door can be hinged or sliding, on one or two sides and with the two hinged rear doors there are no less than 16 door permutations possible. One option was for a lift up tailgate in place of the double rear doors and in Europe this was the more popular choice, the UK preferred hinged rear doors.

From July 1967 the Borg Warner 35 auto box could be specified, while in February 1968 the facia and grille were subtly changed. In October 1969 the 12cwt variant was uprated to 14cwt by upgrading the rear springs and tyres while at the same time the 17cwt was uprated to 18cwt. In November 1969 another small update took place when the front side lights were incorporated into the headlights, resulting in the flashing indicator now being a complete disc of amber.

More fully equipped ‘Custom’ Transits came with extra options such as a heater and better trim and initially can be identified by their plated bumper and white painted grille. In December 1970 some more substantial updates were accompanied by a re-styled front panel, providing a convenient point at which to pause in this first part of the miniature Transit story.

Where to start with the models themselves? abs seems to present an obvious alphabetical launch. This one-time vast range of white metal kits was recorded as producing a Strachan bodied Transit minicoach in MAR 68 (1992) in their 1:76 Streetscene range. this was intended as an item for a diorama, or model railway. As most of the illustrations of real Strachan Transits indicate that they were based on the diesel lwb chassis cowl it has to be assumed that the abs was such an item.

More 1:76 metal kits come from John Day, a list of which have been kindly supplied by Maz Woolley and a caravan was described by Maz in MAR 179.

Still in 1:76 scale, the Best Box van was part of the range of pocket sized diecast toys produced by a company set up around 1960 to employ disabled redundant mine workers in the South Eastern part of Holland. (DAF was another mid ‘60s operation initially employing ex miners.) Their Transit van originally came with opening front doors and lifting tailgate but when the range was re-launched as EFSI in 1971 the Transit had only a functioning tailgate. A variety of liveries have been noted.

Brekina has produced H0 scale (1:87) model vehicles since 1980. Their Mk 1 Transits have been produced with both pre and post 1970 front ends in both van and 9 seater bus form. Like most European based models they invariably feature a lifting tailgate rather than twin rear doors. They also appear in the Faller roadway range of vehicles, modified to follow the magnetic track.

In 2005 Corgi introduced the Mk 1 Transit in their Trackside range, listed as 1:76, the 00 model railway scale, but actually 1:72 when measured. They came in either plain white or as a Post Office van, and for a change on a ready made model they had right hand drive and hinged rear doors! The base is marked simply “Trackside”.

Railway modellers finally got a new 00 gauge Mk 1 in 2015 when Oxford issued their very long wheelbase – no less than a scale 164” – RAC and AA recovery vehicles. In 2016 a swb van joined the range – an excellent little model nicely detailed, down to clearly legible licence plates – GYH 194D – a London issue from 1966.

Smaller still are the N gauge 1:148 scale metal kits from Rod Parker, who apparently made the masters for the John Day 1:76 Transits. These tiny productions were described by Maz Wooley in MAR 238.

The Schuco Piccolo series offers something a little different – their 1:86 scale Mk 1 Transit, like all Piccolo miniatures, is a hefty semi-solid one-piece casting featuring delicate rubber tyres on plated wheels/axles that are rather insecurely crimped to the base of the body. A variety of liveries can be found on these endearing little Transits. The first red coloured issue was a sharper rendition than the Piccolo miniatures had previously been and marked the change from the annual ‘special’ being presented in a wooden box to coming in a red tin.

Going back up to 1:68 scale the Husky Mk1 was described on its base as a Martin Walter Caravan. It bristled with detail while the interior contained everything including the kitchen sink, visible by lifting up the tailgate. From 1970 the Husky name was replaced by the Corgi Junior logo.

The Dinky Toy Transit came along almost alongside the first real Mk1, arriving in 1966 in Kenwood and subsequently Hertz livery. Featuring sliding drivers door, hinged left side door and hinged back doors it featured single rear wheels, so was it intended to depict the 100L Transit? It was also produced in various emergency service guises. A pair of slightly smaller plastic lwb Transits marked only with the familiar “Made in Hong Kong” on the base were obviously taken from the Dinky as so many little details confirm. A van and bus, these both have a flywheel motor on the back axle, plus respectively a ladder and a roof rack but like the Dinky have only single rear wheels. It is known that Mk 1 Transits were included in the Lucky range but they are invariably marked Lucky on their base. A single sheet Lucky Catalogue No 1 shows the van in several forms but no bus.

