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Diecast Delights: 2001 Mercedes CLK DTM Race Car

Chris Haining November 11, 2016 Cars You Should Know, Diecast Delights 4 Comments

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Will I be hounded from Hooniverse for admitting that I’m not actually the biggest fan of motorsport?

It’s like this: Seeing a DTM race live is one hell of an experience. Watching a BTCC Volvo 850 barrelling into Coram Curve, Snetterton from just 50 yards away is unforgettable. The machinery, too, is awe inspiring. I’ve stood next to Richard Petty’s Superbird on start up, been surrounded by ’80s Formula One cars idling in a paddock. It’s just that, like any other competitive sport, I can’t be bothered to follow it. Right now I couldn’t tell you what the Formula One championship standings are any more than I could tell you how Tottenham Hotspur are doing in the soccer Premiership League, if they’re even in it.

Next time I’m at a live motorsport event I’ll be grinning from ear to ear, and probably high on hi-test fumes, combing burnt rubber particles from my hair. Then, I’ll go home and probably not look at any of the race stats again, because it’s just not that important to me.

The cars are, though. Oh, God yes. Here’s a nice one that’s been in my collection for ages.

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It’s been several weeks since we last saw a Maisto model, and It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan of the brand. It probably makes about 30% of my collection. Sure, the brand is responsible for a fair few clunkers – they make an R129 Mercedes SL that looks like it caught a violent strain of the mumps.

At one point at the beginning of the century, though Maisto found itself on something of a high. High-end brands like AutoArt were in their infancy, and sealed resin models weren’t really even a thing yet. Maisto churned out hit after hit, really nice models and sold them for hardly any money.

Which is incidentally how I came to own so many of the things.

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The body of this is pretty impressive. It’s as good a standard of casting as you’ll find on a diecast of any price, the only limitation being the amount of time spent on hand finishing. For example, there are sharp edges to the perforations on the trailing edges of the wheelarches that represent brake cooling ducts. These could have been vanished with a bit of deft file-work, but that was never gonna happen when things are built in numbers like this was.

More impressive is the paintwork, and then the Mercedes-Benz Original Teile genuine parts livery applied on top of it. This has been tampo’d on and to a really crisp, high standard. And all proper, official sponsors, too.

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The details shine, too, particularly the wheels, with their sharply moulded spokes, the branded, slick tyres, and the brake discs with separate ,Brembo-branded calipers. The red towing eyes are a nice touch, too.

The only slight disappointment is the front and rear lights, which are fairly typical of those on diecast models of around that era. These days they tend to be moulded with a little more depth and body, and without the tell-tale central black spot that shows how they’re attached to the body.

This one has no engine to show off. However:

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The front end detaches to reveal a great deal of well-observed detail, including the (non-functional) horizontal suspension units and the ram air engine intake which admits air before it travels all the way through the cabin to reach a midships-mounted V8.

I’m really impressed, though, by Maisto’s attempt at carbon fibre. It comes really, really close to being convincing.

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There’s plenty of the stuff inside, too, where the driver’s bucket seat sits almost centrally, amid a climbing-frame of scaffolding, and behind a surprisngly well-rendered LCD instrument panel. The long, blurry protuberance visible on the left that’s attached to the door  is trunking to carry cool outside air with a view to refreshing the driver.

Slightly.

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It really is a great model, and one that was sold for little more than toy money.

Sure, you could spend £200 on a model by Spark or whoever, which would be perfect to the last nanometer. But it would probably be a sealed cast resin model with none of those saucy details under the front end. Or you could buy one of these for a handful of change via eBay.

If you want a representation of one of these formidable racing machines in your collection, Maisto’s effort comes highly recommended. Whether you’re “into” motorsport or not.

(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)