The Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Diecast Car Models

If you’re getting into diecast car models and you’re not really sure where to begin, then first of all, don’t pull your hair out over it.

It’s not like you’re trying to learn trigonometry here, you’re just collecting some toy cars, so here’s the main thing you want to know, make it your motto: Collect What You Like.

When you go into a hobby shop, most of them sell price guides so you can keep track of how much your collection’s worth. Look, forget that those price guides even exist. Trying to study them and find patterns and figure out what’s going to make you a millionaire when you retire is a fruitless pursuit.

You need to treat collecting diecast car models as what it is: A hobby, not a second job. Listen to your inner child, not your inner responsible adult.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s the second most important thing to keep in mind about collecting diecast cars: Take them out and play with them now and then.

Don’t be an old fuddy duddy, don’t be one of those guys who buys toys and then puts them behind glass to ensure that nobody ever has fun with them ever, take them out, race them across the coffee table the next time you watch racing on TV, and, again, obey the inner child.

Because let’s be honest, they’re toys. You’re collecting toys here. Collecting toys and never playing with them is like collecting real cars and never driving them.

What it comes down to is that you should really only be collecting diecast models if you’re passionate about motorsports or classic cars or what have you. You should only be collecting them if you have a real appreciation for automotive excellence and scale model perfection and attention to detail.

If you think you’re going to get rich turning your diecast collection into a retirement fund, go invest in something safe, instead. If you think you’re going to just display them on a shelf and impress people with rare toy cars, forget it, we’re not that impressed. But, if you’re going to put those toy cars to good use, start collecting today.

Collecting is a hobby, and a hobby is supposed to be fun. If you turn it into a chore you have nobody to blame but yourself. So do yourself a favor and start enjoying life for what it is, take your toy cars out and play with them. Planning for the future is great and all, but you don’t want to spend the whole of your adult years thinking “Boy I can’t wait til retirement when I’ll actually let myself have some fun now and then for a change!” Real collectors collect because they like to, not because they’re trying to get rich.

The Common Bond of Diecast Models Cars

Every generation has their own diecast  models   cars . Our parents played with Matchbox cars for the most part. By the time we were growing up, we had Hot Wheels. Some of us are old enough, our kids were playing with Micro Machines back in the eighties. You remember Micro Machines, right? You at least remember the commercials, with the motormouth announcer showing that you could fit a Micro Machine on a single dime. They had great marketing gimmicks at the very least.

For some reason, diecast  models   cars  are one of the few toys that every kid has in common, whether they were 1:32 or 1:64 scale, we all loved playing with them, and we all remember racing them around with other kids during recess. Other kids that we might never have talked to otherwise because we just didn’t have much else in common, but when they broke out the diecast cars, we just had to compare our collections.

For adults, we have brands like First Gear and Johnny Lightning. Truth is, we still like playing with toy cars, but if you go in and buy a bunch of Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars and say “Yeah I’m gonna take these home and play with them, I don’t even have kids!” you’re worried that everyone thinks you’re a nut.

So the appeal of Johnny Lightning and First Gear is that they’re “not toys”, they’re “collectibles”. They’re made to a higher degree of detail, quality and durability, and they really are meant to be collector’s items, but… Let’s admit it already; the reason we’re buying them is to put about half a dozen in a drawer and race them across our desks when nobody’s looking.

First Gear is sort of the diecast  car  answer to  model  railroad sets. They sell not only the cars themselves, but little items to set a scene, like lube drums and gas pumps and so on. Their products are all created to commemorate the Golden Age of the American highway, that period between the end of World War II and the gas crisis of the early seventies. Classic 1956 Ford pickups and even some retro hippie vans are on display in their collection to set the mood.

But for our money, it doesn’t get much cooler than the highly detailed muscle cars and hot rods from Johnny Lightning. First Gear is great for nostalgia, but Johnny Lightning makes the cars you really want to race across your desk.

