By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Your Editor visited the 2019 London Toyfair yesterday. Model vehicles are only a small part of the displays which offer a huge range of toys and attract buyers from small shops to supermarket chains. It was good to see though that many general toy wholesalers carry lines of model cars designed to appeal to children with some stands having boxes of Kinsmart and other toy cars and vans sold out of trade packs.
Although overshadowed by the Nuremberg show it is a chance for me to see what Hornby, Oxford Diecast and some of the major model vehicle importers have on show. It is also a chance for me to catch up with the editors of Model Collector and Diecast Collector and to discuss trends. Sadly I can’t join them at Nuremberg as MAR Online’s limited income cannot fund such an expensive trip!
I will cover the London Show over the next few days with photographs taken on the stands. And to start us off I will look at Diecast Masters range of models which specialises in Caterpillar models to 1:87 and 1:50 scales. One of whose models featured in a recent article by John F. Quilter.
This is the first time that I have seen their models close up and am very impressed by the quality of manufacture and the amount of working parts. I was particularly impressed with the fully articulated metal tracks. The models I saw are all supplied with a driver figure which somehow makes them come alive, even if they could do with varying the painting of the figure from time to time.
The packaging was also interesting. The Highline series of models are supplied in a tin with a foam inner so they are secure during travel and can be stored quite easily. The tins all have a picture of the working vehicle and full Caterpillar branding. The Core Classics range which focuses on best selling Caterpillar models of the past is supplied in cardboard boxes.
The photographs below are just a selection of the models that are being imported into the UK in this range. In some cases the models are supplied with exchangeable parts where it suits the vehicles.
The level of detail can be seen on the 18M3 Motor Grader shown above where all the hydraulic lines and steel framework is clearly modelled as well as very realistic wheels and tyres. Working rams are fitted and the sections of the model articulate like the real vehicle. Although there is a high levelof working detail this is modelled without being overscale or obvious.
The importer explained that the Chinese factory producing these models also produces some very detailed and high quality slot cars and is a very modern and sophisticated manufacturing environment with a high degree of automation. The painting for example is all automated and is all done in an electrostatic environment which makes sure that the paint adheres to the metal correctly. Readers will know that yellow is a very difficult pain to get right on models and is often sprayed too thickly to stop paint thinning over shut lines and raised features. Here the authentic Caterpillar colour covers well without being too thick.
The models vary in price but here in the UK many of the 1:87 scale models sell for around the same price as a Corgi Vanguards model and the larger and very detailed models are cheaper than an Otto 1:18 scale car model. Given the level of detail and the working features this range seems to offer good value to collectors of construction vehicles.
Over the next few days I will be posting articles covering models from other stands at the Fair. From Hornby Hobbies we have photographs of some pre-production samples of some of the new Vanguards. From Oxford Diecast we also get to see some pre-production items. And from UK importers we get to look at Norev, MInichamps and others whose models were on display.