Polish Ice Cream Truck, a 1:43 Conversion

By John-William Greenbaum

Here’s a decidedly post-communist truck converted from a communist-era design: the ZUK A-11B Pickup Truck (a 1/43 Polish partworks truck made by Ixo), as converted into an ice cream truck for Lodmor, a manufacturer of ice cream, sorbet, and yogurt in Gdansk!  This model truck was for sale in Poland and converted by some unknown person.

The Plasticville figure was actually part of the conversion in the rear suite, but came loose in transit. I’ve since reattached her using that guaranteed-to-work method: double-sided tape!

The ZUK A-11B was a pretty popular pickup truck in Poland more or less throughout the seventies and eighties, actually surviving communism to be manufactured in the nineties, albeit not in huge numbers. However, so many were in service and parts were so inexpensive that you could indeed convert these trucks into commercial vehicles like rent-a-trucks or indeed ice cream trucks that generally speaking weren’t crucial to Polish infrastructure.

Given the amount of French and German ice cream trucks made in a similar manner that are still on the streets manufactured in the seventies and eighties, I’d honestly not be surprised if one could walk around Gdansk and find one of these driving around.  In fact I found photos of one in-service and one not.

Remarks on the Real Truck

The last of the FSC ZUK pickup trucks, the ZUK A-11B, was probably the most successful of any of them. Based externally on the 1966-vintage ZUK A-14 Export Fire Truck that essentially inspired all post-1966 ZUK vehicles, it could best be seen as the successor to the ZUK A-03 pickup, which was the very first of FSC ZUK’s pickup trucks. As with the boxy A-03 it was meant to replace, the original ZUK A-11, which was introduced in 1968, made extensive use of corrugated steel in the construction of the cab. The most noticeable improvement was a hood that flipped up easily.

Although somewhat problematic due to an incredibly high center of gravity that saw the pickups often literally tip over onto their sides, it was all in all an improvement over the ZUK A-03 in the reliability department. Although handling could best be described as awful, the ZUK A-11 did at the very least receive a responsive steering wheel so as to try and prevent as many trucks from tipping onto their sides as possible. It did, however, have two glaring problems. First among these was that the engine design was still the old GAZ-M20 Pobeda engine. Worse, however, was that the truck used a wooden cargo bed that often dry-rotted and had all kinds of problems with cracking and damage.

In 1973, the vehicle received a new, more powerful engine, being renamed the ZUK A-11M. However, the problem with the wooden cargo bed proved rather serious. In 1975, the ZUK A-11M was withdrawn from production in favor of the ZUK A-11B that you see featured here.  In 1998, the ZUK A-11B had the honor of being the very last truck to roll off FSC ZUK’s assembly line before then factory  was closed for good. Many stayed in service for years afterward in all kinds of jobs.

Fir this example, the cargo bed has been removed and replaced by a nineties-era ice cream truck suite! Lodmor is still a manufacturer of ice cream in Gdansk, and that’s the corporate sponsor that this particular A-11B ice cream truck has. Note the folding side window and refrigeration unit as well, which are probably licensed copies of features found on German or French ice cream trucks. A truck like this probably would have remained in service well into the twenty-first century, as there was absolutely no need to replace it with something technologically superior. Heck, I’m willing to bet there are is more than one of these still driving around, given the presence of Renaults from the sixties in France, old Mercedes-Benz O-series trucks in Germany, old Leylands driving around Britain, and seventies Dodge trucks driving around here in the US.

Given how successful  a late 1960’s design was doing in the 1990’s, one is forced to wonder just how well it could have done had FSC ZUK’s  communist bureaucrats not nearly destroyed the design during the 1980’s (updated the flaws with the wooden cargo bed, etc).

ZUK A-11B Lodmor Ice Cream Truck Conversion 
Poland, 1:43 Model by Ixo, modified by unknown
Figure by Plasticville, painted and modified
Years Built: 1975-1998
Engine: 70 HP 4-cylinder four-stroke
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Top Speed: 63 mph

More details about the real 1:1 scale ZUK  A-11B can be seen on the author’s Facebook page.

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Siku Claas Xerion with Slurry Tanker

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by the Author.

