Category Archives: Part Work

Do It Yourself!

The Easy, Medium and Hard Way…

By Sergio Luis dos Santos

All text and photographs are copyright of the author.

How many times do we want to have “that special version” from a specific car or racing event?  Sometimes we wait for years until it surfaces but what about those that never show up?  The only way to go is to customize an available model.

Some projects need only a few decals and some fine touches to be finished. More elaborate work might need a complete set of new decals for the entire car, but the most complicated ones need a complete repaint as well.

Here are the easy ones from my 1:43 collection.

1 – Minichamps released this Porsche 911 GT3 from the Porsche Michelin Supercup 2006 in a “neutral” livery without a driver’s name. This was the easiest one: no decals to be removed.  I added a set of white names for the side windows plus the smaller ones with the Brazilian flag above the doors provided by Jbot Decals. I left the rear window without the Senna name, since I could not locate any image to confirm this.

2 – Best Model released this Alfa Romeo 33.2 as the car driven by José Carlos Pace and Marivaldo Fernandes at 3 Hours of Rio de Janeiro in 1969. In reality, the model as it was released matches the car raced by Pace and Marivaldo at 500 Km. de Salvador.  For a correct Rio race car, a large Alfa Romeo badge was applied in the front white panel under the number 33. I also replaced the  small Alfa badge for a new one, both provided by Jbot Decals.

3 – In 1996 the International Touring Car Championship had a round at Interlagos, São Paulo on 27 October. This Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI was the mount of British driver Jason Watt. Japanese driver Naoki Hattori drove it in the Japanese round, so HPI released it in Hattori markings. In the Interlagos race the car was driven by Max Wilson in the same livery, so a new set of Wilson in white for the side windows did the trick.

4 – Also in the ITC Championship in 1996, Ricardo Zonta drove this Mercedes Benz C Class in Germany at Nurbürgring on 1 September. This car was released by Minichamps as raced by Jan Magnussen from Denmark. A set of white large Zonta for the side windows and the smaller ones with the Brazilian flag for the hood provided by Jbot Decals were used. The real car is preserved as raced by the  Colombian Juan Carlos Montoya in Silverstone!

5 – Flávio “Nonô” Figueiredo drove this Vauxhall Vectra for the Vauxhall Sport team at the 1998 British Touring Car  Championship.  Onyx released both cars from this team, the number 88 of Derek Warwick and number 98 of John Cleland. Again Jbot Decals produced a set of Figueiredo names plus the new number 99 with a white background in a perfect matching size to cover the older ones.

Now let’s see the ones I call the medium category. In this category,  we must remove all decoration, decals, etc, and keep the original colors, sometimes with small color touch-ups.

6 – This Aston Martin DBR9 from IXO had all decoration removed with a new set of decals from Race Track Decals to finish it. Brazilian Fernando Rees had his debut in GT car racing at Mil Milhas Brasileiras 2007 at Interlagos with Gregor Finsken, Steve Zacchia and Roland Berville. A pair of small front wings were added to match period photos.

7 – Augusto Farfus, Gregor Finsken, Steve Zacchia and Roland Berville raced this BMW 320d at 24 Hours of Nurbürgring 2008 obtaining a 1st place in the S1 Class.  A Minichamps BMW 320si had all new decorations put on, then a new set of decals from Race Track Decals were used. Only color change was the external rear view mirrors in black.

Next are the hard ones… These models had all paint removed to add new colors plus custom made decals. Both models are based on real cars down to the license plates.

8 – Volkswagen Beetle, or as Mexicans say, Escarabajo. Using a Mexican taxi from an Altaya partworks collection, the old green and cream livery was changed to white and blue from Acapulco using automotive paint.

9 – This Volkswagen Santana is a taxi from Curitiba City, in Paraná, Brasil. In truth this is the Chinese VW version but a close match to the Brazilian one. This model belongs to a Del Prado partworks collection. The silver color was removed and replaced
by actual reddish-orange automotive paint obtained from an auto workshop through a friend doing a trip to Curitiba, who also provided some photos of the real taxi!

It’s worth mentioning here that the models in the medium and hard categories were made possible due the skills and hard work of my friend Afonso Giordano Netto.  He sadly passed way in December 2017.

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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 8

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

This months issues brings us one more French bus, an Italian one, and a German one, but “made in Spain” : as usual an interesting mix from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 22 (no. 15 in the French collection) Berliet Crusair 3 1969 – Like Renault, Berliet is one of the oldest automobile manufacturer : founded in 1899 by Marius Berliet, it was in private ownership until 1967 when it became part of Citroën, then acquired by Renault in 1974 and merged with Saviem into the new Renault Trucks company (RVI) in 1978. Its name was phased out by 1980. Based in Vénissieux, near Lyon, Berliet contributed highly to the motorsport and economic development of France. After a first small vis-à-vis (1895) the first real Berliet was the 22 CV in 1902, and the success was at the door. Already in 1905 Berliet could sell to the American company ALCO (American Locomotive Corporation) the rights for the overseas production of models 22, 40 and 60 CV. That’s the origin of the locomotive in the Berliet logo. At the outbreak of the First World War its production was converted to military purposes. Its trucks were well thought of, and it assembled the famous Renault tanks.

After the war 4 and 6 cylinders models were produced, as wel as trucks and autocars. But the appearance of the Citroën Traction put rivals several years behind in technological terms. As money to innovate was lacking at Berliet an agreement with Peugeot allowed them to use the 402 body, a modern line to conceal their old fashioned technology. It was the last Berliet car, after World War Two only commercial vehicle production was resumed. During the fifties Berliet was highly successful, but in the sixties the competition with Magirus, Mercedes, Scania, Volvo and Fiat was very tough. It was necessary to innovate continuously. Once again resources were lacking and in 1967 it was acquired by Citroen. The Cruisair range, developed from 1966, offered innovative technical solutions and a new aesthetic.

The Cruisair 2 and 3 were 10 and 11 metres long, and were marketed in 1968 equipped with a 2-stroke V-6 GM Detroit Diesel engine, fragile if not correctly used, and, starting from 1970, with the V-8 Berliet, less powerful, but more reliable. Comfortable, reliable and profitable the Crusair was built on a straight frame with two U-rails, braced by central X-riveted cross-rails. Airlam suspensions, consisting of pneumatic cushions and leaf springs associated with double-acting hydraulic shock absorbers, assured comfort and stability. But it was not free of defects, such as corrosion, poor driving position or poor technical solutions for belts and brakes. The Crusair was replaced by the PR14 in 1975, in effect an evolution of a 12 meters long Crusair 4 never produced, equipped with a turbo engine and sold, under the Renault brand, until 1989.

The scale model has a plastic body and a metal chassis with the rear exhaust highlighted by silver paint. The bright livery is yellow with a lower green stripe, a silver stripe below the windows and a black roof. The registration plate is from Toulouse in Haute Garonne, in the South of France. Nice modelling of the engine ventilation grilles and the front itself as well as the driver’s “cab”. The front and rear bumper separate fixings like the wipers. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. This is a nice model of a bus that boldly showed the image of the French coach in the last twenty years of the twentieth century.


No. 23 (no. 67 in the French collection) FIAT 309/1 SDM Menarini 1966 – Fiat is another of the oldest automobile manufacturers. Founded in 1899 its first truck was the 24 HP in 1903. Like many other companies Fiat commercial vehicles had a strong growth during the war years, starting in 1911 with the Libyan war (type 15 and then type 18). In 1925 Fiat bought SPA (Società Piemontese Automobili) and in 1929 created Fiat Veicoli Industriali, a consortium grouping Fiat V.I., SPA and Scat-Ceirano that in 1933 integrated OM (Officine Meccaniche ex Züst). In 1966 Fiat V.I. absorbed its French subsidiary UNIC (bought in 1949 by Fiat-Simca), in 1966 Lancia Industrial Vehicles, and in 1973 part of FNM (Fàbrica Nacional de Motores), the Brazilian subsidiary of Alfa Romeo. From 1975 all the activities were grouped with Magirus in a new company (IVECO), and from now on it started the slow disappearance of the specific products of each brand. In 1915, Gianni Agnelli, founder of Fiat, created the S.I.T.A. (Società Italiana Trasporti Automobilistici) to ensure the transport of people and goods, and clearly to develop its commercial vehicles production (S.I.T.A. was part of Fiat up to 1987).

