Category Archives: Solido

Alpine A110 – Rebirth of a Legend

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

 

In 1955 the “Societe des Automobiles Alpine“ was founded by Jean Redele as a sports car brand name. He introduced the first Alpine model, the A106.

In 1962 the premiere of the A110 took place. The sports car reached its first victory in the Rally Monte Carlo in 1971, and in the same year won of the International Rally Manufacturer Championship. In 1973 they won the first Rally World Championship and Alpine was purchased by Renault. Renault stopped producing Alpine Sports Cars in 1995.

Then in 2012 Renault announced the launch of a new Alpine Project. The first pre-production cars were shown at Le Mans, Goodwood and Dieppe in 2015 and in 2016 the Alpine re-launch was officially announced.

With the new A110, Alpine celebrated a impressive return to the Geneva Motor Salon in March 2017. Alpine is again a independent brand name in the Renault Group. The new A110 go on sale in Europe an the end of 2017. In the tradition of previous Alpines the new sports car combines exciting design, light weight and compact dimensions. The new 1.8 litre turbo petrol engine was developed by the Renault-Nissan-Alliance and optimised by Alpine engineers. A comparison between the A110 from 1969 and the new car shows the distinctly larger dimensions of the new car.

When the A110 won her first victories in second half of the 1960s, it was a subject of great interest for model car manufacturers. Norev launched the 1964 version in 1969 and a year later it appeared with two additional headlights and two rear-view mirrors. Also in this year the version “Gendarmerie“, fitted with a red warning light and aerial on  the roof, was introduced. On all versions, front and rear bonnets can be opened and an engine replica is fitted. The bodies made in 1969 were made from plastic which unfortunately generally becomes deformed over time.

The latest original A110 model is based on a 1969 car. It is accurately shaped with excellent detail, and painted in a realistic solid metallic blue. There are many small additional parts and a well detailed baseplate.

The other model shown one is the Celebration model from 2015, which has been shown to give buyers an idea of what the production version of 2017 will be like.It is again an accurate model and highlights its larger size than the original Alpine.

A Comparison of the Solido 1970 with Norev 2017

A comparison of the Solido 1970 1:43 and Bburago 1:24 of around the same time

Still more manufacturers launched models of the the A110 at the beginning of the 1970s. Even the former DDR had a model made by Max Krätzer VEB Leipzig. They released the Alpine 1600 S in 1:43 scale in 1984. Various colours were available.


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Solido Volkswagen 1303 investigated

By Robin Godwin

 

In a previous article about 1:64 Beetles, I committed to an update on the recently announced 1:64 Solido 1303 Super Beetle. I now have it, and can confirm it is the same as the Kyosho from Japan. I’m not sure if it was sourced direct from Kyosho (the colour is the same as the current Kyosho issue) or from the Chinese diecaster, who may own the moulds. The base has been modified to read Solido, cast into the plastic base instead of Kyosho. I thought initially that the Solido version may be a less expensive way to acquire one of these Beetles, but when all was said and done they were within pennies of each other.

There was a recent review in one of the UK print magazines of the new Solido Special Edition Beetles (SEB) in 1:18 scale. It was very favourable but to my surprise, the reviewer did not comment on the “dog leg” door hinges – an actuating mechanism that should not be present on any modern model, let alone a brand new 1:18 scale model. Almost everybody in the business does opening doors better than that (including the old Solido). The reviewer did state that the SEB Beetles were new tooling, but in light of the above, and the fact that the 1:43 Solido Beetle is also sourced from another range/manufacturer (IXO/PVT), could the 1:18 Beetle also be sourced from another manufacturer? I won’t promise to find out this time since I don’t collect 1:18 scale, but perhaps a reader has some models to compare with, and can let us know.

My original excitement at the resurrection of Solido is gone. I had anticipated the return of the nice 1:50 scale “improved detail” tank range (as indicated in an earlier Model Collector interview with the owners of OttO, who also own Solido), but instead they have decided to market the Warmaster 1:72 military range, which itself had origins as a PCT partwork. If the new Solido range is to be only contracted/rebranded models from some other source, then a good question to ask is “why bother?”

Yellow Kyosho 1:64 Super Beetle. Solido in blue

Solido left. These are the best 1:64 Beetles available, if you don’t mind the curved windscreen of a Super Beetle

Kyosho replaced with Solido on base


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When is a Solido not a Solido?

By Robin Godwin

I recall reading an interview in one of the UK print model magazines about the re-launch of the Solido brand by OTTO of France. There was an air of excitement and enthusiasm. As soon as I learned that one of the new Solidos was to be a Volkswagen Beetle 1302 LS from 1972, I also caught the wave of excitement.

Photo #1 Whitebox, left, with visible passenger side mirror. Solido, right.
Photo #1 WhiteBox, left, with visible passenger side mirror. Solido, right.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you that, now that I have the Solido VW in hand, it is sourced from IXO/PCT (Premium & Collectibles Trading Company) and/or one of their numerous partworks, and is in no way an original casting from Solido. One of the great things about Beetles from the model manufacturing perspective is that, externally, they changed little over the years. One can sell a 1972 1302 LS Beetle or a 1983 Beetle both cast from the same mould, without egregious errors, and only minor tampo printing alterations to reflect differences. Accordingly, my point of comparison here is the WhiteBox 1983 Beetle, which is the same casting as the “new” 1972 Solido.  Whitebox is a house brand of www.ModelCarWorld.com and this range consists of IXO/PCT/partworks reissues. In fact, the WhiteBox VW has IXO cast into the plastic base. At least Solido had the producers grind that off the mould and replace it with their own name and logo in white tampo. The only other difference is that Solido only has a driver’s side mirror, whereas WhiteBox also includes a passenger side mirror.

Photo #2 Whitebox top, with IXO logo visible. Solido tampo on bottom.
Photo #2 Whitebox top, with IXO logo visible. Solido tampo on bottom.

So I’m hugely disappointed, having anticipated a new die cast from Solido, only to have purchased an old mould that has been issued who knows how many times before. Perhaps, as I alluded to earlier in discussion about the external shape, none of the earlier issues were actually 1972 VW 1302 LS models, but if so, it is only tampo printing that has given us this unique version. This discovery must cast doubt on all the other “new” Solido models.

In the same interview, the new brand owners were also excited about reintroducing the old Solido military range in “1:43” scale (they were 1:50). Don’t get me wrong, I love the old Solido tanks with working metal tracks – they were largely responsible for me becoming an adult collector. But there are still lots of originals for sale on eBay, mostly at prices similar to what I paid 20 to 30 years ago. I’m sceptical that these reissues with “improved details” will entice many buyers unless the prices are very competitive. Even though 1:50 is a great scale for military vehicles, the market may be saturated by the many superb 1:72 and 1:43 scale military partworks which can now be had for $10 to $20 US. I wish them luck, but I hope that we get some fresh models, reasonably priced.

Back to VWs and next time I will talk about the recent/current 1:43 Greenlight 1967 VW “Gremlins” Beetle issue. It looks suspiciously like a partwork as well, but, because of a stripped Phillips screw, I can’t get my model off the plastic plinth without damage. Greenlight has used both High Speed and Yatming castings before, so it would be no surprise if this VW was sourced from another manufacturer, but I hope to be able to prove it.


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