Dear beloved DNA Collectibles’ fan and collectors, we are happy to introduce you Bert Jan, founder of the famous Volvomodelcars group on Facebook. We are so glad he came to visit our web-shop (here) and has the opportunity to write independent reviews of our scale model cars. Obviously we really appreciate his reviews, not only because he likes our quality and general job on scale models manufacturing, but also because we could (and still can) improve from his comments and suggestions. Please give him a warm welcome and learn a bit more about his passion for scale model cars and how he handles his website and FaceBook group. Here are some questions about his passion of scale model cars:
Bert Jan, how did you fall into the passion of model cars and became a collector?
As a kid I loved the art of modelcars. I played ‘showroom’ or ‘carshow’ instead of wrecking them. I fancied older models most. I had many Matchbox Models of Yesteryear. The fact that they were very detailed, despite their size was impressive. I was perhaps 8 or 9 years old, in the late 1970’s.
How did you fall in love with the Volvo Car brand?
My collection of pre-war modelcars grew slowly, but without a clear vision: pre-war, big and many details was what I liked. I had some Rolls Royces, Fiat, Renault, Bugatti made in 1:43 by Rio and Brumm. The owner of the modelcar shop suggested that I specialize in one brand, to make my collection more coherent. The choice was obvious: my parents drove a Volvo, our holidays were spent in Sweden, I even had a couple of Volvo’s in my modelcar collection: it had to be Volvo! The modelcar dealer wasn’t so happy with my answer, as there were not many Volvo’s available. We are in the early 1980’s now. I remember buying a Stahlberg Amazon that day!
What was your first scale model and how/where did you get it?
My parents drove an orange Volvo 245 and the earliest Volvomodelcar in my collection is the orange 245 by Nacoral. My father bought it in 1977. In the early 80’s I was able to add a Sommerville PV444, some Stahlberg merchandise cars and the Norev 265.
If you can name one, which one is your favorite model in your collection?
That is a very difficult question, the stories behind the modelcars make them special. Where I found them, who gave them to me, some are very rare and I had a hard time tracking them down. I am a big fan of the Somerville models, but the Volvo’s in the Atlas collection are very beautiful too. Some choices are very special. The 47th 245 is less special, then the Atlas 165 or Venus Bilo.
As of today, do you have a precise count on how many Volvo model cars you have in your collection? Can we ask you how many and at which scale?
I collect all scales and all purposes:kids toys and collectors models, cheap and less cheap. Around 1500 Volvomodelcars would it be, today.
You are the key person behind this fabulous Volvomodelcars Facebook group, what made you decide to open this group? When did you create this community and have you ever thought it would grow so big ?
Collecting something is even more fun when you can share it with others. I had a Volvomodelcar corner on the Dutch Volvo-Forum.nl, where I listed new releases and shared new additions. Around Christmas 2013 I had a bright moment and started the Volvomodelcar group on Facebook. It grew from day 1.
It was impossible to predict how big and famous this was going to be, but I was lucky that some managers of Volvo Cars in Göteborg liked the idea and helped me to get to know the right people in Volvo Merchandise.
What are the most important milestones for you regarding your Facebook page?
A: In 2015, the first pictures of the brand-new S90 in 1:43 appeared on a Chinese car site. In no time they were posted in Volvomodelcars. Nobody saw the real S90, so this was a big scoop. I remember that one of the Volvo managers confirmed that it was indeed the new S90. Jalopnik from America picked that story up and mentioned the Volvomodelcars group, to read here. We were in business!
We had a few very nice Volvomodelcar meetings in the Netherlands, I met wonderful people at Volvo and in the modelcar business. I have almost daily contacts with fellow collectors in all parts of the world. Starting this group turned out to be very rewarding!
How much time per day or week do you manage the Volvo model cars group and do you find it difficult to do?
Managing the group isn’t taking much time. Everyone understands the purpose of the group and sticks to the rules. Sometimes someone wants to sell bitcoins or T-shirts, but not that often. Volvomodelcar collectors are very friendly and happy people!
