Category Archives: 1:64

M2 Econolines

By Maz Woolley

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

The first generation of the Ford E-Series van ran from 1961 to 1967 and was a very common sight in films and TV shows set in US cities in the Sixties.  They were widely used by Utilities like Bell Telephone and were also a popular van for conversion into a camper.

Based on the mechanical underpinnings of the compact Ford Falcon automobile, the Ford Econoline was said to be based on sketches started in 1957 when the British Ford Thames 400E it resembles was launched in the UK. The van competed with the Volkswagen Transporter, Chevy Greenbrier and Dodge A100.

The vehicle was sold in van and pick up form as an Econoline and the station bus passenger van was sold as a Ford Falcon Club Wagon.

The van was fitted with a 2.4 Litre inline 6 initially and engine sizes grew to 2.8 Litre and then 3.9 Litre over the years. The front mounted engine was in the centre of the cab and gave the van “nose heavy” characteristics so Ford fitted a 165 lb (75 kg) counterweight over the rear wheels.

The van was also sold as a Mercury. Initially made in Canada the Mercury production was later shifted to the US and was always a low volume exercise.

This article looks at two of the many Econolines produced by M2 to 1:64 scale diecast in China. M2 are premium price 1:64 models which compete with AutoWorld and Greenlight rather than Mattel Hot Wheels. M2 have produced these models as custom vehicles, lowered and with special paint jobs as well as the more conventional versions seen here.

1965 Mercury Econoline Van

The Mercury van differs little to the Ford other than in badging, but this passenger van would have been badged as a Falcon Club van when sold by Ford. The side view shows that the split two tone paint has been very neatly applied and the windows have been made in such a way that they push fit into the aperture to give a more realistic finish.

The black surround to the front window is not very well printed with distinctly wobbly lines on the one I have. This is a shame as all the other printing like wipers and air vents is very good.

Wheels and tyres are very good. and the front light inserts with the grilles to the side of the lights well realised. The panel lines showing how the van was welded together from multiple pressings are well engraved and the paint covers them well without obscuring any detail.

At the rear the Mercury script is neatly printed and the lights printed effectively.

1965 Ford Econoline Camper Van

This is available in two versions. One with the full elevated roof as shown here and the other with a raised panel which could be folded up with a canvas side when parked.

This model shows how different the US and UK were in the 1960s. On top of the cab is fitted an air conditioning unit something we would not see in the UK on smaller campers until much later.

The raised roof dominates the model. It is nicely modelled in plastic but the windows are printed on. In front of it sits the air-con unit which is another separate plastic item. Below it, the middle windows are moulded-in sloping as if they have been propped open from within. A table and some low side units are moulded in the interior as well as some thicker seating which will clearly become the bed when the van pulls up.

The two tone paint separation on the side is again neatly done as is the tiny Econoline script on the cab doors. Again the wheels and tyres are well modelled.

To the front the Ford Script is clearly printed and other features are like the Mercury above, except for the bumpers which are made to resemble white painted metal ones. Again the black printed screen surround is poorly done one an otherwise well printed model.

Underneath both models, M2 have moulded in some chassis features.


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Auto World Plymouth 1:64 Models

By Maz Woolley

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

Auto World is both a US store and a manufacturer producing models under Auto World, Johnny Lightning, and Racing Champions brands. Models cover multiple scales and even include HO scale slot cars. In 1:64 there is a difference between Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions models (made under licence from Tomy who no longer make them) and Auto World ones. Johnny Lightning continue as they have always done with models of American vehicles with fat speed wheels and some custom finishes to give them on the peg appeal at a pocket money price. Racing Champions seem to have a less clear cut identity with prices similar to AW and some features like wing mirrors that AW models lack but slightly less detailed models in some cases. Auto World was created with the collector of classic American vehicles in mind and is a series stated to be to strictly to 1:64 scale and which is finished in realistic colours, with realistic wheels and fitments, and well printed detailing. Its main competitor is probably Castline’s M2 ranges. In my eyes Auto World tend to look rather more realistic than M2 because they do not include the opening doors which detract from many M2 models.

Here I look at two new AutoWorld models which are recolours on existing castings and which I think show how collectable US 1:64 models have become.

