Modelling a Silent Movie Star’s car

By Richard Nosker

Text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author except where otherwise acknowledged.

Copyright acknowledged
The model with modelled Fatty on running board

The 1:1 car

A young Harley Earl (1893-1969, and later the head of GM’s Design Division for over 30 years) worked for his father’s company, Earl Automobile Works, in Hollywood, California, designing automobiles.  Young Harley showed good aptitude for this work.  He also mastered the art of presentation and the selling of a design early on. He produced not only full-sized drawings of the proposal for a client, but also built clay models of them, a skill he first learned as a child. The utilisation of both enabled him to promote his concept to a prospect wanting something exclusive and who could well afford the luxury.

Earl was able to get established with the Hollywood crowd by re-modelling a car for the cowboy movie star Tom Mix, but his ‘piece de resistance’ was the next car that he designed and built for Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Arbuckle (1887-1933) was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, signing a contract in 1920 with Paramount Pictures for $1 million US Dollars. His career was derailed after he was accused (and eventually acquitted) of the rape and manslaughter of a young, aspiring actress in 1921. Was Hollywood ever thus? Talking films, by the way, didn’t take over until the early 1930s. Colour photography was about 1935.

And here is a picture of Fatty’s house in 1919, in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.  The 1:43 scale model and Fatty have been “placed” in the picture.

But back to the important part. Earl used what was perhaps the largest automobile chassis in production at the time, a 1918 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 with a 147.5-inch wheelbase that was powered by an enormous 855 T-head six cylinder engine.

With this impressive platform Harley first started out by designing special hubs and sharply-dished wooden-spoked wheels constructed of Burmese teak that were fitted with nickel-plated rims and light grey tires. For the coachwork, he started with a clean slate and designed a magnificent and totally custom built touring car body, radiator, hood, and fenders. The bright blue creation was trimmed with nickel-plated accents. The interior was finished in fine leather with a spectacular curved wooden vanity on the back of the front seats.

The creation and its design was started at the Earl Automobile Works in 1918 or 1919, but it was finished and delivered to Arbuckle by the Don Lee Coach and Body Works (who had bought Earl’s company). The May 2, 1920 Los Angeles Times reported on the just finished car: “Arbuckle’s Car Is A Genuine Knockout”, and went on to state that “ten-thousand people had filed through the Don Lee showroom in a few days just to see the car that cost $25,000”.

Restored by Lon Kruger of Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2007, this Pierce-Arrow has taken best-in-class awards at Pebble Beach (in 2007) and Amelia Island (in 2009), and in 2015 captured Best in Show at the Pinehurst, and in 2016 in Boca Raton. Once part of the Blackhawk Collection, the seven-foot-tall, 7000 pound touring car (built without windshield wipers or even side curtains, a nod to its Southern California roots) was purchased in 2014 by Robert S. Jepson, Jr. of Savannah, Georgia.

The 1:43 scale car.

There are very few 1:43 cars to choose from when selecting starting points to build a car like this.  A 1926 Solido Hispano Suiza gave its body & chassis to the cause, but those parts had to be sectioned in multiple ways to get the right proportions.  Such an “oversized” car was able to use parts from 1:32 scale models too!

This is a famous, and historically significant, car, and would be worthy of some manufacturer’s effort to make a model of such a spectacular vehicle for model collectors.

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News from the Continent March 2018 – Norev

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs provided by the manufacturer.

In this article I look at the models announced by Norev in the first three months of the year.

