Category Archives: M2

A look at some US 1:64 models

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

My collection of US 1:64 scale models has grown recently. As these are generally not imported into the UK I have to rely on my collecting buddy to obtain them for me in the US and Canada. All the models shown are from “premium” 1:64 makers and cost considerably more than models from Mattel and Matchbox. In return there is much more detail and some excellent subjects.

All the models shown have been diecast to 1:64 scale in China for the USA.

Greenlight 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60

I am told that this model is becoming scarce, particularly in black. It is based upon a car seen briefly in The Godfather a gangster film from 1972.  It is made to 1:64 scale and was sold in a blister pack with a Godfather film theme.

The rear number plate shows the same number as the car in the film, but the front number plate is much too small to match the car in the film whatever is printed.

It was only looking at an advert online for this model that made me realise that the bonnet actually opens. The fit of the bonnet is so fine that one really has to congratulate Greenlight.

The printed chrome is neatly done as is the bonnet mounted emblem and Cadillac scripts.

Looked at from the side one of the models shortcomings becomes apparent. The very slim door posts should all be chromed. The wheels are good with wheel centres correctly printed in red with the Cadillac emblem included.

The base is in unpainted metal and includes quite a bit of engine and powertrain details as well as the ladder chassis.

The front also shows a few issues with the “dagmars” being too large and the black tips not extending back far enough. The Cadillac crest is also printed off centre as shown by its position to the side of the bonnet ornament.

However, this is a budget model and is generally very good so is a nice item to add to my collection. Greenlight also make this model to 1:43 scale.


 

Greenlight Volkswagen Typ2 Camper

Greenlight have produced several different camper configurations on the VW T2 US Bus. Here it is in “Campground Host” trim with the folding high roof and raised luggage area but with no camping fittings inside just seating for about 10 people.

It is another model in their Club V-DUB range which has no opening parts. It is thought that Greenlight uses a different maker for this range of VW models, probably one making VW models for the European market.

The roof is nicely constructed but the windows in the folding part of the roof are just printed on., though quite effective.

Elsewhere the printed grilles, window slats and lighting are very well done. The wheels are particularly nice with the domed hub caps and VW logo impressed in the middle.

Number plates have not been printed on which is a shame as it makes the rear look a little unfinished. But the US regulation lights on the vehicle sides front and rear are printed on.

The logo for the probably fictitious “River Valley Gorge, Camping and Entertainment” is neatly printed.

The only slight let down is the VW emblem on the front which is just printed and lacks the depth it should have.


 

1958 GMC Suburban Carrier 4×4

Here we go to M2 Machines Auto-Trucks range. This model is from Release 36. It is of the upmarket 4×4 version of this truck whereas previous appearances in Series 21 were of the plainer Fleet and Small Window versions.

The rear bed is a separate part allowing different types of rear section to be fitted. In series 21 the bodies were step sides and not  the panelled in version used with this model.

The printed GMC badgework on the bonnet is excellent as is the badging on the side of the wings. The grille and lights are impressive especially as the sidelights are actually a separately made and inserted plastic lens. The wheels are neatly painted with chrome centres and large as would be the case for a 4×4.

M2 models generally have many opening parts and here the bonnet and doors all open. The panel gaps are a bit large but better than many 1:64 models.

From the side view we can see the 4×4’s higher ride height.

As can be seen the rear lights are transluscent red and solid white paint on plastic chromed units. These are effective at this scale.  The complicated rear bumpers have been nicely made and the number plate shows the model year.


M2 1959 VW Double Cab Truck USA Model – Camper.

This special model is not part of a normal Auto-thentics VW release. Using the VW T1 double cab seen in release VW004 it has a camper body mounted on the rear of the chassis and a deluxe two-tone paintwork.

The Camper rear is fitted out inside in brown plastic with tables and cupboards visible. The front bumper has the higher export bumpers needed to comply with US bumper height rules. Unfortunately the front bumper droops a little as can be seen above.

Whilst the rear is a custom build it has incorporated the standard VW engine access panel. The lights are a simple printed circle. The whole rear section has been made in plastic whilst the double cab is in metal.

The rear window has “Industrial Speed Shop” printed on to replicate the type of sticker that might have been fitted to the original vehicle.

The large camper body must have been quite a weight to haul for a Type 1 Transporter which only had a 1200cc engine at this point. Indeed in 1959 the engine was uprated with more power but was so troublesome 1959 Volkswagen T1s in the US were recalled and fitted with modified engines.


