Category Archives: Mercury

Mercury La Collezionne Part Three

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Here we have the latest parts, #4 to #6, in the Mercury partwork collection being sold in Italy by Hachette.

No. 4 is the Lancia D24, a 1:43 scale model from 1957. A simple model, but very faithful to the real one. Proving this is the inclusion of the small air scoop over the right headlight.

Alas, they didn’t add the windscreen and the rear lights. But it is a worthy reproduction of a car that won so many races, from the 1953 Carrera Panamericana, to the 1954 Mille Miglia and Targa Florio.


No. 5 is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta saloon, in a rare two-colour livery, very likely available originally only on the Swiss market as it was produced at the special request by the Swiss importer, Count Giansanti Coluzzi.

The real car was never offered by Alfa Romeo with a two-tone finish, but some were painted like that by Italian coachbuilders. The Giulietta is a 1:48 scale model from 1956, and the Hachette reproduction is faithful to its first version, where the headlights are like small aluminium nails, inserted into the body.


No 6 is a Volkswagen Beetle in PTT livery. The Beetle was a ‘must’ for all toy car ranges from the early 1950s onwards. Models in the PTT livery have featured in many ranges right up to the current date.

The Volkswagen Beetle was introduced into the Mercury range as model #15. This was produced in several colours with three shades of blue alone! The model represents a 1954 oval rear window Volkswagen and #15A was the same casting finished in PTT livery. There were variations on this model with Paolo Rampini‘s Modelcars in the World showing models with different colour tyres: black and grey tyres. Hachette has chosen to use black tyres and has created a convincing replica.

The next model due in the collection with be the Lancia Appia.


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Alfa Romeo Guilia Part Four

By Robin Godwin

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

Finally we’ll look at one of Italy’s older toymakers, Mercury, and a relative newcomer, Mebetoys. With lots of time to examine real prototypes, and for Mercury at least, with many years of diecast experience behind them, one would expect nothing short of perfection. Alas, these two examples are among the worst.

Mercury #4 was introduced in 1965, according to Mercury Tutta la Produzione, by Bocco, Clemente, Coen, Pereo and Pontoni, published in 2005. It is identified as a Giulia Super on the box, but as a Giulia TI on the base (Alfa Romeo made a Giulia TI, a Giulia TI Super, and a Giulia Super, all different). Perhaps pedantic, but according to Wikipedia, the Giulia TI Super was a special lightened road going (but produced for racing) version introduced in 1963. Only 501 were built, all white save for one red and one grey version. They were easily identified by having mesh grills in place of the inner two headlights, and no overriders on the bumpers. The Giulia Super was introduced at the March 1965 Geneva Auto Show and was a regular road-going sedan that incorporated some of the performance features of the earlier Giulia TI Super. My guess is the tooling was underway for a regular Giulia TI when the Giulia Super was introduced at Geneva. It was easy to change the box printing to give the impression that they were first with the latest model, but they never updated the base of the model. That said, they also managed to put a three-spoke plastic steering wheel into the interior, which was a standard Giulia Super feature. But that is the only discernable feature in 1:43. Enough history. The model is otherwise pretty abysmal with half opening doors and a totally incorrect rear window profile. They completely missed the notchback styling with wrap around rear window. The top rear passenger side window profile is incorrect as well, being too rounded.

A Super box but with a TI inside. Colour illustration shows a properly drawn rear notchback whereas line drawing shows the incorrect lines actually modelled

The model comes with opening doors and a separate detailed engine part underneath the opening bonnet. Jewelled headlights adorn the front but rear lights are painted. There is a separate oil pan/ transmission housing casting screwed into the base plate. Bumpers are separate chrome plastic pieces. There is a reasonable attempt at the Alfa Romeo steel wheels. That they are chromed is a good thing, as that provides a barrier between plastic wheels and rubber tires. There is evidence of wheel melt on the inner surfaces of my wheels, but that does not affect displayability.


Totally wrong rear window treatment. Correct-for-a-Super three spoked steering wheel just visible here. I have seen a white steering wheel version on eBay but could not tell if it was two spoke or three spoke

Mercury issued a rallye Giulia version, also as model #4 in 1971. Bumpers were removed with the holes thru the body filled in, and additional spotlights were cast in the grill. Jewelled headlights were deleted, but the remainder of the casting looks unchanged. I have seen one of these on eBay for hundreds of euros, possibly the most expensive early Giulia you can buy. I have seen replacement racing decals online, so caution must be exercised if one is in the market for an original version. Although the Mercury scale is listed as 1:43, it is noticeably larger than the Edil and French Dinky 1:43 versions. The wheelbase is exaggerated, being longer than the (claimed) 1:42 Mebetoys and also longer than the two 1:41 plastic models from Politoys and INGAP, so something was amiss at the design stage.