AutoWorld 1964 Plymouth Barracuda                  Vintage Muscle Series release 4b #3

Aware that Ford intended to use its compact Falcon as the basis for a sporty car other manufacturers started to design their own. Chrysler created a fastback design based on their new compact Plymouth Valiant. The large rear window was the largest producer for a production car at that time.  Engine and gearbox options were the same as the Valiant’s, including two versions of Chrysler’s slant-6 engine. The highest power option for 1964 was Chrysler’s all-new 4.5 Litre V8.

Though the Barracuda was launched two weeks before the Mustang it only sold 23,443 units in 1964 compared to Ford’s 126,538 Mustangs.

The styling influence lived on with the large rear window being a key feature of the Chrysler owned Sunbeam Rapier and Alpine 1750 Arrow cars.

The casting captures the shape of the car well. The printed chrome round the windows is well done as is the rear window surround and fuel filler.

Good wheels have the smaller white sidewalls that emerged in the early 1960s.

From the front the grille is neatly moulded in and then black washed and all the chrome printed. The lights are printed in white which is quite effective and seems to be becoming popular on US 1:64 scale models. Even the moulded in wiper arms are neatly over printed in silver.

That huge rear window and all its fittings are nicely caught. Rear lights are printed on with silver base over printed with light lenses. An effect which is acceptable in this scale.

The rear scripts and boot fittings are all printed very finely and all is topped off by a registration plate though there is none fitted on the front.

Some attention has been paid to the engine bay which appears to house the optional V8.

AutoWorld 1958 Plymouth Belvedere                    Classic Chrome series release 4b #2

This casting has been seen before in several colours and in the special movie related “Christine” model from the film based upon Stephen King’s book.

The Belvedere modelled here is the version sold from 1957 to 1959 at the height of the era of Fins as styling statements. The design was so forceful Chrysler advertising was under the strap line  “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” In 1958 the Belvedere was the top trim level and was available with a large V8 engine called the Golden Commando.

The profile of the car with its jet fins has been nicely captured and the side ornamentation printed well right down to the door handles and the Belvedere badging which can only read clearly if you enlarge photographs of the model.

The wheels and tyres are modelled well though a black wash on wheels might make them look more realistic.

The front grill and huge bumper are well modelled and this time a number plate is included though it only carries the legend Belvedere. In the centre of the grille the V sign is picked out in gold. The bonnet emblem is printed over a raised moulding and even has a tiny Plymouth script printed on it much too small for the naked eyes to read clearly.

From the rear the excellent printing on the lights, huge bumper, and even the tiny Plymouth script along the lip of the boot, are all clearly visible.

Finally we get the view under the bonnet which clearly houses a large V8 engine painted gold as one imagines that the Golden Commando would have been.

Two nice models of classic American cars.


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Readers Letter – Greenlight Window fixings

Greenlight Window Fixings

What is your verdict on the way Greenlight has attempted to engineer flush side windows on the 1939 Chevrolet vans?

I don’t care for the engineering solution. Flush glazing yes, but not at the cost of overall appearance. Thinner wall castings getting windows closer to where they should be like Matchbox did some 55 years ago is still better in my mind!

Robin Godwin
Canada
via eMail

Editor: I didn’t mention this in the article on these models, to be found here, as I only looked closely at it when Robin drew it to my attention. But he is right the fixing is extremely clumsy and when the model is in a light colour it is also very obvious as shown in photographs below where arrows point to new fixings intruding visually. The flush fittings being increasingly used by PCT/Sonic and Oxford with the side glazing being fitted into side from inside with all frames printed on is vastly superior. Or as Robin says if the casting is fine enough then the gap is scarcely noticeable anyway. I hope GL find a better solution for future castings. What do you think?


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Greenlight 1939 Chevrolet Panel Van

By Maz Woolley

Text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. 

Greenlight have released the Chevrolet Panel van from 1939 in 1:24 and 1:64 scale across a number of their ranges all with attractive liveries. Like Models of Yesteryear there is no discernible differences between them other than their liveries. In 1:24 there are some opening parts but there are none in 1:64 scale which improves accuracy even if it reduces play value. The models are diecast in China for the USA.

In 1:64 scale there are liveries for Goodyear Tyres and Shell Petrol in series four of  “Running on Empty“.  In the “Blue Collar Collection” series three they sell Chevrolet Parts and Krispy Kreme liveried vehicles, there is a picture on the web of a Krispy Kreme van looking very like a 1939 Chevy but in a different livery to the one used by Greenlight. Like all Greenlight 1:64 scale models these are more expensive than Mattel Hot Wheels but cheaper than Auto World or M2.

