Category Archives: Volkswagen

Corgi July to December 2017

By Maz Woolley

All pictures used to illustrate this article are from Corgi’s web site. Most are mock ups or 3D renderings rather than examples of the final models. 

Business Background

I make no apologies for starting this article with news about the Hornby Hobbies business as June is not only when they announce the second half models but it is also their financial year end.

Already this year we have seen the company drop its plans to build a visitor centre to replace the one lost when they sold their headquarters site. This was followed in April by a major shareholder,  New Pistoia Income Limited, calling for the removal of Roger Canham the Executive Chairman. Before the Annual Results New Pistoia decided to cut their losses and sold the 20% they held in Hornby hobbies for 32 pence a share to Phoenix Asset Management Partners the biggest shareholder who now have 55% and have now to offer to buy any other shareholders shares at 32 pence.

Whilst all this upheaval took place the annual results were announced and the CEO/Chairman Roger Canham’s resignation as well. A growing underlying pre-tax loss of over six million pounds was widely reported in the Financial columns. Whilst their cash situation has significantly improved this will still leave them little capital to invest in new products so only the fast selling products with the highest level of margin will get any investment. The shareholders have not had a dividend for several years now and the shares values have flat lined over the last year so they are all losing money on the shares which cannot go on for ever.

Why does this matter to collectors of model vehicles? Well Corgi is hardly mentioned in any discussions of Hornby at all and apart from the 1:48 Lightning model investments in new mouldings are non-existent apart from a single 1:50 truck not even listed in the second half release section of their web pages.  The company states that its turnround is well under way with a belief that all UK brands have been maintained despite all the cost cutting measures taken, lower sales, and restrictions in the sales channels they are servicing. I am not sure that that does not count as what are now known as “alternate facts”. Collectors are right to be uneasy when they see that the  Corgi brand is not mentioned once in the plans for the next stage of the turnround.

It is against this background that Corgi announced their July to December catalogue. Almost everything in it is a new version of a casting already used several times in the past. Some castings  like the Vanguards Morris Minors and Mini are now several generations old and simply not up to the standards of Oxford Diecast, or PCT made models for part works or ranges like Whitebox. Looking at the Corgi Forum the posts about the new releases are mostly negative which I know reflects several MAR Online readers views as well. Corgi have not even listed some models on their web site that Hattons has listed like the re-released Basil Fawlty Austin  or yet another Mr Bean Mini.

I believe that the situation is clear: Hornby has no intention of investing in any significant level of new tooling for the Corgi ranges. Their sole idea of keeping Corgi alive is to produce re-paints of old castings and hope that they sell enough to milk some contribution from the brand to their financial recovery. In my opinion Corgi is now a spent force and Hornby is deluding itself if they expect collectors to pay nearly thirty pounds for Vanguards models made from  ageing moulds when DeAgostini/Atlas and others offer more for less money.

Corgi 2017 Second Half Catalogue

The models listed below are those listed by Corgi on their web site for the second half of 2017. Their January 2017 announcement was already reported here.  When checking a supplier website there are models available to order that are not in the catalogue such as five re-released James Bond vehicles, Mr Bean’s Mini, and Basil Fawlty’s 1100. There is also a single 1:50 scale lorry, Scania R (Face Lift) Flatbed Trailer & Brick Load “Ian Craig Haulage Ltd, Falkirk, Scotland”,  claimed to be new tooling. If these are new it seems strange that Corgi did not include them on their website listing.

My observations on the models offered are:

  1. The Royal Wedding Anniversary models are crude and horrid and quite expensive for the type of souvenir shop likely to want to stock them. I can’t see collectors wanting them at all.
  2. I hope the metallic models are not made with reflective flakes the size showing in pictures
  3. How many times are they going to release that Mini casting – it was not good when first released and looks even worse now compared to modern models?
  4. Who lined up all that awful thick silver detailing on the Minor Police Car windows?
  5. Why are they using the same moulds used already for re-paints recently so soon like the Sunbeam Alpine?
  6. Why is an “export” Rover 3500 fitted with UK number plates?
  7. Why keep on flogging the “New London Bus” to death when the new Mayor has cancelled buying any more of them?
  8. Why keep on releasing Land Rovers when Oxford will be doing them and charging significantly less?
  9. Why bother with the Captain Scarlett car? It has now slipped out of fashion again.
  10.   Many earlier releases of the re-used castings are available on eBay and at Toy Fairs for much less money why buy a new one?
  11. How can anybody at Corgi say they are “proud to introduce the July to December 2017 Corgi range, featuring a host of new introductions

