Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Resin Revolution – Revolution Models enters the market

This was originally written for the second issue of 'Detail' magazine, but bumped due to inclusion of other articles (to be fair, there were three articles on Revolution model cars...). 
Revolution Models Holden Hurricane and Torana GTR-X

Longtime collectors of Australian diecast cars are aware that compared to just a few years ago, production numbers of 1:18 and 1:43 cars are down considerably and few new castings are appearing. Where the diecast companies routinely churned out 10 thousand plus of any particular casting, that is not the case right now. Production numbers of new releases are often only a few thousand in 1:43 and less than a thousand for 1:18 scale cars. With low numbers like these, the business case for new model tooling isn’t there. Is there a solution?

Yes - there is still a market for new Australian market cars that can be fed by delivering new designs to the collector market place, but it requires the use of a material that has historically been used by model car builders – resin. Technology developed by European and Chinese model companies has recently been adopted by Australian model makers, and now we are seeing small runs of cars being produced that may never be produced in diecast form.
Taking advantage of the skills developed in crafting diecast models, the lower tooling costs for resin models, and the higher quality that resin models can deliver, several new companies have appeared offering limited edition cars, mainly in 1:43 scale, in resin only. Models56 and Trax (with their Select range) have now been joined by a new company with an experienced Australian model maker at its helm – Revolution Models.

Anthony Hanna, a freelance model maker who has been making models of Australian cars for many years, operates Revolution Models. If you own any Trax cars it’s likely that you already own some of his work. The first model he designed was the Dinkum Classics 1:43 VL Walkinshaw Commodore. He has also modelled several cars that have appeared under the Models56 range, but has now struck out on his own producing limited edition, highly detailed resin cars as ‘Revolution Models’.
Revolution Models offer very highly detailed models

Anthony started Revolution Models in late 2010 with the 1:43 Captain Nitrous FJ (reviewed in the last edition of Detail). He sells some cars through the Models56 website and appears at car shows selling his models. He plans to setup a website soon, and is also keen for retail outlets to contact him.  Although Revolution is currently producing limited edition resin 1:43 models, Anthony would like to move into producing diecast cars, but wants distribution through retail outlets before that occurs.

When I asked Anthony if he felt that collectors would appreciate the high quality models, he said that initially collectors find the high price a bit of an issue, however, when they compare the much higher quality that can be achieved through resin, they appreciate the reason and can accept it. The models are marketed as premium items, in quality packaging and with detailed booklets and certificates reflecting that these are very limited edition (around 500 of each) models.
One thing that is certain is that Anthony wants Revolution Models to steer away from mainstream model cars, and offer unique premium models. Revolution are looking for the gaps in the Trax/Biante/Classics range and plan to fill them with small, limited edition high quality models. Anthony indicated that Revolution wasn’t just looking at Australian cars, but also overlooked cars from other parts of the world - especially specials and prototypes. Although these models will be in 1:43, Revolution is also planning to offer truck models in 1:50 scale. 

This is a strategy that just might work. Cars currently in planning are the Tank Fairlane, the Buckle Mini Monaco, the Bristol 603 and one very desired and famous late 60’s Australian racing car – which I cannot reveal – but will definitely buy!

Revolution Models has just released the Torana GTR-X in its mid 80’s paint scheme, the Holden Hurricane in luscious red and a range of Clubsport, GTS and SV99 VT Commodores.

Prices and Production numbers
Torana GTR-X is $90 with only 500 pieces made
Hurricane is $120 with only 500 pieces made
Clubsport, GTS and SV99 Commodores  $85 each with only 100 pieces of each car made

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Detail magazine - issue 2

Issue 2 of Detail magazine is out now. Go here to download or read online.

It is 170 pages of scale model car reviews and industry news. A real team effort, the whole thing is tied together by Matt Hansen. I have quite a few reviews of 1:43 and 1:64  scale cars in this issue, but I just write them and send them in - the editing process is quite time consuming and the finished product is exceptional. I hope you enjoy reading it. 
The reviews I provided for issue 2 of Detail are:
  • 1:64 DDA EH Holden Dragster and EH Holden road car
  • 1:64 Three way Porsche Panamera comparison - Matchbox v Maisto v Siku 
  • 1:43 Revolution Models Holden Hurricane
  • 1:43 Revolution Models Holden Torana GTR-X 
  • 1:43 Revolution Models VT Commodore range
  • 1:43 Models56 FC Holden utility
  • 1:43 Models56 Pete Geoghegan Ford Super Falcon 

See also:
Detail magazine issue 1
Revolution Models VT Commodore range

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hot Wheels Ford Falcon V8 Supercar 2011

Hot Wheels shook up the Australian diecast collector community in 2009 by releasing the classic Ford Falcon XB Coupe. It has become a firm favourite of diecast collectors and members of the general public, and every version (five so far) has been eagerly snapped up. They look set to repeat this sales generating venture again – with a contemporary Australian car. New for 2012 is the Ford Falcon V8 Supercar.

