Category Archives: Chevrolet

A Brazilian in Australian V8 Supercars

By Sergio Luis dos Santos

I live in Brazil and collect 1:43 scale cars from Brazilian drivers but no “open wheels” like Formula 1 or Indy cars. This makes my collection very specialized and keeps me on the hunt for hard-to-find and special editions, as well as some modified models.

As for the Australian V8 Supercars, Max Wilson raced there from 2002 to 08;  some info his career is here: https://www.driverdb.com/drivers/max-wilson/. Unfortunately,  only the cars from 2002, 03 and 04 seasons were released by Biante. They are also found in 1:64 and 1:18 scale. They are hard to find outside Australia so my search went through Australian eBay and some local shops that would ship the models to Brasil.

The Biante cars are:
  1. Ford AU Falcon Nº 65, 2002 season. Model nº 286 of 2000 released.
  2. Ford BA Falcon Nº 18, 2003 season. Model nº 193 of 2000 released.
  3. Ford BA Falcon Nº 888, 2004 season. Model nº 242 of 1000 released.

The models are very finely done (good details and tampo printing) but were manufactured years ago.  Looking at Biante’s current offerings, they may look even better.  Since there are no more Brazilian drivers racing them, I haven´t bought any of the newer releases.  Maybe one day Biante will release the other Max Wilson cars so I could fill in the gap years: 2005 to 08.

To show some further models, here are two more cars raced by Max Wilson in Brasil.
  1. Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI Nº 19. He raced at Interlagos, São Paulo, in the ITC Championship in 1996.  An easy mod using an HPI model.
  2. Chevrolet Sonic Nº 65 from the Brazilian Stock Car partworks. He raced this car in the 2016 season.

I hope you enjoy these photos!

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News from the Continent September 2018 – Busch

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text by, and copyright of, the Author. Photographs provided by the manufacturer.

Here are the new releases from Busch for September. All are moulded in plastic to 1:87 scale.

Combine harvester Progress E514

The successor of the type E512 was in a number of points improved self-driving harvesting machine for threshing cereals, oilfruits and pulses.Production started in 1982. In the former DDR, the vehicle was also used for harvesting maize and sunflowers.

40174 Combine harvester Progress 514 with maize picker – blue
40175 Combine harvester Progress 514 with maize picker – green

 

41710 Pontiac Firebird TransAm – red

 

45001 Chevrolet Bel Air – Flames

Car2go:

The concept: Smart forTwo cars parked around the City which can be hired like the bicycle schemes in many cities.

46135-01 Smart Fortwo 07 Car2go – free tanker
46135-02 Smart Fortwo 07 Car2go – Local patriot
46135-03 Smart Fortwo 07 Car2go – Rhineland Express

 

46656 Plymouth Fury “Tennessee State Trooper

 

47365 Citroen Jumper “French Gendarmerie”

 

47524 Ford Mustang Cabriolet with soft top – yellow

 

49820 Mercedes-Benz M-Class W164 “Emergency Doctor – Herford”

 

50362 Land Rover Defender “British Airport”

 

51127 Mercedes-Benz Vito “Patrol car of the German Autobahn Police”

 

51128 Mercedes-Benz Vito “Portugesian Taxi”

 

51167 Mercedes-Benz V-Class “Politi (Norwegian Police)”

Barkas Collection latest releases

Eight differently coloured and liveried Barkas V901/2 half-bus or box van have been produced as a mini-series.

51292 Barkas Halfbus V901/2 No. 7 “BVF Carburettor Factory of Berlin”

51293 Barkas Halfbus V901/2 No. 8 “KfZ Werke Ernst Grube Werdau”

 

51508 IFA G5 1959 “NVA loaded with convoy-way plates”

The 6×6 truck loaded with typical pre-manufactured concrete pieces for the reinforcement of the paths along the German/German border.

51509 IFA G5 1960 “NVA with crane and loaded with boundary posts”

51605 Robur LO 1800A “Measuring vehicle for tractor tests”

EsPeWe Models 1:87 Scale

 

95234 IFA W50 LA/A “Sea rescue service”

95236 IFA W50 LA/A “Fire brigade”

Busch Aircraft models

 

25018 Messerschmitt Bf 109 G6 Hungary

The Me 109 G6 aircraft from 1944 is painted in the colours of the 101st fighter group, also known as the Puma Group. The group was created under the command of wing commander Aladar Heppes for the Royal Hungarian Airforce. Approximately 760 aircraft fought with the Luftwaffe against the Red Army along the Eastern Front during the Second World War.


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News from the Continent September 2018 – Wiking

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Text and some photos by, and copyright of the Author. Other Photographs are from the Manufacturer.

Planned Releases

Here are the Wiking Releases for October 2018. As ever this is a mix of new items and re-colours and upgrades which will be shown separately. Wiking models are made in plastic and in the EU for Germany unless otherwise stated.

New Releases

All photographs in this section provided by Wiking.