The 1939 Chevrolet Panel Van was a functional vehicle with a car like look and was replaced in 1941 by a van with a waterfall front end only seen on vans. This van, new for 1939, was sold under the strap lines “The Nation’s Largest Builder of Trucks” and  “Quality Makes Volume – Volume Makes Price”.

Chevrolet Parts Model 1:64 Blue Collar Series release 3

The van has a good shape and captures most of the features of the original quite well though the way the lights are inset in silver blocks to the side of the radiator is an inelegant solution. The Tampo printing of the areas of blue is not as thick as it might be and there are small gaps in the paint here and there betraying the fact that these are made to a strict budget. On the plus side the livery is nicely printed and seems to match printed material of the time.

The light lenses being picked out in white is a nice touch and the grille is good enough though some black wash would be nice. Number plates are printed. The windshield is a bit of a let down. All the glazing is flush but the printed chrome surround at the base of the window is much too high and large.

The wheels and tyres are well modelled though the tyres seem slightly too wide and square shouldered for the period.

To the rear the curved panels are very evident and the rear light, number plate and livery is all well done. The rear door handle is picked out, though the photograph doesn’t show it. Sadly the paint splits at all the panel lines on the vehicle, again showing that these are painted quickly and with minimal materials in the factory to meet the selling price.

Goodyear Model 1:64 Running on Empty Series release 4

Great colours reflect the corporate colours of the period. Sadly the blue overspray does not wrap round wheel arches underneath and there are a few dots of yellow where the blue paint has not covered the yellow.

The blue wheels are neatly painted and show off the contrast with the hub cap well though they are a bit shiny for a working van.

From the front all my comments about the Chevrolet liveried van apply but here the front bumper, which is straight and level on the parts model shown above, is bent like a banana which shows that QC is not very strict.

The front windscreen differs as well. Here there is no chrome print at the base and the window looks all the better for it. Sometimes less is best.

Finally to the rear the finish is as good as the Parts van and the yellow has split less round panel lines too. One other difference between the vans is the silver coach line which is nicely printed along the side of the Goodyear liveried van.

I am sure that we will see many more of these vans in different liveries. Some like the Texaco one that I am sure will come, they already do it in 1:24, I will welcome. Whilst others will inevitably be printed in pretty but inaccurate liveries which I will not .


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More Colorful Model Car Brands You Might Not Have Heard Of

By Ron Ruelle

Ed. Note:  The MAR Online Editors are republishing this article from the HobbyDB blog because some of these brands might be new and fun for you.  Others might be old hat (Quiralu  or Rextoys)?   Ron’s article on unusual model car brands was also republished by MAR Online in 2016.

A while ago, HobbyDB shared a list of unusual Model Car Brands with strange histories. The response we got was terrific, so we did another list. Since then, we’ve dug up enough other odd brands to compile yet another batch of model and toy cars you may have forgotten (if you ever heard of them at all.) All in all, this round of models comes from seven different countries if you’re counting!

Dream Become True

Dream Become TrueNo, that’s not a typo, it’s just clunky translation. This company started as “Dream Become True”, possibly playing off Chinese auto company Build Your Dream. They then changed it to “Dream Becomes True” which is still kinda clunky. Their main offerings are Model Cars in 1/32 and 1/24 scale, which are fairly detailed and include working parts as well as lights and sounds.They also make some pretty basic models of mostly high end exotic cars in 1/64, including about the only model of the Koenigsegg CCX available and, even if the doors don’t open correctly.

Gay Toys

gay toys school busSimple, inexpensive toys molded in color… what could go wrong? The sheer coincidence of the name unfortunately might have became a headache for the company (parental objections, etc.), so they didn’t produce many models under this brand. And well, when you try to do a search online for them, well, just make sure you keep “safe search” turned on. Even better, look for them on hobbyDB instead.

Quiralu

QuiraluQuiralu models were made in France in the 1950s and ’60s and included several microcars. The company and their models went into hibernation for many years until the original molds were resurrected in the late ’90s. They were used again to make a limited number of models with the same body castings but slightly different tinplate base and window glazing. The colors for each generation are often loud and fun.