We have already seen (see 5th part, no. 13) that Menarini was established in Bologna in 1919 building horse drawn carriages, car components and later buses and trucks bodies for Fiat chassis. After the Second World War there was a great growth, but in the 1980s an excess of prudence by the ownership made the company weaker in the face of competition, leading to its acquisition by Breda, later to be integrated in Finmeccanica in 2001, and to be sold in 2015 to the new company IAA (Industria Italiana Autobus), owner of Menarini and Padane brands.

The Fiat 309 was a bus produced by Fiat V.I. from 1958 to replace the 642RN, which had been derived from a truck. This vehicle was designed from the beginning as a bus. Its production ceased in 1970, when replaced by the 308. It was available in the 9-metre version, with line and Gran Turismo versions, designed by Cansa of Cameri but it was also available as a chassis destined for external body builders, especially Carrozzeria Orlandi, Dalla Via, Portese, Bianchi and above all Menarini. The first 309’s mechanics, placed in the middle of the chassis, derived from the truck 642, but in 1963 they derived from the 643 and the denomination became 309/1 (a flat 6 in line, delivering 153 hp  with a 5-speed gearbox). The 309 saw widespread operation in Italy but also sold well in export markets, both in the long-distance version and in the Gran Turismo version. The SDM in the name is typical of Menarini products, it stands for “Sintesi Del Meglio” (Summary of the Best), the name given to their new projects, aiming at optimising construction techniques.



The scale model is a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the “Il Capolinea” fleet (The Terminal), a private Italian association (see The registration plate, from Benevento, is the original one when it was part of the Autolinee Lisella. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, the rear exhaust highlighted by silver paint. Many items are small separate parts like the front and rear lights, wipers and the rear compartment doors. A nice front grille is provided complete with the Menarini and Fiat logos. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


No. 24 (no. 31 in the French collection) Setra-Seida S14 1966 – The Setra brand was born in 1951, but its origins are from the Wagenfabrik Kässbohrer, founded in 1893 in Ulm, and whose products were buses, coaches, vehicle transporters, trailers and special vehicles like snow groomers. After the destruction of World War Two they had to start from scratch and it was decided to create a new company dedicated only to buses. It was named Setra, short for “selbsttragend” (self supporting), referring to the integral nature of the construction, when competitor vehicles still featured a separate chassis and body. Until 1995 the firm operated under the name Kässbohrer-Setra, but in that year economic difficulties forced its sale to Daimler Benz, and to operate as a division of EvoBus GmbH, one of its subsidiaries. The first Setra buses were named according to the number of the rows of seats, like S8, S10, S14. To locate the engine behind the rear axle was another innovation, which subsequently became mainstream. The modular system (same structure’s elements and same cockpit) allowed to change only the wheelbase, the engine power and the interior fittings. Usually the engine was a diesel six by Henschel, delivering 170 CV.


The model is a bus born of an agreement between Setra and Seida (Sociedad Española de Importación y Distribución de Automóviles) a Spanish car and truck dealer and coachbuilder that later evolved into makers of integral chassisless motorcoaches, and  in 1998 merged into EvoBus. Seida was incorporated in 1925, and began as the dealer for Spain of all the brands of Chrysler Corporation, starting to assemble Dodge trucks in 1935. In the 1940s, after the Spanish Civil War, Seida switched to coachbuilding, soon leading the Spanish market of coach bodies, having patented, as Metalbloc, an all-metal body structure. By then Seida became the preferred bodybuilder for Pegaso buses and trucks, Hispano-Suiza trolleybuses, double-deck Guy and Dodge coaches. In 1963 an agreement with Kässbohrer allowed to license-build Setra chassisless coaches. These were equipped with Pegaso engines and were marketed with simultaneous double badge as Setra Seida and Pegaso. The S14, a full-length 12-meter 55 seat vehicle, was the most in demand. Despite being rather expensive, these coaches were very successful in the Spanish market. In the 1970s MAN, Mercedes-Benz or Cummins engines were offered as alternative power units to the Pegaso ones, and the Setra Seida and Pegaso badging was replaced by just Setra.

The scale model is again a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, owned by the “La Pamplonesa”, a Spanish family business dedicated to renting coaches and minibuses in Pamplona (Navarra) (see As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, the body is quite bright, helped by the blue and light blue livery and plenty of windows. The windows on the roof would have meant that during summer it would be very hot inside. Perhaps because of its length the model seems to be a bit flimsy, too flexible. The registration plate is from Donostia-San Sebastián, a coastal city located in the Basque Autonomous Community.

The small “SP” plate doesn’t mean “Spain” but “Servicio Públicos”. it is a compulsory plate to indicates that the vehicle is dedicated to providing public services: taxis, buses, etc. There are two plates one at the front and the other in the rear of the vehicle, this last one should incorporate a light that complies with the same conditions as for the rear registration plate. The interior is quite basic and is in a strange purple-pink colour. There are many small added items such as front and rear bumpers, wipers and rear view mirrors. The Pegaso logo is modelled correctly on the front grille and on the hubcaps. There is no apparent differences to the French edition.

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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 7

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Two more French buses and an interesting one from Hungary, all from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh by Ixo.

No. 19 (no. 32 in the French collection) Renault AGP Saharien 1937 – Renault is one of the oldest automobile manufacturer : established in 1899, already in 1903 began to manufacture its own engines and introduced in 1906 its first commercial truck. During the Great War they produced munitions, military aircraft engines and the revolutionary FT tank. A range of light/medium/heavy trucks named AGx was produced between 1937 and 1941, it included both conventional (AGC, AGT) and forward control (AGK, AGP, AGR) trucks. The AGP was a front engined, rear-wheel drive truck, with a 4-speed manual gearbox, assembled in Boulogne-Billancourt. The engine could be a 4-litre inline-four petrol unit or a 4.7-litre inline-four diesel (AGPD in this case), both with a 65 hp power output. In 1937, the Société Algérienne des Transports Tropicaux (SATT) commissioned a local coachbuilder to build a new AGP-based coach for its trans-Sahara passenger service to replace the heavier Renaults it was using before.

The van-like streamlined steel bodywork was insulated inside with cork, with a total length a little more of 7 metres. Usually it included seven seats for passengers in the front compartment, plus four more in the central one. At the rear there was space for goods and mail bags. More baggage could be stored in a compartment on the roof, covered by a simple tarpaulin, in this case they worked as a further insulator from the Sahara sun. Its could carry 400 litres of fuel, but on the desert trails it could need around 40 litres every 100 km. Each coach received its own number and name.

The scale model reproduces the SATT “Ligne du Hoggar” coach no. 64 “Guêpe” (Wasp) in its silver livery. The body is plastic, and the chassis is of diecast metal. Underneath, engine, rear axle and springs are all modelled in a basic manner, whilst the exhaust is an extra component like the front grille.

The two ladders needed to reach the luggage area on the roof are nicely modelled, as is the brown tarpaulin to cover the luggage area. There are no wipers, it never rains in the Sahara. On the sides of the vehicle the names of the main stops and the “Pullman” logo are printed. A correct registration plate is printed with the two letters code “AL” as Algeria was part of France until 1952.

There are no apparent differences to the French edition. This is quite a small vehicle, but is an interesting addition to the collection.


No. 20 (no. 12 in the French collection) SOMUA OP5-3 RATP 1955 – The origins of the French manufacturer Somua (Société d’Outillage Mécanique et d’Usinage d’Artillerie) date back to 1861, when Ethienne Bouhey started producing machine tools, very well regarded in France and abroad. Based in Saint-Ouen, a suburb of Paris, the company later was renamed Somua and during the Great War it became a subsidiary of Schneider-Creusot, already one of the companies providing buses to the Parisian STCRP. But between The Great War and the Second World War Renault became the exclusive supplier of Parisian buses, and Somua went back to producing trucks and military vehicles, like the S35 and S40 tanks. In 1946 the company presented the JL12, a truck equipped with a flex-fuel four cylinder engine under license from the Swedish Hesselman company. But the “Commission des plans de modernisation de l’automobile” (the famous “Plan Pons”) decided to merge Somua with Willème and Panhard to form a new company, the Union Française de l’Automobile (UFA).