Latest Wiking Publication

0006 25 Wiking magazine 2018

1:87 Scale

0433 07 Mercedes-Benz LP 2223 high-sided flatbed truck with loading crane

 

0661 49 Krupp Ardelt crawler crane

 

0206 01 Alfa Romeo Spider

 

0183 05 BMW 2002 Police car

 

0227 08 Mercedes-Benz E-class S213 estate “Taxi”

 

0601 31 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U20 with loading crane “Fire Brigade”

 

0645 03 Magirus dump truck

 

0620 02 Magirus S 3500 turntable ladder “fire brigade”

 

0672 05 MAN TGX Euro 6c Meiller roll on-roll off dump truck

1:160 Scale

 

0949 04 Magirus flat bed truck “German Red Cross”

Model Upgrades

1:160 Scale

 

0953 04 Hanomag R16 with trailer

 

1:87 Scale

 

0877 05 Fahr tractor

 

0844 37 Hanomag K55 crawler tractor

 

0802 08 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

 

0071 49 Opel Rekord P2 1961 Caravan estate car

 

0149 25 Mercedes-Benz 250 T-model (estate) “Taxi”

 

0789 05 Volkswagen Transporter T1b pick up with crew cab

 

0521 02 Chevrolet articulated Box truck loaded with furniture

 

0382 38 Joskin vacuum barrel trailer

 

0806 98 Henschel HS 14/16 articulated Tanker

 

0518 45 Mercedes-Benz 1620 articulated Stanchion trailer truck

Then and Now

All photographs in this section by the Author.

In the last set of upgraded models there were some interesting ones which were first issued in the 1960s.  I have the original models in my collection and so I took the opportunity to do a comparison between the original release and the current one. It also unearthed some interesting background history. All models are to 1:87 scale.

0797 33 Volkswagen T1c 1963

Camping vans were an early use of the Microbus.  Westfalia was the most popular manufacturer, and they converted the buses into “campmobiles”, many of which were exported to the United States of America. The latest release shows up to the minute details like printed curtains and a roof rack. The accurate model has the US specification vehicle with the second bumper at the front. It is a 1963 model with a widened tailgate.

Also shown are older Microbus models released by Wiking.


 

0368 02 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U401

A former Daimler-Benz aero-engine engineer developed this vehicle after the end of the Second World War. He named it “Universalmotorgerät”, in short UNIMOG. In 1948 the U 411 was shown to the public. Limited production capacity led to production being moved from the Boehringer company to Mercedes-Benz in Gaggenau.

From Autumn 1953 onwards the Unimog was available with a closed driver’s cabin, which was made by Westfalia during the earlier years. The first miniature of this type was launched by Wiking in 1956 when their range was still not glazed.

The new model is based upon the same real vehicle and the difference between the models shows the huge progress in quality and detail mould making has undergone in the last 60 or so years. The new miniature is highly detailed, some parts are moulded separately and then inserted like the radiator grille. Looking through the windows on the new model the interior can be seen. The wheels are fitted with realistic tyres with different rims front and rear. Finally the printed “UNIMOG” badging is clearly readable.


0513 22 Saviem artic. Box truck “Kronenbourg Beer”

Created when MAN and Saviem cooperated in the 1960s, when a common cabin was used for both manufacturers tractor units. It was quite easy for Wiking to create a Saviem tractor for this articulated French beer truck. Kronenbourg SAS is the biggest French brewery. It was formerly located in the Cronenbourg area of Strasbourg. In 2001 they moved to Obernai, a small Alsatian town. In a rural area there was much more space for economic expansion.  Kronenbourg has a beer market share in France of 30 %. The consolidation of the brewing industry means that today Kronenbourg is a subsidiary company of Carlsberg.

In the 1950s and 1960s different model trucks were issued in Kronenbourg like the JRD truck with a Berliet tractor shown in the photograph above.


 

0526 02 Volvo F89 articulated container truck 20´ “ASG”

In 1935 AB Svenska Godsbilcentraler was founded as a transport company. In 1978 it was re-named ASG. In 1999 the Swiss company DANZAS bought ASG and was itself bought by the German Post/DHL. ASG model trucks have long featured in the Wiking model range. So the new model of the Volvo F89 tractor with an articulated trailer carrying a 20′ container is a ‘new pearl in the string of pearls’. The model is shown above with a Scania 110 drawbar which would have operated in the ASG fleet at the same time.


 

0794 34 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 “Herbie”

In the small scale of 1:87 there was no model of Herbie available. Wiking has now released the movie star on four wheels with authentic decoration and open sun roof. However, they have made the same mistake that Tekno did many years ago Tekno in their 1:43 model. The original movie-Herbie was fitted with double-bumpers, which were developed especially for the USA, but it could be ordered as option also in Europe. Mattel/Elite fitted their models of Herbie in both scales 1:43 and 1:18 with the correct bumpers and with correct decorations but Wiking and Tekno did not.


