Preiser Press Moto Preiser Tour de France in Miniature

Preiser (of Germany) makes high-quality molded plastic accessories for model railroading. They offer top-quality human and animal figures, vehicles, machinery and cargo for use in scale models and railroad diaramas.

A few years back I came across their a few of their items at a miniatures and collectibles show. Small sets of three bicycle racers about an inch long and press moto BMW's with drivers and photographers on the back.
Intrigued, I searched for and managed to find a copy Preiser's full-color catalog at a local model train shop. It turned out they offer a number of items that might interest collectors of cycling "art" and maybe a few of us that haven't had a good excuse in decades to dig our model trains out of the attic.

Some time back, Preiser created what the call the TOUR de FRANCE COLLECTION - a selection of bicycle racing figures that would be used as 'stage dressing' for an HO scale (1:87) model railroad setup. You could incorporate in your tableau a complete scene from Le Tour - the peleton, spectators, support autos with bike racks, press motos with photographers, police (from Europe and the USA, + cars, standing security figures - even Italian moto-carabineri!), finish area barricades and any number of items from their catalog that add to the entertainment value of your Tour diarama.

Having gone through the extensive Preiser color catalog from cover to cover and acquiring a few select items, I can report with confidence that the did a great job making parts for a 'frozen moment in the Tour'.

Unfortunately, they have discontinued support of the complete "Le Tour de France Collection", but there are a few cycling items still in stock and still being produced. In an attempt to support Preiser's efforts and encourage them to continue making at least a subset of the original "Tour Collection", I've put up this page to show what's been available, where you can find them and a few suggested uses. Hopefully it will generate some sales for Preiser.

Preiser ships these items in either assembled, painted form or in unfinished kits of plastic parts. Their ready-to-use product costs quite a bit more, but is painstakingly detailed by residents of the isle of Mauritius (if that sort of info excites you...), with riders painted to represent six generic-colored 'teams'. If want to do the riders up in the colors of your favorite current team - USPS, ONCE or whatever - you'll have to do it yourself. Trust me on this - you'll need a steady hand, a lot of patience and a VERY FINE BRUSH! The people of Mauritius do this for Preiser and seem to have a pretty good handle on this already.

The ready-to-use items are available in small to medium size sets at a substantially higher price per figure. The do-it-yourself kits are far cheaper and come with four or five times the number of figures for the same price. Painting them, on the other hand, is quite a chore. If you've the skill, time and inclination - the boxes for the kits have elaborate painting suggestions and instructions inside. A set of decals included with both types of packaging handles the rider numbers and a few sponsors (a nice touch, but none of the sponsors are current or real).

Anyone interested in expanding the set to include extras like emergency and support caravan vehicles, your local flavor of police, street vendors, hikers, sunbathers and the like... there are quite a few items in the catalog that might tickle your fancy.

I've included a few suggested uses below (images from their catalog and off the boxes), listed the part numbers of the sets and included some other fun accessories.

Preiser's TdF items never sold as well as they hoped, so it is likely some of the items listed below have been discontinued from their line. If you see something you like on either of the distributors sites I've listed, you had better make your selection right away. If Preiser has stopped shipping the items, then you'll have to do as I have done - scouring the warehouses of every distributor you can find.


Cor de Preiser

Cor de Preiser

A 'suggested use' from the box the Unpainted Cycle Racer kit #16340 comes in.

A dirt road mountain climb diarama with riders, spectators, support motos, vendors, sunbathers, a picnic, hikers/hitchikers and even random parked cars. Just imagine this in the middle of someone's model railroad set-up. COOL!


Cycle Racers (#25004)

25004 cycle racers

Set of three ready-to-use bicycle racers in three poses; hands overhead in victory, out of the saddle hands on hoods and standing beside the bike as if inspecting the bike after a crash. This model (#25004) is painted - plain yellow jersies with black shorts with a white stripe). Other sets of three are available in six different team colors and poses, either three of the same pose or in a 'variety' pack like this one.


