Book Review – Wiking Autodreams

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

0006 45 Wiking-Autoträume (Wiking-Autodreams)



The press officer for Sieper-Wiking has published a new book to coincide with the 85th anniversary of the Wiking company. It provides the reader with a lot of new information about the life of Friedrich Peltzer, the founder of Wiking.

The company started making model ships, then aircraft and transport models to a scale of 1:200. These were mainly used in the training of soldiers and operators of anti-aircraft installations. Amidst the ruins after the Second World war the factory turned to the production of buttons and combs. In 1948 the first model cars to a scale of  1:100 appeared.

Special chapters cover the work of a Danish model builder and collector. In particular his miniature village and collection of wire-axle models. This is followed by description of more events in Friedrich Peltzer´s life, and a focus on the work of the master model maker Alfred Kedzierski. Using words and photographs, the production of Wiking models in the old Villa “Unter den Eichen 101” in West-Berlin described and shown.

The connections to Dutch, Danish and Swedish manufacturers are also explored in the book. An interesting fact is that the instruction book issued at the time of the change from driving on the right hand side of the road to the left in Sweden in 1967 was illustrated with Wiking models. Connections to the Volkswagen organisation are not left out as Peltzer manufactured a lot of advertising models for them in 1:87 and 1:40 scales.

This book is a must for all collectors of Wiking Models.

“Wiking Autoträume”, Ulrich Biene, written in German. 168 pages, with more then 600 colour- and black/white photographs and valuable reprints. Size 2855 x 265 mm. Hardcover with dust jacket.

This book should be available from model shops and book shops in Germany, and some other European countries.

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The Ford in Miniature – F150 2004-2008

By Dave Turner

“Consider the Ante Upped” – F150 2004-2008

Photographs and illustrations of some of the models discussed can be found at the end of the article.

This was the eleventh generation of F150, and as such it was moving a little closer in appearance to its big brother the ‘Super Duty’ F250/350 and this was with the intention of giving the F150 a bit more of a rugged character. The nose was a little more ‘thrusting’, the box a couple of inches deeper and the cabs 6” longer. The previous generation of F150 (1997-2003) was covered in MAR 231/2/3 in 2009.

Completely re-engineered the 2004 F150 was 50% stiffer than before with uprated suspension and brakes while more effort was put into rust resistance in the materials and protection. It was voted Truck of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.

As with most US vehicles in this period there was such a vast choice of models, layouts and fittings that hardly any two F150s could be identical, despite them being the best selling vehicle in the US for many years. For example there were three types of cab – the Regular, the Supercab and the Supercrew. All had four doors but the Supercrew rear doors had their own exterior handle and could be opened independently of the front doors. There were three lengths of box 5’6”, 6’6” and 8’ and these came as Styleside or Flareside while there were no less than four wheelbase choices – 126”, 132” 144” and 163”. For 2004 all the engines were V8s – a 4.6 litre and an optional 5.4.

Five models lined up for ’04, starting with the XL then the STX – identified by its colour coded bumpers and featuring more sophisticated in-car entertainment. Next was the XLT with yet more luxurious features, including the option of the Supercrew cab, not available on XL or STX. The FX4 Off Road version came equipped to deal with rough use complete with skid plates to protect the underside. Top of the tree for ’04 was the Lariat with full leather trim and imitation wood panelling.

For 2005 a 4.2 litre in-line six was added to the engine choices while an even more up-market offering came in the form of the King Ranch complete with Castano leather trim and the Triton 5.4 300hp V8 as standard. Total ’05 F Series production was 939,000, a record year for the series.

A further special edition came for the 2006 year, the Harley Davidson, with 22” wheels and a ‘tuned exhaust’ – no doubt to satisfy the motor cycle senses, while 2007 saw the arrival of the FX2 Sports Special Equipment package.

For 2008, the 60th Anniversary of the Ford F series, a special 60th Anniversary Edition was produced while the XL and STX were finally available with the Supercrew cab. The Harley Davidson version became the 105th Anniversary model while yet another lavishly equipped truck came as the Limited – just 5,000 of which were produced.

As is often the case, the vast majority of the models depict the first year of the series, no doubt all produced during the real vehicles production. This was approaching the end of a period during which some superb 1:18 models were affordable, more recently their detail has been cut back in order to make them viable. However a close look at the Beanstalk ’04 FX4 illustrates the point, everything opens neatly, interior detail is stunning while beneath the hood and the underside lacks very little. If the FX4 skid plates had been included all the running gear detail would have been obscured.
There are of course several smaller F150s at the budget end of the spectrum such as the 1:31 FX4 from Showcast and the 1:24 ’04 Supercab from Superior/Sunnyside. Maisto did a 1:18 ’06 Lariat plus a smaller 1:24 FX4, both in Supercab form while for the kids to play with they also did a 1:48 XL with regular cab, the pull-back motor on the rear axle forcing the box floor to be very high. The base is marked 1:50.