From Mea in France came a 1:43 resin kit for a swb van and the decals that come with it create a Team Castrol vehicle for Barry Sheene. Leaving them off and you have a nice plain standard van.
Another 1:43 Mark 1 van came from Minichamps along with a 9 seater bus both featuring a rear tailgate rather than hinged doors. The van has also appeared in the Atlas partwork and has “Atlas Verlag’ on the base in place of the Minichamps logo. They are very similar apart from lacking external mirrors and featuring a different badge on the tailgate while the roof is lower at the rear than that on the Minichamps. Also looking very similar is the 9 seater bus from Norev now having the ‘Norev’ name on the base but also noticeable in that like the Atlas issue the roof is lower at the rear than that on the Minichamps bus.

Corgi’s Mk 1 that came in their Vanguards range in 2001 was hailed as a masterpiece at the time and indeed the detailing on the first issue – Post Office Telephones, supports this. Etched wipers and separate plated door handles are among its highlights. Unfortunately, when they issued “The Millionth Transit” Combi the side windows were present only as a decal, on top of which the example to hand has deteriorated terribly since purchase – metal fatigue and peeling paint. On top of that, the actual millionth real Transit was a diesel nosed example! Corgi had already produced an excellent diesel fronted van, albeit retaining the same base with V4 petrol exhaust layout, or V6 petrol. They gave it “Eddie Stobart” livery and reg number JLA 347D – a London 1966 issue. Did Eddie Stobart ever run Mk 1 Transits? Numerous additional liveries have been issued since including a 40th Anniversary example in plain white.

Way out of reach of the average Ford collector, the Premium Classixxs 1:18 scale lwb van lacks nothing in detail and desirability. At close to a couple of hundred pounds each it came in both Ford Motorsport and Porsche Racing livery, those active in the latter sphere will be more likely to have the wherewithal necessary to buy one of these beauties.

All is not lost, a ‘poor mans’ Ford Motorsport Mk 1 came in 1:43 from Spark along with a few other team vehicles. It even features the same registration number as the Premium Classixxs model- TOO 448R, which is itself a mystery as that is a 1976 Essex issue and from long after the first type grille had been modified. Nevertheless it is a nice model and has a delicate looking etched roof rack that is far more robust than it appears. Spark also did a diesel nose lwb van in Firestone livery and it differed from the Ford Motorsport version by not having side doors but depicting twin hinged rear doors rather than a lift-up tailgate. The base did retain the V4 petrol exhaust pattern – or was it a V6 engine inside that diesel nose?

More motorsport Mk 1s have been produced in 1:46 by Ixo, appearing under a variety of umbrellas such as DeAgostini and Eaglemoss. The Ford/Castrol issue depicts the lwb single rear wheel 100L type. From DeAgostini it was accompanied by a Mk11 rally Escort on a trailer, despite the absence of any means of attaching the trailer to the rear of the van. This Transit carries licence number JVX 316V, again from Essex but this time from 1979. The ‘Michelin’ Mk 1 from Altaya has single rear wheels but they are back to front, like the outer on a twin wheel set up. At least the licence plate on this is correct datewise, AEH 953H – Stoke-on-Trent 1969. A red Mk1 from Ixo comes in Porsche Racing colours from Eaglemoss.

The German Mini-Auto operation used the brand names R.W. Modell and subsequently Ziss and finally Euro-Modell from the 1960s to around 1980. Their Mark 1 Transit swb van and Kombi were marked 1:43 on their base but were much closer to 1:40 and featured a sliding drivers door and opening tailgate. The van in this collection appears to be a promo as it features decals for “Modelisme automobile international” as well as circular silver stickers on the doors “Mini-Auto-Club”.

It was natural for the German diecast makers to join in during the early years of the Transit as they were just as involved making the real thing as the UK was. The Siku range included a Mk1 lwb mini-bus as early as 1967, featuring an excellent plastic insert grille, opening front doors and rear tailgate but lacking any seats behind those at the front as well as having those rather narrow track axles so typical of early Siku.

On the ball in the UK, Lone Star issued a Mk 1 recovery truck around the same time in their Impy Road Masters series. This depicts a lwb van that has been cut down to accommodate the crane, retaining the rear lights and quarter bumpers.

A white pot money box in the shape of a diesel Transit van found some years ago at a local garden centre is labelled “Van Blanc” on its sides and was possibly blown-up from the Vanguards diesel van.