Aviation Archive

English Electric Lightning F6 XR728/JS , RAF Binbrook

 

Albatros D.Va D.7327/17, Lt. Lothar Weiland, Jasta 5, Seefrontstaffel 1

 

Fokker DR.1 Triplane 213/17 ‘K’, Lt. Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Kempf, Jasta 2

 

Sopwith Camel F.1 B6313, Major William George ‘Billy’ Barker RAF

 

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 42-97880/DF-F ‘Little Miss Mischief’ USAAF

 

Panavia Tornado GR.4 ZA461, RAF No.15 Squadron, Special Scheme

 

Dornier Do17Z-2 U5-BH, 1./KG.2 ‘Holzhammer’ Operation Marita

 

Junkers Ju-88C-6 F8+BX, 13./KG40, Battle over the Biscay

 

Short Sunderland Mk.III W3999/ RB-Y No.10 Squadron RAAF, Early 1942

 

Blackburn Buccaneer S.2 XW538/S, RAF No.16 Squadron, RAF Gutersloh

 

Hawker Typhoon lB RB389/I8-P ‘Pulverizer IV’, No.440 Sqn RCAF

 

Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 G9+LN, Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer

 

Westland Puma HC.1 XW220/AC, RAF No.72 Squadron, Aldergrove, 1997

 

Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 N2359/YB-J, ‘Winged Popeye’, RAF No.17 Sqn

 

Gloster Sea Gladiator N5519/G6A, No,802 NAS, HMS Glorious, 1939

 

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 ‘Yellow 1’ Oblt. Gerhard Schopfel, Battle of Britain

 

Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 P8127 ‘White 47’, Robert ‘R.T’ Smith, 3rd Sqn AVG

 

North American P-51D Mustang 44-13586/C5-T ‘Hurry Home Honey’, USAAF

Vanguards

 

Volkswagen Beetle, Type 1 Export Saloon Horizon Blue

 

Land Rover Series 1 80” RAC Road Service Vehicle

 

Ford Escort Mk3 XR3 Prairie Yellow

 

Austin Se7en Deluxe, Vanden Plas ‘Mini’ Lord Austin’s Daughter Irene Austin, Princess Blue-Grey Metallic

Morris Minor 1000 The Lothians and Peebles Constabulary

 

Ford Cortina Mk3 2000E Automatic Sahara Beige

 

Ford Cortina Mk2 Twin Cam (Lotus) Red II

 

Rover P6 3500S Scarab Blue, Export Specification, RHD

 

Ford Escort Mk1 RS2000 Modena Green

 

Ford Sierra XR4i Strato Silver

 

Ford Capri 2300GT Mk1 1969 Tour de France Automobile

 

Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 1979 Lombard RAC Rally of Great Britain

 

Sunbeam Alpine Series 2 Quartz Blue Metallic

 

Morris Minor 1000 Traveller Bermuda Blue

Original Omnibus

 

New Routemaster, Go-Ahead London, 88 Camden Town

 

New Routemaster, Go Ahead London, 88 Clapham Common

 

Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Shuttle Bus

Others

 

Paddington Bear New Routemaster

 

Captain Scarlet Classic Spectrum Saloon Car

 

70th Anniversary of The Royal Wedding – Classic Mini

 

70th Anniversary of The Royal Wedding – Classic Routemaster

Bloodhound SSC Super Hauler

 

Corgi Christmas Super Hauler

Closing thoughts

Long time MAR readers will know that I have been a collector of Corgi models in the past and have been getting more and more restive with each underwhelming release announcement. I know many of you feel the same. I think that the thing I find most insulting to collectors is the pretence that the Corgi range is active and vibrant. Some honesty and openness about the role Hornby think Corgi has going forward would be welcome. Some of us have been Corgi Collectors since our childhood.

What do you the reader think?

Last thought. If  Hornby can’t make anything of the range, it would surely be better to sell it to someone else who can?


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

News from the Continent – Herpa June 2017

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs are by the Author, except where otherwise acknowledged.

Here is a selection of models from releases made by Herpa between January and May 2017.  All are to 1:87 scale except where otherwise stated.