Radon

radon model carThe name Radon probably doesn’t have any strange connotations in Russian like it does in other parts of the world. These cars are cold war relics, from a Russian state factory. They are mostly 1:43 scale diecast Soviet vehicles, including marques that aren’t likely to be reproduced in any other country. As a bonus, they do a lot of limos and other service vehicles, which are always neat to look at.

Rextoys

rextoysThese Portugal-produced models are best known for 1930s American cars. Detail is simple, but the cars sometimes come with well-known passengers… You can get the Cadillac V16 Convertible with President Franklin D. Roosevelt riding in the back, or, if you prefer, Italian actress and politician, Cicciolina. But not together, even though that would be really awesome!

Simba

SimbaThey Farbwechsel when they Temperaturwechsel! Simba, despite the very elephantine name, was a German company that made mostly models of German marques. Their color change cars were revolutionary at the time, as they were among the first where the color depended on the temperature of the water.

Smelly Speeders

Maisto Smelly SpeedersSure, these look like standard Majorette models. Except they have some odd color combinations, especially the brightly colored tires. And when you open them, well, the reason for the name becomes obvious. Each car was scented in generally favorable aromas such as coconut or strawberry, not unlike those emanating from your car air freshener. Unfortunately, if you find one in the package, there’s a good chance the scent has worn off over the decades.

Tomte-Laerdal

Tomte-LaerdalStarting in the 1940s, this company produced primarily models of German cars but also one of an American military Jeep. Bodies were made of a single piece of rubbery plastic in a single color (some look kind of swirly) with a separate clear windshield in some cases. Details were crude at best. Later models mostly eschewed the clear parts for solid molded windows. Based on their Datsun 240Z model, it’s safe to say they were still making these at least into the early 1970s.

Starmada

StarmadaStarmada is a fairly new name to the model car business, debuting at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg in 2009. They offer mostly European marques with a heavy emphasis on Mercedes-Benz. These are sold under the name Brekina in many countries. Two really neat things about them… they make a lot of odd body styles such as limousines and hearses. And if you can believe it from the photos, these cars are 1/87 scale, some of the most detailed cars you can get for an HO railroad.

Victory Industrial Products

Victory Industrial ProductsVictory Industrial Products or VIP was a small company that began its life during the second world war in a boat house which stood directly alongside Kingston Bridge in Hampton Wick near London. It was founded by two men, Captain William John Warren and Gerald Fenner Burgoyne who set up the company to manufacture small electrical components for the Ministry of Supply. Not quite nanotechnology, but the components were useful for making model trains, 1:20 plastic models, and 1:32 slot cars. They were mostly odd, utilitarian cars, but charming in a huge way.


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Takara Tomy – Cars for Kids

The closest thing to the old Matchbox 1-75 series available today is the Tomica range of “fit the box” models.  Sadly they do not appear to be sold officially here in the UK and imports from the Far East make them much dearer than Mattel’s Hot Wheels or Matchbox models. But the uniform red and white boxes with drawings of the cars on front are popular with Japanese children with  a model being released every month and 140 kept in the range at any time.  Like old-fashioned Matchbox the models are a variety of scales with everything from large construction vehicles to the smallest of cars all fitting in the same box though Tomy do print the scale on the front for your information. They also print a lot more on the box but speaking no Japanese I cannot translate it.  The range was started in 1970 and has always aimed to cover the output of the Japanese car firms, though some foreign cars have also been included in the range. The models are made in Vietnam rather than China nowadays.

Here I look at two cars that would appeal to kids in the UK as well as Japan. As Japan also has right hand drive cars the home market cars are often little different to the ones we see here. Though many of the cars made by Tomy are never exported to the UK though they may be seen in Australia and New Zealand where many are imported second hand..

#50 Toyota Prius

The Prius is a well known hybrid car frequently used as a taxi or private hire car here in the UK.

The printing of lights and black areas on these models is not particularly neat but quite a bit of effort has gone into the badging. The rear window on the Prius is actually painted on.

The wheels are very like Matchbox speed wheels.

Play value is provided as the hatch opens. The hinges are very thick presumably to meet toy safety standards.

The profile of the model is fairly accurate though paint is very thin at the panel lines .

 

#76 Honda Civic Type R

Lots of black paint to highlight the spoiler and intakes but not particularly fine masking! The opening bonnet gives the model play value but the huge hinges take up most of the engine space!

The shape of the Civic is nicely captured.