 

0861 44 Mercedes-Benz 180 saloon “Fire Chief”

The 180 saloon is a re-issue of an old mould, which has been changed over the years. The latest release now looks like a mixture of different versions.  The front doors have no vent windows like the first 180, which was manufactured between 1953 and 1957 and the rear bumper is also fitted with overriders from this time. The front end is closer to version 180b, which was manufactured between 1959 and 1962, with a widened radiator grille and bumper without overriders


 

0100 04 Land Rover

In 1962 the Land Rover 99 appeared in a civilian version, most were moulded in green and came with or without a driver, and with canvas cover or without. A few years ago, it was issued in a range of Army vehicles, which were used in Berlin. Now it has been released moulded in the dark blue livery of the Royal Air Force, authentic logo has been printed with the blue-white-red national emblem. It also now has the spare wheel at the bonnet.


 

0279 01 Borgward mobile shop “MIGROS”

The mobile shop with movable blinds revealing a fully equipped sales room first appeared in the Wiking range in 1963. It was  moulded in white or light blue. The cab front showed a moulded radiator grille, but lacked the Borgward emblem, indeed the company was already bankrupt at this time. Now it has been re-issued with same features, but the old radiator grille was removed and the flat surface printed with a radiator grille with the Borgward emblem, the rhombus. The new model was is moulded in the colour of the Swiss company MIGROS and carries their livery on this mobile shop.


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Goldvarg September 2018

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Photographs have all been provided by the Manufacturer.

It is amazing to think that Sergio Goldvarg only returned to producing 1:43 scale models just over a year ago. Since then licences have been obtained from Ford and General Motors and once the first cars were released a steady stream of new ones has been announced. The cars are resin moulded to 1:43 scale and finished in China to Sergio’s specification. Lots of attention is paid to having pre-production tryouts made and shown to knowledgeable collectors to help get them absolutely right before production. These pre-production samples also help Sergio to get a good idea of the colours that will sell strongly and builds up a direct relation between the maker and the collectors.

Most of the releases to date have sold out at Goldvarg Collectibles, though some can still be found on the inventories of retail sellers. What is also amazing is that the US price of some of the cars to pre-order today are still at the bargain $99 launch price, and even a few that are not are only $109. This seems to be a bargain price at a time when prices from  European companies like Matrix and Brooklin have increased very significantly over the same period and other competitors are much dearer anyway.

So lets look at some of the models announced but not yet shipped.

1961 PONTIAC CATALINA Twilight Mist

 

The 1961 Catalina sold for less than a Chevrolet Impala yet was fitted with a better automatic box and was kitted out to the standards of a Oldsmobile and was cheaper than that too. The new squarer, straight through, wing styling front and back heralded the start of the much more conservative styling of the early 1960s.

The Goldvarg model captures the complex curves and pressed surfaces very well.

GC-007 B 1970 FORD Galaxie Caramel Bronze

The 1970 Ford Galaxie was a full-sized car. The name was used for the top models in Ford’s full-size range competing with the Chevrolet Impala. Here the Goldvarg model has captured the typical early 1970s shape well and the intricately finished rear chrome panel and badging are worthy of note.

This car is also to be available in metallic silver with a black vinyl roof.

GC-008 A 1965 MERCURY PARK LANE MARAUDER Ocean Turquoise

 

In 1965 the chassis of full-size Ford and Mercury cars was redesigned and the Mercury line was given much flatter sides. a much more slab-sided appearance. Europeans will see the influence of the front end on both the German Ford Taunus 17M and the British Mark III Cortina.

The Goldvarg model again has very fine grille work as well as badging. The car is also available in a nice metallic gold finish.

GC-009 A 1969 FORD TORINO Calypso coral

 

The Ford Torino modelled by Goldvarg is an early car from the second year of production. It is nice to see an earlier Torino as the Starsky and Hutch car has meant that most Torinos produced have been 1973 cars. The Torino filled the mid-range segment and was named after the Italian city of Turin, perhaps to add some suggestion of Italian style to what was only a Ford Fairlane in disguise.

The Goldvarg model looks good even in this early pre-production form with the wheels still not ready to show. The front grille seems to be very neatly replicated and the badging too.It is also to be available in a yellow which is undoubtedly period correct but much less attractive to my eye.

GC010 A 1963 FORD FALCON SPRINT Rangoon Red

 

The Falcon was the small platform in the Ford line up from 1961 onwards. By 1963, there were two and four door sedans, convertibles, wagons and hardtops. In mid-year a V8 was offered for the first time in the Sprint line only. The Sprint acted as a test bed for the soon to be launched Ford Mustang which may have looked very different but was pure Falcon underneath!

The pre-production model has a few parts that are not yet finely finished as I expect that they will be when the model is launched. But  it captures the lights and grille very well as well as side spear and badging.

This model will also be available in Polar White.

1963 Chevy Nova Laurel Green

 

The Chevrolet Chevy II/Nova was the smallest platform for Chevrolet cars and went through five generations after being introduced in 1962. Its influence on GMs former European Opel division is clear to see. Powered by four or six cylinder engines the Chevy II/Nova started out intending to be a thrifty purchase but as time went on more expensive variants rapidly emerged. By 1963 the Nova option for the Chevy II was available in a convertible body style, and a two-door hardtop was available from 1962 to 1965. All Chevy two-door hardtops in the range were marketed as the Sport Coupe .For 1963, the Chevy II Nova Super Sport was released and it featured special emblems, an instrument package, wheel covers, special side mouldings, bucket seats, and floor gear change.

