As in every walk of life, the modelling world is fragmented into several special interest groups. On the one hand there are the white metal model manufacturers and retailers whose products are quite expensive and appeal to one kind of enthusiast; on the other there are the cheaper, larger-scale plastic kits which have a wider appeal. One aspect of the miniature world which is often overlooked and regarded rather disdainfully by the rest of the model car market is that of the manufactured scale model. As a layman, one tends to think of the Corgi and Dinky toys, but the products of this particular hobby have been taken to a higher plane altogether by foreign manufacturers.
One of the leading importers of these models is Modeltime Ltd of Croydon, which deals in such makes as Brurnm, Rex, Revival, Conrad, Onyx, Vitesse and Box. The latter, for example, is the Italian manufacturer of 1/43rd-scale models which produces a range of sports cars of the Sixties and Seventies. Naturally Ferraris figure prominently, with racing versions such as the newly released P2 illustrated, accounting for a high percentage. Although Brunun is Italian as well , its range is more catholic both in marques represented and periods covered. Models being released in January, and which can be seen at the Toy Fair at Earls Court between January 28 and February 1, are four new versions of the Ferrari 512 as raced in 1970 and 1971. Other Ferrari models expected include four Ferraris raced in 1966: the Piper/Attwood P2/3 prototype as raced in South Africa; the NART Daytona entry, the Ecurie Francorchamps P3 and the 412P as driven by Attwood and Courage at Le Mans. Only 5000 of these models are being manufactured, with 1080 destined for the UK.
For Formula One buffs,Vitesse has formed a new company and launched a range of Grand Prix cars under the Onyx name. Released in December and selling for £6.96 each, the range so far consists of four cars raced in 1988 but in 12 different guises. For example, McLarens are available with either Prost’s or Senna’s name, and with or without the Marlboro logo. The three other cars are Ferrari, Lotus and Benetton.
One of the most praiseworthy range of cars is the 1/20th-scale Revival series which, priced at between £45 and £111, are a great deal more expensive. As the manufactuer’s name implies, the cars tend to be more historic than contemporary, but no less desirable for being so. Being yet another Italian manufacturer, Alfa Romeo and early Ferraris tend to predominate, but, who will begrudge that?
Nuvolari’s P3 will cost just under £60 in kit form or £91 made up. Other models include the 1953 Ferrari 500, various Bugattis, the W163 Mercedes-Benz, and the 1936/37 16-cylinder Auto-Union and lovely type 159 Alfa Romeo. One can spend hours on Modeltime’s premises browsing through the stock, but unfortunately, as they are wholesalers only, the general public are not admitted. There are, however, specialist stockists of all these high-quality collectors’ models across the country. WPK