Panhard directed UFA and only its engines could be used in trucks or buses, like the OP5. In the 50s, after leaving UFA, Somua suffered from a reduction in military orders and was forced to join Latil and the trucks division of Renault to counter Berliet : in 1955 LRS Saviem was born : Latil-Renault-Somua Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d’Equipments Mécaniques. Somua went on supplying the OP5 to the RATP for some more years, while Saviem was the brand for the new models.

The OP5 was the result of the project for a new generation of post-war Parisian buses, as requested by the CMP (Compagnie du Métropolitain, the future RATP): specifications required a closed body bus, with more comfort and a fixed place for the conductor. Somua produced the chassis and the engine/transmission unit, the bodies were assembled as a wooden frame covered with panels in Duralinox directly by the RATP for the first 100 “1950 Paris type” buses, while the 200 more “Banlieue type” buses were build as entirely metal structure in welded tubes by MGT (Million Guiet Tubauto). The diesel engine was in front of the chassis, with the batteries and fuel tank in the middle. But the presence of only two doors was an obstacle to the passengers movement and in 1955 the RATP ordered the new OP5-3, slightly longer than the OP5 to allow a third central door and with an all metal body by MGT. A very reliable bus, the OP5 modernised the Parisian fleet, slowly replacing the old open platform buses, and becoming a real Paris trademark.

The scale model of the OP5-3 is quite large, with a plastic body, a metal chassis and the classic green and cream livery. Underside details are sufficient, the exhaust is silver painted and there is a rear tow hitch. The destination plate reads “#56 – Pte de Clignancourt” and on both sides there are “Larousse” ads, while in the rear there is a “Chantelle” one, all very agreeable. Inside the seats are quite basic and there is the conductor’s place. The four-leaf doors are modelled well. Indeed it is a beautiful model. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


No. 21 (no. 17 in the French collection) Ikarus type 66 1955 – In 1895, when Budapest was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Imre Uhri established a company focused on horse carriages. Later on it started producing bodies for buses, but the 1929 crisis forced its closure. In 1935 the company resumed production, building bodies for the MAVAG vehicles. After the Second World War it was nationalised and joined to Ikarus, an aircraft maker, and charged to build coaches and buses. These were widely used throughout the Comecon bloc, even in the Soviet Union. They were also exported to countries in Asia and Africa aligned with the Soviet Union.

Sales increased year-by-year and in 1971 over 100,000 buses were manufactured, and Ikarus was the largest bus builder in the Eastern Bloc. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the loss of Comecon caused a collapse of orders. The company was privatised, and then sold to Irisbus which ceased vehicle production in 2003. An Hungarian entrepreneur re-started bus and trolleybus production in 2006, planning a second bus factory in the USA, while a third one is planned in Turkey.

The Ikarus 66 (and the 55, its Gran Turismo version) was a successful monocoque bus with a rear engine. This reduced noise levels, meant that no long drive shaft was needed, and maximized the interior space. The straight six diesel engine was a 145 HP Hungarian Csepel, at the start with a pneumatic clutch, but later on with a dry monodisc one. The presence of power steering was a plus and being a robust and powerful bus it was used in many countries. Over 16,700 Ikarus 55/66 were assembled, with over 8,500 going to  the DDR (German Democratic Republic), one of the most important trading partners for Ikarus.

The scale model has a plastic body and metal chassis, with a good level of detail. Many parts are added, like three rear view mirrors, the wipers, front and rear lights, front bumper, luggage rack and exhaust system. A correct registration plate for Dresden, the first letter “R” indicating the Dresden district, whilst on the sides there is the City’s Coat of Arms. Well reproduced interior features a well modelled drivers area complete with a nice dashboard. The cream livery is a bit dull but authentic. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice big model, very well executed.


The Fiat 418 AC/M Menarini 1975 (Trieste) which featured in  Part 5 of the Italian series has now been seen in the French collection as no. 68.

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Eaglemoss Opel Collection 2

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

This posting has been adapted from articles originally published on in order to preserve them after that site ceased to exist. Parts prior to #68 were reviewed in the printed Model Auto Review magazine, and parts 68 to 98 may be seen on this site at This collection finished in 2016.

All photographs taken by Hans-Georg Schmitt

98 Opel Blitz Panoramabus 1953-1956

In the early 1950s Opel Blitz trucks were superior to those of their competitors. Bodied for passenger service it had the highest sales of all German Buses in the 1950s. It had two main advantages. Firstly the widespread Opel service network and secondly its smooth running six-cylinder petrol engine.

A number of coachbuilders created buses on the Blitz chassis. The best known was Kässbohrer in Ulm, who also developed the classic “Setra”, buses with integral body and frame construction. This miniature is based upon a body built by Kässbohrer. An excellent restored example can be seen at the Opel Museum in Rüsselsheim.

Some collectors may be unhappy that this model is in 1:72 scale and not 1:43 scale like the rest of the collection. It is issued in green and ivory and not in blue and white as seen at the Opel Museum. This is probably because the bus has already been issued in blue and white in the Atlas Bus Collection. Given its small scale it is very well detailed. Interestingly both Atlas and Opel Collection models have the same German post-war registration plate from “American occupied Hessia”, 84 for the Offenbach area.


99 Opel Frontera A Feuerwehr 1991-1998

The Frontera was based on an Isuzu vehicle allowing Opel and Vauxhall to enter the SUV market with minimal investment. It was first shown to the public at the Geneva Motorshow in 1991 and went on sale at the end of that year. Its comparative cheapness, for a vehicle with four wheel drive, and the large chain of Opel dealers made it attractive to the public services. They were often bought by fire departments and this is the livery this model is finished in. The livery, and number plates, show this to represent a vehicle operated by the fire brigade of Offenbach, sister city to Frankfurt, both located on the river Main.

The authentically shaped body is painted in bright red, and has had the livery neatly printed. It is fitted with a blue light bar and antenna.


100 Opel Kadett C GT/E Coupe 1977-1979

The Kadett C-Type was introduced in the summer of 1973. With the emerging energy crisis this vehicle benefited from sales from motorists who looked to run medium sized vehicles to minimise fuel consumption. However, later in its life customers were less concerned with economy and were looking again for power and speed so the Kadett GT/E was created. The coupe was issued in a Rallye version and was available with two engines: 1.6 litre ‘S’ which developed 75 hp; and 2.0 litre ‘E’ engine which developed 110 hp with fuel injection. The model is accurately shaped and well detailed. A number of parts have been used fitted including the slightly oversized rear spoiler on the boot lid. The model is painted in signal-ochre and the interior is matt black. The wheel rims look authentic, and unusually for this range the baseplate is well detailed.


101 Opel Manta GT/E 1974-1975

This model was first shown at the Frankfurt motor show in September 1973. At this time this generation of the Manta was nearing the end of its run. To keep up interest and sales the Opel Manta GT/E was launched with a 1.9 litre fuel injection engine developing 105bhp. What made this model special was the matt black painted bonnet and rear panel together with a black stripe over the body. This is an excellent representation of this car painted in signal-yellow with matt black finish where authentic. The interior is also well detailed with the three additional instruments for the GT/E version seen on the dashboard.


102 Opel Senator A2 (Facelift) 1982 to 1986 “Notarzt”

This Senator was a top of the range Opel which was facelifted in December 1982 to made the car look lower and sleeker than before. In the United Kingdom this was sold as the Vauxhall Senator replacing the old Vauxhall Royale. Opel made the car available with special discounts to public bodies and it was commonly used in Germany by emergency doctors: ‘Notarz’. Today Notarz vehicles are more often vans because medics carry far more equipment than they did in 1982.

