Diecast Delights: A 1948 Cheverolet Fleetmaster in 1:18 scale

From last week’s Ferrari Mondial, we’re taking a rather different direction for today’s Diecast Delight. I was going to say something about the irrelevance of money-no-object supercars, but then I found just how much Fleetmaster Woodie station wagons are worth these days.
I was intrigued when I found that Maisto had made a 1:18 of the Fleetmaster, clearly with the American market in mind. My intrigue led to me tossing a casual bid on on on eBay, only to end up ‘winning’ it. Well, stealing it, really. Anyway, it duly showed up on my doorstep, so lets take a look.

First thing I noticed was its sheer size- it ranks alongside my H1 Hummer for scale – I’ve not bothered measuring it but I’ll assume the scale is correct.
Judging by images of the 1:1 the proportions are about right, too.
The castings are of the usual giant-slaying Maisto quality, with no untoward ripples or inconsistencies, though the metal does look a little on the thick side in a few places where the edges could be more crisp. The fine detail is frustrating – the Chevy bow-tie on the prow is applied unevenly, although the Chevrolet script  is accurately placed on the chrome front bumper. The hubcaps look great, too.
The paintwork passes muster for the most part; it’s an extremely deep maroon colour that looks black in all but direct sunlight. The only flaws are where the fenders join the hood and paint doesn’t seem to have been too keen to gather in the knuckle, so the bare metal shows through. There are unpainted areas under the hood, too.
The wooden frame is a little crude, being a single colour with a woodgrain texture moulded in. The photo-simulated wooden body panels, though, are rather more convincing – the definition of the print is good enough that the pixels and dots only show when you put your eyes in serious macro mode.
The headlights are let down a little by their visible mounting studs, but we can just pretend that we’re looking at the bulbs. Also, budget models struggle for realism in the chrome department, and the Maisto does look a bit on the cheesy and super-bright side, though the mouldings are actually very precise.
There’s a technique out there called ‘blackwashing’ which can be used to rid chrome of some of its excess, e.g. shiny bits that shouldn’t be shiny. I get the idea that this model would respond rather well to such efforts. I’ll have to get brave and give it a go.
The wood effect on the dashboard is probably the most convincing of all. It’s a sort of tortoiseshell, injection-moulded arrangement, and probably doesn’t bear scrutiny if you get any closer to it than this. So we won’t. The chrome on the dash looks nice, though, and I can something of a feeling for what travelling in these things must be like.
The rear doors and tailgate are sealed shut, but peering through the glass reveals that the detail – while moderate, at least continues throughout the cabin, including separately detailed window cranks and door release levers.
There’s an engine, too. It’s the 216ci inline six-cylinder unit that wheezed out a few dozen horsepower, but was probably damn-near indestructable and would run on low quality gasoline, Kool-Aid or piss.
Detail isn’t staggering, but there is some wiring as well as a warning label on the air-cleaner housing. A few images on Google seem to show the battery location is wrong, but whatevs.
Overall, it’s a nice model, warts ‘n all and a real surprise for the meagre handful of coins that examples sell for.
Why, though, does Maisto insist on adding stupid license plates like these? They’re a real own-goal against realism.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)

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  1. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    That really is the way to photograph them.
    It really adds quite a sense of realism.