The V8 Supercar racing series is Australia’s premier motor racing competition, with fierce rivalry between the teams, and great interest from motor racing fans. The annual Bathurst 1000 race is a holy day on the Australian sports calendar. Currently there are only two manufacturers with cars in the series – Ford and Holden. That rivalry is fierce.
 Rear view - complete lack of detail
Front view 

 Although the cars look like the road going versions, apart from the fact that they are wearing elaborate wings and body kits and painted in garish team colours and sponsor decals – they are really silhouette racers. Under the body panels are custom designed, controlled chassis and running gear. Apart from the engines and body panels, almost all the cars are identical. These cars are at the peak of racing technology in Australia and can reach speeds of over 300kmh down the famous Conrod Straight at Mt Panorama.

Current releases of V8 Supercars in this scale from Biante and Classic Carlectables have slowed to a trickle recently – reflecting a recent sales slump across the general diecast industry. Investment in a car that may not sell more than a few hundred versions is not good business sense. That Hot Wheels have decided to make this model can only be a positive thing. Although this retails for a few dollars and the other 1:64 V8 Supercars retail closer to the 20 dollar mark (offering far greater detail, accurate liveries and higher quality packaging than the average Hot Wheels car), it may spark greater interest in this scale of cars overall.
 A complete V8 Supercar interior roll cage and seats
The model itself looks like it should – it is a toy racecar with attitude. It comes packaged in the standard Hot Wheels blister pack for 2012, and has snuck into Australian retailers a little early and can be found now. It should be a very popular casting for Hot Wheels with collectors and customisers.

The body casting looks like a generic V8 Ford Falcon supercar, although it sits a little higher than a real one, and has no camber on the wheels at all! The proportions of the body are in typical Hot Wheels fashion, a little exaggerated. The wheel arches are massively larger than they would be on a true scale model of the car. Although they have the proper bonnet bulge, the rear wing is a little small. The B pillars are also a little bigger, and the C pillar a little narrower than they should be. The front windscreen is the biggest inaccuracy on this model – its straight at the bottom, not curved like the real thing. Hot Wheels have moulded in the NACA duct on the roof (for cabin ventilation) but have not added door mirrors. 
 This angle really shows how poor the applied paint is
The same angle, other side, same poor paint issues

The first offering of this model from Hot Wheels is in Ford racing blue, with a bold white racing livery. Ford logos appear on the car several times, as well as a few tiny Hot Wheels logos. It’s a two colour paint job only, with the white paint being laid down over the blue. Its not Hot Wheels finest paint either, with the blue visible through the white paint. There are serious paint issues with this model, and if you bought a 1:43 scale car with the same quality you would return it for a better example. 

Tampo printing is miserly with no detail picked out at all. Headlights, taillights, vents – nothing. All you get with this car is the blue body and white racing stripes and logos. Oddly, there is a slightly different shade of blue used for a wide strip on the bonnet.

The glass is also problematic, while the front and rear windscreens are fine, the side glass does not sit flush. However, that’s only when picked up and examined closely. From a few feet away, it isn’t noticeable, and I’m sure when its racing down the orange track no one will care.
 You can make out the excellent interior and also the very wrong front glass.
The interior is the real surprise with this model. It is in blue plastic and looks to be a fairly reasonable facsimile of the interior of a V8 super car, with elaborate roll cages and bracing in the cabin. You can also see a single drivers seat and a tiny gear stick and steering wheel. When they inevitably use this casting as a taxi, this will look odd. Right now, it looks great, and will no doubt appeal to customisers.

The black plastic base contains a small amount of detail, the most noticeable being the triple exhaust exiting from the passenger side. You can also make out adjustable rear suspension bars! The front part of the base is also used behind the central part of the front bumper to represent the lower radiator area, and looks good, especially as there is no other detail on the front area.

The wheels are a treat, being ten spoke wheels which look like those used on V8 Supercars. They are black plastic 10 spoke wheels, with the spokes picked out in white. This matches the white paint on the body. The wheels roll freely and although far larger than the real cars wheels do suit the casting. 
 Matchbox AU Falcon from a few years back, next to the Hot Wheels Falcon Supercar. 
Rear view - the Matchbox car is far more accurate and of far higher quality.

Although I have been critical in some aspects of this car, it is a casting with great potential. In its first version, Hot Wheels have cemented the fact that it is a Ford racing car, and when flicking through the blister packs on the hangers, it won’t be mistaken for anything else. It is also a casting that has promotional potential. I can see DJR or another racing team ordering many thousands of these as give aways. Customisers will also welcome this model.

The 1:64 scale Hot Wheels Ford Falcon Race Car is available from retailers for around $2.20.

Nice to see another Aussie car in Hot Wheels line up
A casting with potential 

Hot Wheels exaggeration to body proportions
Paint quality is very average

2.5 out of 5 stars

Note: This article was originally written for Detail magazine, but not published. The rating system is for that magazine and not that used by me for this blog. 

