Category Archives: Editorial

John and Jenny Hall – Obituary update

The sad news that John and Jenny Hall who founded and built Brooklin Models passed away has been confirmed from several sources. It appears that they both passed away last December after serious illnesses.

Readers who wish to know more should visit the tribute on the Brooklin Diary Page at where their daughter tells about their “retirement” years busy with music and their own hobbies.

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



John and Jenny Hall – Brooklin Founders

Postings on the Facebook page of a Canadian model shop, Minigrid, bring news that John and Jenny Hall who founded Brooklin Models passed away on December 20th 2016. There are no further details.

John and Jenny Hall created Brooklin models in Canada modelling the American cars that John loved. They returned to the UK in 1979 and grew the Brooklin Models business until they sold it in 1998 to the current owners. They then emigrated to Vancouver Island and then to to Australia to be near their family.

Their contribution to the world of model collecting was substantial and I am sure that there will be considerable sadness at their passing.

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



Vic Davey 1941 – 2016

By Maz Woolley

This obituary draws on material used with permission from an article in Wheelspin the Coventry Diecast Model Club (CDMC) magazine edited by Will Roe, and written by Paul Kenelly the Club President.

Vic Davey 1941 – 2016


Vic Davey was known to model collectors worldwide. Many will know him as co-author of several books with Danny Chan:  The Complete World of Exclusive First Editions, The Complete World of Tomy Diecast, and The Complete World of Little Buses. Many of the models pictured in these works came from his personal collection which covered many fields including minor UK producers like Kemlow, Charbens and Tremo/Jolly Roger. Robert Newson’s articles on these subjects often featured some of Vic’s models to illustrate them. Paul Kennelly tells us that Vic was even heavily involved in searching out Corgi Models for Ed Force to be used in the photography sessions for the well known Schiffer Corgi Toys book.

Vic’s working life took him to Hong Kong for ten years where he learned the language as well as expanding his knowledge of the models from the far east and increasing his collection too. Paul explains that Vic initially lived in Coventry on his return from Hong Kong and then moved to London to find work. He was an active member and supporter of collectors clubs including Coventry Diecast Model Collectors Club, the London Model Club, and he was a life member of the Maidenhead Static Model Club.

I met Vic when we both worked for Westminster City Council. He was leading a team which was digitising the years of maps, diagrams and documents that the Council had accumulated. I was then a Systems Analyst in the IT Department and had to arrange for some work for Vic’s team. As Paul notes in his memorial seeing Vic’s disabilities for the first time surprised one. He had a hook instead of a right hand and a damaged left hand, the results of a childhood accident. However after a few minutes talking to him your attention was on the interesting conversation and not any disability. I seem to remember his first question being “Are you that Maz Woolley?”. When he found that I was indeed the person who wrote letters and articles for MAR conversation naturally turned to shared interests. He certainly didn’t let any disability get in his way at work where he had a very positive “up and at them” attitude to problems.

My last contact with Vic was when he was leaving Westminster Council and moving to Wales to join Paul and Hilary Kenelly to create the West Wales Museum of Childhood.  He was clearly relishing the opportunity to meet a new challenge and lead a new life.

Sadly Paul tells us that Vic’s later years were overshadowed by Parkinson’s Disease. Medication gave him a few years of stability but eventually he needed to go into a care home and had to sell his collection to fund his fees. He will be missed by all the collectors who met him and all those who benefited from his experience and knowledge.

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

Editorial January 2017

We wish all our readers a very happy new year. We all hope that 2017 is a good year for model producers as well as collectors. The economic uncertainty that dominated the final quarter of 2016 is certain to carry on in the short term. We may therefore see model producers being a little more cautious in the first half of 2017, and models getting a little more expensive, especially for collectors in the UK. The trade toy fairs which will be held early in the year will give us all an insight in what is to come from the major companies, but the smaller firms no longer find that attendance from buyers makes exhibiting worthwhile, so we can expect them to continue to only release information once models are nearly ready to sell, rather than publishing long lists in advance.