Model Listing

Ford Transit 1965-1970
abs UK 1990s Strachan bodied mini coach 1:76 metal kit
Best Box Holland 1960s 2522 swb van 59mm 1:76 diecast
Efsi Holland 1970s 411 swb van (Best Box) 59mm 1:76 diecast
Brekina Germany 2003 34000 swb van 50mm 1:87 plastic
Brekina Germany 2003 34100 swb 9 seater bus 50mm 1:87 plastic
Husky UK 1968/9 40 swb Martin Walter caravan 65mm 1:68 diecast
Corgi Junior UK 1970/1 40 swb Martin Walter caravan 65mm 1:68 diecast
Corgi Trackside China 2005 DG2000000 swb van 61mm 1:72 diecast
Corgi Trackside China 2005 DG2000001 swb van Post Office 61mm 1:72 diecast
John Day UK TRV01 swb crew bus 55mm 1:79 metal kit
John Day UK TRV02 swb caravan 55mm 1:79 metal kit
John Day UK TRV03 swb van 55mm 1:79 metal kit
John Day UK TRV04 lwb diesel bus 65mm 1:79 metal kit
John Day UK TRV05 swb dropside truck 1:76 metal kit
John Day UK TRV06 lwb diesel dropside 1:76 metal kit
John Day UK TRV07 lwb diesel van 65mm 1:79 metal kit
John Day UK TRV08 lwb mini bus 65mm 1:79 metal kit
Dinky Toys UK 1966-74 407 lwb van Kenwood/Hertz 124mm 1:42 diecast
Lucky? Hong Kong 3002 lwb van  (Dinky copy) 110mm 1:47 plastic
Lucky? Hong Kong 3002 lwb bus             “ 110mm 1:47 plastic
Lone Star UK 1967 31 lwb Breakdown Crane 82mm 1:59 diecast
Mea France 18 swb van Team Castrol 102mm 1:43 resin kit
Minichamps China 2004-7 82260 swb van 104mm 1:43 diecast
Minichamps China 2004-7 82210 swb  9 seater bus 104mm 1:43 diecast
Atlas China swb van  (Minichamps) 104mm 1:43 diecast
Norev China 2007 270526 swb 9 seater bus 104mm 1:43 diecast
Oxford China 2015 76FTB001 vlwb RAC recovery 93mm 1:76 diecast
Oxford China 2016 76FT1001 swb van 58mm 1:76 diecast
Rod Parker UK NG 11 swb van 1:148 metal kit
Premium Classixxs China 2009 PRE 30060 lwb van Porsche Racing 1:18 resin
Premium Classixxs China 2015 PCL 30061 lwb van Ford Motorsport 1:18 resin
IXO China 2015 CLC 285 lwb Porsche Racing 1:43 resin
IXO/De Agostini China 2017 113mm lwb 100L Castrol Ford 1:46 resin
IXO/Altaya China lwb 100L Michelin 113mm 1:46 resin
R W Modell/Ziss Germany 1970s 400 swb Kombi 109mm 1:40 diecast
R W Modell/Ziss Germany 1970s 401 swb van 109mm 1:40 diecast
Schuco China 2005 05852 swb van 51mm 1:86 metal
Siku Germany 1967 268 lwb bus 85mm 1:61 diecast
Spark China SO275 lwb diesel van ‘Firestone’ 121mm 1:43 resin
Spark China SO291 lwb van ‘Ford Motorsport’ 118mm 1:43 resin
Spark China SO293 lwb van ‘Castrol’ 118mm 1:43 resin
Vanguards China 2001 6600 swb van 102mm 1:43 diecast
Vanguards China 6613 swb  Combi 102mm 1:43 diecast
Vanguards China 2001 6603 swb diesel van ‘Eddie Stobart’ 104mm 1:43 diecast
Unknown diesel van  “Van Blanc” money box 210mm 1:24 pot

Illustrations: Ford Transit 1965-70

1.Unknown 1:47 plastic from Hong Kong: lwb bus

2. Husky 1:68 diecast from UK: 40, swb Martin Walter Caravan.

3. Siku 1:61 diecast from Germany: 268, lwb bus.

4. R W Modell 1:40 diecast from Germany: 401 swb van ‘modelisme automobile international Mini Auto Club’

5. Lone Star Impy Road Master 1:59 diecast from UK: 31, lwb cutdown van with breakdown crane.

6. Dinky Toy 1:42 diecast from UK: 287, 100L Police Accident Unit – police fittings removed and converted into a civilian van.

