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Diecast Delights: A Jaguar XJS in 1:18 Scale

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What I have for you today is a piece of hard-hitting investigative journalism. It was while browsing one of the diecast model forums a chap mentioned that there was a sale event going on with a German model car supplier, namely www.ck-modelcars.de. I thought that perhaps this was something worthy of investigation. To see whether the international diecast trade is worth having anything to do with.

Well, I’m not supposed to be spending money at the moment… but the pound is strong against the Euro…. and they did seem to have some remarkable deals on… and I did always fancy a model XJS….So I clicked the mouse a few times and OH LOOK I’VE BOUGHT IT. Oh well, no going back now.

A few days later it arrived via tracked DHL courier. And here it is.

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Diecast Delights: A Mk1 Ford Capri in 1:18th Scale

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A strange phenomenon that seems to permeate through my entire model collections is that I seem prone to collecting the wrong versions of things. Looking on eBay to see just how luxuriously wealthy I would become if I was to begin flogging my models off, I am frequently disappointed to find that X model would be worth hundreds of quid, if only it was a different colour.

And so it goes with this Ford Capri I picked up for £19.99 in Norwich about a decade ago. If I’d bought an RS2600 or RS3100, or a 3000GT I would have been able to upgrade to a Gulfstream VI by now, but alas I plumped for 1969 1700GT instead.

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Diecast Delights: A Range Rover P38A in 1:18 Scale

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The Range Rover has probably never had a higher profile than it  enjoys today. Far from being just a very accomplished SUV the current generation is seen as among the very upper echelon of super-prestige cars. Its the best of the best, the flashiest of the flash. For confirmation just turn to MTV Base and see how long it takes before you see one packed full of homies sipping on Henessey and rocking mad ice. Or something.

So far has it progressed that it can be easy to forget where the RR came from. The first of the breed, current from ’70 to ’94 was a true legend. The MKIII, heavy on BMW input, redefined the Range Rover and set it on the course it’s on now. And between 1994 and 2002 the P38 happened…. which is perhaps not quite so deserving of our adulation. However, for whatever reason it’s this generation which lives on in 1:18th scale in my collection. So here it is.

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Diecast Delights: A Renault Clio V6 in 1:18 scale

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So, I thought I was doing well managing my intake of 1:18s. I had gone five weeks without a purchase, not quite cold turkey, but pretty good. Then, suddenly, the eBay app on my phone jingled at me and boasted about how many diecast conquests I was potentially missing out on. So the addiction lives on.

With the Renault 5 Turbo safely stashed away in my collection and looking pretty marvellous, it seemed only right to find a reasonably priced copy of its descendent as a garage buddy. The model you see before you is branded under the Eagle Collectibles banner, which is part of the same group as Universal Hobbies, who, in turn, marketed a version of Revell’s Renault 5.

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Diecast Delights: A Euro Ford Ranger in 1:18 Scale

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Until the recent past pickup-trucks weren’t really a thing across Europe. I’m pretty sure, though, that within my lifetime auto historians will publish essays on the exact moment, and reason, that all that changed. It all comes down to clever marketing.

Previously, the pick-up truck was a hardy, utilitarian device (ab)used by builders and manual labourers to lug cement mixers and bricks from site to site. Latterly, and no doubt finally reflecting how things have always been West of the Atlantic, pickup trucks have been picking up sales as do-anything “lifestyle” type vehicles. It can’t hurt, either, that pickups have premium SUV levels of road presence while costing one helluva lot less.

Today’s diecast delight recalls Ford of Europe’s first proper stab at marketing a pickup, if you except the previous car-based P100 and Escort Bakkie’s. This was, of course, a Mazda with a blue oval glued on. The European Ford Ranger.

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Diecast Delights: a ’69 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ 428 in 1/18 scale.

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I still do it. Whenever we go past a toyshop I still go inside, forlornly hoping that what happened once some twelve years ago could happen again. Of course, it never does.

In 2003 I found myself idly wandering around Chelmsford. Bored absolutely rigid, I ventured into a branch of The Entertainer, a generic all-ages toyshop. Seldom do shops like that have anything for me, save for a reasonable selection of Lego. But on this day, and I’ve never seen anything like it happen since, the shop had a few remaining reduced-to-clear diecast models. Normal price £30, now £6!

And of course I wish I’d bought more than one.

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Diecast Delights: A Ford Mustang SVO in 1:18 Scale

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I couldn’t resist it. While patrolling this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, diligently photographing everything that I thought I might be able to write something about, I noticed a ziggurat of diecasts in the scant shelter of Bill Shepherd Mustang’s merchandise awning. Then the part of me that controls my spending muscles and is always in the lookout for low, low prices clocked a “reduced to clear” Tag.

So I now possess a 1:18th scale Fox-body Mustang SVO. And here it is.

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Diecast Delights: A ’65 Corvette Sting Ray in 1:18 scale.

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Too much, too young: The Clash were about right. With a mortgage ensuring that what Easily Comes also Easily Goes, and with ACTUAL cars,  ones that I can get in and drive around, vying for slices of my monthly income, I’d have to be absolutely stark, staring mad to spend out serious dough on model cars. Toys, as my wife would dismissively describe them. With any luck I’ve got plenty of life ahead of me and maybe one day I’ll justify £300 for an Exoto here and a GMP there.

Or maybe I won’t. One thing that this series of Diecast Delights has confirmed is just how much absolute gold there is at the very bottom of the Diecast Heirarchy. Let’s take a look at one such model that won’t break anybody’s bank. Even mine.

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Diecast Delights: A Willys Jeep in 1/18 scale.

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If I was opening a car museum, what would I put in it? That’s pretty much what I have in mind when deciding on collecting models. Every collector, consciously or not, has a theme in mind. Some are Muscle Car completists and will scour the world, pay huge amounts and sometimes perform DIY modifications to replicate that elusive Plum Crazy Charger. Others simply have to own every Porsche or Lamborghini.

Myself, I collect models both of things that I think are awesome, and cars that I think were important. It was this that caused me to buy this Willys Jeep from eBay, on near impulse.

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Diecast Delights: An Opel Manta in 1/18 Scale

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When I was knee high to a Cortina, our visiting healthcare professional was a lady, and she drove an Opel Manta. It was a GT, the base model in the UK in the mid ’80s, and I thought it was pretty much the coolest thing in the world. It had those anthracite steel wheels with the little triangular cut-outs, and little plastic hubcaps. Much more awesome than the badly rusty Vauxhall Victor my Dad had at the time.

When I saw this model for sale in a Chelmsford toy store about fifteen years ago, I obviously had to have it. Of course, as tends to happen it represents the range topping GT/E Coupe rather than the GT Hatchback, but aside from that finding it was Manta be.

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