1:43 Scale

The Porsche 911 miniatures announced in 2016 have now arrived on the general market. The three 911 models shown below are also sold in Porsche shops which perhaps explains why the quality and finish is first class. These are all to 1:43 scale.

071024/071031 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet 991 II

The Cabriolet is modelled open with the body painted a choice of racing yellow or deep metallic black. The accurate body shape is complemented by the fault free paint. The Porsche emblem on the bonnet is a small insert as are many other details.

Lettering below the engine cover are exact replicas of the real car and are printed in silver. The Interior has a detailed dashboard and steering wheel, as well as a well moulded centre console, seats and door cards. All in all this gives an excellent impression of the real car. The 5 star alloy wheels are well moulded and reveal the excellent brake discs and calipers. A fairly detailed baseplate is fitted and the exhaust system is executed well and includes the two chromed end pipes.

 

070980/070997 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet 991 II

The Cabriolet in “S” version has a more powerful engine. This is also modelled open. This time in a white or metallic sapphire blue. The general level of finish is the same as the black and yellow Carrera models seen above. Note that the exhaust system is different on this model replicating the differences to be seen on the real cars.

 

071048/071055 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Here the body in available in white or metallic rhodium silver. The body is true to the prototype shape and immaculately painted. Many small separate parts are used for lights and other features. The interior is in a brownish red shade. Dashboard, steering wheel and centre console are excellent replicas  of the original car as are the seats.

At the rear end, the four exhaust pipes of the 4S show the correct features unique to this version of the Carrera. Again lovely replica alloy wheels reveal the neatly modelled brake discs and calipers.

1:87 scale models

 

745475 Ford FK 3000 Cologne lorry with flatbed and canvas cover “German Army”

The Cologne was produced by Ford between 1951 and 1955. The newly founded West-German Bundeswehr (Army) ordered a batch of them as basic transport. The accurately shaped miniature is not painted in the correct shade of matt olive green for the Bundeswehr, the accurate colour would be more of a Silk matt olive.

 

092760 Volkswagen T6 with trailer, loaded with Vespa motorscooter

For short inner city work the Brunswick based haulier Wandt had a restored Vespa painted in the shade of green used in its livery. This Vespa will be released as part of the one-off set with a Volkswagen T6 box body van and trailer also in Wandt livery.

 

Copyright in the image above belongs to dreamstime.com

306713 Volvo FH Gl. XL Eurocombi “Ristimaa Apache”

As can be seen from the photographs above Herpa has re-created this flamboyant show truck faithfully. Juha Ristimaas create custom trucks to the highest standard. This impressive “Giga-Liner” is in the livery of Kuljetus Ristimaa a Finish Haulier. It was first displayed at the annual trucking event “Power Truck Show 2016” in Alaharma, Finland. The four axle Volvo FH16 650 pulls a five axle trailer.

 

307062 Scania 142 articulated concrete mixer

The classic Scania bonnetted trucks are always a highlight in the Herpa program. Here the model is of a 6×4 tractor with a day cab and trailer with a concrete mixer mounted on it. It adds to the Herpa construction models.

 

307024 Volvo FH16 Gl. XL Eurocombi “Tynjälä Oy” Finland

Another oversized drawbar outfit from Finland. Over 50 print processes were needed to reproduce the livery.

 

159173-006 Mercedes-Benz Actros Gigaspace rigid tractor, traffic-yellow

 

158299-004 Mercedes-Benz Actros M 08 all wheel drive 3-axle rigid tractor

Power to all three axles for best traction. Cabin in white which allows modellers to apply their own decals.

 

307161 Iveco with Interchargable Boxes and drawbar trailer “Deutrans”

In the end of the 1980s, the German Democratic Republic haulier Deutrans simplified its truck design and sent their trucks on the road in white with blue and orange stripes. The carefully selected drivers of all vehicles carrying traffic to the West had to prove a certain loyalty to the party line and fulfilled spying orders during their tours.

 

307352 Volvo FH Gi Lowliner curtain canvas articulated truck “Willi Betz”

The haulage group Willi Betz operates multiple companies across Europe serving many customers and has an annual turnover of around 250 million Euros a year.

The founder Willi Betz recently escaped jail due to a serious illness after a lawsuit was taken against the family for bribery, social security fraud and tax evasion. His son was not so lucky and had to pay a 2.1 Million Euros fine and must go into prison for five years.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

Auto Cult June 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Auto Cult continue in their quest to cover unusual subjects. Their models are moulded in resin in China for Germany. Unless otherwise stated the models are to 1:43 scale. As usual each model released is to a different theme.

