This is a 'Friterie' van, a seller of hot chips to never-ending queues of lovers of 'pommes frite',
the ubiquitous snack of France and Belgium. Somehow the van has been magically transported
to a spot outside the Bondi Beach Pavilion here in Sydney in my diorama fantasy. There's no
chance of this ever happening in reality, as the Bondi Parking Gendarmes would be onto the
Friterie man's little Peugeot J7 van in a flash, moving him on as soon as they ate their chips.
Having been moved on to a quieter side street, business is as brisk as ever. I do love the attention
to detail in these 1:43 models. The maker has included deep-fryers, mesh scoops for the chips,
buckets of chips on the counter and, though you can't see it here, a mesh rangehood screen
over the deep-fryers. The Peugeot van itself is nothing special at all, in fact it's a bit knocked
about, and one of the wheels is a bit wobbly. What the maker must do is find old models
cheaply, then transform them into his little dioramas. The guy who makes them is in France,
his name is Daniel Lardon, his business is called Maquettes Collections Passion, his eBay
shop is called Passion1948, and he has a blog at maquettescollectionspassions.unblog.fr
The second modified van from the same guy is my wife's favourite model by far, and I think it
is my favourite, too. And so I've pulled out all of my amateur Photoshopping tricks here and
have included three shoppers and a fruit seller inside the van to complete this diorama. The front
third of the van itself is a Citroen Type H van. The rear two-thirds is mostly made by the
diorama guy, but he does use the rear wheels and housing from the Type H, of course.
The attention to detail here is exquisite (by the model maker, I mean). Not just content with
generic vegies, there are 19 boxes on the counter, and each has a different type of vegie or fruit
in it: cantaloupes, tomatoes, leeks, oranges, parsley, bananas, eggplants, potatoes, onions,
apples, lemons, avocados and, of course, a set of scales in the middle. It is so charming!
So I have tried to do it justice by adding in a nice old shopping couple and a cheery fruit seller.