Most UK collectors will be familiar with the Siku displays that can be found in toy shops and garden centres around the land. These displays usually consist of the models that are sold in their fit in the box Super range. From cars to tractors, airplanes and motorbikes in a variety of scales.

To accompany that they have some more specialist ranges, in particular the Siku Farmer range which has 1:32 and 1:87 series. Siku is part of the Sieper Group, which also owns Wiking, and its Siku branded models are diecast in China.

This post looks at one of the current Siku Farmer 1:87 range which are nicely made though to a slightly lower level of detail than Wiking Plastic models. The cabs of the 1:87 tractors can be lifted off and could have drivers fitted if ones to fit could be found.

1827 Claas Xerion with Slurry Tanker

The Claas Xerion tractor is a large and impressive one. Powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine with large wheels front and back it is at the top of the Claas range of tractors.

The slurry it tows is fitted with tubes to connect it to the slurry tanks and the huge spray arms that fold out either side.

The arms are excellent and include a lot of moulded detail and even tubing to connect the spraying arms to the tanker.

Although 1:87 scale the model is large and very impressive especially for a budget range.

I hope to cover some more models from this range in the future as they portray the modern agricultural scene very well and are much easier to store and display than the more common 1:32 scale Agricultural models.

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Intergranular Corrosion

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by the Author of a model in Dave Turner’s collection of Fords in MIniature.

Integranular corrosion is better known to collectors as “metal fatigue” or “zinc pest”. The alloys used for diecast models (Mazak/Zamak) should be stable and models should remain fine for years unless impurities exist in the alloys. Many of us became aware of this phenomenon when collectors of early Dinky models watched their models disintegrating before their eyes. Since when the same has been seen in other ranges with pictures of broken and fatigued Saratov produced USSR models featuring on some bulletin boards for example.

Many collectors, including me, had believed that modern mainstream die casters quality control was a guarantee that such problems would not arise. But it isn’t true. The pictures below are of a Corgi model which is gradually failing but Corgi are not the only people whose models have issues, and the failure of the model below should not be taken as an indication that your stored Corgi models are any more at risk than other makes.

The Millionth Transit was a popular release from Corgi but as can be seen from the photographs below this one it is suffering so badly from the corrosion that the sides are bowing out and the bonnet and roof are wrinkled.

Things are a little complicated by the fact that it appears that poor preparation or paint issues by some makers may cause the paint to lift and craze whilst the casting below is still actually in good condition. However, as the pictures above show when the metal starts to fail the surfaces become “wavy” which means that it is not just a problem with paint.

Many collectors, myself included, have models stored in boxes. It may be worth your while looking over models that you have not looked at in a while to check that they are all OK. If you should find models with Intergranular corrosion please let us know by email or facebook or via the contact form on the website. It would be interesting to see pictures and perhaps do a round up of the wider experience of collectors at a later date.

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Matrix 1:18 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Matrix.

Matrix latest announcement is of a 1:18 scale 1953 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe styled by Vignale. This model is being released in two colour schemes. The 212 replaced the 166 and 195 models and was again a car that could be used to race or use on the road. As was typical various Italian stylist produced bodies for this car.

The photographs show that this model has been very finely made with wire wheels that look like real ones!

MXL0604-011 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe Vignale red / black 1953

MXL0604-012 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe Vignale black / metallic green 1953

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A Pair of Old Corgi Race Cars

By Harvey Goranson

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. Click on them to enlarge.

Every once in a while I stumble across an old diecast or two that I missed out on back in the days before anyone conceived of 1:43 white metal and resin. For some time now I have wanted earlier versions of my Corgi Toys 150S Vanwall and 152S BRM Formula 1 racers (the ‘S’ denoting suspension), since the red and turquoise colors are basically horrid.

Recently I spotted more proper early green versions at a UK auction site and won them. I also tried for an early Lotus 11 in silver but missed out on the hat trick. These original castings have no suspension, nor are driver figures supplied. Boxes were stained, worn, and marked on, but complete.  My new acquisitions are pictured below on the right.

Corgi 150 represents the Type VW 5 from 1957. Some were even made as Sir Stirling Moss’s winning car from the European GP at Aintree that year, with white No. 20 on nose and sides.