Here at MAR Online we have decided to look backwards in 2017 as well as to look forwards. in 2017 it will be 35 years since the original Model Auto Review (MAR) publication was launched, in 1982. We will look back over the history of model collecting through the covers and contents of the printed magazine. We will review a year at a time and reflect upon the articles and adverts and the way that model collecting has changed over time.

Forecasting trends is always difficult. Clearly resin production will continue to grow at the expense of higher-quality diecast models and white metal models, but the rising number of complaints about resin models losing their shape and popping their photo-etched parts in storage might lead to a decline in sales volumes. Another factor in resin model production is that economic changes in China, such as interest rates and borrowing restrictions would affect the small businesses which produce these resin models. In 1:18 scale there are complaints that, though very beautiful, the models are so fragile that they cannot be handled and enjoyed, a sentiment shared by some collectors of 1:43 models who find themselves unable to remove resin cars from the plinth where they have been over-tightened or simply because they have so many fragile parts that there is no area where you can safely hold them. A couple of years ago 3D printing looked like it could offer a new way to produce models, but so far its biggest impact has been to allow prototyping work to be done quickly and some small parts to be made for final models. Until the technology is capable of delivering a smooth finish, however, it is unlikely that printed models will make a big impact on the market place. Traditional diecast sales volumes must now be dominated by partwork and series suppliers and the secondary use of the moulds made for these series by ranges like White Box, Greenlight and others. Here in the UK Atlas Editions have been featured on BBC television for very poor customer service, so if they do not get their IT systems properly under control they may experience even more unfavourable publicity, which may seriously affect sales of all these types of subscription series. The story for traditional brands has been mixed. Some, like Oxford and Greenlight, seem to be doing very well with regular releases and strong sales, while others are trying to regain the middle ground diecast sales by dipping into their back catalogue of moulds. Minichamps seems to be doing this more successfully than Corgi, for example. Minichamps and Spark seem to be dominating the sales of F1 and racing cars, which are no longer being produced as mass-market diecasts. A final trend that I expect to continue is the production in resin of older and obscure cars by Matrix, Auto Cult and others as they seem to be selling steadily.

I am sure that we all have a wish-list of model vehicles you would like to see at a price you can afford. In your Editor’s case it would be a set of mass-market diecast models of the Rootes Group Arrow cars: Hillman Hunter, Humber Sceptre etc. Why not write to us at MAR Online and share with us some examples of subjects that you would like to see made in future?

News from HobbyDB: Minichamps All in One Place

Based on the News Release from hobbyDB,  7 Dec 2016

Diecast manufacturer Minichamps and collector database hobbyDB are partnering to create an archive of every Minichamps model ever made. Now only on hobbyDB, you’ll find detailed information on thousands of their cars dating back to the company’s origins in the early 1990s, not to mention an array of other types of models as well as drivers’ helmets, crew figures, buses, tractors, tank, motorbikes and more.

Minichamps’ Paul Lang stated that he is “excited that with hobbyDB’s help, diecast fans from all around the world will now have an interrelated archive of everything Minichamps, a resource that we’ve never been able to provide until now.”

Originally known as Paul’s Model Art after Paul Günter Lang, the founder of the company,  Minichamps has pioneered producing high quality models in several scales. The first Paul’s Model Art diecast car by Minichamps was made in 1990, and by 1995 Minichamps was manufacturing more than 100 different castings with hundreds of racing liveries. Details like badges in the center of steering wheels and hubcaps, and separately molded parts for windshield visors, door handles, air vents, headlight lamp lenses and more help set their models apart. 1/43 and 1/18 are their most popular sizes. In fact, they often produce the same car in both scales.

One of their best-known specialties is Formula 1 cars, particularly those from recent years. A model might only represent an exact iteration of a car that ran in a single race. That means changing wings (front and rear), livery, even sponsor decals and tire types if necessary.