Mercury Giulia rallye version (photo: from internet search)

Mebetoys was the most prolific of the early Giulia modelers, producing a regular TI in many versions starting in 1966, a Giulia Super from 1968, and later, a Nuova Giulia with horrible whizzwheels from 1978. I have not seen in the flesh a Giulia Super from Mebetoys and suspect it may be a nomenclature version (or just the addition of a three spoke steering wheel). The Nuova is a casting change. If anybody has a Super, can they please send a photo to the editor. I have seen a Nuova with earlier more accurate wheels on eBay, but suspect it may be a fake. The base on the Mebetoys attaches with screws, so all bets are off when it comes to purported wheel and interior colour variations.

Mebetoys A7 Giulia TI Carabinieri with early domed wheels from 1967. Body shape is just too squared and casting is a bit rough

The model came with opening front doors, less quarter windows, chromed plastic bumpers, front and rear, a chromed one-piece plastic insert for the headlights and grill, and working suspension. There were no jewelled headlights, like most of the other models in this review. The scale is cast as 1/42 on the base, and when placed alongside the French Dinky and Edil, seems about correct – the Mebetoys has a slightly longer wheelbase and body. Curiously, the box is marked 1/43.

Mebetoys base with SCALA 1/42 cast in
Mebetoys box indicating 1/43

I don’t have a later variation of the model, so cannot say if the scale on the base was eventually changed to match the box, or vice versa. The improved wheels appeared sometime after 1967, which was the issue date of the model pictured. They look to be quite accurate renditions of the Alfa Romeo steel wheels.

Mebetoys, left, and Mercury. This picture does not really show the size difference between the two

I talked about the Edil moulds moving to Turkey, but of course it is well known that Politoys  (plastic, fibreglass, and metal) and Mebetoys moulds also travelled to different countries. However, I have never seen a Giulia TI from these early issues reproduced in their new homes. If any reader has proof otherwise, please send a photo to the editor.

So there is a summary of the contemporary models issued shortly after the first Giulia TI rolled off the assembly lines. We have highlighted six companies that produced miniatures, some very well, and others less so. I was fortunate to start collecting these in the eighties, since they have more recently become extremely sought after and, accordingly, very expensive.


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Mercury – la collezionne Part Two

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Here a few pictures of the second and third model to be released in the Mercury partwork being sold in Italy by Hachette.

 Fiat 600 Multipla

The second part is again issued on a large card to attract the attention of the customer to the series and the model being sold at a discounted price. This card is huge and must cause news stands and shops in Italy a lot of issues finding space to display them. The model looks tiny in its cover mount.

On the rear of the card we again get a display showing us what is to come and a taster for the third model which will be at the standard price for the collection.

The red and black Fiat 600 model shown below is the replica from Hachette sitting on the replica box..

The green and grey model shown in comparison below is an original Mercury model from my collection.

There are no big differences between the two though the baseplate is engraved upside down on the new replica as shown below (NB the cars are positioned on the wrong boxes with the new Mercury on the right on the old Mercury box, and vice versa.) .

The Hachette box is also slightly altered from the original as it lacks the hole that Mercury had punched in to allow buyers to see the colour of the model inside. Even the weight is similar with the Hachette being a few grams lighter.

Fiat 1100 Taxi

Here the third model from the Hachette partwork. The Fiat nuova 1100 taxi in the livery of Berne (Berna in Italian) in Switzerland.

Hachette has chosen to model a very rare Mercury as they were only sold in Berne and consequently are very sought after by collectors. Unfortunately I do not have one to compare it with so I have shown it below with the standard 1100 that it is based on.

Again the Hachette box lacks the ‘spyhole’ which shows the colour of the model.


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More on Mercury Partwork

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Questions have been asked about the baseplates on the reproduction Mercury Models being sold as partworks in Italy by Hachette.

The first model in the series is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta shown above and its baseplate is as shown below. NB the axle retainers replicated from the original. The base cannot be confused with one on the original model as the copyright has been altered, Hachette’s name added, and ‘Made in China’ stated clearly.

The attached magazine shows a clear picture of the original baseplate on a ‘real’ Mercury model. which lacks the A.P. next to the logo, Hachette’s name, and has ‘Made in Italy’ included.

Collectors often wonder about these replicas being passed off as originals. Here any collector with any interest in Mercury models would quickly see that this is a replica and not the original model.


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