Category Archives: Model Makers

Who made the model

Somerville SMK 156 Hillman Minx Californian

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author except that of the Lansdowne model which was provided by Brooklin Models.

Somerville models were one of the finest makers of 1:43 White Metal Models in 1:43 scale until their founder Doug McHard died in 2002. Many Somervilles were available as built models or kits.  After Doug McHard died the range was not bought but the masters were sold on to various people with many being bought by Graham Ward of Promod, as was the right to sell models as Somervilles. For many years nothing happened but in the last few years Somerville models made by Promod have been appearing on eBay sold as 1:43 scale metal kits. Some of them are re-issues of models originally made by Somerville like the Standard Flying 12 and Hillman Minx Convertible and Saloon from 1951. But some seem to be adapted from Somerville originals to create models which I do not believe were ever made by the original Somerville company.

An example of this is kits sold of the round grilled Hillman Minx Convertible and Californian said to be from 1952. I can find no trace of Somerville making these models. This post looks at the Hillman Californian from Promod.

The Hillman Californian with a round grille appeared initially in 1952 as a Mark Six version of the car. This had a new dashboard and a new round grille compared to the Mark Five but still sported the short tail of the previous version. This was the version modelled by Sangers many years ago shown below.

The Minx was updated to Mark Seven  in 1953 with the new long tail and this is the version produced by Promod. This is shown in the extract from the contemporary advert shown below.

In 1954 the Mark Eight was introduced and the grille was changed again with the addition of horizontal central section. That is the form that Brooklin has modelled the Californian in its Lansdowne range  as shown below:

The Californian name did not appear when the new Series One Audax cars appeared. It was replaced by the Sunbeam Rapier which was a similar two door coupé  which allowed the rear windows to be wound down into the body work in the same way as the Californian. Like the Californian it started out sharing its interior with the Minx  but quickly gained a more luxurious interior with wood and leather more fitting for a Sunbeam.

So to the Somerville Model. Looking at the baseplate it looks like this has been converted from the 1951 Convertible model which was #133 in the Somerville range and this number is still inscribed on the base of this model. Promod also sell a Mark Seven Hillman Minx Convertible as a kit.

Looking at the front end the grille looks a little too square to my eyes. The Hillman badging is just a simple set of bumps in the casting not a separate part. The vacform for the front screen is also a very flimsy and thin item. I have not added the small photo-etched wipers as I think that they would look at out of place on this ‘chunky’ model. The headlights are supplied as a chromed part with a dip in and you need to create your own lenses, using Micro Krystal Klear in this case.  The number plates are supplied as decals which do not adhere particularly strongly to the plated bumper. Sidelights are just moulded in.

The rear is quite neatly modelled with rear lights supplied as chrome parts that you need to add clear red paint to. The boot fittings are moulded well though the key hole is not quite centred. The main problem clear in this picture is that the top is supplied as separate part so they can re-use the lower body from the convertible. This would be fine if it fitted well, however it doesn’t fit well either at the rear or at the front

This picture shows the more than acceptable wheels and bumpers. The tyres seem a bit soft but actually fit the wheels well. Shame they do not have a white sidewall!

This view shows the neat chrome stone guards which are separate parts which fit nicely. Again the poor fit of the roof is evident.

Inside the dashboard and steering wheel are those of a 1951 car and have not been altered to make a Mark Seven interior.

The fit at the head of the screen is poor which is a shame. It might be improved by adding it and using filler before painting but then it would make doing the two colour painting more difficult. The picture below is affected by the wide angle lens setting as the car does not curve away front and back as shown below.

Whilst it is great to have a Californian to fill in the gap between the Sanger and the Lansdowne it also fills in the gap in terms of quality being better than the Sanger but short of the quality of the Lansdowne.

The Author would like to thank John Roberts for his advice and information provided whilst he was making this model. 


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Maserati 4CLT c.1:10 scale handbuilt model

By Jerry J. Broz

All Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here we are looking at a few pictures of my very first model car, which was not a scale model, but an accurate depiction of the 1948 Maserati 4CLT. Built in 1955, when I was sixteen-year old, to approximately 1:10 scale, this model car is sixty-two years old. Back in 1955 when I started work on this model I had no documentation available for the actual car. and no access to any detailed drawings or photos; however, I was able to find some basic descriptions and a few low quality photographs taken at Grand Prix races.