Per Marcel Van Cleemput’s tome, The Great Book of Corgi, No. 150 was introduced in July 1957; 317,000 were made before withdrawal in 1961.

Corgi 152 is the BRM P25, 195,000 of which were made from 1958 to 1961.

The BRM’s Green may be more of a “David Piper” green than BRG, but still better than the later 152S.

Moss almost won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1958, but Vanwall grabbed the constructors’ championship. This might explain why more Corgi 150s were sold compared to 152. And why Dinky, Solido, and even Crescent wanted one for their ranges.

In September of 1961 the garish suspended versions appeared, with Corgi attempting to get more life out of the castings before kids caught on to the fact that front-engined F1 cars were becoming as extinct as dinosaurs. Corgi’s designers were probably already then working on No. 154, the rear-engine Ferrari 156.

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A look at some US 1:64 models

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

My collection of US 1:64 scale models has grown recently. As these are generally not imported into the UK I have to rely on my collecting buddy to obtain them for me in the US and Canada. All the models shown are from “premium” 1:64 makers and cost considerably more than models from Mattel and Matchbox. In return there is much more detail and some excellent subjects.

All the models shown have been diecast to 1:64 scale in China for the USA.

Greenlight 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60

I am told that this model is becoming scarce, particularly in black. It is based upon a car seen briefly in The Godfather a gangster film from 1972.  It is made to 1:64 scale and was sold in a blister pack with a Godfather film theme.

The rear number plate shows the same number as the car in the film, but the front number plate is much too small to match the car in the film whatever is printed.

It was only looking at an advert online for this model that made me realise that the bonnet actually opens. The fit of the bonnet is so fine that one really has to congratulate Greenlight.

The printed chrome is neatly done as is the bonnet mounted emblem and Cadillac scripts.

Looked at from the side one of the models shortcomings becomes apparent. The very slim door posts should all be chromed. The wheels are good with wheel centres correctly printed in red with the Cadillac emblem included.

The base is in unpainted metal and includes quite a bit of engine and powertrain details as well as the ladder chassis.

The front also shows a few issues with the “dagmars” being too large and the black tips not extending back far enough. The Cadillac crest is also printed off centre as shown by its position to the side of the bonnet ornament.

However, this is a budget model and is generally very good so is a nice item to add to my collection. Greenlight also make this model to 1:43 scale.


Greenlight Volkswagen Typ2 Camper

Greenlight have produced several different camper configurations on the VW T2 US Bus. Here it is in “Campground Host” trim with the folding high roof and raised luggage area but with no camping fittings inside just seating for about 10 people.

It is another model in their Club V-DUB range which has no opening parts. It is thought that Greenlight uses a different maker for this range of VW models, probably one making VW models for the European market.

The roof is nicely constructed but the windows in the folding part of the roof are just printed on., though quite effective.

Elsewhere the printed grilles, window slats and lighting are very well done. The wheels are particularly nice with the domed hub caps and VW logo impressed in the middle.

Number plates have not been printed on which is a shame as it makes the rear look a little unfinished. But the US regulation lights on the vehicle sides front and rear are printed on.

The logo for the probably fictitious “River Valley Gorge, Camping and Entertainment” is neatly printed.

The only slight let down is the VW emblem on the front which is just printed and lacks the depth it should have.


1958 GMC Suburban Carrier 4×4

Here we go to M2 Machines Auto-Trucks range. This model is from Release 36. It is of the upmarket 4×4 version of this truck whereas previous appearances in Series 21 were of the plainer Fleet and Small Window versions.

The rear bed is a separate part allowing different types of rear section to be fitted. In series 21 the bodies were step sides and not  the panelled in version used with this model.

The printed GMC badgework on the bonnet is excellent as is the badging on the side of the wings. The grille and lights are impressive especially as the sidelights are actually a separately made and inserted plastic lens. The wheels are neatly painted with chrome centres and large as would be the case for a 4×4.

M2 models generally have many opening parts and here the bonnet and doors all open. The panel gaps are a bit large but better than many 1:64 models.

From the side view we can see the 4×4’s higher ride height.

As can be seen the rear lights are transluscent red and solid white paint on plastic chromed units. These are effective at this scale.  The complicated rear bumpers have been nicely made and the number plate shows the model year.

