I’ll admit, I’ve been trying to get this article off the start line for a while now. I’ve had a Toy Fair liveried Defender kindly gifted to me by Schuco in my collection for some time, but I needed a more fitting colourway to go out into the wilderness and get some photos. And then this MiJo exclusives version answered my prayers. It’s awesome.
It’s that gold mixture for a diecast: good subject matter, quality manufacturer and great livery. And the MiJo version has one of the great Land Rover liveries: the Camel Trophy livery.
The foundations of the Camel Trophy were laid in a 1980 publicity stunt for the cigarette brand, when three German teams set out to explore the Amazon Basin following the route of the notorious Transamazonica Highway in Brazil. Using Jeep CJ6s the teams almost reached their finish point but nevertheless returned to Germany as heroes, catching the attention of thousands of would be explorers. Spurred on by the attention, Camel brought the event back in 1981, this time with Land Rover as the exclusive vehicle supplier.
Using Range Rovers adorned with the now famous Sandglow Yellow livery, the ’81 event saw German teams battling 1600km through Sumatra over tropical swamps, rainforests and high mountain roads. Subsequent events were opened to all nations and saw thousands of applicants from each country, whittled down by a gruelling selection process to form the final teams. Until its cancellation in 2000, the Trophy had run through some of the harshest terrain on earth from Siberia to Madagascar, from Tanzania to Mongolia. From 1983 until 1989 the Defender was the chosen Land Rover of choice, and genuine Trophy cars are highly sought after, and have spawned many copycats.
Schuco’s version is finished in that iconic Sandglow Yellow with added Camel logos and blacked out alloys and it looks mega. I haven’t got access to treacherous rainforest valleys or Siberian tundra, but I do have the farmland, woodlands and countryside of Northern England that Defenders are almost a permanent fixture of. And the Schuco car looks perfectly at home.
It’s a very cool bit of kit, with the MiJo exclusive livery adding great twist to the quality of the Schuco casting. It’s weighty, rolls well on rubber tyres and all decals and details are sharp and right where they should be.
It’s a great model for Land Rover lovers and Schuco fans alike, and for the metal in you get in your hand, you don’t need to part with a slab of cash: I nabbed mine from Lamley partner Modelmatic for the more than agreeable price of £12.99. Schuco do have other liveries available for the Defender but this tops them all in my opinion. And I’m glad I finally managed to share it with you all.