Model Cars in Madagascar
Down an unpaved bumpy road outside the village of Imerinatsiatosika, about an hour outside Antananarivo, I returned a week after my previous visit to see what progress had been made with regard to the model cars I had ordered. Bearing in mind the whole trip back to Madagascar is based around the idea of buying these model cars in Madagascar and sending them home to Ireland to sell, this visit certainly had the moment of truth feel about it. If the models are not of good quality then they won’t sell back home. If the ones produced here are not up to scratch, then I face the possibility of looking for somewhere else that makes them which will cause delays and may prove difficult to complete before the end of my trip.
I had asked that they make the best quality model cars they could and I would pay more for the better ones but I still didn’t know what to expect when I got there. To say my worries were unfounded would be an understatement and I was delighted with what they had produced. They had made some 2CVs, Tuk Tuks, Renault 5s and a couple of taxi brousse: typical model cars in Madagascar.
The models they had made were not only of good quality reproduction-wise, they also had great looking paint jobs and were decorated with both beer and fizzy drinks cans. The bodies of the model cars were also made with recycled sheet metal and the wheels put together from the tops of beer and fizzy drink bottles.
The 2CVs they had made were of a particularly high quality with the boots, doors and bonnets opening up – giving them a nice touch.
On my last visit I was taken to the home of one of the craftsmen who showed me the various model cars they make in Madagascar. I did see some of the soldering for the smaller items like the fridge magnets on my previous visit but this time I was shown where they put together the larger model cars that I ordered. This place had more of a workshop feel about it with parts for model cars all over the floor in piles, ready to be soldered into place.
The people here are clearly very good at their craft and take pride in producing models which are of top quality. Before I had come on the trip I had toyed with the idea of ordering all my model cars in Madagascar directly from the markets – either in Antananarivo or Tamatave to make things easier for myself logistics-wise. I am more than glad that I managed to find where the models are produced which gives me an insight into how they are made and more importantly the quality of the produce here is higher than in the markets, as I am dealing directly with the producer.
I have now ordered one thousand models to be ready by the end of December but will be going back before then as the crafters have agreed to let me take some photos and videos of them at work. This was definitely a day well spent.