Tell us what this hobby means to you? 14 questions answered by you, Frederic Louguet from Chaource, France.
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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 am a 55-year-old French collector and have been – intensively – collecting for a few years only. Curiously, I have learned more about cars in the last 5 years than in the previous 50, as I dedicated a lot more time to this subject :) I have at the moment around 280 x 1:18 models, 112 x 1:43 models (only Bentleys at this scale) and only 3 x 1:12 models. Photos 01 to 04 show different views of my collection. You can see detailed presentations of all models (with the exception of 1:43 models, not yet on-site), with high res photos, on my web site: www.miniautoprestige.com
2) What was your first diecast or memory?
AUTOart Mercedes-Benz S 500 (W221 – 2006 – ref. 76177). It was the closest match I could find to my real car in 1:18 scale, but unfortunately, it still is far from the exact model.
3) What is your favourite scale, and why?
My favourite scale is 1:18, simply because it seems to represent the best compromise between size, level of detail and price. Not as much choice as in 1:43 of course, but it is growing. 1:12 is perfect when it is well done, but unfortunately the choice is very limited, at least in my favourite themes.
4) What are some of your favourite models to date? Did you share any photos with us?
Too hard a question! But as an exercise, I chose 8 models, each one from a different manufacturer (see attached photos numbered 04 to 11). Here they are in no particular order (this is definitively not a ranking, as I could do ten lists like this one with different models :)
photo 04 -> 1:12 Kyosho Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé. Huge model, wonderful level of detail, LEDs, very nice accessories.
photo 05 -> 1:18 Custom Minichamps blue-grey Bentley Continental GT. The only piece in the world with this colour combo (paint job by Model Car Workshop).
photo 06 -> 1:18 AUTOart Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Bleu Centenaire. Magnificent blue.
photo 07 -> 1:18 Kyosho high-end Ferrari 250 GTO. One of the most beautiful cars of all time.
photo 08 -> 1:18 AUTOart Koenigsegg Agera Spider. AUTOart at its best.
photo 09 -> 1:18 AUTOart Maybach 62 IAA Special Edition. Leather interior, a bottle of Champagne and glasses, tablet, curtains… ultimate luxury.
photo 10 -> 1:12 Kyosho BMW Z4 Roadster. Superb seats, moveable top, as with the RR from Kyosho it shows the full potential of this scale.
photo 11 -> 1:18 AUTOart Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster. One of the last great lambos before the composite takeover.
5) Is there a model that has eluded you, a holy grail of sorts?
I was searching for a while for the AUTOart Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman LWB from the 60s and finally found it at a price I could afford. I do not have it yet physically, so it is not yet shown on the site. There are many models I am waiting for and that is not out yet, like new AUTOart Bugattis (Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, Chiron…), and Almost Real new Bentley Mulsanne (standard, Speed and Grand Limousine variants).
6) What is your favourite brand/manufacturer, and why?
I would say AUTOart, Kyosho, Minichamps and Almost Real. Diecast models with opening parts, high level of detail, general quality, and many models in my theme. Kyosho Rolls-Royces are great, as are Minichamps Bentleys, AUTOart Mercedes-Benz/Maybach and supercars. Almost Real seems to be the future Minichamps for Bentley lovers like me!
7) Describe your current theme and what your overall goal is?
My theme could be described as ‘European Prestige Cars’: luxury cars, limousines, premium sedans, coupés and convertibles, sports cars and Grand Tourers, supercars and hypercars. I only collect road cars. If I had to choose a top 3 among car manufacturers, that would be Bentley (#1), Rolls-Royce (#2), and Mercedes-Benz/Maybach (#3) in this particular order. But if I don’t have to choose, I love them all! Also, I have to mention that I don’t hate American or Japanese cars at all! Unfortunately, every collector with a non-unlimited budget has to make hard choices… these are mine.
8) Do you display your collection? If yes, how?
As you can see I display my collection so that I can easily move the models, take photos, optimize space from time to time, etc. I live in a village where there is clean air and not much dust, and it certainly helps with cleaning the models. I could not lock them in showcases, that would be like putting them in prison! :) And I would even less let them sleep in their boxes: they are here to be seen! I am very careful, but I want to enjoy my collection and show it freely to my family, friends and relatives. I am indeed working surrounded by models (the room you can see in the photos with all the shelves in my office :) and I am certainly not collecting for speculation purposes. My goal is to enjoy this collection as long as I can and make it grow, but always with a ‘quality over quantity’ approach.
9) Do you have any other hobbies, passions or addictions?
I am a big Tolkien fan and also have a nice collection of Lord of the Rings collectibles (swords, figures…). I appreciate good wine, good TV Shows, current or finished (Game of Thrones, WestWorld, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos…), love reading about history and paleontology. And I have the chance to live in a beautiful country, so sightseeing never gets old. My biggest passion? My family, wife, children, parents! Did I mention that my wife is also a collector… of dolls!
10) What do you think about the diecast hobby as it stands today?
I am a bit worried to see so many resin models at very high prices, fortunately not too much in my theme. I much prefer diecast models with opening parts than closed-body resin models. And the bigger the scale, the more frustrating it becomes. I have high hopes in the new Almost Real brand (I have a Bentley Continental GT3-R and a Mercedes-Benz/Maybach S 600 from them which are really great models). The thing I regret the most? That there no more new Ferraris from Hot Wheels Elite. That was very good quality at a reasonable price. Now we get sealed-body new Ferrari models for 250-300 euros? Nonsense…
11) If you could change one thing about the diecast hobby what would that be?
Not very original maybe, but I am sure many think like me: lower prices at the same quality level, less sealed-body models, as much choice as in 1:43 scale. Ah, and also more stage sets and settings for the 1:18 scale (streets, roads, sceneries, buildings), that would be great for model photoshoots.
12) Do you modify cars? If yes, what are some examples?
No, I do not modify models myself, as I don’t have the knowledge to do it at a good quality level, nor the time to acquire these skills.
13) What does your spouse, partner or significant other think of your hobby and your collection?
I am lucky: my wife is very supportive. She is also a collector (of many, many dolls), so she understands what it means to be a collector. Yes, I am very lucky.
14) What is your daily driver?
We have three cars, a Ford Focus, a Peugeot 407 and a third car that I would love to also have as a model in my 1:18 collection, but it does not exist. This is a Mercedes-Benz S 500 L (long wheelbase) 2011 model year, W221 Phase II generation with AMG Pack. Very powerful, very comfortable, a pleasure to drive and very nice to look at (photos #12 and #13).