Small Cars

#03011 Nissan Tama E4S-47

After the  Second World War Tachikawa were not allowed to manufacture aircraft. So like other such concerns it looked for something to build. As there was increasing demand for vehicles, but a shortage of fuel, so they decided to “Go Electric”.

The E4S-47 was the result of this choice, built in a new factory Tokyo Denki Jidoosha. A 16 volt – 120 ampere electric motor was front-mounted and produced 3.3 kW. Its power was supplied by exchangeable batteries. Fitted with a two-speed gearbox the Tama reached a top speed of 35 km/h.

Introduced in May 1947 the model had “Tama” added to its name which was the name of the production site. However, production only lasted a year and the vehicle was replaced in 1948.

 

Streamliners

#04009 Gomolzig Taifun streamliner

Built in 1949 this car caught the public attention as it was fitted with gull wing doors. It was built by Herbert Gomolzig who was an engineer with an eye to the future at a time when Germany was still just starting to re-build after the Second World War.

 

The gull-wing doors were covered to the top by simple hooked in cloth tarpaulins. Once rolled up these adjustable tarpaulins conveyed a sense of driving a convertible. Whilst technically innovative the doors meant that the rest of the car had to be made stronger to compensate. Given the materials available at that time this may not have been fully achievable and may explain why the car never went into production. Little more is known about the car other than it was based on a BMW chassis and probably had a four cylinder BMW engine.

In 1952, after the Taifun did not go into production, Gomolzig founded an own engineering office, turned his back on the automobile industry and working for the aviation industry and in general engineering.

 

Camping Vehicles

#09004 Saab 92H Motorhome

This vehicle is a precursor to the modern all -in-one Motorhome so popular in the US, though rather smaller in size.

Based on the Saab 92 with its DKW like water cooled two stroke two cylinder engine it was built in 1963 by Torsten Johannesson who wanted a car with integrated sleeping facilities so that he didn’t have to tow a trailer.

Torsten’s bulbous design created the maximum interior space but the vehicle is said to have been unbalanced with a great deal of the weight at the front. It was also twice the weight of the Saab 92 so it was very underpowered. Perhaps unsurprisingly Johannesson did not get the road approval for his 92H motorhome from the Swedish authorities, so the prototype is unique.

Buses

#10001 VW Beetle “Wolfsburger Bähnle”

This vehicle offered sightseeing with a difference. Bähnle is a German vernacular term for “little train”.  This vehicle was run by a community company in Wolfsburg until 1976 providing users with a tour through the City.

Built by the Berlin bodybuilder Friedrich Rometsch based upon a Volkswagen Beetle it had only six seats which proved to be insufficient to meet demand and it was fitted with a matching trailer made by Hermann Harmening.

From 1958 the 14 metre long train towed by the VW Beetle carried up to 48 passengers at a maximum speed of 50 KPH on its regular tours. After 15 years in storage the City of Wolfsburg passed the vehicle to Volkswagen in 2003 for them to restore and use in the new Autostadt theme park at the Volkswagen factory.

 

Sculptures

#80004 Mercedes-Benz SL-X

This model is to 1:18 scale and is based upon a car that never ran. The wooden design study is as far as the development went and is on display at the Mercedes Museum.

In the mid-1960s a mid-engine sports car, internally designated SL-X, was worked on at Mercedes-Benz. Its design was based on an idea from the Italian Giorgio Battistella. Giorgio Battistella and the former head of the Mercedes-Benz design department, Paul Bracq, sat down together and pondered about the design of a new sports car with the three-pointed star emblem on the hood. They sought to produce a radical design.

The design was for an extremely low car with the engine behind the seats to allow this. A wooden mock up without an engine and any interior was produced. The design was never signed off to progress beyond the mock-up stage though it perhaps influenced Bruno Sacco when he produced the C-111 which also had gull-wing doors and the seamlessly flushed pop-up headlamps.


