AUTOart New Composite Model • DiecastSociety.com

AUTOart New Composite Model

Words and photos courtesy of AUTOart

 

AUTOart is excited to announce the introduction of a new concept for the production of fine-scale model cars. Our latest innovation is composite models, or exquisitely crafted replicas made from a hybrid of different materials that have been selected and engineered to produce both the supreme finish detail and high value our collectors demand. Model making will never be the same.

In our composite models, we pair a die-cast interior with a newly developed injection Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic polymer with special blend of different materials for reinforcement of the body, utilizing the benefits of both materials to create the highest quality models our company has ever produced.

Injection ABS composite material has shown itself to be an ideal material to form the body of a model car. Compared to our old body material, die-cast zinc, injected-ABS composite material surfaces, with correct formulation, are smoother and the bodylines and creases are sharper. The openings for vents and holes are also reproduced more cleanly, and the panels can be much thinner when rendered in ABS composite material than in zinc alloy. That makes the finished body closer to the true scale gauge of real car bodies, which today are made of a mix of thin sheet metal and different kinds of plastic moldings.

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AUTOart’s move to a composite model comes as injection- ABS composite parts become more widely used in the production of modern full-scale automobiles. Fenders, tailgates, bumpers, and body panels are now routinely made of ABS with different composition, and are just as durable if not more so than their metal counterparts in terms of esthetic and structural rigidity. Plus, ABS components will never corrode. Even the chrome-plated trim pieces we see on modern car interiors, including door handles that are pulled constantly, are made of ABS in way as to simulate metal parts. Composite bodies and structures are also becoming the norm in modern supercar manufacturing, and there, the structural rigidity is even better than that of sheet metal.

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At the same time, we know that a model’s heft is important to collectors, and the average weight of our composite models with their die-cast interiors is not much less to the weight of a zinc alloy die-cast body model car. In other words, the composite model feels as good to the hands as our metal ones.

Though some model makers have turned to resin to replace die-cast metal for the body, we feel that ABS, with correct blending of reinforcement materials, has too many benefits over resin, especially in the reproduction of fine details. Resin and ABS are both a by-product of crude oil, but resin models can be fragile, breaking or deforming easily when they are not handled with care. That’s because resin doesn’t flex like ABS, nor is it as rigid as a die-cast body. Because of these weaknesses, resin models are mostly made as sealed bodies with no openings. Some recent resin models with opening doors and bonnets demanded a very high price, because the producer had to make some parts of the body, including the doors and bonnets, in ABS rather than resin. That’s because resin is brittle and breaks easily, and it is not possible to install the small hinges that movable panels require without risking a failure of the resin after just a few openings and closings.

We also discovered in substituting ABS composite for die-cast zinc that the common quality issue of air bubbles, or so called “rashes” or “zinc-pest”, on the paint surface of a die-cast metal body caused by trapped air during the casting process, is rarely a problem. ABS doesn’t trap hot gasses as easily as zinc during the injection process, and that cuts the defect and scrap rate of painted bodies.

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Our composite models differ from the usual low-cost plastic and resin model cars seen on the market, which have sealed bodies and no openings or excessive detail. AUTOart’s composite models are not sealed, but have full array of working closure panels, including doors on all models and engine bonnets on many subjects.

Replicating opening doors and bonnets on a composite model has been a challenge for AUTOart’s engineers, because a body made of ABS, despite blended with reinforced material, is generally not rigid enough. It tends to flex and deform under twisting or compression. If such a model is made featuring opening doors, the doors will pop loose under flexing and they will not close properly once the body is slightly deformed. This is the reason why low-cost plastic model cars are traditionally made without opening doors and bonnets.

In order to make the whole composite body rigid enough, we pair it with a die cast interior that is designed to support the body in all the areas that need to be strengthened. With a metal interior, the whole composite body becomes rigid, which is no different than the concept behind a die-cast metal body and even many real cars. The reinforced composite body will not flex easily and will never deform, and doors and bonnets will always open and close in the same position. Also, as a bonus, the finished model’s door gaps are finer when rendered in composite material than in die-cast zinc.

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The concept of an internal structure is very much inspired by modern supercars, in which a very rigid carbon fiber tub supports all the external lightweight bodywork. Other than the rigidity issue with ABS composite, which AUTOart has overcome with its mix of materials, a composite body is better in almost every aspect when making a model car body.

When the composite model is finished and compared to older die-cast zinc replicas, most collectors cannot tell that the body is made of composite material unless they look closely at the bodylines and creases, which are even sharper and just as focused as those on resin models that sell for much higher prices.

AUTOart’s unique design for its next generation of model cars, which combines the benefits of composite bodies with die-cast zinc interiors, is patent pending.

