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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date
1-22-06
VIEW ARCHIVE
 
 


GMP 1/18 1993 Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible
GMP 1/18 Car Wash Set Figurines
Isolde 1/18 Fast Women Figurines
Auto art 1/18 Mazda 787B LM

 

GMP 1/18 1993 Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible AUTOart Mazda 787B
 
     
 
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley
 

Someone told me that there's more to life than fast women and fast cars. Well, this week at least, they are wrong.
 

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  GMP 1/18 1993 Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible

The great thing about collecting Mustang scale models is that there are all sorts of variants. You have Cobras, Shelbys, Boss, Mach 1’s etc. Since it’s inception in 1964, cars associated with “Mustang” have spent life somewhere between feared muscle car and playful sport-runabout. In 1993, the last of the “Fox-Body” Mustangs rolled off the line, and two featured variants were the Cobra SVT and the 5.0 LX convertible. The 5.0 LX, available in “Vibrant White” or “Canary Yellow” was a fitting end of the line for the Fox-body era, straddling both the sport and muscle car heritage.

The GMP model of the LX is a performance jewel. Taking it out of the box, the screaming Canary Yellow paint just grabs your eyes. Put this car in any curio cabinet of Mustangs and it will stand out as individually as a Redskins fan in Texas stadium. The paint is smooth, glossy and evenly applied. Plastic parts like the spoiler show slight variation but nothing that detracts from the overall tweety-bird on steroids yellow.

Pop the hood on this baby and you’ll find out why Ford proudly put 5.0 in chrome badging on the side of the model. The 5.0 V-8 engine and compartment is fabulously detailed, not only in terms of plug wires, engine block, rubber belts, metal clamps and accurate hoses, but also in terms of emblems, stickers and fluid caps. The embossed lettering warning CAUTION FAN on the fan guard is way cool, but might be exceeded in “gee-whiz” factor by the micro Motorcraft logo/product sticker on the air intake. The photo etched intake manifold is also nicely done. There is a usable hood prop, but it doesn’t need to be utilized in order to keep the hood up and gawk over the engine.

The bodywork including trim, molding and badges on the doors and quarter-panels are crisp and accurate. Fit and finish are pretty good, understanding that a shut line or mold joint in any model with a flaming yellow paint job like this is going to be noticeable. GMP has developed a magnetic door closer that actually helps with this, and over the long term should reduce sag due to fatigue. Whatbver the reason, it sure makes the doors snap shut with authority. If, other then the paint, the body seems a little plain jane, don’t blame GMP for this – the Fox-body Mustangs just aren’t aerodynamic works of art but functional, torque wrenching road eaters. Lighting (both front and back) is well done with nary a mounting post in sight. Open the carpeted trunk, with accurate hinges and you’ll find the metal aerial for the radio to use at your discretion.

Flip the car over and discover a chassis that is richly detailed. From exhaust lines to suspension the intricate parts are carefully layered in. The suspension (front and rear) works though I would not bounce it like a toy, a gentle touch will do nicely. The steering is fully functional. The wheels are special highly polished five point chrome supporting plain tires and feature the mustang logo in the center.

Possibly no other model maker pays attention to the interior of their street models as GMP. In the Ford Fairlane models, there are windows that actually roll up and down. Here the brand new innovation is retractable seatbelts that are at once nifty and painful (the painful part coming from bad memories about trying to climb into the backseat of one of these things under the seatbelt. The center storage console opens, the handbrake is operational and the sun visors are posable. The car was also known for the traditional Mustang running horse emblem engraved in the front headrests accurately replicated here. The model comes with an optional hard top, and while you appreciate that you have it, like most convertibles it looks quite dowdy with it on. With an interior as sweet as this one, here’s betting you’ll display it using the realistic vinyl boot instead.

Other than really minor quibbles (if you can make a center console that opens, why not a gas cap?) there is a lot to like about this model. In fact, this model serves notice that no other manufacturer today consistently builds street cars to the quality established by GMP. And they aren’t resting on their laurels either. The attention to detail on the engine, the exterior and particularly the interior shows that GMP is bent on keeping ahead of the pack when it comes to American made marques. If you are a Mustang collector – or a blue oval nut – at a limited edition of 1,750, this model is a must have.

