Bus models are a big part of the Sunstar lineup, and we’d seen some of these 1:24 double deckers before – but this 1946 AEC Regent really grabbed us, with its tall, skinny architecture, petite stairways and railings, and the artful little details that abound everywhere.
Sunstar’s really good at making the big and little pieces work together well. The body of the old bus is an assemblage of fairly substantial pieces that dovetail into one another, and the detailing that’s cast in ranges from tiny rivets to panel lines and seams. Because the bus (the real one) is such an open-air design, it’s easy to see into the model, especially at the rear stairway. The rows of seats, the industrial-grade flooring, and all of the grip rails and chromed bars are in place, waiting, it seems, for a few ticket-bearing customers.
Once the side-view mirrors are attached (easily, into holes in the casting), the model is ready for play and display. There’s a remarkable amount of working features built in; doors slide or swing on hinges, the windows drop or slip closed, the wheels pose, and the hood is hinged to open on the 9.6 liter gas-powered straight six under the bonnet. It’s completely piped and wired, and beautifully painted and put together. Chassis detail is a primer on mid-century truck design, with bags of detail on tap, including a full replication of the drive train and air-shifted “pre-selector” gearbox.
This thing positively leaks romance; from its upright, photo etched grille to its “Lodge Plugs” banner (an ad for spark plugs), Sunstar’s AEC comes across as heavy on nostalgia, and a star player for the theater of the mind. It’s also a well-wrought crossover piece for collectors of 1:24 cars and fans of transportation models alike. Very highly recommended. No ticket required.