Unpainted Cycle Racer Kit (#16340)

16340 unpainted cycle racers (18)

The Mother Lode! Eighteen riders and bikes unassembled and unpainted. Includes all the parts to create racer types not found in the finished sets. Each 'rider' comes as six parts - two halves of a body, two arms, a head and a bike. Four bikes in this set apparently have disk wheels. Arms and heads (with hats and without) can be positioned or rotated whatever way suits you. As you can see, the suggestions they show are; hand raised waving, out of saddle in drops, V for victory, in saddle in drops, in saddle on tops, in saddle passing a banana, walking and crashed on his ass. It looks like all the riding positions look reasonable, or are adjustable to your personal taste. The banana, walker and crash victim add a somewhat lighthearted touch. Painting instructions and a set of number decals included.


36 Finished Cycling Spectators (#16340)

25100 spectators

Thirty six figures in all. Shown above with the barricades from kit #25175 (not actually included with this spectator set). All kinds of figures are in there including photographers, folks with binoculars, cheering fans of all types and even a grandpa with child on shoulders. Alternative unfinished kit would be #16337 with 120 figures, (leaving out the 18 carrying baggage or using some of them as they did in the "Cor de Preiser" suggestion above).


25102 Press Motorcycles with Photographers

Press Motos

VERY RARE! MY PERSONAL FAVORITE!

I snapped this one up at a local model railroad convention. Three R-series BMW's with drivers, a seated 35mm and video shooter and one standing video shooter. Comes with a few glue-on accessories: extra radio/TV antennae, running lights, center stands and crashbars. Entirely too cool!


Why you should order now!

Now you're probably asking, Why did he show us all these Preiser items?

When I found out "The Tour de France Collection" existed, I made inquiries around my home town (Houston) concerning purchase of Preiser cycling-related items. Finding nothing locally in stores, I found two distributors in the States with some stock on hand. I've picked up the few itemsI needed to populate some engineering models I'm making - now I simply want to help Preiser out.

If I can't convince Preiser to keep making the collection by increasing their sales, hopefully with this small effort these rare items will at least fall into the RIGHT HANDS!

Below is the list I made from the Preiser catalog of things you might use in any bike race diarama. If you have access to a Preiser, E-R or Walthers catalog where you live, great. Take my advice - once you've seen what's available, order them immediately. The liklihood is high that the production of these items could stop at any moment.

Assembled/painted Preiser items for possible cycling use:

10062 Film and television crew (5 people, 2 cameras, 1 Kleig light)
10081 Motorcyclists (3 young folks on Hercules 250's)
10089 Photographers (6 - w/still cameras)
10091 Cyclists - recreational (6)
10104 Motorcyclists BGS (D)
10113 Hikers/Backpackers (6)
10125 Mopeds (3 w/young riders)
10126 Motorcyclists (3 youngsters on 125's)
10128 Scooters (3 w/young riders)
10175 Police - Italian Carabinieri (5) (2 are riders w/motors)
10191 Police - French Gendarmes (5) (2 are riders w/motors)
10292 Police - Belgian Police (D)
10293 Police - Belgian Constabulary (D)
10301 Spectators (8 older folks w/2 kids)
10302 Spectators (6 younger folks)
10333 Cyclists - older commuters (3)
10336 Cyclists - young commuters (3)
10340 Police - German (6 'walking')
10341 Police - French (6 'walking')
10342 Firemen - German (6)
10370 Police - USA (6) (assorted standing/walking/1 is rider w/BMW)
10371 Police - UK (6) (mix of men/women/bobbies)
12129 1900s Cyclists (dressed in turn of century garb)
14139 Children (6)
14143 Spectators (8) (window shoppers)
14402 Passers-by (36)
17178 Traffic Control Barriers (8 red/8 white sand-fill plastic guardrail)
18202 Guard Rail (12 pcs. galvanized look/traditional USA roadside barr.)
24661 Ice Cream Vendors - Pushcart and tricycle (6 people, 2 carts)
25000 Cycling racers team "A"
25001 Cycling racers team "B"
25002 Cycling racers team "C"
25003 Cycling racers team "D"
25004 Cycling racers team "A" (yellow)
25005 Cycling racers team "B" (white)
25006 Cycling racers team "C" (blue)
25007 Cycling racers team "D" (red/yellow)
25008 Cycling racers team "E" (blue/black)
25009 Cycling racers team "F" (blue/green)
25086 Bicycles - racing w/roofracks (20 bikes, 4 pair racks)
25100 Spectators - cycling (36 - no fencing)
25101 Motorcycle Police
25102 Motorcyclists TV and Press (3 BMWs with 1 still, 2 video photogs)
25103 Fiat Tipo Escort (TDF Set)
25104 Audi 100 Escort (TDF Set)
25105 Opel Astra Escort (TDF Set)
25106 Audi 200 Escort (TDF Set)
25107 Police - German (6 'standing')
25108 Police - French (6 'standing')
25175 Barriers (16 pcs. metal stand-alone bike race fencing)
1010060 USA Highway Patrol (6 - 'standing')
1010061 USA Sheriff & Deputies (6 - 'standing')
1010062 USA City Police (6 - 'standing')