 

M2 1959 VW Double Cab Truck USA Model

Making use of the same casting this model is a Walmart special and is a limited edition of over 7,000 models. It has been kept simple and built down to a price as Walmart insist on being able to sell the models for low prices.

The blue colour is that associated with Volkswagen and is neatly painted.

The double cab and pick up bed are separate parts but in this case they are both diecast. Although the drop down panels of the pickup bed are all plastic.

Unlike the Greenlight the M2 Volkswagens have the VW badge moulded into the cab and then overprinted in white. This gives a very realistic finish. The white bumpers are US edition and have rubber strips printed on.

The rear is simple but the drop down panels have been finelly modelled and moulded in plastic. The lights are neat red on silver prints. Looking in the pickup bed one can see that it was designed to be fitted with something and the holes have not even been blanked off – another sign that Walmart model is built down to a price. I expect that this casting will appear with a towing boom, or items fitted into the rear at some point.


These models are just a small cross section of the up-market 1:64 models sold in the US and many more can be seen on the websites of M2 and Greenlight.


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M2 Chevrolet 150 Handyman Wagon

By Maz Woolley

 

This M2 release 39 Autothentics model is diecast to 1:64 scale in China for the US. Unusually M2 has chosen to model the bottom of the station wagon range for 1957 the Handyman which had only two doors and a lot less chrome trim than the four door 1957 Chevrolet 210 Beauville Station Wagon already produced in release 35. The 150 was also the basis for the Sedan Delivery  so I wonder if M2 will also do that at some point with the livery possibilities that will offer.

The 1957 model year 150 kicked off with a straight six but that was dropped in favour of the 235 V8 Blue-Flame engine as standard. Lift the bonnet of the model and the engine shown is a V8. A manual gearbox was standard but Powerglide or Turboglide automatics were available. Performance was good by contemporary standards. Although the 57 Chevy is a classic released time and time again for model collectors it was actually Ford that sold more 57 cars.

The M2 model is to their usual standards and the doors, though opening, are properly full framed and have acceptable shut lines. All the lights, grille and badging are well represented and the simple wheels and hub caps capture the bottom line trim well. The Handyman logo is printed on so small I had to get a magnifying glass out to confirm it was there under the flags on the rear wing.


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1:64 Americana from Auto World and M2

By Maz Woolley

 

The US 1:64 scale market may be dominated by Mattel Hot Wheels but collectors of classic US post war vehicles were more likely to collect models from Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions for their greater realism and fidelity, though even they were not very realistic in some ways, the very over-scale tyre widths for example. Firms like M2, Greenlight, and Auto World have entered in to the market with models clearly aimed at more discerning collectors whilst Johnny Lightning failed under Tomy ownership and ended up being taken on by Round 2 the owners of Auto World.

This article looks at one M2 model from the AutoThentics release 35 and three models from Premium Release 4 from Auto World. In both cases the manufacturer seems to release models in groups of six in sets and then waits for a while before making them available as single models. In the case of M2 there only seems to be one or two new casting variants in each release whilst Auto World usually run to about three.  M2 just release a single set at a time of six cars but Auto World release two different sets at a time with the same six models but in different colours.  None of these models are available easily or consistently here in the UK and I have to thank a fellow North American collector for obtaining them for me.

M2 Release 35

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Chevrolet 210 Beauville Station Wagon 1957

There have been a lot of 1957 Chevy’s made in a variety of scales, but few Station Wagons. Here is one from M2 of the Beauville which was positioned under the Nomad in the range and which was a nine seater with the Townsman being the 6 seater. As shown on the M2 the Beauville was trimmed and finished to a high standard.

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Whilst this model is pretty good there are a few features that I find spoil it rather. The first is the opening doors which are not only a terrible fit but also do not close properly on one side either. The second is the wheels. All the web pictures I can find shows the car with slightly wider white walls than those on the model but this is a much smaller issue than that door and they are otherwise very well modelled. Perhaps they are as fitted to a preserved car.

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On the plus side all the printing is very neatly done down to Chevrolet scripts an logos. All the lights are neatly modelled and the grille is excellent though a lack wash would make it even better. And of course it is a four door Station Wagon and not yet another Bel-Air Coupe.

