By Maz Woolley
A number of models have just been released by Oxford Diecast in 1:76 and 1:87 scales. Many were originally announced for the final quarter of 2016 but have been slightly delayed. These are all diecast and plastic and made in Oxford’s own Chinese production centre.
1:76 Scale Models
76 MW6001 Bristol MW6G Royal Blue
Oxford’s clever use of diecast lower sections combined with a plastic upper body not only allows for multiple versions of the vehicle to be made it also allows the windows, roof and other upper body details to be finely modelled. As the windows are part of the moulding, there are no issues with fitting gaps at all and the vents are very convincing too. Some collectors may question the lack of mirrors and the use of printed wipers, but they do make the model more robust and the small round mirrors of the real thing would be scarcely noticeable and very fragile if done to scale.
The Oxford is based upon a preserved coach, and looking at photographs of the original it has been very well captured by Oxford.
My only criticism is that the rear wheel sets are slightly crooked on my model, something that I have found on other Oxford coaches, but this can presumably be corrected with a little persuasion. Looking at the quality and detail of this model, it is difficult to believe that some of their competitors similar models are about twice the price.
76TS001 Triumph Stag
The Triumph Stag was made between 1970 and 1977. Designed to meet the needs of an American market where pure convertibles were set to be banned, it incorporated a permanent roll cage. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti it was fitted with a Triumph-made 3 Litre V8 engine created from two of their four cylinder engines as fitted to the Dolomite. This proved to be the cars weakest point as it turned out to be fragile, and it was a symbol of how ineffective British Leyland Group management was that they did not insist part way through the development that Triumph used the proven ex-Buick Rover V8 to cut costs and build up economies of scale.
The Oxford model has quite a lot of detail incorporated with badging, lights and grille well printed. However the wheels really need the gaps and centre marked out in black paint as they look very flat and plastic. I have marked mine since shooting the photographs, and I think it it makes a great improvement. The moulded interior is adequate in this scale without a great deal of effort to detail the dashboard. When I received the car, the rear of the T bar did no fit into the lower body section properly, and others have commented on Facebook about this. I found that with a gentle press the upper section clicked into the body and was then a good flush fit. But unfortunately the windscreen shows a thick line of clear plastic underneath the chrome surround at its base. I think that quality control may be being limited to help them meet the ambitious production targets Oxford set themselves.
It is a model of the car as sold in the first year of production and features a Coventry registration plate, so it is presumably based on a press car.
76BM02001 BMW 2002 Colorado Orange
The BMW 2002s of 1977 were based upon the 02 series chassis introduced with the 1600 in 1966. The car modelled by Oxford is a 1971 model registered in East Sussex. The bold orange colour was a popular colour in the 1970s and is even stronger than my pictures show. It was this generation of BMW that finally rescued the country from being close to bankruptcy and created their reputation for making sporting saloon cars.
The 2002 was introduced after both Helmut Werner Bönsch, BMW’s director of product planning, and Alex von Falkenhausen, designer of the M10 engine, both had a two litre engine installed in a 1600-2 for their own use.
The Oxford model captured the shape well, and the printed chrome features are well done with the exception of the window surrounds which are printed in such a way that they emphasis the thick body shell of these models. I have said elsewhere that I think it better that Oxford either move over to flush fit glazing or drop the printing round the lower edge of the windows altogether. The tiny badges and scripts on the boot are incredibly fine, and Oxford seem to have suddenly started to print more realistic number plates onto the models. The tiny rubber fittings on the bumpers are printed on and the side rubber mouldings too, though they are a little too glossy. I suspect that the indicators which should be on the corner of the car above the front lights have been printed on and as this is an orange car have “vanished” perhaps when later colours appear so will they. Finally the wheels like the Stags seem just too solid and would benefit from a black wash.
All in all a nice model and one that would be nice to see in 1:43 scale as well.
76AMDB2002 Aston Martin DB2 MkIII Drop Head Coupe
This series of cars was made by Aston Martin from 1957 to 1959. It was an evolution of the DB2/4 Mark II model it replaced. It was powered by Tadek Marek’s upgraded engine based upon the W.O. Bentley-designed Lagonda 2.9 litre 6 cylinder engine. the front grille introduced on this model set the shape that would be seen in some form on future Aston Martins.
Aston Martin built 84 drophead coupé models so they were always rare and expensive cars. Indeed a DBIII, as Ian Fleming called it, appeared in the Goldfinger book. These cars were capable of 120 mph, or more if one of the more highly tuned versions of the engine were fitted.
The Oxford model with the hood up is nice with a beautifully fine grille and tiny printed doors and boot handles. Lights and number plates are excellent too and the interior is simple but adequate. The only areas that are a little disappointing are the whheels and the paintwork. The wheels are solid plastic with a few raised lines to represent the wire wheels and they are really not as good as the rest of the model. The paintwork is a nice racing green but it is thin over the gaps round the panel lines.
