The explosion of fancy non-chocolate advent calendars in the past few years has been nothing short of extraordinary. A quick mosey around a shop will still show the £1 chocolate advent calendars of old, but they definitely play second fiddle to more expensive, luxury advent calendars that encompass everything from alcohol and moisturiser to cheese.
Us petrolheads are even catered for in the luxury advent calendar market. We can choose between Hot Wheels, a new set of tools or this cool looking model of a Porsche 911. That’s right, you can build yourself a fully licensed model Porsche 911 this Christmas, something that sounds like the perfect way to start each December morning.
What do you get?
Front and centre is the model Porsche 911. This particular version is an early 911 finished in Signal Red (Irish Green and Enamel Blue are also available), comes in 1:43 scale and features turning wheels. You also get a display plinth that features a changeable background and a small speaker that emits the distinctive flat-six engine noise at the touch of a button.
Not to spoil anything but there are some nice little Porsche-themed extras included too. One very Germanic extra is a small cardboard tool chest and quality screwdriver for assembling the model car. Not only is this a welcome addition for building the car, the screwdriver is bound to come in handy Christmas morning when you’ll be needing to add about 100 AA batteries to various gifts.
Aside from the excellent quality of the gifts inside, the actual calendar is impressive. It includes a nice booklet with both assembly instructions and information about key variants of the 911, perfect breakfast reading. One final note is the numbering of the advent boxes is particularly good, making use of iconic liveries to make up the numbers.
Is it any good?
Shoving a near months' worth of Christmas mornings into an hour may not give the full experience of the joy of surprise, but it does still give me a chance to find how satisfying it is to build the model 911. The vast majority of the building process is excellent, with the attention to detail a particular highlight, it even features the infamous houndstooth seat pattern on the car's seats. The speaker set-up is so basic even a total novice (me) was able to wire it up without incident, although you'll need to supply your own AA batteries for this. The sound is a little tinny, sounding a bit like it's played through a walkie-talkie.
Like every advent calendar, some days are better than others. However, instead of marzipan chocolate, the bad days include the little feet for the base, a sticker and some tiny cardboard plinths for setting the scene. Still, overall it's a satisfying build and the model 911 looks fantastic.
In the world of interesting advent calendars, the Franzis is a very strong offering. It’s filled with excellent, quality gifts that will last for years to come and it's enjoyable to build. Even if you don't like 911s, it's a great gift idea and perfect for any petrolhead. While not every day offers a rewarding gift, the end product is really good. It’s also a damn sight better looking than some empty foil wrapping and will last longer than any chocolate.