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Diecast Delights: Lotus Elise 111S in 1/18 Scale

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You know, collecting diecast models is a peculiar hobby that everybody goes about in different ways. There are dozens of forums out there devoted to it, but a common theme is people fawning over the latest releases by companies like Exoto, Spark and CMC. These models are often made in extremely limited numbers, and the first person to flex their chequebook wins. The thing is, is this really collecting, or is it just shopping? And does it even matter?

With neither of my daily drivers being worth much more than £500, I have neither the funds nor the stomach to pump several hundred quid at a time into buying toys. Besides which, models at the high end of the industry are like jewellery, and end up being displayed in a similar way. It can end up being more about the model itself than the actual car it represents. For me the car is paramount, and if 85% of the detail can be bought for 15% of the price, then I’m all for it.

Hence this Lotus Elise now appearing in my collection after an eBay bidding war in which my maximum bid was £20.

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Norman Timbs Streamliner from Automodello is a 1:43 Scale beauty

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In the 1940s, a man named Norman Timbs set out to make a car of his own design. In 1948, that goal came to fruition when the Timbs Streamliner roared into existence. Its sleek all-aluminum body was hand-formed by the man who stuck his own name on the car, and the resulting shape is truly a work of art.

With a curb weight of just 2,500 pounds, the 248 cubic-inch Buick straight-eight had no problem pushing the Streamliner to a top speed of 120 miles per hour. The car became a cover girl for the second ever issue of Motor Trend, before it moved on to private ownership.

As happens to nearly all old vehicles, the car disappeared before it was discovered in a yard in the California desert. It was intact, however, and soon restored to its former glory. From there it was off to Amelia Island, where the Streamliner took home some hardware and has continued to do so ever since.

Now it’s arrived on my desk… in 1:43 scale, thanks to the excellent artisans of Automodello.

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Diecast Delights: ’98 Porsche 911 GT1 in 1:18 scale

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What is the point of the weekly Diecast Delights slot? Well, all over The Internet there are dozens, hundreds, several forums all discussing nothing but diecast models. Quite a lot of them seem to be frequented by folk with bottomless pockets, all high-fiving and back patting each other on their latest megabuck 1:18 purchase, often a Ferrari released so recently the ink hasn’t dried on the press release.

Who cares about the cutting edge anyway when eBay is overflowing with forgotten gems for our delectation? The model before you was an impulse buy for a large KFC meal level of outlay, despite its Le Mans winning pedigree.

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Diecast Delights: The Ford GT90 in 1:18 Scale

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What if? It’s a fun if ultimately futile game to play. What if, in 1995,  the Ford Motor Company had successfully designed, built and sold a supercar which was absolutely without equal?

Well, it never quite happened. But fortunately, Maisto built a model which is plentifully available so you can wistfully gaze at the legend that never was.

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Diecast Delights: A BMW M635CSi in 1/18th Scale

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You can come back now. Those of you who were mortified by the sinister direction in which Diecast Delights turned with the Cadillac Escalade review the other week can relax.

We’re back to cars, and nice ones at that for a little while, starting with this one. It’s an AutoArt E24 M635 CSI, and not only is it one of the nicest models in my collection but it’s also probably one of the nicest items I own, and probably ever will.

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Diecast Delights: A………Cadillac Escalade EXT?!? In 1/18 Scale.

Chris Haining February 25, 2015 Diecast Delights

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What on Earth drove me to buy this model? What possible reason could I have for wanting to dilute my otherwise spectacular and wisely chosen collection of 1:18s with a model of a vehicle that I, well, kind of hate?

I’m still struggling for an answer to this conundrum, but I’m glad I do have an Escalade EXT in my miniature garage because I can honestly say that the Good, the Bad and the Ugly are all fairly represented.

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Diecast Delights: The (old!) Ford GT in 1:18 Scale

Chris Haining February 17, 2015 Diecast Delights

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Talk about having your thunder stolen. With the brand new Ford GT concept car now wowing crowds it’s feasible that one might forget the last one. The last Ford GT concept wowed the world back in 2002 and the Blue Oval weren’t slow in realising just how much of a win they had on their hands vis-a-vis “hey world, we’re an interesting company with interesting ideas”.  They were, and indeed are. And they backed up all their noisy “look at us” grunting by actually putting the damn thing into production. The Ford GT. You may have heard of it.

Meanwhile, Beanstalk, later to be absorbed into Pauls Model Art, were licensed by Ford to distribute a bunch of models of prominent halo lines from the Ford Portfolio of the day. They included the Jaguar XKR, Ford Thunderbird, (this) Aston Martin Vanquish from the terrible Bond film Die Another Day, and the 2002 Ford GT Concept.

And here it is.

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Diecast Delights: A 1970 Triumph Spitfire in 1:18 scale

Chris Haining February 12, 2015 Diecast Delights

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I find myself slightly baffled by the various diecast collecting websites out there. Choosing what to collect is obviously up to the choice of the individual, but an awful lot of people out there spend massive amounts of money on high-end models of high-end supercars. As soon as a new Ferrari is released, or even a new colour of Ferrari, they’ll open their chequebook and allocate a couple of hundred quid to make sure it’s represented in their collection in 1:18 form. Each to their own, but I’m not sure if that’s collecting. Isn’t it just shopping?

I’ve never made a conscious decision on what to collect. The models in my collection are mostly either of cars I’ve always admired or cars that members of my family have owned. They’re also often of cars which aren’t worth very much money, either. Today’s model just about fits into all three of those categories.

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Diecast Delights: A Volkswagen Phaeton W12 in 1:18 Scale

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Variety is the spice of life here at Hooniverse. Every-playa-has-one Supercars are not really guaranteed to get us twitching with excitement. We’re all grown-up enough to know that it’s engineering and thought, not just power and prestige that makes a great car. And there are more than a few of us who derive our interest in a vehicle from factors utterly unrelated to mechanical competence, hence my continued loyalty to a certain old Rover, despite its long and damning list of flaws.

One thing that seems to unite us all, though, is cars which keep you guessing. A car which externally speaks nothing of the amazing things it’s capable of. One such thing car is the W12 powered Volkswagen Phaeton, of which more after the jump.

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Diecast Delights: A ’78 Mustang II Cobra in 1:18 Scale

Chris Haining January 27, 2015 Diecast Delights

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What on Earth was I thinking, posting an Aston Martin Vanquish last week? This isn’t Billionaires Gazette, this isn’t the kind of on-line motoring organ whose participants spend their days on chaise longues, being handed trays of crackers and Grey Poupon, heck, some of us don’t even have butlers.

Lets get back to a model of something closer to the Hooniverse Heartland. A 1970’s ponycar which was, let’s be frank, a shadow of its former self and not really all that good. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting. I mean, I find it interesting and I wasn’t even alive when it was launched, and even if I had been conceived five years earlier I was stuck on a continent which was largely Mustang free.

Find out if it deserves a place in your 1:18 garage after the jump.

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