The chassis and hood of the model were made from an aluminium sheet. The body was carved from balsa wood, sealed with a paste made from clear lacquer and baby powder, and then sanded and painted. The louvres in the body were hand carved and the louvres in the hood were hand formed. The brake disks and wheel centre hubs were turned from round aluminium rod on a small lathe. The wheels were made from short aluminium containers for water colour paints. The rims and center hubs were glued together and small holes were drilled around the perimeter of the rims and hubs for the spokes. Each wheel assembly was then hand-laced with smooth, thick thread in order to simulate the spoke pattern typical of wire wheels. Before the tires were attached to the wheels, whole wheel assemblies were spray painted with aluminium colour paint.
The toy rubber tires, the number “7’ stickers, and the screws are the only commercially purchased items used in this model car.

The metalwork, such as the dashboard, suspension arms, radiator grille frame, steering wheel centre, arm protector (with drilled perforation), windscreen frame, gas filler cap, tie and steering
rods, and hub caps, were either cut from aluminium sheets, made from aluminium wire, or turned from round aluminium rod and polished as needed. The exhaust was made from aluminium circular
tubing and painted flat black. All small parts were adapted from anything which could serve the purpose.

The cockpit; the cockpit detail is minimal, gauge bezels were turned from aluminium round rod and then the gauge faces were hand drawn in. The rear view mirrors were turned from hardwood dowel and then the silver mirrors were painted in. The two-part seat was hand-made from thin leather which was stretched over the seat shape made from balsa wood, stuffed with cotton balls and shaped into a seat. The circular steering wheel rim was hand-made and shaped from hardwood, painted black, and attached to the steering column by a metal three-spoke central part. The windscreen was made from clear plastic and glued into an aluminium windscreen frame.

A black/white photo of this 1948 Maserati 4CLT model was featured in December 1964 issue of the Auto World Newsletter. I expect that some of you might remember Auto World which was a model car mail-order business founded by Oscar Koveleski. Throughout my entire life I have been interested in model and full size racing cars. I have built and raced the slot cars, written articles for Car Model magazine, worked for Auto World, designed model cars and accessories for Auto World, Twin-K, Tonka, to name just a few. I have been involved with CAN-AM race cars and, of course, Formula One.

Since my retirement, I have remained active in Formula One, and am subscribing to F1 magazines, following F1 on TV and on computer and collecting the F1 memorabilia and various types of F1 model cars and kits. I have also took upon a new hobby, collecting and building customised and concept Volkswagen Old & New Beetles and Volkswagen Transporter T1 Trucks, Vans and Minibus models and kits.

A view of the front and left (exhaust) side of the completed car.

A front view of the completed model showing the radiator
frame with a wire simulated grille, and the front wheels
suspension arms as well as the oil lines.

A rear view of the completed model showing rear-view
mirrors, steering wheel, windscreen frame and clear
plastic windscreen,a part of the perforated arm protector,
and the dashboard with hand-drawn gauges.

A detail of the hood and body louvres and hand-laced
wire wheels.

A rear view of the completed model showing gas filler cap, rear exhaust holder, and full arm protector.

Underside view of the Maserati 4CLT model. The piece
of a 1.5ccm model gas engine was left in as a part of the
rear axle after realising that I was to build a curbside model rather
than tethered, model gas engine powered car which
would have required a completely different design of wheels,
tires, and attachment of the front wheels to the body.

 

Editor: We hope to show some more of Jerry’s adapted and hand-made models in future posts to this site.


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Atlas Dinky Collection – 24 L Peugeot 402 “Taxi”

By Maz Woolley

The latest model to arrive from Atlas in the original UK Dinky Toys collection is yet another French Dinky. According to Atlas Customer Service the next model wil be the final one I will receive in the UK collection.

The model has again already appeared in the collection sold by Atlas on the Continent and is issued again essentially unaltered.  It is 24 L Peugeot 402 “Taxi” introduced in 1939, withdrawn in 1940 and then sold for two years following the Second World War. The box shown above has pictures of the model in two colours; Atlas has decided to reproduce it in the blue and yellow colour scheme which is the same as a taxi which appeared in the Marilyn Monroe film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes‘. Pictures of this can be seen on the Internet Movie Car Database at http://imcdb.org/vehicle_115916-Peugeot-402-L-Taxi-1936.html

This Dinky toy has been replicated before in white metal and the SLMC model introduced some years ago is still available in that form.