The miniature has an accurate shape and has many small parts added. It is painted in ivory. The interior looks very authentic. The model carries German registration plates “GG” , so the prototype modelled was a demonstrator owned by Opel.


103 Opel Commodore B GS/E Coupe 1972 to 1977

This casting has been seen before in this range. It is now released in metallic blue and without a vinyl covered roof. The interior appears again in matt black and the baseplate has little detail.


104 Opel Ascona C 1982 to 1988 “Feuerwehr”

The Ascona Type C was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1981. The Ascona was available asa Saloon and as a Hatchback. Both were used by public bodies, and appeared as both Police and Fire vehicles.

This model is of the Saloon in use as a fire chief´s car. The miniature captures the original shape well and is correctly presented in white and red. Unfortunately Ixo seem to have had printing problems and the red sections look a bit wavy. Addiitonal lights are well modelled as are the Alloy wheels whilst the baseplate is very plain. The model carries German registration plates from the “Märkischer Kreis”, in Sauerland.


105 Opel Kadett E Karavan 1984 to 1991

This type E was the last model to bear the name Kadett. The next generation was called an Astra whether it bore an Opel or Vauxhall badge. This estate replicates the original’s shape well and is neatly printed and finished. The body is painted in red and the interior is beige.


106 Opel Kapitan Saloon 1951-1953

The updated Kapitan appeared in March 1951 with a chromed radiator grille following the latest GM styling trends. The car was styled by the head of Opel design Charles “Chuck” M. Jordan. It was the most reasonably priced 6 cylinder engined saloon produced in the newly established Federal Republic of Germany.

The moulding has already been seen in this series and is now issued with the body painted in white. The shape is authentic and it has many parts added to give detail. The interior is well reproduced with the seats painted in red. The dashboard with instruments and switches moulded in is in body colour which is accurate to the original.


107 Chevrolet Opala saloon 1968-1969

The Opel Rekord C-Type was introduced in August 1966. Its design was to the taste of South American car buyers and in 1968 the Chevrolet “Opala” was launched in the Brazilian automobile market. It was successful and after the saloon was introduced the coupe and estate were also made in Brazil. The vehicle stayed in production in Brazil with some facelifts up until the 1990s.

This model is of the four-door saloon which has an accurate body in bright red. The interior is in white. Bumpers, radiator grille and hub caps are chrome plated, other mouldings are printed in silver.

This is an example of Ixo supplying the same casting to both German and Brazilian partwork markets.


108 Opel Kadett C-Type saloon 1973-1979

The Kadett was designed as a world car. It first appeared in April 1973 as Chevrolet Chevette in Brazil, then in August 1973 in Germany. It was produced in many versions up until 1979 in Germany, and as the Chevette in the UK with different front end styling. In Brazil the last version went out of production in 1994. This replica of the two door saloon is accurately shaped. The body is painted in yellow and the interior is in a typical light brown. The bumpers are chrome plated.


109 Chevrolet LUV 1988-2005

The Chevrolet LUV was a work horse. It first appeared in 1972 as the Isuzu KB Foster. The third generation which the model was based upon was launched in 1987. It was sold as Chevrolet LUV, and also as an Opel Campo in Germany and Vauxhall Brava in the United Kingdom.

The model is of the pickup with a single cab. The body is painted in white, and the cab interior is in light grey. The front bumper is chrome plated and the rear one is silver painted.


110 Opel Kapitan Saloon 1955-1958

The 1956 model year Kapitan was only in production for two and a half years. On 9th November 1957 one of them emerged from the assembly line as the two millionth Opel vehicle. This version of the Kapitan was fitted with a 2.5 litre 6 cylinder in-line engine. It had an integral body, independent front suspension, but retained a rigid rear axle on leaf springs.

The model is authentically shaped and painted in ruby red and black. There is a very well detailed interior in light beige. The grille, bumpers, and hub caps are chrome plated. Most mouldings are printed in silver.


111 Opel Omega A saloon 1986-1994

The Omega A was the first “cab forward” streamlined large Opel car. It was also sold in the UK as a Vauxhall Omega and in the US as a Cadillac Catera and formed the base of some Holdens too. The front and rear windscreen were bonded to the bodyshell and the side windows were flush fitted. With its low bonnet and raised rear end these aerodynamic features allowed it acheive a very low resistance value of 0.28 which was a world leading at the time.

The model is based upon the facelifted version introduced in 1991. The body is painted in mistral grey, with an interior in anthracite. The wheels are a replica of the alloy wheels some were fitted with.


112 Chevrolet Diplomata Caravan 1979-1992

This is another model which originally appeared in the DeAgostini Cars of Brazil series. The Opel Rekord C-Type had a second life in Brazil. In the 1950s to 1970s, it was usual for European automobile manufacturers to send manufacturing tools for outdated models to their overseas operations. Opel sent the Rekord to South America and it stayed in production for some time going through a series of facelifts. It was a best selling model in Brazil for many years.

This accurate miniature is painted metallic silver with a light grey interior. The black mouldings are printed. Bumpers, radiator grille, and roof rack are separately moulded components. There is minimal baseplate detail.


113 Opel Omega B saloon 1994-1998 “Feldjäger – Military Police”

The German Bundeswehr ordered a number of Omega B cars. They were used as staff cars for battalion and regimental commanders, and for the Feldjäger, the military police.

This well detailed miniature is painted in authentic RAL 6031 bronze-green. The interior is matt black. Military signs are neatly printed and the model is fitted with a light bar at the roof.


114 Chevrolet Corsa from 1993

Until the early 1990s the small car sector in Brazil was dominated by the Volkswagen Beetle. Then in 1993 General Motors started to produce the former Opel Corsa B in Brazil. Hideo Kodama’s design team from Russelheim’s work was a breathtaking success in the Brazilian market appearing practically unchnanged apart from the Chevrolet Cross replacing the Opel flash.

The model is of a three door version and is accurately shaped. The bodyshell is painted in bright red with an interior moulded in light grey. Mouldings and emblems are precisely printed and the wheels are authentic. Minimal baseplate detailing.


115 Daewoo Nexia 1994 to 1997

The Opel Kadett Model E was produced in Germany from 1984 to 1991. After that the tools were moved to Korea and Daewoo produced the Daewoo Nexia from them. In India, Eastern Europe, Iran and Australasia it was sold as the Cielo The cars were also imported to the USA under Buick and Pontiac brands. In summer 1996 the Nexia received a light facelift and was also offered in Europe. Daewoo experienced financial issues and GM bought a large share in the company and eventually rebaged Daewoo models as Chevrolets in many markets.

The model is authentic and represents the vehicle after the facelift of 1996. It is well detailed and finished. The body is painted in metallic silver and the interior is in two tone grey. Mouldings and emblems are neatly printed. Wheels are authentic. Again a minimal baseplate is provided.


116 Chevrolet Monza 1982 to 1990

The Brazilian GM plant is one of their oldest foreign plants. In 1925 the first Chevrolet cars were assembled there. In September 1981 Opel launched the Ascona Type C base of the GM J-car world car. This J-car also appeared also in Brazil as the Monza. In early 1983 the Monza notchback saloon was introduced with a design similar to the Ascona.

This model is the version made from 1983 as a four door saloon. The casting is very true to life. Painted bright red with a well detailed interior in light brown. Mouldings and emblems are well printed with authentic wheels. As usual the baseplate has minimal detail included.


117 Opel Omega B saloon 1994 to 1998 “Swiss Police”

The Omega B was introduced to the market in March 1994 as four door saloon and five door estate. The use of powerful Opel passenger cars for “Patrouillenwagen”, police patrol cars, has a long tradition in Switzerland and the Omega was widely used by Swiss police authorities. The model carries the emblems of the “Kantonspolizei Zurich”.

Already seen several times before in this range the body is an excellent replica of the original. It is painted in white with red stripes and emblems clearly printed. A detailed interior appears in light grey. The aluminium wheel rims are were not typically used for Police vehicles which tended to have plastic hub caps. Like other models in the range the baseplate is poorly detailed.