M2 1959 VW Double Cab Truck USA Model – Camper.

This special model is not part of a normal Auto-thentics VW release. Using the VW T1 double cab seen in release VW004 it has a camper body mounted on the rear of the chassis and a deluxe two-tone paintwork.

The Camper rear is fitted out inside in brown plastic with tables and cupboards visible. The front bumper has the higher export bumpers needed to comply with US bumper height rules. Unfortunately the front bumper droops a little as can be seen above.

Whilst the rear is a custom build it has incorporated the standard VW engine access panel. The lights are a simple printed circle. The whole rear section has been made in plastic whilst the double cab is in metal.

The rear window has “Industrial Speed Shop” printed on to replicate the type of sticker that might have been fitted to the original vehicle.

The large camper body must have been quite a weight to haul for a Type 1 Transporter which only had a 1200cc engine at this point. Indeed in 1959 the engine was uprated with more power but was so troublesome 1959 Volkswagen T1s in the US were recalled and fitted with modified engines.


M2 1959 VW Double Cab Truck USA Model

Making use of the same casting this model is a Walmart special and is a limited edition of over 7,000 models. It has been kept simple and built down to a price as Walmart insist on being able to sell the models for low prices.

The blue colour is that associated with Volkswagen and is neatly painted.

The double cab and pick up bed are separate parts but in this case they are both diecast. Although the drop down panels of the pickup bed are all plastic.

Unlike the Greenlight the M2 Volkswagens have the VW badge moulded into the cab and then overprinted in white. This gives a very realistic finish. The white bumpers are US edition and have rubber strips printed on.

The rear is simple but the drop down panels have been finelly modelled and moulded in plastic. The lights are neat red on silver prints. Looking in the pickup bed one can see that it was designed to be fitted with something and the holes have not even been blanked off – another sign that Walmart model is built down to a price. I expect that this casting will appear with a towing boom, or items fitted into the rear at some point.

These models are just a small cross section of the up-market 1:64 models sold in the US and many more can be seen on the websites of M2 and Greenlight.

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The Ford in Miniature – Thames 400E

By Dave Turner

“The Word’s Most Versatile Light Van”

Photographs and illustrations of some of the models discussed are shown after the text.

After producing the E83W 10 cwt van for no less than 19 years, Ford UK introduced their new 400E Thames van in November 1957. That old E83W featured the 10hp 1172cc side valve Ford engine that was mounted off-centre towards the passenger side allowing the vehicle to have a semi-forward control layout.

As carrying capacity in as short a vehicle as possible became increasingly important the new 400E Ford managed to provide 170 cu. ft. (183 with the passenger seat removed) by simply building the vehicle high enough to locate the 1703cc engine from the MkII Consul low between the seats. Built on a separate chassis the 400E was ideal for having a wide variety of aftermarket commercial bodies mounted behind the cab or even encompassing the drivers compartment while that big 4 cylinder engine was man enough for whatever was asked of it.

Initially Ford produced the plain van and a 8 seater estate car but the latter gave way to a 12 seater bus in September 1958, featuring longitudinal rather than transverse rear seating, although towards the end of 400E production in August 1965 the estate car returned in small numbers. From March 1962 the Perkins 4/99 1621cc diesel engine became an option while from January 1963 the later 1703cc engine from the new Zephyr 4 was fitted together with the option of a four speed gearbox.

400Es came as 10/12cwt or 15cwt capacity and from February 1961 a pick up employing much of the vans lower bodywork appeared. Various coach builders became well-known for their 400E conversions – Martin Walter for example produced the Utilabrake featuring wooden slatted rear seats as well as the Utilabus complying with PSA regulations having a raised roof etc. On the other hand Kenex offered the 12 seat Kenebus and 11 seat Kenecoach with drivers bulkhead in addition to the Kenebrake with upholstered seats and Yeoman with wood slat seating. Another unusual variation was the Powatruc for which a motor driven air compressor was mounted behind the cab, the engine for that being additionally connected to the rear wheels – the regular engine under the floor being omitted.

Very few visual changes can date an example of the 400E, the detail of the Thames badge at the rear was changed in April 1960, the Consul 204E hub caps gave way to the Anglia 105E pattern from December 1961 while the “Thames” badges gave way to “Ford” from March 1965.