The Honda badge on the front is printed well and gives the front end a nice balance against all the matt black.

At the rear the Honda badge again looks good as does the tiny printed Civic badging.

From the side the black printing shows as a bit crude in outline. The large plastic spoiler has been very well modelled. Even the speed wheels are a diffrent type with fashionable coloured wheel rims.


It is nice to think that Japanese children might be being given these models as pocket money toys in the way that I was given Lesney Matchbox models by my Mum. Perhaps this will make sure that diecast collecting stays alive at least in Japan.


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M2 Turning Japanese

By Maz Woolley

Most photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. Where photograph is by, and copyright of M2 Castline, it is stated.

M2 have introduced an Auto-Japan line of 1:64 scale models diecast in China for USA. This article looks at the vehicles in “Release One” of this series and at the road car versions of the models in some detail. M2 are one of a number of US model firms that make 1:64 models to a constant scale with much more detail and better finish than Mattel Hot Wheels.

Until now M2 has generally focused upon US made vehicles but this release covers Japanese vehicles originally introduced from 1969 to 1971. Many of these cars were imported into the USA but would have been left hand drive. All the models are actually right hand drive as would be the case in Japan and the UK. But these are clearly Japanese market cars as they carry names such as Fairlady never used on the UK market and I don’t believe that the Skyline GT-R was officially imported at this time either. Finally the style of wing mirror used was not fitted to UK cars. As these have the steering wheel on the wrong side for the American market will this limit sales or is the series intended by M2 primarily as an attempt to enter the Japanese market place? Datsuns were also built and sold in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand who also have RHD and unlike the UK they may have used the Japanese names for their versions. Perhaps these are perfect for collectors in South African, Australia and New Zealand?

 1969 Datsun Bluebird 1600SSS

The Datsun Bluebird was their mid-range saloon competing in the UK with the Ford Cortina and Vauxhall Victor and Hillman Minx. This model is of the 510 series sold between 1967 and 1972. The SSS model was the sporting version with twin carburetors and upmarket fittings originally badged as SS until Chevrolet complained.

Side view shows that tampo printing has been used to show chrome window surrounds well.

The three box shape has been well captured and the “vinyl” roof imitated well. Wheels are generally good though the white stripe on the tyres is not entirely centred on some wheels.

The front end captures the car well but the moulding is a little heavy and the panel line round the lower valence too obvious. The printed badging and indicator on the wing are neatly done.

From the rear the lights are nicely moulded inserts and the over riders have been picked out in black. Tiny badging is printed well and only fully visible if enlarged several times.

The engine is represented with the inline 4 cylinder engine dominated by the additional carburetors of the SSS version. The Japanese style rear view mirrors are curiously left in grey plastic.

1969 Datsun Bluebird 1600SSS (Racing Version)

Pictured below is the Racing Version which is largely the same model.

©M2 Castline

 1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432

The Z432 was a rare version of the Z240/260/280. It was fitted with the heavily tuned engine from a Skyline GT-R and only just over 400 were ever built. The number exported from Japan must have been tiny. The racing version of the car Z432R was made in tiny numbers and was only sold in Japan.

Side view shows the neat badging and neatly moulded wheels as well as the Japanese market wing mirrors.

The front is nicely moulded though the bonnet panel fit is not up to the standards of some other models. The grille has been blacked but is not neatly printed at the top with the “ragged” appearance obvious even without enlargement.

The rear carries some nice grilles and printed badging. The lights are painted on silver effect inserst and are quite acceptable apart from scratching on one lens taking a line of paint off.

The open bonnet shows a sketchy in line six and induction manifolds.

1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432 (Racing Version)

Again a racing version which is very similar other than wheels, bumpers and detailing. This lacks the black hood of the original R version so is presumably a Z432 lightened for the track.

©M2 Castline

1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R

The coupe model was introduced in 1971 and fitted with a powerful inline six cylinder engine and a five speed gearbox. The GT-R was very successful in touring car racing. These cars have become a Japanese motoring icon and yet only around 2,000 of the first generation of GT-R were made.

Side view shows the neatly printed sidelights and the badge on the C pillar and rear wing. The black wheels are neatly moulded and the black wheel surround at the rear painted on.

The front end has been moulded well with lights and grille well represented and excellent tiny badging.

The shape of the car is well captured as shown in this shot from the rear.

The front of the car shows the rather wide panel gaps round the bonnet which some makers of small models are now getting much less obvious than this.