See also:

A boy and his toy cars on a sunny spring Canberra day

Revolution VT HSV Commodore - Detail Magazine preview

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Revolution VT HSV Commodore - Detail Magazine preview

As one door closes another one opens, so when I enquired about the publishing date of the latest Detail Magazine (this Sunday) I was told my Hot Wheels FG Falcon Race Car article had been shelved, so I enquired whether there was time for an article on the Revolution VT Commodore range.... there was. I had one day to write that article! I present these images of Revolutions 1:43 resin VT Commodore range as a teaser. There are only 100 of each of these models - if you want one order it quickly as they will be snapped up. No one else will do these cars in this scale again. 

Clubsport, GTS and SV99 Commodores  $85 each with only 100 pieces of each car made
If you would like to place an order, you can contact Revolution Models by email or by phone 07 5522 4741. Revolution are also looking for retail outlets to carry their range. 
See also:
Revolution Models Torana GTR-X and Holden Hurricane
Hot Wheels FG Falcon V8 Supercar (coming soon)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Canberra model vehicle Collectors Club - Nov meeting - Diorama Night

Tonight was the November meeting of the Canberra Model Vehicle Collectors Club, and it was an excellent turnout with over a dozen members - plus two new model collectors who came along (and may join). Held as usual, upstairs at the Eastlake Football Club in Kingston. 
 Its amazing how much time you can spend talking about Dinky restorations
 I took along the latest Revolution Models resin cars - they were the topic of much discussion. these are a series of Commodores - Clubsports, SV99 etc. 
 Dinky restorations
 Screwed baseplate of a repainted Dinky Morris Oxford
 Much neater restoration, with replica rivets used
 The quality of repaints/restos was another very popular discussion theme. 
This months 'theme' was officially 'Dioramas'. Nice use of plastic railway buildings here. The buildings had LED lighting in them, and the Hotel sign had alternate flashing letters. 
 I like this Chrysler a lot. Tomica?
 Star Wars diorama

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Biante, Classic Carlectable, Ixo Ebay auctions

I have just updated my Trax/Biante/Classics 'for sale' and non-Aussie 1:43 diecast  'for sale' pages with seven surplus models from my diecast garage.  

They are:

  • Classic Carlectable Russel Ingall Caltex XR8 Falcon V8 Supercar 2003 Mint. 1:43 $25.00
  • Classic Carlectable Dick Johnson Racing Sep 2000 Qld 500 race with Steven Johnson and Dick Johnson racing together.  V8 Supercar Mint. 1:43 $25.00
  • Biante 888 racing John Bowe Falcon V8 Supercar 2002. Mint. 1:43 $25.00
  • Biante Brad Jones AU XR8 Falcon V8 Supercar 2002. Mint. 1:43 $25.00
  • IXO MG Metro 6R4 WRC racing car 1986 - Mint. 1:43 $20.00
  • IXO Le Mans 1992 3rd place - Peugeot 905 - Mint. 1:43 $20.00
  • IXO Le Mans 1990 Winner Jaguar XJR12 - Mint. 1:43 $20.00

These are also being auctioned on Ebay here. They are $5 per car cheaper direct from this site. 

Matchbox - Toyota Land Cruiser

The 1968 Toyota Land Cruiser has been in the Matchbox lineup since 2009, and I recently reviewed the Lesney Edition version of this casting from the 2011 Lesney Edition range. In this post, I am looking at the regular edition from the 2011 Matchbox line. 
The 2011 regular edition is in an appealing dark metallic blue. The white roof which has been seen on all Matchbox Toyota Land Cruisers, is on this version. The paint is uniformly excellent, with no overspray or flaws. 
The tampo printing has been generously applied to the grille, the headlights and front indicators. The rear has no tampo printing at all, rear taillights are in the blue body colour.  
The casting is a very accurate representation of the short wheelbase Toyota Land Cruiser, and is still a very popular 4WD in Australia. Most Australian versions have a bull bar at the front, but this version is a regular factory version, although the wheels are a bit larger than they would have been in 1968. 
The interior is fairly basic, through the slightly tinted window glass you can see distinct front and rear seats and a crude dashboard. This car has a plastic base and it is unremarkable with little detail, apart from leaf springs and two differentials, indicating it is a 4WD vehicle. The front and rear bumpers are part of the plastic base. 
The packaging is an attractive but simple blister card, featuring the car on the card itself. This 2011 packaging is about to be replaced with a rather more garish packaging,as Matchbox heads back to a 'Hero City' era. 
This car is an attractive little diecast, which at around two dollars is amazingly good value. It has no real flaws, apart from a lack of tampo printing on the rear, but it is quite generous at the front. A quick lick of the paintbrush could quickly add the detail missing, if you so desired. 

Coming soon - Lesney Edition and Regular series '68 Toyota Land Cruiser - comparison. 

The ratings:
Matchbox  1968 Toyota Land Cruiser 
Quality   8
Design    7
Colours   8
X-factor  7

Rating: 30/40

See also:

Lesney Edition v regular series Matchbox Toyota Land Cruiser (soon)