Toy Trader
Die Cast Insider - November 1998
© 1998 Paul M. Provencher
1956 Ford Sunliner - Click here to Enlarge
Ertl American Muscle
’56 Sunliner
7259DP (Colonial White/Mandarin Orange)
7259DP (Fiesta Red/Raven Black)

1956 was a turning point in history. In 1984, John Naisbitt wrote the book, Megatrends. In it, he identifies things that changed our lives. He marks 1956 as the start of the "Information Age". In Detroit, it was a time of change too. The Big Three were in the midst of a styling competition to win new customers. "The Fin" was emerging as the most memorable and outrageous styling cue of the era. It would not be until 1957 that the tail fin would adorn new cars. In 1956 it was still on drawing boards in the styling studios. Thankfully, most cars from 1956 were still free of this controversial feature.

On a more personal note, 1956 was the year of my birth. Like many that love cars, I collect cars from my birth year because I feel a connection to them. Although my parents did not own a new car in 1956, many years later they would buy a car that was made at that time. By then, they had two kids, so frivolous cars were not on the agenda. I never got to experience the Sunliner first-hand, but instead was relegated to the more pedestrian relative, the Fairlaine sedan. My sister and I once rode it off the edge of our elevated driveway into the adjacent field. Sister had disengaged the column mounted shift lever and gravity took care of the rest. I got the blame and punishment (I was already way too interested in cars at age 5). The car was retrieved by a close family friend (who later went on to become an engineering executive for GM).

So when I look at the Ertl Sunliner, it does evoke memories of those early years. As with all of the Ertl subjects that I have reviewed, it has loads of excellent detail, a hefty construction, and great proportions. It is 11 inches long, 4 ¼ inches wide and 3 inches high. It comes firmly attached to a plastic display plinth.

The hood opens to reveal a well-detailed "Thunderbird V-8" engine, complete with all the major ancillary components painted in realistic colors. On the hood itself, there are the "Fairlane" script and the Ford badge, printed in reasonable sharpness. The hood ornament is a separate piece of chrome plated plastic.

The doors open too. The vent windows are correctly attached to the doors and have small, clear plastic "windows" and chrome surrounds. The door handles are separate chrome pieces. Inside, the interior is decorated in colors that match the body’s two-tone paint scheme. The dash has all of the features of the full-sized car – gauges, radio, glove compartment, switches, and the Ford logo. The steering wheel has a separate chrome horn ring. The seats flip forward and back. The foot controls are black.

The real beauty of this model is the exterior detail. The two-tone paint is complemented by the separate chrome trim pieces that run the length of the car. The rear wheel openings are accented by chrome splash guards and fender skirts. The nose and tail details are complete and accurate. The doors have the "Sunliner" script printed on them. There is a chrome side-mirror on the driver’s side door. A convertible top is folded up behind the passenger compartment.

The chassis detail is superb. All the major suspension components are faithfully reproduced. The tire and wheel details successfully complete the package with color-coordinated hubs, chrome wheel covers and wide white-wall tires. When photographing the model for this article, it almost rolled on the floor when I adjusted the table. History repeats itself!

This car comes in a choice of two color schemes, either Colonial White/Mandarin Orange or Fiesta Red/Raven Black. Both are combinations of authentic colors delivered on the real cars in 1956. The paint quality on the models is excellent. There is no orange peel effect, the colors are even and the paint is thick and shiny.

Britains Collectibles
Triumph TR6
7884DO (red)
7898DOC (blue with top)

Triumph lovers are a dedicated lot. When the TR7 was introduced in 1975, they were forever split into two zealous camps. British Leyland, in their quest for a new car to boost sagging sales of the aging TR6, delivered a radical new design known by the Triumph community as "The Wedge". I belong to the group that adheres to the philosophy that the last "real" Triumph was the classic TR6. I am sure that the Wedge lovers will be try to teach me the error of my ways, but for me, the TR6 is the definitive Triumph sports car.

With the Britains Collectibles model, Triumph lovers of either persuasion are provided with an excellent tribute to this icon of British sports car design. Two versions are available – either the midnight blue with black ragtop, or the red with the top down. It was a tough choice for me since an old acquaintance owned the dark blue one, but I opted for the red version since I wanted to be able to see the interior. I would have been nice if a third option had been available with the factory hardtop that was a popular accessory.

This model is very impressive once you get it out of the box. I debated buying it when I looked at it in the store. The box hides most of the tasty details that make this model a feast for the eyes. Most notable is the grill which is done with actual holes where they belong instead of a one-piece chrome slab with molded texture. This makes a big difference in the way the model looks. Additionally, the tail treatment is correct to a flaw.

The car is 9 ¾ inches long, 3 ¼ inches wide and 2 ½ inches high. Features include an opening bonnet (hood in the USA) and doors as well as front wheels that can be posed. The engine detail is great. The 142hp engine is well detailed. The triple-carbs are set off nicely in silver. Other components are also painted in contrasting colors. The model is missing the support rod that holds the hood open on the real car so this car cannot be displayed with the bonnet open unless a stand-in can be fashioned.

