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Diecast Delights: A Messerschmitt KR200 in 1:18 Scale

Chris Haining September 15, 2015 Cars You Should Know, Diecast Delights 8 Comments

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Today’s model fits snugly into my collection under the sub-category of “Cars that I have always been intrigued by”. The Messerschmitt KR series belonged to that slightly elastic historical grouping we refer to as “Bubble cars”, machines beloved by Europe around the 1950s, and slightly forgotten today by most people outside a certain set of age parameters.

Every time I saw one I marvelled at its tiny size, the driver’s proximity to the ground and its frailty in the path of normally-scaled vehicles. I consequently had to have a 1:18 model of one so that I could stare in wonderment in the comfort of my own home.

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The KR (Kabinen Roller) range of micro-cars were intended to fulfil two purposes. Firstly to feed Germany’s desperate need for affordable personal transport, and secondly to give the Messerschmitt factory something to after during their post-war ban on aircraft construction.

Of course, it wasn’t just coincidence that gave the KR200 its part plane, part fish looks. The designer’s name was Fritz Fend, an aircraft engineer. Incidentally there are some people who insist that the glass canopy on the KR200 is an aircraft component. These people are wrong and must be avoided.

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The KR200 was an evolution of the KR175, which was in turn derived from various similar machines developed by Fend before he joined into a partnership with Messerschmitt. The KR200 was the first to benefit from actual shock-absorbers in the suspension and was a bit more powerful than the earlier model, now managing 10hp.

This model, by Revell, faithfully recreates the overall shape and layout of the car. The pastel green paint of the model looks great and not too thickly applied., though there are a few details which are simply cast into the metal and painted over, so aren’t especially distinct. The shut-lines, though, are crisp and even, and the plexiglass canopy has been handled particularly well.

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Seating was in one+one format within the narrow-bullet like cabin, once the canopy was swung aside and you were installed the passenger got a slightly better deal in terms of seat width. Interior appointments were sparse, and there were handlebars which were connected directly to the track-rod ends rather than a steering wheel. The model actually does a good job of representing everything that’s actually there, even if absolute fidelity is lacking slightly.

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Out back the Fichtel & Sachs 191cc two-stroke single cylinder engine churned out its almighty racket, and could be made to do so while revolving in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, such was how its reverse gear worked. On the model there’s virtually no engine detail, but it does exist as a single shaped blob moulded from silver plastic. A tad more realism would be wunderbar, danke.

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But, you know, detail isn’t everything, and it’s not as if models of the KR200 are made by every Tom, Dick or Heinrich. The markings on the underside suggest this model has been produced since 1995 (alongside the Goggomobil and Isetta also in the series) and eBay suggests the same model now being marketed under the Oxford Models brand. The most important thing is that a 1:18 scale reproduction of this machine exists. The Messerschmitt cars dropped out of favour rapidly during the ’60s, replaced among penniless motorists by “real” cars like the VW Beetle.

On the basis that the cars of the KR series exist solely as a historical footnote and are unlikely to be replaced with anything vaguely like-for-like, I’d say that this model deserves a slot in anybody’s collection.

(All images Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2015)

  • I have the exact same model, along with the Goggomobil. My brother-in-law bought the matching Lloyd Alexander TS.

    • Good taste, sir. I’m pretty sure I have to collect the set now.

      This wretched, incurable fever.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Delightful. One of my cherished aunts bought and dailied an Isetta, from new. So any microcar has my approval.

  • Rover 1

    And all these odd little cuties were driven out of existence by real cars like the first Mini. A lesson yet to be absorbed by the remarkably similar Elio.

    And… Curses. You have drawn my attention to a gap in my collection
    ‘This wretched, incurable fever.’ very much indeed.

  • nanoop

    For this car, 1:18 is 1:5, or something.

    The 1:1 are insanely overpriced, they were today’s the air-cooled 911 in the 80ies already. One of the few occasions where “special interest” is gaining ground.

  • Neat little model, I love these cars. I need an image of this next to another 1:18 scale model for reference.

    This series has me lamenting that my 1:18 collection is boxed up, in storage, awaiting a suitable display environment.

    Only the 1 of 1 Sunstar 1:18 1960 T’bird convertible sits on my desk at work. 1 of 1 because I got both a red black with tan interior model and a white with red interior model and swapped guts so I could have one that was black with red interior, just like mine. I then sold the white with tan to a guy in the Squarebirds forum.

  • mzszsm