Diecast Delights: A Euro Ford Ranger in 1:18 Scale

Until the recent past pickup-trucks weren’t really a thing across Europe. I’m pretty sure, though, that within my lifetime auto historians will publish essays on the exact moment, and reason, that all that changed. It all comes down to clever marketing.
Previously, the pick-up truck was a hardy, utilitarian device (ab)used by builders and manual labourers to lug cement mixers and bricks from site to site. Latterly, and no doubt finally reflecting how things have always been West of the Atlantic, pickup trucks have been picking up sales as do-anything “lifestyle” type vehicles. It can’t hurt, either, that pickups have premium SUV levels of road presence while costing one helluva lot less.
Today’s diecast delight recalls Ford of Europe’s first proper stab at marketing a pickup, if you except the previous car-based P100 and Escort Bakkie’s. This was, of course, a Mazda with a blue oval glued on. The European Ford Ranger.
Ford was “my” car company as I grew up, and I was always interested when their range broadened into sectors that I had never seen them compete before. In the late ’90s there were plenty of pickups to choose from in the UK, pretty well all of them Japanese in origin. Those who wanted to stick with a “domestic” brand were out of luck, especially when the Vauxhall Brava disappeared.
A pickup truck with a blue oval on it was bound to sell well over here, so Ford finally brought us the same Mazda B-Series which they’d been hawking the world over, named it Ranger and kept the Ford die-hards happy. How many of them ever realised that the car was assembled in Thailand we can never know. Probably the same number of domestic vehicle fans who never realised that the Vauxhall Brava started out life as an Isuzu.
You could have it as a rather meek-looking rear-wheel drive single-cab or the far tougher and manlier crew cab variant we see here. It would be this vehicle that began to catch the eye of the “lifestyle pursuits” brigade, a market which Ford would begin to actively chase with the release of the next generation of Ranger a few years hence.
This model was released at the same time as the Ford Cougar I featured back in November. It’s made by Action models, the packaging is all in German and that’s where this model originated. I imagine it was showroom issue.
For review purposes we’ll start with the two weakest links of this model. The shut between the bonnet and the front fenders is pretty clumsy-looking. Because the corners of the hood are rounded off (possibly for safety, more likely for production reasons) they jar with the clean-slice finish of the fenders. The front indicator lamps are also a bit featureless, finished in a uniform orange with no depth to it.
That’s pretty well where I quit complaining, because everything else is as good or better than it needs to be. Starting with the basics, the proportions and scale seem to be correct. The stance looks right and the truck looks and feels like a Ford Ranger. It looks at its best from the rear three quarters.
Detail is very well realised. The graphic emblems are well applied and accurate, and I must stress just how excellent the paint itself looks. There’s no orange peel to speak of, and the metal-flake doesn’t look outlandishly sized as it so often is.
It’s the same story inside, where the crude plastics of the original translate quite well into a 1/18th scale rendition with no hint of irony. If we were feeling mean we could knock points off for a lack of side glazing, but I’ve just had a really great weekend.
Under the bonnet lurks nothing more interesting than the stalwart 4-cylinder lump that always powered these machines. It all looks present and pretty well correct, if simplified. The twin batteries picked out, but there’s nothing here to set the world alight.
Things are better out back, where the load liner seems almost perversely detailed. A well-taken photo of this would be hard to distinguish from the real thing.
Generally that’s true of the whole model. A passing glimpse wouldn’t give you the information you need to determine scale, and that’s the key to a good model.
The trickiest thing about this model is figuring out exactly why you should need it in the first place. I have no justification whatsoever for its being in my collection, but for the fact that I think it references an interesting period in Ford’s history in the UK, a time they realised that they could offer the market far more than just the cars and vans which had been made available previously.
And I like the colour.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse. Does your company make really nice scale models of cars? Do you want your work showcased in front of several viewers? Hit us up via the TIPS line)

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  1. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Liking the colour is as good a reason as any to get anything. 🙂
    But I must quibble, these aren’t just the Euro Ford Ranger, they are ‘The Rest of the World Outside The USA’ version, being made in Thailand and exported all over Asia,the Middle East, Africa and Australasia. They were big sellers in NZ and in fact the current model is NZ’s current best selling motor vehicle as well as a top seller in Australia (where they were designed).
    I’ve never seen this model before and didn’t know it existed. Now I must get one.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Ah, I thought it was a Courier in several markets. This shape, anyway. The new one looks fantastic, anyway.

  2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    I love the pictures you take, and the write-ups on the models! Keep up the good work….. Maybe I’ll have to try to imitate you and post a pic to compliment yours.

  3. Pauly WallNutz Avatar
    Pauly WallNutz

    think it was a monogram kit, 1/24 scale, but it’s a ’95 just like my daily driver. had a few differences like the model has different wheels, manual mirrors and the 6cyl and mine is the 4. i seem to stink at getting anything in focus lately too.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    I do find it interesting that at one point (with the help of a plane) you could buy both a Ford Ranger that was a rebadged Mazda B-Series, and a Mazda B-Series that was a rebadged Ford Ranger.

  5. boxdin Avatar

    Cool, but you need smaller pea gravel. Those look like boulders.. lol