One might not realize that the doors might be opened because they fit the body so well. The door handles are chrome. Interior detail on the door panels is good with door handles and window winders in chrome. The passenger compartment is molded in black plastic. The dash is a rather bright simulated wood color, with gauge insets. Anyone who is good with applying detailing finished can probably tone down the dash with some thin black paint to bring out the molded-in wood grain detail. The windshield frame has great attention to detail, including the trim around both the glass and the frame itself. The rearview mirror is black with a chrome reflective surface. The steering wheel spokes are painted silver. The center features the Triumph name printed in silver.

The front and rear lighting fixtures are very good. Even the side-marker lights are separate parts. The rear quarter panel carries the TR6 imprint, although the British Flag decal is absent. The car has silver hubbed wheels with rubber tires. Some details are missing here as well. The TR6 that I knew had chrome trim rings on the hubs and red-striped Michelin tires. Both details are absent in this model. That may be accounted for by the fact that this model depicts a right-hand drive version that may not have been equipped with these characteristics.

The chassis on small British sports cars are quite detailed. As such, modeling these features can be quite difficult, even in the larger scales. But this model has a wonderful chassis that can only be appreciated after removing the car from the display stand. The front wheels steer and all roll. If you love Triumphs, you will love this model! And be sure to check out this web site for Triumph model collectors to see many more Triumph models ( )

Anson 30345
1947 Cadillac Series 62

There is no denying that Cadillac is a name that has always been associated with expensive luxury cars. Through the 1970’s, owning a new Cadillac was seen as a sign of success. Cadillacs fall into five categories – Brass Era, Classic, Post-War, 60’s – 80’s, and Contemporary. I am not much of a brass era car fan, so I have never really kept track of the cars from that period. I honestly dislike just about all Cadillacs made in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. But the new Cadillacs are excellent automobiles that show what can be done when the market votes with its checkbook and a company finally realizes that it is time for change. I can recite names of the Classic Era cars by year, body maker and engine configuration. I will never likely own any of the incredible cars built just prior to and during The Depression, but I do dream about it. Moreover, the cars of the 40’s and 50’s are some of the finest looking and most innovative ever to come from Detroit. So it is no surprise that the 1947 Series 62 has been chosen to be immortalized by Anson.

This particular car has not been modeled in 1/18th scale before. So it was very refreshing to hear it calling my name from the store shelf. And there were not one, but two to choose from. It comes in black with the top up or in cream with the top down. No matter which one you pick, it is a model that will occupy a prominent place in your collection if you like ‘40’s cars or Cadillacs. It is 12 inches long, 4 ½ inches wide and about 3 ½ inches high. It comes with a radio antenna and side view mirror that must be attached after the model is removed from the box (look for them taped to the packing).

The hood, trunk and doors all open. The hood catches on the windshield wiper arms so some care is needed when opening the hood. Under the hood lies the massive 8-cylinder engine. . There are even spark plug wires! All the details are in there, but in order to bring them out, some detail paint will be needed – it’s all black out of the box

The door fit on mine is not terrific, especially on the driver’s side, where a large gap can be seen. The inside door panels have the door handle, window and vent winders in chrome. But they appear to be part of the chrome trim piece that decorates the top edge. Large openings can be seen below the handle and winders where they pass through the inside door panel. The top edge of the door panels is the same color as the rest of the interior. I suspect that this is not correct – the car probably has either wood trim or body colored metal here. There is no "glass" in the vent windows. The dash has nice, accurate detail, although the colors are not correct. In the real car, the dash was painted to simulate wood or painted the color of the car body. This could be corrected with some patience. Ditto the steering wheel that should have a chrome horn ring and an ivory colored rim, instead of the same color as the rest of the interior.

The exterior finish is quite nice. My black version has shiny paint with no imperfections except one spot where there appears to be a spec of dust embedded in the finish. The car has lots of chrome trim that is correct and nicely installed. The Cadillac script is crisply printed on the front fenders. I like the texture of the convertible top. It is made of plastic but looks very much like canvas. It is permanently affixed to the windshield frame with rivets so removing it for display on the "top-up" version is not recommended.

The nose detail is very pleasing. The bumpers, headlights and grill are all chrome. The grill has large openings like the real car. The hood has a chrome trim strip that runs the full length. A small, chrome "V" and Cadillac crest are centered on the front of the hood. The turn signals are cast into the body and are painted the car color. This is another area where some additional detailing will make this model look better.

The tail has a similar level of detail – the trunk opens to reveal a spare tire, covered and molded in to the trunk floor. There is another chrome trim emblem on the trunk lid. The taillights are separate chrome pieces, mounted on the top of the rear fenders. Unfortunately they are not painted so they look a bit funny. More paint will cure this.

