Mercedes 280SL Model kits- MPC & AIRFIX

WOLF retro DESIGN  REVIEW. 21st July 2020

To build or to display, what do you do with vintage model kits?

A retro review looks at products that are at least over ten years old from a present-day WOLF design perspective. While the technology and fashion of the period influence design, and are taken into consideration, great design ideas will transcend their eras to be timeless.

Interesting and factual information may be provided, but our review aims to deliver insight from the perspective of a designer’s mind and eyes.

Are these the only model kits ever made for the Pagoda Mercedes?

Product description

There were not many model kits made for the W113 Mercedes Pagoda cars. The two that are most commonly found are by MPC and AIRFIX. Both plastic model kits are of the 280SL and at 1/32 scale. Perhaps these were the only ones ever made back in the day?

Bold 60’s graphics!

Do it your way

If you have the skill and patience, a model kit was the best way to customize and create a Pagoda Mercedes in the colour of your choice. These kits however are now vintage and collectible, so it may only be worth building from a kit with damaged box.


From the days before computers and digital imagery, all graphics are printed from hand painted illustrations. The AIRFIX box cover illustrated a green Pagoda speeding along a road. The cover of the MPC kit has a design divided diagonally across to create red and white triangles which was representative of the MPC logo. In front of these triangles a 280SL is depicted as a racing car with blue stripes and number two. On one side there are cute illustrations of some key model components such as the driver and seats. The opposite side had a racing display background to be cut out and used for the finished model. Although both models are 1/32 scale, the AIRFIX models’ contents were more compactly packed in a significantly smaller box.

A racing display background to be cut out and used for the finished model.

MPC kit contents

AIRFIX kit contents

Availability and desirability.

Both models show up regularly on Ebay and values vary depending on condition of the box and contents. Expect to pay over $100 for complete, mint contents in a nice box. From our research the MPC model appears to be slightly rarer than the AIRFIX model.

Word of the Wolf.

Mercedes model enthusiasts will want to include these in their collections. Retro graphics make them nice display pieces.


The information in this review is intended for informational or educational purposes to provide readers an understanding of how something may be seen from a certain design perspective. In this case it is from the view point of WOLF DESIGNS. As design is subjective this review should only be considered as an independent opinion. Information further to being of an opinion is provided to the best of our knowledge based on our own research at the time of doing the review. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies and reserve the right to change or update any content as appropriate.
The final responsibility of the design resides with the original manufacturer.