You know what Hooniverse needs? More Lada content. As I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s the Lada, in updated “Riva” form was a regular sight on British roads among those who absolutely and definitely needed a brand new car, and absolutely, definitely wouldn’t spend more than £3995 on the road.
Alas, today they’re disappearing at a not altogether alarming rate, but hey, at least we get to enjoy them still, albeit in 1:43 scale.
The VAZ 2101, or Lada 1200 as we knew it on this peculiar little island requires little introduction, famous, or infamous, the world over. Based on the Fiat 124 of the late Cretaceous period, it was crafted by Avtomobilniy Volzhsky Avtomobilny Zavod (AutoVAZ)with thicker steel and more terrain resistant suspension than the Latin original could boast.
It was simple and robust and well suited to a life of constant punishment, which is what the vast majority would endure. They had fans in all quarters, from Taxi duty to Limousine roles.
This 1:43 of the DeAgostini series represents the Lada as seen wearing the colours of the crack Russian Overdue Library Book Fine Enforcement squad. No sooner did the library have to mention that some Tolstoy had been out for a little too long, then an LBFE car would be scrambled to deal with the miscreant harshly and with prejudice.
The model itself is nice. And terrible at the same time. The basic proportions are dead on, and the detailing is accurate. But unfortunately the Chinese production line must have had a bring-your-kids-to-work day and the toddlers got put on detail detail. It’s all quite endearingly haphazard.
The amber roof light is wonky, as are the tail-lights. Which make it look like a car which has had a hard life. This is probably, accidentallly, quite realistic. In fact, the whole car sits lower on the right than the left, making it look as if a big heavy Russian had been acting as co-pilot for a decade or so.
Despite all this it’s an appealing model. The paint is good and the casting accurate, and those details, before they were glued badly in place, were really nice.
It’s still a must for the Lada fetishest, and eBay is dripping with examples for very little money, although quality is variable. I give it alright out of 10.
[Close-Up Images: Copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Chris Haining]