Model Reviews : December 2023 – Alfa Romeo, Mini and Ford

Welcome to our final column of 2023 dedicated to the world of scale models with an AROnline twist, brought to you by the expert eye and passion of Keith D’Souza.

In a world where automotive enthusiasts find joy in collecting and admiring miniature versions of their favourite cars, Keith will be your trusted guide through this captivating hobby.

From a delicious Italian to a law enforcer via a sporty little Mini

From classics to moderns, Keith’s reviews offer a detailed and insightful look into the world of scale models. We’re almost out of 2023 and into ’24, so why not look at kicking in the New Year with a nice scale model?

This month, we bring you a delightful 1:43 scale model of the Mini 1275GT from the good people at Vanguards, a lovely IXO Ford Granada support car and a delightful Alfasud Sprint from the artisans at Ottomobile.

Car of the Month: Ottomobile Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint 1:18 

We’re breaking our UK-only rule for the final column of 2023 for this delectable Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint, modelled by Ottomobile. This French builder of 1:18 resincast models has been quietly creating an impressive range of limited edition cars. They’re great value if you can catch one before they’re all bought up by the resellers, and stand the closest of scrutiny.

The Sprint is a 1976 model in a delicious shade of green and oh-so yellow French-spec headlights. The delightful casting captures the spirit of the Giugiaro-designed original perfectly – right down to the intricately-detailed alloy wheels to the instrument packed dashboard. The only downside is that none of the doors open. As with all Otto models, it’s being produced in limited numbers – 999 examples – so be quick if you want one.

Price: €69.90

Order from:

Vanguards Mini 1275GT in Black Tulip 1:43

The Corgi Vanguards quarterly releases were a huge event in the diecast calendar that many looked forward to. However, of late, it is now a non-event with the predictable line up of old and new Fords. The eighth variant of the classic Mini 1275GT casting – KNG 581L – is a somewhat welcome relief. Based on a 1973 Longbridge car which went through a full restoration by its current owner, Aberdeen-based Richard Bain, this model is quite well done.

Finished in the Black Tulip paint scheme, the detailing is a good standard and in all the right places, the form and poise meet the collector’s requirements. For those seeking BLARG additions to their diecast garage, this works. But ultimately, one can’t help wondering why more vehicles of this era and slightly beyond are not joining the 1275GT in small scale. Sadly, the bets are already placed for yet more Blue Oval Vanguards in 2024.

Price: £35.99

Order from: Vanguard Models

IXO Models Ford Granada Mk2 Estate

The Ford Granada is well represented in 1:43 scale, mainly in saloon form. IXO have a profound knack of rummaging through the archives, and finding forgotten vehicles that are well kept off the beaten path. Resin specialists Neo have produced the Mk2 Granada estate in 1:43 scale, but now IXO enters the fray with the same car but with a cool twist – that being a liveried version of the rally support car for the flying Mk2 RS Rally Escorts of the time.

What is really pleasing about this model is that there has been no compromise with its livery scheme. In today’s ‘correct’ world, it would have been far too easy to have distorted the main cigarette sponsor, but thankfully it has been left alone which ensures the model has complete credibility. The usual eye for detail shimmers throughout – the rear sports the ‘GB’ country sticker (so much more British than the current ‘UK’ one…), the silver boot catch lock and correctly fonted front and rear registration plates.

This Granada also has a delightful hint of a rear sag, which really gives it some kudos as a proper workhorse. Add the gold RS Minilites within the huge roof rack, IXO deliver one again something very unique to the diecast collector and fully complements their established Mk2 LWB Transit Rally Support vehicle in the same scale.

Price: £24.95

Order from: Ixo Models


  1. I remember changing the cambelts on a Sprint in this very colour.
    What a fabulous looking car the sprint was.

  2. £36 for a Vanguard mini, absolute joke. Not that long ago the Lledo models were a tenner, that’s when I built up my collection, another thing only for the well off !!!

    • Vanguard models have been over £30 for a long while. Your best waiting a couple of years and going to car shows / auto jumbles and picking them up there where they go from a tenner to fifteen quid.

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