 We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

Auto Cult May 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Auto Cult has announced that they are supporting a Crowdfunding project for the reconstruction of a real Standard Superior Type I. This car was a precursor to the VW Beetle and highly influential in the Beetle’s development. This project will be started on the Indiegogo platform (www.indiegogo.com) and will be supported by Auto Cult with “Perks”.  Eligible funders will receive a unique set from Auto Cult made up of the following model cars in to 1:43 scale: Mercedes-Benz 120 (W17), NSU type 32, Standard Superior type II and a Tatra V570. This set will be probably be released in August 2017.

This months releases made in resin in China for Germany to 1:43 scale are shown below.


Past Brands series

#02011 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite (GB, 1960)

This model represents a works car built by Healey in Warwick in small numbers specifically for racing. Extensive use of aluminium and fiberglas as well as disk brakes and a heavily tuned BMC A series engine made it quite quick in the hands of talented drivers .

It spawned a whole industry in after market parts to allow the standard sports car to be turned int a “replica”.


Streamliner series

#04008 Maybach SW35 Stromlinie (D, 1935)

This streamlined prototype was shown at Motor Shows in 1935. The slogan used was  “ a fast car specially suited to the autobahn”. With styling influenced by Paul Jaray it was based on a chassis with a 3.5 Litre straight six engine of 140HP which could reach 160KPH which was a very high speed for its time. Two cars were manufactured by Karosseriefabrik Spohn in Ravensberg but series production never took place and sadly both cars were lost in the Second World War.

 


Prototypes series

VW Steyr Prototype

This curious “marriage” of this well engineered combination of a Steyr Type 50 or 55 car body with a Volkswagen Kubelwagen chassis remains a mystery of automotive history. There is no knowledge of who did the work or why and Auto Cult are seeking information from anyone who can add any knowledge about this vehicle.

 


Racing Cars series

Porsche 550 Durlite Spider

 

What do you do when you write of your Porsche 550? Well in 1958 American racing driver Bob Wedd had Durlite build him a new skin in aluminium with a very slippery shape including a steeply raked nose and a “Kamm Tail”. This produced a very aerodynamically efficient car with design features that would become standard on sports racing cars in the 1960s.

 


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

New and re-cycled Minichamps 4/17

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Minichamps.

New MiniChamps

Minichamps have announced some new liveries on their diecast 1:18 scale Porsche 911 GT3 R. These are diecast in metal and made in comparatively large editions by current standards so there must be a lot of collectors of Porsche racing models even in this large scale.

 

PORSCHE 911 GT3 R – HENZLER/DUMBRECK/RAGGINGER/IMPERATORI – ADAC ZÜRICH 24H RENNEN 2016 L.E. 504 pcs.

PORSCHE 911 GT3 R – MANTHEY RACING – NÜRBURGRING TEST 2015 L.E. 402 pcs.

 

Re-cycled MaxiChamps

 

These diecast models are diecast to 1:43 scale in China for Minichamps. The MaxiChamps range consists of re-releases of older Minichamps models produced to a lower price point then current Minichamps models. The photographs below show the original Golf based Volkswagen Scirrocco from the mid-70s.  The models are roughly the same standard as many part works reach now and lack the fine detail that the latest Minichamps would include.
VOLKSWAGEN SCIROCCO – 1974


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

News from the Continent – Wiking March 2017

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

 

We start this update on models from Wiking with a set of  prototypes, many finished in plain silver, presented at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in February.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class as multi-role T-model

Volkswagen “Bulli” Samba bus

Volkswagen T2 Double-Cabin Pick up

Land Rover Defender 110

Opel Cadet C-Type Coupe

Mercedes-Benz Unimog “Frog eye”

Magirus classic fire engine LF16

Magirus Saturn tractor unit

MAN TGS Euro 6 four axle trucks

Farming vehicles Claas Cargo

 and Lemken Solitär 25

Tank top load

Wiking Releases April 2017

These models are moulded in plastic in Europe for Germany . The first models shown are new ones.

1:87 Scale

0864 41 Mercedes-Benz 250 T “German Police car”

 

0850 05 Opel Olympia Ambulance

 

0800 14 Volkswagen T3 bus “German Taxi”

 

0797 20 Volkswagen T1b Samba Bus

 

0788 04 Volkswagen T1b Delivery van

 

0133 07 Audi Q7 with trailer “fire brigade”

 

0800 49 Magirus S 3500 artic tank truck “Rheinpreussen”

 

0371 06 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 406 with trailer “Cellar Ghosts winery”

 

0518 46 Magirus 235 D artic. Stanchion trailer truck

 

0671 05 Mercedes-Benz NG Dumper

 

0479 02 Büssing 12.000 flatbed lorry “German Federal Railway Company”

1:160 Scale

 

0920 04 Volkswagen Tiguan fire chief staff car

Upgraded Models

The next set of models are upgraded versions of models previously produced by Wiking.