118 Chevrolet Chevette 1987-1993

The T-car platform was the first “world car” from General Motors. It appeared in Germany as Opel Kadett, in Brazil as the Chevrolet Chevette, in Japan as the Isuzu Gemini, and in Australia as Holden Gemini. The Brazilian T-car was in production the longest lasting until 1993 by which time more then 1.6 million cars had been built.

The model is of the Chevette notchback 4 door saloon from the 1980s. It is painted in metallic silver and fitted with a well detailed, light grey coloured interior. A number of smaller parts are moulded and inserted to add to realism. As is usual in this series the baseplate has only limited detail.


119 Opel Laubfrosch 4/12 HP 1924-1926

The Opel Laubfrosch “Treefrog” was the first Opel car manufactured on an assembly line. This production method saved money and boosted production so the car could sell at a competitive price. The Laubfrosch looked similar to the Citroen 5CV which was launched in 1921. This lead to lawsuits but these didn’t reach any firm conclusions. Initially all 4/12 cars were painted in green which is where the nickname Treefrog arose. By the end of production more body colours were offered.

This vehicle has already appeared in this series in the early green version with hood up. This release has the body painted in red and has the hood lowered. Lots of detailed parts are fitted and the radiator grille is chrome plated whilst other mouldings are printed in silver. Again the baseplate shows little detail.
The coverage of this series of models continues with further articles originally posted on this site after its launch. 

Eaglemoss Opel Collection Part 1

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

This posting has been adapted from articles originally published on in order to preserve them once that site ceases to exist. Parts prior #68 were reviewed in the printed Model Auto Review magazine. This collection finished in 2016.

All photographs taken by Hans-Georg Schmitt
No. 68 Opel Corsa A three-door saloon 1982

The first Corsa, which fitted into the Opel range below the Kadett, was introduced in September 1982 as three-door hatchback and two-door saloon. In April 1985, a four-door saloon was added, and in September 1985, the Corsa was the first German small car to be fitted with a three-way catalytic converter and lambda-measuring head. In July 1993 it was replaced by the Corsa B.

The model is authentic, with an accurately shaped body painted in bright red, and an interior moulded in black. The wheels are good replicas. A number of separate parts are used but the baseplate has only limited detail.

No.69 Opel Vectra B four-door saloon 1995-2002

In October 1995 the Vectra A was replaced. Saloons, hatchbacks and an estate, called the Caravan as usual for Opel, were produced.

This model is of the saloon and is authentically shaped and painted in blue. The interior is moulded in black but the seats are also printed with a typical diamond-shaped pattern. A number of separate parts are used and the wheels are true to the originals. Again the baseplate has only basic detail.

No.70 Opel Kapitan saloon 1955-1958

A new Kapitan was introduced in July 1955. It was larger than its predecessor and a straight 6 cylinder engine which developed 75 hp at 3900 rpm. The front wheels had independant suspension and the rear ones were on a rigid axle with leaf springs. On November 9th 1956 the 2,000,000th Opel car left the assembly line, it was a Kapitan, which can still be seen today in Opel’s car collection. It was finished with gold metallic paint and instead of chrome many parts were gold-plated.

This miniature is of a normal production car and is well shaped, and features many separate parts. It is painted sahara-yellow and it has a light grey interior. Its appearance is enhanced by the wide white-walls on the tyres.

No.71 Opel Manta A GT/E “Black Magic” 1975

The hottest of all Manta A cars was named “Black Magic”. It was fitted with a four-cylinder 1.9 litre engine which produced 105 hp at 5400 rpm. It had a claimed top speed of 188 km/h.

This model is very authentic. The body is accurately reproduced and finished with a matt black bonnet and the characteristic red and yellow stripes. There are many separate parts and the interior was moulded in black with seats printed with the an authentic textile design. The wheels are not authentic and are based on the type of product available as an accessory from other suppliers at the time. As with all this range a basic baseplate is provided.

No. 72 Opel Manta B CC 1978-1988

The Manta B was launched in August 1975 as a saloon car. In September 1978 the CC hatchback version with a tailgate followed. In the 1980s the Manta became a the subject of jokes and in 1991 the movie “Manta, Manta” portayed the Manta as ‘prole’ car, which the Opel promotion department very much disliked. In spite of this all the Manta B was quite successful. Over the years, a number of Manta B models have been released, but all were of the coupe. Now we have a model of the CC in this collection.

The model is excellently detailed with the body painted in bright red. It is the GT/E-version of 1982, which can be determined by the position of the mirrors. The interior is also true to the original as are the wheel rims. The baseplate has only limited detail.

No. 73 Opel Ascona C 1982-1988

The Ascona Type C was introduced in three body-versions like its predecessors: two and four door saloons; and a five door hatchback. In January 1985, the Ascona 1.8 litre was the first Opel car fitted with a controlled three-way catalytic converter.

The model comes as a saloon with the 1987 modelyear facelift. The radiator grille is correctly painted in body colour. It is finished as the GT edition with the body painted in blue and fitted with black rubber spoiler on the boot lid. A very good detailed interior is finished in light grey and blue. Wheel rims are true to the originals. Again the baseplate has minimal detail.

No. 74 Opel Olympia Rekord 1956-1957

The two door Olympia Rekord was the last evolution step of the saloon which was originally introduced in 1953. Its design was similar to the 1956 version of the Kapitan. Painted in bright red, the model has an accurate shape. Radiator grille, bumpers and hub caps are chome-plated, the other mouldings are tampo printed in silver. An accurate interior is fitted and the overall appearance is complemented by neat whitewall tyres. Again the baseplate has minimal detail.

No. 75 Opel Monza A Coupe

The Monza has been revisited. In this case it is in the original version as it was launched in May 1978. The body is painted in light blue metallic with a faithfully executed interior in black. The excellent wheels are also worthy of comment. The baseplate has limited detail as usual.

No. 76 Opel Cadet Type B Caravan 1965-1973

The Cadet B Caravan was launched at the Frankfurt Motorshow in 1965. It appealed to workmen needing a cheap but spacious vehicle that had the space for both the family and the tools of the trade. It came in three and five door versions. The basic version was fitted with a 1100 cc engine, which developed 45 hp at 5.000 rpm.

The model is a realistic shape and is of a three-door version. It is painted in ochre, which is true to an original colour, and is fitted with black interior. Bumpers, hub caps and roof rack are plated and lights are separately fitted. The base plate has quite a bit of detail moulded in for this series.

No. 77 Opel Rekord Type E Caravan 1977-1982

Production of the Rekord E started in August 1977. The estate, again named Caravan, was available with three or five doors or as delivery van with closed side windows. The miniature is an excellent representation of the original vehicle which was designed by the American Henry Haga. The model is of the three-door version and is painted in yellow and fitted with a brown interior. Dashboard, steering wheel and centre console are authentic. The bumpers are plated, radiator grille is silver painted and the body side mouldings are in black. Baseplate has only basic details.

No. 78 Opel Bedford Blitz 1973-1980

The Bedford CF was launched in Britain in 1969. The contemporary Opel Blitz was rather out of date at the time and importing the Bedford and selling it as an Opel from 1973 was a makeshift solution. Quality problems affected sales so GM decided that Opel should concentrate their activities on passenger cars.

The Bedford Blitz is modelled as a delivery van. It is authentically shaped and painted in orange and light cream. Separate lights are used and bumpers and hub caps are plated. The emblems are neatly printed. Baseplate has moderate detail.

No. 79 Opel Super 6 four-door saloon 1937-1938

Production of the Opel 6 started in January 1934. It was fitted with a 6-cylinder engine, which developed 36 horsepower from 1932 cc. Then in 1937 the car was facelifted and the engine was developed to produce 55 horsepower from 2473 cc. It was named ‘Super 6’. In 1938, the Super 6 was succeeded by the newly introduced Kapitan.

This model is well shaped and detailed. It has a medium blue and a light grey interior. Lights are neatly done as separately inserted items. The radiator grille and bumpers are plated, and other mouldings printed in silver. The interior is realistic. The baseplate has a little more detail than usual for this series.