M2 have used this casting again in Release 39. This time it is in the bottom of the range Chevrolet 150 Handyman with its basic paint and trim replicated well and a complete absence of white walls on the tyres which is entirely correct.

Auto World Premium Release 4 A

This version of the release includes the following vehicles but only the first three are new castings the others are previous castings in new colours/versions.

1963 Dodge Polara (Blue)
1964 Plymouth Barracuda (Red)
1964 Pontiac Grand Prix (Gulfstream Aqua)
2015 Ford Mustang GT (Guard)
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A (Pink with Black Graphics)
1975 Pontiac Firebird T/A (Silver)

 

1963 Dodge Polara 

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For 1963 the wheelbase was longer and the front end was re-styled. Dodge has downsized this premium range in the expectation that its competitors would do the same but they continued with full size cars for 1963. This did nothing for the sales of the Polara which did not start to increase until the front and rear re-styling of the 1964 car.

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The model is excellent with nice thin paint and a clean and crisp casting. As only the bonnet opens it has lovely panel lines all round. The black washed grille and the white rear panel are first class in this scale and I really like the white finish to the light lenses it works well. I am not sure that the wheels are 100% right but web searches show similar ones though with white walls in a slightly different place. It would seem from the pictures on the Internet that few Polaras are running on stock wheels now

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1964 Plymouth Barracuda

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This model was announced some time ago and has taken a long time to produce. After its announcement Auto World had issues with their contract caster in China and may even have replaced them for Release 4. The vehicle has seldom been modelled and my affection for it comes in no small part from the influence it obviously had on the design of the last series of Sunbeam Rapiers here in the UK.

The Plymouth Barracuda was based on Valiant underpinnings and was one of the new breed of smaller “life-style” coupes designed to appeal to those who didn’t want or need a full size sedan but wanted something with style and  performance and more space than an out and out sports car. The car could be bought with engines from a 2.8 litre six cylinder up to a 4.5 litre V-eight.

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This model is another beauty. The red paint is excellent an all the printing well done. The rear lights though printed are very fine. That distinctive front end is well modelled and the printed grille and badging is excellent in such a small scale.  All in all the model is very satisfying to look at.

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It is great to have a model of this car to add to the more popular Pony Cars of the period with which it competed.


 

1964 Pontiac Grand Prix

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Whereas the previous two models were of less widely modelled cars the Pontiac GP has been modelled very widely. But the new Auto World casting is a really good one capturing the shape very well.

The Grand Prix was based upon the mid-sized Catalina but trimmed to the level of a the full size Bonneville. The 1964 car had only a few minor changes from the 1963 car and was fitted with engines ranging in size from six to seven litres. A long list of options were available for the car.

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Again this is an impressive 1:64 scale model with excellent thin and even paint. The printed badging is tiny but all very neatly done. And the front and rear ends are well modelled with the lights again finished in white at the front.  The printed chrome trim is very neatly applied as well making this another excellent model.

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Again I am not convinced by the positioning of the white stripe on the sidewalls but otherwise the wheels are nice and like all the others the rubber tyres are well made and not over wide.


Some of the Auto World castings now seem to be appearing in the revived Johnny Lightning range as well.


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M2 Titanium release

By Robin Godwin

 

M2 Chevy Pickup TitaniumM2 1958 Chevy pickup truck

The picture above shows of one the models from a series of six “Titanium” models made by M2 specifically for Wal Mart (WMTS06).   These models are diecast in China to 1:64 scale for M2 of the USA. The series also includes:

1970 Ford F-100 Custom 4 x 4

1971 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi

1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 W-30

1949 Mercury Custom

1968 Shelby GT500 KR

Whilst the colours are totally unauthentic it looks much better than the silver colour used for series like this by Corgi, Ixo and others.


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Who’s Who in 1:64 Scale Volkswagen Beetles

By Robin Godwin

For pictures of these models please see the captioned photographs after the text.

I can understand the frustration of collectors when they see another new issue of a VW Beetle. Personally, I get very tired of seeing every possible iteration of Ferrari or racing Porsche, since I generally don’t collect those models. The Beetle has to rank up there in popularity with manufacturers and collectors alike. They will always sell. There has been lots of activity recently in the 1:64 scale world for VWs here in North America, but recently a couple of European manufacturers have jumped into the fray, and Kyosho of Japan adds a few new issues now and then. Perhaps the biggest difference between the US companies (M2, Greenlight, the reborn Johnny Lightning, and Hot Wheels) and those based in Europe and Japan is that the American companies are given to producing what editor Maz refers to as “artificial rarities” – deliberate, low-volume, special issues with some sort of difference(s) from the basic issue, not just a standard recolour. That is true, and some are low volume specials, but others are “event” specials like the auto show SEMA (Special Equipment Market Association https://www.semashow.com/the-sema-show ) or international market versions. The net effect is the same – hard to find and usually more expensive to purchase. I’ll touch on this phenomenon a bit, but leave the details for another article.

