REVIEW: Almost Real Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner •

REVIEW: Almost Real Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner

Words courtesy of Karsten Weiss


100 extraordinary years, time to celebrate, with a gold-rimmed cup of coffee and a piece of cake. And what a piece of cake it is for Bentley´s centenary: It´s not Walter Owen Bentley´s birthday, but that of the company founded by him who was only known as W.O., yet the pie has his name on it: The Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner. 100 lucky owners receive this limited edition Mulsanne commemorating Bentley´s centenary. And as if to congratulate Bentley on its centennial, Almost Real has surprisingly released their own limited edition 1:18 model of Bentley´s limited-edition flagship in time for the party.

There are a couple of features setting it apart from the “ordinary” Mulsanne if any such thing can either be said about Bentley´s product or Almost Real´s replica. Like Almost Real´s “ordinary” facelift Mulsanne models, Almost Real´s W.O. Edition is dominated by a huge vertical-chrome-bars grille, topped with the finest-crafted Flying-B radiator ornament I have ever seen (by comparison to Minichamps´ and Kyosho´s Bentleys).

Although you need to shine a light to see it hidden behind the radiator grille´s bars, Bentley´s traditional mesh is behind that, perforated like the chrome-framed air intakes in the lower spoiler left and right. That is extraordinary, given that Kyosho´s exposed “mesh” grille was faux,  a solid unperforated plate. The radiator shell being in chrome is what sets the replica apart from its normal production model-brethren while being an option for any real Mulsanne. Not everyone may like this shiny option, but it is one of the features to imitate one of the design cues of W.O.´s personal 1930 8-Litre Bentley, on which this limited edition Mulsanne is modelled. The same is true for the exterior colour shared by both vehicles. The old-fashioned chrome bar along the bonnet´s centre reminds of the 1930s car, too, when bonnets opened sideways and where centre-hinged there, and is absent from the ordinary Mulsannes of course.

Underneath this bonnet that opens on struts the Mulsanne´s powerful engine is hidden away, and in this time and age when most collectors moan about engine detail, they might agree this time that this engine block is sculpted more pronouncedly than most of the competition and it is laudable that you find a couple of black hoses running across the bay with an engine plaque in front and a winged B rear. Vintage fans still won´t be satisfied, but that´s what a 21st-century car looks underneath there.

Contrary to what you might think, the registration is not unusual as each newly launched Bentley was presented with it in the past, but it´s, of course, befitting this W.O. Edition more than anything else and Almost Real have carefully chosen to give their other Mulsannes different registrations. Mind the tiny “Bentley Motors Limited” in it. The headlights, bearing some sort of crystal lenses at their centres and clearly legible “Bentley” scripts, are as good as Kyosho´s and Minichamps´ Mulsannes´ , though those were different in being pre-facelift design, and so much better than Kyosho´s Bentayga´s same  design headlamp that it is a pity that Almost Real had to cancel their Bentaygas.

In addition to the chrome-framed and B-shaped air vent in the side wing, from which a chrome application runs back along the flank of the limousine, the W.O. Edition has a “W.O. Bentley by Mulliner” script in photoetched shiny chrome, replicating W.O.´s signature.

Another feature extraordinarily different on this special edition are the black twisted-spokes rims that not everyone seems to like. While today they are perceived as being too sportily aggressive on a luxury barge like the Mulsanne, Almost Real cannot not be blamed for a most truthful imitation of Mulliner´s modern interpretation of Mulliner´s black wire wheels of W.O.´s personal 1930 8-Litre; silver wire spokes would have stood out too bling back then and black just blended in more sedately with the body colour. No-one will find fault with the really drilled brake discs, black calipers or the wheels’ centres, though, where a gold-framed B marks the centenary occasion as on any Bentley delivered this year, but surrounded by a script “Bentley/Mulliner”, while Almost Real’s other Mulsanne’s don’t get the centennial gold rim. If it´s any consolation, the ordinary Mulsanne´s windows are not only framed in chrome but receive chrome B-pillars, while the W.O. has them discreetly deleted for more 1930s blackness.

Moving around the rear end, we find more shiny chrome to outline the shape, B-sculpted tail lights with some good depth and Bentley wings on the boot lid that again have been gilded carefully for the anniversary like on any 2019 Bentley delivery. The only thing noteworthy of the open boot is that not only the trunk space is lined with carpet, but the inside of the lid, too. Don´t bemoan the dog legs, they are true to the original, I am afraid!

