Tell us what this hobby means to you? 14 questions answered by you, Riaz Saadullah from Singapore.
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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?
My sister used to maintain a scrapbook with her collection of pictures and clippings on Princess Diana. A 4-year-old moi declared I will also collect pictures of her highness. My sister had to eliminate competition and suggested that I collect things like pictures of cars or planes or tanks that would be more interesting to show off to my friends. What a wonderful idea I must have thought. Since that time I got busy collecting pictures of cars. By the time I was in grade 6, I saw affordable 1:43 ~ 1:37 scale models by unbranded makers and Kinsmart from China becoming available in my country and suddenly collecting cars in 3D shape seemed more interesting. The models allowed me to enjoy the design and shapes from all angles. After almost 30 years, I have over 1000 1:18 scales, 300+ 1:43s and another few hundreds in various other scales.
2) What was your first diecast or memory?
When I was 1, my uncle gave me my first Burago 1:24 – a Fiat 131 Abarth rally car in red. I did what other kids would do and then I dropped it from the 5th-floor terrace and it crashed on our neighbour’s white Peugeot parked below (saw pictures, heard the story many times from mom and dad). My 2nd car was a Burago 1:24 Ferrari 308 GTB Patterson racing, one that my dad brought to cheer me up when I remained hospitalized from a prolonged illness; I was in grade 3, and I still have that play wore model (will make a barn find diorama with it someday). The first car I bought with my own pocket money would be the unbranded red Testarossa in a 1:43 scale. My first 1:18 was a gift from my sister in the year 2000. It was a Maisto Mercedes Benz SL500 (R129).
3) What is your favourite scale, and why?
1:18 scale with full opening and working features (preferably in diecast). The size makes it easier to observe, and the scale is not overly awkward to handle or display. There was a time when I thought 1:24 scale is the best size and offers great value, however not many were available when I started seriously in the collecting journey.
4) What are some of your favourite models to date? Did you share any photos with us?
Mercedes Benz Pullmans by Autoart, the Land Rovers by UH/Eagle and Minichamps, Jeep Willys by UT, Porsche 550 by Maisto, Porsche Carrera GT by Maisto (because it was a gift from my wife on my wedding day), ERTL’s KITT, 007’s DB5 weapons version by AA, the Silver Arrows from CMC, Bentley Blower by Minichamps, the Mercs from Norev, JDMs from AA, VW Oettinger Beetle and 90s black AMGs by Otto, Andy Warhol’s and other BMW Art Cars, #35 AMG Red Pig, CMC Uhlenhaut Coupe with the blue interior, there are so many in the favourite list.
5) Is there a model that has eluded you, a holy grail of sorts?
Exoto Jaguar D type #6 LM winner (I don’t know if I will ever afford one).
6) What is your favourite brand/manufacturer, and why?
CMC because of the consistency in the effort they make in bringing out the models; In the budget segment, Solido is fast becoming my new favourite – the recent assortments are amazing in terms of subject and way cheaper than those from the budget resin makers, and Solidos are being made in Bangladesh – my home country.
7) Describe your current theme and what your overall goal is?
I am now collecting models with specific historical significance. the trendsetters, engineering marvels, winning racers, cultural icons, or cars of famous personalities… particular pieces that have a story to tell about a particular milestone in time. If I can’t find a story, I won’t collect it unless it is to complete a particular lineup. Overall goal? I haven’t thought much about it to be honest.
8) Do you display your collection? If yes, how?
Initially, I used to display when my collection size was manageable. I found IKEA Besta units very helpful. Now I need a bigger (much, much, much bigger) space to display all. Without that space, the majority of my models are remaining in boxes and only the models acquired without boxes are remaining on the display shelves. I feel I am hoarding not really collecting. From time to time I unbox the pieces to take pics and afterwards put them back in. Maybe I can add this to my goal – settle down and afford a bigger space to display all the models I have.
9) Do you have any other hobbies, passions or addictions?
I think collectors of car models appreciate finer details. We automatically tend to show interest in subjects that show off minute details, items like watches, stamps, paintings etc. I used to collect old maps and postal first-day covers. Eventually stopped on those as managing space is becoming a challenge.
10) What do you think about the diecast hobby as it stands today?
Social media made it easy for collectors to interact, discuss and get information. The global reach through various groups is a blessing; albeit there are other issues but I am willing to ignore those for now. The collector community is growing… which is fantastic. On the market and industry side – new technology and new tooling are opening options; and many, many makers are entering the market. For collectors, this cannot be bad. However, I have serious concerns about the pricing practices for models these days. Many Chinese makers are still offering fully functional OEM diecast models at reasonable prices.
11) If you could change one thing about the diecast hobby what would that be?
I would want to end the need to store boxes along with the models. Displaying models requires space, and storing the boxes separately requires even bigger space. Again, goes back to the concept of treating models as investments. If the models are pricey, of course, everyone will want to protect the value by keeping the original boxes. Unfortunately, it impacts the number of models we can store/ nicely display.
12) Do you modify cars? If yes, what are some examples?
I have terrible skills. Can’t even fix the minor broken bits. The models that broke here and there are either sold off or kept aside to create junk dioramas. I have extreme respect for those who can modify and have come across the works of a few who do magic.
13) What does your spouse, partner or significant other think of your hobby and your collection?
My wife was extremely supportive in the beginning (she used to give me models during our anniversaries). Due to work, we had to move from one country to another (3 different countries in the past 12 years), and managing the collection in smaller rented apartments has brought challenges. Every new box now gives my wife a headache, unfortunately.
14) What is your daily driver?
Daihatsu Terios 7 with a window sticker that reads… “other cars in my garage are carlectibles!”