That said, Kyosho, Minialuxe (OK, so that one is 1:66), Schuco, M2, Greenlight, the “new” Johnny Lightning (OK, so these ones are slightly bigger than 1:64), and Hot Wheels (scale not usually a concern with the basic line, but around 1:64) are the current players that I’ll discuss. I have just discovered that the “new” Solido company, launched under the Otto umbrella will issue a 1:64 scale series which includes a Beetle 1303 sedan. Unfortunately, it is the Kyosho Beetle. I don’t know the business arrangement that has brought this to pass – whether the models are purchased directly from Kyosho or from the Chinese manufacturers, but it may be a slightly less expensive method of acquiring the Kyosho Beetle, which are generally only available from Asian dealers online. I’m reasonably confident that the base will read Solido rather than Kyosho, as Solido has done on other contracted models. I’ll update readers once I have one.

Other manufacturers are doing VWs as well. Norev is doing a “3 inch” model, usually described as 1:55ish, Maisto still does oval window Beetles, both for themselves and others (I’ve seen Burago VWs by Maisto) but these are a bit cartoonish “chopped” versions and also around 1:55 scale, maybe even a tad bigger, and there are others doing 1:72nd and 1:76th Beetles, but I’ll leave all those for another day.

Let’s start with the most prolific producers, Greenlight and M2. These two seem to be going head-to-head in the VW world. Greenlight (GL) started in 2010 with a VW30 Prototype and followed in 2011 with the “Classic VW” issue (big window), both of which were originally sourced from Chinese manufacturer High Speed. The VW30 has been phased out, but the Classic soldiers on. I’m not sure if these are still cast by High Speed, or if Greenlight now owns the mould, but this particular model has been issued by several other companies, including High Speed itself. Early issues had both Greenlight and High Speed cast into the plastic base, but more recent issues have just Greenlight. In 2015, GL issued a split window VW which they are selling as anything from a 1938 VW (they weren’t called Volkswagens back then, but were known as KdF) all the way up to a 1953 Beetle (later in 1953 the rear window was changed to oval). At this scale, minor detail differences, inaccuracies, or omissions are not such a big deal. There is lots of tampo printing for trim detail, but GL makes no effort to show the quarter light/vent window on either model. The GL split window has an opening bonnet and boot, with basic engine detail. Panel fit is actually pretty good, but one wonders if GL is only doing this because M2 Auto-thentics did opening panels first. GL special issues are called “Green Machines” (GM) and can feature a metallic green body colour or even a raw body casting (unpainted), or green wheels or even green tires or combinations thereof. GMs are usually 2% of regular production, and occasionally have low double digit production runs, so can be exceedingly rare. GL has also done VWs for California Toys of Brazil, to date only the big window “Classic”. Seven issues currently exist, four of which are police issues. Three of these have police roof lights, a first for GL. These issues are very difficult to find outside of Brazil. The Classic features painted headlights and taillights, with a plastic “riveted” base. The split window has clear plastic headlights, painted taillights and a metal base fixed by a single phillips screw (so I would never buy a “unique interior colour” online). The regular issues are sold on blister cards, but many of the variations of both Greenlight VWs are only sold in themed sets of up to five vehicles of which up to three could be Beetles. Some online dealers will split the sets and sell models as loose singles, but sometimes the models offered as singles appear to be quality control rejects. Look carefully at the photos before you buy. All you need to know about GL beetles (or any 1:64 GL casting) can be found at http://za3collectibles.com/index.htm about the best online collector resource I have seen.

