Don't find fault

 We tested the Ford Mondeo Saloon (2000-2003) by RIETZE (Ford merchandising model)

the silver Mondeo model car on a black leather shoe

"Don’t find fault, find a remedy." This is a more or less famous quote by Henry Ford. Well, when we were young, car manufacturer Ford was struggling with quality issues, and in German-speaking countries disappointed customers (and mockers) spread the phrase "Mit Ford fort and zu Fuss zurueck." which means "Drive away in a Ford and you'll be walking back." The quality of Ford cars has improved a lot since, and their products are at least level with their competitors. But you will not find any car reviews on anyway, we only test 1/87 miniature model vehicles.

This time, the Ford Mondeo Saloon by German modelmaker Rietze is under close scrutiny, and we are looking at the version which was built from 2000 until 2003. The miniature model was launched many moons ago, too, but does it make sense at all to test a vehicle that has been pushed off most shop shelves by more modern model cars? Well, we believe it does. Even on a contemporary model railway layout you should see some older cars (just like in reality), and if your layout is set just after the turn of the millennium, you might even want to put the little Mondeo into the showroom of a Ford dealership...

So what has this miniature model got to offer? It was actually produced for Ford dealers as merchandising model, and while you might still find some slow sellers on their shelves it can be easily bought off the internet where you will have to pay around 5 Euros (as of September 2014) to call it your own. Our Mondeo came loose in one of those simple, flexible see-through plastic boxes with a cardboard inlay - which seems fine because rolling about inside the package wouldn’t do the car any harm anyway, there are no delicate items like e.g. free-standing outer mirrors. Therefore, unpacking the silver vehicle took us only a few seconds.

the model car inside the boxWhile the cardboard inlay of model cars made for "ordinary" toy retailers usually does not provide a lot of information, merchandising products have to promote a brand. So it does not really surprise that this one comes with information on the (then) latest technical features of the real car - alas, it is all in German! Only some safety advice ("Not suitable for children under 10 years.") is printed in three different languages... You will also find the manufacturer's address.

Even if the bold letters on the packaging did not tell you which car was actually inside the box you would not struggle to identify the vehicle as a Mondeo thanks to its distinctive, true-to-reality design. Our first impression of the miniature model was good, although the rear view bears some resemblance to Vauxhall's Vectra... While the body is well proportioned, we would have liked to see the application of some paint to enhance a few details. Rietze really did not waste any printing ink, to say the least; only some parts of the window frames have been replicated by black prints on the side windows. Despite the light silver body colour the transparent rear lights look too dark compared to the real vehicle, and the same applies to the headlights (depending on the lighting conditions). The wheels are detailed and seem to have the right size.

front viewHaving a closer look at Rietze's Mondeo, you’ll spot all the important details of the real car, even tiny items like e.g. the washer jets on the bonnet or the minute triangular side indicators have been replicated. Nevertheless, the latter definitely need a little drop of orange paint to become more visible. We would recommend enhancing other parts like mirrors, Ford badges, fog lamps, reversing lights etc. as well. The manufacturer has thought of all these details, but in its out-of-the-box state the car does not really reveal them.

All parts are well-assembled and fit together without any major gaps. The visible "step" above the windscreen in our photo on the left is the result of an awkward reflexion of light rather than an ill-fitting glazing...

In terms of harmony of colours the single-coloured, dark interior naturally matches the bodywork well, but the quality of the varnish cannot quite compete with our reference model so far, the Mercedes CLK class convertible by Busch which is admittedly a bit pricier. The paintwork of our Mondeo is less glossy, and the metallic particles look pretty coarse. While we can live with that, it always makes us sad when a brand new model car has been damaged during assembly - a very noticeable vertical scratch in the driver's side window is hardly suitable to please the eye of the collector...

side view

Measuring the little Mondeo proves that its subjective true-to-scale appearance is the result of miniaturising the real car exactly to H0 gauge, although it is a little bit higher than it should be, but this is not really noticeable. The wing mirrors are too small though and look a bit plumpish. Rietze didn’t pay a lot of attention to the mirrors anyway: The interior mirror, nothing more than a see-through rectangle, is actually part of the glazing. We have seen better solutions, indeed.

rear viewAs mentioned above, some of the window frames are replicated by some black prints on the glazing which is not really a convincing solution due to the missing door crack. While you can't see much of the black interior, it is sufficiently detailed - including gear stick and hand brake.

Finally, we had to have a closer look at the wheels: Rietze replicated the 16-inch five-star alloys of the real vehicle, but measuring reveals that they are rather 17 inch wheels - maybe the reason why the car is a bit higher than it should be? Apart from that, the rims look a bit too dark, but they are finely detailed, you can even see the brake discs! However, you can't look through the wholes as the rims rest on the rubber of the disc-shaped tyre imitations. Depending on the lighting conditions (again!) that does not look very nice.


All in all, the Ford Mondeo Saloon by Rietze is a decent model car with average qualities: no outstanding strenghths, but no particular weaknesses either. We like the fact that it is true to scale, and for this reason alone, the model offers a lot of potential to the ambitious modellist, true to the motto "don't find fault, find a remedy". Railway modellers who usually have to spend a fortune on their hobby will be pleased with its reasonable price. Against this backdrop, the Rietze Mondeo cuts quite a dash on any modern model railway layout.


Packaging (50) 37
Protection of the vehicle (25) 19
Unpacking the vehicle (10) 6
Information content (15) 12
Visual overall impression (350) 280
'First impression' (50) 38
Proportions / recognisability of the real vehicle (50) 43
Closeness to scale, subjective impression (40) 36
Condition / intactness of the model (30) 21
Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30) 28
'Look-and-feel' / subjective impression of the model quality (40) 33
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (30) 23
Fineness of detail (30) 23
Lights (20) 13
Wheels and tyres (20) 14
Harmony of colours (10) 8
Vehicle body (200) 153
Closeness to scale (40) 35
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 34
Fineness of detail (30) 25
Colour quality of the plastic, if applicable: paintwork quality (35) 25
Quality of prints, colour and chrome applications (35) 24
Interior and exterior mirrors (20) 10
Lights (150) 109
Completeness / presence of all lights (50) 36
Attention to detail (50) 40
Closeness to reality in terms of colour (50) 33
Interior / Dashboard / Seats (100) 81
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 34
Fineness of detail (40) 32
Steering wheel / handle bars (20) 15
Wheels (150) 129
Closeness to scale (50) 44
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 37
Fineness of detail (40) 33
Colour quality of the rims (20) 15
Gesamtwertung: durchschnittlich 789
(max. 1000)

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

Tested September 2014   German flag  © Volker Labitzke - - please visit our  main page