Category Archives: 1:64

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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M2 Chevrolet 150 Handyman Wagon

By Maz Woolley

 

This M2 release 39 Autothentics model is diecast to 1:64 scale in China for the US. Unusually M2 has chosen to model the bottom of the station wagon range for 1957 the Handyman which had only two doors and a lot less chrome trim than the four door 1957 Chevrolet 210 Beauville Station Wagon already produced in release 35. The 150 was also the basis for the Sedan Delivery  so I wonder if M2 will also do that at some point with the livery possibilities that will offer.

The 1957 model year 150 kicked off with a straight six but that was dropped in favour of the 235 V8 Blue-Flame engine as standard. Lift the bonnet of the model and the engine shown is a V8. A manual gearbox was standard but Powerglide or Turboglide automatics were available. Performance was good by contemporary standards. Although the 57 Chevy is a classic released time and time again for model collectors it was actually Ford that sold more 57 cars.

The M2 model is to their usual standards and the doors, though opening, are properly full framed and have acceptable shut lines. All the lights, grille and badging are well represented and the simple wheels and hub caps capture the bottom line trim well. The Handyman logo is printed on so small I had to get a magnifying glass out to confirm it was there under the flags on the rear wing.


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Hitch and Tow Series 8 Pop-Up Trailer

By Maz Woolley

 

The Greenlight 1:64 scale Hitch and Tow series made in China for the US is well established with Series Ten being launched this month. Most series have few new trailers now with the same trailer appearing in new colours and with a different tow car. Here we look at the pop-up camping trailer first seen in series eight with a Ford F-150 pickup towing it. This trailer appears again in series 10 pulled by a 1970 Ford F-100 pickup as the tow car.

The camper can be displayed in open form as seen at the top of this posting or closed as shown immediately above. Please note that it normally has a white gas cylinder mounted on the body just above the tow bar however this has broken off mine.

Inside the camper is a simplified interior which is superfluous as it cannot be seen when the camper is displayed either open or closed.

As the photograph above shows the folding fabric has been well modelled on the tent section. This section is made out of plastic and locates with a lugs into the base and the metal cover/roof locates into the top of the plastic section with the small lugs it also uses to locate into the metal base section when shown closed.

The Ford F-150 is well modelled with the complicated front lights neatly inserted as separate items. The interior with its second row of seats has been modelled in some detail though it has no printed details. The tyres even have the Goodyear details printed on them and the Ford logo is printed on the grille centre. The F-150 is a best selling vehicle in the US despite a combined cycle fuel usage of 18-20 miles to a US Gallon.

Given that it is being used to go camping a cover or top fitted on the truck bed to cover the luggage and camping gear might have been nice but one can hardly complain about its absence given Greenlight’s pricing of this range.

The US 1:64 scale marketplace seems to be thriving with new series planned for the near future.  Some early castings of M2s forthcoming Datsun range have been shown, the 240Z and Bluebird, and they look very good as shown with no opening doors. I am sure that a lot of collectors are looking forward to the models.


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Solido Volkswagen 1303 investigated

By Robin Godwin

 

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

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

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

Yellow Kyosho 1:64 Super Beetle. Solido in blue

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

Kyosho replaced with Solido on base


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Tomica Limited Vintage – Isuzu Hillman Minx

By Maz Woolley

 

Surprise from British car makers at the success of Japanese exports in the 1960s was strange given that Japanese car makers had had relationships with British producers since the 1920s when a Wolseley A9 was one of the first cars made in Japan by the shipbuilding firm which was to create Isuzu later. By the 1930s Nissan were making the Austin 7 under licence.

In 1952 Austin entered into another agreement with Nissan and they exported 2,000 Austins as partially assembled sets and these were sold in Japan under the Austin trademark. The agreement called for Nissan to make all Austin parts locally within three years, a goal Nissan met. Nissan produced and marketed Austins for seven years.  By 1955, the Austin A50 – completely built by Nissan and featuring a slightly larger body with 1489 cc engine – was on the market in Japan. Nissan produced 20,855 Austins between 1953 and 1959.