The Peugeot 402 was  produced from 1935 to 1942 and was a very smooth shape with an aerodynamic look similar to the Chrysler Airflow in some respects. It had the typical Peugeot feature of headlights sited behind the front grille. Underneath the modern looks the Peugeot was a very conventional car based on a chassis which made it easier to offer the vehicle in three lengths and with a variety of body styles.  Peugeot offered a special taxi version of the long wheel base car. Many of these went into service in Paris and other parts of France running till long after the Second World War in some cases.

The Dinky taxi model followed the saloon, which was numbered 24 K, into the range. It has the external taxi meter fitted as an separate part rather than cast in. Some earlier models were made without a tin baseplate, but the Atlas has one. The wheels are grey coloured solid metal as were the originals.

There has been some discussion about Atlas Dinky models and their impact on prices of the original models on the Planet Diecast Forum recently and the general opinion seems to be that any fall in the values of original Dinky models is more likely to be caused by the fact the collector base is ageing with many collections now coming up for sale as collectors cease collecting or pass on. Some also attribute it to previous unsustainable increases in prices. People seem to accept Atlas models for what they are – replicas clearly marked as such by Atlas and easily distinguishable due to their much better paint finishes, tampo printing and clearly marked bases.

I will be interested to see what model Atlas send as the final replica in the collection. I think few would bet against it being another French Dinky model!


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Corgi’s latest Volkswagen Beetle

By Maz Woolley

Photographs of the model by, and copyright of, the Author. Photograph of the real car by, and copyright of, the Car’s owner Robin Allen. Design Cell copyright of Corgi.

From time to time one hears that a particular car has been chosen to be the basis of a model. In this case it was the Volkswagen Beetle owned by South Hants Model Auto Club member Robin Allen.  Corgi’s latest Volkswagen Beetle VA01208 is based upon his car shown in the photograph below.

Robin tells of the history of this attractive car.

‘The car was built in May 1957 and shipped directly to London where it was first registered in June 1957. Unfortunately there is no more early history with it, but DVLA records show that by 1966 it had moved to the Portsmouth area. I bought the car in 1989, and having a bit of spare cash from my redundancy at the same time, in 1990 I put it in to a VW specialist in Bournemouth for a bare metal strip and respray. When purchased it had been subjected to a poor repaint in a mid-blue colour although under the wings and interior were still in the original Horizon Blue. Having stripped the car I received a phone call saying “Do you realize how good this car is? There’s practically no rust at all. Can we spend a bit more and lift it off the chassis and clean and detail the underside too?” I agreed. Shortly before all this the engine suddenly began knocking badly and I sourced a spare to keep it going. During the rebuild in Bournemouth they pulled my old engine apart to discover the crankshaft had snapped. I had another spare engine from which the crankshaft appeared ok and my old one was rebuilt. Unfortunately the old engine continued to rumble a bit and leak oil everywhere. Even so I made trips to VW shows in Holland, Germany and around the UK, but the engine really wasn’t happy or as smooth as my other two Beetles’. I intended to get another engine for the car but then I received the “Birth Certificate” from Wolfsburg and was pleased to be told that the car was still running the original engine with which it left the factory in 1957.

Last month I finally took the plunge and sent it off to  under go a high quality engine rebuild. Stripped down, I received a call from them to go and have a look.”‘We really don’t know how this engine was still running” was their comment. The centre rib in the crankcase that supports the crankshaft had a huge crack and appeared to be just about to fall apart. The crankshaft had been hammering around with so much play that everything was getting damaged and worn. The sensible answer was to find another engine. The expensive answer was to have the crankcase repaired and machined by a specialist which would cost as much, if not more than the engine rebuild. Having a “matching numbers” car is highly sought after in the VW World and adds a bit to the desirability and value of the car, so I’m having it done. Let’s just hope the most expensive Beetle engine rebuild ever will prove worth it.’

Robin tells us about Corgi deciding to reproduce his car.

“When I was first approached for permission to make this model I was honoured with the idea – I still am. They had seen and photographed the car when it was on the Historic Volkswagen Owners Club stand at the NEC in November 2015, but only approached me about producing a model via the club at the beginning of this year.”

Corgi then carried out their measurements and produced a design cell which Robin has kindly copied for MAR Online and which is shown below.

Original discussions with Corgi indicated that they wished to replicate the blinds over the rear window that are fitted to Robin’s car but in the end these were not replicated. Commenting on the model Robin says:

‘…..the shape of the model isn’t too bad, the Beetle seemingly very difficult to replicate accurately.

