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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date
10-01-06
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1:18 RC2(ERTL) Aston Martin DBS "Casino Royale"
1:18 GMP Night Before Nova Diorama in a Box
1:18 AUTO art BMW M3 GTR

 

1:18 RC2 (ERTL) Aston Martin DBS "Casino Royale" 1:18 GMP Night Before Nova Diorama in a Box
 
     
 
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley
 

If variety is the spice of life, boy have you come to the right place!
 

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  1:18 RC2 (ERTL) Aston Martin DBS "Casino Royale"

Whenever there is a new Bond film, there's always excitement around the next 007 car. For "Casino Royale" due out in November, that anticipation goes up exponentially because there's not only a new car, but a new Bond. Daniel Craig, he of the cut physique, pock marked face, blonde hair and piercing eyes is playing Bond in the story that launched Ian Fleming's super agent into 20th century lore. How fitting then, that 007's new car, the Aston Martin DBS, is a low slung, aerodynamically supple, muscular land rocket.

Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez said: "It is great news that Bond will drive an Aston Martin again and we have built him something special to enable him to do his job in style." I think they succeeded. There will be 300 Aston Martin DBS cars produced and for $250,000 or so you can have one in your driveway though you’ll have to wait until at least next year. Then again for about $30 you can have the next best thing – the nifty new model from RC2 (ERTL). And you can get it now.

RC2 (ERTL) has the 007 license and to this point has re-colored some of it's classic molds as well as re-branded the former Beanstalk molds to form a line of mid to low priced Bond products. This new tool is an RC2 (ERTL) original and that's very good news. On many points it compares favorably with Minichamp's Aston Martin DB9 released last year at a slightly higher price point.

There's good reason to compare the DBS to the DB9 as the DBS is based on essentially the chassis. Where the DBS differs is in styling (edgier), stance (lower), track (wider) and power (more) – making it a thrilling combination of the DB9 and its racing alter ego the DB9R.

So James, let's walk around your new model. Pay attention 007.

Let's start with the very hip color, "Casino Ice" which is a twist on the classic Aston Martin silver with a hint of liquid blue and metallic sheen. The color is as smooth as a shark's skin in normal light and brilliant in sunlight. Shut lines are reasonable and crisp with minimal fade on some corners. There are no hints of tool marks in the glass smooth paint and orange peel is minimal – both characteristics unusual for a silver colored model in this price range. The trim work is a combination of chrome and painted silver. The painted silver trim looks fine, but you may want to get out the bare metal foil to give it a more finished look.

The doors, hatch and bonnet all open. Lift the bonnet to view the six-liter V12, which is capable of producing in excess of 500 bhp. There is chrome detail on the modesty panel with faux alloy struts bracing the engine compartment. There's even a "DBS" sticker on the "front porch" covering the radiator.

The interior is graphite with nickel trim, the glove box serving up 007's Walther PPK complete with silencer. Unfortunately that's the only gadget – like modern engines any additional Bond weapons and toys are hidden from view. The racing bucket seats have quilted seating surfaces. The frames of the seats are scored as like real carbon fiber. There's a fire extinguisher (complete with Aston Martin logo) in between rear "seats" that look more like metallic pods or airline jump seats (not sure which but I'm sure we will find out in the movie). I found it odd that 007's ride would be left hand drive, but indeed that's been confirmed to me by unnamed sources deep within Q section.

There are shortcuts not atypical in models of this price point like dog-leg hinges for the doors. But cost efficiency traits are outnumbered by unexpected details like readable gauges, functional steering, rear window defroster, floor mats and faux carbon fiber center console on the dash with chrome fittings.

The chassis and suspension has minimal articulation as most of it is hidden by a skid plate. Visible chassis detail is done well. There is rudimentary brake detail and let's compliment the boys in Dyersville for scaling the deeply treaded tires so front and rear sets differentiated. I really like the ten spoke design of the wheels, each adorned with an Aston Martin insignia. The car has swoops, ducts and aero extrusions everywhere and all are superbly replicated. While I wished the blacked out air intakes on the bonnet were wire mesh, the badging and head and unusual monotone tail lights are all first rate.

Since the appearance of the Authentics line, RC2 (ERTL) has made steady progress in once again becoming a manufacturer who brings out interesting and fresh subjects at attractive price points. This Aston Martin will enhance RC2 (ERTL)'s resurgence as a leading model maker. Please do take care of it James!


 

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  1:18 GMP Night Before Nova Diorama in a Box

A good friend of mine, and fellow hobbyist, was concerned.

“Pretty soon,” he surmised “all the great images will be made in one scale or another. When there is no such thing as a really new model, just different versions of the same thing – what will happen to model collecting as a hobby? Where does the excitement come from?”

That’s a great question. If you look around, there’s another hobby that’s had a similar issue – and for a lot longer - model trains. Pretty much any train you could want is made by someone in some scale. So while there are beginner train hobbyists who are primarily acquiring locomotives and cars, what’s pumping the life blood through the hobby is the advanced hobbyist who is into constructing layouts and dioramas.