Rootes made great efforts in the post war period to export cars to Japan and create their own sales chain. However their sales model was not allowed by the protectionist practices of the period that discouraged imports and foreign owned sales organisations and only allowed foreign firms to carry out local production if partnered by a Japanese firm and with an aim of at least 90% local content in the vehicle. Rootes eventually struck a deal which met the Governments tight controls with Isuzu which was part of Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Ltd. Isuzu was granted sole rights to import Rootes vehicles particularly Hillman Minx Cars and Commer vans and to develop domestic production of these vehicles. There was an up front payment which Rootes reinvested in the sales and service network in Japan.  Each car carried a £25 royalty payment to Rootes which was about the only money Rootes seems to have been able to re-patriate.

The first Isuzu built Hillman Minx rolled off the assembly line late in 1953. The PH10 was basically a Mk VI Hillman Minx with its 1265 cc side-valve motor, and column shift manual gearbox. These were assembled from Knock-down kits. The Isuzu Hillman Minx was sold through the Japanese Yamato Motor Company. Isuzu followed the annual updates Rootes introduced on the Phase Minx and in the early years their brochures seem based on the contemporary Rootes advertising.

By 1957 Isuzu has reached 100% local content of all the vehicles they built.

The Audax Series Minx arrived in 1956 and was released as the PH100 by Isuzu. In 1958 Isuzu introduced a new model, the “Super Deluxe” which was sold alongside a cheaper but more basic “Standard” model . Later in 1958 the range was face-lifted to resemble the Series II Hillman Minx and rated to carry six passengers rather than  five.

In October 1959 the Isuzu Minx was face-lifted to resemble the UK Series III Hillman Minx and fitted with the new 1494cc engine. model designation PH300).  They were face-lifted again in October 1960 (model PH 400) to resemble the Minx Series IIIa – except that the Japanese models retained the smaller windscreen from the earlier Minx. There were further minor revisions in October 1961 and October 1962 and Isuzu phased out the Hillman Minx in June 1964, at which time 57,729 Isuzu Hillmans had been made, replacing it with the Isuzu Bellet.

The Tomica model featured in this posting is based upon the final  Super Deluxe model. These were better equipped than their UK Minx counterparts featuring items only seen on the Minx derivatives like the Gazelle and Rapier in the UK. This included extra instruments such as an ammeter, oil pressure gauge, clock and a radio as standard. A lockable glovebox was added and features like handbrake warning light and reversing lights which would not be seen on the UK Hillman Minx even as options.

LV-25 Tomica Limited Vintage Isuzu Hillman Minx

This model has been released in four editions so far.

  • LV-25a – Red upper and white lower with red and white upholstery (Shown)
  • LV25b – White upper and blue lower with blue and white upholstery (Shown)
  • LV25c – White upper and green lower with blue and white upholstery (Not Shown)
  • LV25d – Black with blue and white interior (Shown)

This model is made to 1:64 scale and is beautifully detailed and constructed. The detail and quality is better than many 1:43 models and it is better than the Corgi 1:43 model of the Series III Minx in some respects despite its diminutive size.

The grille and wheels are lovely items and all the badging is printed very well even though it needs a magnifying glass to properly appreciate it. The rear lights and chrome are all printed but are very neatly done.

Inside not only are their duotone seats but the instruments are picked out on the dashboard and a white steering wheel is included.

Sadly none of the Austins made by Nissan have yet featured in the Limited Vintage range as they would make nice models too.


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Ten Model Car Brands With Unusual Histories

By Ron Ruelle

Ron is Social Media Guy, Catalog Editor, and Collectibles Expert at hobbyDB, a database and marketplace for collectibles, and originally published this article at the lamleygroup blog and then on the hobbyDB blog. Therefore, the titles link to items at hobbyDB.  Click on the photos for larger images.

