Conrad GmbH has been creating miniature vehicles for over 50 years, each one resembling its real-life counterpart to a T. The wide range of classic vehicles and special models includes, of course, new vehicles like the latest MAN TGX.
90 Conrad employees are involved in creating true-to-life miniature lookalikes of the impressive giant trucks and other special vehicles. Particular attention is paid to quality and intricacy during the creation process, which, in a manner of speaking, belongs to the philosophy of the family-run business.
“Conrad GmbH stands for the art of considering things from a different perspective. It is only upon first glance that you think the secret of a miniature is its size. It is much more important to be able to replicate the same level of detail on a small scale,” explains Christine Conrad, who runs the company together with her husband. Her grandfather, Ludwig Conrad, founded the company in 1956, which initially manufactured electric components and accessories for model railways. But in 1970, the company changed its focus and, instead of creating toys, started building models. This led to Conrad GmbH becoming one of the first companies in this niche industry. It produces between 15 and 20 new diecast models in a single production year, as well as 80 to 100 special variants.
Big and small created almost in unison
Creating a new model takes six to eight months, which involves having to develop completely new tools, as well. This means that work starts on the model partially in parallel to the creation of the original vehicle. “It’s ideal when we’re told about the new product a year in advance, as this makes planning easier and we can guarantee that the model will be ready on time,” says Christine Conrad.
The manufacturing process itself follows clear procedures and is a series of numerous work steps.
First, 3D data is used to create a computer-generated model of the vehicle. “This not only involves converting dimensions, but also incorporating the corresponding material thickness and mobility functionality into the model,” explains Managing Director Christine Conrad. Next, rapid prototyping is used to create a three-dimensional hand-sized model with the desired scale and requested functions, which is subsequently reviewed with the customer. If the customer gives it the seal of approval, the data is passed on to the Tool-making department and the steel moulds for the individual parts of the miniature model are produced. Once the next sample has been presented to and approved by the customer, production can start on the zinc diecast and plastic parts. Following inspection of these, the Painting department takes over, where the parts are deburred, sanded and polished in preparation for the, oftentimes, multi-layer painting process. The Printing department predominantly uses pad printing to apply the prints to the parts, although parts with graphics are processed individually and by hand. Finally, the individual parts can be assembled – which is also carried out by hand.
Many of the models created by Conrad GmbH are in high demand, which is why, quite often, some of the new miniatures are snapped up as soon as they become available. Those lucky enough to get hold of one of the coveted collector’s items usually give their miniature truck a place of honour, and find that great things really do come in small packages.
Would you like more minis?
In the MAN Merchandise Shop you will find many models. The new MAN TGX is also there.