At the rear the lights do not fit straight, or the bumper, which lets down the overall effect. Nicely printed badging down to the small badge on the boot and reversing lights printed on the bumpers are positive features.

The bonnet up shot shows the straight six and induction manifold but is only really a general impression of the engine bay.

1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R (Racing Version)

Another racing version based on on the standard casting.

©M2 Castline

Chase Cars

It is a US market ploy to add a few specially finished models to the boxes sent out to dealers. This has created a market of collectors who only look for these special models which are produced in unrealistic finishes with strange wheel colours and extra printing.

The three chase cars produced for this series are shown below.

1969 Datsun Bluebird 1600SSS CHASE CAR

©M2 Castline

1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R CHASE CAR

©M2 Castline

1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432 SUPER CHASE

©M2 Castline

Although this series has nice models they are not defect free or as finely detailed, or crisply modelled, as Tomica Vintage Limited models. But then most US and European buyers will be able to buy the M2 models for a considerably lower price than Tomicas. I hope that M2 continue with this range as there are a many classic Japanese cars yet to be easily available in constant 1:64 scale at a reasonable price.


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A look at some US 1:64 models

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

My collection of US 1:64 scale models has grown recently. As these are generally not imported into the UK I have to rely on my collecting buddy to obtain them for me in the US and Canada. All the models shown are from “premium” 1:64 makers and cost considerably more than models from Mattel and Matchbox. In return there is much more detail and some excellent subjects.

All the models shown have been diecast to 1:64 scale in China for the USA.

Greenlight 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60

I am told that this model is becoming scarce, particularly in black. It is based upon a car seen briefly in The Godfather a gangster film from 1972.  It is made to 1:64 scale and was sold in a blister pack with a Godfather film theme.

The rear number plate shows the same number as the car in the film, but the front number plate is much too small to match the car in the film whatever is printed.

It was only looking at an advert online for this model that made me realise that the bonnet actually opens. The fit of the bonnet is so fine that one really has to congratulate Greenlight.

The printed chrome is neatly done as is the bonnet mounted emblem and Cadillac scripts.

Looked at from the side one of the models shortcomings becomes apparent. The very slim door posts should all be chromed. The wheels are good with wheel centres correctly printed in red with the Cadillac emblem included.

The base is in unpainted metal and includes quite a bit of engine and powertrain details as well as the ladder chassis.

The front also shows a few issues with the “dagmars” being too large and the black tips not extending back far enough. The Cadillac crest is also printed off centre as shown by its position to the side of the bonnet ornament.

However, this is a budget model and is generally very good so is a nice item to add to my collection. Greenlight also make this model to 1:43 scale.


 

Greenlight Volkswagen Typ2 Camper

Greenlight have produced several different camper configurations on the VW T2 US Bus. Here it is in “Campground Host” trim with the folding high roof and raised luggage area but with no camping fittings inside just seating for about 10 people.

It is another model in their Club V-DUB range which has no opening parts. It is thought that Greenlight uses a different maker for this range of VW models, probably one making VW models for the European market.

The roof is nicely constructed but the windows in the folding part of the roof are just printed on., though quite effective.

Elsewhere the printed grilles, window slats and lighting are very well done. The wheels are particularly nice with the domed hub caps and VW logo impressed in the middle.

Number plates have not been printed on which is a shame as it makes the rear look a little unfinished. But the US regulation lights on the vehicle sides front and rear are printed on.

The logo for the probably fictitious “River Valley Gorge, Camping and Entertainment” is neatly printed.

The only slight let down is the VW emblem on the front which is just printed and lacks the depth it should have.


 

1958 GMC Suburban Carrier 4×4

Here we go to M2 Machines Auto-Trucks range. This model is from Release 36. It is of the upmarket 4×4 version of this truck whereas previous appearances in Series 21 were of the plainer Fleet and Small Window versions.

The rear bed is a separate part allowing different types of rear section to be fitted. In series 21 the bodies were step sides and not  the panelled in version used with this model.

The printed GMC badgework on the bonnet is excellent as is the badging on the side of the wings. The grille and lights are impressive especially as the sidelights are actually a separately made and inserted plastic lens. The wheels are neatly painted with chrome centres and large as would be the case for a 4×4.

M2 models generally have many opening parts and here the bonnet and doors all open. The panel gaps are a bit large but better than many 1:64 models.