The Goldvarg is still at the prototype phase but  seems to me to capture the original car exceptionally well with excellent fine detailing to finish the relatively simple shape of the car well.

1956 MERCURY MONTEREY Station Wagon

 

The Marquis-Monterey range had a longer wheelbase and longer body than the Ford LTD, Ford Galaxie, and Ford Custom. The 1956 model had a new engine, the 235 hp (175 kW) 312 cu. in. This year, along with the rest of Ford, Mercury cars started to sport the ‘Lifeguard’ safety equipment. The deep-dish steering wheel and safety door locks were standard.

Here the Goldvarg is in very early prototype form and we can expect to see more prototypes as the details are developed and the colours are tested. Here we can see that the shape seems well developed and the side mouldings are being readied for the woodie treatment.

1962 Buick Electra

 

The Buick Electra was a full-size luxury car included in the Buick range from 1959 to 1990.  Famed for its extreme rear wings when first introduced it was offered in many forms over the years and here it is in two door coupe form.  The 1962 model had four VentiPorts per front wing and was restyled from 1961 version. The car was fitted with many luxury fitments as standard but came with a lot of options too.

Again this is an early prototype but it clearly has the correct shape and stance and we can look forward to seeing more developed prototypes in the near future.

1964 Pontiac Grand Prix

 

The 1962-1964 Pontiac Grand Prix achieved strong sales for General Motors during its run,  It set to win over the buyers of Ford Thunderbirds, amongst others. Based on the Catalina hardtop coupe it had unique styling touches and was fitted with T-Bird style bucket seats and a large central console. The name, Grand Prix, was used to add associations to speed and daring. The car could be fitted out with one of five versions of Pontiac’s superb Trophy 389 V-8, from a 230-horsepower economy special to a high-compression Tri-Power version (three two-barrel carburetors) with 348 hp. This, and its lower weight, made the GP faster than the T-Bird. A three-speed manual gearbox was standard, but most GPs were ordered with the new “Roto” Hydra-Matic, a new three-speed torque-converter box. An alternative option taken by enthusiasts was a four-speed manual floorshift.

Again the Goldvarg is in its early stages and much fine detail is yet to be added. The shape appears to be caught very well which is important as the GP is a relatively plain car with limited chrome adornments.

Our look at what is on the way from Goldvarg ends here but I am sure that there are yet other drawings, and work in hand, on yet more models. The current trend for Goldvarg to produce cars from the 1960s seems to be popular with many collectors as there are a lot of cars from that era yet to be modelled well. If you are interested in Goldvarg models their website is https://www.goldvargcollection.com/


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Matchbox Camaro in 1:43!

By Frank Koh

Believe it or not, this exquisite 1:43 scale 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport is a Matchbox product, specifically from the Matchbox Collectibles line from 18 years ago.

The Matchbox Collectibles 1968 Camaros were 1/43 scale miniatures of the ultra-desirable RS/SS cars. The Super Sport (SS) package was a performance option group which offered a choice of a 350 cubic inch Small Block V8 or a 396 cubic inch Big Block V8, plus performance-oriented suspension components.

The Rally Sport (RS) package was an appearance and luxury option group with special trim, upscale interior appointments, an all-red tail light and separate, under-the-bumper reverse light setup, and those famous hidden headlights. When a first generation Camaro had both RS and SS packages, it was the SS emblems that were used on the car.

Those faux hood louvers that looked like a quartet of square velocity stacks per side were exclusive to the 1968 Camaro SS equipped with the Big Block V8s, and all 1969 Camaro SS variants. For model year 1968, the hood louver trim on the Small Block 350 cubic inch V8 SS Camaros were different: they featured multiple lengthwise vents / vanes that were earlier used on all 1967 Camaro SS models.

A Vinyl Top, Hockey Stick Stripes and Rallye Rims were popular options on well-equipped first generation Camaros!

This exact same Camaro casting was shared with the Hot Wheels Classics series from that era, but because of the use of the signature Hot Wheels chrome-like “Spectraflame” colors, the Matchbox cars were a lot more realistic.  Several bright blue Hot Wheels versions are available online, even now nearly 20 years later…

Once upon a time, Matchbox and Hot Wheels were fierce competitors. For more than two decades now, however, both brands have Mattel as their mother company; hence they could be considered “complimentary” to each other. Such is the way of the corporate world. The baseplate says it all: this is a Matchbox model made by Mattel from 2000.


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Models 56 by Armco and a Load of Cobras:  Part 1                                                 

By Mick Haven

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

Graeme Ogg’s recent article in MAR Online about his Ford Falcon Landau by Ace Models, and Falcon Cobras interested me, as I have a passion for Australian models. For quite some time now I’ve had seven models from a small Aussie company called Models 56 by Armco. Made in resin, they are Frank Gardner’s Boss Mustang 302 and Chevy Corvair, Jim Richard’s Sidchrome Boss Mustang 351, another Corvair, albeit the same car as above but as raced by Allan Grice, a 1967 Mustang GTA and a 1972 Falcon XYGT-HO, both raced by Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan, and a Falcon Landau.

