REVIEW: VIP Models Mercedes-AMG Project One •

REVIEW: VIP Models Mercedes-AMG Project One

Collecting spans from just gathering very simple objects, like shells or colourful stones, up to collecting pieces of fine art, cars, or even real estate. For many people collecting model cars is seen as collecting toys. But we know that our hobby is serious. Manufacturers know it too. And try to boost our affection for our hobby in various ways, using various marketing tricks. Including such simple ones as specific naming of their brand. For example, VIP Scale Models. Scale models for VIPs… Who doesn’t want to be a VIP? Everybody wants it. But once you buy a model branded in such a way – can you really feel it, can you really feel like a VIP? Let’s see…

AMG Project One was announced here on about 5 years ago, to be released by AMC China, some newcomer to the resin models arena at that time. But as we all know, this release has never materialized. Then last year a slew of new releases have been announced, by VIP Scale Models, Modelature (another resin newcomer) and Norev/NZG (dealer version, diecast). VIP Scale Models’ resin rendition seems to be the first which surfaced on the market.

So, is it a good premiere of Project One in 1:18 scale? At a glance yes. The model’s shelf presence is great – which comes primarily from the great work of Mercedes’s design department. Soft, sleek, harmonized curves, great selection of presentation colour, good looking “star themed” livery, already known from previous Mercedes designs. But let’s see how this stunning design was represented in scale, how well (or not well) the details add up to the overall, good impression of the model.

First of all, we have here the final version of the car, as shown for example at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2022, not the concept presented on IAAA in Frankfurt in 2017. The biggest difference is in the look of the side mirrors – the shape of the supports is different. They are very simple straight pieces here, and not L-shaped. The front vents are not just empty, with just 2 horizontal fins in each, as found in the concept design.

Here the top row has additional structures, vertical divisions, sensors and even a camera (passenger side front vent – not present in the model). Also, there is an additional LED stripe added at the top curve of each front vent – this was not present in the concept version too. Wheel caps are also different – on Concept, there were no caps, these were just simple carbon-fibre bits added inside the structure of the rim.

In the final version, these bits seem to have vent-like holes and are at the surface of the rim, not inside the structure. The rear end has also some slight differences. The top frame is thicker in the final version, so the rearview camera can fit there (this detail is not present in the model) and the space above the recess for the license plate has almost no metal mesh/the stripe is very thin. This was the way around in the concept – the metal mesh strip above the license plate recess was thick and the top frame was thinner, without space for camera lenses. You can check IAAA 2017 pictures on German Wikipedia and pictures showing details of the production car on the Mercedes-AMG website.

Now the scale model and its details themselves. The nice thing is that most of the sensors are represented as dots and pins over the front mesh and inside the vents. Only camera lenses are missing in the passenger side front vent. However at closer inspection, you may see that paint is not perfect on some of the elements, like the front lip, under the air intake and front grille. Then we see the headlights. The overall shape is correct, but the execution is poor – they completely lack sharpness and look roughly gouged in the resin body. Then visually the worst thing can be observed on the flaps of front wheels vents. The model is presented in the Strat2 Mode, with these vents being open and the rear wing raised. Therefore each vent flap is a separate element, so it wasn’t processed together with the entire body of the model. This led to these elements being painted without any preprocessing of the surface of the material they are made of, unlike the surrounding body. That gives a very bad impression of uneven paint on those flaps. This seems to be the worst issue on the model, which impacts it a lot when looking at it from a close perspective. A serious QC failure.

Then we have wheels. Unfortunately, wheel caps representation is very poor. They are very thick and out of scale (way too thick). Thickness allows you to notice that the edge has not been processed, just lousy smeared with grey paint. And instead of being at the same level as the surface of the rim, they stand out from the rims. They are glued on the rim as a single piece, instead of being multi-piece composition between the spokes of the rim. They also don’t have holes/vents as on real car, but only embossing instead.

Then the middle part of the model, where the cabin appears. The surface of the paint seems to be scratched a bit… Most likely this isn’t present on all the pieces, but for the price (375 EUR) this shouldn’t be allowed by QC on any piece, even if this was the only issue on the model.  

We also have the interior side. Done pretty nicely, but nothing spectacular.

As we move to the back of the model, we see the previously mentioned, adequately looking “star-themed” livery. It seems to be correctly replicated. I don’t find issues with engine vents on the top or rear either. Tail lights look good too. You can even find the sensors on the rear vents, on both sides of the model. But when you look into some cavities you may see that finish is not as good as the price point would suggest.  Also, the top frame of the rear entirely misses the camera lenses, as mentioned before.

Then, when we reach the far back, and have a look at the rear wing, we may have totally mixed feelings. As there are great things and bad things at the same time. The rear wing has been replicated in the raised position (Strat2 Mode), as often seen in the real car. It seems that the mechanisms – their details – have been quite nicely replicated on the model as for its scale. You may see there a fair amount of intricate shapes – both directly under the wing and on the car’s body side. But they seem to be drowned under the thick layer of clear coat. And this is the general property of this model. It shines a lot, thanks to the clearcoat used, which is probably one more reason why it gives an overall good impression of the model. However, this is also a problem of this model. Not only the rear wing mechanisms are excessively covered by the clear coat.

When you look at the model from the top and go back to the front, and have a look at the ribbed element covered with carbon fibre decal, you will see that the base parts of said ribs seem to be too thick. It may come from the imprecise application of the carbon fibre decal, but also from the clear coat running down these ribs, and drying at the base level.

So, what is the overall verdict? It is a good model when looking from a certain distance – thanks to the original design, and the shine it has. But it is a very average model when looking at the details. Typically, static resin models are praised just for these details, which tend to be better than their older siblings in diecast + plastic models, where injection moulding is used for the creation of their parts. Having crisp, intricate details is the key reason for owning just a completely static model, where nothing opens, and you can’t even spin the wheels. This model lacks this key property associated with its manufacturing technology and price point. When taking this into account, you may even say it is below average upon close inspection.

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9 Responses to "REVIEW: VIP Models Mercedes-AMG Project One"

  1. DS Team says:

    Thank you Zygmunt for bringing a VIP Model under the microscope. We appreciate the effort and the honesty. Based on the words and the photos there is definitely a feel of preceded with caution with the brand, especially at this price. These wheels and covers are horrible; you we too nice. We believe in this social media age, many get attracted to the model with photos alone. With a little skill, $25 model can be made to look great. Again, thank you for the review!

    • Adam says:

      Great review
      Have been waiting and looking for a great Amg one 1:18. I wonder if the amalgam version just announced will be pinnacle 1:18 resin version and have those missing finer details? Have to wait and see 😊

  2. Andrew says:

    Great review and I think you got it bang on. GT spirit models look great on display but close up lack a lot of detail, bit there price point reflects that. If this model was 150-200 euro and they got ride of the base that is a fake representation of quality they would do much better as a new brand to the market

  3. Karsten says:

    Thanks for the review on what certainly is a popular subject matter worth having as a model. Fortunately there are/will be alternatives, e.g. by Norev and NZG.

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