CMNL ukvan 1002 - Mercedes-Benz Traveliner

Review by Kevin Ellis

CMNL's latest new casting sees this manufacturer enter another new field. Following the successful launch of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter panel Van in October 2007 CMNL have now released a Traveliner minibus based on the same Mercedes vehicle. The model is the second release in the new ukvan series and, like the earlier van version, this first release has been issued in a plain unbranded livery.

Externally the body shape is based on the latest Sprinter body style introduced in late 2006. The curvaceous lines of this design have been well captured on the model. Detailing on metallic silver finished model sees the door handles, air intake vents and body trim all pickled out precisely in black paint. The joints between the various body panels and the distinctive roof ribbing have all been well modelled and look to be to be pretty much to scale.

The rear light clusters have been reproduced using red paint while the side trim lights are likewise picked out in orange.

The front radiator grille carries a prominent Mercedes-Benz three prong badge and, like the bumper below, both have captured the subtle curves of the real vehicle. Clear plastic lenses are used over a white painted area of the body casting to depict the distinctive front head lamps; the integrated traffic indicators within these are neatly represented with small dot of orange paint.

Wing mirrors are moulded as part of body casting and these are finished with black and silver paint, the only other detailing to be found on the model are a pair of etched windscreen wiper blades.

The model has flush glazing all round and this uses black tampo printing to good effect to represent the various glazing bars and surrounds.

Four soft plastic tires are fitted to the silver wheel hubs which have been nicely detailed.

The UK registration number SB57 TMB is applied to the model, at the time of release this had yet to be issued by the DVLA so its not authentic. The model depicts a long wheelbase vehicle with a wheelbase of 4325mm and an overall length of 6940mm, this example is fitted with a total of twelve high backed coach seats all of which have been finished in light grey.

The level of interior detail on this model is fairly basic compared to the larger CMNL models and apart from the seats the only other feature is a nicely detailed black dashboard and steering wheel.

The model retails in the UK for around 7 and for the price you get a pretty convincing model. The only slight criticism I can make concerns the seats which have a rather unconvincing high gloss finish and have very noticeable numbers embossed on their rears.

I'm sure CMNL will produce further examples of this excellent model over time and no doubt some will appear depicting examples of the numerous bus and coach operators that use these vehicles across the UK.

This unbranded version will likely appeal to those wishing to do a touch of DIY customisation and with this in mind its worth mentioning that the model can be disassembled by simply removing the two cross head screws found on the base. The model breaks down into three main components: a one piece die-cast body shell, a plastic interior that has the individual seat components glued to it, and a black plastic baseplate.

The front radiator grille, bumper and head lamps are a separate plastic component which is fixed to the body casting using a spot of glue, this easily came free on my example without any problems.

One area that may cause problems for those wishing to repaint the model, is the glazing which has been securely glued into place and as such could well prove somewhat tricky to remove without incurring damage.

Kevin Ellis