Tag Archives: Marklin

Replica Märklins spotted

By Robin Godwin, Hans-Georg Schmitt, and Maz Woolley

Others copyright to all images shown recognised.

Every now and again items show up on eBay that surprise us. So it is with these replica Märklin models spotted recently on eBay by Robin Godwin. He spotted two models on offer: a Ford Capri and an Opel Manta A as shown in the photographs below.

Märklin 18103-02 Ford Capri

This is claimed to be 1:43 and appears to be available in Grey and Sapphire Blue on eBay currently


Märklin 18103-01 Opel Manta A

This can be seen on eBay in yellow and red on eBay


The Märklin brand is now owned by Schuco-Dickie and Hans-Georg was aware of Schuco-Dickie’s plans to  issue a model of the obsolete Krupp forward control lorry with drawbar from the 8000 range, as shown below, using the original tools. However he has not heard of any plans to remake any cars.

After a bit more web searching it turned out that these replicas are not recent releases as we thought but were produced before Märklin were taken over by Schuco-Dickie. It appears that they were originally sold only in a “one-off” set of 12 models shown below from an old Märklin website image. The set comprised of four different castings each in three colours made using the original moulds and all packed in “period style” cardboard boxes to add to the nostalgic feel:

  • Audi 100 Coupe
  • BMW 2002
  • Ford Capri
  • Opel Manta A

So the models currently being sold on eBay are almost certainly from this set. Having found this out it was possible to find pictures of the Audi 100 and BMW 2002 from this series.

Märklin 18103-03 Audi 100 Coupe

The Audi shows that all the original working features like bonnet, doors and boot are all reproduced on these models.

Märklin 18103-04 BMW 2002

 

The BMW box shown above suggests that only four boxes were made, one for each casting, with each having the colour of the model within manually marked.


 

Hans-Georg has made a detailed comparison of the photographs of the Ford Capri against an original model from his collection and he confirms that the replica matches the original casting though the wheels, which are said to be plastic on the re-issues, are different.

So Schuco-Dickie are not issuing replicas of the Märklin models but there seem to be plenty being made available from the sets made some time ago. Since they seem to be so freely available on eBay it may be that some unsold stock has been found in storage recently. If you collect Märklin cars, or just one of the four cars in the series, now would seem to be a good time to get the replicas if you do not already have them.


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1:87 Scale Märklin/Schuco Military Vehicles

By Robin Godwin

 

Dickie-Schuco are now the owners of Märklin (thanks to our Continental Editor Hans-Georg Schmitt for confirming this with Dickie-Schuco). Back in 2007, Märklin introduced a superb line of 1:87 military vehicles under the 4MFOR brand name. Although they were designed primarily as accessories for HO trains, and in particular, the Märklin Bundeswehr train sets. These were also released as 4MFOR items, but I won’t talk about the trains. The 4MFOR vehicles were exceptional and collectable in their own right. The series initially consisted of soft-skin vehicles (unarmoured), armoured wheeled vehicles, tanks, and AAA mounted on a tank chassis, all unique to the German Army. Later some of the models and rolling stock were issued in Danish, Swiss, Netherlands and Austrian Army markings – mostly based upon Leopard Tanks and Gepard AAA (Leopard chassis). The vehicles were largely die cast with some plastic detail components.

I was disappointed in one aspect of the models – the tank tracks and rolling gear. The first 4MFOR catalogue from 2007 showed what looked like separate tracks mounted on accurate rolling gear – in the catalogue photos one could see daylight through the gaps between the road wheels. These must have been pre-production prototypes, as the models were issued with wheels and tracks as one-piece (per side, that is) coloured plastic castings and with no daylight visible. They look like plastic, and in fact, appear to be less detailed than the metal hull casting. I suppose, as display pieces, this doesn’t really matter, but rubber or plastic tracks running on metal wheels would have looked much better, and been more consistent with the general construction of the vehicle.

The 2008 4MFOR catalog illustrated a Mercedes-Benz LG 315 canvas roof military truck which, to my knowledge, was never actually issued as a Märklin. There was a 2009 catalog (which I don’t have), presumably with more future releases illustrated, but things went very quiet on the 4MFOR front soon after that. I can only assume that the line did not sell particularly well, or that Märklin was in financial trouble, and production ceased. Perhaps portending the Schuco acquisition, a few of the soft skin vehicles issued by Märklin as 4MFOR vehicles were actually sourced from Schuco which, of course, were sourced from a Chinese manufacturer – see photos.

Schuco is now issuing a Military 87 line, and the first issue was the Märklin Mercedes Benz truck illustrated in the 2008 catalog. It is a beauty, with metal bonnet, lower cab and tractor bed. Everything else is plastic. There are two more recently issued vehicles which I believe had Märklin origins but which were never issued. These are a steel roof MB LG 315 military truck, and a Marder Infantry Combat Vehicle. This would indicate that design and pattern work had likely been underway at Märklin, but production was never started. The latest Schuco releases are the Serval (light Special Forces vehicle) and two versions of the Wolf G (by Mercedes Benz), a light Utility Support vehicle that is a military version of the G-Wagen. Both the Serval and Wolf were issued as Märklins, with 4MFOR cast into the bases, but likely this has now been changed to Schuco. These vehicles are not inexpensive at 20 to 30 Euros each, but you do get what you pay for. I’m looking forward to some Schuco original vehicles.