Best Audi Car Models to Buy

A brand that seems incapable of making mistakes, Audi appears to be a smart kid on the block. If you are an Audi cars fanatic and cannot wait to drive away your favorite model home, get ready because 2011 is the year to excite your dream car. If buying a new car is your agenda this year, Audi can be the car to choose. The Australian automotive market is all set to hit the top gear with the great range of dynamic looking Audi cars for sale in the year 2011. Audi maintains its repute of manufacturing some of the world’s most luxurious cars, with brilliant finish in their design. Read on to know what Australian market has to offer their customers this year.

Audi A4

Popular as “a sedan that makes an eternal impression”, the four-door wonder Audi A4 flaunts spacious interiors that go together by its stylish exteriors. A car that promises to deliver commendable top speed, along with advanced driving comfort, Audi A4 is a perfect car for those who look for grandeur in their automotives. Beneath the cover of the petrol model of Audi A4 sedan lies a 3.2 FSI tip-tronic Quattro engine that pumps out a power of 265 PS @ 6500 rpm and a torque of 330 Nm @ 3000 rpm whereas the 2.0 TDI multi-tronic diesel engine of the sedan makes the maximum power of 140 PS @ 4000 rpm and a peak torque of 320 Nm @ 1750 rpm. A sedan that provides higher road handling and driving comfort, the Audi A4 is the combination of class and comfort.

Audi A1

The concept of a 5-door four seater has made the A1 an exciting car that exhibits all the characteristics of a genuine Audi. The three engines, an 85bhp 1.2 petrol turbo, 104bhp turbo-diesel and a 120bhp 1.4 petrol turbo makes the new Audi A1 a classy coupe that is mixed with hostile styling, advanced four-wheel drive traction and beauty.

Audi R8 Spyder

The 2011 Audi R8 Spyder has allowed Audi to raise its company profile. The V10 engine produces 386 kW (525 hp) and commences the open-top two-seater to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.1 seconds on its way to a full speed of 313 km/h (194.49 mph). Attributing technologies such as the Audi Space Frame full-LED headlights, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and a modern seatbelt microphone, the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro is the new high class Audi. A car that is designed to make a powerful statement, Audi R8 Spyder is for those who desire driving thrills!

Selling Your Model Car Collection

You have been collecting  model   cars  for years. When other boys were getting bikes and other toys for the holidays you were thrilled to open your packages and see the newest  model   cars  to hit the market. In a rush you take them to your room and added them to a spot of honor on your many shelves where the rest of your collection rests comfortably. Taking your  model   cars  out of their package would have been unthinkable. You were happy to keep them in their pristine condition until the time finally comes when you decide all is right and you can open each one in pride.

However, as time has gone on so have you. You have grown up and find yourself with much less time for collecting models than you once had. When given the choice of time with your collection or time with your family the family now wins out. You would like to pass your collection on to someone else who will be just as passionate about it as you are. At the same time you would like to get a fair value out of it since you know that some of the  model   cars  in your collection are worth quite a bit. How do you go about doing this?

The first thing you need to do is to determine the relative worth of your collection. By checking with collectors magazines and online you can easily get the values for most of the  model   cars  in your collection. Once you have this information you are ready to begin your search for the right buyer. If you are looking for someone quickly the best thing to do is to list them on a free Internet listing site so that you can move them easily. Another option is to sell them as a collection on an Internet auction site. There are many different ones out there so you just need to find the right one that suits your needs.

If you are looking to get the most value out of your collection and you don’t care about splitting up your collection then an auction is the best way to go. You can list each of your  model   cars  individually so that you get the best deal. This way can be much more time consuming however as you do have to handle each one as a separate auction. If you do not prefer to go this route then you might consider another couple options as well.

If there are local flea markets in your area they make a very good tool. Many different types of collectors browse flea markets looking for new objects for their collection. Odds are you can move several of your  model   cars  this way. If you cannot move them all at once you might speak to one of the dealers that are regulars about buying your collection at a slightly discounted rate. Usually you will find one that is happy to add to their sales items.

The other choice is normally a last choice. Many areas have a local auction house where you can take your  model   car  collection to be sold. This is a very low paying way to sell your collection. You will not get as much as you want but if you need to move it quick then list it this way with no minimum bid. With these options in mind you should now have some ideas as to how you would like to sell your  model   car  collection. Who knows, maybe with these gone you can begin to collect some new ones!

