This is my ULTRA detailed review of the 1:43 scale '57 Chevy 4dr Hardtop and comparison to a full size '57 Chevy that took me a few months to write!
I am NOT affiliated with Brooklin models in anyway and this review is 100% honest and I pull no punches on my opinions of this product.
That's my buddy's 4dr hard top, I have a 2dr.
As some of you may know, I've been gushing over this model for many, many months. At the end of the day, it's a red '57 Chevy, plus a 4dr hardtop, that I did not have. To someone else, that may not seem like a big deal, but to ME, well.....just take a look at my collection (article coming soon). Really, I didn't have a choice other than buying this model! But, it's a little more complicated than that, let me explain...
First of all, it's a VERY unusual body style because it's a four door hardtop. Almost all '57 Chevy models either come as a 2dr hardtop, convertible, or Nomad. The 4dr hardtop has a rear window and C-pillar unique to this body style.
Highlighted in yellow is the unique portion of the 4dr hardtop compared to the 2dr hardtop
See the below picture for a more detailed comparison of two body styles. Note, the front doors are shorter and the trailing edge of the rear window is further back on the 4dr compared to the 2dr. Key: Red lines are the same for both body styles. Blue lines are features from the 2dr hardtop dropped down onto the 4dr hardtop. Green lines are features from the 4dr hardtop drawn up to the 2dr hardtop
There are only 3 options if you want a four door hardtop '57 Chevy model: 1:24 scale plastic re-pop from the '60's that has no windows or interior, resin body from eBay, you still need to paint and finish this off with parts from a 2dr hard top model, or this 1/43 scale Brooklin model. Secondly, this model is VERY expensive costing me ~$230 after currency exchange from Euros and shipping. Keep in mind, this is a sealed model with minimum detail or ability to even see the interior. But why, you may ask, is it so expensive? Let's answer that question first:
I'm going to assume most of you are not familiar with Brooklin Models so let me give a little background on the company:
Brooklin hand-builds white metal 1/43 scale models in England and specializes in American cars. Their models are quite heavy and built in VERY limited numbers. Runs are typically in the 100's not the 1000's.
These models are not diecast or made from resin. They have a video of all the steps on their website. Below is just a sampling:
Now, that you have a good understanding of how these models are crafted, let's take a deep dive into my example.
MY 4DR HARD TOP 1957 CHEVY MODEL
My 1/43 scale model, pictured in front of the top of the box.
Red is the only color that I really collect of '57 Chevys and Brooklin happened to only make a few 4dr hrd top models that were red with a white roof and they were exclusively sold in Germany back in 2020. When I found out these models existed, I contacted Brooklin and they sent me the link to a hobby shop in Germany that still had a few of them. When I finally inquired, after procrastinating for several months due to the cost, they only had one left, so I decided to buy it! Who knows when I would ever come across another red and white one again! I am just a bit obsessed, NOT looking to make an investment...just add to my collection.
IN THE BOX
Below, is a picture showing everything that came in the box with the model. This included the following: a cleaning cloth, pamphlet on Brooklin Models, and the model mounted on a leather base. There is a ribbon sewn into the bottom of the base to assist with removing it from the box which is deep an opens from the top.
This is everything that came in the box.
DID I MENTION THIS MODEL IS PRETTY EXCLUSIVE?
Talk about exclusivity, this is #2 of only 50 that were produced in red and white.
Here is PROOF that I wasn't sold an incorrect model and box. The number on the underside of the chassis is also 2 of 50: a match to the box! I removed the car from the base to show the underside and number plate, just for this article.
Let me first go on record as saying NONE of these pictures have been re-touched as I have NOTHING to hide and I am not affiliated with Brooklin Models in any way. This is the EXACT condition I received the model in as I have not made any modifications except removing the model from the leather base to take the above photo.
Before I get into the details, I would like to note that the paint finish and quality is really superb with no flaws found in the finish.