Announcements made in January 2018

1:18 scale


185148 Alpine A110 Premiere Edition 2017 – blue


181495 Citroen 2CV 6 – 1972 – Rio Red


181494 Citroen 2CV Dolly 1985 – Meije white & Cormoran grey


183412 Mercedes-Benz O319 Bus 1957 – blue & beige


183569 Mercedes-Benz 280SE saloon 1969 – ivory


183451 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster 2017 – yellow metallic


183442 Sauber-Mercedes C9

Winner French 24h 1989 – Maas/Reuter/Dickens


184832 Peugeot 404 Cabriolet 1967 – Mendoza blue


187575 Porsche 911 Turbo 3,3 Coupe 1977 – olive green


185727 Simca Vedette Chambord saloon 1960 – tropic green & China ivory

1:43 Scale


517860 Box with Alpine A110 1973 & 2017 – Limited Edition


517820 Alpine Renault A110 1973 – blue


154103 Citroen ZX 1991 – Quartz grey


155619 Citroen C6 2012 – Mativoire beige


155654 Citroen C-Crosser 2007 – white


155653 Citroen C-Crosser 2011 “SMUR de Montlucon”


270521 Ford Transit Van 1965 – red


270553 Ford Mondeo 2014 – red

270250 Jensen Interceptor 1976 – dark green


351337 Mercedes-Benz GLC 2015 – white


351349 Mercedes-AMG GT R 2017 – green metallic


831018 NSU Prinz 4 1964 – white


473412 Peugeot 304 Cabriolet S 1973 – red


473413 Peugeot 304 Coupe S 1974 – Alaska white



473884 Peugeot 3008 GT 2016 – ultimate red


510039 Renault 4 1974 – orange


517726 Renault Megane R.S. 2017 – Tonic orange


517727 Renault Megane R.S. Test version GP Monaco 2017


518392 Renault Koleos 2016 – brown metallic


518025 Renault Trafic 2014 “Police Municipale”

518024 Renault Trafic 2014 “SAMU”


810043 Saab 900 Turbo 16 Cabriolet 1992 – white


840094 VW Corrado G60 1990 – dark burgundy metallic


AV4109 Box with 8 traffic signs


3 inches Minijet


310700 Citroen DS23 Pallas saloon 1972 – green metallic


310701 Citroen SM 1970 – beige metallic

Announcements February 2018

1:12 Scale


121561 Citroen DS 19 saloon 1958 – Narcissus yellow/Triennale grey metallic

1:18 Scale


182770 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 1986 – grey metallic


183486 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG-Line 2017 – black metallic


184831 Peugeot 404 Coupe 1967 – Arosa white

184825 Peugeot 504 Coupe 1969 – Arosa white


184826 Peugeot 504 Cabriolet 1970 – Capucine yellow


188404 VW Golf Cabriolet “Bel Air” 1992 – blue metallic


1:43 Scale


517862 Box Alpine A110 Premiere Edition 2017 – Limited Edition


517856 Alpine A110 Premiere Edition 2017 – blue

155265 Citroen C3 2016 – Ice blue & black


155362 Citroen C3 WRC No. 8 Rally Monte Carlo 2017 –S.Lefebvre/G.Moreau


155363 Citroen C3 WRC No. 7 Pologne 2017 – A.Mikkelsen/A.Jaeger


155364 Citroen C3 WRC No.8 Corse 2017 – C.Breen/S.Martin


155924 Citroen Jumper 2013 “Fire Brigade VSAV”


509000 Dacia Duster 2018 – Platine silver


511320 Renault Kangoo Street 2013 – brown


511321 Renault Kangoo Van 2013 – white


511316 Renault Duster Oroch 2016 – silver


518398 Renault Alaskan Pick-up Van 2017 – white


518397 Renault Alaskan Pick-up 2017 – dark grey


810033 Saab 900 Turbo 16 Coupe 1991 – grey metallic



NOREV Catalogue 2018 144 pages


Announcements March 2018

1:18 Scale


181623 Citroen GS 1971 – Maple beige


181624 Citroen GS X3 1979 – Mimosa yellow


187724 Fiat 500 Giardiniera 1968 – Positano yellow



183494 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Daytona 2017 – 3rd place GT Daytona Class


