Dennis tanker, by Motorkits

28 April 2023
Olivier Weyl tells of a multi-decade wait for a much-desired model. Or two.
Dennis tanker, by Motorkits Images

In 1976, I was 25 years old and, with some passionate friends, we created in Mulhouse (Alsace) a miniature model collectors club. At that time, there was only one specialised magazine in France, called Modélisme. But some seasoned collectors subscribed to English magazines, which were much more complete. I remember very well Modeller's World, the magazine of the much-missed Mike Richardson, where you could discover marvels and the first special models in kit form or ready-made.

I was always fascinated by English trucks and my attention was drawn by an advertisement from the craftsman Motorkits with a drawing of a small Dennis Pax tanker. This model limited to 100 copies was offered only ready-made at the price of £65. At that time it was a large sum, well beyond my means. On account of its low production numbers, I therefore relegated this model to the rank of unobtainable rarities that would never enter in my collection, and many years passed.

But 31 years later, in 2007, to my surprise, a Dennis Motorkits  appeared on eBay. I immediately did my best and pushed the bidding up to a hundred pounds. So, finally, one of these mythical models arrived at my house. It was beautiful and overall was in good condition, despite its fragility. It was just missing a fender flap, mirrors and a direction indicator arrow.

I was so happy to have been able to find this model, which I had not been able to afford in my youth, that I put it ‘as is’ in the cabinet. Very recently, I spoke about this truck to a friend who was a virtuoso in the assembly of kits and the restoration of miniatures. This model was completely unknown to him. I explained to him that the model needed some small repairs and he offered to do this for me at his home.

The same evening, my friend, who fell in love with this model, started looking on the internet for one. And, totally amazing, the same day he had the revelation of the existence of this extremely rare model, he found another one on eBay! Another amazing thing – while the period advertising specified that this model would never be sold as a kit, the one found by my friend is not assembled.

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What happened back then? So not all of the models would have been sold assembled? Maybe Motorkits didn’t manage to sell all 100 models because of their price, and eventually decided to sell the last examples as a kit? Maybe someone can tell us more.

The kit, with its 53 parts, allows you to fully appreciate the quality and the finesse of the manufacture of this model, especially if we compare it to those marketed at the time.

And therefore we can begin to better understand its selling price. Another funny detail of this little story – my friend, while manipulating my model, suddenly saw the missing wing flap appear. It had been stuck under the chassis for 31 years!