From the side view we can see the 4×4’s higher ride height.

As can be seen the rear lights are transluscent red and solid white paint on plastic chromed units. These are effective at this scale.  The complicated rear bumpers have been nicely made and the number plate shows the model year.


M2 1959 VW Double Cab Truck USA Model – Camper.

This special model is not part of a normal Auto-thentics VW release. Using the VW T1 double cab seen in release VW004 it has a camper body mounted on the rear of the chassis and a deluxe two-tone paintwork.

The Camper rear is fitted out inside in brown plastic with tables and cupboards visible. The front bumper has the higher export bumpers needed to comply with US bumper height rules. Unfortunately the front bumper droops a little as can be seen above.

Whilst the rear is a custom build it has incorporated the standard VW engine access panel. The lights are a simple printed circle. The whole rear section has been made in plastic whilst the double cab is in metal.

The rear window has “Industrial Speed Shop” printed on to replicate the type of sticker that might have been fitted to the original vehicle.

The large camper body must have been quite a weight to haul for a Type 1 Transporter which only had a 1200cc engine at this point. Indeed in 1959 the engine was uprated with more power but was so troublesome 1959 Volkswagen T1s in the US were recalled and fitted with modified engines.


 

M2 1959 VW Double Cab Truck USA Model

Making use of the same casting this model is a Walmart special and is a limited edition of over 7,000 models. It has been kept simple and built down to a price as Walmart insist on being able to sell the models for low prices.

The blue colour is that associated with Volkswagen and is neatly painted.

The double cab and pick up bed are separate parts but in this case they are both diecast. Although the drop down panels of the pickup bed are all plastic.

Unlike the Greenlight the M2 Volkswagens have the VW badge moulded into the cab and then overprinted in white. This gives a very realistic finish. The white bumpers are US edition and have rubber strips printed on.

The rear is simple but the drop down panels have been finelly modelled and moulded in plastic. The lights are neat red on silver prints. Looking in the pickup bed one can see that it was designed to be fitted with something and the holes have not even been blanked off – another sign that Walmart model is built down to a price. I expect that this casting will appear with a towing boom, or items fitted into the rear at some point.


These models are just a small cross section of the up-market 1:64 models sold in the US and many more can be seen on the websites of M2 and Greenlight.


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Greenlight – Hitched Homes

By Maz Woolley

The photographs included are by, and copyright of, the Author. Advertising Illustration is copyright of Greenlight.

Over the years many collectors have asked manufacturers to make Caravans (Trailers) to go with their cars and trucks. A few manufacturers have done so with variable results.  In one case a smaller maker of 1:43 models put a lot of effort into making some classic Caravans only to see cheap models of exactly the same subjects flooding out of China in various scales and even being adopted into some German diecast ranges. The suspicion was that the UK made models had been copied and that is unfair on the original maker. At one point a series of resin Caravans was proposed to cover popular UK brands such as Sprite but this did not “take-off”.

The success of the Caravans already issued in the Greenlight Hitch and Tow series like the Shasta Airflyte and Airstream Bambi no doubt encouraged them to make a new series of Caravans without any towing vehicle called Hitched Homes. Greenlight make Caravans in 1:24 but make more in 1:64 scale. Sadly there appears to be no prospect that they will be made in 1:43 scale too. In this article we look at the three caravans on the top row in the Hitched Homes publicity illustration above. All of which are new castings not seen in the Hitch and Tow range so far.

1958 Catolac DeVille Travel Trailer

British Caravaners in the 1950s would have been shocked by the bright colours of this caravan.  UK Caravans were generally painted in subdued colour schemes and awning would have been of green or brown canvas and not like an awning at an Ice Cream parlour.

DeVille trailers were manufactured by Catolac Corporation of California. and they made trailers from 1927 to 1970. The company slogan was “It’s not how many you make, But how well you make them” – That’s the Catolac way”.

 

The model reproduced by Greenlight is was a compact trailer, for the US, with all the usual features though it had no toilet fitted. The woodwork in the interior was of very good quality, birch panelling  whilst the outside was  made from 1 inch thick Mesa Deluxe sheets.

Whilst the windows are all painted on and whilst there is no interior the caravan does have an awning that clips into the main body and a blind for the front window to protect it when travelling and from the sun.  The usual screw is supplied to fit to the front of the trailer to allow it to stand or to be lifted for towing. These are now supplied as a separate part to fit yourself and great care needs to be taken when opening pack as they are  prone to dropping out.