1:43 Scale


270554 Ford Mustang Fastback 2015 – yellow


800631 Mazda Carol 360 1962 – white & blue


800602 Mazda Cosmo Sport L10B 1968 – white


800642 Mazda Luce Rotary Coupe 1969 – white & black


800613 Mazda Savanna RX-3 1972 – dark green


Mercedes-Benz GLE-Coupe 2015 – blue metallic


518026 Renault Trafic Combi 2015 – Cassiopee grey


518782 Renault Master 2014 – white


517598 Set Renault Sport 2017 – Clio R.S. 16 & Megane R.S. (2 cars)


517599 Renault Clio R.S. 16 2016 – concept car


1:64 Scale MINIJET


310703 Alpine A110 “Monte Carlo 1971”


310807 Citroen C3 Aircross 2017 – orange & white


310509 Mini Cooper S 1963 – green & white


310902 Renault Trezor 2017 – silver

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Small French Cars from Universal Hobbies – Part Three

By Maz Woolley

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

This article is the third in a short series looking back at models UH made to 1:87 scale which were included in a French partwork The Golden Age of French Cars which was produced in about 2009The first part featured the Citroën Traction and can be found here. The second covered Peugeot 204s and can be found here. This partwork had a case holding two 1:87 scale models which represented two different versions of the same car.  These models were all diecast in metal in China for France and are fitted with a nice turning key type fixing that allows them to be easily removed from the case for display. The models from this series that I will look at in this article are of the Peugeot 403 Cabriolet.

The Peugeot 403 was made between 1955 and 1966. A total of over 1.2 million were made of all types, including commercial models, which meant it was the first Peugeot model to break the one million mark. The cabriolet was introduced in 1956 and withdrawn in 1961 when the first 404s were launched. The styling was by Pininfarina and was in the three box style that was to dominate the saloon car market until the coming of the hatchback. The two-door cabriolet featured a luxurious interior with high quality leather upholstery. In 1958 the 403 cabriolet cost 80% more than the entry level “berline grand luxe” 403 saloon, and presumably for this reason the convertible 403 was produced in very modest numbers.

The models from UH represent two versions of the car, one hood up and one hood down. They also differ in colour and the hood down car gets whitewall tyres whilst the hood up car does not. Apart from that they are both similar 1957 Cabriolets. Pictures of the real car on the Internet shows that the colours chosen are authentic and that the shape has been very well modelled.

The front end of the car has been nicely modelled with clear headlight lenses and a neat grille with a nice black wash fill to highlight the chrome bars and surrounds. To the side of the car the chrome body line is printed neatly, side indicators are included in orange, and the door handles are picked out in silver. The 403 badge printed on the bonnet is a little high and large and the gaps at the edge of the bonnet are not modelled. A basic interior is fitted with lots of detail moulded in to the dashboard and door cards. A white steering wheel is fitted to round it all off.

To the rear the lights are tiny separate inserts and the badging and number plate surround are nicely printed, though it would be nice to have authentic number plates rather than one with 1957 on. The bumper, like that at the front, is neatly modelled and the boot does have its surrounding panel gap captured. The wheels and tyres are nice representations of the real thing.

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News from the Continent March 2018 – Herpa

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

1:43 Scale

Here I look at a special selection of models made by Herpa from the second half of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. The models in 1:43 scale are diecast metal and the 1:87 models are moulded in plastic.

071147 Porsche 911 Targa 4 – red – scale 1:43

071123 Porsche 911 Targa 4S – white – scale 1:43

The new 911 is also available in a Targa version. This has four wheel drive as standard. The 4 engine develops 370 hp, but the 4S has 420 hp and can raech 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds from a standing start.

The different exhaust systems on the 4 and 4S are correctly replicated by Herpa on these models.

The first batch were made for Porsche but now the models are available from model dealers for  “normal customers”.

Scale 1:87


307628 IFA L60 flat-bed truck with load under a canvas cover

The W50/L60 were the most common medium trucks in the former DDR.

746038 Battle-tank T-55 “Vietnamese Peoples Army”

One result of the arms agreement between the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of North Vietnam was the supply of Russian T-55 tanks for use fighting the American army.

