ollowing the market launch of their full-size counterparts, detailed miniatures of the new Mercedes M-Class and B-Class have become the latest additions to the Mercedes-Benz Collection.
The efficient off-roader and the compact sports tourer are available with immediate effect as high-grade miniatures in scale 1:87, 1:43 and 1:18. Developed in collaboration with renowned manufacturers Busch, Herpa, Minichamps and Norev, these collectors’ models are being sold through Mercedes-Benz outlets, Mercedes-Benz dealerships, the Mercedes-Benz Museum and the online shop.
As is customary for the Mercedes-Benz Collection, a huge amount of emphasis was placed on authenticity. It’s why the model cars are available in many of the original paintwork colours and with popular special equipment features such as ILS headlamps and panoramic roofs. The miniatures in scale 1:43 and 1:18 even have the same interior trims as their full-size equivalents. Brown burr walnut or the honeycomb and matrix looks are the trim options for the B-Class, while aluminium, poplar anthracite or brown ash are used in the M-Class, depending on its paintwork colour.
The front doors and tailgate and the bonnet and boot lid of the 1:18 models can be opened. Their interiors and boots are flocked, and the rear seat bench can be folded forward in the B-Class model.
All model cars in the Mercedes-Benz Collection come in Mercedes-Benz designer packaging. A screwdriver is even enclosed with the 1:18 scale models, allowing the model to be removed from its screw-fastened packaging with the minimum of fuss.
Collectors’ items: Mercedes miniatures down to the last detail
Since the invention of the automobile, Mercedes-Benz has built its vehicles out of conviction and passion. Such is the extent of this passion that even the miniature vehicles bearing the three-pointed star are produced with enormous attention to detail – so much so that they even stand up to comparison with their full-size counterparts. As soon as you see a new Mercedes-Benz on the road, you can be sure that a miniature version – available in a range of colours and scales – will be waiting for enthusiasts at Mercedes-Benz outlets.
But before that stage is reached, much work has to be done. After all, behind every miniature is a story of engineering excellence, creativity and precision craftsmanship – just as for the real thing. Before any actual work on the miniature begins, the developers first turn their attention to the original, using state-of-the-art CAD technology to precisely map the basic shape and size. This digitalised design data constitutes the DNA of a genuine Mercedes-Benz. Modelling specialists then modify and process this information for use on a smaller scale. Only then can the exact configuration of the model car begin. Certain special equipment features are also replicated from the real-life originals – from the engine and the interior trim to the choice of alloy wheels.
Shot after shot: 800 photos for maximum authenticity
A detailed photo of the door hinge is just as important in the overall scheme as one of the cockpit controls and the texture of the leather-upholstered seats. In a painstaking process, the modelling experts integrate the countless individual photos of the genuine article into the CAD data and use them for a final comparison with the original. It can take up to three months to go through this development process and to achieve the aim of getting as close to the original as possible. Extremely ambitious considering that a finished model car in scale 1:18 is made up of up 120 individual parts.
Benchmark brand design: the first working model
Design plays a key role at Mercedes-Benz. And it’s no different for its miniature masterpieces. The model should be more than simply a ‘dinky’ version of the original. It should reflect the emotional appeal of the brand. At the Sindelfingen design studios, product managers and specialists work hand in hand to bring the same appeal to the first working model. Meticulous checks are made to key elements for the overall look such as the light-catching contours. The proportions of the individual components, right down to the windscreen wipers and exterior mirrors, must correspond exactly to the size of the vehicle.
Once the design is perfect, work begins on the moving parts. The boot lid, bonnet and doors all have to open and close in the same way as the original. Even the tiniest discrepancy is picked up on and corrected at this stage. Meticulous hand-craftsmanship is called for. The modellers smooth, file and cut away until the new working prototype made out of synthetic resin meets the demanding Mercedes-Benz standards, ready for the sample to be approved by the vehicle designers.
It can take up to four months to develop the first working model – another three to four months is invested in the ‘first shot’, the initial, unpainted metal model. Only now is the miniature ready for series production.
The best or nothing – no compromises in colour
The paintwork of the models should be virtually a 100 per cent match to the original. This is achieved in a number of stages. First, a colour chart corresponding to the exact shade of the production vehicle is analysed and the paint remixed. Several complex comparisons are carried out to verify how close it comes to the original. The miniature vehicle body then enters the firing chamber, just as its full-size counterpart would. At the end, the model is covered by three coats of paint. The light-catching contours gleam with perfection – and the Mercedes miniature is ready to step out from the shadows of its real-life counterpart.
Source: Daimler AG