About a year and a half ago, I started contributing to Lamley. And not too long ago, I somehow stumbled past 100 articles, and now we’re on No. 102! In that time I hope I’ve been able to keep to my original goals: to introduce readers to the “other” brands as well as the Mattel heavies, to show some weird and wonderful vehicles from some unique and brilliant diecast makers from all corners of Europe and the wider world. And also to celebrate the hobby in general, to share my love of collecting with you all and awe at some of the brilliant models available to us all.
In that time I’ve featured an eccentric mix of cars and brands: a trip on an East German tour bus passing Buicks and Wartburgs, via Chinese trucks and air cooled Volkswagens. From a Morris truck to a Trabant, arriving via a Lanz tractor. From my all time favourites of Schuco and Majorette to Hot Wheels and Matchbox through Efsi, Joy Toy and Grell. And in that time there’s been some articles where I’ve brushed across certain cars that really warrant a closer look. And this is one of them: The UAZ Hunter from the Russian brand Autogrand, which featured in my 7th post back in February last year.
The Hunter is a an updated version of the famed UAZ-469B, and went on sale in 2003. Maintaining the lineage of the almost legendary 469, the styling is practically unchanged from when production started in 1971. Available in both hard and soft top guises, the Hunter features a 2.7 litre, 4 cylinder with 134bhp.
Autogrand’s version is a great representation. I have two versions in my collection, one in a classic khaki shade that I picked up in Budapest, and one in a more modern looking blue I purchased later from Ebay. I love both but I am especially attached to the green car. I had never heard of Autogrand until I found it, and it has many memories of a great trip attached to it. Also rather fittingly, a 469 was one the first vehicles I set eyes on in Budapest.
And it’s a very well finished casting considering I paid around £4 each for both. Proportions, wheel choice and paint are solid and small details on the chassis have been picked out such as the exhaust and backbox, leaf springs, differentials and driveshafts. There’s even four mudflaps. Head and tail lights are neatly painted on as well as door handles and hinges, and a tiny UAZ badge is visible on the nose. The printed “UAZ HUNTER” script in the numberplate recesses is the only poorly done bit: on both of my cars the lettering is slanted, on the blue car it’s just about noticeable enough to upset my OCD and on the green car the printing has gone awry: the letters are printed on the top of the front bumper. But It’s that neat of a diecast overall that I can easily overlook this.
Thankfully you don’t have to travel to Hungary to find Autogrand’s products. Examples of the Hunter and other Russian vehicles like the GAZ Chaika and Lada Niva can be found for decent prices on Ebay, and I have a few more in my collection which I intend to revisit in the future. And so concludes my 102nd post. Here’s to the next 102.
(Find the Autogrand UAZ Hunter on Ebay)