 

I believe that at the time, Models 56 were the only model maker to produce models of these particular cars. Frank Gardner’s Mustang needs little introduction, as it was the ex-Bud Moore Kar Kraft Trans Am car with which he was runner up in the 1970 B.S.C.C. championship. I saw it race on numerous occasions. The Jim Richards car was one which he raced predominantly in the 1973/74 sports sedan championship in both his native New Zealand and Australia. ‘Pete’ Geoghegan raced Mustangs to win the Improved Production class in the 1966 Australian Touring Car Championship, which he would repeat in 1967, ’68 and ’69.

As for the Corvairs, they were hugely successful to put it mildly, so successful in fact they were surrounded by controversy, at least Frank Gardner’s original car was. Having spent a number of very successful years in Europe, including testing the very first Porsche 917, ‘Jack of all Trades’, Frank Gardner, returned home to Australia in 1975 to contest the Sports Sedan Championship. He acquired a Chevy Corvair, built a spaceframe chassis, carried out numerous modifications, wrapped the whole thing with the Corvair body, and installed a 5.0 motor from a Lola Formula 5000 single seater, a formula very popular in the U.K. and Europe in the 1960s and ‘70s. The car was outrageously powerful, so much in fact that other teams started to pay close attention to its legality, some even lodging complaints about it. In its first year it won almost every race, except when it rained. It was so dominant and Gardner so hacked off with the complaints, he offered to start from the back of the grid even if he had claimed pole position, which he did, frequently. He easily won the Sports Sedan Championship in 1977.  He sold the car to Allan Grice who would be champion with it in 1978 and ’79. It’s my understanding that the Corvair may well be inadvertently responsible for the demise of the championship.

The Landau is a model which I have long treasured having in my Aussie collection. The car first saw the light of day in 1973 and was based on the recently introduced XAGT. It was distinguished from the standard XAGT by its vinyl roof and all black full width grille behind which were hidden its foldaway headlamps, similar to those on a Mercury Cougar and the 1970 Ford Torino. The family resemblance between the Torino and XAGT is very evident. The ‘Enemy’ car seen in the ‘Mad Max 2’ film, also looks to have its origins in the Landau, certainly in respect of the grille and vinyl roof. This model is part of the two car set by Auto Art in both 1:43 and 1:18 scales. They also produce a ‘dirty’ version, which can be expensive, if you can find one!

If memory serves me correctly, the Models 56 model was originally offered with either polished ‘five slot’ alloy wheels, like mine, or with full width covers, or those shown on the gold car in Graeme’s pictures. There were various colours, black, with a black vinyl roof, metallic blue and yellow, each with a white roof, and one in a metallic blue/grey with a black roof. At the time I bought the Armco’s, I was receiving regular e mails from founder, John Pisani with updates about their models, many of which sold out very quickly. Communication ceased some while ago and their own web site no longer exists.

There is a web site, www.wixy500.com/production ceases for Armco Models/56, which states that production had ceased, dated May 23rd 2017. I’d bought my models long before that. There is also a picture of many of the models which they had produced. I used to have a brochure but this has long since disappeared. All of their models were superb examples of the type and many were very different from offerings by the ‘major’ Australian model manufacturers. Did anybody else produce a model of Bryan Thompson’s VW 1600 Fastback with its 5 litre Chevy engine, or the late great Peter Brock’s tiny A35 with its huge wing extensions covering very wide racing wheels. There was also a black road going version of this model. All of the above refers to models in 1: 43 scale, many of which sold out very quickly. The cruel irony is that for such a small company with limited resources, they produced superb models, easily as good as anything produced in the northern hemisphere.

For more than fifty years I’ve been an admirer of the Minilite brand of racing wheel. The Geoghegan XYGT-HO and Mustang models have a set of them, as does the Frank Gardner Mustang. The wheels on these models are excellent examples of the famous British race wheel, as are those on the Jim Richards Mustang, which were built ‘in house’ in New Zealand by the car’s builder Murray Nunn, a close pal of Jim Richards.

With the demise of Models 56 I was surprised to see what might ‘appear to be’ the resurrection of some of their moulds under the Ace banner, are these the self same models? I was surprised when what appeared to be former Models 56 models in Graeme’s ‘Ace’ article last year. They have got to be them, haven’t they? Especially bearing in mind that until I saw that article, in all my years of collecting Australian models, I had never heard of Ace Models. All of my Models 56 came direct from Armco. That Models 56 by Armco no longer exists, to me is a great shame.


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Some 2016 Racing Champions.

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by the Author unless otherwise stated.

I recently looked at three Racing Champion Mint models from 2017 but here we go back a year further into the past to the earlier releases by Round 2 after they were licensed to produce this range by Tomy. The same ‘3.25 inch’ fit the box sizing applies as it did with the 2017 models with all the models shown here being pretty much the same length. All were diecast in China for the US.