Apart from the blinds which did not make it to the Corgi model other features are also missing, or not quite correct, as Robin points out:

(You would need to add) the side-mount radio aerial, the blinds and the centre part of the wheel hubs between hubcaps and rims which should be white. My car also has chrome rim embellishes so you can’t actually see much blue on the wheels on the actual car, unlike the model. The headlights on these Corgi Beetles are a bit disappointing, if you compare their plain chromed blob with the separate lens and rim on other models. My car also has headlight “eyebrows” but I wouldn’t expect anyone to try to model them.

Photographs of the model can be seen below. Please note that the photographs show the model slightly grey in colour, and less blue than it is.

Robin’s comments about the wheels are clearly demonstrated if you compare the photograph of his real car to the picture above.  My model also has an issue with the fitting of a hubcap which is far from central.

At the rear the blind is not modelled and the rear lights are pretty poor by today’s standards. A bump with a lick of red paint , rather than a fitted red lens, is now associated with budget models and part works not a full priced model.

The side view shows that Corgi has printed the stone guards fitted to Robin’s model. The rear view mirrors are incorrectly shaped with Robin’s being a rounded wedge shape and the Corgi’s being circular.

Looking inside the car the dashboard is the correct body colour and the steering wheel a nice period white. The cell produced by Corgi records a dark blue for the seats and doors but the seat/interior unit is actually black and the doors have no cards fitted and just show the horizon blue of the painted body shell.

From the front Robin’s criticism of the headlights is justified. Most partwork ranges now have separate headlight lenses as do the generally cheaper Oxford Diecast 1:43 models. It is nice to see that Corgi has printed air vents on the front wings even if they look a little too high to me.

From the rear the correct oval window and venting is modelled and the correct period number plate. The handle to open the engine cover is moulded in and highlighted.

So all in all although the Corgi is not an exact match it does capture the essence of the real car with the main details largely right. With a bit of added detailing I am sure that it will capture Robin’s car very well indeed.


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Neo’s baby Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Alfetta saloon was Alfa Romeo‘s answer to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other makers of Executive class saloons. The 1.6 modelled was the base engine in a range that also featured 1.8 and 2.0 litre engines. The Alfetta lasted in production from 1972 to 1984 selling over 400,000 cars. It was well used by both the Italian Police and Carabinieri,  and also as Government Ministers and Officials transport. The car’s classic Alfa Romeo De Dion rear axle with gearbox in unit helped balance the weight across the chassis and went on to be used in the later Alfa 90.

The model is by Neo in their now obsolete 1:87 range. Model Car World has now stopped making Neo 1:87 models but still have a few obsolete models in stock at the time of writing. All their 1:87 models are now released in the Best of Show (BoS) range to a lower standard of finish, with less photo etching for example. This was presumably because the Neo 1:87 models were considerably more expensive than even the top of the range Brekina or Herpa models. Curiously although Neo made an Alfetta in 1:43 scale that was a of the later version of the Alfetta with black bumpers. Here we have the car with the chrome bumpers fitted until a facelift later in its life.

Neo did the car in a number of colours: grey, beige, and very dark blue.

The use of Photoetch on this model is limited. The front and rear window surrounds are etched with the front wipers modelled into the screen etched sheet so they are quite small and discrete even in this small scale. In addition the Alfa grille central section at the front, the drivers door mirror,  and the ventilation grilles on the rear three quarter pillars are also photo etched.

Inside the seats and door cards are a tan leather colour and the dashboard is a mix of black and brown components with some instrumentation moulded in and a delicate steering wheel in left hand drive position.

As the photograph above shows the rear badging, lights, and the number plates are finely printed. All over-riders on the bumpers are picked out in matt black. The door handles and the tiny indicator repeater on the front wing are also printed delicately. The wheels are neat moulding capturing the wheels fitted to many Alfettas.

There are virtually no base details apart from a somewhat overscale partial exhaust system.

This is a nice model of a car which is seldom seen nowadays as it, like many vehicles of the 1970s and 1980s, has not been widely preserved, as it takes a lot of upkeep and was out of fashion until recent years.


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Atlas Dinky Deluxe – 1408 Honda S800

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The new Atlas Deluxe Dinky subscription series in the UK has now shipped #1408 Honda S800 to me and several other model collectors whilst others had the Honda some while ago and have already had the Simca Break which follows it in the collection.

