By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Every now and again whilst doing the weekly shop I will stop and look at the toy cars on offer. UK Supermarkets tend to stock fewer toy cars now as Matchbox and Hot Wheels have both increased considerably in price over the last couple of years. So on a recent visit to the shops recently I was surprised to find that Morrisons stocked a few of the pocket money Majorette models which are not widely available in the UK even if they are stocked in most French Supermarkets!.
This article continues the Italian theme we seem to have developed this month and looks at the 1:57 scale Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder diecast in Thailand for Schuco-Dickie in Germany in their Majorette Street Cars range.
The Alfa Romeo 4C was launched in 2013 and is built at Maserati‘s Modena plant. Is a two seat, mid-engined car, with rear wheel drive. It is powered by a turbocharged 1750cc four cylinder engine giving 240 BHP fitted into a lightweight carbon fibre chassis and clad with composite outer panels giving a very low weight. It was available as a Coupe until 2018 and is now only available as a Spyder. It has a top speed of around 160 MPH. It was the first Alfa Romeo in many years to appear on the US market.
The styling of the 4C reflected the 8C launched several years earlier which influenced Alfa Romeo styling to this day from the baby MiTo, through the Guiletta and Guilia, to the Stelvio SUV.
The Majorette model is made in Thailand and in common with other toy brands from made there, like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, it is inexpensive, has generic wheels and features a simplified level of detail. Built with a metal body with plastic chassis and wheels it also features flat printed detail where more expensive models would have moulded areas. Unfortunately some of the printing has feathered edges when crisp ones would be more realistic.
The shape of the model is good capturing the flowing lines well. It reflects the earlier years of production before the car had a few detail changes. The wheels are generic plastic items but suit the car well enough as the original allow wheels are large with low profile tyres too, though certainly more accurate wheels would make this less of a toy.
The front end has separately inserted clear plastic headlights which is an improvement from the silver printed ones on many budget models and the front grilles are neatly sculpted into the model though they are flat and simply painted gloss black which again betrays the fact that they are toys. The Alfa Romeo logo on the central grille is nicely printed and clear even at this small scale. No front number plate holder is moulded in.
At the rear the cars lines are well caught with the carbon roll bar painted gloss black and the vents on the engine cover treated in the same way. Although simplistic and lacking in moulded detail this is an effective solution. The rear number plate is too low for its height but is actually a tab holding the base of the car into the body! Rear lights are printed and are oval and not the round shape that the moulding and the real car display, though the extra brake light on the engine cover is correctly printed. Again a nice clear Alfa Romeo badge is printed on.
From the side the car lacks the matt black finish in the air intake scoop that the real car has, and the door handle could be better defined. Other than that it is well profiled and sits well.
The large glazed window unit has the frame printed in black and a wiper moulded in, but not picked out. It seems to be a good size and angle to reflect the unit on the real car.
The base is simplistic and largely devoid of details other than a few lines for front suspension and exhausts erroneously running all the way to the front of the car. The interior moulding is spoilt by boxes moulded in to clear the trapped wire suspension on the base. It is a shame as the rest of the moulding has a bit of detail including some moulded dash detail and the signature squared off lower section of the steering wheel.
So lots of compromises made so that this model could be produced at a pocket money price and to sell to the age three and up general toy market, but there are few errors. All in all a nice effort for a pocket money toy.
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