Category Archives: Editorial

Editorial January 2019

Happy New Year to all our readers, writers, and to the manufacturers who produce the models we collect. Soon we will be supplied with many more product listings for next year and I am sure that there will be plenty of choice of models to buy. I do hope that prices rise less quickly in 2019 than they did in 2018, but that may be a vain hope with the political turmoil we are currently experiencing.

The London Toy Fair will take place later this month and that will give us a chance to meet with Oxford Diecast and Hornby representatives, as well as with representatives of some of the major importers of models to the UK. It will be interesting to see pre-production castings and to hear of the models we can expect to see this year. I wonder if the fruits of Hornby’s turnround exercise will begin to be seen, and the future of some of the Corgi ranges become clearer?

Next month the annual mega-tradefair at Nuremberg takes place and a wide range of manufacturers products will be shown. I wonder if the trend towards large scale models will continue and whether we will see yet more new Chinese brands selling direct to the west rather than supplying Western firms?

If you are thinking of making a New Years resolution why not consider writing for MAR Online as we need more writers to help keep the site vibrant and worth returning to on a frequent basis?

Happy New Year

Editorial December 2018

2018 is rushing to a close, and manufacturers are getting their final shipments of the year from the Far East. Not all of them will manage to release all of the models planned for 2018 before the end of the year, so I expect to see another flurry of releases early in 2019, just before the long shutdown in China for their New Year holiday.

We are already seeing some announcements of models for next year and the rush to produce larger models continues. 1:8 scale Citroën DS and Porsche 911 models have been announced which will cost nearly a thousand GB Pounds each.

This year’s round of fund raising to pay for our web hosting has covered our costs, so a big ‘thank you’ to our 2018 charter subscribers for helping to make another year of MAR Online possible. Thanks also go to our regular writers and contributors, without whom there would be no MAR Online.

So if you haven’t written for us, why not make a New Year’s resolution to sent us an article in 2019?

All the team at MAR Online hope that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2018 Model Car Hall of Fame Winners

By Karl Schnelle

The 2018 award winners have just been announced in many categories for both model and actual cars.  Three broad areas for the awards are Models, People, and Brands.

Check out their four pages of blog entries for details on each winner.  Next year, you may again nominate and vote for your favorites!


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

Editorial November 2018

Congratulate us! MAR Online has reached its fifth birthday. In November 2013, MAR 278 was the last issue of the print version of Model Auto Review. Our initial online issues overlapped with the print magazines, sharing the same content. After that, for the first couple of years we published a fresh issue every couple of months, just like the printed magazine had done. When we redeveloped the site late in 2015, however, after experiencing some hosting problems, we changed to the continuous rolling publishing format we have today.

Our website details tell us that we have an average of over ten thousand page-loads per month, plus many Facebook followers and email subscribers. It is very pleasing for us that our readers come from all over the world, not just from English-speaking countries. We hope that you all continue to enjoy MAR Online and enjoy the fruits of the hard work of our contributors.

Our writers are the reason that MAR Online continues to delight and surprise; They cover a wide range of subjects, many of them neglected by those printed magazines which still survive. Our contributors deserve our gratitude. They share their knowledge and passions with you, without any payment for the time and effort they put in.  Model and toy manufacturers, big and small, also help us by making sure that there is plenty for us to write about. In addition, a number of new manufacturers have appeared during the lifetime of MAR Online.

Our thanks are due to those individuals who have contributed payments to our running costs, and whose names can be found on the Charter Subscribers wall. They have helped to ensure that MAR Online remains free to use, and independent when expressing opinions.

Having achieved five years of MAR Online, I am sure you will join me in looking forward to the future, and all the news and comment we will have on the interesting models still to come…

Editorial Announcement

I managed to walk into a low branch yesterday and it caught my eye. After some hours in hospital last night and this morning I am sitting here with a patch over my right eye as I have a scratched cornea. This means that using a computer screen is difficult. In the circumstances I hope that you will all understand that I will not be posting new articles for a few days.

Maz

MAR Online Editor

Editorial October 2018

October marks the beginning of the final quarter of 2018. Announcements from Oxford Diecast and other manufacturers of their next set of releases, reaching into 2019 are imminent. As ever, it will be interesting to see what the model makers propose, and whether neglected eras and companies come to the fore at last. In the USA Goldvarg has already announced models of US sedans from the early 1960s, which have been hard to find in the past.

My impression is that during 2018 prices of models have generally continued to rise, in all scales, at a faster rate than general inflation, with a particularly rapid escalation in prices for some smaller scale resin makers and the largest remaining white metal producer. Many 1:43 scale resin ranges have crossed the psychological barrier of 100 Euros, which at current consumer exchange rates equates to around 100 GB Pounds. In the US the hundred-dollar barrier has been well and truly passed by many ranges, indeed Brooklin are now breaking the two hundred dollar mark for some products. As ever, we wonder whether this will lead to collectors buying fewer models? Maybe at these new higher prices the product is more difficult to sell, which reduces the income level, and thus makes it necessary to raise the price of the next model?

