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This is a review for the Checkmate (CM) Audi A4 S-line in white.


Some points that don't fit in the review categories will be discussed. The model comes in a window box, much like the old Autoart boxes. I've always hated these types of boxes, as I consider them not enough protection for the model. However, this box is infinitely better than other companies' window boxes. The base is plastic, and there is a checkerboard pattern on the top (where the model rests). Not only that, there is a little raised piece on the base that labels what the model on the base is. This is similar to the Maisto bases, but those used stickers for the name. The model is held onto the base by 3 screws, and there are also plastic "inserts" that hold the model on the sides, so the model cannot move at all. I really like this design, as it lets you see the model from outside through the window, but there are no "safety" issues.

The model is quite heavy, and there is a door opener tool included that is taped to the underside of the base. I wish all model companies included one of these tools with their models.

Please note that this model is supposed to model the A4 S-line, but it is identical to the normal A4 model, except for the following things: 1) bottom of the car body is body colour, instead of a two-tone paint scheme and 2) the S-line badging. I would've expected the S-line to be different from the A4 somewhat, at least externally, but I found 1:1 pics of an S-line identical to the model, which looks just like the base A4. The A4 comes in white, black and silver, while the S-line only comes in white and silver. So if you really dislike those S-line badging, get the normal A4.


Brakes - accuracy=8 detail=8
The brakes on this model are well made. The callipers are detailed, and have "Audi" imprinted on it. The brake discs are plastic affairs, but are painted to resemble metal, and the end result is quite believable.


Engine - accuracy=7 detail=6
Not much to see in the engine department, but that's partly due to Audi's fault. The big huge plastic cover with the Audi sign and "1.8Turbo" logos is replicated correctly, with the logos painted in silver. The silver pipes and orange "oil check" ring looks good too. However, from the 1:1 pics, I can see a few wires running underneath the cover, but I can't see it on the model. Also, I'm relatively disappointed in CM for the colour they used on that water reservoir tank as it looks really fake. Overall, a decent engine compartment (on par with normal AUTOart's), but can't hold a candle to other Chinese DE's.



Exterior - accuracy=8 detail=7
Starting at the front, we see a nicely made grill, with a chrome surround and Audi sign. They look good, but the chrome on the Audi sign, at least on my example, seems a tad too thin. But what's this? The grill is only textured and not perforated? I'm really disappointed they decided to do this. The lights, however, are beautifully made. There are no attachment stubs, the separate light bulbs are modelled, and the little turn signal is well painted. The light covers are nicely done as well, with perfect fit. Moving on down, the smaller grills underneath are also only textured and not perforated. However, these aren't as apparent as the top grill. And note the smaller center grill also has a chrome surround, wow! When I first saw the foglights, I thought they were just a clear cover over a hole, since it was so dark inside. However, once I took a closer look, there are actually a light fixture INSIDE the hole, and then the light cover. Very nicely done here. Note from the photo of the front, we see the shutline on the hood isn't exactly the best (especially the left side). It's acceptable, but not as class leading as some of the other Chinese DE's. While I'm at it, I want to draw your attention to the two-toned side mirrors. This is accurate to the 1:1, which is a weird colour combo for them :confused . The license plate is a separate piece, and "Audi A4" is tampoed on it. One thing I'd like to nitpick is that the light washers should be pieces that bulge out, instead of just molded in on to the bumper, and the right side light washer isn't too well defined…

Moving to the side, the side markers are separate pieces, but have ugly attachment stubs. The thing that really catches my eye on the side is of course the "S-line" tampoes. They're correctly positioned, and are of the correct size. Note the little S-line badge on the rear door strip. The shape is perfectly captured, when compared to reference photos. One thing that is missing/wrong on the model is the lack of an extra "strip" going across under the door strip (just where the horizontal line goes across on the bottom). The shutlines on my example are pretty good on the doors, but from others' accounts of their A4 (same mold), it seems the shutlines can be haphazard at times. I guess I got lucky :happy .

To the back, the lights are well done. At first I had thought those black parts in the lights are attachment points, but after consulting 1:1 photos, they're true to life. The third brake light is only painted. The Audi logos, "A4", and "1.8T" logos are all only painted, but they are raised out of the bodywork. Good news is that they modelled those little sensors on the bumper very well, they're very nicely defined. The black "strip" on the bottom just above the mufflers is true to the 1:1 as well. The mufflers have a chrome tip, and excavated, but just not excavated deep enough, as you can easily see the end of it. Another little detail I have to mention is the chrome strip just below the trunk door, they didn't forget a little detail like that. Open up the trunk (the door stays up), and you get a nice carpeted trunk. Nothing else in there of much interest though.



