Classic Metal Works
|Overall Panel Fit:||9/10|
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Classic Metal Works' box is a combination retail box and showcase. The outer "shell" is a plastic bubble with a blue & silver cardboard sleeve around it. The sleeve features the CMW logo, model information, features (opening hood & doors; hand assembled & finished; authentic pad printed decorations; super detailed engine, chassis & interior; collector case included), and age restrictions on the top, front, and end panels. The back panel has a large photo of a highway with close-up photos of the model and the CMW logo superimposed over it. On the left side of the back panel is a blurb about the Crown Victoria, its role as a NYC taxi, and a brief telling of the Russian immigrant who drove the 1:1 car this replica is based on. The legal info is relegated to the bottom panel. Inside is a hard plastic display case, and the car is held in place with three screws into the base and a pair of plastic bands holding the hood & doors closed.
The overall quality of the metal parts here is solid, though not necessarily outstanding. The panel lines are nice, but not very sharp or deep. The seams around the opening panels are competent, but a touch soft and wide; the painted bumpers and door handles are nice & smooth, but don't do around any edges, leaving yellow stripes inside the fenders and under the handles; none of the window trim is painted. A few trouble spots stem from the fact that this same casting is used for police cars: for example, the mount holes for the push bar are pretty obvious, and the panic light on the trunk is just printed, not cast into place. There's nothing really "bad," but a lot of little things add up. Fortunately, the plastic parts and detail painting turn this lackluster presentation around. Every plastic part inside and out is sharply cast and expertly assembled. The headlights, taillights, and taxi sign are clear plastic and the headlights have orange paint over the turn signals. The hubcaps are chrome, and the grille and mirrors are cast in black plastic. The mirror inserts are perfectly located in the housings, which is an often-missed detail but nice to see. Printed detail work on the body is truly outstanding, with the fare sign, taxi number, Ford logos, hood badge, and license plate are all expertly printed and sharp. You can even read the tiny "City of New York Taxi and Limousine Commission/1998-1999/0061/Licensed Taxicab" on the badge. The roof light has a sticker with the cab number and "Off Duty" printed on it. The interior is cast in a medium gray, and has some excellent detail work including detailed door panels, radio and comfort controls on the dash, and seat belt hardware in the seats. The "woodgrain" break line on the dash is painted and looks to have no slop at all. The meter/radio unit is a separate piece cast in black, and has a detailed microphone painted white. The gauges are a sticker, and the taxi riders' Bill of Rights and complaint hotline info are printed on partition between the front and rear seats. Glass panels are nice & clear, and have the appropriate black edging around the windshield and rear window. The engine looks passable detail-wise, but because it was cast in silver it looks much worse than it should. An all-black casting would've hid the shallow depth and lack of detail much better. The chassis is amazing for a one-piece casting. All of the suspension, exhaust, and fuel equipment is well detailed, and has enough depth to really make it look like it was made of multiple pieces. The engine/transmission is a separate piece, and the silver looks much more appropriate here.
The hood, and doors open, and the front wheels are posable but go back to just left of center when released. The hinges are a bit loose, but hold closed reasonable well.
As a Crown Vic, Classic Metal Works did an excellent job. The overall look and feel are perfect, and they've caught all of the subtler design cues that are easy to overlook like the ribs in the taillight lenses and the vertical ties between the grille bars. The taxi detailing is also very good overall. I have no reference material for the original 4Y65, but everything here (taxi light size/shape, silver bumpers, original hubcaps, etc.) can be found on various 1:1 NYC taxis, and is certainly plausible here. There is one important gaffe, though: New York requires both front and rear license plates, but there is only a rear plate here (kudos to CMW for remembering to have "TAXI" across the bottom of the plate, though). Scaling looks to be a perfect 1/24 all the way around.
There have been some cars that look great until you get them home, but the closer you look the more flaws show up. Much rarer is the diecast that looks merely "OK" in the store, but gets better when examined. Happily, this is one of the latter. Some of the details, like the lack of window trim paint and unpainted fender edges, make this look more toyish than it deserves. The attention to detail, particularly the chassis and interior detail, show that some real care was taken when this replica was first tooled. With a little extra detail work on the body this would've been a real knockout. Even with the few missteps, I still highly recommend it.
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