Legacy Motors stocks the GMP 1993 Mustang LX 5.0.
 

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  AUTOart Mazda 787B

By the 1980’s, the Japanese had established themselves as the world’s up and coming automakers by consistently making cars with better quality at a lower price than the more established automakers in Europe and the USA. The only thing the Japanese automakers lacked was the patina of world-class race performance. To appeal to a new customer – the sports and luxury car buyer – the Japanese automakers set out to capture the one of the premier events in motor sport: the 24 hours of Le Mans. In the space of ten years three of Japan’s automakers had competed in the 24 hours, notably: the Nissan R390 and 89C, the Toyota GT-1 and 88C. The single most successful entry was the Mazda 787B. Rotary powered, it was the overall winner in 1991 featuring a team led in part by Johnny Herbert at the wheel.

Thus the 787B is a fine subject then for the premiere of Auto art’s new Signature line that retails just north of $120 or so per model. It’s a good thing I waited on my weighing in on “Model of the Year” polls because this model is a strong candidate.

Let’s start with the packaging. Collectors who received the Auto art Bugatti models will be familiar with this packaging, which consitsts of three laters: a white bakers box covers a faux parchment cardboard inner sleeve that in turn wraps a foam coffin holding the model nice and secure. No screws or straps to fool with. Other accoutrements include a polishing cloth and a magnifying glass (not a plastic magnifier.) Also packaged separately are the aerials for the radio and the front brake ventilators.

The model itself is one gorgeous hunk. Shape and stance are dead on – if it was any lower to the ground it would be on it. This is one of the more famous liveries in Le Mans history and Auto art, always reliably good with their paint, using brilliant fluorescent orange and forest green. Every decal has been accurately replicated and crisply done in tampon graphics.

Everywhere on this model the detail is astounding and you only need to look at the front bonnet to begin to appreciate it. Not only is the lighting well done, but the headlight coverlets are mounted with four individual rivets. Screens are artfully done and the vents on top of the front wheel wells are cut in. Underneath all this detail find accurately portrayed brake ventilation hoses and fully functional suspension. The main radiator is replicated using some soft, fabric-like material and feels like the real thing. Looking underneath the bonnet piece you appreciate the fine mesh used for the radiator screen and the carbon fiber textured front- end.

The cockpit area ups the quality ante that much more. Look at the clips holding the windscreen in place or the amazing ventilation systems cut into the side panels. Lift the doors (again, featuring real rivets, not just painted silver dots) and view the cockpit. There is much detail here and it’s more than a little hard to see since the driver is forward/center in the vehicle. But every button, switch and pedal seems accurately replicated, the gauges are even glass covered, but the harness, while deftly done in rugged red fabric seems a bit out of control (see pictures). But when you see even little things like the rubber window guards riveted underneath the side windows on the inside, it’s hard to get to wound up over an easily remedied issue. On top of the cockpit are the optional aerials and even a neatly detailed camera.

The rear of the model is continues the wow parade. Rather than do another laundry list of features, assume every vent, screen and graphic is done to the nth degree. What’s fascinating are details like the photo-etched wicker bills on the boot and spoiler. While the rear wing is plastic, the supporting structure and detail (again, genuine rivets) are done in with metal parts.

One reason to have this model is the unique engine configuration, being the high performance R 26B rotary engine (subsequently outlawed by the FISA). The engine is normally aspirated and had four rotors with three sequential spark plugs per rotor. It produced 700 bhp at 9000 rpm and 448 lb-ft torque, meaning it came off of Arnage like an angel launched from hell itself. The engine was dominant: the 787B won Lemans by 28 miles. Using this unique power plant, Mazda not only proved it could be as fast as every other automaker, it had better reliability too. Mazda cars have finished 67 % of the times it has entered (31 cars), the highest reliability of any maker, except Honda, who entered only one year (3 cars) and all 3 finished.

The legendary power plant is reconstructed here in glorious detail using mixed media like real tubing, metals, rubber and plastic. Grab that magnifying glass and you can trace the incredibly complicated fuel, oil, air and cooling delivery systems. I’m not an expert when it comes to verifying accuracy of a rotary engine but to my eye this model’s engine looks as complete and deliciously detailed as any Le Mans racer I’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of museum-type quality that can give you hours of enjoyment.

