I had an RLC membership for a few years but found myself increasingly frustrated with the bunfights to get the models, and insufficiently excited by the models I was getting, so I gave it up. Result? A sense of inner calm on Tuesday mornings at 10am PST.
For 2021, I’m back in the model club game. I’m excited about the upcoming website offering from Matchbox (more info on that when we get it) but in the meantime, there’s the Tarmac Works Owners Club.
I’ll be honest, joining TWOC is a bit of an experiment. I’m not a devotee of RWB so I don’t have last year’s membership car, but I do have a few Tarmacs in the collection and in recent months have taken increasing notice of their upcoming race and rally model plans. I’ve taken to buying from Tokyo Station here in Canada but with the promise of early access to new models and 10% off at the web store, I signed on the dotted line.
Of course, the US$44.90 club membership also brings you a cool looking Global 64 Pagani limited to 1,999 pieces. I placed my order in December and they shipped last week, so I received a box from Tarmac Works a few days ago.
A Covid-related shortage of shipping capacity has pushed Tarmac Works’ shipping costs through the roof: $30 for a single car is more than steep, no matter how premium the model or how fast the courier. Tarmac’s Felix Kwong addressed the problem in a January IGTV Q&A with CastHeads if you’d like to know more. He acknowledges that it’s not great and promises that the charge will be cut as soon as they are able.
A few weeks after ordering the membership car, I decided to make the most of the shipping charge and fill out my order with some on-sale goodies from the online shop, plus the F3 Dallara. I contacted TW and they were able to send me an invoice for the models I wanted, including the old BTCC Civic that I’d missed and was showing as sold out. They then added the extras to my existing pending delivery. So while the high shipping charge remains disappointing, I can’t fault the service from Tarmac’s sales department. Their personal touch and desire to make things right is a massive contrast to RLC’s website bungling.
Right, that’s quite enough admin, let’s get to the models!
First comes the Pagani Zonda Cinque –the first Pagani in my collection and the first TW road car, too. There should have been a carbon-fiber membership card with it, but as Tarmac Works has announced, there have been some quality issues with these. Mine was one of those affected and is being sent later.
The matt ‘carbon’ finish on the Pagani is appealing and it’s cool that the engine cover lifts off, TLV-style.
The model’s design and luxury packaging live up to the premium price but unfortunately on mine, the rear wing is crooked. I emailed Tarmac Works and they’re sending a replacement part, which is good.
For a more detailed look at this car, check out this cool video from my fellow Lamley contributor, Chen (Hot Kustoms).
Now, time to get racy! We’ll start with the oldest of these four racing models, the FK2 Honda Civic Type R. Having watched Gordon Shedden race one of these cars in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) a few years ago, I’d meant to get this model when it was released, but it slipped my mind and then they were sold out. Fortunately, Tarmac’s customer service tracked one down for me for this order, and at the sale price too – result!
There aren’t enough BTCC models in 1:64 – so many great subjects to choose from – but Tarmac also did the famous (but comparatively unsuccessful) Volvo 850 Estate from 1994. Here’s the Rickard Rydell version with Shedden’s Civic.
Now to GT3 racing and time to fill a gap. I have a few others in the collection – Porsche, BMW, Bentley, Acura – but no Audi. Some of the limited-run issues of this R8 LMS casting have jumped in value but this Edoardo Mortara car from the 2016 FIA GT World Cup was on sale in the Tarmac online store, so I grabbed it.
It’s a very attractive model. I’m delighted with it!
We’ll stay in Macau with this Dallara F3 car, as driven by Sophia Floersch. I happened to be at Thruxton in 2015, when she won her first two car races in a Ginetta, so I’ve kept half an eye on her career since. This model represents the machine she raced at the Macau GP in 2019, a year after a nasty crash there. Unfortunately, she retired from the main race with an electrical problem.
I bought this Tarmac representation (limited to 999 units) on the recommendation of a Lamley reader (thanks bubblecar!). It’s fantastic, with tons of delicate aerodynamic parts. More generally, it’s great to see a modern single-seater in 1:64, an area that’s sadly underrepresented aside from the Greenlight IndyCars. Hopefully this won’t be Tarmac’s last and with no fewer than three F1 cars on the way from Mini GT, perhaps things are looking up!
The final model in the box is the BMW M3 that Bernard Béguin used to win the Tour de Corse (Rally France) in 1987. This is my third Tarmac M3 and although I like the Jägermeister DTM version for the fact that it rolls, I think this (sanitized) Rothmans car might be my favourite.
As you can see in the pictures below, it sits lower than the other two and has a couple of differences in the form of a different decklid spoiler and a roof-mounted aerial. The Falken is a bit disappointing due to its wonky stance.
It’s fun to think that this BMW took the first WRC rally victory for a Prodrive car, three years before the company hooked up with Subaru! Here it is with another Rothmans car, a Sparky model of the 1982 Le Mans-winning Porsche 956.
And that’s it! It’s disappointing that Tarmac has had some quality issues with the membership packages. On the plus side, I’m impressed with the service I’ve received and their desire to put things right. I’m looking forward to seeing what the brand has in store for us in 2021 and will report back on any other models that join the collection. Stay tuned!