As far as models are concerned, there seems to have been a re-awakening of the 400Es existence in the last year or so – Oxford have produced some superb models at realistic prices in two scales while AutoCult’s very nice offerings come at less attractive prices.

Starting with the latter, so far three variations have been recorded – a flatbed, a dropside and a Team Lotus variation on the flatbed. There are many illustrations of these both online and in MAROnline, and from these it would appear that the cab front is a bit flat as well as being too high. Team Lotus had more than one 400E at various times but the example that carried cars was an extensively modified vehicle with a much longer wheelbase than the standard 400E.

Corgi produced 902,000 examples of their Airborne 400E camper conversion between 1962-66. As well as being an excellent rendition of the van itself, the interior of the real camper was replicated in a well detailed plastic moulding, rather than the simple vac-formed interiors that had been the norm until then. Opening rear doors pivoted in prominent top hinges while the elevated roof section was a fixed part of the main casting.

While the Corgi scales out to 1:44, a Hong Kong made plastic copy by TAT/Telsalda works out to be just twice the size at 1:22. This replicates each and every detail on the Corgi, including the big rear door hinges and absence of rear lights, and was featured by John Hanson in MAR 131 (May 1999) In addition to Corgi’s features, the big plastic one comes with flywheel drive on the front axle, a roof section that can be raised and lowered and a set of retractable steps at the rear. The exact same plastic shell was also utilised to create a 12 seat minibus that boasts a completely different interior featuring seats, each with an uncomfortable eye-watering looking central upright spike onto which various seated figures can be located. A removable roof rack allows access to the interior in order to re-arrange the occupants.

Another familiar contemporary diecast came from Dinky Toys who made their 400E between 1963-9, and they chose a flatbed on which a big Atlas/Copco air compressor was mounted. This was not Fords Powatruc but a self contained separate compressor albeit cast in unit with the flatbed of the 400E in this case. Lifting side panels reveal a well detailed control panel and power unit etc. while the cab interior has a basic interior. Like the Corgi the Dinky has a form of suspension in addition to which a primitive form of steering was included. Like the Corgi, the Dinky Toy was copied and the result came in the shape of a dropside truck in which was mounted a working elevated platform. No identifying marks have been found anywhere on this unusual adaptation that scales out to be smaller than the TAT/Telsalda at 1:27.

Often remarked upon is the amazing value for money that Oxford manage to incorporate in their 1:43 models – unfortunately only the 400E and Anglia vans have so far been produced by them in this scale for us fans of the Blue Oval. In view of their value we must accept that the same interior has been provided for both the van and minibus even though some real vans will probably have been fitted out with seats in the rear. Attention to detail goes as far as the post April 1960 “Themes” badge at the rear and Anglia 105E type hub caps. The 1:43 models are correct for 0 Gauge model railways and Oxford have duplicated their 400E van and bus in 1:76 for us 00 Gauge modellers along with some more Ford subjects.

New Zealand was the source of the Fun Ho series of small toys, and was produced by the F Underwood Engineering Co to around HO scale. These were simple diecast castings, a few with moving parts such as the 400E van on which the rear doors could be opened. In order to provide a ‘hinge’ the top of the doors were very narrow. A 400E pick up was also part of the range and these two scaled out to 1:81 although HO is 1:87. A total of 81,900 of the little vans were made, along with 69,900 pick ups – the latter called Ford Thames Freighter in Fun Ho speak. The Fun H0 range was initially made by an Australian company called Streamlux until 1962, the Underwood company took over manufacture in 1964 and subsequently added many more subjects, including the 400Es. Production ended in 1982 as the easing of import restrictions brought in cheaper toys but some models were subsequently reproduced by the Fun H0 National Toy Museum Foundry including the 400E pick up. These featured the addition of glazed windows and were illustrated in MAR 104 (Aug-Sep 1996)

Despite the real 400E Estate car having turned into a minibus by late 1958, when Matchbox launched their diecast of the subject for 1960 they called it a Ford Thames Estate Car and retained that label. Initially it came without glazed windows, subsequently clear and green tinted vac forms were fitted. Whether it was intentionally made to 1:76 to match 00 gauge model railways is debatable but it leant itself to be the basis of a subsequent reproduction by the Creative Casting Company who offered a metal kit of the 400E for model railway use. The latter lost a bit of the real vehicles tall narrow character in the transition and while it featured a full width front seat but none in the back, it also had some extremely narrow metal wheels. Another rather different spin-off from the Matchbox came from Hong Kong in a range of cheap plastic copies of Matchbox subjects called Blue Box. Rather naughty was the illustration on the box of what looks like the original Matchbox item, although this was made of extremely flimsy plastic featuring a wheelbase that is much too short.

