Featured: This Scale Model Factory Is A Magical Place

This Scale Model Factory Is A Magical Place

Avatar By Jacopo Villa
December 16, 2015
18 comments

Photography by Rosario Liberti

1:43-scale diecasts are the perfect item for an office. If you love cars, chances are that you love scale models. While the popular and visually attractive 1:18, 1:20, and 1:8 scale (and beyond) model sizes are the most impressive, 1:43s will fit anywhere, making any room into a potential garage for the car-obsessed.

Tiny yet immensely satisfying to look at, small scales are the most intriguing  and approachable of all miniature cars.

Making scale models is perhaps the closest thing to designing a “real car” there is. Everything is taken seriously, with proper R&D, testing, and a high level of engineering mixed—with traditional craftsmanship. Very few factories are left in Europe that haven’t yet emigrated to China in order to make big numbers. To all these factories still here, you have all my support and admiration.

If you love 1:43 scale models, chances are that you might have a Brumm in your collection. For those unfamiliar with this company, know that is an almost legendary brand that has produced every sort of four-wheeled vehicle from its start in 1972.

Contrary to popular belief, the name Brumm isn’t the onomatopoeia of an engine noise, but the Milanese dialect name for the Brougham horse carriage, which was used as a Taxi in the streets of Milan in the 19th Century, up to the early ’30s. Wanting to honor this piece of Italian and Milanese culture, three enthusiasts, Reno Tatterletti (the founder), Virginio Bianchi, and Emilio Molteni got together to build a new business, which 43 years later still manufactures its high quality die casts entirely in house.

Every single piece, from the metal to the decals and the assembly is done mostly by hand in the Oltrona San Mamette Factory, close to my hometown of Como. A team of two men designs and builds the prototypes, four skilled women assemble the models in small batches every day, and a single man, affectionately dubbed “Giotto” by the workers, paints every model that comes out of the factory.

Brumm is a typical factory of Northern Italy, and one of the few left in full force today. Their models are a clever blend of CAD technology design and old-school craftsmanship. These people work bravely, efficiently, and impressively with a small budget, every day.

Each model is designed from pictures, and Brumm doesn’t employ a laser scanner like bigger companies. Every project is drawn on a computer, yet under the watchful eye of Rio Tattarletti, owner and chief designer. Like every handmade item, you can feel the difference in your hands, even a bit of the soul of the people who make these models every day, with passion and courage.

Like we say here in Italy: “The good wine always comes from the small barrel,” you can tell that the spirit coming from small companies like this is definitely reflected in their products.

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Pablo RodríguezLuis ChaparroSifu AlexMonchisDavid Lake Recent comment authors
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Pablo Rodríguez
Pablo Rodríguez

Hi, thank for share so exquisite models, I didn’t knew the brand. I collect models ten years ago, always in 1:18 and the issuen of space it’s a problem ( I rotate the models on display and yes, they’ ve got a garage to sleep in a while), now, a pair of collectors told me to start with 1:43 scale but…I don’t know: I restore real cars too and I put there the time that I can dedicate to the hobbies

Luis Chaparro
Luis Chaparro

Hello guys, this is awesome.
I’m a Porsche enthusiast, a year ago I was thinking of creating the ultimate collectible piece for Porsche lovers and I come up with this idea: https://kck.st/2EhRWCV I decided to build a CNC Fuchs replica wheel for my self and now I’m sharing the project with the community. The project was posted on Kickstarter a few weeks ago to see the response from the community. You guys are free to check it out, thanks.

Sifu Alex
Sifu Alex

I was looking at a model online from this company trying to decide if I should get but now your article sold me.

Monchis
Monchis

Neat stuff

David Lake
David Lake

I have a couple of Brumm models. One is a Ferrari 156. I was in your city in September. Would have loved to see your factory. Nice to read the story behind the cars.

Juan José Mac Mahon
Juan José Mac Mahon

Another Italian company that make superb 1:43 kits (IMHO, even better than Brumm’s) is TAMEO KITS, who are in a little town in the Savona area called “Borgio Verezzi”. I have some unbuilt kits from them, essentially Formula 1 cars, of outstanding quality.
http://www.tameokits.com
There was also another factory called in the Savona area, MERI KITS (at small town called Loano), but I don’t know if they’re still open. They used to make fine kits either.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Brumm and BBR are pretty much it [ with the sole exception of extremely high end hand crafted models ] when it comes to scale models of any scale still being made in the country of the brand’s origin these days . Funny … both are Italian … so what’s that tell you about the land of my forefathers not to mention the rest of the EU ? But wait . ! Italian bicycles … even the extreme high end ones … 99\% made overseas … so … perhaps the scale model thing is just a happy fluke FYI .… Read more »

Miha Bevc
Miha Bevc

If you like 1:43 models, chances are you will like my website, dedicated to F1 World Champions: https://f1minichampions.wordpress.com 🙂

Luca
Luca

I actually do, Miha, 1950s models are A-MA-ZING!

Ian Miles
Ian Miles

Apart from collecting Corgi models as a child I never knew this was a thing. Amazing detail and tremendous photography. Great to see.

Arnaldo Juris Maclang
Arnaldo Juris Maclang

I hope they’ll make 1:1 functioning scale models someday…. if you know what I mean. 😉

Scott A
Scott A

Hello Jacopo Villa, I did not see how to contact you directly.
I go to Milan about 4 times a year….and I buy a 1/43 scale car about once a week….generally older cars made 40 years ago.

I would love to visit the Brumm factory….do you think such a visit is possible?

Scott in California.

Luca
Luca

Scott, if you don’t receive any reply from Jacopo, I am Italian, and can contact for you the company and ask.
luca.p72@gmail.com, should you need.
F.O.C., of course 😉

Sam Zam
Sam Zam

I have been collecting 1:43s for many many years, and have accumulated more than 700pcs, and even have a few Brumms in there. Always planned on building a large enough case to properly display them.. But never have and have slowly been selling off some pieces over the past few years. I still have all the lemans winner and all f1 WDC.
The market has totally tanked in the past couple years with all the new companies, which is really too bad for us collectors who paid serious monies for some of those rare pieces…

Scott A
Scott A

Sam, can you tell me about some of your cars….I enjoy them immensely….do you sell them on ebay? scottallendesign@gmail.com

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick

I love model cars. I have about $9,000 worth in oak cases in my rec. room; most of which are 1/18 th scale.

teecee
teecee

Looking at some of these pictures makes my heart beat faster..just beautiful objects and wonderful to collect!