The Norev Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W198), which was released a couple of months ago, offers collectors a more affordable alternative to the now expensive Minichamps 300SL. The most apparent issue and one I noticed immediately is the ride height. The 300 SL sits too high, which impacts the overall look. Luckily, it is very easy to lower this model.
The paintwork on my example is absolutely flawless. Frankly, the paint job is stunning. The headlights and taillights seem to be well executed. The chrome bumpers and trim are very well done. All emblems are photo-etched.
The wheels are removable to show, well, I guess the drum brakes with a screw in the center. The model has a spring suspension system, which is important as it makes it much easier to adjust the ride height. The wheels/tires seem to be replicated relatively well, although the wheel design differs slightly from the Minichamps versions.
The engine bay is quite simple, but not terrible. When compared to pictures of the engine bay of an actual 300SL, it is pretty accurate, but lacks some details. With a bit of tinkering, it can be improved. The rear trunk space includes a spare wheel.
The interior is my favourite aspect of the model. The floor is flocked as you would expect. The gauges and the dash are well replicated. The headliner is also fully flocked, which is a nice touch. The Gullwing doors stay open too. The hinges are very simple in design, but work!
Overall, I think Norev did a great job with this model. The shape seems to be accurate, the interior is extremely well-appointed and the other aspects of the model are well-replicated. It is unfortunate that this model suffers from an inaccurate ride height, which seems to be a somewhat common issue with Norev releases (930s etc). Luckily, with a bit of effort, this can be corrected, and what you are left with is a beautiful replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W198). And one that really doesn’t impact the bottom line!
Although many versions of the 300SL have been produced, this version gives collectors who were unable to purchase the Minichamps at a reasonable price (like me) an opportunity to add an admirable example of a Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W198) to their collection.
Thanks for contributing to the budget-friendly side of scale model reviews. This latest effort from Norev does look aces! There is never a chance one could get tired of seeing the classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL in photos.
Good model of the legendary car, but in my opinion the threshold radius is a little “cool”.
I took some time to compare them to the real car and the end result is not what I expected.
I started out thinking Minichamps is a much better model overall. It looks the part – correct, more aggressive stance and clearly better wheels are its strong points.
However, the overall shape is better on Norev. The boot lid, (which I believe Minichamps shares with its roofless sibling as a cost-cutting measure) looks more accurate, as well as the greenhouse.
In details it’s a mixed bag. Minichamps has separate pieces for handle and door lock instead of stickers, 300 sl logotype on a generally a tad more detailed dash, hollow side vents, nicer vents under the windshield and correctly sized turn signal lamp housings and the exhaust tip.
Norev has chromed window outlines (I saw only one release of Minichamps with them), much nicer door hinges (Minichamps’ huge hinge cases are an eyesore), a correctly sized boot lid lock and beautifully detailed inner part of the spare wheel in the boot… as opposed to the much more important outer side of it on the car.
As for the fins on the bumpers and inside the side vents, it’s hard to tell who’s right – Norev ones look nicer, but the available photos show there was some variation, so it depends on the actual car they used as a reference.
The engine in nothing special in either one. Based on the photos I could find, looks like the level of detail varies substantially between different MC releases and Dealer Edition received some more love.
I don’t know why Norev decided to ruin the looks of its otherwise very strong offering with baja-inspired stance and lousily replicated wheels. If they could correct these two relatively easy to correct things in future releases, they would have a stellar model that’d make buying a currently 2-2.5 times more expensive Minichamps a questionable decision.
That’s some great insight, Peter, thanks for sharing. One of Norev’s biggest issues at times, and more than we would prefer are wheels and tires. Yes, with a few tweaks this could be a very special model. Great for new collectors getting into the hobby. For me, there is no need to upgrade from the Minichamps I purchased in 2009 for $80 CND :(
There will also be a Schuco 1/18 model in silver with opening parts, which I have on pre-order. Looking forward to that one, wondering how it fares relative to the other existing models.