Holiday Model Cars Under This Year’s Tree

15 Dec 2009 | 4,044 views | No Comment
It’s gift giving time again, and model car makers have a bunch of models, old and new, that may find a a home under many a holiday tree this year. And of course, many of the models we reviewed were all done up in shiny red paint—what else would you expect in December? plymouth-gtx Our first stop on our holiday rounds is Danbury Mint, maker of some of the finest 1:24 model cars and trucks in the country. Their contribution this month is a gorgeous 1967 Plymouth GTX Hardtop done up in fire engine red.  Model collectors in the know will tell you that replicas of 1966 and 1967 Plymouth intermediates are basically non-existent in 1:24 scale, and fortunately, this one is a winner. It is impossible to imagine anyone doing any better with this car than Danbury. Even the pattern of the fabric on the floor ofothe trunk is a ringer for the real thing, and all of the emblems are intricately replicated as well. The shape of the exhaust outlets, the underbody detail, and of course, every wire, label, hose and decal of the car are absolutely perfect. The car sits nicely on its wheels; neither the front end or the rear is either too low to or too high above the ground, and all the body proportions are just right. The only flaw?  It’s a common on for model makers.  Back in those days, the underside of bodies of Mopar products were all oversprayed with the paint color of the car itself, and as far as I can tell, the GTX falls short in this one area. dodge-charger Other than that, this is a car that you absolutely don’t want to miss for your collection.  Are you listening, Santa? Silver Bells” is a holiday favorite, and there is a 1966 Dodge Charger, complete with revolving headlights, all done up in silver by Danbury Mint. Everything’s here—those beautiful, chrome backed rear seats that fold down, the long, slender gearshift, the ribbed vinyl seats with the little silver emblems implanted in them, and the chrome beladen dash with five round gauges in the center. It’s all replicated well; no faults here. And how about the texture of the carpeted doors and the carpeting on the floor.  Perfecto! It’s also got some cool details like an opening console between the bucket seats, the fold-flat bench seat, tiny silver buckles on the seat belts, and tiny white print on black engine hoses along with battery cables and every label and decal that you can think of under the hood. A few cautionary notes are in order here. First, be careful when you are handling this model because there’s lot of delicate “chrome” adorning the body surfaces and tops of the fenders. And don’t be too ham-handed with those folding lights, either. I’d frankly put them in one position or the other and simply leave them alone. Again, the only fault I could find was that the overspray on the underside of the car wasn’t done, and as a taste matter, I would have preferred whitewalls and the standard spinner hubcaps to the magnum wheels provided on the model. Our next stop on our model car Christmas shopping excursion is the BBurago model company, which is now part of Maisto.  This company has taken on increasing importance because it is one of the few that offers affordable models that also look accurate and well done. Everything we tested for this article was done in Christmas red. audi-rs4 First up was a particularly well done model of Audi’s RS4 high performance sedan; I feel fairly certain in saying this is probably the only one of these in 1:24 scale that you will find out there. All proportions and character lines on this car are exactly as they should be. Of course, you’ll see some economies of scale here: Exhaust tips that are painted in the center, road wheels that don’t look quite accurate in terms of finish, and an engine plate that, though reasonably well detailed, is still simply an engine plate. And although many details on the car are terrific, remember that you are buying an inexpensive model that may not have all the expensive detail found in other model cars. Still, this is another rare care to be found at hobby shops, and it’s nice to have to fill in spaces in your Audi collection. It’s certainly well done for the price, and is quite attractive to have on display. And when you consider the price, it’s a real steal.  Like most products from BBurago and Maisto, the prices will vary quite wildly, but I’d be surprised if you had to spend more than $8 to $10 on this Audi piece or on the next car that I review. mazda-miata If you don’t want to have a “Blue Christmas,” Check out BBurago’s  Mazda MX5 model, all done up in a metallic blue shade. This is a model of the most recent generation of the MX5, but I’m not certain what year this particular car is designed to replicate. But for many folks, including myself, the year doesn’t matter; it’s a MX5, one of my favorite cars! The paint is particularly glossy on this car, and does resemble one of the shades I’ve seen in Mazda catalogs.  The interior pattern is a correct one, and you can feel the grain on the seats; a nice touch. There’s a nicely done instrument panel, but none of the knobs and buttons are “called out” through the use of trim, paint or insignias, so it’s a bit tough to see what buttons go where and for what purpose.  The steering wheel has the familiar flying vee emblem that Mazda uses, and grilles for the audio system can be plainly seen. There are a good number of Mazda MX5 models around, mostly in kit form, but I still think that given the times we live in today, you can never have enough well-done, inexpensive “built” models like this one for budget-challenged shoppers. alfa-romeo Now comes the piece de resistance for the BBurago collection this month: a 1:18 scale model of the Alfa 8C Competizione, a rare, absolutely magnificent automobile that I’m sure we will hear more about Fiat, owner of Alfa-Romeo, becomes an important factor in the U.S. market. This model, as for the real car, is exquisitely done, and completely belies the fact that it can be had at quite reasonable prices at “big box”stores and hobby shops.  From stem to stern, you’ll see beautifully done seats, curvaceous, well replicated body and road wheels, and tires that look exactly like the ones on the real car.  A beautiful Alfa emblem graces the well-detailed power plant, with wires, hoses, and engine components all where they are supposed to be. The dashboard is beautifully done and is as much a work of art as on the real car. The line forms to the left on this one; given the stratospheric price of the real car—somewhere in the $200,000s as I recall—this is about as close as most of us will get to the real car.

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