I live my life through the mantra that everyone deserves a second chance. I’ve given everyone from old friends to former favorite restaurants another opportunity to right the wrongs they once did to me, and most times the item or person in question seemingly learns from their mistakes. But can the same be applied to a diecast company? Well, Maisto sure seems keen to prove so with their Exclusive Collection which was revealed to the world a few years back.
I’ve often waxed poetic about the importance of having budget brands such as Maisto and Bburago around. While a lot of people seem to turn up their nose in absurd snobbiness to the idea, they seem to forget a lot of people (even including themselves) found their entrance into the hobby through these smaller brands, and owe a lot to them in return. They simply wouldn’t be here without them.
But, there comes a time where a lot of enthusiasts in this hobby break away from that budget mindset and start to set their sights on higher brands like AutoArt or Kyosho. They find themselves with more money to play with, are given one as a gift, or start to discover a lot of sweet deals on eBay, opening up a bracket of quality and detail not found on the $15 Costco models of yore. Maisto has begun to understand that, and in a calculated shot at grasping that demographic back, and possibly other collectors who never gave them a chance, with the Exclusive Collection, boasting higher-end quality for Maisto-style prices. But, how does it fare out for them in the end?
A few months ago during one of my many late night eBay binges for new models, I discovered that I was severely lacking on newer Mercedes models post-2005. I wasn’t really looking to spend much over $60 for one, but I thought why not add something from Mercedes that was currently on sale at the time? The AMG GT came up, and I scrolled through a few regular Maisto models that didn’t really catch my eye, and some Norev and AutoArts that I really wasn’t keen on spending the money on. Then this model came up.
I had heard of Maisto Exclusive before and really gave them no more than a minor glance at the time. But the price of this one really caught my eye, and before I knew it, it was shipped out and on the way here. When it arrived, I was surprised to see that the box it arrived in was extremely bourgeois, more so than anything I’d ever seen from Maisto before.
After taking the model out of its styrofoam cradle, I gave it close inspection and at first glance, was very impressed. It’s a model with some nice weight, not as hefty as a classic diecast AutoArt or Norev but definitely more solid than your traditional Maisto fare. Shutlines and other small detailing on the exterior was also well represented, and once again, fit a nice middle ground between the two extremes. You should memorize that statement, because it’s a good representation of this car.
Upon inspection of the interior, the overall detailing is very nicely done, with button graphics and labels given clear identification and representation. There’s no instance of classic Maisto shenanigans such as poorly modeled plastic or other flimsy parts. I was hopeful that carpeting would be present, but that’s unfortunately not the case, with typical Maisto textured plastic being used for the floor instead.
Your next logical place to look is under the hood to see how the brilliant 6.2 litre AMG V8 is represented. Well, unfortunately, my eyes were first taken aback by the use of the awful Maisto dog leg hinges to support the hood. Of course, I don’t expect Maisto to go all out and put R&D into a more classy hood strut design like AutoArt uses, but there has to be a better way than this. At least they’re painted black to better hide them, but it’s still a turn off. Nevertheless, the engine is nicely detailed, even including the “One Man, one Engine” badge, a nice touch.
Around back, you have a beautiful set of LED tail lights which, rejoice, aren’t defiled by the awful mounting peg problem that plagues most Maisto lights. The same can thankfully be said about the headlights as well, as both are molded and detailed in gorgeous succession, and might be my favorite parts of the exterior of this model. The trunk opens, as well, revealing a gorgeously detailed hatch area. The functioning spoiler on the rear hatch is an excellent extra, and is a holdover from the standard Maisto model as well.
All in all, it’s a very spartan looking model, and definitely showcases the best of what Maisto can do.
Maisto will probably never rise to the likes of AutoArt, Kyosho, or hardly even Norev when it comes to quality, detail, and just overall presence in the model car market. But the Exclusive Line is certainly a decent attempt at doing so, and I applaud them, even if they managed to only obtain a middle ground between budget and premium styles. This AMG GT is a beautiful model and is a great addition to my Mercedes collection, but if you’re not interested in this particular car, there are a few others to choose from, including the new Ford GT, and the Audi R8 V10 Plus.
They say you should never compromise on the things you love, but sometimes, compromising turns out right, you just have to take the chance.