1959 Siesta Travel Trailer

 

No awning supplied with this one and it looks a little plainer with only the red detailing and the fact it has a large fridge in it making it look different to European caravans of a similar age. No fold down flap to cover the front window on this one.

 

Sadly I cannot find any history of the makers of this caravan but from the number of pictures of renovations it must have been a popular one in its day.

1964 Winnebago 216 Travel Trailer

The name Winnebago to the British mind is synonymous with the huge RV vehicles the size of a British Luxury Coach but the company was only formed in 1959 and the first self powered RV was not launched until 1966.

Winnebago is the name of a native American tribe, and Forest City where Winnebago started is in Winnebago County, Iowa. John K Hanson a local funeral home manager liked camping and managed to convince Californian supplier Modernistic Industries, to open a manufacturing facility near the banks of the Winnebago River.  Unfortunately things didn’t prosper and in 1959 when Modernistic’s prospects were slim a group of local businessmen, led by Hanson, bought out the operation. He changed the company name to Winnebago Industries in 1960 and established the manufacture of dedicated components right down to furniture designed and built especially for the trailers. One Winnebago innovation was the “Thermo-Panel,” with insulating foam between an aluminum exterior sheet and inner paneling. It kept weight down and made the vehicle more like a home away from home.

The Greenlight model has the “W” logo nicely printed to the side, rear and front. Again the windows are printed black and there is no interior. The movable blind at the front was apparently an extra cost optional extra.


The remaining caravans in this release include a current Winnebago trailer which is new casting and one that will appeal to collectors of more modern US vehicles. The Shasta Airflyte that has already been seen in several colours in the Hitch and Tow series and the Airstream Bambi has also been seen in that series several times previously. Though the Bambi in the series does come with a new awning not seen before.

Greenlight are to be congratulated on these models which though basic in some ways do look good when hitched to a period US car.


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Mattel Fast and Furious Escort Mark I

By Maz Woolley

 

The Fast and Furious films have had model producers scrambling to obtain licences from Universal as they are sure fire winners with a buying public who may not by any other models. They are also crossover products appealing to both model car and film model collectors. Greenlight’s 1:43 scale Fast and Furious Escort model was featured in a MAR Online post some time ago, and Greenlight also have it in 1:18 scale as well.

Greenlight and Racing Champions have already been licensed to create 1:64 scale Fast and Furious merchandise but so has Mattel. Mattel’s Hot Wheels models are around 1:64 and widely collected especially in the USA. Here we look at Mattel’s Fast and Furious range, and in particular the Ford Escort.

Mattel has not branded this model as Hot Wheels but has put it in a premium blister pack with full Fast and Furious branding and a free download of “Fast and Furious Filmmaker” application. The model itself has been diecast in China for Mattel whereas Hot Wheels tend to come from other Far Eastern locations like Malaysia. It appears that they also sold Fast and Furious sets so you may race your models.

The model has rather more details than a typical Hot Wheels model with nice wheels,  rather than standard commodity items. The detailing is all printed and fairly basic with rear lights too narrow and only in red and the front indicators not painted at all. The grille and lights is again to a higher standard but all in silver where parts should be matt black. The blue paint is applied with an “orange peel” look when it reflects light.

The interior of the model is obscured by the dark windows but under lights one can see that it is a very basic interior indeed. Looking at the exterior the shape of the car is wrong with no curved line at the bottom of the rear window and the roof looking strangely pinched probably because the rear pillar is the wrong shape and not thick enough which means the rear window slopes at to extreme an angle. The striping is not the same as the film car either,at the front or the rear particularly at the front. The front extra lights are also moulded to sit too low as well.

Mattel has also released a Hot Wheels Escort RS1600 in their HW Workshop series with Fast and Furious branding. This is a completely different casting with a different shape, less detailing, four not two spotlights and the spotlights made in clear plastic. The wheels are ordinary “hot wheels” though with a gold foil finish. The overall shape of this casting seems to be closer to the original Escort than the more expensive Mattel model though the side stripes are utterly wrong here as they do not extend over the wheel arches.

The American market for Movie models must be a very substantial one to lead to so many firms offering models and Mattel offering it twice to two market sectors in two different castings to the same scale.


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