We congratulate those makers who have tried to keep price rises to a minimum, such as many of the industrial diecast producers like Oxford Diecast, Welly, Burago, Greenlight, and a few others. But even there prices have risen somewhat, due to increased production and shipping costs in China.

We hear of some companies looking for other countries in which to produce models in future, as costs for Chinese production continue to rise, and as other potential political difficulties loom on the horizon. One country which has been suggested to us as a potential manufacturing partner in future is Vietnam.

One wonders what the future impact will be of impending tariff wars between the USA and other countries (China in particular of course), and also the possible impact of ‘Brexit’ here in the UK.

Many thanks to the two generous readers who have made contributions towards next year’s hosting. Their names have been added to the charter subscribers page. If you would like to add a donation as well, then please email maronlineeditor@gmail.com for details of how to participate.

Another sad loss to modelling

We have recently heard that Frank Waller of Road Transport Images has passed on after a battle with cancer. Frank ran RTI as a retirement pastime and was a much loved producer of transport related transkits and components in resin and white metal to 1:76 scale. In more recent years RTI began to make all the components to allow modellers to put together the cab, chassis, wheels and trailers to make up whole vehicles without needing any diecast donor. The models made were mainly from UK manufacturers and largely from the post-war period through to the 1970s.  Frank was always keen to discuss your project with you when you called for advice and would quickly give you a shopping list for the parts you would need to create your modified model.

Frank’s range included many neglected subjects such as the BMC EA vans and cabs from the wide range of UK manufacturers which are totally unobtainable in a diecast form.

I understand that Frank’s family will be seeking someone to take on RTI as a going concern and that until that has happened there will be no more sales of RTI products.

The many postings on bulletin boards when the news was published by his family show how well regarded Frank was and shows the gap he will leave behind him.

Editorial September 2018

As autumn approaches, here in the Northern Hemisphere, toy fairs and auctions become more frequent and manufacturers will be trying hard to get the last of the models announced for 2018 on sale. Some will be letting us know their plans for 2019 in the next few months and, as ever, it will be interesting to see what they have in store for us and whether the trend towards more models in larger scales continues. Meanwhile 1:43 scale resin producers mostly seem to have gone over to announcing only a few models at a time close to their release,  so it will be some time before we know what 2019 will bring from them. The partwork world was neither shaken nor stirred when Eaglemoss launched their Bond in Motion series using the castings previously used in the Fabbri James Bond Collection. It will be interesting to see who is left to subscribe to this series, after the previous partwork ran to over 130 parts.

Complaints about quality control seem to be a recurrent theme on many of the bulletin boards and in posts on Facebook groups, as well as in some of the model reviews here in MAR Online. This affects everything from expensive collectors models, often in resin and PE, to mass-market diecast models with poor printing, sloppy assembly and even some parts fixed incorrectly or left off completely. Complaints are common that the larger mail order outlets do not even bother to make a cursory check of the model when packing it, which would pick up some of the worst issues. Perhaps the discounted price comes at a cost in quality control? The returns policy often means that that you get little redress, and will lose even more money posting models back to the supplier at your own expense.

Another autumnal event is the annual hosting charge for this website. Please contact the Editor if you wish to be a charter subscriber by making a donation towards our costs; it will help us remain online and free to use.


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

Editorial August 2018

Over the last year I have had the pleasure of visiting four long-established clubs here in the UK: South Hants Model Auto Club, Wessex Model and Toy Collectors Club, Maidenhead Static Model Club, and Coventry Diecast and Model Club where I am a member. Without fail every one of them has given me a very warm welcome, listened to my thoughts on models, and in the case of the first three clubs have listened politely, and I hope with interest, to my talk on British Artisan producers in 1:76-ish scale. I also have the real pleasure of reading the clubs’ newsletters which are always interesting. The visits to the clubs have also highlighted the lovely selection of models that members bring along to show, and the joy brought from sharing with others the models that you love.

Facebook and social media seem to be the way that the younger generation of collectors get together with very active pages for collectors of Atlas, Oxford Diecast and others. but somehow for me it is not the same as holding a model in my hand, and discussing it with fellow collectors. The message I have received from visiting the clubs and from following various Facebook pages is that the hobby is changing rather than dying. Whilst many of the earlier generations of collectors prefer face-to-face meetings, toyfairs and collectors’ shops the new generation are ‘time poor’. They meet through social media and mostly buy and discuss  their models on the Internet. Many long-time collectors have also engaged with the Internet to search for scarce models and they use bulletin boards and Facebook pages to further their enjoyment of their hobby. The challenge now is to get some of the younger generation of collectors who are active on the internet to come along to club meetings and catch the club habit too.

My thanks to our writers who have again provided a crop of interesting articles this month and to my co-Editor Karl for his hard work. If you read MAR Online and think that there is not enough on a topic you are interested in why not write some articles yourself. All we need to put together an interesting article is a few photographs or scans and some words about your interest. If you think your English is not perfect we will even have a go at translating text submitted in your native language!