74605 Battle tank T-34/76 with German commander dome

A number of captured T-34 tanks of the Soviet army were converted for use by the German Wehrmacht. Here the original was fitted with a German commander dome with cannon and correctly repainted in the blue-grey of the German Wehrmacht. At the end of the war each captured tank was used as it was as the German Army was so short of materials.

028899/038898 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet racing yellow or night blue metallic

Visually the 4S cabriolet differs from the standard model. With four exhaust pipes rather than two. This is authentically replicated here.

093507 Porsche 911 Carrera “Austrian Police”

No chance for speeding motorists. From June 2017 the Austrian Federal Country of Kärnten operates this Porsche 911 for catching  those breaking the speed limits on their motorways.

093385 Trabant 601 Universal “German Red Cross Löbau/Saxonia”

The German Red Cross in Löbau still operates a Trabant estate. The rear side windows are painted in body colour, this feature is replicated in the miniature.

307741 Volvo FH Gl. XL Artic. Curtain canvas truck “Schreglmann”

The haulier Schreglmann from Oberviechtach in Bavaria has a weakness for extraordinarily decorated vehicles. This truck is on tour with airbrushed adverts for the concrete block manufacturer Godelmann.

308502 MAN TGX XLX Euro &c Articulated Silo truck “Melmer Pitztal, Austria”

“Pitztal, the roof of the Tyrol” is the slogan on this bright red painted truck of the haulier Silo Melmer. This one-off limited edition model is part of Herpa´s Silo Melmer model series.

746274 IFA G5 box truck “National Peoples Army, DDR”

The IFA G5 truck was released in March 2018 with a new body. This time it is appears as a mobile workshop of the NVA (People’s Army of the DDR).

The photograph below shows this new Herpa alongside the 1:43 scale model released by Atlas some years ago. It shows the difference in sizes between the two scales very well.

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A Greenlight Grumman

By Maz Woolley

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

Postal services round the world often use distinctive vehicles built specially, or mainly for them. The Volkswagen Fridolin and the Bedford HA van are examples of this. This article looks at a uniquely North American vehicle the Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV) produced mainly for the United States Postal Services (USPS) and to a much smaller extent for Canada Post.


The Grumman LLV is designed for a long operating life and is based on an 1982 Chevrolet Blazer chassis and has engine and other parts from the GM range. The last van made was in 1994 by which time the USPS had 140,000 of these vehicles in service. One peculiarity of the design is that like the Jeep DJ-5 it replaced it has right hand drive in order to allow the postal workers to get in and out at the kerb saving time on every drop and pickup.  The USPS is about to embark replacing these vehicles and manufacturers have submitted designs in a competition to supply the next generation of vans.

The Greenlight model shown is metal diecast to 1:64 scale in China for the US. and is supplied in a bubble pack with full USPS livery markings and some facts about US Postal Services on the rear including a claim that USPS processes and delivers nearly half the world’s mail.

The model is good with the large number of external mirrors all added as small separate parts, windscreen wipers are moulded in much more deeply than usual and then black printed. The front lights are inserted plastic lenses and the grille a plastic moulded insert that looks a bit crude but looking at the real vehicle the model looks much smoother because there has been no attempt to replicate the huge number of rivets used to hold the panels and lights in place.

One unusual feature is that there are no licence plates as postal vehicles do not need them, they just need a service number which is painted front and rear. The model has an opening rear door which folds out giving a view of the internal arrangements with quite a lot of effort being made to show key internal walls and an internal work surface next to the drivers seat.  Instrument panel, steering wheel and drivers seat are all in black plastic to contrast with all the other white internal fitments.

The USPS livery is very well printed and the rear lights, front indicators, and side light fittings are all printed on. The wheels are suitably utilitarian with the wheels a nice slightly shiny black and tyres a nice matt black. The narrower front track has been correctly modelled and the chassis has some moulded in details showing chassis frame, drive and exhaust.