80 Opel Corsa B 1993 three-door hatchback

The second generation Opel Corsa was launched at Geneva Motor Show in March 1993. The first version to be seen was the three door version, as modelled here. Unusually for a small car the Corsa was equipped with ABS, even on the basic version, as well as side impact protection, and a driver airbag. The launch advertising in Germany featured a character double of Queen Elizabeth II.

The model is finished in star silver with a light grey interior. The plastic inserts in the bumpers and around the wheel arches are painted black. The steering wheel and interior are faithfully detailed.

81 Opel Manta B GSI Coupe 1984-88

The Manta Type B was produced from August 1975 to June 1988. Based on the Ascona it had the front axle from the Kadett C. In the UK it was offered with right-hand drive as the Vauxhall Cavalier Coupe.

The model is of the top of the range version of the Manta, which was powered by a 110bhp two litre four-cylinder in line engine.

This model captures the original well, and is finished in metallic black. The accurate detailed interior is finished in black and red. The ‘Manta GSI’ badges and the trim lines are printed in red, but some are not totally accurate. The wheels are authentic, however.

82 Opel Rekord P II 1960-63 two-door saloon

This casting has been seen before in the range. It is now finished in different colours; the body in ruby red, the roof in chamonix white, with a white interior. The radiator grille and bumpers are chrome plated, and mouldings are silver printed. The whitewall tyres look very good on this model.

83 Opel Frontera B 1999-2003 Polizei

The Opel Frontera was a popular vehicle with the Polizei, as it was reliable, roomy, and had four-wheel drive, so it could be used off and on road.

This casting has been seen before in the range in civilian finish, but now it is finished in classic white and green with Polizei markings, and a blue light bar. It has German registration plates from Hanover, the capital city of Lower Saxony. The wheels are accurately reproduced.

84 Opel Kadett D GTE 1983-1984

This version of the Kadett was the first with front-wheel drive. The success of the Volkswagen Golf GTI spurred Opel into launching their own hot hatch, the Kadett GTE. It had a 115hp 1796cc four-cylinder engine which enabled the car to accelerate from 0 to 100kph in 9.5 seconds and gave it a top speed of 187kph.

The car was available as a three-door or five-door saloon, usually in white or black with the distinctive GTE livery. This model is in the popular white finish with an accurate grey interior. Lights and other features are well-made separate components.

85 Opel Rekord P1 1957-1960 two-door saloon Polizei

The Rekord was a spacious car for its price and consequently it was often bought by Polizei authorities. After hard use most were sold cheaply on the secondhand market, and few now survive. The model is said to be based on a car currently displayed at the Police Car Museum at Marburg, Germany.

The model is painted in realistic fir green with a blue beacon. The bumpers and radiator grille are chrome-plated and additional mouldings are printed in silver. Lights and other separate parts are well made and neatly fitted.

86 Opel Admiral 1937-1939

The Admiral was first revealed to the public at the Berlin Auto Show in February 1937. It was released in December 1937, and was only available for wealthy customers. Because it was manufactured by an American company (Opel was owned by General Motors), the Admiral was not purchased for official use by the Nazi government. Today this first generation of the Opel Admiral is very rare, as many of them were converted to ambulances during the war, and those that survived the war were often then converted to makeshift trucks.

This is the second issue in this series based on this casting. The initial release was finished in black, but this model is blue, the same colour as the car in the Opel Classic Collection. The interior is light grey, the bumpers and hub caps are chrome-plated, and the mouldings and badging are printed silver. The base is more detailed than many other models in this collection.

87 Opel Calibra Coupe 1990-1997 Notarzt

Production of the Calibra began in June 1990, in March 1992 a version was released with a two litre turbocharged engine and four-wheel drive, and in summer 1993 there was an option of the 2.5 litre V6 engine from the Omega saloon. A few Calibras were used as emergency vehicles for the NEF (Notarzt-Einsatz-Fahrzeug). Four-wheel drive and its large tailgate were advantages for the emergency services.

The model is finished in fire service red and with a blue beacon and an aerial. The interior is light grey, with separately moulded and fitted parts to the usual standard for this partwork.

88 Opel Olympia delivery van 1950-1953

The post war Olympia was identical to the model whose production stopped in October 1940, except for the front wheel assembly. In January 1950 it was upgraded with a distinctive new body. The chromed radiator grille was modelled on the American cars of the time. It was also available as a cabriolet-saloon and as a delivery van as modelled here. This was a useful workhorse for small shopkeepers and traders. This model is based upon a delivery van used by a Frankfurt coffee roaster and dealer who used the car as an advertisement for the business.

The model is fully detailed and lovingly finished. The radiator grille is “chromed” and looks very realistic. Through the windows you can see a well modelled dashboard and steering wheel. Only basic details are moulded into the base.

89 Opel Rekord D Type 1972-1977 four door saloon Polizei

Production of the D type Rekord started in December 1971 and ended in July 1977 after 1,128,196 cars had been manufactured. In September 1972, a 60bhp Diesel engine developed in-house by Opel was introduced which was very popular with Taxi drivers.

This model of the Diesel version has been issued as a German Police car in the accurate period green and white livery. It is fitted with a blue warning light and a loud speaker. Unfortunately the model is not accurate since the German Police would not have used such a low powered vehicle as a patrol car and the registration plate with a blue EU-insert shows LUP, Ludwigslust and Parching in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of the new Federal countries. At the time that the D type Rekord was in use this area was still behind the Iron Curtain. Only a few D type Rekord patrol cars survive today in collections, all equipped with petrol engines.

90 Opel Kapitan 1938-1940

In November 1937 Opel launched a new six-cylinder car called the Kapitan. Like the smaller Olympia it was of unitary construction. It was offered as four and two door saloon and as a cabriolet. Production ended in Autumn 1940 due to the Second World War.

The model has been seen before and has now been re-issued with the body painted in prototypical black and is fitted with elegant white wall tyres. The headlights are still innacurate as they were in the first issue. Apart from this, body is very accurate, and well detailed and finished. A well moulded red interior is fitted.

91 Opel Vectra B 1995-2002 saloon Polizei

The Vectra B was first shown to the public in October 1995. The German Police departments were early purchasers and they proved to be reliable patrol cars. All were painted in white and green. It is hard to believe that any type B cars would have been still in use by around 2005 when the newer silver and blue livery was introduced. However this model appears in the newer Polizei livery and is fitted with registration plates from the German capital, Berlin. It is fitted with a blue light bar, but the police aerial is missing.

92 Opel Kapitan PII 1959-1964 Saloon in Taxi livery

From their early years Opel’s cars were widely used as Taxis. The Rekord and Kapitan models were the models most often used in the 1960s and 1970s. Until 1971 all West German Taxis had to be painted black, after that they had to be painted in light ivory. This model of the Kapitan PII is in black which is appropriate for its age. The body shape is well captured and there are seperate lights and small components as well as silver printing and “chrome” where appropriate. The dark grey coloured interior looks authentic, especially the steering wheel. The model is fitted with registration plates for West-Berlin, which was still under allied administration at this time.

93 Opel Corsa A 1982-1993 Three door saloon Polizei

Was the product manager who suggested this model drunk? Or is it a joke made up as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations? What is certain is that the model is not based on any known prototype operated by any German Police Force. The model is a good representation of the Corsa itself and the green and white painted body is fitted with a large blue light bar and looks quite impressive, It is a pity that it is not authentic.

94 Opel Rekord A 1963-1965 Cabriolet

This was the most elegant version of the Rekord A and a car to be seen in during the 1960s. The cabriolet was converted by Deutsch of Cologne for Opel. This model has appeared before in the range but has now been released with the body painted in white and with a closed matt black soft top. There is a good level of detail provided using small separate parts as well as silver printing and a plated radiator grille and bumpers. A nice little detail is the “D” sign beside the rear registration plate. The body shape and interior are good. Unfortunately the hood does not fit accurately to the window frame.

95 Opel Kapitan P 2.6 1959-1964 Polizei

Immediately after the Second World War Volkswagen Beetles were the main type of patrol cars used by the West-German Police. With the growth of prosperity and the associated rise in traffic on the Autobahns bigger and more powerful patrol cars were needed. The Opel Rekord was often used as a Motorway patrol car in West Germany but they lead a tough life and few survive. The model is based on a survivor which can be found in retirement in a museum of old Polizei vehicles in the the City of Marburg. The model is well shaped and painted in the period fir green. Detailing is up to the usual standard for this range and includes registration plates for Marburg.

