I've been meaning to share my thoughts on these Model Power 1:87 HO scale vehicles that I picked up at just 4 for $18 at this year's Brisbane Model Train Show in May. But with so much going on behind the scenes of this blog, writing a review of a HO scale model vehicle whose producer has since gone out of business hasn't been my top priority. The Model Power brand, after 50 years of doing business producing budget-end model railway building kits, accessories and rolling-stock, is no more. Closing effective immediately back in April 2014, (you can read the press release on Model Railroader Magazine's website here), hasn't exactly left the gaping hole in the market it would have if say, they'd shut up shop back in the early 1990's. Nevertheless, these 1:87 scale model cars were a big step-up from the single colour plastic hollow shell vehicles that previously adorned many model railway layouts of the past.
|This model of the A6 Audi at first appears good...|
The perspex shell display case the models sits on at first gives you the impression that you are about to open a highly collectable, scale proportioned model. That's about where the thrill ends however. I've collected 1:43 scale V8 Supercars vehicles in the past, and believe me when I say these are far from being display case worthy!
|...but the display case is no better than throw away packaging.|
If the display stand and case appear butt-ugly, then the spartan and sloppy flash moulding holding the car securely underneath will have you throwing the display case in the garbage fairly quickly.
|Plus there is some terribly poor under detail on these model vehicles.|
Free from it's 3 cent quality presentation box, the underside of the vehicle itself packs even less detail than a Hot Wheels car! But for a model railroader who is only wanting to place these as an accessory prop alongside a railway station, all can be forgiven so long as they look good when sitting on the layout.
|Scale-wise they look the part when placed alongside a HO scale building.|
Fortunately, once placed in position beside a finished building they look okay. There's enough detail for even the most casual of viewer to be able to readily identify the vehicle make or model. I found the main let-down with the vehicle's appearance came from the windows. They don't sit flush with the body of the car and look no better than a toy car with a one-piece clear shell fastened inside to simulate glass. The rest of the model is really just okay, with the only stand-out feature being the front grille and headlight detail.
|These 4 cars are all looking a little too clean for a dusty north-west railway station car park.|
But if we're talking price, then the $4.50 Australian that these equated to really can't be beat, and 4 seemed enough to fill the car park beside Philden Railway Station with some modern era cars. On eBay, these are still selling new for between $7.00 and $12.00 each. Although I won't be tempted to add any more to my layout.
For an Australian scene, the vehicles are still clearly American left hand drive. The other down side is that the vehicles are all European makes and models. Although I live on the Sunshine Coast where every second car you pass is a BMW, I still would rather have added some Aussie cars to Philden's parking lot. The Aussie Road Ragers produced 1:87 scale vehicles by comparison are so much better. The only problem I have against adding them to my mid 1990's to early 2000's era layout is that a railway station car park full of 1978 Ford XC Cobras or 1970 HG GTS Monaro's would soon resemble a Muscle Car Show! Perhaps I'll wait and see what the Auscision Models Ford Falcon and Holden Commodores look like in person before adding anymore model cars to my dusty parking lot. But for $18 bucks, I may even dirty them up and say that'll do.
Review Card: Model Power Minis 1:87 HO scale vehicles (discontinued).
Final Thoughts: While being a nice step up from the horrid plastic-shell model vehicles of the past, it's really only the 1:87 scale proportions that make these any better than a Hot Wheels car.