Honestly, I was surprised by how little detail there was in the front end of this model considering the cost and seeing other Brooklin models. But, once you remember how they are manufactured, it makes a bit more sense. The biggest offense to me is the 'V' on the hood is slightly bent and has a jagged edge on the underside. I'm not thrilled with the lack of detail or color of the center grille badge but it can be EASILY remedied, by me, with a sticker. Note, none of the lights are painted or have clear lenses but the headlights are textured. Also, the black grille mesh around the headlights is not blacked out as it should be. I will say, the actual mesh of the grille is pretty impressive and the scaling looks spot on when compared to a picture of my 1:1 below. But, it probably could use some black wash in the recessed areas and gold paint on the raised mesh. Lastly, the lack of rubber tips on the dagmars is NOT an error as these were a dealer installed option. I'm pretty sure the scale of the 'V' and 'Chevrolet' script are a bit larger than should be (see the 1:1 below), but of course this can be excused since it IS hand-made. The 'Chevrolet' script was very nicely done and appears to be photoetched.
With the naked eye, the jagged and un-even hood 'V' is not as pronounced.
My 1:1 for reference
The dual hood ornaments do look nicely crafted.
Close-up of the hood ornaments and "Chevrolet" script.
Similar angle on a 1:1 '57 Chevy
Close-up of one of the dual hood ornaments on my 1:1
The three gold vertical trim pieces on the front fender were painted very nicely. I think this is the smallest painted detail on the entire model. Also the front bumper to fender fit looks pretty good. The below picture also highlights the VERY nice delicate fender flare around the front wheel opening. To my eye, this detail really sets this model apart from other diecasts of this scale. Close-up of bumper to fender gap and painted gold vertical trim pieces
Close-up of the 3-gold marks on my 1:1
The overall proportions of the car, subtle curves of the body surfaces, and size of the trim are areas where this model really stands out from my other 1:43 scale '57 Chevy models.
The subtle fender flares appear to be shaped VERY close to the actual car as well as the shape of the fender openings.
1/43 Brooklin models wheels and front fender opening
1:1 front wheel and fender opening
The model comes screwed to a leather base.
Let's talk about the wheels for a moment. Below are pictures of a Brooklin model wheel and my 1:1 wheel.
Close-up of the Brooklin Models front wheel
Close-up of my 1:1 Chevy front wheel
As you can see in the above pictures, there is a red ring around the hubcap, to denote the steel wheel that stick out beyond the hubcap. But, to my disappointment, spinners have not been included on the model. This is a bit of sore point for me but I already knew about this BEFORE I purchased the model. My long term plan is to have someone 3D print a set for this model.
Another slight issue, that I assume is due to the hand-built nature of this model, the chrome trim that runs along the top of the doors does not quite match the body in the area atop the rear door where it dips down.
Close-up showing the chrome trim mismatch with the body at the dip at the top of the rear door.
Similar angle on a 1:1 '57 Chevy
I am including this next picture to spot-light the door handles and how far they stick out from the body.
The cut-lines at the rear of the hood and fender look decent compared to the 1:1. The radius on the edges of the cowl, where it meets the front fender, is totally wrong, but at least it was included. Also another discrepancy is that the base of the antenna is not a teardrop shape like on the 1:1.
Close up of the antenna nub.
Close up of the antenna base and cut-lines on my 1:1 car.
From the straight-on pictures below, you can see the cowl is actually a bit too wide in the model compared with the 1:1 car. But again, looking at proportions of the items surrounding it, hood cut line, location of wipers, dash board, etc. a pretty decent job overall. Close up showing the wipers and dashboard and panel cut-lines.
1:1 picture to show cut-lines and wipers.
Comparison of rear 3/4 views below.
Rear 3/4 View of Brooklin model
Rear 3/4 View of 1:1
As you can see in the below picture, the rear 'V' still has the same jagged portion as the front 'V', clearly visible in the below picture. Close up of the rear 'V' and license plate.
Note, on the underside of the actual car's 'V' there are concave cutouts for fingers to aid when opening the trunk lid.
Originally, I thought since my model is number 2, maybe this was corrected after the first few of the run.....then I looked on their website, NOPE! I think the example seen below is actually worse than my model. I suppose this is proof Brooklin Models doesn't retouch any photos on their website .
Image from Brooklin's website showing a 4dr hrd top in blue with a clearly visible burr on the underside of the 'V'
Clearly noticeable in the below picture, the rear 'V' isn't exactly symmetrical with one side clearly longer than the other. This picture really highlights the asymmetrical 'V' on the trunk lid.
