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      09-10-2010, 07:33 PM   #1
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JOY IS...Down to the smallest detail.

JOY IS.... Down to the smallest detail.

When BMW launch a new car it is not only in one form. BMW Miniatures have been a mainstay for enthusiastic collectors the World over. From a collection spawning from Classic BMW's from the 1940's to the 1980's but to the racetrack and today's new models.
Perfectly respondant in accurate detail and quality BMW miniatures can be found in 1:87 , 1:43 and 1:18 format with some exclusive models available in 1:12 scale.

BMW employ many companies renowned the world over for their detail and quality in the development of a BMW Miniature , with Schuco more recently coming aboard have produced highly detailed 1:43 versions of todays best selling models such as the BMW X1,
X6, 5er Sedan,Touring and Gran Turismo and soon the new BMW X3 and 6er Coupe and Cabrio and the latest MINI model MINI Countryman.

Not only are BMW models included , but other BMW group brands MINI have already a full line of Miniatures with Rolls-Royce arriving within the last quarter of the year.

The following extract is taken from a Schuco newsletter but provides a fascinating insight into the replication of our favourite models in a smaller scale. And how miniature development is not that far off from the development of an actual BMW.

BMW Miniatures are available from BMW Dealers and at the BMW on-line shop at

So accurate you can't tell the difference: the new 1:43 Schuco model BMW 5 GT.

For collectors, the historic models by luxury model car maker Schuco are the top of the range. The precision and quality of these vintage cars are unsurpassed. But the miniature car makers also produce the very latest vehicles. They'll have done months of work behind the scenes even before the original bursts on the world – at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, for example. One such secret has just been revealed: the BMW 5 GT, Fürth version.

Nowadays, as soon as a car manufacturer has settled on a new model, the call for tenders goes out to miniature model makers. The small edition has to be in the shops at least by the time the new automobile hits the showrooms. The delivery date often coincides with a big international motor show. So in this case: the Sixty-Third International Motor Show in September in Frankfurt am Main. The new BMW officially came onto the market just two months later.

In summer 2008 Schuco's Senior Product Manager, Michael Baumgärtner, received yet another secrecy agreement from BMW AG. Strict confidentiality is the normal state of affairs for people who work for Schuco. The head of department had to sign and return the confidentiality agreement before he could even access the tender documents via a locked online portal. The access code is sent by phone or e-mail.

Strictly confidential
Undercover agent Baumgärtner prepared the costings for several thousand model cars. A big international concern like BMW never calls for tenders from more than two or three trusted partners. Price, quality and brand reputation will decide who wins and who loses. The decisionmaking process took nearly two months. Baumgärtner was proud to hear that Schuco had won. "Just a few years ago we had no presence in the new car market," he admits. But thanks to the hard work of Baumgärtner, his team, and Schuco's Far Eastern manufacturing partner over the last three years, this traditional model-maker – which has sold over 100 million models worldwide – is now a favorite with big modern automobile manufacturers as well. Schuco regularly conjures up miniature marvels not only for BMW but also for all the other German car makers.

The devil's in the detail
After winning the order on 1 September 2008, Schuco soon obtained the original CAD (computer aided design) specifications. It meant yet another password: security level red. Next step: a detailed analysis of the new-look BMW 5 GT (Gran Turismo) Coupé by BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk. This was exciting because there had never been an automobile design quite like this one, blending the BMW 7 limousine with the X6 introduced in 2008.

"It's important that you don't just look at the key figures: you've got to engage with the underlying philosophy," says Baumgärtner, describing their minute analysis of the specifications. One thing about BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) really appealed: "BMW is the only manufacturer that still demands a hood that really opens." Because the engine is visible, it has to be made and built in, which is quite a challenge in the model car business. "It's a chance to display our know-how and superior quality," says this master of the mini-limousine. It also determined the decision to go for the 1:43 model size. "At that level we can showcase all our skills: only zinc die casting does full justice to our precision," he adds, summing up Schuco's successful new-car strategy.

Every millimeter counts
As soon as the data analysis is complete, the CAD data are re-checked by measuring against the original at the BMW works in Munich. It takes three hours. Every minute detail, every molding, every alignment, every line in the headlamps is noted on the blueprint and photographed.