It is a nice touch from Greenlight to have a moulded USPS mailbox included with the model.  All in all a rather good budget model of an unique vehicle.

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News from the Continent March 2018 – Busch

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs supplied by the manufacturer.

All the releases from Busch, and their associated brands, shown below are moulded in plastic to 1:87 scale.

41334 Horch 853 Cabriolet – open – blue

41335 Horch 853 Cabriolet – open – green

41337 Horch 853 Cabriolet – open – yellow

42220 Multicar with flat bed and tar load

42224 Multicar with plant rings

42889 Weimar mobile excavator T174-2 with chisel

42890 Weimar mobile excavator T174-2 with holder for pit elements

44933 Flatbed highloader with vibrator/compactor

45807 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia 1600 Coupe – orange

45815 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia 1600 Coupe – silver

50364 Land Rover Defender Command car of the Danish disaster protection authority

50662 Mercedes-Benz Citan combi “Fire Brigade – City of Offenbach, Germany

50910 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430 with crane

50920 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430 with winch

51121 Mercedes-Benz Vito delivery van “Hermes parcel service”

51172 Mercedes-Benz V-Class “DB – German railways”

51414 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 1990 – Gas emergency service

51276 Framo Half-bus V901/2 road service

51604 Robur LO 1800 A “Society for Sport and Technique of DDR”

51753 Nagetusch mobile workshop for road workers

42842 Tractor Fortschritt ZT-300-D (Progress) – blue

42843 Tractor Fortschritt ZT-300-D – red

42844 Tractor Fortschritt ZT-300-D – green

46520 Renault 4CV saloon – green

46521 Renault 4CV saloon – blue

46523 Renault 4CV saloon – red

50923 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U430 with snow plough

51124 Mercedes-Benz Vito THW

51132 Mercedes-Benz Vito “Vaillant Service car”

51270 Framo Halfbus V901/2 wine red & beige

51275 Framo Halfbus V901/2 electrical shop

51307 Belarus MTS-82 tractor – export model – beige & red

51310 Belarus 572 tractor

51550 IFA G5 1959 tanker “Golden car of corn”

51861 Robur Garant Combi “Golden car of corn”

51800 Robur Garant K30 box van – orange

51801 Robur Garant K30 box van – green

51850 Robur Garant K30 combi – green

51851 Robur Garant K30 combi – blue

51810 Robur Garant K30 delivery van “Leibnitz Keks”

59910 Lanz Bulldog tractor pulled by cows

59915 Fordson Model F tractor 1917 with iron wheels

59949 Milk transport trailer

59954 Transport trailer for passenger cars

59955 Transport trailer for dogs

EsPeWe models


95232 IFA W50LA PV flatbed truck “Fire brigade of Berlin”

95233 IFA W50LA GMK box truck “fire brigade”

Mehlhose Models


210 006401 Tractor Pioneer – blue with red wheel rims

210 009610 Multicar M21 three-sides-tipper – green

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News from the Continent – Some recent Wiking re-issues compared to the original releases

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Text and Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

In the recent upgrade releases by WIking there were three models which were first issued in the 1960s. I have the original releases in my collection so I have taken this opportunity to compare the originals to the re-issues.

0120 01 DKW saloon

The re-issue is in green with a white roof.

This model was launched in 1962, and modified in 1965 by adding a hook to pull a trailer. The body was moulded in brown, headlights and radiator grill painted in silver, and rear lights in red. Windows are pierced and tinted, but there is no interior. It is fitted with a well detailed baseplate.

The new release is moulded in light green, and the roof printed in white. Headlights, Radiator grille and a number of mouldings are silver printed, as are the badges and emblems. Front indicator, and rear lights are painted. The windows are clear and reveal an interior with seats and steering wheel which have been added. The good baseplate is unchanged apart from the “WM” branding has been changed to “Wiking”.

0160 39 Porsche 356 Cabriolet

The car in black is the recent re-issue.