Interior - accuracy=9 detail=8
As with other Chinese DE's, the best part of the model is the interior. Starting from the seat, they're made of a leather feel material, even though they could be a bit softer. The seat controls are molded in as well. The front seatbelts are separate fabric pieces, with photoetch buckles. An amazing thing they modelled is the metal part on the top of the belt mount, they have used a photoetch piece to represent it, amazing! The steering wheel is well padded, with the Audi sign on the center, and a "chrome" surround circling the logo. However, these are only painted, and the chrome surround should be a trapezoidal shape instead of a circle. Moving up, the gauges are a sticker, but realistically and perfectly replicate the 1:1's dials. The various stalks, buttons, etc. are all molded and painted as well. There's wood trim on the model, which I couldn't find on the 1:1 pics, but I believe this is an option owners can add. The trim is done believably, but it's not the best wood trim I've seen on diecasts. The pedals are correctly shaped as well. The model is modelled after the automatic version of the 1:1, so we get a little movable auto gear shifter (!). The center console is done correctly too, with what I think are tampoes and paint. It looks a bit toyish, but that may be due to the bright colours used. The little storage compartment between the front seats (behind the shifter) is openable too. To the door sides we go, and we see everything molded, with detail painting for the buttons/grab handles. The doors open on realistic hinges, and are strong, with no wobble when open. While we're near the doors, I want to draw your attention to the step part on the door frame. It's got a photoetch piece on there that says the company and brand of the car, and is present on both front door frames.

Moving to the back, the back seats are made of the same material as the front, and the center of the seat seems to be foldable (I can't get my fingers in there). However, the one bad thing about the rear seats is that the seatbelts are only molded out of the seat and painted black. I had expected separate seatbelts, after seeing the amazing ones up front :pullhair .

Paint - accuracy=10 detail=9
Smooth paint everywhere, with no orange peel, but it seems some places the paint is a tad thick. This may be due to shallow moldings for some details though, I can't really tell. But either way, the paint is very well done, but if you get this model, remember to wipe the model off, mine came with some dust and some oily substance on the model (wax?).

Tampo/Decals - accuracy=10 detail=10
The only tampoes (no decals here!) on this model are the lettering on the license plates, and the S-line badging on the sides. They're all perfectly replicated, and the positioning is all correct.

Tires/Wheels - accuracy=7 detail=9
Tires are branded and have realistic tread. I can't really tell the tire company though. The rims are very perplexing. They look great, with the lugnuts looking like separate pieces, but the colouring and design is off. The 1:1 rims don't look as "chrome-ish" as the model's, and the grooves within each spoke on the 1:1 isn't as deep and narrow as the model's. Assuming one didn't look at the 1:1 pics, the model's rims are beautiful, and I actually prefer this "chrome-ish" colour more than the boring matt colour look of the 1:1's rims.


Undercarriage - accuracy=7 detail=6
Again, I can't find any pics of the undercarriage. But judging from the detail, it looks kind of boring. The front part is mostly covered by a large black cover, which really obscures what's underneath (not much). The rear is boring as well, with the muffler, the rear suspension, and 2 large tanks of some sort visible. Could be better, I say, but no worse than AUTOart (which really isn't saying much :giggle).

CONCLUSION:
Accuracy=8.25 detail=7.875

I got my model for around 65USD, which I think is a fair deal. The quality is around the same as an older AUTOart, but the various working features, and the unique subject matter make it worth the asking price. Please note the company who makes this is Checkmate, the one who made the atrocious A6. They have improved a lot within a few years, and their products now are only getting better. I'm going to take a bet and say the new A6L is made by them. If so, they have improved to Kyosho/AUTOart levels. Get this model if you like pedestrian cars, or you're an Audi lover.

Review added to the DX Model Review Database on 4-NOV-2005
 

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Nice review, Gary! :nicejob
Looks like we're in the same wave-length, since I usually would give almost the same grades that you gave. :wink
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Thanks Lu! :happyMaybe I'm just infected by your reviewing skills, as I think I've read every one of your reviews on your site... and some of them multiple times :giggle
 

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Thanks for the review Gary. I've been contemplating getting one of these, though most likely it will be the facelifted version. How is the positioning of the wheels within the wheel well? From what I can tell, it looks like they are set in a bit too far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Thanks Lloyd! :happy

The FL looks about the same detail wise as this one.
The wheels are indeed, too "in" the wheel wells. The facelift is the same too. Someone mentioned that Minichamps or Kyosho will make the new A4 soon, so you might want to wait and see what happens?
 

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Yeah, I read that Minichamps will be making both the sedan and the Avant versions. I will most likely wait since it is supposed to be out next month. I still may get the CM version though, especially if I can figure out how to fix the wheel issue. I think the CM will have the better interior, especially if Minichamps's A4 is like their 5-series. It's good to at least have a choice between brands of comparable quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Well, it's not that bad, I'd say it's on par with older Autoart efforts.

Also note that the Norev A6 and KY A8 cost quite a bit more than this CM A4, so better quality is expected...
 
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