1:87 Scale Models
This is the latest series of 1:87 models from Oxford aimed squarely at the US market where the collapse of suppliers like Malibu, Fresh Cherries and others has created a gap in the market for Oxford to fill. My first impression looking at these models is that a lot of effort has gone into them, and that the level of detailing is very high for such small diecasts.
87BS36001 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936
The Buick Special was Buick’s entry level full size car for many years. In 1936 this was powered by a 3.8 Litre inline 8 cylinder engine. It was a good year for Buick and sales of the special were good.
The model by Oxford has caught the looks of the car very well and the glossy black paint is a typical period colour, a white version is to be offered later in the year. The Buick badge on the grille and the number plates and rear lights are all nicely printed. The grille could perhaps benefit from a black wash but is tall and impressive like the real thing.
I think that the headlights have been printed much too small. All the picture references I have seen show the headlights surrounded by a chrome ring and not a body colour one. The sidelights too are printed in silver over their whole area but on the real car they weer body colour on the top. Another curiosity is that the wheel rims seem to be in yellow plastic when picture references suggest that the steel wheels are painted often in colours which contrast with the body colour and the rims are either that colour or fitted with chrome embellishers. Despite these criticisms I think it a nice model .
87CN57001 Chevrolet Nomad 1957
The Nomad was a glamorous model in its 1955 to 57 heyday. It was a two door sports sedan powered by a powerful V8 engine and fitted with an extended station wagon rear. The Nomad was dropped for the 1958 model year and though it re-appeared in later years it was as a more conventional top of the line station wagon.
Oxford have modelled it in Dusk Pearl and Imperial Ivory and have announced one in Rio Red and Arctic White for later in the year. The model has some excellent features with neat white sidewalls and lots of small badges, number plates and vents printed on. However the bonnet ornaments should have chromed ends and don’t and the headlights are again tiny little dots surrounded by body colour when the real Nomad had large chrome light surrounds. Finally there are no painted rear lights and the “dagmars” are not painted black.
For all my criticism this is a nice model and one that a dab or two of paint would finish off nicely.
87CP65001 Chevrolet Stepside Pick Up 1965
This series of Chevy trucks was introduced in 1960 and replaced in 1967. So the 1965 was a well developed vehicle. A 5.3 Litre V8 was on offer for the first time in that model year and for drivers in search of comfort air conditioning arrived too. The Light Blue and White colour scheme appears to be authentic with lots to see on the Web. Later in the year it will be released in orange.
Oxford’s printed grille and printed vents are excellent as are the number plates. The printed white Chevrolet on the rear of the pickup is very nicely done. The roof section has nicely printed black lines where the trim was rubber or black painted and has finely produced vents. This is another model with a plastic upper section and again it fits so well that you would never guess until you test it.
I have fewer criticisms to make of this model. One is of the wheels which I believe are one piece mouldings with the rims, wheels and hubcaps printed. On half the wheels this has been printed squarely and this looks good on two it is not printed quite centrally which is a little disappointing. The steering wheel is a nice moulded item with the column lever included but it is fitted much too low with its lower edge below the level of the seat cushion. But overall this is a nice model and I can see it making its way onto US Railroaders layouts.
87BC55001 Buick Century 1955
Another classic American car. Released in Turquoise and Polo White it will be available later in the year in Coral and Polo White. Century was a model name used for performance versions of their cars from 1954 to 1958. The Century used the smallest and lightest body shells in their range from the entry point Buick Special and combined them with their most powerful V8 engine. Available in several body styles Oxford have chosen to model it as a two door coupe.
This model again has really good number plates, grille printed in black and silver, and this time it has lovely wheels with white side walls and body colour wheels. The side spears and “bullet holes” are all printed neatly on as is the Century script on the rear wing. Rear lights are printed in and the bumper are all neatly moulded and printed silver. Again fitted with a basic but adequate interior. The bonnet ornament is simple but represents the real one quite well if not as delicate as a true scale one would be.
There is one area which I feel lets this model down a little and that is the front lights which are just a flat silver printed circle where the real car has slightly domed headlights with a small chrome peak according to my picture sources. Some Kristal Klear dripped on is a quick fix for the headlight lenses but the lack of the small peal is a shame.
Whilst I have been slightly critical of these models I think that they are all good value for the price point that Oxford Diecast sells them at and it is nice to have the models available in this smaller scale. Many will be used by railway modellers and will look excellent on a layout perhaps weathered a bit to make them a little more realistic. The US cars to 1:87 scale are particularly finely detailed for small diecast models.
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