2016 #3 1949 Buick Riviera

The Riviera first entered the Buick line in 1949, as the designation for the new two-door pillarless hardtop, described in advertising as “stunningly smart”: the Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe. It was also in 1949 that Buick introduced “VentiPorts.” Four were displayed on each of the Roadmaster’s front fenders, with three on the fenders of models with smaller engines.  The Riviera joined the line up in the middle of the year selling 4,314 units.

Featuring power windows as standard equipment, the 2-door Buick Roadmaster Riviera was among the first hardtop coupes produced. The Riviera was also notable for its popular optional “Sweepspear” chrome body side moulding, which would soon become a Buick trademark. The “Riviera trim”, as it was initially called, was also made available on the Roadmaster convertible very late in the model year.

The model captures the rounded lines of the Buicks of the late forties well. Note the excellent flush fit of the windows into the diecast roof.

The interior has moulded dashboard with quite a bit of detail as well as seats but no door card mouldings.

At the front the huge ‘grinning’ grille has been well captured. Above it the printed badge is only visible in detail when the photo is enlarged but it is an impressive tiny multi-colour print. The huge bumper has been perhaps exaggerated a little in size and the small number plate looks very small. The chrome printed objects extend to the fittings in the top of the wing. The chrome printing is a little flat  and could do with being a little shinier.

Like other Racing Champions the front lights have been painted in white which works well here.

To the rear the window fits snugly and printing  represents the multi-part screen well. The boot handle is surrounded by a lovely printed Dynaflow badge and the Dynaflow script is also printed neatly on the rear wings. where the rear lights are moulded in the casting and accurately over-printed high on the wing.  Another slightly heavy and rather dull bumper with a tiny license plate. Two reversing lights are moulded in and highlighted by printing silver on them.

Finally the play components. Only the bonnet opens but this fits well and opens sideways in a realistic way. The engine detail is limited but it is clealry powered by the inline eight rather than the V8 that was to dominate in the 1950s.

2016 #6 1956 Chevy Nomad

The original Nomad was the shortest GM offering with a two door body and an estate car rear it was meant to combine sportiness with practicability and it had gathered much favourable comment when originally show as a styling exercise at Motorama in 1954.  Though it has been widely featured in films, and is certainly regarded as a ‘classic car,’ it did not sell well enough for GM and from 1958 onwards Nomad was just a badge on the larger Chevrolet Impala Station Wagon.

When the Nomad was introduced in 1955 it reflected the new styling across their ranges. Nomads, like Bel Airs, came fitted with interior carpet, chrome spears on the front wings, chrome window mouldings, and full wheel covers. A V8 engine option was offered using a new 4.3 Litre OHV engine. In 1956 Chevrolets received a face-lift. This gave Chevys a more conventional full-width grille as fitted to this model. In 1957 the Nomads was changed again and they were fitted with the same interior and rear-wheel pressings as Bel Airs, lacking the original Nomad’s unique trim.

The model captures the short length and the unique Nomad rear roof section, windows and painted rear section.  The wheels are a reasonable representation of the original wheels even if the tyres are slightly too square shouldered and wide. The Chevy badge and Nomad scripts are printed very finely on the rear wing.

The windows and their chrome fittings along the side, and the front door with its forward facing B pillar, are all well represented.

The interior again is a black plastic moulding with a moulded dash and steering wheel with some detail , seas and floor, and in this case the ribbing of the carrying compartment detailed but again it has no moulding on door cards.

From the front the 56 front end with its full width grille are captured well and there is even a black wash on the grille making it much more convincing. Headlights and sidelights are both painted white which contrasts well with the ‘chrome’ The Chevy badge is printed nicely on the bonnet and the bonnet ornament with its aircraft influences is reproduced neatly.

To the rear the small Nomad script in gold is printed above the chrome strips on the rear half of the rear tailgate. The rear lights are neatly cast in and overprinted chrome and red to give a good effect.

The rear bumper is rather dull and slightly heavy but follows the lines it should.

Again an opeining bonnet is the only play feature on this model. Under it lies an impression of a V8 engine.

2016 #4 1960 Chevy Impala

This is a model from the last year of the second generation Impala.

The Sport Coupe is modelled here which featured a shortened roof line and wrap-over back window. Standard fittings included front and rear armrests, an electric clock, dual sliding sun visors, and crank-operated front vent windows. A contoured hooded instrument panel held deep-set gauges. The 1960 Impala models reinstated three round taillights on each side, and a white band running along the rear fenders.

The side view shows that the casting is quite good, though I feel that the rear window may be slightly oversized.  The side moulding with the rocket age embellisher also bears tiny printed Impala script and an  image of someone waving the chequered flag so small magnification is needed to see it.

The side ‘chrome’ is well printed though the front wing embellishment is  rather over large, the four vents seeming much too obvious perhaps because the black sections are printed a larger than needed.

