We tested the SEAT Altea taxi by RIETZE (art.no. 31330)
It is an open secret that Spanish car maker SEAT has had a hard time on the German market. Therefore
they have put a lot of effort in advertising their products as a more sportive alternative to the still
a bit tame vehicles made by their parent company Volkswagen. Especially red and black paintwork is meant
to create emotions on the part of their potential customers. And what did German model makers Rietze do?
They chose the SEAT Altea, a people carrier, coloured it light ivory and stuck an oversized looking taxi
sign on the roof...
You might know that we watch our environment very carefully and, indeed, we have seen some SEAT people carriers, but we haven’t seen an Altea taxi in Germany yet. On the other hand, the economic thinking owner of a cab trade might ask, “Why not?” Hubert Dommel (read our pictorial here ) who has only got a few taxis and his own small workshop was mainly interested in its affordability, economy and reliability when he bought this VW subsidiary vehicle. And it can’t be bad for your business if your cab attracts the attention of pedestrians, can it?
course, before adding the ivory-coloured Rietze model to our taxi company diorama, we wanted to test
this unusual product thoroughly. The little Altea came loose in one of those simple, flexible see-through
plastic boxes with a cardboard inlay - a drawback, you reckon? Well, moving
about inside the package wouldn’t do the model
car any harm anyway, there are no delicate items like e.g. free-standing outer
mirrors, so why bother about fixing it in a special (i.e. more costly) way?
Hence, unpacking the taxi took us only a few seconds.
The packaging provides the modeller with some basic information (model type as well as article number are printed on an outer label), but the ‘small print’ on the cardboard inlay is so tiny that you either need an eagle’s eye or a clean magnifying glass to read it...
Our first impression of the model is good - if only there wasn’t
this huge, massive taxi sign on the roof (which, even worse, in our
case had not been printed properly). Apart from that, the model car
looks well-proportioned, and various prints on the bodywork together
with the red transparent glass tail lights create a realistic appearance.
All in all, thinking of the price of EUR 8.50 (RRP February 2007), you
don’t get the feeling of having made a bad buy at least.
Having a closer look at the little taxi, you’ll spot all the important details of the real car. Nevertheless, it becomes obvious that Rietze tried to save some money when making the front lamps. The ‘friendly smile’ of the car is the result of its dull, unimpressive head lights which are not able to convey the aggressive look of the real SEAT Altea with its black framed single lens lamps behind clear glass.
Ambitious modellers might also want to enhance the (black) fog lamps which sit in the
front fairing of the car with a small drop of
In terms of harmony of colours the single-coloured, dark interior naturally matches the bodywork well, but some visible streaks in the ivory ‘paintwork’ of the tested model car are a bit unsatisfactory.
the little taxi proves that its subjective true-to-scale appearance is the result of miniaturising
the real car exactly to H0 gauge; this target nowadays seems to be part of the product requirement
documents of most model car manufacturers. Unfortunately, Rietze didn’t care too much about the
above mentioned taxi sign as well as the exterior mirrors. The latter are not free-standing but look
as if they were stuck to the side windows and thus appear too small.
Rietze didn’t pay a lot of attention to the mirrors anyway. Hence, you won’t find any silver mirror faces at all. And the interior mirror, nothing more than a see-through rectangle, is actually part of the glazing. Well, we have seen better solutions...
Positive: the silver SEAT badges on grille and rear door, where you’ll spot the ‘Altea’ lettering as well.
We also appreciate the black window surrounds and B-pillars. Due to the high window
line and the small windows you can’t see much of the taxi’s black interior, but it
is sufficiently detailed. Nevertheless, the impact absorber of the steering wheel
reminds us more of that of a late 1970’s Mercedes taxi...
Finally, we had to have a closer look at the wheels: They are true to scale, realistic and very detailed - you are even able to see the SEAT logo and the brake disks. The colour of the rims is a bit too dark though.
Due to some lack of attention to detail as well as some very simple (or even faulty) production
solutions, the Altea taxi by Rietze just missed the verdict ‘good’. Nevertheless, railway
and diorama modellers get an overall satisfactory model car at a reasonable price that can
bring some variety to the usually Mercedes-oriented taxi rank in front of their
German station building.
|Protection of the vehicle (25)||19|
|Unpacking the vehicle (10)||6|
|Information content (15)||11|
|Visual overall impression (350)||299|
|'First impression' (50)||41|
|Proportions / recognisability of the real vehicle (50)||48|
|Closeness to scale, subjective impression (40)||36|
|Condition / intactness of the model (30)||24|
|Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30)||28|
|'Look-and-feel' / subjective impression of the model quality (40)||35|
|Wealth of detail / attention to detail (30)||26|
|Fineness of detail (30)||26|
|Wheels and tyres (20)||14|
|Harmony of colours (10)||8|
|Vehicle body (200)||154|
|Closeness to scale (40)||35|
|Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40)||34|
|Fineness of detail (30)||26|
|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|
|Completeness / presence of all lights (50)||34|
|Attention to detail (50)||40|
|Closeness to reality in terms of colour (50)||33|
|Interior / Dashboard / Seats (100)||77|
|Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40)||32|
|Fineness of detail (40)||31|
|Steering wheel / handle bars (20)||14|
|Closeness to scale (50)||47|
|Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40)||37|
|Fineness of detail (40)||36|
|Colour quality of the rims (20)||15|
*Find out more about the test criteria for model vehicles