Thanks to the bad influences of fellow LaLD alumni BlueMazda2, I’ve been bitten hard by the 1/43 scale bug. Something about the compact size and reasonably cheap prices of these models has made them extremely enticing to me, plus the fact that there are just some models that are available in 1/43 that you can’t get anywhere else. So, I’ve started a minor collection of them, and I’m ready to show you them all in a collection of a few different posts, starting with the coupes in my collection.
This usual suspects style lineup features four cars from Germany, UK, and Japan respectively, and are made by four different brands (well, three, but one is under a sub-line by one of the brands already featured. All four combine different levels of quality, detail, and speciality, so I figured this would be a perfect corral to compare. So, let’s get down to brass tacks.
Porsche 997 Carrera GTS by Minichamps
Our first model is, coincidentally, the car that sparked my new interest in 1/43 scale models, and was given to me by BlueMazda2 himself. This is a Porsche 997 Carrera GTS finished in Signal Orange by Minichamps’ main line. It’s a modest little model that also acts as one of two Porsches currently in my overall collection, and the only 997 model 911 I have.
This is a pretty decent little model of the 997. It’s well-detailed enough and has a decent amount of build quality. To the naked eye, every detail is well proportioned, but upon closer inspection some flaws do start to show themselves. But, it still is nifty enough as is, and a welcome part of the collection.
If anything, I say this would represent a good, middle-of-the-road starter 1:43 that displays good detail for the price, and represents an otherwise brilliant car. It does its job just well-enough, and I love it for what it is.
Aston Martin V12 Vanquish from Die Another Day by Minichamps Paul’s Model Art
If the 997 is Minichamps’ standard fare, then this is Minichamps at their best. This V12 Vanquish comes to us from their Paul’s Model Art line, a line that has a history in Minichamps dating back to the 1990s after a takeover of Danhausen, and operates almost exclusively in 1:43 production.
This takes every aspect of detail and build quality from the 997 and turns it up to 11. The model feels heavy and well-weighted, almost like a piece of real metal sculpture in your hands. There are little to no quality mishaps in paint that I can find, and I can even look over the inaccuracy of the fact that this model features the tan interior color, while the film-version of this car features a black interior.
This is one of three Bond film cars I have in my 1:43 collection, and it honestly rises up to the top of the heap with no match. It’s an exquisite model of an exquisite car.
Toyota Soarer 2.5GT-T by Norev
While I’m a humongous supporter of Norev’s 1:18 lineup, I have to voice a distinct disappointment of this 1:43 model. This is one of those cases where the car in question is distinctly hard to find decent models of, and unless you want to spend a high dollar amount from a Japanese-only selection or dive into the world of modelkit building, this might be your only bet of finding a model of a first-generation Lexus SC, which is one of my favorite cars ever built. It’s just a shame it’s so lackluster.
While the overall shape of the body’s proportions is right and it does have some great detailing in the lights and badging, the rest of the car just seems off. The windows seem too small, the wheels are strange, and the panel gaps are nearly outrageous. It’s sad to see an amazing car such as this so poorly represented in the model car community, and Norev has thoroughly disappointed me.
Of course, I’m not one to sell a model or otherwise because of poor quality, but I had extremely high hopes for this model, only for it to come up short. It’s no doubt that this is the bottom of this competition in multiple ways. If you love these cars as much as I do, maybe then would I only suggest owning this model, but otherwise, I’d skip it.
Mercedes-Benz 500SEC by AutoArt
Thankfully, however, we’ve saved the undoubted best for last. I waited weeks in agony for this beautiful C126 model to arrive from Hong Kong, and when it did get here, I fell in love immediately. This is 1:43 model making in its entirety at its best.
Everything about this model is gorgeous and well-done, from the detailing, to the overall quality, to even the way the paint catches the light. It may not feel as hefty as the Vanquish, but it still feels solid and at least well-put together.
This could easily stand well in a collection just as easy as it could sit on the Mercedes CEO’s desk as a sign of achievement.
So, this brings us to the end of this mini-comparison, with the Mercedes being crowned the easy winner, followed closely by the Vanquish, and the Porsche and Toyota rounding out the bottom. I’ve been having fun with these unique little 1:43 models, and I hope you all enjoy this idea I’ve had with showing them off. Also, I promise next time I’ll bring some higher quality photos, I just haven’t had a lot of time to break out my DSLR. Nevertheless, I hope you all enjoyed this look at four completely different takes on 1:43 coupes!