As you get older, collecting things is a great way of expressing yourself. With collections fitting into the life category of hobbies, just about anything can be considered a collection as long as you have more than a few of the same type of object.
As a car guy, I am an avid automotive follower, having collected just about every issue of Car and Driver magazine from 1992 to 1998. That is a lot of car magazines. I even started writing my own automotive news and review journal when I started college called MotoCrazy. Although I never actually published it publicly, it was a great for me to explore my automotive interest.
Fast forward to 2014 and my love for automobiles has not changed. I still follow automotive news, review new models with skepticism and joy, and even yearn to take a new model for a spin. While my current day job does not allow me to collect real cars, the world DieCast Models does.
It started with a search on eBay for a 2008 Mazda3 model by AutoArt. I wanted to have a model of the very car I drive today. However, I didn’t bid high enough and lost the first auction only to discover paying well over $100 for such a model would have been justified since I have not seen one come for auction since! Urgh!
As I dove deeper into the world of diecast models, I found a fascinating world of scales, brands, and qualities that were as diverse as the planet we lived on. My first purchase was a 1967 Pontiac GTO by Danbury Mint in gorgeous Purple Plum paint. The 1/24 model was intricately detailed and set me back well over $100, but it is worth every penny.
After getting my first purchase behind me, I grabbed a 1995 Ford Explorer by Maisto and quickly learned what sort of quality I expected in a model. While it was dirt cheap, the quality of this Explorer left me wanting more, almost feeling as though I had been cheated. The door gaps were large and obvious, the headlights looked fake and the interior was more form than detail. Clearly, future models were going to have to be a little higher quality.
Diving into DieCast Model Collecting is a lot like real world car shopping. First, you get what you pay for. Buy the cheap model and you will get a cheap car. Buy a high end model and jump for joy, put it on the shelf and relish in its detail. Second, shop around for the car that best fits your needs. Numerous manufacturers make a 1966 Pontiac GTO and offer various levels of detail. Even the higher end manufacturers offer different touches of details. Find the right mix that works for you. Finally, size does not matter in the respect that 1/18 models are HUGE and 1/64 models are tiny and lack details. Decide what you are comfortable with and how big of a shelf you have, then buy the scale that fits best.
I am quite happy with my collection so far. In fact, I have concentrated on buying mid-1960’s GTO’s from a variety of manufacturers, but mainly in 1/18 scale. My favorite is a 1/18 ERTL-American Muscle 1966 GTO in gold. I am also collecting each and every model of Saturn I can find. Currently I have a 2002 Vue and SC2.
My 1/43 collection is taking shape, mainly in the form of European cars from the mid-1990’s. From numerous Saab 900’s and 9-5’s to a Mercedes C180 and Mercedes C36, the 1/43 scale is nicely detailed and offers a nice compact size. They are also a bit less expensive than the larger 1/18 scale.
DieCast model collecting offers an environment parallel to real world car shopping. The best part is not having to have a 50 car garage to park them in. Decide what makes your enthusiasm kick and buy it. And if you come across an AutoArt 2008 Mazda3 5-door along the way, please let me know.