1/24 Danbury Mint 1948 Buick Roadmaster Convertible (Black)

Photographed and Reviewed by Peter Brown

When the 1948 Buick Sedanet and Convertible were first introduced by the Danbury Mint, they were met with rave reviews from nearly all quarters. Well, the repaints are no exception, and they continue to delight collectors with their first-rate design and build quality. Presented here, for your enjoyment, is the '48 Convertible in black.

Case in point: It's quite beautiful in black, though with a tan top it looks a lot like its predecessor in navy with a tan top, the only other difference being interior color—natural (light brown) on the black car, and burgundy on the blue one. So which is nicer? It's a tough call and boils down personal taste.

Starting up front, we see some great detail in the form of the Buick crests on the nose and the bumper override guard, the grill surround with  B U I C K    E I G H T  reverse-embossed and picked out in black, and those 21 perfect teeth. Headlights have separate chrome buckets and bezels, and beautiful lenses; and last but not least, there's the gun sight ornament atop the hood.

Here in side view we get a good look at the voluminous chrome on this Buick, and the delicate Roadmaster scripts on each side, sealed for safe handling. Also note the perfect ride height, despite a fully functional suspension. Nice going. The convertible top fits snugly, almost too snugly, but sits perfectly once in position. It has tons of detail inside and out, including the interior ribs and the edge where it meets the side windows, all plated in chrome.

In this view the wipers stand out, mainly because they are askew. That's no fault of the model, as the wiper arms are fully posable. I just forgot to pose them. LOL! You can just barley make out the antenna, mounted at the top center of the windshield frame, on a working swivel base which allows it to be pointed upwards with a backward slant, or downwards in its holder in the center of the two-piece windshield as shown here.

There is no less detail around the back, where we find a working fuel door, more Buick crests, and lots of other chromed bits, including a chromed exhaust tip, and a pair of auxiliary backup lights; still not standard equipment in 1948. I like the way DM did the plates (front and rear) in black with yellow lettering as it makes them look a bit more like license plates—ideally, I'd like to see them start reproducing some period plates for the tail ends of their models, and just put the year up front, if at all. Any collector would know what year it is anyway.

Inside the trunk we find the expected jack and spare tire, and there is also a platform that goes above the tire to keep luggage placed on it from getting soiled. The platform, though not shown here, is covered in authentically patterned fabric. Also note the red rim on the spare, and on the road wheels of course. These were a Buick staple for almost 20 years. Oh, and check out that telescoping prop rod.

Like many DM models of recent vintage, this one benefits from a fabulous interior. Starting with the working visors, moving to the legible gauges and controls, and continuing with all the separately cast cranks and handles, we see great realism and detail here. I feel the natural leather color used on the interior, particularly the seats, lends it a rich, and very realistic appearance.

The seats are covered in a very believable leather-like material that's soft to the touch, and the front seatbacks tilt forward for the convenience of rear seat passengers, who also get grab handles for hanging on during those sharp turns. Notice the chrome seatback releases down at the base of the front seats, and the power window switches front and rear. The hand cranks are for the vent windows.

The steering wheel and hub are nicely detailed, and down below we find plush carpeting, floor mats, and all the expected foot pedals and controls. With the top down, the boot (in tan to match the top) is in place, and continues to impress with realistic stitching and seams, and chrome snap fasteners.

Check out the hood hinges. Just like on the 1:1 car, the hood may be opened from either side, with trick hinges that engage or release as needed—quite a feat of miniature engineering. There's also a center prop rod with holder to keep that massive steel hood from crashing down on your head.

Here we get a closer look at the engine compartment with its impressive details. All hoses, wires, plumbing lines and linkages are there in all their glory, beautifully replicated in scale.

From above we see more of the detail on the convertible roof, including the nice if slightly over-scale fabric used (a given in this scale), the welts with their chromed tips, and the small, chrome-trimmed rear window. The top is a beautiful piece, but I would have preferred it in black to match the body.

I've taken the liberty of simulating the look of a black top in this shot by altering the image in Photoshop. This was apparently considered by the model's designers, but tan ended up winning out. I happen to prefer the black, and if you're lucky enough to own DM's 47 Buick Roadmaster convertible in yellow/cream, you can use the black top from that model which is interchangeable with this model's tan one.

In summary, DM has scored another hit with this Buick. It's one of their finest models—five stars for sure. If you missed the navy blue model, by all means don't miss this one. I think it's a must-have for any serious collector.

FOOTNOTE: These pictures, while good, don't do this model justice. Black cars are all about the reflections, and I used the usual light tent which tends to soften them, resulting in the finish here looking somewhat dull. In my display case with the glass, mirror, and lights, it utterly sparkles! Next time I will try a different approach; the good folks at DM are sending me that black convertible top I was longing for, so perhaps when it arrives I'll do a few more shots of this beautiful model.