The Deluxe series appears to be likely to be almost entirely French Dinky toys as created for the French Series Dinky™ Toys de mon enfance, la saga des ouvrants.  Luckily the 1960s and 1970s when the models with opening features were made were a period when Dinky in France generally made models to scale, and to a high standard not always seen on the UK models.

The Honda S800 Coupé produced by Atlas is in the original bright yellow shade and is a faithful replica of the original model. This model has only one opening feature, it’s bonnet. Once opened this reveals a simplified but generally correct depiction of the canted over 4 cylinder engine fed by four carburetors.

The original Dinky had a lot of modelled in detail which was not picked out such as the large Honda badges on the wings which are neatly replicated as well as indicators on the front and rear wings. The Dinky was only produced in one colour and only appeared in the catalogues in 1969 and 1970 making it a very short production run.

The S800 was a masterpiece of engineering featuring a four cylinder 791cc engine with four carburetors. Based on Honda’s motorcycle technology, this engine was capable of revving up to levels unheard of by its competitors like the MG Midget or Fiat 850 and could compete with sports cars with much higher engine sizes.

The front grille is nicely modelled and the model sports French number plates which I believe indicate that the car was registered in Paris. Just the place for a trendy foreign car.  The bonnet correctly features the off centre bulge needed to clear the carburetors.

Inside the interior is in red and fairly simple but shows the dashboard and steering wheel, two seats and luggage area well.

The rear of the replica is neatly done showing lights and the hinged “hatchback” door with Honda lettering replicated but again not picked out in silver.

This is a nice replica of one of the excellent models from Dinky France in the 1960s


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Big Hand Crafted Four by Fours – Part Four

By Robert Gunn

Readers of MAR magazine will have been familiar with Robert’s contributions as an expert on pickup trucks. Since retirement he has been making a selection of 4×4 vehicles by hand which he will share with us over a series of articles. All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Models

The models are hand made to 1:10 scale. Each is a unique creation and when finished is displayed on a modelled plinth in a clear cabinet. Here we look at the fourth of my models the 2016 Land Rover ‘Heritage Edition’ Defender.

How the models are made

All have a softwood chassis of pine or deal. Most body sides are tempered hardboard, as are the floors, but bonnet lids are metal – either aluminium or or nickel-silver sheet. Rounded corners are of timber beading, usually hardwood. Small details are made of anything which suits from my huge boxes of bits – parts of old pens, pieces of metal or plastic, nuts and bolts, tubes and so on. Sticks of solder are good to file into manifolds, carburetors and similar. Windscreen frames are either brass sheets and strips, or latterly in sheet polystyrene plastic.

Parts which I can’t make are brought-in, such as wheels, tyres, mirrors, lights, and badges.

Glues used vary from white PVA (Woodworking Glue) through super glue, Scotch glue and others. “JB Kwik” two pack epoxy is also very useful stuff – a combined glue and filler.

Part Four – Land Rover Defender ‘Heritage Edition’ 2016

 

On it’s diorama. Real chestnut rail fencing made from a 30 year old post found in my garden.

 

Front axle and steering gear.

 

Front axle and steering gear again.

 

Underside view

 

Details of lower door hinge. Tiny screws out of an old camera. Aluminium brush finish obtained using wire brush in a mini electric drill.

A view of the engine.

 

Another engine view.

 

Interior view. Canopy lifts off to enable inside to be seen.

 

Rear view of finished model.

 

Front view of finished model. The real ‘last Defender’ had an egg-crate grille in plastic which looked a bit ugly. So I made mine in real wire mesh, like a traditional Land Rover. The etched Land Rover badges are from a specialist – they’re quite expensive but are superbly made.

 

A view of the driver’s side of the completed model showing mirrors, black grilles in the wings and a host of other fine details.

 

Higher view of the front and side of the completed model.

 

Low view of front and side of completed model.

 

Engine installed. The thick sturdy metal bonnet stay was unaltered on the real Land Rover from 1948 to the last Defender!

 

Rear corner. Lights from an eBay supplier from the Czech Republic. Tiny screws from an old camera. The ‘reversing lights’ jewel was a motor scooter’s headlamp on a Birthday card I received.

 

Rear view of completed model

 

Front/Side view of completed model.

