Words and photos courtesy of Alex Porter
I’ve decided to do a review on the Biante 1:18 2016 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline sedan. Not that this model happens to be anything particularly special or impressive but seeing that last year I purchased the actual 1:1 car brand new and figured it was more relevant being able to directly compare the real thing to the scale reproduction.
As with Minichamps, I generally don’t buy anything from Biante as they tend to not be the most accurate or well built examples around. Of course I’m referring to the local Aussie model vehicles and not necessarily everything they have released. This is very clearly evident in the older Group C & A touring race and road cars of the 1980’s which put simply are very disappointing models. Even more recent releases such as their VN Commodore Group A touring race & road cars are woefully inaccurate and extremely poorly built. Almost to the point of being embarrassing! To me this is such a shame as having lived in Australia for most of my life, I grew up watching these car race back in the day and have always been very fond of the local products being the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. It was very exciting when I first heard a model car company was going to be releasing these model cars but was so massively let down once we laid our eyes and hands upon the final products only to realize they got it all so badly wrong. Which is very surprising given the accessibility of these cars locally for reference purposes. So as of this moment I only own two from the brand being this SS-V and a 1980 VC Commodore (which is a much better model and I got quite cheap I might add).
So lets get this ball rolling! I will include photos of my actual 1:1 car to better assist with the comparisons.
The overall shape of the car is good but I feel it’s a tad too narrow and a tad too tall. The flared front wheel fenders seem quite accurately but the rear flares are too shallow and could have been made to stick out about another 1 to 2 mm more. The door handle moldings are simple but match the real thing close enough.. The SS badges on each rear door are done nicely but I feel the font is a wee bit tall and just enough to notice.
Front end detail and proportions look quite good too with nicely crafted Holden emblem in the upper grille. The lower main grille has a nice LS3 badge positioned correctly and the scale car includes a number plate which I would have preferred was left black or not fitted at all. I had considered removing the number plates but worried it could do some damage in the process.
Head lights are recreated quite well with the bumper bar daytime running lights and aero ducting on either side. All finished with chrome inserts just like the real thing. Both grilles are sealed and not see through which is a shame but excusable as the front end looks pretty good overall.
At the rear of the model the SS & Series2 badges are done well and placed correctly. The Holden badge does appear slightly too large but is also finished nicely so its not really an issue. Again I would have preferred not to have a number plate present at all but its there so I have to accept it. The tail lights are physically molded well but the red areas are not at all red enough and gives them a rather dull appearance. The rear diffuser is molded well and the exhaust tips are hollowed out just enough to look the part. Though they are a smidgen too small but its hardly noticeable.
I ordered my real car with the blacked out roof option but the white model is only available with a white roof (only the red version comes with a blacked out roof) so I covered the roof in some black vinyl and it turned out pretty well! The model also features a sunroof which if it wasn’t there could have possibly been the deal breaker for me to not buy this model. But thankfully it is there so I’m happy!
The real car did initially come with a longer radio antenna which I had swapped out for the shorter stubby type which the model matches but is a bit too long. I had considered trimming it down to match but didn’t want to risk messing it up so I chose to leave it as is.
Also the forward collision alert camera is also visible at the top of the windscreen just like the real car. The unequal length wiper arms are also done correctly and the bonnet vents are molded onto the diecast bonnet and painted over with black to highlight them. The bonnet bulge is also modeled properly.
From this angle you can see how the rear wheels don’t sit far enough out from under the guards. They really need to sit about 3 to 4 mm further out to correct the look. The front wheels appear to sit more or less in the right position.
Engine bay detail is a little bland and very plastic looking but most of the major components are present including the “mechanical sound enhancer” tube which runs from the air box to the firewall and is meant to channel induction sound directly into the cabin for more aural engagement.. or something like that.. to be honest when I tested this out and disconnected the system I didn’t hear any difference at all.. They should have used a system similar to how BMW creates artificial engine sounds directly through the cabin speaker system. But in a way that would suck as its not real engine sound so pass on that..
Other details like the single bonnet gas strut match the real car though at the cost of one of the strut tower caps. No visible battery in the engine bay as its in the boot also matches the real car. The underside of the bonnet is painted black to imitate the sound and heat insulation which is cool. Sadly there are a set of big ugly old fashion crappy dogleg bonnet hinges.. The fact this model had pretty much all the matching details & features of my real car has was enough for me to excuse those awful hinges which usually are enough to turn me off a model… tisk tisk Biante.
