Die-cast models have changed a lot in the recent past. I got my first 1/18 model at age six back in 1991 and if I look back over how these models have evolved (and I will in the near future, based on my experience) I can see some significant changes. Throughout my time collecting them there have been some big shifts, the early ‘bog toy’ stuff like Bburago, the arrival of relatively affordable high-end models like UT and subsequently Auto Art, resin making an appearance, the access to different models from across the world. Lots of things have changed.

Today I’d like to concentrate on two different models of the same car, the McLaren F1. One is a Maisto, which I bought back when the car was new, so probably around late 1994 or early 1995. That makes the model more than 20 years old and to be fair it shows. The car has moved house so many times I can’t count and that constant shifting has taken its toll, the front is badly scratched, the windshield is tragically opaque and the right wing mirror is nowhere to be found. The other is my Auto Art Premium which I purchased last year.

When you place them side by side you can really see how things have changed.

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This rear shot leads me to believe that the Maisto version was based on the pre-production XP3 (concealed lights, different vents), as opposed to the production models, even if the front is different.

Looking at the models it’s immediately clear that they’re from different eras. The casting quality on the Auto Art is much better (the Maisto shows a couple of imperfections through the paint) and much more detail has been worked into the casting itself (the license plate lights are an example). When you start to open the panels up things become even clearer.

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Bonus points for the Auto Art for replicating the hood opening hinges and mechanism, where the Maisto just uses your normal die-cast hinges. Here’s a real one for comparison.

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The interior is also no contest, this is the Maisto.

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Auto Art.

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To be fair to the Maisto, at the time it was a step up from a Bburago (telescoping suspension, more detailed interior, better finish), but at the end of the day it was still a (quite expensive at the time!) toy. The Auto Art is a real collector-quality scale model (which also happens to be quite expensive). But the comparison is interesting, if nothing else to show just how much these models have moved on in 20 years.

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Bonus CdM shots with luggage!

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