It takes more time to read all the daily posts and to search the internet for new Volvo releases. Finding new Volvo’s is thrilling!
Discussing about model cars, what are the points that you think are really important on a model?
At this moment it is very imported to choose a model that hasn’t been made, multiple times. The DNA V70R is a good example, but so is the Zagato by AutoCult. The amount of 1993 Volvo 240 Polar is huge, but a nice model of a 1983 244 Turbo is still missing!
Is the packaging important for you?
Packaging isn’t that important, as I prefer to place the Volvo’s next to each other on the shelves. For the 1:18 models it can be helpful that the box is transparent, like DNA and Minichamps, because I mostly keep them in these boxes to save space in the showcases.
How do you see the future of Volvo scale models? Do you expect many models to be produced in the coming years?
It is very nice that Norev follows the new 1:1 releases and I hope we get to see some unseen Volvomodelcars is the future. There are still many beautiful Volvo’s without a modelcar and with modern methods it is possible to make small numbers. The S60 Cross Country exists in only 50 pieces per colour!
What are your best memories since you run the Volvo model cars facebook group? Is it meetings or a special moment?
Meeting people in real life is of course so much more fun than mailing or chatting with them online! A lunch with Volvo’s Vice-President in Göteborg, a meeting with the people behind Volvo Merchandise. Talking face to face with modelcar producers and discussing possible future releases is the hammer! Too bad the Nürnberg Toyfair was cancelled this year!
A few journalists from Scandinavia and the Netherlands made an editorial about my collection and for Dutch Volvodrive Magazine I even have a regular Volvomodelcar section.
In the Netherlands we have a group of diehard collectors and we meet on a regular basis, to enjoy each other’s collections, get jealous and review new releases.
How did you know about DNA Collectibles?
The first DNA Volvo was the V70 XC from the first generation. A model on my wishlist for many years. I think someone posted a picture in the facebookgroup and I ordered it instantly. Very often I mail the producer of a new Volvomodelcar to congratulate him with his release, I was very happy that the people of DNA replied! These days, most producers do!
Knowing us since our beginning, can you tell us what you like about DNA Collectibles models and maybe about our philosophy as well?
Like before: it is nice to add modelcars to the collection that weren’t made before. To get the entire Volvo history lined up, would be a dream! Atlas did a marvelous job trying to get that together and DNA is going that same path. For the future of DNA, I could imagine some 1:43 models as well, to save space in the cabinets. A Volvo V60 Cross Country in 1:43 to accompany the Scalemasters S60CC?
Which one is your favorite DNA Collectibles model so far? Do you expect one specific model which is still not on the market?
I like the Concept Coupe and the P1800 a lot! I am also looking forward to the 244 Turbo and the S60R! But, it is hard, I like them all!
If you had one (or more) advice how could DNA Collectibles improve in the future?
I am a bit worried about the mix of materials: the metal strips that tend to break loose can be a problem for all resin cars.
Late 2020 was a big date for you as you developed your very first 1/43 scale model. Can you give us more information about this journey? Can you tell us about your experience as a model developer? Was it easy or did you face some difficulties? Is it something you will make again in the future?
It was great to be able to work together with Scalemasters to produce the unique Volvo S60 Cross Country. A cross country sedan is a very rare sight and I don’t think it was a success for Volvo. The chance that a ‘normal’ producer would ever make it looked very small. I am very glad that now -only a very limited amount of- collectors can add it to their collections. For a very reasonable price, too!
I saw that decisions about millimeters more or less can have a big impact on the final result. Making these decisions is rather stressful. I am very glad the reviews on my first model are good!
I would love to do it again, the list of model-empty Volvo’s is still long….
Thank you very much Bert Jan for all those very interesting replies and we hope that the Volvo model cars community will keep growing. Also we hope that reading your interview can help some people to start collecting if they are still not sure.
We wish you a very good 2021 New Year with lots of new Volvo model cars!