1:87 scale

 

0861 40 Mercedes-Benz 200/8 fire brigade staff car

 

0861 41 Volkswagen T1b small fire engine

 

0794 04 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Convertible

 

0889 04 Drag rake

0880 08 Lanz Bulldog tractor with roof

 

0517 01 MAN articulated flatbed truck “Haulier Rheinkraft”

 

0518 04 Scania R 420 Topline artic. flatbed truck “Rinnen”

 

 

0990 91 Set “Blumhardt commercial vehicle manufactury”

1:160 Scale

 

0958 02 John Deere 6820 tractor

New Publication

 

0006 45 Book “Wiking Autoträume (auto dreams)

This book covers 85 years of Wiking models based on machines from land, sea and air.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

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


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Minialuxe Beetles Part Two – VW PTT

By Robin Godwin

This article has been transferred from the old MAR Online site in order to preserve material from the first year of MAR’s online operations. It has had some minor changes to adapt it to this site. It follows a previous article on Minialuxe Beetles which has already been re-published on this site.

Readers new to Robin’s review of the Minialuxe Volkswagen Beetle models may wish to read his previous article at http://www.maronline.org.uk/minialuxe-beetles-part-one/

In this article I look at the Minialuxe Volkswagen Beetle in a little more detail and contrast it with the less expensive Minialuxe Classic series Beetle.

As the pictures below show unlike the Classic series model the PTT model comes with jewelled lights, glazing, dished wheels and a bell fitted to the roof. It also comes in a more robust box.

5296 Classic Series VW #16-1

No interior or windows, no jewelled headlights or separate taillights, ridged wheels


5304 Speciale Series VW #19-2

Swiss PTT with interior and windows, jewelled headlights and red plastic taillights, dished wheels, brass bell on roof, different box


5298 Front view differences

5301 Differences –

Note different taillight treatments

5299 Base of Classic VW – individually numbered

5300 Base of Speciale VW – individually numbered

5302 Packaging.

Excessive, but it ensures that the models arrive in pristine condition. From top: outer cardboard fitted carton, inner protective fitted card box, inner lift off carton box containing model and box. Note differences for different series. All goes together like a Russian egg, and is shipped in another shipping box with bubble protection.


5303 Accessories

Satin-like sleeve bag that model comes in, and model buffing/cleaning cloth included with each model. There is a foam bit included as well to keep model from sliding around in the liftoff carton – this ensures your model arrives undamaged.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Minialuxe Beetles Part One

By Robin Godwin

This article was originally written for the old MAR Online site. It is being republished in a slightly modified form on this site to ensure its continued availability to readers.

Minialuxe was a French maker of contemporary, and vintage and veteran, detailed plastic model cars from the early 1960s through to the mid 1970s. The new New Minialuxe range uses the same logos but is producing diecasts in the same simple nostalgic style already seen from Dan Toys and Atlas Editions.

I have recently bought the Volkswagen Beetle in their ‘Classic’ collection. This is similar to models in the Atlas Dinky collection so it has no interior or windows. This is a limited edition of 500, in this colour anyway. I expect that we are likely to see more batches in different colours later.

The same casting is also used as the basis for a Polizei model in the “Special” collection. In this case the model has an interior, windows, and different spun wheels. This is also an edition of 500 models. I’m guessing there will be other versions later, perhaps a Swiss PTT version may be made. See latest news after the photographs.

Lots of VW afficionados will buy the Classic edition as it’s only 39 Euros, but the Polizei Special is 110 Euros and it is difficult to imagine many paying that price for what is a very basic model. Will Minialuxe even manage to sell an edition of 500 at that price or will they end up discounting them later?

Most overseas sales for this range will be via their online shop. However, Minialuxe seem to have issues with the way that their site works and it seems impossible to get them to sell VAT free to overseas buyers. This is something they need to address if they expect to sell models to North American collectors.

All pictures below are from Minialuxe.