Inside the cabin, an opulence of red, wood and chrome greets you and oozes luxury that complements the more sedate, solemn elegance of the onyx exterior. Rich carpeting, fabric seat belts with photo-etched buckles and imitated stitching, e.g. on the dashboard, seem to be a matter of course, when the finely printed pattern of the wood positively stands out so much that you might overlook the depth given to the bull´s eye air vents that are not just print-on. A vertical treadplate in the driver´s door sill reminds us that this is 1 of 100 special edition cars and we find replications of “W.O. Bentley” embroidered signatures on each seat and as a photo-etched inlay on the passenger side´s wooden dash panel. It almost comes as a disappointment that the special edition´s centre piece, this sliced-up crankshaft of W.O.´s 1930´s 8-Litre Bentley, found as an inlay into the real 100 vehicles´ rear bench centre armrest is… well, let´s kindly call its absence “stowed away in the upward position”. It´s understandable that Almost Real in its present effort of consolidation did not make this detail along with the drinks cabinet, although we all know that they could technically do it.

What Almost Real have given us in this present situation is all the more laudable. It remains a mystery to me why this particular centenary edition model (or any other Almost Real Bentley) is not available as one of the models or centenary items offered by Bentley´s own Bentley Collection merchandise, although they are officially licensed by Bentley. In fact, Bentley Collection has no current production Bentley in 1:18 whatsoever, only the pre-facelift Mulsanne Speed I reviewed on earlier. Quite an oversight on their part and a missed opportunity in this centenary year, if you ask me. I feel nearly as privileged as the lucky owners of the real W.O. Edition who get a 1:18 8-Litre Bentley with their car. Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy Almost Real´s W.O. Edition and TSM´s 8-Litre from the Bentley Collection and put them on display side by side? Well, Bentley is probably not reading this. All the more I’d like to thank Almost Real for this great gift to any Bentley enthusiast to mark the anniversary of the brand. This model is an absolute must-have for every Bentley-themed model collection!

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20 Responses to "REVIEW: Almost Real Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner"

  1. DS Team says:

    Hey Karsten, thank you for the review, well done as always!! What we liked about this model is much, some of the more favourable areas include the following:

    * The iconic hood ornament is one of the best we’ve seen in scale
    * Interior is well-executed, Black on Red is gangster!
    * Execution of the motor is excellent. Some of the best work we’ve seen in mainstream scale models in a long time, The execution of the intake is awesome!

    This one is definitely going on the list for the 2019 Model of the Year!

  2. Roger Lodge says:

    Thanks for the review, Karsten! I wasn’t familiar with this model but after your wriite-up and pictures I am looking forward to getting one.

    In particular, that interior is absolutely incredible looking. From those pictures I’d say it rivals what CMC is doing.

  3. RYO says:

    Almost Real canceled their bentaygas?! How do you know? I’m so sad…

    • Karsten says:

      Sorry to be breaking the bad news, but I know it first hand. In their enthusiasm our friends at AR have just planned too much. And who can blame them? They are just as enthusiastic about models as we are and collectors keep asking “Please AR can you make X or Y”. We all would love to see them making our favourite cars at this quality. As for the Bentaygas, get your Kyosho now if you want a Bentayga! Some people might still be selling them, hoping to replace them with an Almost Real!

  4. Tomcatters says:

    Never really was all that interested in Bentleys, but that model looks superb. Where does one get it (preferably in EU)?

    • DS Team says:

      Based on what AR tells us, distribution as follows:

      Europe – Minichamps
      North America – Minichamps
      Japan – Kyosho
      Australia – Minichamps

      • Tomcatters says:

        Thank you, I’ll be on the lookout!

        • Karsten says:

          Minichamps offer these for pre-order since yesterday. They have notified me that these will be delivered in September/October for 270 €.

          • Alex says:

            You can buy it directly from China for 100€ less… I bought mine for 180€ with shipping

          • Karsten says:

            Yes, shame how Minichamps are adding a hefty premium. However, buying directly from China is only a bargain over buying through Minichamps distribution channels if after adding shipping costs, customs fees and your country’s taxes turn out to be still cheaper than Minichamps. If it is yet cheaper or the same as from Minichamps, you must be wondering why not someone else takes over the distribution of Almost Real models at reasonable retail prices and yet a profit. In my mind, someone like Modelcarworld/American excellence already have the capacity and could cover both the European and North America market.