M2 issued it’s first VWs in an Autothentics VW sub series in 2013, which included an oval window (so, good for 1953 to 1957 issues) and a big window version, good up until about 1967, after which the headlight housings became noticeably more vertical. Both castings feature opening bonnets and boots with engine detail. The oval uses a paint strip on the side windows to represent the quarter window, and it is badly placed, making the window too big. The big window model has cast quarter windows, a much better effort. I previously reviewed the first issues in a MAR online article, so won’t repeat the details or criticisms but, as forecast in the original article, M2 has played with the dies a bit so now we have sunroof (open and closed with canvas roof ripples cast in) versions, along with bumper variations to reflect different national vehicle standards. M2 also does special issues and “chase” issues (usually just gold wheels and gold tampo trim) and usually indicates the production numbers. Some of the special issues also have chase vehicles, for instance, the SEMA special for 2014 featured 492 regular issues, but there were another 108 chase issues as well, done in a different body colour. Wal Mart seems to be a driving factor, since they have had several Wal Mart exclusives, with accompanying chase vehicles (up to 1600 chase vehicles issued). There is a Wal Mart Mexico series as well, covering more than just VWs. These are unique colours, with Spanish packaging, and “MEX 01” (or whatever issue number it is) printed on the plastic plinth. Be careful if buying online, since many of the regular US issues/colours are also available in Mexico, with Spanish packaging, but without “MEX xx”. Except for the language, those ones are the same as you can find anywhere in the US. M2 also did a few VWs for a Puerto Rican toy store with 492 regulars and 108 chase Beetles. These are hard to find. Similarly, they did a special for a Canadian toy store with 492 regular issues, 108 chase models and 24 “Super Chase” models (and we’re talking really silly eBay prices for this one).

A couple of points to note if one is planning on buying any GL or M2 online. Both feature rubber tires on plastic rims. The regular issues are, of course, toys, generally sold for less than $6 US, so perhaps some quality control issues can be excused. Any GL or M2 that features white wall tires should be examined very closely in the photos. In both cases, the white is printed on the rubber tires. M2 tends to have less than perfect white coverage and also frequent off centre printing of the VW logo on the wheels. GL tends to have the whole white wall slightly off centre or oval in shape, but wheel logos are cast in. Both manufacturers frequently fail to get the tire properly seated on the plastic rim before putting the vehicles in the sealed blister packs (or boxes). Lots of folks like to keep their blister packs as originally issued (unopened), so an improperly fitted tire can be exasperating.

Johnny Lightning (JL) was reborn late last year and one of their first reissues was the 1975 Super Beetle Convertible. All of the original Playing Mantis issues but one had the top down, but the reissue is top up. This is clearly a toy, slightly bigger than 1:64, and appears to be unchanged from the original. It features slightly-too-wide rubber tires (mostly a good thing, as JL has done lots of plastic tires in the past) on incorrect generic wheels, or we could be nice and call them custom toy wheels. The first issue comes with an “A” series in red, and a “B” series in yellow, along with a White Lightning (WL) version. WLs represent 1 to 5% of regular production, but I have never seen a reference to real production volumes, so cannot even estimate the number of WLs. With painted headlights and taillights, there is nothing really special about the details, but the tampo highlights are well done. The base is cast in metal and riveted in place. These are respectable toys and retail for less than $6 in the US, but online sellers seem to want to try to get more than that. In its previous incarnation, JL also produced a 1964 – 1966 Beetle, and a 1951 split window Beetle but there is no indication yet if these dies will be resurrected. An outstanding JL reference website is Wyatt’s http://www.jlcollector.net/index2.html

As we all know, Hot Wheels (HW) is all over the die cast map these days, still going strong with the regular HW basic line that set the die cast toy world on its head in the late 60s. There have been multiple VW Beetle castings, mostly customs of some sort. The current 1:64ish Beetle is an oval window with fairly accurate body casting save for the excessively big real wheel arches, which enable the fitment of Hot Wheels usually huge wheels. Occasionally, HW will issue a model with “Real Riders” (RR) which translates into rubber tires. The photo shows a recent “Herbie” release with RRs that are too wide but otherwise realistically sized (which really highlights the oversize rear wheel arches). The Herbie markings are quite accurate, but of course the Love Bug was a square window VW and not an oval, so zero points for accuracy here. Basic HWs are still sold for $1.00, except when it is a special or a RR like the Love Bug, shown, then it is three or four times the price. It’s a bit of a shame that Hot Wheels does not revive their Chinese made 100% Hot Wheels Beetle casting from 2001, a square window model with excellent lines and an opening boot with a chrome engine. The wheels were always rubber, and accurately sized, at least in diameter, as were the rear wheel arches. It was always a custom of some sort, with a single exhaust (a separate plastic engine/exhaust piece on the base) and minus both bumpers. Adding bumpers and stock exhaust would have produced the most accurate Hot Wheels small scale Beetle, but unfortunately it appears this casting has been retired. They are worth tracking down on eBay.