The wheels and tyres are well done, in spite of the fact that the tyres are too wide, with the white walls matching some seen on real cars for sale in the US.

The front grille is very nicely moulded and in a much shinier finish. Again a black wash has been applied to the grille and the light lenses are printed in white. There is no front number plate fitted.

Along the leading edge of the bonnet Chevrolet has been finely printed where the full size car would have had the letters applied. And the centre of the grille has a badge fitted which has the figure with the chequered flag again.

Inside we get the black plastic moulded tub with some detail in the steering wheel, dashboard mouldings and seats, and in this case on the door cards as well.

To the rear the badging and lights are well done. A printed Chevy badge graces the boot though it is perhaps missing a printed dot below it for the boot lock. Again a nice shiny chrome effect rear panel is fitted and the moulded in lights are then accurately overprinted. The number plate to the rear simply says Impala.

Play features are again restricted to an opening bonnet. It looks like the car is fitted with a standard inline six rather than the popular V8 option.


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Some 2017 Racing Champions

By Maz Woolley

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

Racing Champions Mint is a brand licensed by Round 2 from Tomy who acquired the brand when it bought Ertl. Round 2 are now re-using old moulds from Racing Champions and Ertl to create a Racing Champions Mint line. So the brand is now produced by the same company that makes AutoWorld and Johnny Lightning being run by the same people who originally ran Playing Mantis and revived the Johnny Lightning name originally devised by Topper.

Products under this brand sit between the AutoWorld 1:64 models aimed at discerning collectors of 1:64 and Johnny Lightning which is the fun, play brand.  They are all ‘3.25 inch models’ with some scaling out at 1:64 but others varying from the quite markedly. Looking on the web site it looks like releases have slowed in 2018 with the first release being based on racing cars which again seem to vary in scale considerably.

Here we look at some of the cars released in 2017.

The photograph above shows the scale variation with the 1967 Plymouth smaller than a 1960 Corvair. Whilst nice models in many respects Racing Champion Mint certainly has a ‘fit the box’ approach.

1967 Plymouth Fury New York City Police 2017 Release 1 Version A

The model shown above is an attractive 1967 Plymouth Fury in the ‘America’s Finest‘ sub-range. The livery used is for New York City Police. Pictures usually show the dark green area extending all along the side but I am sure this variation has been researched by Round 2 as they also sell a variation with full length green paint. The Fury badge has even been printed on the wings which is a nice touch.

Under the bonnet is a simple engine  and as can be seen above the bonnet is a good fit and the front lights though painted on work well with the nicely moulded grille.

Police markings are neatly printed and the rear lights, bumper and panel are neat mouldings. The somewhat heavy and square late 1960s  shape has been well captured. Sadly the green painted areas were not masked well and there is a lot of feathering around the edges and they do not align completely with the door shut lines as they should.

The wheels have the correct small hub cap fitted to police cars and a representation of the all steel wheels though the plastic used makes the wheels look much too shiny.

 

1958 Ford Edsel Release 2 2017 Version B

Bigger in every dimension than the Fury this Edsel has no model stated though when you blow up the photographs the script on the front wing might read Pacer which was one of the smaller Edsels based upon the Ford chassis.

Sadly the bonnet is ill fitting and sits above an Edsel horseshoe grille that is fitted at crazy angle. which makes the front look even more like it has been damaged parking.

The two tone paint, chrome printing and badging are nicely done. With finely printed Edsel lettering on rear wings. To the rear the bumper is ok, if a little plastic in appearance and the rear lights are printed on with fine surrounds.

The side view shows that the shape is neatly captured and the hard top nicely modelled. The top is in plastic presumably so the lower casting can also be used to make a convertible.

A colourful engine sits under the bonnet but as usual with models this size lacking in detail.

 

1960 Chevy Corvair Release 2 2017 Version B

GMs attempt to get back sales from the imports from the likes of Volkswagen. A rear wheel drive car which was released after cost cutting measures had left it with a poor suspension solution leaving it suffering from tail heavy handling problems which lead to Ralph Nader’s ‘Unsafe at any speed’ statement. Though GM quite quickly resolved the issues the car was never the success they hoped for.

This model is consistent in size with the Edsel but rather larger than the Fury which in real like was nearly 10 inches wider.

As the photograph shows the front lights are fitted crookedly bu here they can be twisted into a better alignment.

This is a model of the two door coupe which leaves a rather odd long rear deck,  used for the hood on the convertible which looks more balanced. The model is nicely painted though the casting seems rather bland to me failing to capture some of the sharp lines the designers used to add variety to the cars surface.

Rear lights are just paint on moulded casting extensions and the printing is not aligned well.

The wheels are not really typical of the models I can see online but may be OK as many cars seem to be fitted with custom fake wires.

At the rear we see the low mounted suggestion of an engine under to rear cover.

The revival of Racing Champions makes available again some classic fit the box castings and few accurate 1:64 castings from Ertl days. Build and finish quality is only ‘so so’ even though these models attract a premium price in the US. I am not sure whether Round 2 will invest a lot of effort into this range as it already has Johnny Lightning addressing the lower part of the premium market and Autoworld addressing the top-end of the US 1:64 premium market.

