Diecast Delights: The Audi R8 "Crocodile" in 1:18 Scale

IMAG4001 Having gone one and on about the various justifications a collector uses to add to his collection, there’s one big factor that I’ve left out, and this fifteen year old Maisto model is a very good example. I’m talking about when you just have to have something because of its paint job. I’m not really a collector of racing cars. I have a few, a 911 GT1 and a couple of Mercedes CLK derivations and I have them because they represent the ultimate development or extreme of the car their shape represents. This one, though, the Audi R8 LMP, had no relationship with any road car you could mention. It just looks awesome because it’s been painted up like a crocodile. No further justification to own needed. 10053 This model represents the Audi R8 in its competing, and winning, guise for the Race Of A Thousand Years, held on the Adelaide Street Circiut on new year’s eve in the year 2000. Despite having been crashed into a tyre wall on the morning of the race car #77 went on to win with a 21 lap lead over the 2nd place Lola. The R8 was actually fielded by Audi Sport North America and the reptilian livery was in honour of Australia, where presumably you can barely move for the knobbly green bastards. IMAG4052 It’s quite good, too. No, scratch that, it’s amazing. There’s no point whatsoever in me talking about inaccuracies or inconsistencies with the 1:1 here, because I haven’t the faintest idea. There are loads of photos of the real thing on The Internet, though, and they all look rather like the model you see here. IMAG4010 The proportions look to be right and the layout and details seem to be in the right places. The OZ Racing wheels are superb, as are their branded slick tyres, it sits well on the deck and the headlamps have realistic depth to them. But in this case it’s the paintwork which gets all the attention, and it’s absolutely incredible. If it’s truly accurate, and it looks rather like it might be, I can’t imagine just how much work was involved in translating the intricacies of the livery from 1:1 to 1:18. IMAG4034 Beyond the paintwork lies the same fundamentally awesome basis you’ll find under every other Maisto R8; with a thoroughly convincing looking twin-turbo V8 monster lurking dead centre to the chassis. When you look at the detail here, including simulated push-rod suspension linkages, you must remember that this is a budget model. Pay actual cash for a recent rendition of this car as seen by one of today’s blue chip manufacturers and you’ll see far more attention to wiring, fabrication and component detail than you see here. But then you have to ask yourself whether you need it. As somebody who just wanted a representation of the R8 Crocodile in their collection, this is as good as it need be. IMAG4027 And when the cockpit looks as good as this, and the Sabelt equipped bucket is so nicely modelled, the appeal is further strengthened. There’s even an amusing “oopsie” in manufacturing; one of the nice little details of the Maisto R8 in its Le Mans guise is the little Le Mans circuit map on the floor of the right hand side of the cockpit. And, of course, since the chassis and tub are the same on that model as this, here it is again. Except #77 didn’t go to Le Mans…. IMAG4024 So there you have it. A car which deserves a place in any 1:18 collection simply because of its complete uniqueness. eBay prices are unpredictable, I caught this one as a total fluke for a handful of quid, but I’d been looking for several months. They’re out there, though. (All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016! apart from second image eurocarsnews.com. )

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