Triang produced a range of 1:76 plastic road vehicles in the late 1960s called Minix – related to the Minic range but the X denotes no mechanism. Intended for use with 00 gauge model railways these were extremely accurate in their detail and proportion, the 400E being listed as 15cwt and like the rest featured a plated plastic base that included bumpers and grille. Later examples may have had black base and wheels. A simple interior depicted the seats, steering wheel and rear flat floor. Of the total 10 million Minix models produced, a third were sold as loads on Triang/Hornby railway wagons.

More 400Es for 00 scale came in kit form from R Parker, Maz Woolley described in detail the kits and building them in MAR 198 (Dec 2005) and MAR 209 (Feb 2007) as well as including photos of the same. Another 1:76 range of kits from Roadscale included a 400E van and this was described by Tony Askwith in MAR 129 (March 1999) while SMTS offered 1:43 kits to create the Team Lotus 400E conversion that was sufficiently long to accommodate a racing car.

Back in 00 scale, yet another 400E van came from Weico in Australia in their Wizard range, described by John Roberts in MAR 188 (Dec 2004) and Maz Woolley in MAR 191 (April 2005). It was suggested in the latter that it may have been inspired by the Minix. Weico came to this columns notice many years ago by producing repros of the old Australian Micro Models, several of which were 1956 Fords of various types.

No doubt the ultimate miniature 400E was made by Shawcraft Models along with several others in 1:8 scale for showroom use at the time of the real vehicles. For many years around 14 of these desirable models were kept at Dagenham but are believed to have been sold off and change hands now for substantial four figure sums.

Ford Thames 400E Model Listing
Autocult China 2016 8001 Dropside 1:43 resin
Autocult China 2016 Flatbed 1:43 resin
Autocult China 2016 07005 Team Lotus Transporter 1:43 resin
Matchbox UK 1969 70 Estate Car 54mm 1:76 diecast
Blue Box Hong Kong 342 Estate Car copy 55mm 1:75 plastic
Creative Casting Co UK Minibus copy 53mm 1:77 metal kit
Corgi UK 1962-67 420 Airborne camper 94mm 1:44 diecast
TAT/Telsalda Hong Kong 714 Airborne camper copy 185mm 1:22 plastic
TAT/Telsalda Hong Kong 714 12 seater bus copy 185mm 1:22 plastic
Dinky Toy UK 1963-69 436 Atlas Copco compressor 89mm 1:46 diecast
Unknown Dropside with cherry picker copy 152mm 1:27 plastic
Fun H0! NZ 1960s 20 Van 51mm 1:81 diecast
Fun H0! NZ 1960s 26 Pick up 51mm 1:81 diecast
Oxford FDE 001 Van 54mm 1:76 diecast
Oxford FDE 002 12 seater bus 54mm 1:76 diecast
Oxford FDE 1 Van 96mm 1:43 diecast
Oxford FDE 2 12 seater bus 96mm 1:43 diecast
Minix UK 1966-71 13 15cwt van 53mm 1:76 plastic
Weico/Wizard Australia 2004 10 15cwt van copy 1:76 metal
Parker UK 35 Van 1:76 metal kit
Parker UK 36 Flatbed 1:76 metal kit
Parker UK 42 12 seater bus 1:76 metal kit
Roadscale UK THA 1 Van 1:76 metal kit
Shawcraft UK Estate car showroom model 1:8
SMTS UK Team Lotus transporter 1:43 metal kit


Illustrations: Ford Thames 400E

Corgi 1:44 diecast from UK: 420, Airborne camper

Dinky Toys 1:46 diecast from UK: 436 Flatbed with Atlas-Copco compressor

Oxford 1:43 diecast for UK: FDE 2, 12 seater bus British Railways.