The interior is recreated reasonably well but my major gripe is the coloring. The model is all black inside inside but the real car is not. Its actually a grey. In fact the darkest things in the cabin are the floor mates which still aren’t that dark either.
The gear shifter is a bit too tall and looks a little odd but at least the model was built as a manual! Hallelujah! The HVAC main control knobs are a little small but the infotainment system details are done well and the screen bright and clear. Although the sticker is lifting at one end slightly which I have already pressed down once or twice but it won’t stay in place. Also the rim of the steering wheel is a little thin but its properly shaped with the flat bottom which is a bonus. Also present is the heads up display which I guess should be expected as they did model this car directly from the Redline edition car which does have all the very same features as standard.
Foot pedals look okay if a little large and aren’t set far enough forward into the drivers foot well. The stems could also be painted black but I’m too lazy to do so.. door trims also look okay with door bin pockets and power window switches but the door sills are missing the metal scuff plates present on the real car.
Seats are molded well even if they also look a bit too plastic.. And I suppose they could have made the stitching detailing a little smaller.
Seat belts also made of a cloth material with actual metal buckles and there are the red painted anchor points which is a nice touch too!
Wheels and tires are also nicely done and also include the Bridgestone Potenza markings which is a very nice touch! The alloy wheels details look correct with a finely detailed Holden logo on the center cap and silver painted wheel nuts. The front and rear brake calipers have been nicely done in red with the Brembo symbols and clearly legible lettering. The front disk brake rotor seems correct but the rear disks are way too small. On the real car the rear disk rotor is actually slightly larger than the front rotors (for what ever reason) but this was not done correctly on the model. The other thing is that all four wheels and tires are the same dimensions but the real car has staggered tire sizes. The fronts being 245 wide and the rears are 275 wide. :tut: This could explain why the rear wheels appear to be sitting too far in under the guards as previously mentioned. Makes me wonder if this was a manufacturing fault and front wheels were mistakenly used for the rear also. Biante recently announced another color variation which they will release soon so I will wait to see if the rear wheel size has been corrected for.
In these photos you can better see the front and rear wheel offsets and how the rear wheels are sitting too far inward.
The boot is lined with a carpet like material and you can see more of those big ugly dogleg hinges. On a boot I don’t mind them so much as many car still have this old dogleg design. Though this model Commodore does not but I’ll let this slide. My car has the cargo net and boot floor protector but those are items that would probably never cross the minds of the model car companies to include! LOL! And also the boot lid doesn’t want to stay open so I had to hold it open to take the photos.
Unfortunately I don’t have any under-body shots of my car to compare with but the model is only average under there. The model has working suspension and steering (about 30 degrees max) but none of the suspension arms are functional and the front arms don’t match the real cars design at all really. All disk rotors spin with the wheels and pass through the brake calipers. The full exhaust system looks good. Engine and gearbox details are quite plain but the rear diff and tail shaft look decent. There is the tub for the spare wheel too. From the under-body shots you can get a clear view of the tire tread pattern which looks pretty close to the real thing which is nicely done! But overall the underside of this model is only average.
So that’s basically it with this model. Quite frankly the only reason I bought it was because I own the real thing and thought it would be cool to have a scale model of my own car! Yes this model does have a few low points but it still looks good on display. They retail for about $199 (AUD) (about $150 USD) which doesn’t make it too expensive but on the flip side it ain’t that cheap either! I received a $50 gift voucher last Xmas which I used towards it dropping the price down to a more reasonable $149. Better yes but still not the price it ultimately deserves to be. But I guess it is a big model car for the money making it reasonably good value! Just like they say about the real thing! At the store I had to inspect four models until I found one with the least amount of QC issues. So I guess Biante’s quality control processes were fairly lacking for this model… And funny enough the one I finally chose also had the lowest build number!
So would I recommend this model to anyone else? For the sake of buying it or if you weren’t into Commodores then definitely no. If it cost only $99 max then most probably yes! Though if I hadn’t bought the real thing then I wouldn’t have thought twice about it that’s for sure. It just isn’t built well enough to mix it with other premium brand models and in my opinion the asking price is a bit cheeky. It honestly feels no better than those wishy washy dealer edition models you can buy from car dealers. I have to say its definitely the least nicest car in my collection and if I had to compare it to another model then its almost as good as my son’s Welly 1:18 Aventador which cost around $100.