Category Archives: Editorial

Bubblecar Museum, Lincolnshire UK

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author, and copyright of Author. 

This unusual museum is housed in modern Industrial buildings in rural Lincolnshire. It is situated in what was known as “bomber country” due to the large number of USAAF and RAF airbases which took advantage of the flat landscape during the Second World War. It is only a few miles away from RAF Coningsby where the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is based and which is also an excellent place to visit when in this part of the UK.

Although called a Bubble Car Museum it has a range of Microcars as well as Motorbikes and Scooters.

The museum is mainly located on the ground floor with a smaller second floor with yet more vehicles. On entry to the collection you go past the classic bubble cars with Messerschmidt, Heinkel, and Isetta all on display.  The collection also includes several Bonds and Berkeleys.

The cars are all a little crowded together but a great deal of effort has been made to show the cars with accessories and other period items.

Displays of models, toys, and household items help bring the era alive and perhaps help add enjoyment to the visit for those who are not quite as interested in the cars.

I was very pleased to see an example of the Frisky which was modelled by Spot On in the 1960s.

Two Bond Bugs as modelled by Corgi are on display as well.

There are lots of more modern French Microcars as they survive there due to licensing allowing them to be driven by the young without tests.

And even an unusual UK made Cursor Microcar which never caught on.

There are several examples of the Bamby made in the UK in the mid 80s.

There is an excellent display of Scooters including rare ones from Iso, Heinkel, Zundapp, and even Bond.

There are also some utilitarian three wheelers from New Map Solyto and Piaggio’s ubiquitous Ape 50 as well as the unique disabled vehicle build by AC and provided under the National Health Service here in the UK to disabled people until it was done away with as dangerous in 2003. Ironically, the motability electric Scooters that have replaced them don’t seem any safer when they venture onto the road.

My post only gives a brief appreciation of what is there as the museum has well over 50 vehicles with most on display.

I hope that my pictures will encourage you to visit the museum if you are in the area. Note that at present it is only open three days a week and shuts over the winter months so do check the web site before you visit.  It is staffed by knowledgeable and friendly staff and has an excellent small cafe with value for money food and even has a camp site for those who are touring.

Those who want to find out more about this museum should visit their web site here. 


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

Talking to Sergio Goldvarg

By Maz Woolley “talking to” Sergio Goldvarg

 

Whilst compiling the posting on the revival of the Goldvarg Collection Sergio was kind enough to answer some questions from the editor. The answers were interesting so the conversation has been set out in question and answer format below.

It is some time since the last model in the previous white metal Goldvarg Range, what has encouraged you to return to selling models after all you have many other businesses to run?

It’s very simple, you never forget your first love.

The new models are made in resin in China is there any reason why you did not have them made in white metal?

The industry is going in that direction and doing white metal now would be more expensive for the same amount of detail.

Some Americans appear to be disappointed that the models will be made in China – Why did you choose to have them made in China?

Well, I did not get any comment of that kind from my fellow American collectors, and I know a lot of them . What matters is the exact proportions and attention to detail, not the country of origin.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s I had my own premises in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is not a country with a tradition of model making in 1:43 scale, but every single Goldvarg that I manufactured, was sold out nearly two years in advance of the production date.

What decides your choice of models for the US range?

It is the same motivation that moved me to start my factory in Buenos Aires: Just for me to make the models that I always wanted to have but were never manufactured, or were not in the quality and accuracy I wanted. That was the beginning  of Goldvarg Collection at that time and is what moves me to go back to producing models again.

Can you give any hints on the future model program beyond the future release items on the web site? Do you have any target for the number of models you may produce a year?

At this time I am in the process of getting the approvals and licenses from the three greats: Ford, GM and Chrysler for the future program. As soon as I am able, I will let you know.

The advance pictures of your models suggest that you use less photoetching than other firms like Neo and Matrix. Is that the case? And is there any reason for this?

You may get that impression from the production pictures but I will also use photo-etching. I want to make the model as close as possible to the actual car so if there is a very small part that we want to add to the body of the car, if it has volume, no matter the small the piece is, it can’t be with photo etching as is not going to look like the real thing. Remember that I am an architect and volume is one of the most important issues in making a scale model car look right.

Your non-US models are very different. What is the rationale for your choices of prototypes that sold in very small numbers?

Yes, that’s true, there are many choices that are very different. But I think that I did the same with the Goldvarg Collection models in the past. The real Kaiser Henry J was not a big seller yet I had all the production sold one year ahead of the production time. I also made the 1950 Packard Woodie with real mahogany wood on the sides and rear which sold well despite the small number of original cars. It seems that I was not so wrong after all Brooklin did them both some years later.

You have a huge collection?

Yes, I’ve been collecting all my life and still do. Model cars have been a passion since I was four years old and my mother bought me the Matchbox #9, the Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine, which I still have with its original box and in mint condition.

Our thanks at MAR Online to Sergio for sparing his time to answer our questions. For those of you who would like to learn more about Sergio and his interesting life with models  there is a lot more information on his website.

It is good to have the Goldvarg Collection back and I am sure that Sergio’s excitement for what he is doing will show through in the first models as they arrive in the US shortly.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

 

 

Editorial August 2017

Early in July I visited the South Hants Model Auto Club to meet the members and to give a short talk about MAR Online and model collecting in general. I had a great time, with members inviting me into their homes to see their superb collections, and even to take me for rides in their full-size old cars; a wonderful and unexpected experience. The club night was very interesting indeed. emphasising how diverse collectors’ interests can be. My thanks to SHMAC for the invitation.

