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Diecast Forums – Forum 43 – Diecast Zone

Posted By: Randall Olson
Posted On: Monday February 11, 2019 at 11:40 PM
PICS - Too small and timid. My review of the '56 Chevrolet by Esval
Having this weird liking for 1956 Chevrolet’s, in particular, when I saw Esval’s newest versions on eBay I was too impatient to wait for them to appear at my favourite suppliers, so I leaped off the cliff without deliberation and eagerly plunked down my dollars for the 2dr wagon. This was before I had a chance to read the posts about this dreaded HK vendor.

However, the model arrived quickly and in excellent shape. Here’s what I found:

The paintwork is good and the parts are staying on. It has some nice details and photo etched pieces and the radio antenna is to scale. Emblems and script are done in well-applied decals which seem like they may be a bit small. From the side and rear, with its nicely flowing fenders and large teardrop wheel cutouts and those great bullet tail lights, it certainly looks like a '56 Chevy.

Now, on to the big items and issues:

Scale length of the replica is just under 190 inches vs. actual vehicle length of 197.5. Wheelbase appears to be spot on at 115 scale inches. How does it fit together visually?

Well, the model looks a little “stubby” and curiously lacking in presence in the front:

1. A lot of you have commented about the windshield and side windows being too tall. I think you are right.

2. The rear pillar is too upright and there is not enough slope in the rear window.

3. The hood seems short and the front bumper, especially the guards appear way too small when viewed from the side.

4. The front fender is too short. There is not enough front overhang with insufficient metal ahead of the front wheel arch. This combined with item 3 above, accounts for the missing 7 inches in length. Yet they kept the wheelbase accurate by placing the front wheel too far forward.

5. The headlights are missing their distinctive chrome frame. These frames were massive in the day, as were the headlights. The grille is missing the double frame appearance as seen on the Motor City. This distinctive feature added mass to the appearance of the automobile. The tiny headlights and lighter appearing grille makes the model look like a Holden. Its a shame because the 3/4 view isn't bad.

I have included some comparisons to Motor City USA’s Chevy. Of course, their’s is not a wagon as they did not issue one. I have also included my custom-made Motor City/Brooklin version which used the Brooklin ’56 Pontiac Chieftain greenhouse.

Perhaps you will see why I think Esval’s replica looks a little stubby. Almost everything seems good (except for that rear “C pillar”) from the front of the front wheel arch back.

However, the pattern maker has failed to capture the essence of the car, primarily the frontal appearance. The 1956 facelift was an effort to make the Chevrolet appear more substantial, more Cadillac-like than the clean-lined 1955. This was achieved through massive chromed headlight surrounds, huge oblong white-lensed park lights, and a broad horizontal-planed grille stretching across the front. Oh, yes, large emblems and heavy sculpted bumpers with large guards as well. Esval perhaps gets the "lozenges" and the grille texture right but everything else to do with the front is off, simply too small and timid.

Bottom line, would I buy this model again? First, I applaud Esval for making a slighly tarted up low-line 2dr wagon plus a sedan delivery and two 4dr wagons - A terrific variety of cars that scads of families and tradespeople actually drove in the day.

Yes, I would still buy this model because I am clearly a nut about 1:43 scale ’56 Chevies and want a 2dr wagon and sedan delivery in my collection but I would place it/them next to other models such as Motor City USA’s ’55 Chevrolet 210 or Brooklin’s ’54 Chevrolet wagon rather than Motor City USA’s more substantial 1956 Chevies, the differences in the frontal appearance being too great. It just shows how difficult it can be to translate the real thing into a scale model. What did the pattern makers have to work from? I have seen a Chevrolet advertisement which has a line drawn image of a Chevrolet from the front. It is the only image in a Chevy ad that I thought poorly represented the car. Perhaps the builder used this image.

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Message thread:

PICS - Too small and timid. My review of the '56 Chevrolet by Esval by Randall Olson #25344
Thanks for this comparison report. It has confirmed my initial reservations by Jack Dodds #25344.1
This is a rare mis-step for Esval. Their models are typically excellent, I have found. (EOM) by Mark Sweeney #25344.2
Mark, this one is not that far off. If they enlarged the headlights & widened the frame by Randall Olson #25344.2.1
Esval Comparison by J.D. Simmons #25344.3
Thanks for a most informative review. I was excited to see these '56 Chevys by Curtis Parisi #25344.4
Sergio prefers to do cars that have not been done in the past so I doubt we'll see one from him, but by Mark Sweeney #25344.4.1
Thank-you Randall for your excellent review and comparison. by John Merritt #25344.5
Thanks to the kind folks who responded. (EOM) by Randall Olson #25344.6

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