Model Power 2003 VW Touareg a Good Buy
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Model Power 2003 VW Touareg a Good Buy

Model Power's HO scale diecast model of a 2003 VW Touareg features nice details that will make it look nice on a model railroad layout, but this scale model car features some small quality issues.

Straight out of the shiny box, Model Power’s diecast 2003 VW Touareg (part number 19345) is an attractive model. Painted in a glossy black, this Chinese-made diecast vehicle sparkles with finely crafted details and authenticity.

Our sample was crisply and cleanly painted. The prominent VW logo, grille, and license plate on the front are pad-printed, along with the many details on the car’s tail. The chrome window-surrounds and rocker panel edges are nicely picked out in silver paint.

Although the taillights are only printed, the model features separate clear headlight lenses mounted over nicely detailed sockets. The amber turn indicator lenses reflect excellently through the clear lenses.

The Touareg features a rather substantial amount of window glass that was nicely represented in our Model Power model. The front and rear windshields feature a very thin line of black border paint that invites closer scrutiny. The interior is molded in a pale tan color that appears to be close to prototypically correct – not an easy feat when coloring plastic. The tan interior is unfortunately visible inside the rear wheel wells and is just thin enough to glow under a strong light. A brushload of black paint could easily fix that.

The diecast model car features a black plastic chassis that is “spun on” – held in place by a rivet rather than a screw – at the front and back, making adding a driver a difficult task. Details on the chassis include a silver painted fuel tank, exhaust pipes, and a bunch of molded-in, beefy-looking suspension components.

One of the interesting things about Model Power’s packaging is the key system they use to mount their diecast vehicles into their clear plastic boxes. A spring-loaded metal “T” pin mounted in the box’s base grabs onto an extruded socket on the bottom of the car and restrains it in the box. While this works excellently when the car is in the box on the shelf, it creates a large and extremely un-scale extrusion underneath the car.

The finely detailed chassis is utterly dominated by the large tie down extrusion required by the packaging system. Some quick work with a grinding bit in a rotary tool would eliminate this extrusion, but would also eliminate the ability to mount the car in its display box. Choices, choices.

Looking at the Touareg from dead ahead revealed a slight surprise: the chassis is not mounted squarely against the body. Our little VeeDub tilts off to the right side by about 5 degrees, as if there is a strong wind blowing on the left side of the car. The tilt isn’t noticeable in any but a head-on or tail-on view, which makes it a moot point when the car is on a model railroad layout. But collectors and model car buffs will wonder about the car’s design quality.

The chassis mount problem expresses itself in the rear bumper, which is actually the rear extension of the chassis. It hangs just slightly askew on our sample. The bright red reflective strips in the bumper are nicely printed and, well, bright. Their horizontal alignment, while prototypically correct, can’t but emphasize the bumper misalignment.

Overall, the Model Power 2003 VW Touareg will look great on any modern-era model railroad layout, and will certainly shine in any collector’s HO scale assortment. Model Power has an MSRP of $4.95 – a fair price for a nice piece of engineering. Before you buy one, however, double check to make sure the chassis is thoroughly spun on.

You can learn more about Model Power’s line of HO scale diecast vehicles at your local hobby dealer, at Poolside Rails’ Resources page, or directly from Model Power.

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