5 Reasons You Need Plastic Model Cars

Plastic model cars have been popular for a very long time. In recent years, they have been making a strong comeback, and kids of all ages are rediscovering how much fun it is to make and have plastic model cars. Why let someone else have the fun of putting your toys together? Here are five good reasons.

1) A chance to build something

Building something requires patience and skill. As you put together more models you will get better and better. The models are all sorted by difficulty levels. As a beginner model maker it is best to start with a simple model. A working engine or a car with 1000 parts is quite difficult and you should work up to it. There are simple models that you can snap together and put on the decals. No glue required. Once you get used to the process you can move on models that need glue to be put together. You can also add more parts, decals and paint. As an adventurer putting together something new you do not know where the path will take you.

2) A chance to be creative

Just because the picture on the box shows the paint job to be a certain way who says that your car has to look like that? Have you ever wanted to get a Porsche with flames on it? Or shark teeth? Now you can make your very own flaming shark Porsche. Every racing team has their own color scheme and decorations. You can start your own race team with a fleet of race cars, all with your custom paint scheme and decals.

3) A chance to have pride in your craftsmanship

As you build more models your skill level gets better and you can build more complex models. Completing a difficult model is a source of pride and makes you feel great. The time it takes it part of the joy.

4) A chance to race them

Depending on the types of models you have built you might be able to race them against your friends. In order to race them you are going to need gravity or a working motor that comes as part of the set. By racing them you can learn about power and what it takes to make a car go faster. Does it more or less weight? Does the rear spoiler speed you up or slow you down? Now is your chance to find out.

5) A chance to display them

You will be very proud of what you have created a no doubt want to show them off to the world. By putting your best work on display you invite others to see what you have created. No doubt they will be very impressed by what you have created and ask how you got to be so good at building models.

By building plastic model cars you have a chance to have a lot of fun and learn something at the same time. It seems that there are as many models to choose from as there are people building models. You are sure to find your new favorite car available as a model.

Whittling Wooden Model Cars by Hand

Wooden models have been around for a very long time. Wooden cars are no exception. Whenever a father sat down with a stick of wood and whittled out a car and added wheel for his children little did he know that he was taking part in an already old tradition. Whittling your own wooden car is not a difficult process to learn but it can take a lifetime to master.

If you would like to learn to whittle your own wooden  model   cars  you first need to decide what style you would like it to emulate. While you could possibly copy most any  model   car  out there it is best for beginners to start with something easy. Let yourself build your skill a bit before you actually try to do something best left to advanced whittlers.

The supplies you will need are rather simple. You will need a decent whittling knife. Any knife dealer worth their salt can point you in the right direction as far as which one would be right for you. You also need to pick up a whet rock. This rock is a block that is used for keeping your knife sharp. It should come with instructions on the correct way to use it. If you are unsure then ask someone. It is better to be safe than sorry.

The next thing you will need is some sanding paper. It is handy to get pieces of several different grit so that you can do either heavy duty material removal or light work just depending on which one you need at that moment. You might also want to get a sanding block to go with your sandpaper. It helps you to hold your sandpaper to the shape of the model so that you get the best sanding job possible.

If you decide that you want to screw down your parts then you will need some tiny screws, brass ones if possible. They will give your wooden model a very classic look. If you would rather glue it together then you should use a wood grade craft glue. Carpenter’s glue is perfect for this sort of project and can be bought in small enough quantities that it will not ruin between projects.

For drilling out small holes you might want to consider getting a small pick that can get into tight spaces easily. This will allow you to do some fine detail work such as in the grille or on the dash. It will also help you to scratch out details such as the shape of the door if you choose not to cut it out separate from the body.

If you are going to apply a finish to your model when it is done you will also need to get a small can of the finish in the color that you are looking for. Also have some old rags handy to apply it and a tack cloth to clean it with before you apply the finish. The tack cloth removes all dust and debris without leaving behind any lint.