7. IXO/Altaya 1:46 resin from China: lwb 100L Michelin, single rear wheels back to front.

8. IXO/De Agostini 1:46 resin from China: lwb 100L Castrol/Ford.

9. Minichamps 1:43 diecast from China: 82260, swb van.

10. Vanguards 1:43 diecast from China: 6603, swb diesel van ‘Eddie Stobart’

11. R W Modell 1:40 diecast from Germany: 401, swb van.

12. Minichamps 1:43 diecast from China: 82210, swb 9 seater bus.

13. Spark 1:43 resin from China: SO291, lwb van ‘Ford Motorsport’

14. Vanguards 1;43 diecast from China: 6613, swb Combi ‘One Millionth Transit’ with badly fatigued body.

15. Minichamps/Atlas 1:43 diecast from China: swb. van ‘Mann Filter’

16. Vanguards 1:43 diecast from China: 6600, swb. van ‘Post Office Telephones’

17. Unknown 1:47 plastic from Hong Kong: lwb van.

18. Oxford 1:76 diecast from China: 76FTB001, (very)lwb recovery truck ‘RAC’

19. Efsi 1:76 diecast from Holland: 411, swb van ‘Aer Lingus’

20. Schuco Piccolo 1:61 metal from Germany: 05852, 2005 Special swb van.

21. Brekina 1:87 plastic from Germany: 34100, swb 9 seater bus.

22. Oxford 1:76 diecast from China : 76FT1001, swb van.

23. Corgi Trackside 1:72 diecast from China: DG2000000, swb van.

24. Spark 1:43 resin from China: SO275, lwb diesel van ‘Firestone’

25. Unknown 1:24 pot money box: diesel ‘Van Blanc’

26. Corgi Junior 1:68 diecast from UK: 40, swb Martin Walter caravan, interior view of a ‘well played with’ example.

27. Norev 1:43 diecast from China:270526, swb 9 seater bus ‘Ford Old Timer Motor Sport Club’

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Editorial – May 2017

Here at MAR Online we try to cover a wide selection of modelling subjects, but we depend upon contributions from collectors in those fields where the editors and regular contributors have little or no expertise. We particularly welcome submissions from collectors of specialist themes; racing cars, emergency vehicles, buses, trucks, diecast aircraft, agricultural equipment or even ships, to broaden our coverage here. Readers will welcome articles on these topics and any other specialist areas. We are happy to edit any submissions for you; a few photographs and some jotted notes can often be turned into an interesting article.

Popularity of 1:18 scale models is on the rise, with new manufacturers entering the market, as well as the revival of interest in older names like Bburago. The level of competition has meant a steady increase in the quality of models to this scale to the point where some modestly-priced models are as good as exhibition pieces.

1:24 and 1:32 scales also offer popular subjects at budget prices, and are pushing for collectors’ attention, where once they were clumsy models found in seaside tourist shops. Will the perceived value for money of these larger models encourage even further growth in this sector of the hobby?

In 1:76 scale I see that Northcord, having been rescued out of bankruptcy, will be producing models of British buses again in 1:76 scale, perhaps a timely re-entry into the marketplace, as Corgi Original Omnibus are releasing few new models this year, Bachmann are still absorbing EFE, and Oxford’s entry into this market is still developing.

I was browsing a table full of toy cars in a market recently where I noticed several Morris Minor models, the type of 1:32 scale models that have been sold in gift shops for quite some time and which many people have bought as they are cheap and cheerful. Looking closer I wondered if they had been re-painted. Then I noticed that the problem was cracks in the original paint, and what looked to me like bad metal fatigue (intergranular corrosion), something I have not seen on a new product for some time. So in addition to worrying if photo-etched parts are falling off your models in storage, and tyres being compressed to flat spots, metal fatigue is also back on the list of concerns.

You may have already seen elsewhere in MAR Online that this year’s US-based Diecast Hall of Fame event will be held in November this year and that they are looking for collectors to vote for their favourite models. We at MAR Online would be interested to hear your views on models that you think are really good, or which on the other hand you feel fall well short of the standard expected.

Following our recent requests for contributions to our web site hosting costs one reader send us a generous donation and you will see his name on our Charter Subscribers Hall of Fame page. We still need more contributions to reach the full cost, so please consider a donation to MAR Online to help fund our web hosting and domain name registry fees. Your contribution can be sent via Paypal to the editor, maronlineeditor @, or you can pay by a UK cheque in the post – please email the editor to be notified of the postal address.

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