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Here's the next review, guys. This one is for the Aston Martin Vanquish

The model is made by Minichamps (although the Beanstalk Group takes credit, as they paid for the model's production) as part of a deal made between Minichamps, the Beanstalk Group, Ford Motor Company (who owns Aston Martin) and the producers of the 20th James Bond film, Die Another Day. As a result this particular Vanquish is based on the gadget-laden Vanquish driven by James Bond in the film.

The paint is perfectly applied and there are no rough edges or any unpainted areas to speak of. There is no easy way of differentiating between the plastic parts and the metal parts just by looking. The paint quality is comparable to AUTOart's standards and sets new standards for paint application in budget models.

The model is to scale and the proportions are accurate too. The panel gaps are very tight. Most of the lights are very well done too and there are no visible mounting posts but the side repeaters are painted on as is the central tail light. The exterior weapons do come out as well (see following pictures).

A switch underneath the front of the model lowers the bottom half of the grille and out come the homing missiles and the machine guns. Obviously they do not function
: . The grille is not perforated and neither is the thin air dam beneath it but the mesh/holes are simulated. The target-seeking shotguns are also present - they can be raised by lifting the hood and turning the two air vents to the side then pulling out the shotguns then lowering the engine cover so they stick out (this isn't as confusing or as difficult as it sounds). They rotate 180 degrees as well.

The filler cap is also well simulated and the Aston Martin logos are applied by decals. Quite rightly the licence plates are correct and it even has Aston Martin's phone number and Zip code on the rear licence plate.


The interior is a work of art by budget model standards. Although there is no carpet detail (but the effect is simulated on the floor and seats), the interior is still of very high quality. Stickers are only used where necessary - the dials and the clock - and the controls on the dashboard and centre console are moulded and appropriately painted. The paddle-shift on the steering wheel is nicely defined and is more accurate than any paddle-shift on any model I've seen so far. The Aston Martin emblems are also placed (correctly) in the doors and near the sill of each door. Seat belts are also present but the buckles are on the large side. On the side of the passenger seat is a button and as you probably guessed, it activates the ejector seat (see picture below)

The ejector seat only pops up and doesn't actually pop out of the car but it does knock out the roof. The roof is plastic but because the colour is just like the paint, you don't notice this unless you feel it. Also in the trunk, a nicely detailed fire extinguisher is present, which is a very nice touch in a budget model.

Even though the tyres are unbranded (they should be branded "Yokohama"), the tread is exactly like the tread on the tyres of the real car. The wheels are very detailed and have "wheel nuts" present and the Aston Martin wing emblem on each wheel. The brake discs have simulated drilling but the calipers (which have "Aston Martin" emblazoned on them) are independently fixed so the brake discs do rotate with the wheels while the calipers stay fixed.


The hood raises and stays up to reveal a highly detailed engine. Although the Aston Martins used in filming Die Another Day had their V12s removed (as they were too long for the second differential to fit) and had small-block Mustang V8s in place, the Vanquish in the film still had the original V12 and this is the case in the model. The air intakes are a chrome/stainless steel colour in the model but this is realistic as this is how they look in the real engine bay. All of the parts are clearly marked out by either paint or simply by separate pieces of plastic. It even says that the car was handbuilt in England and that its final inspection was by Stuart Bull. The only fault with the engine bay is that the paint around the cam covers is slightly messy.
Because this model is based on James Bond's Vanquish, not the "civilian" model, the undercarriage detail is made to resemble that of 007's car so the undercarriage is correctly done with the bolt connections simulated. Also a good effort was made to replicate the protective titanium crash cage undertray beneath the c*ckpit. The suspension is nicely simulated too and it functions too. The exhausts however, are not hollow but a small blob of black paint simulates the hole reasonably well.

Bburago also make the Vanquish but it is not based on 007's version but rather the civilian model. Despite costing nearly as much as the Beanstalk Group's version, Bburago's model doesn't hold a candle to the Beanstalk Group's offering in terms of quality or accuracy. Exoto's sub-division, Motorbox, will also be releasing their own version next year, so this score is subject to changing.

This is a very high quality model and it is easily available from most toy or model stores. The Beanstalk Group's version is unquestionably better than Bburago's version.

The Beanstalk Group/Minichamps did an outstanding job of making the Aston Martin Vanquish in 1/18. This is arguably one of the best budget models ever made. Considering the number of features that this model has, they could have charged more and most people would gladly have paid more. This is one of few models that every collector should have in their collection.

Total Score - 42/50

Thanks to http://www.diecast.org and http://www.nationaldiecasters.com for the use of their pictures.

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