NZG Models

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For the New Zealand official publication, see The New Zealand Gazette.
Volvo promotional model for articulated bus in 1:50 scale made by NZG

NZG for Nürnberger Zinkdruckguß-Modelle GmbH (Nuremberg Diecast Models) is a German manufacturer of diecast scale models primarily in 1:50 scale for use both as toys and promotional models by heavy transport and construction equipment manufacturers.

As seen in the name, the company is based in Nuremberg, Germany. Cars were also important and jet engine, aircraft, and stamping press models were also produced.

History[edit]

According to the NZG website, Gerhard Schmid and Betty Hauer started NZG Modelle in 1968 (see also Force 1990, 193), when shop was set up in the second floor of a furniture company. The business soon moved to a 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) site at Sigmundstraße industrial estate. The first model produced was a Weserhutte wheeled crane, in that year. By 1974, at least 30 models were in the NZG range were noted in David Sinclair's Catalog (Sinclair's 1974). Sinclair, in the mid-1960s was one of the first importers to bring lesser known European brands to the U.S. (Levine 2009). Since then, over 700 different models have been produced and the company makes over 400,000 models a year.

In 1986 the company was operated by Inge Ludwig (née Schmid) and Hannelore Hauer. In 2000, NZG passed completely to the Ludwig family. Inge and Michael Ludwig run the company today.

Scales produced are 1:25, 1:50, and 1:87, as well as commercial vehicle models in 1:43. Special models require at least a 300 piece production order.

Not toys and not for children[edit]

NZG specializes in a wide variety of heavy equipment types ranging from hand pallet movers, forklifts, power generators and skidsteers to front loaders, excavators, graders, and mammoth ore carrying dump trucks. Caterpillar and other engines and machinery are sometimes also made and displayed free-standing. Some offerings, like pavement profilers, road finishers, asphalt strippers, road rollers, pipelayers, large cranes and drill rigs have also been offered, and NZG seems to have the market in promoting many models for a variety of manufacturers (Toy Fair 2011).

Marques represented are from a broad range, and include New Holland, Volvo, Caterpillar, FAUN, Grove, Terex and Liebherr, to name just a handful. Chinese bulldozers are reproduced. Larger NZG trucks, like the Terex and Liebherr ore carriers are quite expensive, sometimes costing as much as 500 U.S. dollars, but most models seem to sell for anywhere between US$50 and US$150.

Precision automobile promos[edit]

Mercedes Benz 420/500/560 SEC coupe promotional model in 1:35 scale by NZG. The silver box is a design required by Mercedes-Benz. For example, some promo models by Cursor are packaged in identical boxes.

Diecast model car collectors have become accustomed to NZG's replicas of Porsches and Mercedes Benzes which were often used as dealer promotions. NZG Mercedes diecast promos were commonly seen in dealers and recognisable by their simple silver boxes with the blue markings. Design and concept were similar to Conrad Models which also had silver boxes, but those focused more on the Audi make.

Most cars were in 1:43 scale, but some were larger, like the No. 82 Mercedes 420/500/560 SEC coupes which were 1:35 scale (or almost 5½ inches long). On the base was stamped "Made in the Federal Republic of Germany". Stickers were commonly found on the bases warning that the models were "not toys and not for children."

Most NZG cars were produced in the 1980s and 1990s. A variety of vans were also produced (FIAT, Peugeot, and Citroen) in the 1990s. No cars seem to have been produced past 2002, as the company focused more on its trucks and construction vehicles. Many car models were manufactured, however, and are widely available at reasonable prices.

Cars rivaled companies like Schuco or Solido in detail. Clear plastic lenses were used for headlights and tail lights and these models were realistic. NZG also was an expert at chrome plating small emblems and grille details that other diecast manufacturers could not do as well on models three times the size. Wheel designs were unique to each vehicle, for example, incorporating Mercedes or Porsche logos. Unlike Solido and Schuco, however, as well-done as they were, cars were never NZG's bread-and-butter.

Marketing[edit]

There are similarities in marketing and relationships with other model companies in the 1980s like Gescha/Conrad Models and Cursor Models, who produced similar promotional models for truck and automobile companies. Also, some NZG Models are also marketed under the Conrad name. About the late 1980s, some dies were also sold to the Bulgarian company, Mikro'67 and produced in the city of Mir.

Other lines[edit]

NZG now consists of several lines of other model subsidiaries including TWH and Sword which are American Companies licensing NZG products. More autonomous are Premium ClassiXXs, producing classic German cars, vans and motorcycles in a variety of scales; Bubmobile and JNF Toys which reproduce classic 1950s windup toys in the Schuco Modell tradition and also HO scale vehicles. Lastly, is the Y-Serie of modern military trucks and equipment.

References[edit]

Force, Dr. Edward. 1990. Classic Miniature Vehicles Made in Germany. Schiffer Publishing.

Levine, R. F. 2009. David Sinclair in the Driver's Seat. Lake Erie LifeStyle, web published December 1. [1]

Sinclair's Auto Miniatures. 1974. Exact Scale Magazine and Catalog.

Toy Fair News. 2011. NZG Toy Fair catalog. [2]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]