 

Seats and console. The real ‘Last Defender’ which the factory are keeping for their museum has cream leather seats. I bought cream leather on eBay ‘same as used by Aston Martin’  and glued it over timber patterns. The seats come from a ‘Bratz Doll’ 1:10 scale Cadillac car and were much modified to the correct shape.

 

The main body early on before the ride height was adjusted by shortening the springs.

 

Rear end. Early test fit. The tailgate is brass and aluminium with hard wood ‘triangle pieces’ in corners.

 

Primed chassis and front bulkhead. Coil spring towers are pen-caps!

 

The Land Rover’s chassis. Two pieces of structural quality softwood, glued together then cut to correct profile. Wood filler has been applied and it is ready to prime.

 

The finished Land Rover on it’s diorama with chestnut fencing.

Editor – Robert’s latest project is a 1:10 scale hand made 1955 Land Rover Series One 107 inch long wheelbase pickup. We at MAR Online look forward to Robert sharing the pictures and details of that build with us when it is finished.


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 8

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

This months issues brings us one more French bus, an Italian one, and a German one, but “made in Spain” : as usual an interesting mix from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 22 (no. 15 in the French collection) Berliet Crusair 3 1969 – Like Renault, Berliet is one of the oldest automobile manufacturer : founded in 1899 by Marius Berliet, it was in private ownership until 1967 when it became part of Citroën, then acquired by Renault in 1974 and merged with Saviem into the new Renault Trucks company (RVI) in 1978. Its name was phased out by 1980. Based in Vénissieux, near Lyon, Berliet contributed highly to the motorsport and economic development of France. After a first small vis-à-vis (1895) the first real Berliet was the 22 CV in 1902, and the success was at the door. Already in 1905 Berliet could sell to the American company ALCO (American Locomotive Corporation) the rights for the overseas production of models 22, 40 and 60 CV. That’s the origin of the locomotive in the Berliet logo. At the outbreak of the First World War its production was converted to military purposes. Its trucks were well thought of, and it assembled the famous Renault tanks.

After the war 4 and 6 cylinders models were produced, as wel as trucks and autocars. But the appearance of the Citroën Traction put rivals several years behind in technological terms. As money to innovate was lacking at Berliet an agreement with Peugeot allowed them to use the 402 body, a modern line to conceal their old fashioned technology. It was the last Berliet car, after World War Two only commercial vehicle production was resumed. During the fifties Berliet was highly successful, but in the sixties the competition with Magirus, Mercedes, Scania, Volvo and Fiat was very tough. It was necessary to innovate continuously. Once again resources were lacking and in 1967 it was acquired by Citroen. The Cruisair range, developed from 1966, offered innovative technical solutions and a new aesthetic.

The Cruisair 2 and 3 were 10 and 11 metres long, and were marketed in 1968 equipped with a 2-stroke V-6 GM Detroit Diesel engine, fragile if not correctly used, and, starting from 1970, with the V-8 Berliet, less powerful, but more reliable. Comfortable, reliable and profitable the Crusair was built on a straight frame with two U-rails, braced by central X-riveted cross-rails. Airlam suspensions, consisting of pneumatic cushions and leaf springs associated with double-acting hydraulic shock absorbers, assured comfort and stability. But it was not free of defects, such as corrosion, poor driving position or poor technical solutions for belts and brakes. The Crusair was replaced by the PR14 in 1975, in effect an evolution of a 12 meters long Crusair 4 never produced, equipped with a turbo engine and sold, under the Renault brand, until 1989.

The scale model has a plastic body and a metal chassis with the rear exhaust highlighted by silver paint. The bright livery is yellow with a lower green stripe, a silver stripe below the windows and a black roof. The registration plate is from Toulouse in Haute Garonne, in the South of France. Nice modelling of the engine ventilation grilles and the front itself as well as the driver’s “cab”. The front and rear bumper separate fixings like the wipers. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. This is a nice model of a bus that boldly showed the image of the French coach in the last twenty years of the twentieth century.