96 Opel Olympia Rekord P1 two door saloon 1957-1960

The Rekord P1 was first presented to the public in August 1957. It was initially only available as a two door saloon, estate and delivery van and its’ design was influenced by contemporary American cars. The model is painted in medium blue and has seperate lights as well as having “chromed” bumpers and grilles and silver printed features. A brown interior looks authentic.

97 Opel Super 6 1937-1938

The Super 6 two seater cabriolet has already been seen in this range. It has been re-issued in new colours: brown and light beige with a light brown interior. This is an attractive model set off well by the wide whitewall tyres. The model is detailed to a standard typical for this range.

Eastbloc Models

by Rod Ward

[First published in MAR 280, July 2014]


As I noted in the piece in MAR 279 on French plastic models, traditionally most British model car collectors would turn up their noses at the thought of plastic models. In the countries behind the Iron Curtain, however, kiddies and collectors had to be grateful for what they got, and plastic was easier and cheaper to manufacture than diecast metal. For some years the only toy and model cars available to children in the Eastbloc countries were made of plastic, plus a few tinplate items. It was quite a revelation when the Saratov factory in Russia started making diecast models of Russian cars, but they are outside the scope of this article. It is worth noting, however, that politics interfered with this venture. With the centrally-planned economy of the Comecon states, every industrial venture had to be approved as suitable for state support, and permission would only be given for trades or industries which had been allocated to specific areas. For example, no full-size car manufacture was permitted anywhere in Hungary. There was no classification for ‘collectors models’, so the Saratov factory had to indulge in a bit of lateral thinking. They had their models classified as promotional items or spare parts, to assist in the marketing of the equivalent full-size cars. This definition had to be stretched somewhat when they made a model of an already-obsolete Moskvich, and then of the pre-Great War Russobalt. In principle, however, the 1:43 diecast models fell into the same classification as sales catalogues or replacement components.

When we received delivery of these models, they came (120 or more at a time) in large and heavy rectangular grey-painted wooden crates, lined with black paper. This packaging seemed to be totally over the top, when other firms managed to export models around the world in cardboard boxes. It turned out that these were standard boxes used in the USSR for delivery of car parts, which would be returned to the factory with the faulty parts for re-manufacture (and to ensure that no-one was engaging in illicit sales of components). The models had to be distributed in the same boxes as other items under the same classification. Later on, it must have been realised that the wooden boxes were not being returned, so cardboard boxes were substituted. Sometimes a lucky Lada or Moskvich dealer would find a box of models in the boot of a newly-delivered car. He was supposed to give them away to promote sales, but the models often mysteriously found their way to a swapmeet stall or two.

Our friends in the East would keep us informed about the latest products. Among many others, Alexander Yurcenko was a keen collector who was involved with the conception of many 1:43 diecast models in Saratov, including the GAZelle van series and Sergei Govorov in St Petersburg made a superb range of handbuilt fire vehicles and other models.

When restrictions were relaxed, and it became possible to produce more scale models of current and historic vehicles we would get models from all over Russia, from LOMO in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) of old trucks and fire vehicles, models of current Kamaz and Liaz trucks, vintage Amo trucks and so on. Only rarely would these models be all-diecast. Most would have just a diecast chassis, and maybe a cab. All other parts would be plastic.

To return to the all-plastic models of Eastbloc cars, their production also suffered from various degrees of political interference. The state concerns which made the models were only permitted to replicate vehicles from Comecon countries, and they had to seek permission to acquire the necessary raw materials. This would involve applying to the relevant state concern, with a submission describing the purpose of the product.

The Czech authorities were quite helpful, it seems, so current production models of Skodas and Tatras were available from Igra, Miniauto and others. Igra even got permission to produce the entire history of the motor car in Czechoslovakia in (around 1:43 scale) plastic models. They made Laurin & Klements, Presidents, Aeros and others, in a very attractive Oldtimer series. Another popular line in Czechoslovakia was a range of tin toys which originated from the German CKO (Kellerman) range. They were beautifully finished, and are much sought-after today.

Other countries were not as well-served. Polish models tended to be larger scale and crudely executed, rather than 1:43 scale models, though there was a Polonez made by Estetyka, who also produced a plastic Bugatti T35 apparently copied from the Matchbox Yesteryear model.

The authorities in the DDR (East Germany) would only give permission for limited quantities of 1:87 plastic models to be made, mostly related to model railways. An oddity was that TT scale model railways survived in the Eastbloc after their day had passed elsewhere. This meant that there were also some TT scale plastic model vehicles produced in the DDR. It must have been well understood, however, by some East Germans that diecast models were preferred in the West.

When we visited the Nuremberg Toy Fair soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany was in the early stages of reunification. A new exhibitor appeared, with an address in East Berlin, displaying a wide range of toys and models, including some diecast models of four-axle (!) Neoplan coaches. The two guys in charge of the stand, one in his fifties, the other in his thirties, were nattily dressed in sharp suits, and spoke perfect English. Various German friends pointed out that English was not taught in schools in the DDR, but that many Stasi (secret police) agents spoke English. It seemed that these fellows had foreseen what would happen, and using their contacts had set up a business ready to go as soon as the wall came down. West German firms refused to place orders with this company, which didn’t reappear at Nuremberg the following year. So anyone who bought one of those four-axle coaches from us got a rarity.

Over the past 40 years we had all the model vehicles produced in the Eastbloc through our hands. Nowadays you can get excellent 1:43 diecast models from the partwork series made in China by Ixo, some of which are also availabe in their own IST range. There are also still artisan ranges in Russia making excellent handbuilt models of cars from the ex-Eastbloc countries.

So it is now possible to have in your collection detailed models of most vehicles produced in the Eastbloc, but somehow they don’t have the indefinable character of the old plastic models. Some of the models shown here are from the Maz Woolley collection, others are from former Modelauto Ltd stock, and the balance are reproduced from the artwork of Model Auto Review back numbers.


Diecast and Plastic

Large Plastic Models

Medium Sized Plastic Models

Smaller Plastic Models

Atlas Vehicles of the Volksarmee – Robur Garant

By Hans-Georg Schmitt


This subscription series is sold by Atlas in Germany. It covers vehicles used by, and in the livery of, the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) which was founded in 1956 and disbanded in 1990 after the re-unification of Germany.

18843-09-2016Robur Garant 30k light lorry 7 550 014

When the Police and the National Peoples Army looked for a light truck, they struck luck quickly – but then they had little choice. In the South-East of the DDR a plant was re-built which had been completely dismantled by the Soviets. This was the Phänomen Works in Zittau. Their light truck was manufactured in two different wheel bases and with rear wheel or four-wheel drive. In 1953 the Phänomen Garant was introduced. Updated in 1956, it was renamed the Robur Garant 30k, though there had been only minor changes.

The accurately shaped body is painted in the same matt olive green used for all NVA vehicles and equipment. From the camouflage-lights and the protective-screens over the headlights to the authentic registration plate under the left rear tail-light it is very faithful to the original. Mirrors, lights and other fittings are small separate parts.

Like all real NVA-vehicles the Garant carries a registration plate only to the rear. The spartan interior with steering wheel and gear lever is nicely detailed, as is the base plate.

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Alfettas from 1950 to 1972 to 2016

by Karl Schnelle

This year has been  full of coincidences. I found two 1/43 Alfettas that I heard about years ago but never did buy.  They are not too rare but not easily had for a good price in the US.   Both are  part of different partworks from Europe.

It all started with Brian Owen’s article on  post-WWII pre-F1 race cars, in the July 2016 issue of Model Collector.  He mentioned that only Brumm and Altaya, a Spanish partworks company, made the 158, the famous #2 ‘Alfetta’ in which Farina won the British Grand Prix in 1950.   Of course, the Alfettas won every race they entered in 1950 with their drivers, Farina and Fangio, winning 11 races!

