Featured modelmaker: Brumm

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Marcus Nicholls looks at an Italian specialist from the Lake Como region

No, this model company isn’t based in Birmingham, but in Oltrona di San Mamette, south-west of Lake Como, Italy. It makes collectible diecast metal car replicas of various subjects (almost exclusively produced in 1:43 scale), but perhaps most notably Ferrari and Fiat. 

Brumm was founded in 1972 by Reno Tattarletti, with the help of a couple of associates who had already been making miniature horse-drawn carriages; the name Brumm was derived from the Italian pronuncitaion of Brougham – the name given to the old style of car design that had the driver seated outsde the cabin in the way of a horsedrawn carriage.

In 1976, the Old Fire series followed and then came the Revival car range. The Old Fire series at first focused on steam fire engines and other pre-internal combustion vehicles, such as Richard Trevithick’s 1803 steam carriage. They were produced in detailed plastic similar to Minialuxe of France and some of German manufacturer Cursor Models’ products. The Revival models were produced in ‘zamac’ – an alloy of zinc, aluminium, magnesium and copper. First in the series was the classic Morgan three-wheeler, which no one had ever previously produced in miniature.

Brumm models were advertised as “not toys and unsuitable for children”, a fact emphasised on packaging that recommends they are intended only for ages 14  and up. As with manufacturers RIO and Dugu, many Brumm models were offered in top-up or top-down versions and these were offered in distinct colours. Unlike rival RIO, however, Brumm rarely added opening features to its models and RIO thus seemed to offer better value. RIO chassis were better detailed, too, and at times Brumm paint applications could be rather too thick.

Later, Brumm focused on period racing vehicles. Brumm’s models expanded to 1930s and 1950s race cars, accurately replicating the originals down to varied numbering, striping and national colour schemes to capture a particular driver or event. Early Fiats, Ferraris and Alfa Romeos were common, but German and British cars also featured in the line-up. For example, its 1938 Mercedes W125 Grand Prix car accurately portrayed all kinds of intricate details, including tiny rear-view mirror, low-profile windscreen, suspension detail, authentic-looking wire wheels and brown ‘leather’ hood strap.

Brumm has continued to create excellent models of racing cars, one of its most stunning being a rendition of the 1982 Ferrari 126 C2 that is available with either Gilles Villeneuve or Didier Pironi driver figures.

The 126 C2 features full underbody detailing including engine, radiators and more. The body parts come with pit-props for display alongside the chassis.

Other machinery in the current range includes the 1969 Fiat Multipla 600D that took part in the  Overland Australia expedition and a brace of Jim Clark Lotuses, 25 and 33, as a special 50th Anniversary collector’s edition.