Now all you have to do is to draw out your intended model on paper. Keep the details simple for your first few projects so that you can easily whittle out the shapes. Choose your wood carefully as well. Pick one that is easy to carve yet provides just enough resistance that it is not soft enough to dent when you press on it with a bit of force. You are now ready to try carving your own  model   car . If you want to learn some advanced carving techniques you can pick up a book at your local library or search the Internet for tips and tricks. Happy whittling!

The Best of Bentley Cars: Model Releases For 2012

Bentley Motors Limited has been in the automotive industry since 1919 and became well-known because of their rotary aero-engines. After the war, the British company continued on to produce award winning car models for a large user demographic, competing fiercely with BMW. It has collaborated with Rolls Royce and Volkswagen Group in the design and manufacturing of products. And from then until now, Bentley cars have never failed to deliver quality and functionality, both in the luxury and racing department.

This 2012, the company continues to outdo its previous efforts with a new line of Bentley cars to cater to every enthusiasts’ need. Here are some of the most noteworthy models you might want to add to your collection of fine vehicles.

First, there’s the Bentley Continental, which is one of the brand’s most saleable units for 2011. This 2012, their new releases include the GT, Flying Spur and Super Sports, which highlight a slightly revamped bodywork, improved comfort features, additional interior storage, more dynamic handling and updated electronic systems to not only secure additional driving power, but also control and enjoyment. These four -seater vehicles are set up with high quality interior leather, wood veneer trim and an eight speaker audio system as part of its impressive entertainment specifications. They also sport alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic xenon headlights, parking sensors, heated external mirrors, power lids, power tilt and telescoping steering wheels, and memory functions. These cars also have lumbar adjustments, on top of a dual-zone automatic climate control and optional cruise controls, rearview cameras and phone handsets. All of these features make driving more efficient for users. At $190,000 to $260,000 (the Supersports being the most expensive of the series), they are definitely more affordable than alternative brand models of their caliber.

Then there’s the Bentley Mulsanne, which some die-hard collectors would question to be anything as good as the standard Continental Bentley cars. It was first introduced back in 1998 with its ¾-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. And 14 years later, it has become one of the most successful Bentley releases in the U.S. luxury car market – particularly because of its association to ballers and hip hop royalty. This car’s crowning glory, aside from its engine (which produces 505 horsepower and 752 pounds-feet of torque), is it’s luxurious, handcrafted interiors with a variety of customization options. Not only will buyers be treated to premium grade leather and genuine wood veneers; they will also be able to take advantage of an 8-speed automatic transmission, column mounted gearshift paddles, computer controlled, adaptive air suspension, ensuring both comfort and performance in one product. They will also be able to make use of a multi-zone climate control system on top of heated memory power seats, power trunks and a multimedia system composed of a 60 GB hard disc drive, satellite navigation, 8-inch multimedia screen, iPod and MP3 player compatibility, 14 speaker system and Bluetooth connectivity. Like the Continental line up, customers could also have cruise control and rear-view cameras installed for security and navigation purposes. Now, this particular mode is more expensive than the Continental Bentley cars, with a price tag of $290,000. But if you are out to make a worthwhile luxury car investment, this is one of the best choices you can go with.

To ensure that you end up with the best deals, you should shop around for discounts, freebies, warranties and services. These are the only means you can maximize your expenditure.

Hybrid Car Models in the Market – A Review of Your Choices

There are presently many hybrid  car   models  in the market. The hybrid car technology has become very popular that almost all car makers would like to ride the trend. Other manufacturers that cannot produce their own technology are buying technology from big companies that are ahead in the development of hybrid cars. Some companies are having a tie up with other companies so that they will come up with good models that they could use together.

Honda’s First Hybrid  Car   Models 

Honda first released Insight in the year 1999. They were the first car maker to offer hybrid electric car in the USA. This model has gained a little popularity in the first five years that it was on the market. It was designed to be very fuel efficient so it was built with a lightweight aluminum chassis. It was a two-seater vehicle. Honda Insight Hybrid was an environment friendly model. Aside from being fuel efficient, it was made to produce very low emission. There was an earlier version of this model that was released in Japan and Los Angeles in 1997.