The package of photos, sketches measurements, and rules is then rushed off to the development team in Dongguan, south China. For over twenty years, Schuco has been working together with King's Favour and its 800 employees, who have fully embraced the Schuco philosophy.

The prototype, made of flexible epoxy resin, which is easily corrected

The designers and engineers take six to eight weeks to produce the prototype – a model made of epoxy resin. It's twice as big as the eventual model, making the details easier to see. The prototype was air-mailed to Schuco's headquarters in Fürth and shortly afterwards shown to the customer. Then BMW sprang its big surprise, a tiny extra highlight for the customers' delight: the model had to have the panoramic glass roof which counts as special equipment on the original. Phew! A gasp from the Schuco team. But there's still time. "It's easy to make changes at prototype stage, because the casting mold has not yet been finalized," explains Baumgärtner."These last-minute changes are an additional challenge, of course, but our Schuco specialists can cope."

Finishing touches
With the prototype on show the finishing touches are discussed: Where is chromium needed? Where would it be best to use stamp printing, i.e. color rather than engraving? Spacings, for example, are often engraved, because real openings look too big on the model and spoil the overall impression. After the last big decisions have been made about the little car, the prototype is flown back to the Chinese manufacturer, which prepares the steel molds for the bodywork. This can take another ten to twelve weeks. The first models are exclusively for BMW: either sapphire black, with beige interior, or damask red with black interior. Schuco can subsequently produce other original colors for the specialist retail sector.

The first tiny beauty
At last, in July the first four models from the Chinese designer are ready for the final inspection. While the Schuco experts perform the absolute final check, back in China the mold is all ready and waiting to be fired. Tiny corrections are still possible at this "soft" stage. You have to be careful with test injections to ensure there are no slippages to the most delicate of edges or to a millimeter of engraving. The mold will not be fired until the customer has given the final go-ahead. This happened at the end of July. Including waiting time, the Schuco team had been working on the project for almost a year.

Something special about Schuco, and about the new BMW miniature, the underbody is fully formed. This high level of detail is unique to the market. "Best of all, our cars roll really well, which is more than you can say about many models on the market. Furthermore, the Schuco experts have endowed them with their own headlamps and tail lights – split, just like the full-sized version, and the interior is protected by a glass cover. On earlier models the lights were just pinned in.

Unique to the smallest detail
The interior detail is unusually authentic too. If you peek through the two fingers-wide windshield, or the side windows, you can see safety belts, contoured upholstery and the map on the tiny navigation system. You need sharp eyes, of course. "We always set out consciously to go that bit further than our competitors," explains Baumgärtner.

When the full delivery arrives, in blank cardboard boxes with Chinese characters, happy smiles flit over the faces of the six-man Schuco team. The little newcomer is a tiny work of art: a one-off, but many of them, you might say. But arrival of the new BMW 5 Sedan and Touring is already well advanced, and that goes for the models as well as the originals. These models too are very, very small. And beautiful.

Schuco 1:43 BMW 5er Sedan and 1:43 BMW 5er Gran Turismo.

Acknowledgement to Dickie-Schuco.
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      09-10-2010, 08:14 PM   #2

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Reminds me of the Hess trucks I got as a kid; good times
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      09-11-2010, 11:29 AM   #3
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they put in a lot of r&d into these pieces.

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      05-30-2012, 10:29 AM   #4
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Amazing that so much time and work goes into these models.

I noticed that BMW likes to release the diecast when the actual car hits production - any word on the schuco F10 M5 in 1/43 scale?

We've already seen a few North American M5 deliveries from our Canadian forum members.
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      05-30-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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Nice detail!
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      05-30-2012, 05:12 PM   #6
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Still looking for an imperial blue f10..
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      05-31-2012, 04:42 AM   #7

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Originally Posted by the infamous... View Post
they put in a lot of r&d into these pieces.
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      05-31-2012, 06:13 AM   #8
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      05-31-2012, 06:14 AM   #9
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Did they make a Z4m coupe ever? These are really nice.
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