Tell us what this hobby means to you? 13 questions answered by you, Karsten Weiss from Frankfurt, Germany.
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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?
As of today, I have about 140 to 150 models. It all started with an empty display case in my new furniture 25 years ago, when I was in my late teens. I wasn´t collecting anything at the time, but cars have always been a passion and some say … that my first word wasn´t “mum” or “dad”, but “auto” (which is German for “car”). All we know is that (I am called KARsten and) my stepmother drew my attention to a mail order catalogue offering the first two 1/18 models I ever saw and eventually owned.
2) What was your first diecast or memory?
I had the typical collector´s dilemma and its usual solution right from the start: Unable to make up my mind, I had both the burgundy red Mercedes 500 SL and the red Porsche Speedster by Maisto.
3) What is your favourite scale, and why?
My first two models were 1/18 scale and I really liked them as they featured both a (for the time) outstandingly detailed interior and exterior, working steering, opening doors, hoods, trunks, etc. Other scales, such as 1/24 and 1/16 were available at the time and initially offered a wider choice. But 1/18 seemed to be just the right size to enjoy both interior and exterior features in detail. A 1/16 Porsche 911 I got as a gift had comparatively poor detail and 1/24 and smaller seemed too small and, forgive me, too toy-like back then. (No offence, we all like to park in our models on the coffee table between the cup and the cookies when unobserved).
I could not resist a 1/8 Pocher Testarossa in 1993 that was offered at my usual model shop at the time. More recently 1/12 models have become available. These are tempting, no doubt. They are too big, though, to be collected in greater numbers, given the modest space the average home collector has available to display them. And personally, I don´t like the idea of displaying different scales next to each other very much. So the 1/8 Testarossa has remained a one-off centre piece. I believe, there is a reason that 1/18 has prevailed in the past 20 years as it seems to be the ideal scale for cars.
4) What are some of your favourite models to date? Did you share any photos with us?
Err, …, how much space have I got. Honestly, there is a reason why we buy the models we buy. Because they were our grandfather´s or dad´s car, our first car, our present 1:1, the one we always wanted when …, or just because they fascinate us, although we wouldn´t want them for real. Ok, so let me mentioned but a few:
AUTOArt Lamborghini Aventador, Kyosho Lamborghini Countach, Kyosho Ferrari 308 GTS, Testarossa, 250 GTO, BBR Ferrari F430, CMC Ferrari Testa Rossa, Paragon Jaguar Mark II, BoS Ford Taunus, Kyosho Mini Cooper Works, Minichamps Bentleys, Kyosho Rolls Royces, CMC Bugatti 57, AUTOArt Jaguar E-Type, AUTOArt Veyrons and Aston Martins …
Well, I think, a discerning eye can see on my website which models fascinate me more than others – www.1-18-modelcollection.jimdo.com
5) Is there a model that has eluded you, a holy grail of sorts?
I have been collecting models for such a long time that hardly any interesting release can elude me. It is more a matter of me first deciding that a particular model would be a nice-to-have, but not a must-have, and so, with a sensible eye on available display space, my fields of interest and my wallet, I don´t buy. And sometimes years later the time comes when you think: “Oh, come on, should have bought it” and then you can´t get it any longer.
6) What is your favourite brand/manufacture, and why?
It won´t surprise any serious collector if I simply say: AUTOArt. Yes, the Minichamps Bentleys are nice. But Minichamps has recently got quality issues and can longer compete with AA. Yes, CMC still have a better quality, but they´re nearly all vintage cars. So, AUTOArt has all the fascinating supercars in excellent quality.
7) Describe your current theme and what your overall goal is?
May I refer you to my website for the answer to what my theme is. Let it suffice to mention here that I don´t restrict myself to a particular car manufacturer, country or car type, not even exclusively to cars (I am especially proud of my two luxury motor yacht models). What most of the cars do have in common is that they are European road cars. I am not into racing, but the aesthetics of cars – www.1-18-modelcollection.jimdo.com
So there is no particular goal, either.
8) Do you display your collection? If yes, how?
Of course! I collect cars because I enjoy looking at them, not just to know that I have them. If I kept them in the boxes, they would definitely dust and depreciate less than they do. But then I might as well collect stamps instead. So I enjoy putting them on display nicely with great attention to detail, carefully adjusting the angle at which they leave the best impression and complementing them with accessories such as mascots, emblems or brochures of the real cars.
So far, the only live display is at my home, and of course through my website.
9) Do you have any other hobbies, passions or addictions?
Apart from watching Top Gear and trying to get the sales brochure and other accessories for each car that I have a model of?
In connection with collecting models, I always thought, it would be nice to be able and drive them all … ok, I am not Ralph Lauren or Jay Leno, so what about video game simulation with a Playseat, Steering wheel, gear shifter, 5.1 sound and butt kicker, I thought … and put it into the room where I keep most of my models. Testdrive Unlimited may not be the most realistic simulator, but (not least thanks to modders) you can have most of the cars in the display cases in game and leisurely cruise or race them in normal traffic on Hawaii.
Completely different addictions? If I mention old Scotch and excellent red wines you will mistake me for an alcoholic. In contrast to the cars, it´s not about quantity there at all, but most definitely about excellent quality like with the cars.
10) What do you think about the diecast hobby as it stands today?
It´s somewhere around its pinnacle. After quality (and prices) had increased in the past decade, the financial crisis has woefully hit some manufacturers hard. And the resin models are gaining ground. Personally, I am not a great fan of resin. Yes, it is more detailed and delicate, but you cannot open anything, steer the front wheels and I am not too confident in its longevity. So let´s hope it will not replace diecast as a high-end model. If the market is polarized into either good quality resin or budget diecast, I will stop collecting. (Good excuse for someone who is running out of space, too).
11) If you could change one thing about the diecast hobby what would that be?
Just an idea: What if a collector could configure his model with a range of options for rims, seat colours, etc. when he buys it online?
12) Do you modify cars? If yes, what are some examples?
Rarely ever: for cars I drive/drove myself I attach number plates with their original registration. Presently, I am trying to re-create my current 1:1 having a model repainted by the car dealership and fitting the interior and wheels of the road-going two-door by Minichamps to the four-door racing-version by an unknown Chinese manufacturer, etc … in short: turning it into my motor.
The other examples are turning “civilian versions” into British police cars. (Holden Commodore and Mitsubishi Evo X).
13) What is your 1:1 daily driver?
A 2008 Ford Focus 2.0 tdci Titanium. It is shown on my website – www.1-18-modelcollection.jimdo.com