Toyota’s Offering

Later, Toyota introduced the Toyota Prius in the US. Presently, this  model  is the most popular hybrid  car  in the market. The Toyota Prius has a very efficient EPA rating and it has the lowest emission rating of up to 90 percent reduction compared to a regular vehicle. The good news is that the price of Toyota Prius can compete very well with the other cars of its type. It is actually the first hybrid car that was mass-produced.

Toyota Motors have high hopes with the future of hybrid vehicles. Not only was it evident in the research and development that they put into the famous Toyota Prius. They proved the sincerity of this belief by introducing other models of the SUV line. They introduced to the market the Highlander hybrid and Lexus SUV hybrid in the year 2005.

Honda vs. Toyota

Honda being threatened by the popularity of the Toyota hybrids introduced to the market their new  model  of a hybrid  car  that will compete with the very popular Toyota Prius. Honda launched a hybrid version of the Civic model. The hybrid model of Civic was known to be 30% more efficient than the non-hybrid Civic. Like the original model, the Civic hybrid is a four-door sedan that accommodates 5 passengers. The hybrid model looks very much like the non-hybrid counterpart but it was the hood that was modified. It was changed to become a lighter vehicle in order to be able to run efficiently on the electric power. Summing it all up, the Civic became popular but not as popular as the Toyota Prius which up to now is a favorite.

Ford’s Hybrid Lines

Being one of the biggest names in the car-making world, Ford Motors will not be left behind in the hybrid trend. Ford offered the Ford Escape hybrid to the market. It is another fully hybrid vehicle that was to make a name in the hybrid market. Another model that Ford Motors introduced was the Mercury Mariner Hybrid although it did not became as popular as the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Nissan’s Attempt to Join the Hybrid World

Nissan bought the hybrid technology of Toyota and they were able to produce the Nissan Altima Hybrid. This model gained a lot of good reviews. It is not very surprising when you take into account the popularity of Toyota Prius. But still, the Altima Hybrid is yet to make a name.

GM in the Hybrid Picture

Another model of hybrid vehicles is the Dodge Ram Hybrid. This model did not become very popular. Daimler-Chrysler, the mother company of Dodge tied up with General Motors to produce good models of hybrid vehicles. They joined their group and produced models, some of which are the Dodge Durango Hybrid, Chevy Silverado and GM Sierra Pickups.

There are indeed many varieties of hybrid  car   models  in the market. If hybrids are only a passing solution to the energy problem of the future, it is indeed a good solution. With the very low emission and high fuel efficiency that it provides, it can work well until another better solution comes along.

Diecast Model Cars and Trucks

There is a huge variety of RC cars, trucks, boats, helicopter and planes. But some people don’t really need the excitement of sending a 1:8 scale monster truck over a jump at 50mph. Some people just really like  cars , and  models  of them. For these people, there are diecast models. The  models  range from basic diecast toys meant for children to completely accurate replicas of some of today’s hottest  cars , made with extreme precision and attention to detail. For the serious collector there are some special models as well.

One fun model is the Shelby Mustang GT500 1967 No. 28. This is a 1:18 scale model from Jada that replicates the famous 1967 Shelby Mustang. As any Ford enthusiast knows, 1967 was a good year for Mustangs. The 1967 models still have the original body structure, but were the first model to get some stylistic changes and added safety features. It was also the last year before Ford switched to the 302 V8 engine, which was only built because emissions standards now existed. This particular  model  has a yellow paint job with black racing stripes, and the  car  was a worn out finish to replicate a car that has actually been in a race. It is also adorned with sponsorship stickers and a large No. 28. The model sports a high gloss finish and rubber tires.

From Minichamps comes an amazing 1:18 scale model of the white Maserati Tipo 61 that won the 1000km Nürburgring in 1961. This model is made with extremely fine detail and is a opportunity to own a piece of motorsport history. The car’s design was based on a mini-tubular frame concept that allowed for a chassis that was both light weight and stiff. The Tipo 61 was powered by a 2.9-liter 4-cylinder engine putting out 250 hp, and was only one of the many Tipo models produced my Maserati. It was one of only two models to with the 1000km Nürburgring, the other was the Tipo 60 from a year earlier. Minichamps have really outdone themselves on the diecast model and it is truly a thing of beauty. It even has fully functional steering.