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13 Responses to "AUTOart New Composite Model"

  1. John says:

    They say “high value”. It will be interesting to see if prices go up, down, or stay in the same ballpark.

  2. Karsten says:

    There it is, the end of diecast models is nigh. THE leading model makers go plastic. The new manufacturing method will doubtlessly cut costs for AUTOart and maybe make finer details possible, but it remains to be seen whether models will really be as durable as diecast. I anticipate quite some teething troubles with the first of these new models. What makes me particularly suspicious is how copiusly they seek to justify their move. In a couple of years, “Diecast Society” will either appear to be a terribly old-fashioned, hopelessly outdated name, or will get a venerable old-school solid-quality vintage-touch. A short glance at our “Model of the Year” poll and, with AUTOart and CMC in the lead by a good length and the Hot Wheels Elite LaFerrari faring so much better than its MR Collection counterpart, I am wondering whether collectors really regard plastic as superior to diecast. When I look at some of my decade-old models, plastic and rubber materials seem more susceptible to deterioration than the diecast (unless plagued by zinc-pest, of course, which is the case with 3 out of 156 in my collection).

    • DS Team says:

      Hey Karsten, some valid points here, many I agree with. Though I can’t help feel you’re slightly cynical on some. Let’s not pre-judge, change is inevitable… Let’s hope the move brings back some of collector’s from old that could not afford the escalating prices. I also don’t believe diecast is dead. Fingers crossed!

      • Karsten says:

        Admittedly, when writing this comment I understood that AUTOart were going to make only plastic models in the future. I don´t mind any manufacturer offering plastic in addition to diecast, especially when this gives us niche models, like the ones by BoS. I just would not want plastic to fully replace diecast. Sorry that this sounded cynical. But we know that there is at least one (once premium) diecast manufacturer who had to resort to resin as a stop gap and whose few diecast models delivered years after announced (if not cancelled) failed to be the quality of their former models. And when AUTOart justify full plastic models by saying that plastic parts “become more widely used in the production of modern full-scale automobiles” it sounds a bit like an excuse. I mean, front and rear skirts have been made of plastic on models as on real cars for a long time now. And they make an effort to underline that their plastic is a lot better than that of competitors. So they are aware of the problems involved with plastic model making. Some problems only show years and years later: e.g. no diecast model started suffering from zinc-pest within only days after purchase. So, by all means, I will read reviews on AUTOart´s new range with great interest and observe how they fare in terms of longevity. And if, like carbon fibre on real cars (which is more expensive than metal), plastic composite proves to be a better quality model than diecast, I will happily buy.

  3. Jase Goldsberry says:

    Well, I am interested to see what these new composites look like and how they compare to traditional metal bodied cars. I think its an interesting move, provided they do not completely eliminate the higher cost traditional diecast bodies done in metal. As a means of creating a “midrange” level cost point of roughly $100, I think Autoart is smart to do this because they will be able to better compete with lower end companies like Norev, Paragon, upper end Welly FX/GTAutos, and the like. I recently purchased what I consider the first high end model, Autoart Aventador Roadster; for me personally, spending roughly $200 on a diecast is a major expense for me. While I love the car, if all diecast cost this much, i doubt I would have ever gotten into this hobby or my participation would be minimal.

    I am personally excited for this development by Autoart; I just hope that this does not make the old school style metal bodies a thing of the past. In my eyes, this is could be a great addition to the hobby.

  4. Ken Reed says:

    Can’t wait to see what these new models will look like. I hope they have the excellent detailing as Autoart does now.
    I wonder though if Autoart will use this new model making for high end signature models like the Pagani Hyura. Time will tell.

  5. George K says:

    But, can the ABS take an oven-dried paint job like diecast? Can ABS take tampoed graphics on the racing cars, like diecast? I have a closet full of AutoArt, CMC and Exotos, and just purchased my first resin, a Spark Peugeot 905. The Resin is crap, in quality and finish, and will be my last resin purchase. Hopefully this ABS idea is as good as AutoArt’s hype, and turns out to be a great deal better than resin.

  6. 911AMG says:

    Well in my opinion this detailed explanation sounds much more reasonable & I am much more optimistic after reading this news. If this technology does anything even cosmetically close for Diecast models what Carbon Fiber has done for the super high end cars of real life then I’m all for it. Sorry to jump the gun on the previous article but I got burned with purchasing a rediciously expensive Resin Ferrari of a make I will not expose for being absolutely junk in my opinion. I just want this industry that we all seem to love go foward with quality & detail of the finest degree possible & I assume most of you feel the same. Fingures crossed….

  7. For me. I like working with live replica diecast models in making project rather than computer autocad. I want to have a feel of reality

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