Tell us what this hobby means to you? 14 questions answered by you, Sébastien Labbe from Paris, 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 got into collecting model cars after my family, especially my uncle, gifted me model cars when I was young. From the age of around 15, I started to expand the collection, adding cool cars of the time. First, it was diecast, then I got into detailed models like CMC/Exoto and finally went into resin models. Today I’m 33 and have 115 models.
2) What was your first diecast or memory?
I think the very first car was a Burago 1:18 beige Mercedes Benz SSK, or maybe a Burago 1:18 red F40. I don’t remember that well; these models were broken from playing with them a long time ago… The first model I bought myself was a Burago 1:18 red F50. Back in the day, I paid 18€ for it.
3) What is your favourite scale, and why?
I only collect 1:18 scale models. I think it’s the perfect ratio of size-presence/details.
4) What are some of your favourite models to date? Did you share any photos with us?
That question is really hard to answer. But I think my two masterpieces are from Exoto: the Ferrari 156 shark nose and the Alfa-Romeo 159 Alfetta. They have great design, and delicate engineering and the details are exquisite and everywhere. To make it a top 3 I think I’ll add my 1:18 MR Collection Bugatti Hermes. I chased that model for almost 9 years and it’ll never leave the collection. I don’t have photos of the Exoto models.
5) Is there a model that has eluded you, a holy grail of sorts?
Yes, of course, they’re even two: the Bugatti 57 Atlantic and the Ferrari 250 California from CMC. It’s impossible to find them under 600€, and the Californias even retail from 1000-1400€ which is insane!!!
6) What is your favourite brand/manufacturer, and why?
I don’t really have a favourite. Each one has pros and cons. At first, I was into AUTOart, up until the fantastic Huayra. Then I went to CMC and Exoto for the level of detail and finally MR Collection and BBR, who have great models with very good quality and most of all colour combinations seen nowhere else. Now Exoto is dead, CMC disappoints me with every release since the California and AUTOart sometimes manage to make me want a model (lastly the SE30 in that signature purple paint).
7) Describe your current theme and what your overall goal is?
I mostly collect supercars in the road version. I also have racing models, mainly prototypes from Le Mans and the rest is historic racing and JGTC.
8) Do you display your collection? If yes, how?
I display as much of my collection as I can. Currently, I only have half of my collection (the rest is at my mother’s house and only half of that is displayed). From the half I have, only half is displayed, of which 90% are resin models in display cases. I don’t have a nice dust-free display cabinet yet, especially for my CMC and Exoto models. So they sleep in their boxes for now, which is a shame. One day I’ll have my own apartment or house, with a dedicated room: maybe a wall of models and a sofa on the opposite side to admire the collection.
9) Do you have any other hobbies, passions or addictions?
Yes. My other hobby is music. I play the piano and guitar. That’s not cheap either so every year it’s a battle for me to decide where to put the money.
10) What do you think about the diecast hobby as it stands today?
There are some nice things ahead. Sadly, those are only from a model perspective, meaning exciting cars are still to be released, whether it’s vintage or modern. The reality hits hard: expensive models for questionable quality in some cases. As I said above I started collecting models for 18€ new. Collecting is nowadays a real luxury: I’m fortunate enough (and grateful) to still manage to go on with it.
11) If you could change one thing about the diecast hobby what would that be?
The thing that annoys me the most is the speculation over model cars today and how manufacturers respond to that as a result, putting out models with ridiculous limited editions and numbers, sometimes in terrible colours/liveries.
12) Do you modify cars? If yes, what are some examples?
I used to do that on some models in order to add details or make them appear more realistic (like adjusting the ride height for example). Currently, I plan to modify a 1:18 AUTOart Panoz Esperante: I will paint the wheels in a more accurate gold, replace the plastic printed mesh with real mesh and probably add a carbon decal in the motor compartment.
13) What does your spouse, partner or significant other think of your hobby and your collection?
I’m single. My family and friends mostly think it’s a hobby, and some think of it as an investment.
14) What is your daily driver?
Curiously enough, I don’t have a driving license and I don’t have a car. Nobody understands how I cannot drive as a car enthusiast. It’s simple, I just like pretty things.