No model collection would be complete without a ridiculous Ferrari, and the Eilte Ferrari FXX from Mattel fits the bill nicely. One look at this model and it’ll be hard not to physically need it. The FXX is a brilliant  car  to cast a  model  of in the first place. It is the balls-to-the-wall racing car version of the frankly insane Ferrari Enzo. People who buy the real thing are only allowed to drive it on special Ferrari-approved track days, and they pay $1.8 million dollars for the privilege. This car is so special that people who own one aren’t even allowed to drive it. Only 29 have ever been made, plus one special one that was presented to Michael Schumacher by Ferrari. The model itself is incredible, featuring fully functioning steering, details down to the correct brake rotors and pads, and a finely sculpted engine that can be seen through the FXX’s rear windshield.

Ferraris are nice, but those with real class know nothing can substitute for a Bentley. The 1:18 scale 2008 Bentley Continental GT model from Minichamps is the most impressive diecast. The Bentley’s recognizable interior is faithfully reproduced down to every minute detail, and the 13 spoke wheels are stunning. The Bentley Continental GT is Bentley’s 2-door coupe that premiered in 2003. It is essentially a Volkswagen Phaeton with the nicest interior humanly possible and a W12 engine. For those who aren’t aware of the W12, it is essentially two V6 engines bolted together. Why bolt two V6 engines together you ask? Well, when you can afford a Bentley, why not? Oh, and they put two turbochargers on it too. They managed to coax a mind-boggling 552bhp out of this particular engine.

The Best Car Models to Suit Your Needs

The  car   models  you choose to buy define who you are to some extent because they are chosen specifically to meet your individual needs. For some people fuel efficiency is the most important factor and for others power takes precedence. Some people would be interested in both. High safety features are also essential but mostly for the family car. Looking for the right car can be very daunting, as there are endless options out there. To find a new  car  to suit your needs it’s important to know what  models  are best for certain purposes. We give you a run-down of some of the best.

Day to day cars – take you to work and back home (five days out of seven)

What most people want for an everyday  car   model  is something that is light on petrol, dependable and has a radio. Fiat has two exemplary examples in this class. The Palio is an attractive car in the same style as the French classics like Renault. It is projected that the fifth series will be launched in 2010 under a different name. The Palio has an average safety rating and enough space for day to day activities. The Fiat Panda is a similar car in a slightly boxier style.

Other  car   models  you can consider in this range are the VW City Golf and Polo, Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2. The Polo is a solid and attractive  car  that comes at a nice price, and the City Golf is the cheapest in this range.

Weekend  cars  – the latest sports  models  are best left for weekend cruises because they are heavy on fuel and you’ll want to keep them looking great.

If you like your toys fast and attractive and you can afford a second car; you could opt for the weekend sports car. The BMW M6 is both a top of the range sports car and an opulent coupe. The Formula-one level speed and acceleration will set your pulse racing. If you’re looking for a classy and sporty coupe/convertible, look no further than the Mercedes CLK and the Maserati, which is the model for serious weekenders who like to play hard.  

Off road cars – for those who love to kick up dust and go camping

The Toyoto Fortuner is an elegant Sport Recreation Vehicle for both townies and country folk. Standard features include leather seats, power windows and a CD player. The Toureg is the off-road vehicle for Volks Wagen lovers. It is less obviously a four-wheel drive than the Fortuner is. The new Toureg boasts some revised technology that shortens braking distance on loose surfaces. Other excellent options for classy adventures are the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne.

All rounder – a car for all occasions, for the one-car household

The VW Tiguan is a sports utility vehicle meets family car and is perfect for a family with a more adventurous spirit. The Tiguan is certainly the best of both with advanced German engineering incorporating both on-road and off-road features. All engine options for this model come in four-wheel drive and the average ground clearance is a good 200 mm. The BMW X3 is another great all rounder, being perfect for off-road adventures or family holidays. This  car   model’s  versatility makes it a good long term investment.