Diecast Delights: A 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk in 1:18 scale

IMAG4785b This model has actual, genuine, honest-to-goodness, working crank windows. That’s all you need to know, and all you need as justification to go and buy one. The subject matter itself is almost a side issue. It’s a 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk, in gold, of course. Check it out in stills and in video (!) after the jump.

Clicketty-clickage for a bigger, clearer image!

IMAG4783 It’s made by the humble Yatming concern of China who churn out models by the zillion, varying hugely in quality. Generally speaking their output fits in the “budget” category, which is alright by me, being that I’m pretty keen to not spend any money at all if possible. It turns out that I got this model on eBay for £17 and I’m absolutely overjoyed. IMAG4789 Once you’ve extricated the model from its unusually lush packaging (including a “gold plated” Studebaker coin, no less) and brushed off the stray flock hairs from the foam which cradles it tightly when in transit, the first thing you notice is how heavy it is. This model weighs a tonne. The second thing you notice is its scale. The Golden Hawk was a big car, and so this model takes up a fair bit of display space. IMAG4793 Inspecting the model closely reveals a few minor irritations. There is a little bit of bubbling in the paintwork in a few places, but nothing appalling. The paint itself is rich and free  of orange peel, the shape appears to be true to the original (a car which, it has to be said, had lost some of the charm of Raymond Loewy’s original Studebaker design) and the casting itself is free of break lines, sinkage or excess. Some of the chromework is a little bit cheesy and coarse looking, but ultimately the sheer quantity of detail wins out. The decals are crisply printed and, in the most part, straight and true. The tail lights are individually modelled and sparkle like jewels when the sun hits them. The headlamps themselves are a little less impressive, but perfectly OK. The side marker lights on the front fenders are a little disappointing, their lenses being painted onto their plastichrome mounts. IMAG4809 Open the trunk and you’ll find a spare wheel and a couple of handy tools to assist in its installation. The trunk floor has a very lightly flocked finish to it. The lid itself doesn’t stay open against gravity and is hinged on unsophisticated doglegs, but it closes accurately and the shut-lines are adequately tight. IMAG4798 Under the hood there lurks a fairly impressive rendition of the supercharged 289ci V8 that motivated these later Hawks. The supercharger sits on top of the engine (with a decal which broadcasts its role in life) and there are other ancillaries highlighted, too. A quick Googlism reveals that everything under here is pretty well in it’s right place compared to the original. The block and heads are even painted the right colour, and the “sweepstakes 289” decal is correct, too. There’s a battery, complete with cables, as well as various other bits of plumbing. The more you look, the more you find. OK, it’s not Exoto-level ultra-precise, but keep remembering where it stands in the $0 to infinity price hierarchy of diecast models. IMAG4796 The illusion of realism continues once you swing the doors open, to reveal a fully trimmed cabin complete with fold-forward front pews, headlining and a rear centre armrest. They’ve made an attempt to replicate the machine-turned aluminium finish that graced the dashboard and doors of the original, and they’ve done it rather well. The radio stands out as having been individually modelled and the steering wheel is well turned out. However, the instruments themselves earn the car a very slight demerit, being just surface printed and having no depth to them. IMAG4801 And this is where my criticism ends, because working crank windows. Have a look at my gloriously lo-fi video to see these amazing windows I keep banging on about, together with a few other details I haven’t yet mentioned. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuTI33j12mk[/youtube] Say no more. Buy one now. If you can find another one for £17 you should pounce on it. (All images and video copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)

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