Given the return of pallets of $13.99 Maisto die casts to Sam's Club and Costco stores near you, this series should give you some insight as to which ones to go buy and which to avoid as you make your way to your local discount club. Today's subject is the 2006 Mercedes SLR McLaren.
My first reaction: Wow, this is a Maisto? Let's discuss.
Design and Accuracy: 9/10
Maisto really knocked it out of the park on this one. No corners were cut in the scaling or detailing on this model. Scaling is spot on and the proportions look accurate. Everything from the little details (headlight projectors, cross-hatching of tail lamps inside clear lenses, bumper-mounted turn signal posts painted orange to look like bulbs) to the bigger ones (those wheels – complete with valve stems - wow!) are executed with Benz-like precision. The fender vents and body lines are sharp and well placed. Stickers are applied evenly and there is no peel or lift (as was the case with last week's Mais-urago 300SL). The Mercedes three pointed star on the front of the car is a little loose though.
The good work continues into the engine bay. While it is molded from a single piece of plastic (Boo! Hiss!), paint and detailing is employed liberally to spruce things up. The hand built engine plaque, a timing belt diagram, and other label reproductions are very well done. Wires and other details are accurately placed.
Moving inside the car, it's again impossible not to notice the incredible amount of detail. The red interior is accurate and well done. Buttons are faithfully recreated (check out that headlight switch) and there is a high level of detail in the SLR-embossed center stack. Seats are accurate shaped if a bit plasticky looking in their appearance. And take a look at the seatbelts – they are separately molded and even the buckles on the side of the seat have the release buttons painted red. Nice touch! Only complaint in here (not pictured) is that the roof seems to be incomplete, but that's nitpicking.
Fit and Finish: 7/10
It's hard to tell this is a $14 model. As an initial matter this thing is very heavy – suggesting a mostly metal construction. The dark grey paint is deep and shiny, and there was no "rash" or otherwise major problems in the main areas of visibility. I'm deducting a couple points for some small paint problems (see front bumper peel/flaking and around the fender/hood vents) and another for the relatively big panel gaps, but overall this is a well-constructed model.
Lots of features on this one. This model features a crude but working suspension, steerable front wheels, opening gullwing doors, and opening hood and trunk. The hood, despite its hefty size, does stay open on its own, as do the doors. Too bad the brake rotors do not rotate with the wheels (they are fixed in place with the calipers), but the entire brake setup does look realistic. The chassis is a bit "blah" but looking around the internet at pictures of the actual underside of the 1:1 model it's not far off. Again, I don't normally study the undersides of my diecasts so I could care less about that.
Overall, given its $13.99 price point, this one earns an automatic 5 points from me. (Frankly, so will all of the Maistos I will review, because good luck finding any other decent NEW 1/18s for under $20). Five more points because unless you're up close, it's almost impossible to tell this thing from the CMC version which costs 20 times as much. I actually sold my CMC version upon getting this one, because there really is no reason for it unless you absolutely crave the intricate detailing. This one gets you 90% or more of the way there for a fraction of the price.
I've been to about 8 Costco/Sam's Club stores since the pallets starting showing up and haven't seen more than a few of these other than the one I bought, but it's a Maisto so it's not a rare model by any stretch. 1 point because it is certainly a "mass market" diecast and 1 more point since I can't find any others, though I expect there are many of them on eBay and elsewhere.
Taking away my "low" rarity score, this model earns a healthy 36/40. And you're not buying this one because it's rare.
So get out there and find this model!