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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past, it was always quite easy to distinguish who was on top of the Australian diecast sector. While both Biante and Classic Carlectables produced fine diecasts, it was always Classic Carlectables who packed the extra levels of detail into their models. This is true especially in the modern race cars produced by both companies.

But in the more recent past, the top Australian diecast manufacturer has been a much more argued point. Classics had started to fumble in its V8 Supercar department, releasing cars with bad and incorrectly moulded bonnets (the VE Commodore and FG Falcon), terrible door/bonnet gaps and alignment (the BF Falcon) and suspect paint application. This has been throwing the Australian diecast world into a something of a frenzy. People (myself included) have been lashing out on the Classic Carlectables forum itself asking for the reasons behind these obvious shortcomings with no answers. Meanwhile Biante have released some brilliantly made models including but not limited to their Mazda RX7 and Holden VL releases.

And here is their latest release, the number 10 Mobil Holden VL Commodore which won Bathurst in 1987 after some controversial revelations made post race.

Brock bought 2 VL Commodores to Bathurst, one being his main car which was fitted with superior parts (05) and the other being a car made out of tracing paper and bubble gum (10), which was essentially just glued together so that Mobil could have 2 cars at Bathurst to fulfil their sponsorship deal.

Ironically, the engine in the 05 car called it quits early in the race. Due to rules at the time, this allowed the drivers of the 05 (lead) Commodore to commandeer the number 10 Commodore (leaving poor Jon Crooke to sit on the sidelines, having not driven the car he was intended to drive). After a good first stint from Peter McLeod, the number 10 car was sitting in 5th, ready for Brock and David Parsons to take over. That they did. Brock and Parsons drove a great race in what was a fragile car (especially a stunning drive from Brock in the wet conditions late in the race) to finish 3rd in the race.


Post race though, it was found that the cars that came first and second, the international Rudi Eggenberger Texaco Sierras, were fitted with illegal front wheel arches which allowed them to race with taller tyres and subsequently have more grip throughout the race. Thus in 1988 the race win was officially handed over to Peter Brock, David Parsons and Peter McLeod in their parts-bin Commodore.

So to the review. First we will take a look at mould, paint, quality control and stance.







The mould appears very very close the the actual car. Biante have done a brilliant job. Biante have also kept with using diecast front and rear bumpers which is refreshing to see since Classic Carlectables is moving away from using diecast bumpers (replaced with plastic of the cheap and nasty variety in some releases).



The white paint is as well applied as any diecast I possess. It looks very good. The decals too look great and accurately placed. While a quick google search didn't uncover any great side-on pictures of the number 10 Commodore, there were quite a few of the 05 car which validate the positioning of the major 'Mobil' and 'Bridgestone' decals. Although I think the black 'Brock HDT: Building Excitement' decal on the front fender is too far forward, and the cute little 'hugs not drugs' decal as well. Biante have also included a cream white stripe going across the roof of the model. This is how the car raced on the day, the stripe concealing a loose wire from the damaged aerial. Biante have also correctly skewed the numbers on the sides of the model. This was how the car raced as FIA regulations stated that the numbers on the car had to be black on a white background, so the numbers were changed on the Mobil Commodores at the 11th hour.

Quality Control on these is great. The car feels incredibly solid. All of the opening and functioning parts on my model are as tight as a drum. I found 3 noticeable faults in the paint and decals on my model, all of which are fairly small and hard to locate. One gripe I have is the door gap on the leading edge of the front doors. But that's nothing much to complain about considering it's a constant across the board with this particular mould, and the doors are still tight.



Stance appears very close, if maybe the teeniest of touches too high.

Looking good so far. Now to the exterior details and the chassis detail, starting off with the headlights and taillights.



The headlights are bland, but are correct. Although the vague attachment stub on the edge closest to the grill doesn't earn Biante any brownie points. The taillights look very nice with very fine detail painting done on the edges which run along the light. No visible attachment stub is good news too.



The underside of the model is probably one of the weakest areas on the car, although finding correct information referring to the chassis detail is often an area where Aussie companies stutter (CC 1984 Bathurst Winner anyone?). At least the exhaust pipe appears to be the correct colour judging by historical pictures.



The wheels on the model are very good looking, featuring nice looking detail painted wheelnuts, and a small air nozzle on the edge of the wheel. The brakes on the other hand are quite average. The callipers I like, but the discs are just the plain silver plastic discs we've come to expect in Australian diecasts. Hopefully Biante step-up for their V8 Supercars and fit them with proper photoetched Brake discs.



Biante have also packed a bunch of other nice details onto the exterior of the model. A variety of switches and nozzles can be found just in front of the windscreen in the correct order in which they were lined up on the real car. The bonnet pins look a touch too big, but they're still good to look at. The air-jacks can also be seen just behind the front wheels and just behind the rear wheels. What I thought was the nicest touch though was the functional boot pins. They fit into corresponding holes in the boot-lid. I like them but the novelty of continually having to move and adjust them when opening and closing the boot-lid gets slightly annoying. Like the bonnet strap on the 1966 Kyosho/Biante Bathurst Winning Mini Cooper S.

So, the bulk of the external features on the Biante VL are very good, the brake discs and bland chassis detail being the flies in the ointment. Now we'll check the interior, boot and engine detail.