Anyone who’s collected model cars for any amount of time has become acquainted with the major diecast brands as well as some of the small-market, niche-oriented companies. There are a lot of older brands that have gone by the wayside, or have been bought and sold so many times you aren’t sure who they are anymore. Here are a few diecast oddities to add to your collection.  Some are older, some newer, but they are listed in random order.


Jet Wheels/AMT Pups

lamleyjetwheels

lamleyamtpup

Jet Wheels was a company that made realistically proportioned 1:65 scale models with working suspension and opening hoods or other features. The earliest cars from the late 1960s were in fact made by AMT, (they called the series “Pups”) who then sold the business and the molds to Mego. The original range of 8 American street cars was augmented by a series of Formula 1 cars as well as some garage and track accessories. Some of these were later released under the Tuffy and Super Speedy names, but they eventually faded into history…

lamleyfast111s2
Kenner’s foray into 1:64 scale diecast only lasted a few years in the late 1970s, but they made some interesting cars. Some of them were souped-up models of production cars, while others were far-out fantasy rides. What tied them all together was the rear bumpers, which stuck out and angled upward so you could read the license plate. Each of these cars represented a different state, so the plates were kind of a big deal. The packaging also had a neat feature, a transferable “title” that was to filled out by the kid who bought it and then filled out again if it was traded or sold. Clean copies without writing on the back are somewhat rare these days.

lamleyminimack
This range of toys included a variety of construction equipment such as dump trucks, loaders, and tractors, not all of the Mack brand vehicles. This was one of several brands available from Zee Toys in the late 1970s. Detail is surprisingly vague, as they appear to be direct, unauthorized knockoffs of Matchbox cars from a few years earlier. With different wheels and the wording removed from the base, they just seem a bit “cheaper” than the originals.

lamleyzylmex
Here’s another brand from Zee Toys, one that tried a little harder than Mini Macks. Detail is again pretty basic, especially the interiors, but at least they were trying by creating their own original molds. And they even made a model of the George Barris SuperVan, so that has to count for something, right?
lamleyzylmex2

lamleytoughwheels
This was a brand of inexpensive, crudely detailed cars perfect for letting your kids play with in the sandbox. In a strange twist, instead of these cars being based on another well-known brand, the molds served as the basis for a revival of another popular brand. In the early 1980s, as Dinky was headed for bankruptcy, Kidco rebadged some of these cars under the Dinky name, a sad step down in quality. Despite the crude detail, Tough Wheels managed to score a few licensed properties such as M*A*S*H vehicles.

 lamleyburninkeys

Then there were the Burnin’ Key Cars, a subset of Tough Wheels. These came with a very cool feature: a spring-wound motor that was activated by a slightly out of scale key. As with the Tough Wheels brand, they managed to finagle licensing deals with some popular TV shows, including Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider. For several years, the Burnin’ Wheels name lived on as a Matchbox brand and then again as part of Maisto. Each change of ownership brought vastly improved designs and packaging.


lamleydoepke
You may not recognize the name, but if you’re of a certain age, you should know their cars… Doepke started off as a family company in 1946 making mostly construction and fire vehicles. The owner’s mother suggested that they not make military vehicles (it was just after the war) and to make more peaceful toys.  They also created some very large scale kits, about 1:12 scale, of a Jaguar XK120 and an MG TD… [ED: Here is a great website with lots of Doepke info and photos.]

The bodies are made of thick diecast metal, while other parts were white metal, plastic or stamped steel. Both cars featured working steering and suspension. The MG was branded as the “MT” so they may not have had the rights to produce that particular model. While only available for a few years, these kits were huge sellers at the time.


lamleyfresh
Hard to say if these models were meant as a sincere tribute or something of an ironic joke. This division of Motor Max made models of Pintos, Gremlins, LeBaron wagons and such… not exactly the keys to real-life excitement. On the other hand, it’s been hard to find models of these cars if you did want them, and Fresh Cherries cars were nicely detailed with delicate luggage racks and other bits. They came in several scales including 1:24, 1:64 and 1:87, all in high quality packaging. They even did 1:16 radio controlled versions of some of these cars, and you have to admit that’s beyond awesome.

