Words and photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov / StratosWRC
During the 1930s, celebrities and royalty were defined by the cars they drove, and Duesenbergs were held in high regard. The model J was no exception, initially built as a chassis, with the body work hammered together by Graber Carrosserie. Among the owners of these fabulous cars were names like Clark Gable and James Cagney, not to mention various royalty. Automodello brings this limited edition replica to you, available in two forms – blue/black and silver/black – in runs of 499 and 80 pieces, respectively.
This is our first review of a 1:24 scale Automodello model, so we will walk you through the details and packaging. We have previously reviewed one of their 1:43 offerings, the Dual-Ghia, which proved to be an exceptional piece. I’m quite sure you’ll see that this is no different. In fact, as soon as you hold the box, the weight speaks volumes of quality. The box and base are both heavy and you can choose to display the model in the box, simply with the lid open, or remove the model with the base and display it wherever you like, be it a desk or a cabinet. Alternatively, you could also opt for a 1:24 display cover, available from Automodello.
The box itself is black, with stylish silver lettering, which opens to reveal the model nestling on a black base, also with silver lettering that says the name of the model. The model can be removed from the base via three screws, which I would not recommend, as it is the kind of masterpiece that belongs on a base. However, such concerns will relegate themselves to the back of your mind once you lay your eyes on the model, such is the commanding presence it possesses. The very tasteful two-tone paint accentuates the curves perfectly, while the steep rake of the front grille hints at the car’s performance. It was originally designed for competition, so you’ll see evidence of that in the streamlined body, and the low-rise windscreen.
The model can be displayed with the top up or down, as Automodello provides both options in the box. Personally, I feel that the top is best left in place, as it completes the shape quite nicely. The paint finish is smooth and flawless, as expected, transitioning seamlessly between the curves and crevices. The various photo-etched pieces add even more eye-candy, and I especially love the chrome stripe that runs across the convertible top. The tiny badges are all present and correct, and the attention given even to the fuel-filler cap is definitely admirable.
I love the intricate front grille, that seems to have multiple layers of fine photo-etch work, and the chrome bits on the rear wheel haunches. Speaking of the wheels, the spokes put most 1:18 models to shame, while the whitewall tires sport authentic tread. If you peek underneath the model, you’ll also see an exhaust, which actually looks quite good. I’d also like to mention that somehow Automodello managed to replicate the headlight effect, wherein they appear to be amber if looked at from a certain angle. Check out one of the pictures to see what I’m talking about. Definitely cool!
The window frame and the windshield wipers are photo-etched as well. Lifting the top off reveals a sober interior, painted in black, with a fully carpeted floor, and full detail extending to the foot well. The model is just gorgeous and detailed, whichever angle you look at it from, although rear three quarter is my favourite. It would be nice to offer some kind of constructive criticism, but the model is honestly very good. It would look good in every classic collection, and I highly recommend it. I should also mention that it’s available exclusively on www.diecasm.com. Enjoy the pictures!