Inside is where this diecast truly shines. The interior detail, the accuracy and the finish is epic. Once again Biante has outdone itself. In the driver footwell there's a large perforated chrome plate and chromed perforated footrest. The rim of the steering wheel is finely flocked and the dash board is well replicated in every regard. All the buttons are finely labelled and dials well represented. The moulding line in the dash piece is very fine as well which is nice to see. But my favourite parts of the interior are the seat area and the small yellow cylinder in the right rear area of the interior.



The seat is very well modelled even down to the direction of the pattern on the front of the seat. The back of the seat meanwhile is coated with rich carpeting. The seatbelts are fantastic as they're made from material unlike the cheap plastic used in CC seatbelts. They also have nice tiny miniscule photoetched metal buckles. The transparent drink straw also makes an appearance, being situated next to the seat. From what I've seen, this location is also correct. Even the blue padding on the roll bar next to the seat is a separate piece of rubber. The last time I saw a padded roll bar in my new release additions was on my 1995 Bathurst Winning Castrol VR Commodore by CC, but on that model, the padding was simply moulded into the roll bar plastic. Great to see Biante making improvements on their competitors, even in the tiny details.



The cylinder is very nicely detailed with black detail painted rims around the ends and a teeny tiny decal is applied. Braided lines can be seen veering off to 2 silver shafts in the rear of the model and into a hole heading up above the firewall. This hole corresponds with an air connection on the top of the car underneath the windscreen and above the bonnet. These internal shafts are the top most part of the air-jacks which lift the car during pit-stops. So I assume the yellow cylinder is an air compressor for the jacks. How awesome is that! Amazing detail. It's little details like this which remind me why I collect.



After unhooking the boot pins, you can open the well detailed boot area. The first thing you notice is how slack the hinges are. The old dog-legs here are showing their age and also showing why companies like AUTOart are shifting to using small complex hinges on the boots and bonnets of their models. That said, it's not a huge issue, just an annoyance. The detail is great in the boot. Braided lines are used once again which is nice to see. Chrome fuel pipes can be seen going through the bottom of the boot floor and into the drop tank underneath. A small black battery on the left of the boot is also wired, its wires leading into the interior and then through the firewall and into the engine bay. Other small components are modelled by Biante in the boot area, making for a very well replicated boot, an area often neglected by model companies.





Now to the engine, and the party-piece of this model. As expected, the engine is a separate piece and is fully wired. Once again Biante have included ample amounts of braided lines as well as a variety of black and grey wires. Slightly disappointing that Biante are still using dogleg hinges for the bonnet. What annoys me is that every time Biante include a bonnet stand, the hinges for the bonnet keep the bonnet up anyway, but when they don't include the bonnet stand, the hinges are always too weak and free to keep the bonnet up! The engine is very different to the one in the 05 1987 Commodore. Various small components can be seen around the engine-bay made in chrome. While I do like chrome, I feel these components would look more accurate and better made in the aluminium-like material Biante used in their Holden Torana A9x engines. That said, I'm pretty much nitpicking. Many have said Biante overdo the chrome-work, but this engine looks great to me.

I guess it has to be asked. Is this the best car ever produced by either Aussie diecast company? People have had this question on their minds for quite some time.



Well it's more detailed than Biante's A9x Torana's and Ford Falcon XD/XE's. It's better than CC's 1976 Morris/Fitzpatrick Torana L34, primarily because it has a nicer interior and it retails for $25au less. It's more accurate and better built than any of CC's V8 Supercars. And it's built better than Biante's Mazda RX7 diecasts.



But what I like best about the Biante 1987 Bathurst Winning VL is the amount of effort that has been put in. The amount of fine details in this model is awesome. Not to mention the extra bonus's this model comes with. The new-style clam-shell box with a 2 piece lid is fantastic. The model also comes with a printed microfiber cloth and Biante's very well engineered door opening tool (unlike the CC tool I've used up to know, this one doesn't chip paint!).

Not only is this VL a great all round package. It's the best package Australia has offered yet.



Thanks for reading,
Matt.
 

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Matt, saw this review when you posted it on Biante (well, the link to CC's forum who then deleted your post).

It would be good if some of the international collectors picked this car up as they can then see Biante are making world-class diecast cars.
 

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It would be good if some of the international collectors picked this car up as they can then see Biante are making world-class diecast cars.
At present I have 11 Biante and 12 CC models, all in 1/18. I know thie quality very well and I also know their "competition" on who is better.
I plan also to buy the no. 10 VL Commodore but I have a question: I did not see the model in on-line shops in Australia which I usually use. Does it mean that it is already out of stock or it will be in stock soon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Lazard, I think they may be out of stock :( It wouldn't be too hard to locate one on Ebay. I'd ask Laz at Pitstop model cars (google it) because I think he's got some left. I also think some other retailers have some left too.
 

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At present I have 11 Biante and 12 CC models, all in 1/18. I know thie quality very well and I also know their "competition" on who is better.
I plan also to buy the no. 10 VL Commodore but I have a question: I did not see the model in on-line shops in Australia which I usually use. Does it mean that it is already out of stock or it will be in stock soon?
Yep Lazard, you are one of the only 'international' members I've seen who regularly purchases Australian diecasts (ie Biante and Classic Carlectables).
 

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I already have the model too. Yes, it is a very nice model. Bur I must admit that it is also rather expensive model.
Below are some photos of my model (also together with my other two Biante racing Commodores).



 
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