The Porsche 356 was released originally by Wiking in 1961. It featured figures of a driver and his wife or girlfriend. The body was moulded in several colours but the example shown in in blue. The windscreen and side windows unit was glued on. Headlights, number plates and rear lights were all painted. The baseplate has good detailing.

The tiny Porsche has now been re-issued with a body moulded in black. This time, the car is empty, with red seats and a white three pointed steering wheel visible. The windows are unchanged. Head and rear lights are painted, The baseplate is similar too with WM removed and “WIKING” and “Germany” added. New wheels have been fitted with more authentic hubs and rims. The moulding on the bonnet and the grille, and the air intake on the rear engine cover are silver printed.

0210 02 Ford Continental

The car is green with a white roof is the re-issue.

This Ford Continental model was released originally in 1960 and the body has been re-issued in many colours over the years. The two-door coupe was a large car and made an impressive model even in a small scale. The windows were tinted in the original model and no interior was fitted. Again a detailed baseplate was modelled.  A hook to connect trailers was added during later years of production.

It has been re-issued with its body painted in light green, and the roof in matt white. The base now includes the “WIKING” branding. The re-issue has no hook fitted. There is still no interior fitted to the model. Radiator grille, headlights, door handles and the Continental emblem on the spare wheel cover are printed silver, and the rear lights painted red. Whitewall tyres are fitted to add to the visual appeal.

More than fifty years after these models were first issued they have been re-released with scarcely any changes to the basic mouldings. Yes, printing and painting have improved over what could be achieved in the early 1960s but the accuracy and quality of the mouldings is a tribute to the skills of Wikings tool makers and the quality of the moulds they created.

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Atlas Deluxe Dinky 525 Peugeot 404 Commerciale

By Maz Woolley

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

After a longer gap than usual the next car in the Atlas UK Deluxe Dinky series has been delivered. This is Dinky France #525 and is a model of the Peugeot 404 Commerciale. This is known to have been made in cream and blue in some numbers and as a rare Pompiers version in red which commands a large price premium. Luckily Atlas has decided to have the model made in blue with a red interior which I think suits it much better than cream. The model is made in China under license from Mattel who own the Dinky brand and is marked as 1:43 scale.

The 404 was styled by Pininfarina and launched in 1960 with the estate coming along in 1962 in three versions, Familiale, Break and Commerciale. The Family version had three rows of seats whereas the other two just had two rows and the Commerciale was designed to capture the commercial travellers market. There was a choice between two petrol engines of 1400 and 1500cc and a diesel of 1900cc. The 404 finally ended production in Kenya in the 1990s so it stood the test of time as a tough car, especially in places where rust was unlikely.

Rear seat folded

Rear seat upThe Dinky model is nicely reproduced. This model replaced the Peugeot 403 Estate which had been sold since 1959 in 1964. It enjoyed several neat features: the opening rear door will clip into the open position firmly holding the door open. The rear seat can be raised or lowered using a knurled wheels just ahead of the drivers side rear wheel. Some semblance of steering is provided but it is poor, to balance that it is fitted with Dinky France’s jaunty white tyres. The badging is moulded in in a  basic manner and there is no paint on door handles or other fitments other than bumpers, side lights and rear light surrounds. The headlights are yellow jewels which reflect what was originally fitted. All true to the illustrations I have seen of the original.

Comments on collectors bulletin boards show that some people are very disappointed with the Deluxe Dinky series and even if they like the models they don’t consider them special enough to match the original way the series was sold. I imagine subscriber numbers are falling jow,  especially when DeAgostini sell some of the models directly on their own web site.

Bulletin boards also reveal the fact that Atlas are closing series down all across Europe and are failing to provide all the models released in the series to later subscribers. There are many complaints about the Stobart and UK Dinky Truck Series which appear to be ended for some collectors without several models being supplied. UK wholesalers now seem to have substantial stocks of Atlas models from UK and Continental series so it does seem that the rumours that Atlas are closing down their sales of transport models may not be far from the mark.