I had a few BRUMMs so I went searching for the Altaya and found the #4 car of Englishman Reg Parnell.


Only at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix did Alfa run the four Alfettas with race number 1-4.  So this had to be the car.  Maybe Altaya made the other two as well.  An easy change to make!


Check out Fangio driving the Alfetta at Monza in 1970!

Then, the same seller had another Alfetta for sale in 1:43, albeit slightly more modern and pedestrian.  Alfa cashed in on the fame of the Alfetta and named their 4-door car after it, sold from 1972 to 87 (from 75-79 in the US).  I drove the 1976 US-spec version, so I had to get this one as well.  Also, the cow-catcher in the front and roof rack attracted my attention! Unlike the original Alfetta, I had no idea what this contraption represented. Google rescued me because the base it was mounted on had a lot of info.


This partwork was released by Fabbri and made by Metro for the Alfa Romeo Sport Collection. This 72 Alfetta participated in the 1973 Raid Capo Nord – Capo Sud according to the base.  Of course you could easily read this on the side of the model as well. This car ran 26,000 km from North (Norway) to South (Cape of Good Hope).

Some photos of the real Alfetta Raid:

More Alfetta Coincidences – Both these partworks had rusty screws attaching them to their black plastic bases.  No amount of WD-40 and wrenching would release them.  Do I need to drill them out? Your ideas are welcome.

Also, I attended the US National Alfa Romeo Convention this year, bringing the Alfetta connection up to the present time.   I saw a blue Alfetta there just like the one I had – mine was a 76 and the one below is a 77…  Close enough.  In 22 years, the 1950 Grand Prix Alfetta was transformed into a 4-door sport sedan in 1972.   And now it is 44 years later, and I run into a blue Alfetta again!  Amazing coincidence!


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Opel Designer Collection by Eaglemoss

By Hans-Georg Schmitt


This post covers the final four new items made in the Opel Designer Series made to a scale of 1:43. These are diecast by IXO in China. Accompanying each model is a booklet with the story of the designer and the production of the original car with a lot of interesting background information about car making.

The long running Opel Collection finally comes to an end with issue 140.

Opel Admiral B Hans KillmerNr. 137 Herbert Killmer and Opel Admiral B

In bright Spring weather in February 1969 Opel presented their new KAD-Range in Nizza on the Cote Azur in France. The big three; Captain, Admiral and Diplomat; were styled with a more reserved European elegance, but were all on an American scale.

The leader of the “Großwagen-Studio”, Herbert Killmer, and his team produced popular cars with this generation of large Opels. After this success Killmer supervised the Omega A and B before he had to retire due to a serious illness.

The Admiral B appears in a special box with pictures of the desgner. It hasa n authentic shape and has many small parts. As usual for this series it is in metallic silver.  Radiator grille, bumpers and wheel rims are chrome plated.

Opel Vectra A Wayne CherryNr. 138 Wayne Cherry and Opel Vectra A

In 1988 the Vectra was introduced to the Press on the Spanish Jerez de la Frontera, and later in the year to the public at Paris Automobile Salon. The shape of the new mid-market car was created in the OPel Advanced Design Studio, which was lead by Erhard Schnell.

Technical development, relied not only on the experience and creativity of the engineers but also to the Super-Cray, at that time the fastest computer in the world. This lead to a shorter than usual development cycle.

The model is of a facelift version of the Vectra Hatchback. The box shows Chuck Jordan in the background. The model is painted metallic silver metallic and fitted with black interior. A number of small parts are used to make this a well detailed model.

Opel Kadett D Hans SeerNr. 139 Hans Seer and Opel Cadet D

The energy crisis in the years 1972/73 caused a radical shift in thinking within the automobile industry. Customers requested more economical vehicles. Front wheel drive hatchbacks became fashionable. Opel reacted quickly with the Kadett D which was the first Opel car with front wheel drive.

Hans Seer was the first Design Director at Opel who did not come from America. Under his guidance the more European direction for Opel products began.

The model is a five-door hatchback and is an authentic replica. Painted in the series silver paint with an interior moulded in black it is fitted with small parts to add realism and accuracy. The radiator grille, bumpers,and body side mouldings are painted in black. Wheel rims are chrome-plated.

Opel Ascona B 400 Chuck JordanNr. 140 Chuck Jordan and Opel Ascona B 400

This success had many fathers. Charles M. Jordan came to Rüsselsheim in 1967 as successor to design director Clare M. MacKichan. Together with Bob Lutz, he developed new standards for design and organisation. Under his supervision, the successor of the Opel Kadett B was created, but he was ordered back to Detroit before it launched. His successor, David R. Holls, designer of the Cadillac with the highest tail fins ever, followed him. In 1974, Henry Haga became new design director, when Erhard Schnell and his team developed the Ascona B, which itself was developed to a successful rally car. The rally legends Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer became Rally World Champions 1982 in the Ascona.

The Ascona B 400 appears in the box with a photo of Chuck Jordan. The body is painted in silver metallic and fitted with a well detailed black interior. Small parts and printing are used to make this a nicely detailed model.

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Eaglemoss Opel Designer Collection

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Here are details of four new items from the designer series of diecast models to 1:43 scale made by IXO. The models come with a booklet with the story of the designer and the original car. The booklets also provide a lot of background information on automobile manufacturing.

18358-05-2016133 Gordon Brown and Opel Kadett E

This generation of the Kadett was developed in the Opel Design Center under the leadership of the American Gordon Brown, who took over the baton from his predecessor Henry G. Haga, also an American. The appearance was more rounded, the “edge” was replaced by the “radius”. Gordon Brown’s life ended tragically. His hobby was landscape photography and on Pentecost Saturday 1983, he went to Rhine valley and on the top of the Lorelei rock he ignored the crowd barriers, slipped off and fell approximately 100 metres. Another American Wayne Cherry was his successor and he got the production release for the E-Cadet from GM headquarters.

The Kadett E was a three door estate. The model replicates the original well and is finished in the standard metallic silver finish used for this designer series. The black mouldings are well modelled.

18363-05-2016134 Chuck Jordan and Opel Kapitan 1952

In December 1938 Opel presented a new big car with an integral body and a six cylinder engine. The new car, named the Kapitan, was available as two or four door saloon and as a cabriolet. The modern design attracted many orders from abroad which brought much needed foreign currency. The outbreak of war ended production suddenly. In October 1948 Kapitan production was started again with a slightly modified car albeit heavily based upon the pre-war design.

The successor was developed by a young Chuck Jordan at the GM design centre in Detroit, a successor was developed. Jordan later had an impressive career within  GM. The newly designed Kapitan was launched in March 1951 and was the leasing seller in the 6 cylinder class in Germany for several years.

The 1952 Kapitan appears with a photo of Chuck Jordan in the background. As usual in this series, body is painted in silver metallic paint and fitted with black interior.

18364-05-2016135 Hans Mersheimer and Opel Cadet A
The success of the Volkswagen Beetle did not go unnoticed at Opel headquarters. Until then GM was not really interested in building small cars. So it needed much persuasion by Opel to get approval fro the creation of a small car to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle. The Kadett  A was the first Opel car since the company was bought by GM, which was developed entirely at Rüsselsheim. Under the supervision of chief engineer Hans Mersheimer a modern small car was developed. Its design was heavily influenced by the contemporary Kapitan.

The model is based upon the coupe version and is again painted in silver metallic with an interior was moulded in black. The radiator grille, bumpers,wheel rims and other small parts are chrome-plated.


136 Erhard Schnell and Opel Calibra
 At the end of the 1980s more and more Japanese coupes were launched in the European Market. Opel decided that they need one of their own to compete with the Japanese head on. The “Advanced Design Studio” under leader Erhard Schnell got the order to develop an effective competitor. Modern mechanicals were placed in an exciting body. The Calibra was the car from Erhard Schnell before he went into retirement. Even today at the age of 89, he still visits motor shows and classic car events.
The Calibra appears in the box with a photo of Erhard Schnell. The body is again in silver metallic and fitted with a well detailed black interior.

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