Ever since the departure of the Hot Wheels Elite alliance with the Ferrari marque, there has been a gap in the industry for collectors on the whole for any recent Ferrari cars. That is unless you wanted to play with the big boys and enter the $400 plus threshold of model car collecting, which isn’t an option for most. With costs constantly on the rise, where are collectors to go to satisfy the hunger for modern Ferrari replicas? Enter Bbrurago, their first pieces under the Race & Play series brought hope, but overall execution – while good – did not provide nearly enough detail to match the predecessor assortment of Hot Wheels Elite. The Bburago Signature is the answer. The first couple of releases, which included the Ferrari California T and Ferrari 458 Speciale, were definitely strides in the right direction. The model presented today is the latest in the Bburago Signature series, the Ferrari 488 GTB!
Let’s start with the box of the Signature line. I personally love it! It’s loud (red), gets you excited for what is potentially inside! Exterior features graphics, logos, and proverbial copyright banter. Internal styrofoam shell elevates the look and feel from the Race & Play series, while providing the required model protection us collectors appreciate. Bburago also supplies a tool to help access the various opening elements on the model. Enough on the packaging, let’s move on to the model itself.
Upon opening the box, the first thing that strikes you is the deep, dark red paint. You Ferrari fanatics can confirm the official “Ferrari” red label. Overall the paint work is very good and consistent throughout. You can also see from the exterior shots, panel gaps and shutlines are very well executed indeed. Also note the full window (left and right) on the Signature 488 GTB, something that fans of Hot Wheels Elite never saw, and an upgrade from their Race & Play series.
Something I thought was cool was the 3D door handle. It actually has enough meat for you to use to open the doors. Note the black painted intake in the rear, an upgrade over the Race & Play version.
Moving to the front of the 488 GTB the lower cooling grilles are solid plastic pieces. Definitely an improvement is required to bring the model into Hot Wheels Elite territory. Headlight detail is average at best. I like the fact Bburago captured the two black fins/pieces at the front section of the hood. Fit and finish is excellent!
Opening the front storage is where the “old” Bburago makes its mark with the new. The massive hinges, though they work well, take away from the overall authenticity of the replica. Hopefully future models can address this with possible strut supports to aid in the operation. Also there is no carpeting; a simple, somewhat textured plastic is used.
The rear section has no perforated bits either, solid textured pieces that are definitely underwhelming. Taillight detail is above average. Ferrari logos are photo-etched top and rear.
The heart of the beast, as with most Ferraris, is found in the rear. The hatch is accessible, no struts are aiding the open and close operation, just two simple hinges. One thing I hate on the particular model is the cooling vents on each side of the hatch. They aren’t metal, but plastic molded pieces. Grille graphic is added to the plastic to give it the perforated look. If that wasn’t bad enough, each side has a very rough finish, sharp enough to make any Italian mamma proud as she can cut slices of Provolone cheese for family brunch!
The motor isn’t too bad at all, I’m somewhat impressed with the overall execution. The Signature excels over the Race & Play by painting the lower section of the motor block red. Other than this, I believe the two pieces are identical. In my opinion, the 488 GTB still falls short of a Hot Wheels Elite, but they aren’t that far off.
You may have noticed the absence of the black wheels. I opted to swap them out for the silver, they are the standard wheels on the Race & Play series. The modification is very easy to complete and totally transforms the look of the car. The ride height is good, to have it maybe a little lower in the rear would have been nice. The 488 GTB is completed with a full spring loaded suspension. The “old” Bburago makes an appearance here too. The simply steering engineering and suspension tech add to the lazy camber seen in some models.
The wheel and tire package is very good overall. Paint/finish could be slightly better. I also believe the size of the rear caliper is out of scale, slightly too big. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely.
The interior of the 488 GTB is likely the weakest link. It is definitely an improvement over the entry Race & Play due to the added paint work. Access to the interior is tough; opening the doors does require some finesse from the end user. And when finally open the swing distance is minimal at best. Bburago’s dated engineering of the hinges definitely is at play here. Add the cheap look of material and textures and the interior just falls short. I will say the team is heading in the right direction, and is leaps ahead of any older Bburago products.
The Bburago Signature Ferrari 488 GTB packs a lot of punch for a model costing around $80CND. The model is nowhere near perfect, though with time I’m sure the gap can be closed. My hope is the team listens to my criticisms and continues to improve on quality and execution. At the end of the day I want them to succeed! They need to become my Hot Wheels Elite! If that requires for us to pay a little more to get to those levels, I for one am willing to do so. Folks, don’t shy away from this one, a true bargain in a sea of resin and high priced models in our modern era of collecting. You’ll definitely see this one on the DiecastSociety.com 2016 Model of the Year candidate list. Enjoy the pics!