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Two 1950’s Cadillacs in Photos

By  Mike DeTorrice

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60

This is the 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 sedan, as done by Greenlight, in the 1/43 “Elvis” series of vehicles.  All snaps are taken in the suburbs of Chicago.

It’s really well done and certainly is a bargain at generally less than US$20.

This is the blue version, and a pink one is available as well.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado

This is a beautiful 1/43 Solido ’57 Cadillac that I got a great deal on at the Countryside show.  The snaps of the ’57 start in the suburbs of Chicago again, but after a long road trip, we ended up in San Diego!

These were made in both Seville and Biarritz forms.

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Amateur Building #2 – being a reconstruction of GFCC’s Austin 7 of 1930

By David Holcombe

Unless otherwise stated all text and photographs are copyright of the Author.

When Maz reviewed this little fellow in all its 1:43 glory (MAR Online, 31 Dec. ’17), he concluded that it “.. really would benefit from taking the model apart and treating it like a kit.” That’s when I decided it was time to find one for myself.

I acquired mine a couple of weeks ago (the postage from China was far more than I paid for the model); I had only pictures with which to compare, for I have never seen an Austin 7. But surely the staid English motorists of 1930 would not have used this green! So I turned to my long-suffering internet pals on Forum 43 and braced myself. Comments flowed, “Needs window glazing,” “like the postal slot in brass,” and from Master John Roberts, “different colour?”. One collector even posted his hot rod version. Horrors!

First, I made an attempt at just cleaning it up by touching the door handles and hub caps with silver/chrome, and adding a bit of pin striping. It still didn’t work. That green was just too green. So, I started with the conclusions of Maz and implemented the others as best as I could (where I agreed with them, anyhow). The model has two basic parts of die cast metal, being the cabin and the fenders/subframe. The rest, including a well-formed undercarriage, is plastic. The roof is also plastic, somewhat simplified. It appeared that the Austin was held together by two minute screws, but after removing them and the undercarriage, I found a third. Very small tabs, all plastic, tended to break as their glue gave way; but construction was so simple that they went back together rather easily.

The window glazing was relatively easy, working from the inside, as the metal of the cabin is quite nicely finished. That is, until I attempted the windshield (that’s “windscreen” in the UK). Sorry if a smear shows, but even my third attempt was faulty. I applied a light grey on the seats to ease all that black, and even picked out a little of the minimal dashboard. One of the guys who hangs around my models volunteered to drive, and he is still there.

Final touch-up was simple, as that’s the term for the Austin 7. My chosen dark red was advised by John Roberts, even though I found many, many shades of red in restored Austins. Chrome is only a touch here and there, and I had fun adding the pin stripe for a black on red contrast. That’s not paint; it’s a trimmed slice of the plastic striping I applied on my 1:1 PT Cruiser about 15 years ago. Never throw away something that you might need in the future. And, yes, I used a brass/golden tint on the postal slot. (I wonder if that is the correct term. Oh well, I like it and it seems to fit.)

If all this seems a lot of fuss over the very small car, then I suggest one of the several Austin 7 models that have been produced over the years. Oxford, I think, has one still in production. But none of them have just quite the same features as mine. (Big Smile!)

Picture from unknown source.


The 1:1 Austin 7 (sometimes referred to as the Austin Seven)

This is how it arrived, well packed but with no pretty box.

So I attempted a little work, but it still was too green! Time to “do a Maz!”

And so, we took it apart. And then I had fun!

And here it is now, on the streets of London, c. 1930. Okay, this driver found some pavement.


Here is how it looked in comparison to its English kin. That’s a Western Model’s version of the 1926 Rolls Royce Phantom 1 Doctor’s Coupe. And it’s a 2-passenger car. The Austin 7 was designed to handle four.


Sometimes it’s fun to take something apart and put it back together. . . kind of.

Yes these are both to 1:43 scale!

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