For all their faults this series of models will please many who will otherwise have to seek out theses castings on the secondary market.


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Breaking Bad Chevy

By Maz Woolley

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

Greenlight have a large number of TV and Film related vehicles in their ranges in scales from 1:18 to 1:64.  A few also make it into 1:43 scale like the licensed vehicles from the Fast and Furious franchise. Here we look at the 1982 Chevrolet Monte Carlo which is Jesse Pinkman’s car in the TV series Breaking Bad which was a phenomenal success a few years ago. This has been released in 1:64 scale previously when the mobile home from the series was also released. Later it was released as a 1:43 scale model diecast in China. In some cases Greenlight then go on to release a standard car using the same casting as they have with the Lincoln Continental amongst others. but haven’t done so with this one yet.

The 1982 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was the second year of the fourth generation of this car which is a two door coupe based on the same chassis as the Buick Regal, Pontiac Grand Prix and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. In 1982 the Monte Carlo was not at its best, the turbo had been withdrawn and two diesels introduced. Interior options no longer included a bucket seat sports pack. The car was losing its previous muscle car image.

Later the car became popular with customisers as it was cheap and mechanically simple with a front engine and rear wheel drive unlike the GM cars that followed it which introduced the FWD engine/drive units in the Monte Carlo and its ‘siblings’.  In Breaking Bad the car is customised as a low rider but the model doesn’t really reflect this although the wheels are spaced out further than standard.

The Greenlight model is about the same standard as the models made by Universal Hobbies for the James Bond Partwork. Interestingly the Greenlight details on the base are all printed on but ‘1/43 made in china’ is moulded in. This suggests to me that the car will be available to other brands as a standard model later.

The wide track is achieved by fitting spacers in between the wheel and the base which again suggests that the car will be made later with a standard track width.  The wheels are a reasonable match to the car in the TV series but the whitewall is an entirely different place from that on the TV car.

Whilst many of the details are good. The grille is nice, as are headlights and the emblem on the bonnet. However the inserted rear window has a slightly crude surround and the plating is inconsistent and does not colour match the printed chrome round the front door and screen.

The rear lights are nicely made inserted parts with the chrome rims and the motif on the lights well done. The wipers are fine plastic items which look much more convincing than thin one dimensional  PE items fitted to many resin models.

The quality of the paint finish is excellent and the number plates are as used in the programme. The door mounted mirrors are nicely made and even have reflective ‘glass’ fitted.

Looking inside the car there is a lot of moulded details but apart from the steering mounted gear lever in silver it is all in black. Interestingly the back window and rear side windows are privacy glass but pictures of the TV car show them as clear glass.

Models of American cars of the 1980’s are not that common so even though GM sold only just over 90,000 of the 1982 Monte Carlo it is a welcome addition to the shelf.


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Greenlight accessing new markets

By Maz Woolley

Text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise attributed.

To continue to grow firms producing diecast models need to extend their market to a wider group than existing collectors. To do this they not only need to create models that appeal to a wider audience they also need reach that audience who doesn’t read the diecast press or visit toyfairs. Greenlight has been working hard to produce models appealing to custom car, TV and Film fans as well as general model collectors. In addition specials have been made for Walmart and Hobbystores to access the general market. The latest tie-in deal that I have come across is with Lootcrate. Lootcrate is a US based venture which allows people to subscribe a monthly amount and to receive a box of “goodies” on the theme of their choice.   It styles itself as “fan commerce” and you can subscribe to various popular culture and gaming themes. This posting shows two Greenlight 1:64 models which have been produced to tie into the Movie theme with a simple card window box with movie theme printing and a large Lootcrate exclusive panel and smaller Greenlight Hollywood  logos. These models are very similar to models which have already been released in Greenlight’s own Hollywood series.

“Gone in 60 Seconds” “Eleanor” 1967 Ford Mustang

This car is from the Disney re-make of this film starring Nicolas Cage which used this customised 1967 Mustang rather than the 1971 Mustang that featured in the original cult film

A neat casting with rather nice wheels even they are somewhat simpler than pictures of the film car but they do have lovely rubber tyres of a reasonable width fitted. All the extra lights are moulded into the front with some picked out in white. The rear lights are very well captured. Badging is tampo printed as are the “go faster stripes”.  The opening bonnet reveals a simple moulding of a V8 engine.

“Supernatural – Join the Hunt” 1967 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan

Supernatural is a TV series featuring two brothers who hunt demons, ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural beings. The 1967 Chevy is their means of transport.

Again  a good basic 1:64 casting of a 1967 Chevrolet with all lights printed with colour highlights and trim printed in silver.  The interior is basic but the dashboard and door cards are in tan whilst the seating is in black.  The only criticism I have is off the wheels where we have Johnny Lightning style hugely over wide tyres fitted which is a bit of a letdown for a good model.

I hope that some of the Lootcrate subscribers decide to buy other Greenlight Hollywood models for their collections and get  drawn into the world of model collecting.


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