Leopard Tank illustrated in the 2007 catalog showing what must be a pre-production sample. Note gaps between road wheels and what look like separate tracks


A production Gepard Anti-Aircraft gun, mounted on a Leopard chassis. Note the one piece wheels and tracks, looking very “plasticy”


2008 catalogue illustration of canvas roof Mercedes-Benz LG 315 Army Truck. To my knowledge, never sold as a Märklin


The Schuco issued Mercedes-Benz LG 315. Look carefully and you can see a tiny perfectly-formed plastic MB emblem above the radiator. For those who care, the license plate is different on the production model


Base of Mercedes-Benz LG 315 with Schuco cast in


Simple but very effective packaging – no screws or wires


Märklin 4MFOR #18706 VW 181 Open Police Vehicle


Base of Märklin 4MFOR VW 181 – oh my, it’s actually a Schuco, long before Schuco owned Märklin. Keyhole in base is for key-like fastening to a plinth that was not used by Märklin 4MFOR. This fastening system is typical of High Speed, likely the original source of the Märklin/Schuco model.


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Catalog Corner: Märklin RAK

by Karl Schnelle

Dr Horst Macalka published  a great series of Catalogue Corners in the print version of MAR.   He wrote about many different toy car companies over many issues.  Since then,  I have been documenting the Märklin RAK series at HobbyDB, so I decided it was time for an updated Catalog Corner.   Horst wrote about all Märklin auto catalogs from 1935 to 1972 (MAR, No 67, Nov/Dec 1992, p 3374) that he had in his collection, but I will cover only the newer RAK series from 1968 to 1975.

RAK 1968

[Click photos to enlarge.]

Märklin RAK  were mostly German cars from the 1960s and 70s, race cars, sports cars, and sedans.  The casting were very precise and reminded me of their diecast HO train engines of the period.  Most had opening doors and came in various colors.   Not much documentation about the series is available except for an excellent booklet in German (2001) with all the details.  The hardcopy MAR also had a short article about them years ago written by me (MAR, No 39 Extra, 1989)!

The oldest catalog I have is from 1968 (above) when the RAK series was introduced.  The cover shows the #1810 Porsche 910, and it opens from the top.  The 12-p catalog has the older 8000 range of cars and trucks in the back half.  This copy is all in English.  At the back, 1800, 1803 ,and 1811 are listed as coming shortly.   So the  RAK series must not have been introduced in numerical order.  That seems strange to me.  1805 is the lowest number in this first catalog.

Rak 1968-2

The catalog with the 1802 Chaparral 2F on the cover is in German with DM prices but has no date or Märklin part number as the other catalogs do.  Since 1802 is marked Neu (New) inside the catalog, it has to be late 1968.  Half the contents are Mercury model cars from Italy; they were imported by Märklin into Germany at this time.  Soft rubber  tires are shown as in the earlier 1968 catalog.  The catalog is a fan-fold style.

RAK 1969

Then, for 1969, a large ‘psychedelic’ catalog was issued with five abstract speeding cars on the cover.  Dated by the part number on the back, it opens from the top and is also a fan-fold.  Both front and back are shown above. Five models are marked as new this time and my copy is in English. The Hot Wheels revolution has caught up to even Märklin by now and two of the five new cars are shown with hard plastic whizzwheels. The rac name is also used on the cover for the first time, rac with a c!  The old 8000 series of trucks is still shown on the other side.

The 1970 catalog returns to the smaller size of the very first catalog and is in five languages. It is dated by the part number on the back and has the 1815 Porsche 907 on the cover.  The rac name is now spelled rak with a k!   It opens from the left and shows actual photos of five cars to be released in 1970.

Marklin RAK 1971

The 1971 example (above)  is also in five languages but is sized like the Matchbox, Dinky, and Corgi catalogs of the time.  Two cars are on the cover with the large 4-door BMW 2500 crash-landing on top of the Mercedes C111!!! Three models are listed as new for 1971 and are shown with photos again of the actual cars.

Marklin RAK 1972

The 72 catalog that I have is a small tri-fold thing with one side covered with all the models.  The back shows Mercury 1:43 “Märklin -Import”.  My copy is German only and prices in DM.

Marklin RAK 1973

1973 returns to the larger, more-colorful format but is still a tri-fold design.  Sadly no new models are shown.  The inside is a similar matrix design like 72 of all the models, but the other side has a lot of marketing talk in 5 languages:  “The raks of the famous 1800 series are displaying their amazing true-to-life characteristics, their beauty, and their extras!”  Translation at its best! 🙂

Marklin RAK 1974

The next to last one, ’74 (above),  is also a tri-fold but opens the other direction, left-to-right. The exact  same marketing lingo is present.  No new issues are marked.

RAK 1975

And finally, the last catalog from ’75 is a multi-fold poster style with lots of Mercury cars and motorcycles.  All in German and still no new models.

The large Märklin train catalogs from the same years also showed the RAK series.  After 1975, the RAK series disappeared from those catalogs as well.  Some RAK models were reissued over time after 1975, but I have seen no catalogs since the ’75 example above.  If any readers have any other RAK catalogs, please let MAR Online know!


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