by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
Fiat Panda 45
Brochure: Herpa Cars & Trucks 2012 / 05-06
Series: Vintage car
The Fiat Panda is a new type from Herpa. This first issue is released in the classic color red. Herpa lists seven Fiats in their catalogue, one in N scale. They are part of 211 models in the Vintage Car collection.
Fiat PandaIntroduced in 1980, the Panda was designed as a modern day "peasant car": a cheap, basic, no-frills utility vehicle, that would be easy to use and maintain. It can be seen as a later approach to the same niche which the Citroën 2CV and Renault 4 were designed to serve. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Panda was noted for its box-like styling, which would become the house style for Fiats throughout the 1980s.
Mechanically the first Pandas borrowed heavily from the Fiat parts bin. Engines and transmissions came from the Fiat 127 and, in certain territories, the air-cooled 652 cc two-cylinder powerplant from the Fiat 126. The plan for a mechanically simple car was also evident in the rear suspension, which used a dead axle suspended on leaf springs. Later versions of the car added various mechanical improvements but this spirit of robust simplicity was adhered to throughout the life of the model.
Many design features reflect the Panda's utilitarian practicality. Examples include a seven-position adjustable rear seat which could be folded flat to make a bed, or folded into a V shape to support awkward loads, or easily and quickly removed altogether to increase the overall load space. The first Pandas also featured removable, washable seat covers, door trims and dashboard cover, and all the glass panels were flat making replacements easy and cheap to produce. Much like its earlier French counterparts the Panda could be specified with a two piece roll forward canvas roof.
The original Panda met with great success across Europe, polling 2nd in the 1981 European Car of the Year awards in its first full year of production (pipped to first place by the Ford Escort Mark III) and staying in production in some regions until May 2003.
Herpa Panda BaredThis new Fiat Panda model type is joins seven other Fiats in their catalog. They are part of 211-strong Vintage Car series. On the model’s webpage you can access a video about Fiat Pandas.
The model is fully assembled and packed in a light plastic form-fitted tray secured in a light plastic box. These packages do great job of protecting the model from dropping and crushing. Many Herpa models have arrived in boxes abused by the postal service with mashed packages but without damage to the model.
I found no flaws in the molding or assembly. The exterior features fine recessed lines for doors, grilles, hoods and panels. The tires are made of rubber or vinyl or soft plastic and have nice tread detail. Underneath is an underbody with a impressive molded detailed. The windshield is free of distortion and you can see the nice interior.
One thing I noticed immediately are the black dots in the middle of the hubcaps. These are not on the Panda on Herpa’s website. It appears the metal axles were pushed through the styrene hubcaps.
DetailsAppropriately tinted clear lenses simulate the headlamps, brake lights, and turn signals . Windshield wipers are part of the chrome combing around the windshield. A factory applied separate side view mirror is attached. Tires have good tread detail.
The interior is easy to see through the clear windows; look inside the passenger compartment to see detail worth popping the body off for: dark gray seats, the steering wheel, console, and dashboard detailing. For once, I did pop the body off – whoops! It is tricky to do and fraught with peril. Apparently the tight fitting components help hold the lenses in their holes. Two very tiny clear parts catapulted off towards oblivion. Fortunately I was on a big desk and heard them skitter to a stop, and recovered them. I am not telling you not to expose the interior, it could be satisfying to put figures in the car, I am just telling you to prepare for parts to make a break for it – literally.
Paint and FinishThe exterior is molded in rot / red with black panels. Black paint accent strips extenuate the windows and bumpers. Fiat logos and emblems are printed with incredible fidelity! These are not decals – Herpa does not use decals. The hand painted window trim is sharp.
Hit the Strade Statali!Herpa has created a sharp little Fiat Panda. It has fine plastic detail and good finishing. Lenses for headlights and brake lights, a detailed interior, underside detail, tire treads, and an applied side view mirror all enhance this impressive car. However, it looks like the factory pushed the wheels onto the axles a bit too hard.
I recommended this model for car collectors, and model railroaders and diorama modelers of circa 1980 and later.
We thank Herpa for providing this model for review. Please tell manufacturers and vendors that you saw this item here - on Railroad Modeling.
 Wikipedia. Fiat Panda. [Web.] 30 October 2012.