The tires/wheel brakes are remarkable, featuring properly sized and scuffed Dunlop slicks (notice the front tires are slightly smaller then the rear set). One wishes there was a tire removal system so you could get an even better look at the brakes. But as it is, notable details include valve stems, rivets, chrome rims and gold MRG wheels.

I’m thoroughly impressed with Auto art’s first foray into the world of $100+ models. The level of detail and care is immense and ironically allows Auto art to reclaim the mantle of “best value” model maker. The results compare favorably to any Lemans model at or near the price point. My only complaints about the model are some rather fragile characteristics: such as the locking pins that attach the boot and bonnet to the chassis. While these are authentically re-created in steel, they have trouble actually locking and often jump out of place at the slightest touch. Reinforcing the frail issue was the fact that I received two models and it’s a good thing I did, since one came with the wicker bill off of the spoiler and the decal that functions as the rear view mirror actually attached to the certificate that comes with the model. Another came with a rear view mirror rattling around in the box.

But I’ll chalk all of the models delicate fabrication issues up to first time folly. The model is spectacular and Auto art tends to get these kind of details right in the long run. This is good news for us collectors and maybe a bit ominous to other model makers.

 

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  Figurine Sets

GMP 1/18 Car Wash Set Figurines
Isolde 1/18 Fast Women Figurines


Wife “I think I get the reason why you play with toy cars.”
“Precision models” I correct her.
“But dolls? You’ve got dolls now?”
“Diorama figurines.”
“Oh…well, tonight I’m going out with the girls and you’ll need to make your own dinner. There are hamburgers in the refrigerator.”
“You mean chopped steak”.
“Argh!” Door slam.

OK, well the advent of 1:18 diorama figurines is welcome in my book, but it’s not for everyone. Outside of some limited run race figurines from Exoto, the main diorama supplies for 1:18 scale collectors has been GMP with various garage, lift, tire and trailer kits. Last year these were supplemented by a garage kit featuring a whole family of mechanics including the dog. This year, GMP introduced the same type of kit, only this time on a car wash theme. They doubled the number of women but the bad news is there isn’t a dog this time. But hey, there is a shop vac.

The figures are high quality cold cast resin with really good detail. Look at the facial expressions and little things – like the tennis shoes worn by the guy cleaning the wheels in the photo. The figurines are not so literal that they look ridiculous – instead it’s sort of like a quality cartoon brought to life. There are some limitations – the guy holding the buffer needs a model at just the right height or it looks like he’s buffing air. And keep him away from the girl in hot pants working the sponge, or he might look like he’s boffing when he should be buffing. The car wash set will look somewhat odd if posed with a Mclaren F1 instead of a daily driver or a piece of classic American iron.

Compare the pictures of the Mustang on the review above with the diorama figures and without. See how much more animated the pictures with the diorama figures look? It really does add a human touch and can also spice up that model that’s getting a little long in the tooth in your cabinet. And you don’t have to use them all on one model – you can spread them out and have some fun.

For what the GMP Car Wash set will run you for six figurines (about $40) you can instead buy 3 or 4 Fast Women over the internet. I’m talking about the 1/18 version, not the chat room bot. There are 50 in the series and while I could name each of the new ones it really doesn’t matter. Let’s just say one is named Luscious and the naming conventions go on accordingly.

While the GMP women and men look to be from some nice church or civic group, the women from Fast Women look as intended: fast and cheap. While the detail on the GMP pieces is stunning, more often than not the Fast Women just look plain stunned. Or have that “Is that a model of a Land Speed Record car in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” look on their faces. If it’s all in the shoes, compare the painted heels (and they all have heels) to the car wash guy we spoke about a few sentences ago. I won’t argue that she’s got better legs (though personally I like women with a lot more thigh than these women have). But hey, with the right car model, these look right at home – or at least right outside the hotel. It’s all good. Bring on Cora Shumacher.

Legacy Motors carries GMP's 1:18 Car Wash Set Figurines.


If you are a manufacturer and would like to get your models featured in First Peek write me directly at rhurley@mn.rr.com.
 

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Allegedly we will have a new Exoto to share "momentarily"

 
     

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