Minichamps also offers an extensive line of other racing types and concept cars including several American models from the 1950s.

With the data coming directly from Minichamps, everyone will be able to know exactly which version of a model was made, and if  you want it, you’ll get an email as soon as your desired model goes up for sale.

You can check out the Official Minichamps Archive on hobbyDB here.  The full news release is here, with more photos.

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

Book Review: British Sporting Cars in Miniature

by Karl Schnelle


David Wright tells us that he has had much complimentary feedback from readers of his latest book, British Sporting Cars in Miniature (2015), and that it is selling well. It covers classic British sporting cars from the early pioneers of the pre-war era, through the golden years of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and includes summaries of the production of the real cars, and a comprehensive selection of the miniatures, both toys and collectors models.

I find it interesting that the title says ‘sporting’ and not the more typical ‘sports’.  In fact, the author gives a definition at the beginning of the book.  Sporting cars include sports cars as well as those that  “may not have great performance but have a presence and attitude”.  That’s a great way to put it.

It features over 1000 color pictures, some never seen before, from both his own collection  and those of a number of serious collectors around the world. This 300 page book, featuring 85 marques of cars, was launched this time last year and, with Christmas here again, could represent a very nice gift for those interested in this field.

Marques include all those that you would expect, but also ones I have never heard of, from Ashley to Unipower!   A mix of obsolete 1/43 diecast and Matchboxes, early white metal kits, and newer Lansdowne, Minichamps, Spark, etc, etc are included.

More details can be found on his website, or email the author at david at   Happy Holidays!

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

Editorial December 2016

This month sees the first anniversary of our website We hope that you are enjoying our posts. We suggest that you get involved with our Facebook page as this is where readers can comment on articles, make suggestions, or even put forward their own ideas. Our thanks to all those who have responded to our posts and to everyone who emails us, writes for MAR Online and who read our posts.

We look forward to 2017 with great interest, even if these unsettled times may bring challenges to model producers and collectors alike. A trend that will continue is the increasing use of ex-partwork castings as a basis for models for other ranges. We have recently seen Greenlight getting involved in this activity, as it allows them to produce models that fit into their usual themes, with the bonus of low development costs. Another trend that is likely to continue is that retail prices will increase, as raw material costs are rising, and currency instability continues. On the positive side, many manufacturers have started to announce interesting model subjects for next year.

The Wessex Toy & Model Collectors Club, which has ordered special Club models from Brooklin since 1987, have announced that there will be no Brooklin club models for 2016. This is due to the number of orders received being below a new minimum batch size of 100 models set by Brooklin. Another sign of the times perhaps? With the Canadian Toy Collectors’ Society ceasing to order club models from Brooklin last year there are now very few club models made by Brooklin. The WMTC prototypes of the Pontiac and Ford Squire woodies hand-made by John Roberts in colours not used by Brooklin in their standard ranges will now remain unique and will be auctioned for charity.

Finally, here is a reminder that we always welcome contributions to MAR Online; short or long. I am sure many readers have news, information or insights to share. Remember we are happy to edit any contributions, so if you haven’t written for us yet, why not give it a try?

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

Readers Question – Atlas Models

Peter Walker writes:


Do you know where I can get the Atlas silver cars in 1:43 scale and the Atlas Editions classic sports cars?

Thank you


We often get questions about how to buy particular models which readers have seen on our pages or elsewhere.  Often these are for models which have been issued in a subscription series or as a part work with a model and a magazine.  The answer will invariably that be that you need to look for the models on the secondary market on eBay or at Toyfairs.

Why is this, some readers will ask? This is because of the sales model adopted by those running subscription series like Atlas and those selling part works like DeAgostini.  They will only allow you to subscribe to the series as a whole and that series will only be available for a limited period of time. And each series will be sold only to the country it is launched in, though castings may appear in series issued in France, Holland, and the UK. In a few cases models can be bought on back order from the suppliers web site but they will seldom accept overseas orders and some models never appear as back orders anyway. Atlas never make models available singly in this way in the UK.