lamleygrell
It’s understandable if you don’t recognize this brand… This Eastern European company made mostly promotional models of Trabants and Wartburgs and Moskviches that were given away not in cereal boxes, but in cases of beer! In fact, only a few of their models represented common Western European marques like Volkswagen or Jaguar. Some of their packaging evokes a strong Cold War era image, something you don’t see every day at any scale.

scuttle_bug_model_cars_7fb1b569-59fb-4867-a02e-579fd7bf7ce2
Wait, Hallmark? Like the card company? Yep! In the early 1970s, Hallmark introduced a series of overtly cartoony cars called Road Rovers, which looked almost like balloon creations. They were roughly the size of 1:64 scale cars, but because they are so oddly proportioned, scale is irrelevant here. The early cars were all metal and represented familiar vehicle types such as fire trucks or Volkswagen Beetles. After a decade hiatus, the brand was revived in the mid 1980s with plastic bases. The new line included reinterpretations of several of the originals plus designs that transformed objects such as vacuum cleaners or piggy banks into cars.
rosey_racer_model_cars_65dd98aa-0d9e-47cd-8fd0-07edb43e5a4a

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1:64 Americana from Auto World and M2

By Maz Woolley

 

The US 1:64 scale market may be dominated by Mattel Hot Wheels but collectors of classic US post war vehicles were more likely to collect models from Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions for their greater realism and fidelity, though even they were not very realistic in some ways, the very over-scale tyre widths for example. Firms like M2, Greenlight, and Auto World have entered in to the market with models clearly aimed at more discerning collectors whilst Johnny Lightning failed under Tomy ownership and ended up being taken on by Round 2 the owners of Auto World.

This article looks at one M2 model from the AutoThentics release 35 and three models from Premium Release 4 from Auto World. In both cases the manufacturer seems to release models in groups of six in sets and then waits for a while before making them available as single models. In the case of M2 there only seems to be one or two new casting variants in each release whilst Auto World usually run to about three.  M2 just release a single set at a time of six cars but Auto World release two different sets at a time with the same six models but in different colours.  None of these models are available easily or consistently here in the UK and I have to thank a fellow North American collector for obtaining them for me.

M2 Release 35

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Chevrolet 210 Beauville Station Wagon 1957

There have been a lot of 1957 Chevy’s made in a variety of scales, but few Station Wagons. Here is one from M2 of the Beauville which was positioned under the Nomad in the range and which was a nine seater with the Townsman being the 6 seater. As shown on the M2 the Beauville was trimmed and finished to a high standard.

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Whilst this model is pretty good there are a few features that I find spoil it rather. The first is the opening doors which are not only a terrible fit but also do not close properly on one side either. The second is the wheels. All the web pictures I can find shows the car with slightly wider white walls than those on the model but this is a much smaller issue than that door and they are otherwise very well modelled. Perhaps they are as fitted to a preserved car.

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On the plus side all the printing is very neatly done down to Chevrolet scripts an logos. All the lights are neatly modelled and the grille is excellent though a lack wash would make it even better. And of course it is a four door Station Wagon and not yet another Bel-Air Coupe.

M2 have used this casting again in Release 39. This time it is in the bottom of the range Chevrolet 150 Handyman with its basic paint and trim replicated well and a complete absence of white walls on the tyres which is entirely correct.

Auto World Premium Release 4 A

This version of the release includes the following vehicles but only the first three are new castings the others are previous castings in new colours/versions.

1963 Dodge Polara (Blue)
1964 Plymouth Barracuda (Red)
1964 Pontiac Grand Prix (Gulfstream Aqua)
2015 Ford Mustang GT (Guard)
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A (Pink with Black Graphics)
1975 Pontiac Firebird T/A (Silver)

 

1963 Dodge Polara 

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For 1963 the wheelbase was longer and the front end was re-styled. Dodge has downsized this premium range in the expectation that its competitors would do the same but they continued with full size cars for 1963. This did nothing for the sales of the Polara which did not start to increase until the front and rear re-styling of the 1964 car.

