Below we like to present you the December newsletter of the Mercedes-Benz Modellauto Club (MBMC). This newsletter is very exclusive and hardly anyone knows him.

sprinter

News Nr.17 – December 2009
And I had already thought that this was it for the year! Well, no, surprise, surprise: from NEO (Replicars Bv) in the Netherlands, comes this 1:43 scale Dutch Mercedes-Benz Sprinter ambulance, still in time to make a nice Christmas gift for someone on your list – or for yourself for that matter.

sprinter_1

I can’t help it, but there is an irony to it: eat too much turkey (or goose, or duck, or lobster, or roast, or whatever, depending on your traditions) for the holidays, and you may end up inside such an ambulance! What a concept: a nice gift and a gentle warning at the same time…..and all that for a mere 52.50 € (plus S&H) for MBMC-members only, provided however, you order from our Dutch MBMC-member Benno Stenvers. Note that the regular “manufacturer suggested retail price” is 70 to 74 €. So 52.50€ is a very nicely discounted price! Incidentally, the model is also limited to 150 pieces.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The last 1:43 scale model of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, as seen in a James Bond movie, was a W126 S-Class sedan, a model, which I had mentioned in the Nr.5/2009 issue of the NEWS. Once more, we have a new Mercedes die-cast model released in this series of press models issued by the Italian publishers Fabbri: the Mercedes-Benz 220S (W111) “fintail” from the movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. An interesting model, with a driver, three passengers and 4 pairs of skis on the roof-rack. Generally speaking, the models from this series are…OK.

majesty

They are essentially made for the fans of the 007 movies, not exactly for model collectors. Therefore, we cannot and should not expect the degree of accuracy we demand from other press models like those released by Altaya for example, yet these “007-models” are, in a “cute” sort of way, a nice and inexpensive addition to our collections – we all have worse ones hidden away! Available through e-bay sellers, the price for this 220S ranges from US$15 to US$ 34.99 (plus S&H) – whereby I find US$ 34.99 quite a bit too high.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Speaking of movies, I’m reminded here of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”… Well, we’ve just looked at the “Good” (the Sprinter ambulance by NEO), the – really not all that – “Bad”, now let’s have a look at the “Ugly”! There lives in Moscow a model maker who goes by the name of “Master 43”. For years, he made 1:43 models, and among them, all kind of classical and pre-war Mercedes-Benz cars, some of them actually quite remarkable even though the models had faults, for lack of proper documentation I suppose. His models were highly prized and you could only find them if you had connections, and pricey they were as well.

MB_L_3-4

He recently finished two 1:43 resin models of the Mercedes-Benz L¾ of 1928 vintage, one being an open canvas top 11 seat “sight-seeing car”, the other one an 11 seat hotel-bus. Visibly, these two models were heavily “inspired” by the L1000 produced by PremiumClassiXXs.

MB_1-43

I know our members in Moscow will not accept any criticism of a fellow countryman’s products, but these two models are the worst I’ve seen coming out of Russia, the Ukraine or Belarus in over 20 years. Quality like this was acceptable maybe 20, 25 years ago, but not in 2009, particularly not for the prices asked by the dealers selling them on e-bay: believe it or not, the open sight-seeing car is being offered for US $250.95, and the hotel-bus for US$259.99 (+S&H in each case of course).

MB_1-43_1

It does not matter that supposedly only 10 pieces of one and 5 of the other were made, the price of these models, handmade or not, ought to be in the US$50 range each – and I’m generous here!! Lack of detailing, few and crude small pieces, uneven assembly and finish… no wonder our “Master” carefully omitted to put any Mercedes star on his two unlicensed models.

As P.T. Barnum famously said: “There is one [sucker] born every minute”…unfortunately, that’s what some people can always count on.

Amen!
Recently I discovered two different “Popemobiles” advertised on e-bay. Of unknown origin (to me), these two 1:43 scale resin models may, or may not be from the same manufacturer. One model represents Pope John-Paul II in a Mercedes-Benz G-Class “Popemobile”; whereas the other model represents John-Paul II in a Mercedes-Benz ML-Class “Popemobile”. Both were being offered for US$ 99.99 each (+S&H).

pope

I cannot say anything about their quality, but sight unseen, I’m pretty confident that the G-Class “Popemobile” made in 3 versions by Spark is qualitatively better!

pope_1

Anyway, whenever I see a “Popemobile” with a mini-Pope blessing the invisible crowds, I find it weird, when there is no driver in the model. After all, when the Pope blesses the crowds from his car, he is in motion, being driven, no? All in all, I think the miniature “Popemobile” subject has now been amply covered. Let’s put it to rest. Amen!

Finally, my thanks to NEO for the pictures of their Dutch “Sprinter” ambulance.

Author: Bernd D. Loosen