The same thing is already happening with scale models. Aftermarket tires, figurines, trans-kits, Le Mans pit boxes – you name it. All sorts of stuff is out there to make give your collection context. GMP, who has contributed to this craze takes it up a notch with this “diorama in a box” and the latest installment in the Pork Chop series; the “Night Before Nova”.

The Pork Chop series, for the uninitiated, is based on a family of sorts led by a patron figure named Pork Chop – one of Tom Long’s favorite dishes by coincidence. Well, old Pork Chop likes to build him some hot rod muscle – especially ones that can burn down a quarter mile faster than you can whistle Dixie. But it seems like his boy Buddy got his tail whipped “the night before”. So ol’ Pork Chop attaches the trailer to the old pickup and goes lookin’ to get Buddy a new weapon, and lo and behold Crazy Ben sells him this butt ugly Nova, a car with a heart of a lion but a body full of rust. But PC ain’t buyin' it for the paint.

The body was once green, is oxidized in most places and rust seems to have invaded the body panels. The doors and trunk are sealed (or probably rusted) shut and that’s just as well as the front bench seat isn’t really attached to nothin’. One false move on one of those old moonshine roads and it might vacate the premises, taking driver, passenger and whatever type of critter happened to be in the car along with it. The tires don’t match but that’s okay ‘cause the wheels don’t either. I think that’s a chain holding the front bumper in place. Or maybe the whole front end.

The engine? It looks like someone got to messin’ with it and decided the parts to be bought weren’t worth the cost. So it’s got that “I’ll get to it someday” look. At least Crazy Ben had the good sense to cover it up with the tarp so the spring rains wouldn’t rust up the block. The extra engine parts along with a primed hood, interior and exterior rear view mirrors, one windshield wiper (the other is attached, god knows with what) and a couple other halfway important looking things are all there, just in a pile.


But Pork Chop’s got his custom trailer, a set of six different size bungee cables and four tie downs and five large in his money clip. The hopeful “Best Offer” spray painted on the windshield will actually get Ben PC’s dough, and Ben gladly helps PC load the beast.

Seriously this is an amazing piece of work by GMP. The weathering, which is tastefully executed including the underside of the chassis, is not overdone. The trailer, a weathered version of GMP’s 1/18 trailer and the box of parts are fun to pose. Maybe best of all is the grease stained tarp. This is unique piece will display well in a collection of muscle cars or just as a stand alone diorama. It’s also like buying a suit that goes with the clothes you already have – so, for instance, in my collection the GMP Pork Chop Camaro has been parked on the trailer more than the Night Before Nova. You could also consider a GMP Greasers set to further animate the diorama.

This is where the hobby is going eventually, not just great models – but great scenes. GMP, as usual, will be one of the companies that lead the way.


 

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  AUTO art BMW M3 GTR

If rules are not made to be broken, they’re at least subject to a little stretching every now and again. While in many forms of racing this is generally limited to grey areas in aerodynamics or parts, in international GT road racing it frequently involves the process known as homologation. That is, a car must meet some sort of production run minimum in order to compete in the non prototype classes.

The homologation requirement for Le Mans and the American Le Mans series in 2001 required cars to be for sale on two continents within twelve months of the rules being issued. Tired of being under-powered and out performed by Porsche, BMW saw an opening. By following the homologations rule to the letter of the law, it took it’s M3 platform – removed the V-6 and replaced with a torque twisting flat crank V-8. It made ten such models for sale to the general public at about $250,000 each. Needless to say, the BMW GTR took the zoom-zoom right out from under Zuffenhausen and BMW easily won the ALMS championship. Porsche was furious!

The rules were modified the following year. Production had to be a minimum number of 100 cars (and 1,000engines). BMW chose not to play along with this rule change and pulled its works team from the series. The car did keep racing on the international scene though and this rendition by Auto art is actually based on the Nurburing configuration.

The model is a lustrous client white ready for your numbers and decals if you wish. The simple finish highlights many exquisite body details. The front has the trademark grille nicely chromed with badging that’s enameled and mounted – not a tampo or decal. There’s a tow ring under the right headlight as well as hood pins and fine mesh covering the air intakes on the bonnet.

Th tires are also imprinted with Michelin logos (we used to take correct tires for granted - now anonymous tires are so common place we are compelled to point it out.) The disc brakes are large and scaled in different sizes – giant front brakes with smaller rears.

This attention to detail extends to the cockpit which you can view but not open. This makes it almost impossible to photograph given the reflection but the eye sees into it just fine. What it sees is a stripped down racer with an aluminum floor, a fully articulated roll cage and a surprisingly stock looking instrument panel and a single racing seat. The roof has a radio antennae and camera mount. This is an AUTO art Motorsport model, so nothing opens on the car.

That leaves us with the rear details and again what we have is executed with quality, from the tooled look of the spoiler struts to the tail lights which, like the headlights are wonderfully mounted with no viewable mounting posts. A special treat on the “passenger side” is the gas cap mount in the rear window. The chassis is covered in one skid plate with partially viewable suspension and a keyhole view to the muffler.

For what it is, this is a nice model. One hopes AUTO art might one day build an opening version but until then, this model will look good - and properly menacing - on the shelf.

 

 
     

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