Other fun bicycle race support items:

33226 Police Van (van + 2 cops, 1 citizen)
33228 Suzuki Samurai w/billboard trailer, 2 w/1 m with umbrella and table
33237 Police Chevy Suburban + 2 Swiss police
33239 Police Chevy Suburban + 2 'ULM' police
33240 Police Ambulance + 2 'USA' police
99912 Emergency Vehicle Light Bars (3 beacon bars/3 light bars)

Unpainted kits:

16331 Police (? how many - assortment)
16332 Motorcyclists (3 unknown type)
16337 Passengers/passers-by (120 total - 18 carrying baggage - rest OK)
16340 Cycling racers (2 each 8 types above, disk wheel on 'in drops')
16343 Spectators/passers-by (130 total - many overdressed commuters)
16345 Police (24 - all nationalities/types - no motorcyclists)

Other auto/van items from the catalog:

33201 Mitsubishi L300 (D)
33205 Mitsubishi L300 (Mitsubishi panel minivan)
33209 Mitsubishi L300 (Mitsubishi panel minivan)
33212 Mitsubishi L300 PL (D)
33213 Mitsubishi L300 PO (D)
35024 Ford Escort Police Car (station wagon) with light and 2 police
37025 Audi 100 Police Car (sedan) with light and 2 police
38019 Audi A4 (fastback)
38020 Audi A6 (sedan)
38021 Opel Astra (station wagon)
38022 Ford Mondeo (fastback)
38023 Ford Mondeo (sedan)
38024 Audi 80 Avant
38027 Opel Astra (sedan)
38028 Fiat Tipo (hatchback) w/sunroof open (Nun inside?)
38030 Audi A4 (taxi w/driver)
38031 Audi Cabrio (convertible)
38033 MMC L300 (Mitsubishi panel minivan)

If you want to check prices, availability or make an order, make a list and drop either E-R or Walthers a line.
They'll both take great care of you.

E-R Model Importers, Ltd. (Euro-Rails)
1000 South Main Street
Newark, New York 14513 USA
(800)365-3876
(315)331-0288 FAX
(315)331-4090
http://www.ermodels.com/index.html
[email protected]

William K. Walthers, Inc. (incredibly good online service)
5601 W. Florist Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53218-1622 USA
1.800.4TRAIN (USA Toll-Free, 8am-5pm CST, Monday - Friday)
414.461.1050 (International inquiries, 8am-5pm CST, Monday - Friday)
http://www.walthers.com/


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All Images Copyright © 2000 Infinite Hangtime Photography and Mike Gladu

Preiser Press Moto
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Mike Gladu
Infinite Hangtime Photography
5914 Greenmont Drive
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Cellular: 281.788.8035
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