Review: Kinsmart 2003 Volkswagen Touareg (1:38)
Kinsmart show us that you needn't spend big to have a decent quality diecast.
I called in a shop that I never visit too often the other day. They mostly sell home stuff, clothing and a few electricals. However, they do sell toys and I have seen the odd nice model car there in the past. On my recent visit, I had a quick look in the toy aisle out of curiosity, and it's a good job I did. I ended up with the two Touaregs and a few new Matchbox cars too, which you can take a look at in my post here if you want to:
Anyway, looking at the lowest shelf in the toy aisle, I saw a display tray full of scale model VW Touaregs. This caught my attention for a number of reasons.
Firstly, why were they loose in a display tray, seemingly being sold as toys? They looked really nice quality, more like a display model than a kids toy.
Secondly, where did a shop find stock of what I assumed to be such an old casting? This Touareg is a 2003 model year car, so I'm assuming the models themselves aren't much newer, though I could be wrong. I found a YouTube video uploaded in March of 2010 which shows the model, so it may well be from around this time if not older. Perhaps they were old warehouse stock that had been sitting somewhere for years, or bought in a liquidation sale? I've no idea to be honest, but I'm glad they had them.
After seeing how cheap they were at just £4 each, I picked up two, one in silver and one in grey. Upon closer inspection after buying them, I realised they were Kinsmart brand. I don't really think I've had any Kinsmarts before, apart from one or two toys when I was younger perhaps. Anyways, seeing this reminded me of a recent post on here by Mason Bloom. In this post Mason takes an in depth look at a Kinsmart BMW Z4, and mentions how high quality it is, especially considering it's affordable price. It made sense to me then, that's why these Touaregs were so nice despite only costing 4 quid a piece. Whilst they aren't quite as nice as the Z4 in Mason's post, they are very good, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find anything near them at this price point.
So, let's get into the review!
Pictures in this review were all taken on our dining table, something I've previously not tried but think they turned out ok.
The exterior of these is very detailed. The mirrors look the right size and accurate to those on the 1:1 Touareg. They do not have any foil, glass or plastic or anything to replicate the mirror glass. However, if these models' intended purpose is to be played with as pull back and go toys, then that's probably for the better. They would likely just fall off when played with.
All the creases and lines in the body are accurate, even the details on the metal of the roof are present.
The sides feature a few nice touches too. There's a fuel filler cap on the passenger side, and chrome effect trim running around the edge of the windows, from the door mirror right back to the D pillar.
Up front we find a chrome effect grille, semi-detailed headlamps, and details of a skid plate. You can even see where the headlamp washers and towing eye cover are.
The same level of attention to detail is carried around to the rear. A large VW emblem sits proud in the centre of the boot lid, and the TOUAREG model name is not far below in the left corner.
The rear light clusters have a silver painted area where the indicators and reverse lights would be. Even the 3rd brake light is painted on. I think it's quite impressive that they even bothered giving it this detail.
The rear bumper also has two small areas painted red where the reflectors would be. Under the rear bumper we find a back box and dual exhaust tips.
Other exterior details worth mentioning are the front and rear number plates. Both of which proudly display the Touareg name, in the correct Volkswagen font too. If you wanted a Touareg for a dealership showroom diorama, this small detail could be a big help. The front and rear screens have wipers moulded into them, as well as the black border around the edges of the screens.
I initially thought that the wheels were based on a more complex design, and their spokes had been filled in to make them easier to produce at this scale. I was wrong, as after some quick research they appear to be based off the Atheo style wheels that were available on the Touareg. They have the same 5 spoke design, with a raised element on each spoke giving them a distinctive look. You can even see each of the 5 wheel nuts, which is an unnecessary but appreciated bit of detail. I think Kinsmart did well on the wheels. Also, the tyres are more detailed than I expected them to be, with an intricate tread pattern.
I noticed a some small paint marks, but the fact these are being sold loose probably hasn't helped with this. It's really nothing major and you have to get quite close to notice them. I also really can't complain given the cost. Speaking of paint, I think Kinsmart did a great job representing the shades the Touareg was available in. The silver, grey and black may not be the most in your face colours, but they look really smart and suit the classy, refined look of the car well in my opinion. The red is also a nice shade though, and pops in direct lighting. I can't say I remember seeing a Touareg in this red, so it must be a pretty uncommon colour.
Sorry for the lighting, had to put my flash on to get all the detail
The interior has a surprising level of detail to it. All the seats are well proportioned and look accurate to those you'd find in a Touareg of this era. The horizontal lines across the seat pad and backrest are present, along with the chunky side bolsters on the front seats. The rear seats also look good, and come complete with 3 head restraints. Two pieces of luggage can also be found across the back bench, resting against the backrest. The cargo area is covered with a parcel shelf.
Moving back up front and to the centre console, we find an armrest, cupholders and a gear lever. There are also two raised circles, which appear to be control dials for the ride height and differential. They are in the correct location for that anyway.
The dashboard also has plenty of detailing. An instrument cluster complete with speedo and tach hides behind the tiny 4 spoke steering wheel. There is also a light switch next to the steering column. A pair of paddle shifters protrude out from the steering wheel's base. Another detail which I wasn't expecting was the accurate air vents, which are even carried to the top of the dash. On the passenger side of the dash we find lines in the plastic which mark out where the glovebox and passenger airbag are.
The door cards are the only noticeably cheap area in my opinion. There is no separate plastic piece like you'd find on more expensive diecasts. Instead, some details are on the inside of the doors themselves, such as the door handle and a faint line where the door pocket storage would be. This is no big deal though, and once again, I can't complain at the bargain price of £4.
Overall, I am very happy with these new additions to my collection. Despite being intended as toys, they display nicely and look great next to my other pricier VW official dealer models by Kyosho. Perhaps the only downside is the 1:38 scale, meaning they are a little larger than most of my models which are 1:43. Regardless of this, I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for more Kinsmart "toys" in the future.
Thanks for reading my review! Any feedback or thoughts? Let me know in the comments!