PTT news

It turns out that Minialuxe has done a Swiss PTT version of the Volkswagen Beetle, now available only to members of Club Minialuxe. The Minialuxe line-up comes in three “trim levels”; Classic, with a basic body casting and base, but no windows or interior. The “Star” level comes with windows, jewelled headlights, and a change in wheels (from what looks like cast/ridged to spun, similar to old Corgi), and “Luxe” which includes the Star features and adds an interior. There is an additional “Spéciale” series, usually Police, or some other service vehicle, such as this PTT, which are done to Luxe specification, sometimes adding something on the roof (a beacon or taxi sign).

To be clear, although they are to 1:43 scale, these are not state-of-the-art models. Minialuxe is trading in nostalgia here (that they don’t own, given original Minialuxe models were plastic, and generally better detailed than these modern models). The Star level is on a par with 1950s Dinky Toys, and the Luxe series roughly equivalent to late 1950s to early 1960s Dinky or Corgi Toys. They are on a similar detail level with the current Atlas Dinky series, yet are considerably more expensive, but can be purchased individually. Perhaps their popularity is similar to Brooklin, they are what they are, but they seem to have captured a reasonable collector base and enthusiasm. My interest really stems from being a VW Beetle collector, similar to my interest for Brooklin ’59/’60 Chevrolets, in that my collection would be incomplete without them. With the exception of some Beetles and Austin Minis, all Minialuxe models are of French built vehicles and seem to have a low volume production of 500 models in each version.

Still, the founders of the new Minialuxe should be congratulated for taking the initiative in what would appear to be a crowded market for nostalgic toys. They appear to have found a niche market, and seem to be moving from strength to strength. Have a look at their website for details, and to purchase in stock models. http://www.minialuxe.fr/
The picture shown below is of the Minialuxe PTT VW Beetle captured on a mobile phone. The Author promises better pictures soon.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Atlas Dinky Collection – 262 VW Swiss Post, 39a Packard Super 8 and 177 Opel Kapitan.

By Maz Woolley

This article was originally written for the first MAR Online site in January 2014. It is one of the items which we have collected from the old site before it is eventually turned off. It has been adapted to the new site. 

The Atlas Dinky collection has now been running for about six months here in the UK. Models have been issued at roughly monthly intervals, and although the packaging seems very minimal, they have all arrived in good condition. As yet there is no sign of any special editions like those offered in France, despite the potential sales these would attract. All of the models so far seem to be different from those offered in the continental Dinky Collection, even if only in colour. Whilst some collectors have suggested that the choices of models so far have been dull, the frenzy on eBay when models are first shipped shows that others disagree, and are prepared to pay a premium price to get these models. Pictures cannot capture one of the main attractions of these models, which is the feel of them in the hand.

Since MAR 278 I have received another three models: 262 Volkswagen Swiss Post, 39a Packard Super 8 and 177 Opel Kapitan.

262 Volkswagen Swiss Post

The continental Atlas Dinky Collection featured 181 Volkswagen in a plain colour but for the UK series they have chosen to issue the Swiss PTT version produced between 1959 and 1966.

The original model is now highly sought after since very few were sold outside Switzerland. The Atlas model has yellow hubs, so it represents the model as launched.

The replica box has no model pictured on it, just like the original.


39a Packard 8 Sedan

This model was originally released by Dinky in 1939 and was finally withdrawn from the range in 1950 by which time it was well behind the contemporary scene in the USA.

It was issued in a wide range of colours and Atlas have chosen to produce it in the post-war green version. The model comes in a replica post war box.

The pictures above include a photograph of an original Dinky Toy taken by the Executive Editor of one in his own collection.


177 Opel Kapitän

This model has already appeared in the continental Atlas Dinky range in blue. For the UK series Atlas have had it painted in lemon yellow, a rare colour applied only in South Africa.

This is the second model for which they have chosen a South African colour, the first was the Ford Thunderbird, and again the box has the features in Afrikaans as well as English. The Kapitän was made at Binns Road between 1961 and 1966, and appears to have only been available in the UK in blue.

Shown below is the Meccano Magazine back cover advertisement published when the model was launched.


It should be noted that Atlas Dinky models are not made from the original moulds but are replicas copied from original models. They are produced by Norev for Atlas using contemporary paints and printing and both models and boxes are clearly marked as Licensed by Mattel, who own the Dinky brand. All production dates are as stated in the reference work Dinky Toys and Modelled Miniatures by Mike and Sue Richardson.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.