If there is a collectors’ club in your area, or a special-interest club for collectors, like the Brooklin Collectors Club for example, they are well worth joining. Bulletin boards such as Forum 43/64/18 and Planet Diecast are valuable ways to connect with other collectors, and there are interesting Facebook pages like the many that exist for Oxford Diecast collectors. There are even ‘comment’ areas on some manufacturers’ websites. All of these are  to interact with fellow collectors and to learn more about our hobby.

Many of the models announced for this year have finally begun to make their way to the market over the last few months, and most of them have turned out to be very good. Prices seem to be rising rapidly for some ranges, though some others, in UK and Europe, seem to be holding their prices down. Sadly more evidence of issues with models has arisen; some Oxford Diecast Ford van models have been seen with bubbling paint that looks very like inter-granular corrosion or a major paint reaction. Other reports suggest that some models from Trax and others are also found to be deteriorating when collectors open the boxes, after storing them for some time.

There have been surprises this summer as well. Long-time readers of the print version of MAR will remember Sergio Goldvarg whose Argentine-made white metal 1:43 models of US prototypes were popular from the 1980s onwards. He has lived in the US for some years, and has now re-started the Goldvarg Collection. It consists of 1:43 scale resin models made in China for him. Another unexpected event was the opening of a shop called ‘Diecast and More’ in the centre of Northampton, near where I live, to sell obsolete diecast and other models. A shop opening is a rarity in this day and age and I hope that it is a sign that tax changes and surplus shopping capacity will allow small specialist shops to return to our shopping centres.

I would like to thank all those who are contributing articles to MAR Online and to remind you all that more contributions are always welcome, even if it is only a few photographs and some descriptions. All collectors have something interesting to say.

The Gremlins

Our ability to send out emails to those who subscribed seems to have been stopped by gremlins. We have spent some time going over the system to notice that “Jet Pack” options had turned off without us asking them to. Why this happened we will never know.

So subscribers who read the emails but don’t visit the site may have missed the last two articles articles on Oxford Diecast Rolls-Royce and   MAR magazine in 1987. Unfortunately we can’t make it send them out again but they are available on the web site.

This not only an apology but also a test that subscription is working again.

 

Happy Collecting

Maz Woolley

Editor

Editorial July 2017

Karl Schnelle, US Editor

As July starts, we would like to take a moment to summarise the first half of 2017.   MAR Online has over 100 regular readers on each of our platforms:  108 subscribers to the blog and 117 followers on Facebook.  All articles appear on both sites simultaneously.  We thought it would be  a nice idea to determine who subscribes to both, but people could use different names and emails online, and one platform uses emails while the other holds users first/last name.  So that is an impossible task.  However, please email the editors at (maronlineeditor @ gmail.com), or post a comment on Facebook.  Which do you prefer and why? We’d love to get some feedback on how we are doing.

One of the reasons we are steadily growing is the content we provide.   We had a record-breaking month with 34 articles published in June!  MAR Online is now averaging about 30 articles a month.  The Editors would like to thank all the people who write articles and supply information as well as readers and subscribers and Facebook commentators.  They really make the job of Editor worthwhile.   New submissions are always welcome, from new or existing authors.  How do you, as readers and collectors, like the content?  What do you collect that you do not see covered?   Are the posts about the right length? Too long? Too short?

The same Editorial team has been involved from the start of this online blog in December 2015:
  • Rod Ward – Consultant Editor and Founder
  • Maz Woolley – Online Editor and Website Manager
  • Karl Schnelle – US Editor and Website Contributor
  • Hans-Georg Schmitt – Consultant Editor Germany

All posts from our online beginning are listed on one master list.  Search it if you want to find an old article, or just use the green search button on the top menu.

Finally, as the US Editor, here are a few comments on American collecting trends.  Hot Wheels and other 1:64 scale models are still big here.  I have heard that local retailers are carrying less and less stock of diecast toy cars and trucks.  Therefore,  I went to my local Walmart recently to check out availability in a bricks and mortar setting.  With a new Spider-man movie out soon, the end-cap on the toy aisle was all Hot Wheels Spider-man vehicles.  Next were these 16 columns of Hot Wheels, whereas  Matchbox took up a lowly four columns.
Two stacks of M2 classic cars were there as well. They are more detailed (and expensive) than Matchbox, and so more collector-focused.  On the left are some of the Jada products that have been around for years.  These are closer to my preferred 1:43 scale but are all ‘tuner’ cars and trucks.
I did notice these 1:43 scale pull-back toys in Walmart-branded boxed.  These have been sold under different brand names for many years  in the US.
ERTL is still around but now owned by Tomy (who also now own the Britains farm toys range).   Walmart had one of their farm trucks for sale this week.
I will investigate Target and Toys”R”Us in the next few weeks and report back if I find anything different.  In the US, those are the major sources, unless you go online and shop at eBay or with other smaller online toy/model car suppliers.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

Voting for the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame is Now Open!

By Karl Schnelle

Over the last few weeks, the Diecast Hall of Fame Selection Committee has narrowing down the final five nominees for each induction category.  The MAR Online US Editor (Karl Schnelle) is on the Selection Committee. More than 200 fantastic nominations were received from around the world.   Please take a look and vote today!

More information and the link to vote is here.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

 

 

 

Museo Botta is now free to visit!

By Maz Woolley

 

Regular readers may remember an article in MAR Online about the Museo Botta http://www.maronline.org.uk/museo-botta/.   This is an online Museum created for Giovanni Botta an Italian collector of model cars and advertising materials which originally charged a small sum to make an e-visit.

A press release from Giovanni brings the news that e-visits to the museum are now free. This is good news as the collection is well worth a visit – why not have a look there are some very interesting items on display.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

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.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

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.

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 @ gmail.com, or you can pay by a UK cheque in the post – please email the editor to be notified of the postal address.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.