So unless the series is active and you are prepared to subscribe to a whole series, at least up to the last issue that you wish to collect , and you have a bank account and delivery address in the country the series is issued in, you will generally not be able to get the models direct.

Both the series that Peter enquires about are no longer being sold on the Atlas Website so the only source for these models will be from people who subscribed to the series to sell them on at a profit or who decide to sell the whole or part collection off when they finish. In some cases auction houses will be asked to sell whole or part series and people also do this on eBay from time to time.

The silver cars from Atlas and a similar series made for Altaya in Spain turn up on eBay with only a small premium over their original sale price. The Atlas sports car series  also turns up on eBay but this is often at very significantly higher prices than Atlas charged. One example of this is the Daimler SP250 sports car which I believe was made for Atlas  by Norev and attracted prices similar to the Norev original. In a some cases models from Atlas and others also turn up on eBay being sold by a Hong Kong or Chinese seller. However, caution is needed as a lot of these models appear to be factory quality control rejects though I have bought some that are absolutely perfect.

So my advice to Peter has to be to keep an eye on a few specialist Auction houses especially if he wants to buy a full or part set of the models and to keep an eye on eBay and at Toyfairs if he just wants one or two.

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

Free copies of Model Auto Review and Modellers World (No longer available)

By Maz Woolley

A reader has now collected these magazines so they are no longer on offer. We wish them many happy hours reading about the early days of model collecting.  

A reader has contacted us to offer an almost unbroken run of Model Auto Review magazines from Issue 1 through to 1993 as well as 1981-83 copies of Modellers World magazine to any reader interested in collecting them.


These would need to be collected from Reading  in the UK. If any reader is interested please email the editor in the first instance at maronlineeditor at

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

Editorial November 2016

In the year 2000 the USA produced 5.5 million cars and fewer than a million were made in China. In 2015 the USA produced just over 4 million cars and China made over 12 million, yet the huge rise in Chinese car production has had little impact on model cars available to collectors outside China. Maybe model cars don’t appeal to a Chinese population which gained access to computers and smartphones at the same time as owning their first car? If Chinese car makers encouraged production of more models of their cars for publicity purposes there could be models of the Buicks, Volkswagens, Suzukis and others that we never see in the West. Maybe we would then be able to buy them on eBay.

The fall in the value of the pound has triggered price rises for model collectors in the UK. There has been press comment on Hornby imposing substantial price rises across the board, even though many models had already been imported and paid for at the previous lower prices. Other producers are raising prices as well, if only for new models. Firms like Brooklin are having to introduce variable pricing across their ranges to reflect the greater costs involved in making certain models. Even producers unaffected by the state of the pound seem to be increasing prices as rising prices of oil and raw materials has an impact on their costs. Sales may start to suffer if higher prices clash with the static or decreasing incomes of collectors. It is not only UK firms who are suffering due to increased costs of raw materials and costs of production in China. The new ‘lower-price’ Maxichamps range is a case in point. When conceived it should have been comparable in price with Oxford, but even though Oxford prices have increased slightly, Maxichamps will cost at least 50% more than comparable Oxford models on the UK market. Outside the UK the price differential will remain the same, because of the lower value of the pound against international currencies.

On a lighter note thank you to the clubs who send me your newsletters. I may not acknowledge them all, but they are all read with considerable enjoyment. For those who live near enough to visit an established club I suggest you go along to a meeting or to see them at the many events they run or at which they exhibit. Contact details for many clubs can be found from the clubs page reached from the link on the bar at the top of each page of MAR Online. This is a good way to advance your hobby in congenial company.

We have seen some interesting articles in MAR Online on a wide range of subjects over the last few months. Many thanks to those of you make it possible. Remember if your interest is not represented we would love to hear from you; writing for MAR is easy. We are happy to format and edit your work, and even sometimes to translate it.

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