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Diecast Delights: An ’89 911 Speedster in 1:18 scale.


I’ve never been bothered by the Star-Wars franchise. I’ve never been a fan of Bon Jovi. That film, and that band, are among the most followed and most popular of their respective genres, drawing in huge crowds whenever a new episode or a new album is released. The thing is, to me, every Star Wars film and every Bon Jovi album is just another one just like the last.

Of course; I’m an uneducated oaf. No doubt if somebody tied me to a chair and held my eyelids and ears open Clockwork Orange style, I could learn how to appreciate both of them. Which brings me to the Porsche 911. I’ve never really got the 911. I appreciate what it is, and what it does, but I’ve just never felt any great lust for it. I’m sure, though, if I owned one things would be different. And if I was to choose one, it would probably be the one you see before you, only about eighteen times as big.

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Diecast Delights: An LTi TX1 London Taxi in 1:18 Scale


Recently this strand has dealt with the super-exotic as well as the super-attainable (if you’re in Europe) but we’ve barely touched on the “I’m stuck outside a busy venue and a little bit drunk, and I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to get home”. Until now.

The shape of the “black cab” has morphed over the years, but during the ’90s it became routine for examples to not actually be black at all. The bluff sides of the cab had been seen for its potential as advertising space years ago, and with advancements in vinyl wrapping technology came the opportunity for taxis to wear all manner of temporary liveries. One of the most famous to appear was an advertising campaign for Marmite, celebrating the centenary of their tar-like toast-borne yeast extract. And as a lifelong advocate of said substance, about twelve years ago I just had to buy a model depicting it.

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Diecast Delights: A Ford StreetKa in 1:18


Last week we took a look at a McLaren F1, a car which still arguably stands as the reference point against which all supercars are judged. It’s a lovely model of an amazing car, but not necessarily an especially relevant one.

Truthfully, supercars and hypercars only exist in my collection for reasons of their historical significance and, in some cases, their beauty. I actually have more interest in models of cars which are actually relevant in day-to-day life. Fortunately, diecast manufacturers have realised that there’s a market for models of everyday cars as well as cost-no-object wondermobiles. Today we look at a model of Ford’s short-lived roadster, the StreetKa.

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Diecast Delights: A McLaren F1 in 1:18 Scale


I guess it was just a matter of time before I featured this model. When you were 13 years old your bedroom walls wouldn’t be covered with posters of Ford Mondeos, would they? Well, they might have been if you were me, but you’re not, are you? No, every self-respecting teenager would have walls lined with F40s and Diablos, or perhaps the superest supercar of all, the McLaren F1. You’d probably want a 1:18 model of it, too.

Well, you were in luck as there were several versions to choose from. If you were blind or had only ever had the F1 described to you vaguely over a crackly phone line, you could opt for the hilariously misshapen and gloopy looking Guiloy. There was a Maisto, too, which was pretty decent. Alternatively, you could save up a bit of extra pocket money and go for the F1 by UT models, and that’s what I did, making my purchase at one of the ’90s London Motorshows.

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Diecast Delights: A BMW 850i in 1:18 Scale

Chris Haining October 26, 2015 Diecast Delights


Apart from as a tactile, tangible means of celebrating recognised classics, I always consider that owning a well-executed scale replica of a car is at least a token replacement for owning the real thing. The Ferrari 456, for example. Bburago’s version has been in my collection since I was twelve (and has sustained accident damage to show that my 1:18 driving was as reckless as you’d expect for somebody of that age), and now I’m 34 I don’t feel completely empty about my abject failure to have ever owned a 456 in 1:1.

As Carchive on Friday reminded us, there’s a lot of love out there for BMW’s lantern-jawed, broad shouldered coupé, the E31 8-Series, and they can actually be bought these days for remarkably small sums of money. But the expenditure seldom ends once you’ve secured the keys. Keeping an 850i in the manner it is accustomed to will require pockets of mineshaft depths.

Far better to own a nice well-behaved eighteenth scale version, like this ancient model by Revell.

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Diecast Delights: A Porsche 550 in 1:18 scale.


I always detested being dragged around Tesco by my parents, but the weekly trip to the supermarket could be rendered bearable if a little competitive shopping-cart Grand Prix activity was introduced. I’d have a small, light, Superleggera kart and my Dad would take the full Gran Turismo, further ballasted by a stack of groceries of ever growing proportions. The extra joy of our elicit aisle to aisle racing exploits would inevitably lead to matrimonial tension between Mum and Dad on the way home, though, so I had to play that particular card wisely.

Another ploy guaranteed to get your kid on-side when it comes to retail drudgery is to promise them a new toy. Big supermarkets always have a bulging toy section but it’s entirely down to luck as to whether it’s stocked with delights for the junior car enthusiast or just lowest-bidder pieces of brightly coloured plastic crap. Occasionally, though, the stars would align and there would be a stack of Maisto 1:18 diecast models to nag mum about.

This one, who’s box bears the legend “Imported by Tesco” gives us a fantastic opportunity to discuss diecasts vis-a-vis Toy or Model. This Maisto Porsche 550 is GOOD. Way too nice for a screaming brat in a supermarket.

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Diecast Delights: The Italdesign Nazca M12 in 1:18 Scale


So, how important is realism in a model? I’ve said a great many times that rightness is often more important than detail, and quite a lot of you seem to agree. Proportions, stance and a sense of presence make for a great diecast, even if the engine compartment plumbing and some of the dashboard switches are a little indistinct.

There are occasions, though, when a model is still great even if realism is thrown right out the window. Take this twenty year old model of the ItalDesign (Guigiaro) Nazca M12 from 1991, finished in chrome and based on a concept which never saw production and was never finished in chrome. But I don’t think that detracts from this model in the slightest.

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Diecast Delights: An ’89 Mercedes SL in 1:18 scale


One of the best things about diecast collecting and amassing a collection over the years, is that it becomes possible to forget that you own certain models at all. Then, when you rediscover them, you are transported back to the time you first opened the box.

This Revell Mercedes 500SL was a Christmas present in the early nineties, and aside from the nostalgia, looking at it now gives a fascinating insight into just how far diecast models have come since then. And also, strangely, how little that development actually matters.

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Diecast Delights: A Lancia Stratos in 1:18 Scale


What influences you to add something to your model car collection? Well, there are many answers that one could give to that question. Historical significance, technical prowess, physical attractiveness, colour, the list of justifiable reasons is endless.

Why did I add this Lancia Stratos to my collection? Well, I could have cited any of the above, but there was one far more important, over-riding consideration.

Yes, it has pop-up headlamps.

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Diecast Delights: A Pontiac Fiero GT in 1:18 scale


My model car collection, by and large, tends to eschew household-name supercars in favour of less obvious candidates for teenage bedroom wall poster worship, hence the Opel Manta and Citroen CX being among the treasures in my attic.

So, while bored on a train journey and idly browsing my Android mobile eBay app, which I have set to search only for 1:18th scale with price <£20, I was surprised, nay, shocked to find the model in these photos among the massed ranks of Bburago Ferraris. Yes, it’s a Fiero.

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