Smaller toys came from Ertl, Matchbox and the inevitable unidentified item from China. The latter is a quite acceptable Styleside Supercab with the usual whizzwheels, possibly derived from the Ertl while the Matchbox depicts a concept SVT Lightning with Flareside box, at least the real thing did exist.

Model Listing – Ford F150 2004-2008.

Action China 16007 2006 Supercab
Beanstalk China 10027 2004 FX4  Supercab Flareside 6’6” box 321mm 1:18 diecast
Ertl China 33840 2004 Supercab Styleside 1:64 diecast
Maisto China 31248 2004 FX4  Supercab Flareside 1:31 diecast
Maisto China 2004 XL Regular cab Styleside 6”6”box 113mm 1:47 diecast
Maisto China 36128 2006 Lariat Supercab Styleside 1:18 diecast
Matchbox China 663 2004 SVT Lightning concept regular cab  Flareside 6’6” 75mm 1:72 diecast
Showcast 34248 2004 FX4  Supercab Flareside 188mm 1:31 diecast
Superior/Sunnyside 9607D 2004 Supercab Flareside 241mm 1:24 diecast
Unknown China L9844 2004 Supercab Styleside 5’6”box 74mm 1:73 diecast

Illustrations: Ford F150 2004-2008.


Beanstalk 1:18 diecast from China: 10027, 2004 FX4 Supercab with Flareside box.

Maisto 1:31 diecast from China: 31248, 2004 FX4 Supercab with Flareside box.

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 36128, 2006 Lariat Supercab with Styleside box.

Matchbox 1:72 diecast from China: 663, 2004 SVT Lightning concept Regular cab and Flareside box.

Showcast 1:31 diecast: 34248, 2004 FX4 Supercab with Flareside box.

Superior 1:14 diecast: 9607D, 2004 Supercab with Flareside box.


Unknown 1:73 diecast from China: L9844: 2004 Supercab with Styleside box.

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The ZIU-683 Articulated Trolleybus in 1/43 Scale

By John-William Greenbaum

Although uncommon in the United States, perhaps you’ve gone to Canada (or the former East Bloc, France, UK, Greece, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, or Mexico City) and noticed that, in certain cities, the buses will run not off diesel fuel, gasoline, or compressed natural gas, but rather via electricity from overhead lines collected via two pantographs on top of the bus. These type of vehicles are called trolleybuses, and perhaps their largest use has been in the East Bloc.

Start Scale Models has made this 1/43 Russian trolleybus in Russia!  On this model, the pantographs are shown in the down position, not touching electrical wires from which they would ordinarily draw electric current.

This one, which took eight solid years to design, began life as the ZIU-10 and ultimately entered production in 1986 as the ZIU-683 Articulated Trolleybus. At the time it was released, it was the longest trolleybus in the world. Indeed, it could carry 164 people! Designed at the Zavod Imeini Uritskogo (“Factory Named for [Moisei] Uritskiy” as the ZIU-10 in 1978, the factory was located in Saratov and is currently known as “Trolza”.

Despite its enormous length, three axles, and flexible rear portion, like most Soviet trolleybuses, the ZIU-683 was specifically designed not only to function more or less like a typical city bus, but also to look like one. For example, it has the headlights, turn signals, rear lights, and even front fascia typical of a Soviet city bus.  Many features were also copied from West German MAN buses, such as the axles. It also featured a pneumatic suspension system that lacked springs, making for a much more comfortable ride.

An arguable issue was the trolleybus’s triple braking system: electric, pneumatic, and mechanical. Although this made it possible to stop runaway trolleybuses under almost any circumstances, it was also extremely complex and somewhat difficult to service. Still, it’s generally seen as worth the hassle. Indeed, it’s still featured on the currently-manufactured ZIU-6205/TrolZa-6205-series trolleybus, which is still common in Russia.

You might be wondering something: how do you store a ZIU-683 away from overhead lines? The answer is actually quite simple. See those two hooks on the front of the trolleybus? Just take a truck, hook two chains up to it, and pull. Although production only lasted from 1986-2002, surprisingly large amounts of ZIU-683’s were manufactured. So great was the number manufactured, in fact, that not only do many survive as museum pieces, but there are even examples in regular passenger service to this day!

To solve the issue of the electric doors (in an electric bus!) not working after a crash, virtually all have been refitted with pneumatic doors, and examples in production after about 1989 actually did receive them from the factory. Further, exportation of the design has flourished. Although the variants are in some cases radically different, the ZIU-682 series was exported to Yugoslavia, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Argentina, and Bulgaria. All in all, despite its defects and extreme complexity, the ZIU-683 Trolleybus was and is generally a well-liked vehicle that was surprisingly reliable given the nature of Soviet vehicles in general.