The Minialuxe brand (France) was revived recently with lots of 1:43 vehicles, all in metal, and to a level of finish consistent with ’60s diecasts or the current Atlas Dinky Toys reissues. This is kind of a nostalgic range even though the original Minialuxe products were 1:43 plastic. Just within the past year, Minialuxe released a “Miniabox” line of 1:66 vehicles, again all metal, and included a square window Beetle. This is a very nice simple casting (except for the missing quarter light window) with windows and a well done interior (LHD). The headlights are Swarovski crystals. Wheels are spun aluminum and tires are very accurate thin 60s style. These come in four different colours, with unique “colour-matched” boxes. I would love to have all four versions, but they cost 20 Euros each, plus shipping from Minialuxe, who still seem to prefer direct marketing, although they do sell direct at some large French toy shows. Minialuxe have issued a couple of Beetles with roof lights in their 1:43 series (Polizei and Swiss PTT), so I would anticipate similar issues in the smaller range sometime in the future. The question remains – why 1:66?

An odd turn of events in light of the above, is Schuco issuing a line of vehicles called Edition 1:64, when they used to have an excellent 1:66 scale range many years ago (60s and 70s). I thought initially the Beetle 1500, issued in 2014, might be sourced from High Speed (Schuco did issue some High Speed 1:64 in their earlier Junior range, I have the E-Type Jag from 2005) similar to early Greenlight models, but they are unique castings that include the quarter lights. Base is metal with cast in bumpers and is fastened to the body with two small phillips screws. Headlights are clear plastic with tampo silver rims, and the taillights are separate red plastic bits – nice detail in this scale. No body panels open. The wheels are done the same as M2 and some Greenlight models. The rim is chromed then the outer portion of it is sprayed body colour to give the effect of a chrome hubcap on a body-coloured wheel. It is not always successful, with some off-centre painting and poor colour matching. To date, there have been five versions, including a “Herbie”, a Polizei with roof light and a Nurnberg 2016 Toy Fair model in red with white show graphics. The addition of the Polizei roof light is the only casting change to date. These are all regular edition models, except for the show special, and I have no idea how many of these were made. It appears that Schuco does not engage in “artificial rarities” as discussed above, nor are they issuing sets of models in unique colours (yet). These are priced at about Euro 11 in Germany, so a bit more expensive than M2 or Greenlight models, but perhaps Schuco does not have a Wal Mart or equivalent pressing for a lower price point.

Finally, Kyosho of Japan markets a huge range of 1:64 vehicles which seem to be only reliably available in Asia. The first VWs appeared in 2008 in a Minicar Collection Gashapon series (Gashapon = generic box, so that you don’t know which model you are getting until you open the box). There were two models, a 1303 Super Beetle sedan and the other a Super Beetle cabrio. It should be noted that the second issue of VW Minicar Collection (issued in 2015 and still current), has deleted the cabrio, and the Solido lineup as mentioned above does not feature the cabrio either. http://www.kyosho.com/jpn/products/diecast/brmc/volkswagen2/index.html My earlier comments about inaccuracies/omissions in this scale can be cast aside here. These are exceptional little models immediately noticeable in the wheel detail and the flush glazing with fine tampo window trim. Headlights are separate clear lenses inset into chrome trim bezels. Taillights are separate solid red plastic pieces. Unfortunately, there is no top orange (turn indicators) or bottom clear (backup lights) incorporated, but it is 1:64 scale after all. Tampo printing of rear engine vents is superb. The riveted base is plastic. There is one criticism, but it is only that the yellow paint has a hard time covering some of the cast ridges – other darker coloured versions do not have this problem. Although now obsolete, the cabrio is worth searching out on eBay, but also comes with a criticism. The windshield/frame is a separate mask-painted plastic piece, with a slight shade difference to the body paint. Still, these 1:64 models could embarrass some 1:43 scale manufacturers. Hopefully the Solido issue of these models will feature some new colours over time, but the first issue illustrated in their 2016 catalogue is the same colour as the recent Kyosho issue – how disappointing.