Oxford 1:43 diecast for UK: FDE 1, van British Railways

Minix 1:76 plastic from UK:13, 15cwt van

Fun H0! 1:81 diecast from New Zealand: 20, Van

Fun H0! 1:81 diecast from New Zealand: 26, pick up.

Matchbox 1:76 diecast from UK: 70, Estate Car

Blue Box 1:75 plastic from Hong Kong: 342, Minibus copy of Matchbox.

Oxford 1:76 diecast for UK: FDE 1, van British Railways.

Creative Casting Company 1:76 metal kit from UK: Minibus, copy of Matchbox.

TAT/Telsalda 1:22 plastic from Hong Kong: 714, Airborne camper copy of Corgi

TAT/Telsalda 1:22 plastic from Hong Kong: 714 12 seater bus using Corgi copy body.

Unknown Make 1:27 plastic: Dropside with cherry picker, copy of Dinky Toy flatbed as base.

Shawcraft 1:8 made in UK:400E Estate Car as photographed by Ian Ingham in the Ford Museum

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More iScale Models

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs taken by, and copyright of, the Author.

The models shown below were announced a long time ago but are only now widely available. These are the latest iScale models made for BMW and Mercedes Benz.

Mercedes Benz E-Class Estate (S213)


The Mercedes-Benz E-Class series represents the fifth-generation of this famous range of executive cars. The range includes the saloon (W213) and station wagon (S213). A high-performance E63 AMG version has also been available, while later there will be the coupé and the cabriolet. Sold from 2016 as a 2017 model, it replaces the successful W212/S212 E-Class models and according to Mercedes it is the most technologically advanced car Mercedes has ever produced. They claim to have produced more than 1,200 prototypes.

The 2017 E-Class has a design similar to that of the larger W222 S-Class and the smaller W205 C-Class, called the “Sensual Purity” design philosophy. While the W212 E-Class had a tighter surface and harder edges, the new model is curvier and more flowing. As on other recent models, the 2017 E-Class features two distinct front-end treatments : a traditional chrome grille and a more sporting blade grille.

The launch of the 2017 E-Class saw Mercedes-Benz move a step closer to autonomous driving, using many of the features already seen in the latest S-Class and taking them on to a new level.

The iScale model of the S213 was announced in August 2016 on the web site of the German MBMC (Mercedes-Benz Modellauto Club), but I was able to get it only last month.

The S213 model, available from Mercedes-Benz in cavansite metallic blue as # B6 696 0383, and in iridium metallic silver as # B6 696 0384, is indeed a very nice model. It is beautifully detailed right up to the microscopic “star” on the engine lid. The model’s body is diecast metal with the usual plastic components, all hand assembled. Quality is very high, as usual, engine and chassis are faithfully reproduced. The interiors are similarly excellently modelled and the paint is beyond reproach. All four doors can be opened, like the hood and the tailgate. It is interesting to note that to open the hood iScale choose to use a button on the chassis underneath. It reminded me of one of the first models I met with such a device: it was very likely in 1963 and it was an English Dinky Toys, the Ford Corsair (no. 130). Inside the box there was a paper slip saying “to open bonnet! press button between front wheels on underside of the car”. They say that the sands of time run like quicksilver, but somethings never change.

BMW 750 Li (G12) xDrive


The new BMW 7 series (G11) was launched in 2015 as a 2016 model to replace the previous 2008 sedan (F01). As usual the extended wheelbase versions carry their own series designation, G12 in this case, and are identified by an “L” for “lang” (long) in the model name, not to be confounded with the “L” of “leicht” (light) as used in the sports models.

The car looks slimmer than its predecessor, and it is also lighter thanks to the widespread use of CRFP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer), tensile steel and aluminium, the latter applied to doors, boot lid, brake system, wheel hubs and rear suspension arms.

Aerodynamics have been improved, for example the front grille has shutters that will only open when an increase of air flow to the engine bay is required, while self-levelling air suspensions are now completed by electronically-controlled shock absorbers. Active anti-roll system and four-wheel steering are optional. Advanced driver assistance systems are more “autonomous driving” oriented and touchscreens, radar sensors, stereo cameras, 3D scanners and a lot of “electronics” are present, as expected from a luxury car of this kind.