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The model is excellent with nice thin paint and a clean and crisp casting. As only the bonnet opens it has lovely panel lines all round. The black washed grille and the white rear panel are first class in this scale and I really like the white finish to the light lenses it works well. I am not sure that the wheels are 100% right but web searches show similar ones though with white walls in a slightly different place. It would seem from the pictures on the Internet that few Polaras are running on stock wheels now

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1964 Plymouth Barracuda

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This model was announced some time ago and has taken a long time to produce. After its announcement Auto World had issues with their contract caster in China and may even have replaced them for Release 4. The vehicle has seldom been modelled and my affection for it comes in no small part from the influence it obviously had on the design of the last series of Sunbeam Rapiers here in the UK.

The Plymouth Barracuda was based on Valiant underpinnings and was one of the new breed of smaller “life-style” coupes designed to appeal to those who didn’t want or need a full size sedan but wanted something with style and  performance and more space than an out and out sports car. The car could be bought with engines from a 2.8 litre six cylinder up to a 4.5 litre V-eight.

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This model is another beauty. The red paint is excellent an all the printing well done. The rear lights though printed are very fine. That distinctive front end is well modelled and the printed grille and badging is excellent in such a small scale.  All in all the model is very satisfying to look at.

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It is great to have a model of this car to add to the more popular Pony Cars of the period with which it competed.


 

1964 Pontiac Grand Prix

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Whereas the previous two models were of less widely modelled cars the Pontiac GP has been modelled very widely. But the new Auto World casting is a really good one capturing the shape very well.

The Grand Prix was based upon the mid-sized Catalina but trimmed to the level of a the full size Bonneville. The 1964 car had only a few minor changes from the 1963 car and was fitted with engines ranging in size from six to seven litres. A long list of options were available for the car.

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Again this is an impressive 1:64 scale model with excellent thin and even paint. The printed badging is tiny but all very neatly done. And the front and rear ends are well modelled with the lights again finished in white at the front.  The printed chrome trim is very neatly applied as well making this another excellent model.

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Again I am not convinced by the positioning of the white stripe on the sidewalls but otherwise the wheels are nice and like all the others the rubber tyres are well made and not over wide.


Some of the Auto World castings now seem to be appearing in the revived Johnny Lightning range as well.


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News from the Continent – Schuco August/September 2016

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

 

These are releases which Schuco intended to release in August  and September 2016. The models are made in China for Germany to various scales. The photographs are from the manufacturer.

Classic Range

18777-schuco-450177300

450177300 Micro Racer “Volkswagen Beetle – Herbie #53” self-assembly


Piccolo Range

18778-schuco-450557000

450557000 Volkswagen T1b double-cabin pick up with canvas cover


18779-schuco-450573500

450573500 Mercedes-Benz SSKL


Edition 1:43

18780-schuco-450274800

450274800 Mercedes-Benz O 6600 Bus “Wanderfreund” with driver figure


Edition 1:18

 

18781-schuco-450033800

18782-schuco-450033800_01

450033800 Porsche 934 RSR “Brumos” #61 – Daytona  24 hours

Drivers P. Gregg/J. Busby


Edition 1:10

 

18783-schuco-450662800

450662800 NSU Quickly with driver figure


Edition 1:64

 

18784-schuco-452013100

452013100 Volkswagen Golf GTI – red


18785-schuco-452013400

452013400 Land Rover defender – white


18786-schuco-452013700

452013700 Porsche Macan Turbo – blue


18787-schuco-452013800

452013800 Volkswagen T3 Westfalia Camper with flat roof – yellow


18788-schuco-452013900

452013900 Volkswagen T3 Bus – green


18789-schuco-452014000

452014000 Mercedes-Benz /8 saloon – black


Aviation 1:600 Range

 

18790-schuco-403551668

403551668 Airbus A330-300 “Turkish Airlines”


18791-schuco-403551665

403551665 Airbus A350-900 “Reg. F-WZFC”


18792-schuco-403551661

403551661 Boeing B787-800 “British Airways”


18793-schuco-403551674

403551674 Airbus A380-800 “Lufthansa”


September 2016

Classic Range

 