 

No. 23 (no. 67 in the French collection) FIAT 309/1 SDM Menarini 1966 – Fiat is another of the oldest automobile manufacturers. Founded in 1899 its first truck was the 24 HP in 1903. Like many other companies Fiat commercial vehicles had a strong growth during the war years, starting in 1911 with the Libyan war (type 15 and then type 18). In 1925 Fiat bought SPA (Società Piemontese Automobili) and in 1929 created Fiat Veicoli Industriali, a consortium grouping Fiat V.I., SPA and Scat-Ceirano that in 1933 integrated OM (Officine Meccaniche ex Züst). In 1966 Fiat V.I. absorbed its French subsidiary UNIC (bought in 1949 by Fiat-Simca), in 1966 Lancia Industrial Vehicles, and in 1973 part of FNM (Fàbrica Nacional de Motores), the Brazilian subsidiary of Alfa Romeo. From 1975 all the activities were grouped with Magirus in a new company (IVECO), and from now on it started the slow disappearance of the specific products of each brand. In 1915, Gianni Agnelli, founder of Fiat, created the S.I.T.A. (Società Italiana Trasporti Automobilistici) to ensure the transport of people and goods, and clearly to develop its commercial vehicles production (S.I.T.A. was part of Fiat up to 1987).

We have already seen (see 5th part, no. 13) that Menarini was established in Bologna in 1919 building horse drawn carriages, car components and later buses and trucks bodies for Fiat chassis. After the Second World War there was a great growth, but in the 1980s an excess of prudence by the ownership made the company weaker in the face of competition, leading to its acquisition by Breda, later to be integrated in Finmeccanica in 2001, and to be sold in 2015 to the new company IAA (Industria Italiana Autobus), owner of Menarini and Padane brands.

The Fiat 309 was a bus produced by Fiat V.I. from 1958 to replace the 642RN, which had been derived from a truck. This vehicle was designed from the beginning as a bus. Its production ceased in 1970, when replaced by the 308. It was available in the 9-metre version, with line and Gran Turismo versions, designed by Cansa of Cameri but it was also available as a chassis destined for external body builders, especially Carrozzeria Orlandi, Dalla Via, Portese, Bianchi and above all Menarini. The first 309’s mechanics, placed in the middle of the chassis, derived from the truck 642, but in 1963 they derived from the 643 and the denomination became 309/1 (a flat 6 in line, delivering 153 hp  with a 5-speed gearbox). The 309 saw widespread operation in Italy but also sold well in export markets, both in the long-distance version and in the Gran Turismo version. The SDM in the name is typical of Menarini products, it stands for “Sintesi Del Meglio” (Summary of the Best), the name given to their new projects, aiming at optimising construction techniques.

 

 

The scale model is a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the “Il Capolinea” fleet (The Terminal), a private Italian association (see www.associazioneilcapolinea.it). The registration plate, from Benevento, is the original one when it was part of the Autolinee Lisella. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, the rear exhaust highlighted by silver paint. Many items are small separate parts like the front and rear lights, wipers and the rear compartment doors. A nice front grille is provided complete with the Menarini and Fiat logos. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

 

No. 24 (no. 31 in the French collection) Setra-Seida S14 1966 – The Setra brand was born in 1951, but its origins are from the Wagenfabrik Kässbohrer, founded in 1893 in Ulm, and whose products were buses, coaches, vehicle transporters, trailers and special vehicles like snow groomers. After the destruction of World War Two they had to start from scratch and it was decided to create a new company dedicated only to buses. It was named Setra, short for “selbsttragend” (self supporting), referring to the integral nature of the construction, when competitor vehicles still featured a separate chassis and body. Until 1995 the firm operated under the name Kässbohrer-Setra, but in that year economic difficulties forced its sale to Daimler Benz, and to operate as a division of EvoBus GmbH, one of its subsidiaries. The first Setra buses were named according to the number of the rows of seats, like S8, S10, S14. To locate the engine behind the rear axle was another innovation, which subsequently became mainstream. The modular system (same structure’s elements and same cockpit) allowed to change only the wheelbase, the engine power and the interior fittings. Usually the engine was a diesel six by Henschel, delivering 170 CV.

 

The model is a bus born of an agreement between Setra and Seida (Sociedad Española de Importación y Distribución de Automóviles) a Spanish car and truck dealer and coachbuilder that later evolved into makers of integral chassisless motorcoaches, and  in 1998 merged into EvoBus. Seida was incorporated in 1925, and began as the dealer for Spain of all the brands of Chrysler Corporation, starting to assemble Dodge trucks in 1935. In the 1940s, after the Spanish Civil War, Seida switched to coachbuilding, soon leading the Spanish market of coach bodies, having patented, as Metalbloc, an all-metal body structure. By then Seida became the preferred bodybuilder for Pegaso buses and trucks, Hispano-Suiza trolleybuses, double-deck Guy and Dodge coaches. In 1963 an agreement with Kässbohrer allowed to license-build Setra chassisless coaches. These were equipped with Pegaso engines and were marketed with simultaneous double badge as Setra Seida and Pegaso. The S14, a full-length 12-meter 55 seat vehicle, was the most in demand. Despite being rather expensive, these coaches were very successful in the Spanish market. In the 1970s MAN, Mercedes-Benz or Cummins engines were offered as alternative power units to the Pegaso ones, and the Setra Seida and Pegaso badging was replaced by just Setra.