ZIU-683 Articulated Trolleybus
Model by Start Scale Models, w/ operating pantographs 
Figure by Replicars
Years Built: 1986-2002
Engine: 170 Kilowatt (228 HP) Electric Traction Motor
Fuel Type: Electricity (Direct Current) collected,  via Twin Overhead Pantographs
Top Speed: 43.5 mph

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Atlas Germany – Ambulance Collection Part 2

By Hans-Georg Schmitt


The third model in this new range of Ambulances from Atlas to a scale of 1:43 has now been sent to subscribers.  Part 1 shows the first two models in this new range.

7 495 103 EMW 340/4 Sanitätskraftwagen (Ambulance car)

BMW presented the model 326 at the International Car and Motorcycle Exhibition in Berlin 1936. This mid-range car was manufactured in their plant at Eisenach in Thuringia. After end of the Second World War the Eisenach BMW plant found itself in the Soviet occupied part of the former Third Reich.

Under Soviet control and supervision the the newly founded state  Avtovelo company developed a new car based on the BMW 326, This was named the BMW 340 ,and after a lost lawsuit in 1952 it was renamed the EMW 340. An estate car was created based upon the saloon car, and this was in turn converted into an Ambulance.

The EMW 340 was powered by a six cylinder petrol engine developing 57 hp with a four speed gearbox providing drive to the rear wheels. In all just over 21,000 BMW/EMW 340s of all kinds were built between 1949 and 1955.

The model is very accurately shaped. It has already issued in the model series “Commercial vehicles of the former DDR”. That version was painted a slightly more ivory colour and was rather more detailed than this issue. Here it is in beige, and with less detail presumably to reduce manufacturing costs. The red and white emblems on the hub caps are missing, the front indicator lights are now only printed and not separate plastic mouldings. The base moulding is fairly basic.

Not only has the model been made to a lower specification but quality control problems at the maker are obvious. The windscreen wipers were not properly attached and one side window was broken.  However, the signal flag was better fixed than on the previous version of this casting.

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Editorial June 2017

Models announced for 2017 are now reaching buyers, many of them at significantly increased prices. In the UK many resin 1:43 ranges are now around the £100 mark which makes them seem very expensive compared with similar products this time last year. In Europe they are now consistently at the 100 Euro mark. 1:18 scale resin prices are racing away in a similar manner. Even the diecast makers have generally increased their prices significantly. What will be the effect of this on collectors with a limited amount to spend on models?

Even subscription and partworks need to look at their business model. Prices which have generally been maintained at a similar level for some time will need to increase to maintain profit margins, but will the number of collectors therefore decline? We have already seen Atlas and DeAgostini test-market products in the UK that have never appeared as a series, and Atlas have terminated some German series after very few parts had been issued.

News of resin models losing small photo-etched parts in storage or trim becoming unglued for part of its length is now routine, but eBay auctions are also highlighting collectors’ models where white sidewalls are going yellow and the tyres are hardening and cracking. This is a common experience, applying in particular to models left on show for extended periods of time.

This is a recurring problem, reported since the earliest days of models for collectors: vinyl tyres soften in the warmth of direct sunlight or even central heating, gradually crushing under the weight of a heavy white metal model. There is no answer, other than to place supports under the baseplate (a piece of balsa wood works well) to take the weight off the tyres. Other kinds of plastic used for tyres suffer the opposite problem, hardening and breaking down. They eventually crumble, but leave fragments bonded to the hubs. This phenomenon goes back many decades, to early rubber tyres used on Dinky Toys. We can excuse early manufacturers, who did not know how the chemical composition of tyres can react over time (and indeed they made toys with a fairly short expected lifespan), but there is no excuse for companies using unsuitable materials today, particularly for models intended to be kept as collectors’ items. Everyone remembers the experience with Solido and other models using early plastic hubs which, when warm, reacted with the different plastic used for the tyres, leaving a sticky mess. Similarly, whitewalls can yellow when exposed to light or warmth for a prolonged period, if an unsuitable type of plastic is used. If you compare a model on display with another kept in its box, you can see the difference. Photo-etched metal parts are produced in flat sheets and are very ‘springy’. If they are attached to a curved surface they will always try to spring back to a flat form, so when adhesive breaks down, that is what they do – there is no permanent solution. If you have to re-glue photo-etched trim, use PVA adhesive which dries clear, and hold the item in place until the adhesive is fully set, but be prepared to do it again in future, when the glue breaks down again.

Readers will have seen Karl’s article on the US-based Diecast Hall of Fame awards. MAR Online has been invited to help evaluate the shortlists. Karl, as our American Editor, will be taking on this task. It will be interesting to see the results later this year, as they will give us a valuable insight into American views on diecast collecting.