Germany is Europe's workshop, so while the rest of us are chugging chocolates all December, naturally the Germans are building little cars. We were highly intrigued and had to check out Franzis' car adventskalender.
There are quite a few models on offer (see further below), and as you can see the one we tried was a model of the original Volkswagen Golf GTI. With a cost of around £50, the first thing you think after 'Wow that's neat' is 'Goodness me, that's expensive'. Indeed, so it'd better be good, especially considering it's a little 1:43 scale model.
How does it work?
Open up the box and inside there is a carton with 24 little boxes, each containing a piece of the car. Each day you get a new piece and when the 24th rocks up, you'll have yourself a new Mk1 Golf GTI.
It's not just the parts you get, you get building instructions too but it's unlike any instruction booklet we've seen before. 'Booklet' is an understatement, it's a proper book that provides a history of the Golf alongside the kit instructions. Things begin in a very promising fashion.
The model you create has a plinth as well, which you get first. But the best steps are seven and eight: step seven you get a little cardboard toolbox; day eight you get screws to put in said toolbox. Day 12 is quite good too because that's tartan seat day.
The body itself is a proper, weighty metal one. And crucially, the wheels turn too. The other piece you get, which in hindsight is totally predictable, is the polishing cloth for dusting down your model.
All the car pieces click together, so there's no need for glue or screws. The screws you do get are used only for the plinth.
Going through the straightforward build step by step, two things became clear. The first is that the car is excellent; the second is that the plinth isn't. All the niggles we have about the kit are to do with the plinth. The backing for it is card and comes folded in thirds, so it's got creases and looks bad, and the reflective sticker to go on the plinth doesn't adhere to the plastic. There's more too.
The model is supposed to have audio of the car on start-up. You get a little speaker, battery casing, and sound module that screw to the underside of the plinth. However, the cables from the battery case were too short to reach and plug into the sound module. We removed the battery case and just held it close so it could plug in properly, and when we did no sound emerged.
It's real pity about the plinth because it lets down what would otherwise have been a brilliant little kit. It's odd that the car itself is very good, yet the plinth is so sub par. The kit could be rectified by not bothering with the plinth at all and solely having a more detailed model to build.
On the plus side, the book is excellent. Not only can you Learn about the Volkswagen Golf as you build the model, because it's in both German and English, you can also learn to have a very specific, in-depth discussion about the Volkswagen Golf in German, which is quite cool.
As it stands, while we endorse the the idea wholeheartedly, it needs a couple of tweaks to improve it to a standard worthy of the asking price.