The powertrain line-up consists of a 4.4 litre V8, two 3.0 litre inline-sixes in petrol and diesel form, and a 2.0 litre inline-four, and includes also the hybrid model. Now a V12 is also available (760).

The 750 Li model from iScale is available from BMW in mineral white metallic as #80 43 2 405 587, in dark blue metallic as #80 43 2 405 586, and in dark grey metallic as #80 43 2 405 585. The model shows the high level of quality provided by iScale. As usual the model’s body is diecast metal with the usual plastic components, all hand assembled in China. Engine and chassis are faithfully reproduced, with rich interiors, enhanced by the transparent roof, and a deep paint finish. All four doors can be opened, like the hood and the trunk. The wheels are very nice with the correct BMW insignia in their centre. Another beautiful model to add to your collection.

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Editorial September 2017

The end of September starts the final quarter of the year. It is a time when many manufacturers strain to get the remainder of this year’s planned issues into production in China, and shipped in time to sell before the end of the year. This is also the time of year when MAR Online’s web hosting has to be paid. Many thanks to those who have donated this year already, but more donations would be welcome, to help close the gap between what has been donated and the cost of hosting this website.

The growth in 1:18 scale model production so far this year has been amazing. And not all of these models are expensive promotional items; many actually cost less than most 1:43 scale resin models. In 1:43 scale, we have seen a steady release of new models, though with fewer ‘new entrants’ than in recent years, and a decline in the amount of Chinese ranges selling Rolls–Royces and similar models direct to Western buyers via eBay. The return of Goldvarg with new 1:43 resin models was a welcome event. Partwork castings are being re-issued in several ranges, but they are being offered at double the price of the original partwork model. 1:64 scale has also had an active year, but the US scene seems to be settling down, with AutoWorld now consolidating Johnny Lightning under their banner. M2 and Greenlight are also releasing quite a few models. Here in the UK Oxford Diecast is producing excellent Rolls-Royce models, as well as some excellent 1:76 scale coaches, showing just how good their mainstream diecast models can be.

The increase in prices we experienced from the first quarter of this year onwards appears to have slowed a little, except in the case of Brooklin Models, where there has been an increased level of detail and a re-structuring of product ranges and pricing. This seems to be an attempt to take the product into the aspirational luxury goods market, which has led to very substantial price rises and a lot of adverse comments from collectors. Similar price rises are making the MaxiChamps re-releases of 1970s and 1980s models much more expensive than expected. This may well restrict their sales, when secondhand examples of the original models can be bought more cheaply on eBay and at swapmeets.  The DeAgostini Group of companies have kept prices down over the last year, but looking at the volatility of the pound and dollar I am afraid that price increases in that sector will be inevitable. In the partwork field, it looks as if Atlas may be withdrawing from our sector in the future.

Our contributors have given us insights into a wide range of models this year but we always welcome more new material. Writing for MAR Online is easy: just send us some pictures and your thoughts on a subject; we can turn it into a posting.

Finally, don’t forget our Facebook Page. It is a great place to add information, or to provide corrections to anything we have posted.

Atlas Deluxe Dinky Toys

By Maz Woolley

Atlas‘ web site is now showing the new Deluxe Dinky Toys range with models with opening parts as test marketed in mid 2015.  The starter model at a reduced price is the Aston Martin DB5 Convertible and it will then be followed by:

  • Honda S800
  • Simca 1500 Estate
  • Mercedes-Benz 230L
  • Ford Galaxie 500
  • Citroën DS 19

So all the follow up models promised in the new series are French Dinkies and no indication that any of the models originally shown in the test marketing will be made available. The original test marketed list of models was:

  • 164 Ford Zodiac Mark 4
  • 129 Volkswagen Deluxe Saloon
  • 212 Ford Cortina Rally Car
  • 151 Vauxhall Victor 101
  • 135 Triumph 2000
  • 250 Police Mini Cooper
  • 116 Volvo 1800S

In France the arrival of this series happened as the original Dinky Series was concluded one wonders if that will now happen here?

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