All of these high-end 1:18 cars sure are nice, aren’t they? I love to see them. The craftsmanship and effort that goes into them is incredible. They truly deserve the attention they get.
Alas, Auto Art, CMC, and the like do not hold a monopoly on the large scale market. Other companies have realized that not everyone wants to spend 3 figures on a fancy paperweight. On this revelation, I present to you the Yat Ming 1948 Tucker
Yat Ming has an interesting history as a producer of die-cast. They have been around for a few decades and have produced both high and low end models in their time. These cars have been marketed under all manner of brand names and many are not labeled as Yat Mings on the base, so identifying them can be a challenge. This one, while not horrible, falls squarely in the lower end of the quality spectrum, especially compared to some of the nicer makers of 1:18 scale vehicles.
One quick note- I got this one second hand and it was not in dead mint shape when I got it. You’ll probably see some scuffs in these pictures that I suspect are due to wear and tear rather than poor quality control.
Design & Accuracy: 6/10
I must admit that I am no expert on Tuckers, but I am familiar with the car and have seen a couple in my time. The proportions on this car feel just right and everything that Yat Ming could replicate given the price is done earnestly at the least. 6 may seem high, but I think overall there are no glaring flaws and from a distance this one looks pretty good. The front grilles are blacked out which seems to be incorrect, but this is at worst a minor error and at best the way one one of the few 1:1s was done and I just can’t find a picture of it.
Fit & Finish: 3/10
This is where the car really suffers. Gaps around the opening panels are pretty bad and a large percentage of the plastic bits tacked on to the metal are crooked, don’t sit quite right, or have some other problem. I’ve seen worse, but not by much. Also, the steering feels dreadful. But at least it’s there I suppose.
Nothing terribly noteworthy here. The standard features are present. Both the frunk and rear engine cover open and of course the glorious suicide doors are functional. The opening motions are actually exceptional (especially considering the price) and the hinges solidly stay put at the right spot. If I threw this thing across the room with everything opened, I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the parts closed. Ok, I may be exaggerating there, but you get the point. That combined with the (non-removable) luggage in the frunk bumps this score up a point.
I suppose you may now be wondering how on earth a $30 (plus shipping- that seems to be the typical going rate on eBay) model could score so low in this section. There is just no way around it- despite the good things I’ve said about this car, the detail and fit and finish are far, far inferior to even a Maisto or Welly 1/18, much less an Auto Art. You may spend 50-100% more on a Maisto, but you are getting twice the die-cast. You can extrapolate and come to your own conclusions about the nicer brands. The only reason to own this one, cost considered, is that to my knowledge there is not another 48 in 1/18.
Right now, there are plenty of these things on eBay. I know many of the cars in that link are 1/43, but many are also 1/18, and you can find more listed under the Road Signature brand. I bumped this score up because, like anything 1/18 these days, they are nigh impossible to find in physical stores. But this is 2014 and that doesn’t count for much anymore.
A harsh final score, but I feel it’s been wholly earned. There is a difference between cheap and inexpensive, and this model just strays too far into cheap territory. If you are a Tucker fan and collect 1:18s, this could fill a big hole in your collection. Other than that, I suggest you spend your money elsewhere.