I have to say it was a bit of a surprise that the outline of the "Bel Air" script was included in the rear fin trim. However, it would have looked a lot nicer had it been painted gold or a gold photo-etched part was used for the "Bel Air" script. This can be seen in the below picture on the right. I think this should be fairly easy to paint gold if I so choose. I am glad to see the tail lights are red and the very bottom portion of the bumper ends are correctly painted black. The license plate was kind of detailed and you can make out it's supposed to be a Pennsylvania plate.
Now, to address the elephant in the room: YES the gap underneath the rear taillight trim and the main bumper IS a bit excessive but there is really nothing to be done about this. I'm not 100% sure why Brooklin Models designed the model in this way, clearly on the full size car, the gap is MUCH smaller.
As stated earlier, this is a sealed model making the interior VERY difficult to see and even harder to take pictures of. I have done my best with the below photos.
The center steering wheel ring is VERY flat with no emblem in the center. It does not appear the gauges are detailed either.
The transmission stalk is included as are some knobs and rectangle for the radio on the dashboard.
Dashboard of 1:1 car
Some slight details can be made out on the inner door panels but nothing is 3D. Armrests and cranks are phantom impressions but nothing is 3D on the door panels.
Picture of 1:1 car for comparison of door panel detail.
I'm not sure exactly why Brooklin Models decided to paint the interior red and white, but this color combination was not available from the factory. I suppose it would be fairly easy to disassemble and re-paint, but not so sure I am going to do that, given the cost and rarity of this model. It's very difficult to see the interior and as you can see I have struggled to even take a picture.
Close up trying to peer through the rear window.
Picture of 1:1 car shown for comparison of trunk cutline and size of the rear parcel shelf
Keep in mind I am a '57 Chevy aficionado as this is mainly all I collect so my opinion of this model may differ from that of the average model collector. Also, '57 Chevy models, in general, ARE very common so it's MUCH easier to compare them to other brands. I would assume, this is not typical for other models that Brooklin Models makes, hence why this model is a 4dr hrd top instead of a more common 2dr hrd top body style. On that note, I have seen this model produced in a few other colors including, light blue with a white roof, copper with a white roof, pink with a silver roof, and a two-tone blue that is a 210.
To throw a wrench in that theory a bit, Brooklin Models does make a convertible '57 Chevy that I have only seen in green and pink. Convertible 1/43 scale '57 Chevy models are fairly commonplace. rrently in my collection, I have 6, all from unique model manufactures at different price points with varying levels of detail and accuracy. Since the interior on the convertible is much easier to view, the interior door panels do have more details added compared to the 4dr hrd top model.
To throw a wrench in that theory a bit, Brooklin Models does make a convertible '57 Chevy that I have only seen in green and pink. Convertible 1/43 scale '57 Chevy models are fairly commonplace, currently in my collection, I have 6, all from unique model manufactures at different price points with varying levels of detail and accuracy. Since the interior on the convertible is much easier to view, the interior door panels do have more details added compared to the 4dr hrd top model.
Door panels of the convertible have window cranks and armrest in the front that the 4dr hardtop model lacks.
Here is a quick comparison picture with my other two higher-end 1:43 scale '57 Chevy models. From top to bottom: Western Models Ltd (defunct brand that was also made in England), Franklin Mint (I made this configuration by combining a black hard top with a red convertible, detailed the wheels, and has opening doors and hood, made in China), and the Brooklin Model from this article. Notice how the Brookins Model has a much better shape of the body, curves, and trim, when compared to the other two models.
Comparison to Western Models and Franklin Mint
After carefully taking pictures and really studying this model, I do have a certain appreciation for it. This is NOT a model that everyone would appreciate for the cost, but it certainly does have some VERY nice detailing. As stated above, the superior paint work, curvature of the surfaces, and proportions of the body trim is where this model really excels. For the most part, where this model falls down in details could be easily and cheaply remedied with simple stickers or decals. This would be for the gauges on the dashboard, steering wheel horn, and grille shield. I am going to guess that leaving these kinds of details off on some of their other models may not be as noticeable, especially for the more obscure cars not available from any other manufacturer in 1:43 scale. Lastly, the front and rear 'V's are the largest source of disappointment for me as these can not be easily remedied and are far from perfect. But again, they are not as noticeable with the naked eye.
For those of you that have read some of my other posts, you may know I REALLY like to add details to my models. But, with this one, I am struggling with exactly what I should do because it was SOOO very expensive AND practically irreplaceable, due to it's extremely low volume. Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!