News Nr. 9 – May 2010
Here it is finally, the latest Mercedes-Benz W196R version, made by Spark. It is the model of the streamlined winner of the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio.

As we have come to expect from Spark, their 1:43 resin scale model is perfect, right down to the accuracy and finish of the smallest details. Available under the Spark order number S 1356; it should be waiting for you at your neighborhood scale model dealer very soon now! The price is not known at time of writing, but should be in line with the prices of similar W196 GP cars offered by Spark previously.

M.A. scale models…
A name probably unknown to most of you, M.A. models was started by Mike Arensdorf way back in 1978. By 2002 his product line had grown to 434 scale models, all of them in 1:43 scale. His production essentially consists of NASCAR cars, IMSA cars, CANAM cars and other sports cars having raced in the USA. Luckily for us, there are three Mercedes cars in Mike’s production line-up, which he’ll make to order:

Mod-263: the 1908 Mercedes G.P. car, with the starting Nr. 35, driven by Christian Lautenschlager, which won the French Grand Prix (Grand Prix de l’ACF) of that year in Dieppe. Or you may choose the car Nr. 19 (Otto Salzer), or the car Nr. 2 (Willy Pöge). Apart from the numbers, all three cars are identical, yet this way, you can recreate the complete line-up of Mercedes cars, which started the race in Dieppe. In its assembled, finished version, the white-metal model is priced at US$ 160 (+S&H).

Mod-81: the 1915 Mercedes 115 PS G.P. car (in fact a 1914 G.P. type car), with the starting number 2, winner of the Indy 500 race in that year, and driven by Ralph de Palma. The price: US$ 170 (+ S&H). On this 1:43 white-metal model, some details, as well as the radiator grille, are decals, not photoetched pieces, as we might expect nowadays.

Mod-400: this is the famous Mercedes-Benz SSKL, #87, winner of the Mille Miglia of 1931, driven to victory by the team Caracciola-Sebastian. This 1:43 white-metal model is priced at US$ 185 (+ S&H). On this model too, some detailing is provided courtesy of decals. All in all, these are three interesting and historical models to complete our collections, two of which are in fact quite rare. You may place your order with Mike Arensdorf, at M.A. Scale Models; 3074 Gibraltar Avenue; Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA, or you may email him:; phone him: (714) 641 1453; or fax him at: (714) 435 0833. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. No PayPal.

SAFAM / Argus de la Miniature
The same year 1978 saw the birth of the SAFAM Ltd in Le Pecq (near Versailles), a suburb of Paris. The SAFAM was founded by Etienne Flament, who started a magazine – available in French only – called “Argus de la Miniature”, dedicated to new and obsolete scale models alike, mainly of 1:43 scale, and mostly models of French manufacturers.

Besides introducing the latest releases, E. Flament started listing the productions of various large producers, such as Dinky Toys France, Dinky Toys GB, Solido, Norev, later on Tekno, Märklin, Schuco, Vitesse, Mercury, to name only a few of the largest ones, and also the models of small artisans, such as Dubray, Evrat, Gaffe, etc… Flament’s purpose was and still is to list all known and sometimes unknown colours and other variants of each model and car brand produced, and to establish a fair and not a wildly exaggerated value or price, for each model and each model’s condition. These lists are mainly published as special issues of his magazine, and updated from time to time. Over the years, scales other that 1:43, including 1:87, have found their place in his publication as well.

Besides his Argus de la Miniature, his SAFAM is also involved in the mail order sale of various and sometimes unusual models, at a down to earth price. In this regard, it might be of interest to take a weekly look at his website (French only, but one can always understand pictures and prices, n’est-ce pas?): Once you are on the page, find “catégories” on the right-hand side and click on “Mercedes-Benz”, and look at the models on offer. At the bottom of the page, click on “entrées précédentes” for the “previous” pages, or on “entrées suivantes” for “next”. The supply of models is always limited, thus it is useful to contact Mr.Flament (in English or French) at: in order to find out the availability of the desired model, or by phone at: +33 (0)139 76 45 15.

Just for interest, recently SAFAM advertised among many others a SIKU model, die-cast, of a Mercedes-Benz L408 in the livery of a US Postal service delivery van – did the USPS ever drive or even test drive Mercedes-Benz vans?? – which was priced at 15€. A rare 1:43 (app.) Dinky-Toys GB #237 Mercedes W196 streamline – die-cast with plastic rims – is being offered for 72€. As for a mint and boxed Mercedes-Benz L319 in 1:87, made by Brekina, in the livery of “Canadian Pacific Airlines”, it is listed for 12€. And on it goes! (All pictures courtesy of SAFAM)

In the last issue of the News I wrote that Stanislav Kiriletz’s book “The automobiles of the Russian Imperial Army” had been officially coauthored by a Lieutenant-Colonel (ret.) of the Russian Army, but not factually so. Since then, I have been told by Stanislav, that Lt.-Col. Gennady Kaninskij in fact did indeed contribute very much to the successful making of the book, in particular regarding the structure of the motorized troops, also in regards to the biographies of the military personalities involved, and many other aspects of the book. My apologies to both Stanislav Kiriletz and to Lt.-Col. Kaninskij.

Until next time, keep your eyes straight on the road and your “paws” firmly on the wheel!

Author Bernd D. Loosen