18794-schuco-450177400

450177400 Micro Racer “Porsche 356” Self-assembly


Piccolo

18795-schuco-450948100

450948100 Pop Art Edition “Mercedes 1936” Art-print


Edition PRO.R43

 

18796-schuco-450895000

450895000 coffee plantation tractor


Edition :18

 

18797-schuco-450031100

450031100 Porsche 356 A Cabriolet – blue


18798-schuco-450039400_00 18799-schuco-450039400_10

450039400 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS – Sappire blue metallic


18800-schuco-450040000_00 18801-schuco-450040000_10

450040000 Porsche Cayman GT4 – racing yellow


18802-schuco-450040100_00 18803-schuco-450040100_10

450040100 Porsche Cayman GT4 – black metallic


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M2 Titanium release

By Robin Godwin

 

M2 Chevy Pickup TitaniumM2 1958 Chevy pickup truck

The picture above shows of one the models from a series of six “Titanium” models made by M2 specifically for Wal Mart (WMTS06).   These models are diecast in China to 1:64 scale for M2 of the USA. The series also includes:

1970 Ford F-100 Custom 4 x 4

1971 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi

1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 W-30

1949 Mercury Custom

1968 Shelby GT500 KR

Whilst the colours are totally unauthentic it looks much better than the silver colour used for series like this by Corgi, Ixo and others.


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Alfa Romeo – Back to the US with the 4C!

by Karl Schnelle

 

4C 3 times

3 of the 4C’s Described Below

Post-war Alfas were sold in the US for many years up to 1995 when they stopped importing the 164.   Then,  in the 2000’s, rumors started about their return to the US market.  Every year it seemed it was the same story:  next year Alfa will be back ran the headlines!

In 2008 finally the low volume, high cost 8C was imported in very low numbers.  I have never seen one so far!  But the real return happened in 2014 with the US launch of the more ‘affordable’ 4C. Then the Spider was launched as a 2015 model in the US.

If you backup a few years, the 4C Concept was introduced at the Geneva and then Frankfurt auto shows in 2011.   I saw it first at the Chicago auto show in 2015, and by then, both production versions were shown.

4C

The Spider was shown in bright yellow (Giallo Prototipo) to contrast the Alfa red coupe!4C Spider

 

The Models

After the European introduction in 2013, the scale models and toys have trickled out from various manufacturers.   Starting with the big boys, AUTOart makes them in six colors in 1:18 scale.  At more than twice the price, BBR has both the coupe and Spider in multiple colors.   They also have the coupe in red or white in 1:43 scale.  More my size, but not my budget!

With other  1:43 resin makers at half the price, I can not justify a BBR at this time.  So the following are now in my collection!  First up was the Spark coupe in red.

Spark 4C

If you can see the detail, the Spark is a model of the original concept car with exposed projector beam headlights and a different side vents.

More recently, TSM introduced their Spider version. Their website labels it a 2014 concept but the box says 2015 concept and the base says 2014!  So I am very confused (not too unusual!)…

TSM 4C

But they are great models and nice to compare.   Both come in an outer box and inner clear plastic display case.  The  red Spark has the projector beam headlights of the concept car.  The wheels and mirrors are also different on the two 1:43 cars.  The edges of the Spider’s grill seems to be less defined when you examine it closely.  Overall, they are both great models of this new Alfa.

Going down in size is the 1:55 scale SIKU, which is really more of a toy but very nicely done.  SIKU does weird scales but are very nice toys, I think.

Siku Alfa 4C

And finally, the small 1:64 scale 4C from Matchbox:  another fine toy Alfa.  The overall shape represents the real car very well, but those generic wheels do bother me a little.  Much less detail than the others is present, but at this scale it still looks very nice.

4C Matchbox

If you’ve seen other models of the 4C or would like to comment, let us know on FaceBook!