  5. Karsten says:

    Guys, we have a prominent reader: A fellow model collector at the top of Bentley´s Mulliner design team who has lead both designing the original W.O. Edition Mulsanne and has helped AR to make the model reviewed above as accurate as it now is, is a reader! Wow!

  6. flathead says:

    This looks to be at the same level of execution as AA’s 1st gen Maybachs. Maybe better! Thanks Karsten for the great review and great pics.

    • Karsten says:

      Well, to give due credit, the photos have been taken by DS, only the banner with the cup is mine. My other photos were not used and can be viewed on my website. You’ll see the difference.

  7. Atalante says:

    Seems to be a very nice model but sadly I am not interested by Bentleys. Nor Land Rovers for that matter. Hoping to see the Pagani finally released so I can get my first AR.

  8. Patel vinay says:

    This look of Bentley mulsanne is awesome. I never seen this look in my carrier. I have seen many cars but this is look like royal car. I like this car much and more.

  9. Vitaliy D says:

    A gorgeous model indeed, and the best 1:18 Bentley Mulsanne, I believe.
    This is the model with details level that Bentley deserves and that I was hoping to see in Almost Real’s Bentley Continental GT3-R when it became a model of the year.
    The exterior is just great and full of small details. The radiator grilles are excellent, as well as Bentley’s logotypes at the front, back and on the wheels. The black body with a lot of chromed parts look really good and even reminds me the spirit of CMC 1:18 models.
    The interior is also very detailed. The front seats can be moved forward and backward. The details level of this red interior with “wooden” panels is very close to the old well-made 1:18 Bentley Continental GTC by Minichamps. That model by Minichamps additionally featured a moving armrest, while Almost Real’s armrest is static even though executed as a separate detail.
    It is a “classic” diecast model, guys, with the old diecast spirit, when no one expected a 1:18 model with a non-working suspension. So, this 1:18 Mulsanne features a working suspension with nice detailing.
    The engine is something that might be better. Well, it includes all the main details and even wires, but I’d like it to be more accurate. I compared it to the photos of the real engine – and there are some misproportions and just inaccurate connections. Though, as a plus, the engine is a truly 3D part, which means you can find details that begin at the top of the engine and end at the bottom of the engine.
    The engine hood opens at the angle of about 45 degrees, which means you can’t have a full view of the engine from the top (e.g. to see the back side of the engine). I expected it to be openable up to 90 degrees.
    It was said that probably the engine details are quite comparible to 1:18 Maybach 57 by AutoArt. I owned that model, and, from my point of view, the Maybach’s engine details were slightly better. But the Almost Real’s Mulsanne is executed much better overall. The AutoArt 1:18 Maybach’s whole interior was executed without heart (as if AutoArt was replicating an ordinary budget car), and overall the model felt kind of flimsy. While the Mulsanne shines outside and inside, and it feels solid.
    As for “solid”, the already mentioned 1:18 Bentley Continental GTC by Minichamps was toooo solid: that model was so havy, as if its body was made from a single piece of metal. And its blind front grille from plastic, low details of the engine hood and very low details of the engine itself made me get rid of that model.
    By the spirit and feeling of this 1:18 Mulsanne, I think this model is something that might be produced by 1:18 “classic” Hi-End Kyosho – if Kyosho did not decide to produce sealed crap it produces today. Remember the wonderful 1:18 Rolls Royce Ghost by them (by Kyosho)? Or 1:18 Hi-End Ferrari F40? That’s what I’m talking about.

  10. Dimitris A says:

    Perfect presentation .
    I bought this model back in 2019 for some 215 euros (total cost incl. of everything ie. shipping and taxes ) directly from China ,
    It is indeed a must for a serious BENTLEY collector and AR exceled themselves producing this model as well as the normal Mulsanne Speed after facelift , which also I bought for a total of 180 euros (the two tones green one) .
    Both have the same level of details though the W.O. is beyond any critic.
    The problem now is that due to the now thriving car models market , too many models are coming out mainly from China manufacturers , who in some cases are offering excellent and extensive detailing on real diecast models , with full 360o openings and at very reasonable prices . This will gradually put aside manufacturers as AUTOart and the likes , who offer practically plastic moulded models named as composite materials at a sky high price .
    Anyway keep up the good work as I am a new member of the society with a humble 200 models collection .

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