Category Archives: Majorette

Majorette Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder

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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Majorette Series 3000 Chevy Blazer

Chevrolet Blazer with Trailer and Two Motorcycles, 1:36 Scale, France, Mid 1980s

By Frank Koh

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Please click photos for larger images.

With the current “Hitch and Tow” model vehicle craze, we can’t help but admire the valiant efforts of the old school toy manufacturers to maximize the play value and theme adaptability of their more popular castings. During its time (and up to the present!), this Majorette casting was one of the LARGEST scale diecast models of the venerable “Squarebody” Chevrolet Blazer/Pickup from the ’70s and ’80s. Surprisingly, with the exception of the short-lived 1:24 Blazer and C/10 from defunct brand So Real Concepts, if you wanted a larger-than-1:43-scale diecast “Squarebody”, this Majorette was your only choice in the market.

Now, more than three decades after it was first released, the Majorette Blazer (that became a C/10 pickup when the plastic rear cap was removed) remains the only viable option. Things became more fun when your 1:36 Majorette “Squarebody” was pulling a trailer with a pair of motorcycles that looked like Honda Twins, or perhaps a caravan/ camper trailer. And if you wanted greater realism, some minor mods worked wonders on the vehicle. The casting is far-from-perfect, even toy-like, but if a diecast “Squarebody” in a larger scale is what you seek, it’s either the So Real Concepts model that’s made of unobtainium, or the Majorette casting that’s much more versatile, and so much easier to acquire in the secondary market. Besides, it’s probably OLDER than the person you’ll end up buying it from. A vintage treasure, indeed.

For a model that’s more than thirty years old, this Majorette Blazer set is nicely presented, and the packaging material is certainly not “biodegradable” in any sense of the term. It’s a chore to take the item out of its complex packaging and carefully return it without damage, but this is one toy vehicle set that begs to be enjoyed.


Majorette sought to replicate a 1981-82 “Squarebody” as the grille and stacked square headlights proves, but the cowl vents, side trim, hood contours and front side marker lights are from a ’73-’80 model. Only the enthusiast eye would notice these flaws.

I have done several small improvements to the Blazer. A black wash on the grille; judicious use of black Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color on the doors, tailgate and cowl vents; red paint on the tail lights; and very thin black RC racer tape to create vent windows goes a long way in enhancing the life-like characteristics on this old Majorette masterpiece.

Talk about play value and versatility in spades. This is truly a multi-piece set. The generic motorcycles that bear a convincing resemblance to Honda Twins are not identical. They feature different seat and saddlebag configurations. The trailer looks like it can accommodate more than just motorcycles too. Most importantly, all you have to do is take off that red plastic cap, and your K5 Blazer sport utility vehicle is transformed into a genuine C/10 pickup! I added a faux “rear window” to the cab by using some black RC racer tape. It’s a neat trick I use on all my Majorette “Squarebody” models. It makes them look very, very “correct”.


Even the truck-themed box art found at the bottom of the Majorette Series 3000 packaging is very nicely done. While the Blazer isn’t a heavy duty truck, it’s still a relatively large vehicle that can perform “truck-like” duties, though hauling a pair of motorcycles would definitely be more of a recreation-oriented concept.


More Pocket Money Toys – Majorette

By Maz Woolley

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

Majorette were once regarded as the ‘French Matchbox‘ as they made small ‘fit in  a three inch box’ models sold at pocket money prices in French shops and supermarkets. Once part of a group with Solido they both ended up as part of the German Simba-Dickie group, owners of Schuco,  after they went bankrupt in 2009.

In a previous article I have looked at some of their limited editions but here are two models from their ‘Street Cars‘ series which are sold all around Europe on bubble cards like Matchbox or Hot Wheels. These models are diecast in Thailand to variable scales as they are designed to fit a standard blister pack which is used for all models in the range and doesn’t even have the make and model of the car on it..

Fiat 500

This model of the popular small Fiat is not based on the current version as the rear light printing has yet to be altered to create the body coloured panel in the middle. But it is a neat model of Fiat’s baby with the Fiat badges being neatly printed and small enough to need magnification before you can see how accurate they are. The baseplate states that it has been modelled to 1:55 scale.

The side profile is excellent and the standard fit ‘speed wheels’ even look like some of the more extreme alloys fitted to small cars. The painting even has a slight hint of the pearlescent sheen often used on these small Fiats.

At the front the 500 logo used in advertising is well printed as is the badge and front decorations. Lights are just printed areas of silver paint but they are quite effective.

To the rear the rear hatch, lights and number  plate areas are well modelled. Though the lights could be properly divided up to reflect the light clusters better.

The interior has no door cards but the seats are well represented and the moulded dash board is a good shape and the Fiat gear level mounted in the dash is well modelled.

Renault Twingo

Another popular car with the young, and the first saloon car in a long time with a rear mounted engine. Very much Renault‘s competitor to the Fiat 500 though its four doors make it the more practical and utilitarian of the two.  The detailing is pretty close to the current Twingo production model. The baseplate states that this has been modelled to 1:55 scale.

The side profile captures the car well. The ‘speed wheels’ again look like some aftermarket alloys fitted to small cars so do not look too out of place.

From the front the Twingo lights and grille are exceptionally well represented for a budget model. A dark plastic insert is used which is very effective. Painted small additional  lights and the black bumper panel complete a good front end.

Again the rear has been well captured with the badging nicely done. Printed rear lights are basic and again should be striped with amber and silver as well as red.

Inside again we get no door cards but a convincingly moulded set of seats, dashboard and steering wheel.

Pocket money toys they may be but they are also good, and reasonably detailed, models of every day cars that can be recognised from the streets.


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Majorette Limited Edition

By Maz Woolley

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

Majorette are part of the SImba-Dickie group makers of Schuco and many other brands. Majorette toys are made to fit in the box like Matchbox or Hot Wheels and are aimed at the same customers. The current limited edition range caught my eye recently and it contains some nice models of cars in a mildy custom form.

Both models shown below are from Series 2 of the Limited Edition range which includes:

  • Audi R8
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Citroën DS4
  • Ford Mustang
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS
  • Mini Cooper
  • Porsche GT3 911
  • VW Golf VII GTI
#3 Citroën DS4 1:64

The DS range was created by Citroën to use its existing chassis to create distinctive premium cars to compete with Mini, Alfa Romeo and BMW. The DS4 was based on the C4 its competitor to the Focus and Golf.

The slightly wild colours on this model complement the DS which is often painted in strong colours and has a range of eye catching features. Here the rims are fitted with a nice reflective line echoing the paint work which is a matt type finish.

The model has neatly printed details, and unusual for a budget range separate clear light lenses on the front. A simple black interior has some details moulded in and the DS badging is neatly printed.

 

#7 Mini Cooper 1:57

Again we have a matt effect paint and some eye catching orange graphics including “Go faster” orange stripes. The Mini and Cooper badging is nicely printed albeit a bit over scale.

The front lights are again separate plastic items though blacked out to fit the theme as are the windows making the car far from street legal in the UK. The wheels with orange rim are again nice wild alloy replicas.

 

Although clearly made as toys both these cars have an appeal and look good on the shelf.


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