The scale model is again a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, owned by the “La Pamplonesa”, a Spanish family business dedicated to renting coaches and minibuses in Pamplona (Navarra) (see www.lapamplonesa.com). As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, the body is quite bright, helped by the blue and light blue livery and plenty of windows. The windows on the roof would have meant that during summer it would be very hot inside. Perhaps because of its length the model seems to be a bit flimsy, too flexible. The registration plate is from Donostia-San Sebastián, a coastal city located in the Basque Autonomous Community.

The small “SP” plate doesn’t mean “Spain” but “Servicio Públicos”. it is a compulsory plate to indicates that the vehicle is dedicated to providing public services: taxis, buses, etc. There are two plates one at the front and the other in the rear of the vehicle, this last one should incorporate a light that complies with the same conditions as for the rear registration plate. The interior is quite basic and is in a strange purple-pink colour. There are many small added items such as front and rear bumpers, wipers and rear view mirrors. The Pegaso logo is modelled correctly on the front grille and on the hubcaps. There is no apparent differences to the French edition.


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News from the Continent September/October 2017 – Herpa.

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

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

Here are some thoughts on two releases Herpa made in July 2017. These are moulded in plastic to 1:87 in Germany.

307574 IFA G5 Dumper – orange

After the recent fire brigade version, the IFA G5 is now released as a bright yellow dumper. This vehicle was developed for the National Peoples Army of the former DDR and the 6×6 G5 was also used for civil purposes, especially when The Warsaw Pact forces standardised on Soviet trucks. The new  tipper has working action as shown in the photographs below where it can be seen next to the earlier dark orange and Military versions from the DDR Modelcars range.

700665 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 13 double-cab with flat bed and Tilt German Army – “Bundeswehr”.

It seems hard to believe but today German Army vehicles can be seen painted in white or silver in use on the roads. This approach is designed to make it easier to sell secondhand vehicles in these colours, rather than the traditional matt green, when the army no longer want them.


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Atlas Dinky Trucks – 425 Bedford TK Coal Lorry

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Atlas Dinky Trucks series continues with another release based on the Bedford TK cab already seen in the series  as 434 Bedford TK Crash Truck. Dinky made good use of this cab as it also appeared as 450 Castrol Box Van, 435 Tipper, 978 Refuse Truck and 402 Coca Cola delivery Lorry.

Atlas have reproduced the toy box well with the period drawings capturing a world swept away in the UK by the discovery of North Sea Gas reserves.

On the side panel, shown below ,details of the accreditation of approved coal merchants were described which provides an explanation of the logo on the cab door.

 

This TK version was in production between 1964 and 1968, or 1969 as sources disagree. Liveried for Hall and Sons it is the type of vehicle that delivered coal, coke and anthracite to people’s homes. In the early 1960’s houses still had open fires and many had solid fuel boilers to heat the water and house. Coal deliveries were a common sight on urban streets. By the end of the 1970s the clean air act and the cheap new gas coming in from the North Sea meant that houses had boarded up fireplaces , fitted central heating and an old trade was in decline.

Although the Dinky toy is a slight caricature of the TK cab it made a nice strong looking toy. With its hefty chassis and nice solid wheels and tyres it looked up to the job of moving heavy loads around.

On the back Atlas have reproduced the extras which came with the original model. 6 sacks modelled full of coal and a set of scales to check the weight before delivery, though like the original Dinky there was no weight to put on scales to balance the bag.

As side on shot emphasises the heavy nature of this model and many must have survived well in the toy box, though without the sacks and scales in most cases, and many without the board on the cab too.

The Atlas replica of this Dinky Toy is well executed and captures well a feature of life within the memories of many who will collect the model. A way of life which has long slipped into history like Whites ,and Alpine, Lemonade deliveries and Mothers Pride bread deliveries. All delivered to the  doorstep.


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