The chassis detail is quite nice. The front wheels steer. The exhaust system and all suspension components are accurately represented. One more complaint that I have is the stems that are molded in to the chassis for the purpose of mounting the car on the display base. Once you remove the car from the base, it is very clear that they are not part of the car and detract from the appearance of the model. But it goes without saying that there are sometimes compromises to be made. If this car were to be displayed for several years without the base, the tires might flatten out or deteriorate, so maybe this can be overlooked.

My criticism of this model may sound quite harsh but I must say that I really like it. I will enjoy taking it apart to detail the engine, and always like adding accent touches to improve the realism of cars in my collection. This one will be no exception. This model is a good value too. It only cost me $15 to take home, cheaper than others in this article.

10/26/2006 06:05:21 PM

-----Original Message-----

From: warren
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 04:18 PM
To: ''
Subject: 1947 Cadillac Model

Mr. Provencher,
I received the 1947 model Cadillac you describe so beautifully in your article for my 50th birthday last year. Mine is cream with a black top.  As you know, the taillights are "chrome." I've been wanting to paint the taillights red, but have not known what to paint since the light is rather unusual. From the photo you took and put on the Internet, it appears that the portion of the taillight that sort of sticks up is what was red.  The two lights that are flowing on the back fender must've been white back-up lights. (?) Anyway, I tried to contact Cadillac and could never find anybody who could help me. Your Internet site comes the closest.  Am I correct in adding red to the portion of the taillight I describe above?  Can you recommend a book that features information about the 1947 Cadillac?
Thank you.



Go to "Cadillacs of the Forties" at for some good photos of the car. Here is a page from that same site that shows a FACTORY Brochure with a clear shot of the rear of a '47 Caddy. I have to believe that the lamps on sedans and convertibles are the same. Check this out - also notice the backup lamps attached to the body.

Basically, if you go by the pictures there you should do well.

Incidentally, pursuant to my other comments about the lack of color in the engine compartment, shows a well-exposed engine with good accurate, if a bit tarnished colors of the engine and firewall components. There is another picture on that site in the brochures section as well. They would help to detail that area.

I would suggest painting the lower two raised portions of the taillight lenses red. I like to use clear colors when painting taillight lenses on chrome parts. It ends up looking more realistic. For this one I would suggest a dark ruby red clear color. Tamiya acrylic clear colors work very well and clean up with water. You can find them in specialist hobby shops. For good or bad, a single 2 ounce bottle will last you a lifetime used in this fashion! But it works very well and can even be wiped off if you make a mistake (while wet). Several thin coats work best, building up gradually to the depth that makes you happy. I think the very center of the upright part would be the same color (dark red). As for back-up lights, it was common for cars of this period to have back-up lights as optional accessories (on cheaper cars) and in any case usually attached to the rear bumper or body as a separate fixture when fitted. Write to the web site owner as they may be able to get very specific info to you based on first hand knowledge! I am just a dreamer - would love to own a fastback '49 Caddy myself! Someday maybe!

Paul M. Provencher

Road Legends 92228
1953 Ford F100 Wrecker

One of the things I love about this hobby is the variety of subjects to pick from. After you get past the cliché items that every company seems compelled to offer, there are the more eclectic things. Like the Ford Wrecker. It certainly is not being done for the styling, trend setting features, or even because of its popularity. There are very few people who look forward to spending any time with a tow truck. So Yatming should be complimented for taking a chance and producing a subject that steps outside the lines. And it is a wonderful model. The whole thing flashes me back to my hometown where this type of rig was quite common right through the ‘70’s.

The hood opens, as usual. The engine is wonderfully detailed and painted in several different colors. Short of some plug wires, it looks quite realistic. The cab doors both open. Inside, the door panels, dash, steering wheel, and seat all have proper details. It might be just a tad clean for a wrecker, but it will please Ford F100 collectors.

But the best part of all is the towing crane and body. It has simulated wire cable made from black cord. It is threaded through the various workings of the lift and is held in place by pulleys, winches and guides. It appears to be a static, no-working affair, but nonetheless it makes this model look terrific. The floor of the bed has the classic diamond pattern. The top of the crane has more pulleys and warning lights. The sides of the bed have clear read warning lamps inset into the corners.

The cab appears to be the same casting as other F100’s from Yatming, but features a red turret lamp on the roof. The doors have side view mirrors. The windshield is nice and clear and is underlined by chrome wiper arms. There is even a chrome gas cap on the filler tube behind the driver’s side door.

The wheels and tires bear special note. While the hub is a simple red plastic part with a chrome hubcap, the rear wheels are dualies! This small detail is another feature that makes this model so much fun. And the chassis detail is minimal but does have all the main parts in the right places.

I am tempted to take a second copy of this model and convert it into the wrecker that Goober drove on "Andy of Mayberry". It would look great with some distressing, the rear fenders removed, a mangy dog sitting in the back, and a cracked windshield. But then I would also have to find a car to tow….

Paul M. Provencher

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