Monday, April 14, 2008

BUB 1/87 Mercedes-Benz W196 and Blue Wonder Race Transporter

My local automobilia store (Mini-Grid in Toronto) carries more than just slot cars: they've got books, videos, magazines, and die-cast. Since getting into slots I've sold off my modes die-cast collection. Many of the cars I had collected were available as slot cars and I didn't really see myself adding to what few pieces of diecast were left in my collection. Since then, I've made a small addition to my die-cast collection thanks to the interesting offerings of German manufacturer BUB. Granted, the company may be German, but these models are made in China.

The first additions to my 'small' collection was their Mercedes W196 GP Streamliner (Art. No. 06652) and Renntransport (Art. No 07100). The 1:1 W196 was introduced to the Grand Prix world in 1954 and looked quite unlike any other car on the grid. This car featured many innovations such as its streamlined bodywork, inboard drum brakes, and direct fuel injection. The model depicted competed at the non-championship race held at AVUS in 1954 and was driven by Karl Kling. In order to get this technological marvel from race to race, Mercedes had a tranporter hand built. It was dubbed the 'Blue Wonder' - a tribute to the speed at which this hauler could get it's precious cargo to the track. Its top speed of 105 mph and soft curves caused almost as much of a stir as its cargo! After Daimler-Benz withdrew from Formula 1 racing at the end of 1955, the Blue Wonder was not seen in public again and was eventually destroyed in 1967. At the beginning of the 1990's a replica was commissioned by Mercedes-Benz and it has since made the rounds at European vintage motorsports events.

What drew me to the BUB models was the unusual subject matter. These models are 1/87th scale so there's not a lot there in terms of fine details. Though, BUB did include loading ramps with the transporter. Still, the lettering on the truck and roundels on the race car are surprisingly crisp. The only shortcoming for me is the generic wheels on each car, and lack of 'glass' in the cab of the transporter. Paint finish is excellent and these models have a surprising hefty feel given their tiny size. These models will be fun to push around my desktop when I'm combating writher's block while trying to come up with new review or article ideas.

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