Green wind

We tested the VW Passat Estate 32B by BUSCH ( 48100)

der Passat zieht eine grüne Wolke hinter sich her, im Hintergrund ein Windpark

Well, you will no longer spot this 1980’s car in Germany very often these days; but if you do so, you are quite likely to detect one of those famous “Atomkraft? Nein danke!” stickers (“Nuclear energy? No, thank you!”) or even the internationally known white dove of peace with a blue background. Without any doubt, the Volkswagen Passat Estate which has been encoded 32B by VW is a no-fuss and, due to its spacious interior, really handy car which doesn’t cost the world (especially nowadays as a used vehicle).

Frontansicht‘Passat’ is a moderate but continiuously blowing tropical wind. However, only a few customers would have been interested in the origin of the car's name, a fact that hasn’t changed to the present day. And not many would have gone for a dark green body varnish either, but this is exactly the colour our test sample comes in. We paid EUR 5.80 (typical High Street price 2007) for the model car made by German modelling accessories manufacturer BUSCH.

In order to be placed in a characteristic 1980’s diorama or to enhance the variety of different vehicles in your modern model railway layout, of course, the car has to be taken out of its rather sturdy see-through plastic box which already allows you a good view of the model anyway.

If you know the real car you won’t have any difficulties to recognise the little Passat; BUSCH managed to miniaturise its characteristic appearance into 1/87 scale. Car experts however will soon discover that a few details are missing or have been reproduced wrongly.

side viewFor example, you won’t find the rear wiper nor the little frame parts that form together with the A- and C-pillars the triangle windows which used to be so popular with car burglars. The recess for the number plate in the tail gate is way too wide, whereas the exterior mirrors are too small, and, alas, there is no interior mirror at all.

The fact that the light grey colour of the interior doesn’t match the dark green body perfectly well might not bother you too much, however. Nevertheless, all the parts have been assembled properly, and apart from some darker streaks that can be seen in the plastic roof the bodywork appears to be of good quality. The wheels seem to have the right size, but as far as we know Volkswagen never fitted any rims like the ones you can see on the model car.

Measurement testing finally shows that the body is almost true to scale, although rather 1/86 than H0 gauge, but this only becomes obvious when you use a calliper rule. We liked the black printed front wipers as well as the same-colour trim strips and door handles which are printed very accurately. However, they are not really eye-catching due to the dark body colour.

HeckansichtRegarding the dark green paintwork, silver mirror glasses would attract more attention than the black parts, but no chance: the only silver application is the VW badge in the grille and unfortunately it is slightly smudged. So you better leave your magnifying glass in the drawer...

Like on many other dark-coloured model cars the front and rear lights lack some brightness and look rather dull. At least, almost all the light units have been reproduced; only the number plate lights are missing (they would be situated in the tail gate handle but that is missing too!). Apart from that, you might want to enhance the appearance of some of the existing lighting equipment (e.g. side indicators, reversing lights) with a few drops of paint and a fine brush.

We liked the baggage compartment with its visible wheel housings; we could imagine that to be a nice spot for a PREISER dog which could look out of the rear window watching the following traffic...

Generally speaking, the interior is good average; however, we strongly recommend painting the light grey dashboard as well as the steering wheel matt black.

The little green car is based on big and therefore rather anachronistic 15-inch steel rim wheels which obviously belong to a different (as mentioned above, unknown) car, but the tyres are quite slim - just like the real ones in the 1980’s - and thus offer a very pleasant sight. All in all, the wheels don’t look bad and the rim colour is realistic. When you inspect the rims with the help of a light, you’ll notice that each of them is punctuated with 10 tiny little holes - that’s what we call fineness of detail.



Compared to the previously tested miniature cars made by BUSCH, the Passat Estate is rather average but much cheaper as well. A few drops of paint or even a lighter body colour would improve the outer appearance of the otherwise recognisable and well-proportioned model a lot. Anyway, the vehicle is a reasonably priced enhancement for contemporary dioramas and model railway layouts.


Packaging (50) 39
Protection of the vehicle (25) 19
Unpacking the vehicle (10) 8
Information content (15) 12
Visual overall impression (350) 274
'First impression' (50) 35
Proportions / recognisability of the real vehicle (50) 41
Closeness to scale, subjective impression (40) 34
Condition / intactness of the model (30) 27
Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30) 26
'Look-and-feel' / subjective impression of the model quality (40) 34
Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30) 22
Fineness of detail (30) 22
Lights (20) 12
Wheels and tyres (20) 15
Farbharmonie (10) 6
Vehicle body (200) 166
Closeness to scale (40) 36
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 33
Fineness of detail (30) 25
Colour quality of the plastic, if applicable: paintwork quality (35) 33
Quality of prints, colour and chrome applications (35) 31
Interior and exterior mirrors (20) 8
Lights (150) 102
Completeness / presence of all lights (50) 42
Attention to detail (50) 40
Closeness to reality in terms of colour (50) 20
Interior / Dashboard / Seats (100) 74
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 28
Fineness of detail (40) 31
Steering wheel / handle bars (20) 15
Wheels (150) 132
Closeness to scale (50) 45
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 32
Fineness of detail (40) 37
Colour quality of the rims (20) 18
Gesamtwertung: durchschnittlich 787
(max. 1000)

*Find out more about the test criteria for model vehicles here.

Tested June 2007     German flag   © Volker Labitzke - - please visit our  main page