Tell us what this hobby means to you? 14 questions answered by you, Caton Ell, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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1) What first got you collecting diecast? How long have you been collecting? What is your total model count as of today?
I’ve always been into cars for as long as I could remember and as a child, my father passed down to me a 1:18 Bburago Lamborghini Countach that my mother gave to him as a gift. For over 10 years it was the most detailed model I ever had (fully opening)… until I went to a local store that had a Kyosho BMW sedan on display. It blew my mind that they could fit carpeting (flocking) into something I could fit in my hand, and that’s when I took the hobby seriously. One of the first purchases I made after I got my first job was an AUTOart McLaren F1 in Mag Silver back in 2013. It’s been consistent ever since and my collection stands at 86 models today. However, I only care to display the most significant cars in their best colours. The rest (the rejected colours, lol) are in storage in case I want more or less colour variety on display.
2) What was your first diecast or memory?
Black 1/18 Bburago Lamborghini Countach.
3) What is your favourite scale, and why?
1:18 for sure; I find it’s the sweet spot of fitting enough features whilst not being too big. Try fitting your finger to adjust the seats or feel the carpet on a 1:32 scale, nearly impossible! The relative affordability and size also give more choice than the limited options of 1:12 scale.
4) What are some of your favourite models to date? Did you share any photos with us?
#1 by far is the Kyosho M3 Convertible/Cabriolet with a working retractable roof. I don’t think we’ll ever see such intricacies ever again – no one has attempted to make something as delicate since, barring maybe some exceptionally high, thousand-dollar models. A close second is the AUTOart McLaren F1 – I have never felt more supple suspension, and AUTOart is the only one so far to perfect the shape of the headlights.
5) Is there a model that has eluded you, a holy grail of sorts?
I’ve been lucky enough to acquire everything I want at a reasonable price (by buying early). I only seek rare and elusive colours now. I have only missed 3 because I wasn’t paying attention/it was before my time, and I don’t want to pay an exorbitant markup now. List includes:
AUTOart – Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster in Azzuro Light Blue
Kyosho – Audi R8 Spyder in Teak Brown
Auto World – 1968 Dodge Charger with moving headlights in Black
If anyone has them and is willing to let them go at less than 1.5x MSRP, please let me know!
6) What is your favourite brand/manufacturer, and why?
Kyosho in their prime years were unbeatable (no screwdriver needed was a bonus!). Minikraft had a short but glorious run, with every model being desirable and chock full of features. But AUTOart has remained the most consistent and has the most variety of colours, however, I’ve noticed they have defeatured their models; barely any have working suspension anymore.
7) Describe your current theme and what your overall goal is?
The theme is definitely modern, skewing towards European. I feel like my collection is complete after my recent acquisition of the fully opening Almost Real Jaguar C-X75. The only thing left to do is to slowly retrofit all the cars in my collection (or at least my favourites) with LED light packages by the best in the business: modelllichtsysteme. I just need to make a lot more money to afford his services!
8) Do you display your collection? If yes, how?
4x Ikea Detolf cases with double glass shelving added and custom LED light strips. I am very proud of how it came together (took lots of planning), but I wish I didn’t have to pay my local glass maker so much just to cut extra square glass!
9) Do you have any other hobbies, passions or addictions?
Lego, watches, 3D printing, real cars, making cocktails.
10) What do you think about the diecast hobby as it stands today?
It’s in a good but not great state. We see cost cutting in areas (flocking is not as soft as it used to be, aforementioned omission of working suspension in a lot of models) but the hobby has more variety than ever. I do wish there were more models in the $200 price range instead of $300 (CAD), but that’s inflation I guess.
And some decisions do baffle me. If AUTOart already had the moulds to make a racing version of the Aston Martin DB9 and Porsche 911, why not make the regular street-going versions as well? I would love for someone to step up and make a quality DB9 and DBS model.
11) If you could change one thing about the diecast hobby what would that be?
Gain more mainstream popularity akin to how Lego has successfully pivoted to more adult/affluent buyers in recent years. This would entice more players to enter the market and drive more competition: more features and lower prices. Not to mention a bump up in the value of secondary market / retired models.
There also needs to be more colour variety. It is hard to find any Green, Yellow, and Purple variants out there. I find myself having to buy models I don’t particularly like or respect just to fill out the colour spectrum.
12) Do you modify cars? If yes, what are some examples?
No. I tried and failed miserably to switch out the headlights on my ERTL Aston Martin DBS. Glue is the bane of my existence.
13) What does your spouse, partner or significant other think of your hobby and your collection?
They don’t have a problem with it and they support it – especially since the lighting adds ambiance to the decor. Finding space to store empty boxes can be frustrating though!
14) What is your daily driver?
2021 Hyundai Sonata and a getting-too-expensive-to-fix 2006 Lexus GS 430.