#1#1 An early “Classic Beetle” (large window) on bottom, with both High Speed and Greenlight cast logos. Top is a later version missing High Speed logo. It is from a GL Hollywood Film Reels set from the movie “Bullitt”, hence the Warner Bros. tampo


#2
#2 The Bullitt VW alongside a Greenlight split window from their “Pennzoil” five-car set. The split window was bought as a singleton from an online dealer, but it looks more like a quality control reject – bad wheel paint


#3
#3 14 diorama sets (bottom right is a “Camping” diorama with one VW Beetle), 68 vehicles, of which only 29 are Beetles


#4
#4 A typical Greenlight diorama set (Malibu Surf Shop). None of these models are sold as singletons


#5#5 A Greenlight “Green Machine” (from “North Shore Surf Shack” diorama – only 28 of these GMs made!!) flanked by oval window (left) and large window (right) M2 castings


#6#6 A Mexico only issue. Note MEX 03 issue number. This means colour is unique to Mexican market. Others may be sold in Mexico, with Spanish language packaging, but without a Mexico issue number – these are the same as available in the US (from internet)


#7#7 Rear view of same cars


#8#8 A Wal Mart special issue. This is a “Chase” version with gold rims and trim. 1600 issue size is a lot for a chase model, but there are over 4000 Wal Mart stores in the US alone


#9#9 The relaunched Johnny Lightning Super Beetle Convertible with collector card, also available in yellow with white convertible top (up, as well) and a White Lightning version. The WL version is based on the red car, since it has a black top and interior, and pearl silvery/white body and white tires


#10#10 Essentially the same came vehicle – Kyosho foreground is very accurate but you can see the colour difference between plastic and metal painted parts. The Kyosho highlights the toylike quality of the JL. Kyosho convertible is no longer available, but can be found on eBay


#11#11 A very recent Hot Wheels oval window issue with “Real Riders”. Rubber tires are nice, but highlight the enormous wheel arches. Very much a toy, but still a decent VW model


#12#12 A 100% Hot Wheels custom VW from an earlier era (right), and now obsolete, but it’s much more accurate casting than the current stuff. Left is the Kyosho, the current gold standard for 1:64 Beetles, although not everybody likes the “Super Beetle” with it’s curved windscreen


#13#13 Miniabox by Minialuxe. Note black box illustration for black model.


#14#14 Left to right: M2, Schuco, Kyosho, Miniabox. 1:66 size of Miniabox may not be evident with perhaps a bit of lens distortion near the edges. Kyosho puts other in the shade


#15#15 Rear view, same order


#16#16 An original 1:66 Schuco model from another era sitting on the 1:64 Toy Fair issue. The new Schuco is quite a nice casting. The old one was also nice but spoiled by opening “half” doors


#17#17 The early Kyosho issue came in three colours, the others being red and cream. beautiful details and execution, but paint a bit thin on edges


#18#18 The recent full VW release from Kyosho and still current. The blue Beetle version will also appear as a Solido model, as will most of this VW issue


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M2 Autohauler Shelby Ford

By Maz Woolley

M2 Shelby Ford Autohauler
M2 Shelby Ford Autohauler

M2 have produced a number of these Autohaulers with various cabs, the Dodge COE for example. The latest cab is the classic Ford tractor unit from the 1960s which is well captured on this model. The models is made in a mixture of diecast and plastic components in 1:64 scale in China for the US. The cab is shown here on a hauler in Shelby livery and it can also be found in white  in Shelby livery with a hot Mustang in red.

The Mustang on this blue outfit looks very like the classic models that Hertz rented out.

M2 products are relatively inexpensive so the rather plastic appearance of the grille and trailer unit can be accepted. They even supply a set of plastic ramps to help get your models on board.


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M2 Auto-Trucks Ford Econoline Camper 1965

By Maz Woolley

M2 Ford Econoline Camper 1965
M2 Ford Econoline Camper 1965

This is an unusual model from M2. Absolutely nothing opens which means that it will appeal strongly to collectors who up till now have had no choice of campers in 1:64 scale other than which Type of VW Transporter Camper they should buy!

A simple model with a few quality issues like bits broken off the wheel edges. However it is otherwise very good with a nice air conditioning unit on the roof as well as the extended roof to allow people to stand in side. The interior is basic but shows the table and panelling to reasonable effect.

All in all a really nice budget model. Hopefully M2 will  also give us vans and passenger carriers in 2016 based on this casting?