REVIEW: Maisto Chevrolet Corvette (C8) •

REVIEW: Maisto Chevrolet Corvette (C8)

It’s that time of the year again; Maisto and Bburago 1:18 models are back at Costcos across the US, the one where I shop included. And while I’m not a massive fan of the two manufacturers — the build quality and attention to detail often lack — there is no denying that the low price of $15 per model is a fantastic deal. Pairing that and the fact that the selection is quite large as opposed to last year, with over 60-70 cars in total on the display, I took this as an opportunity to negotiate buying not one, or two, but four of them. I couldn’t resist. Nowhere else can you find a credible, $15, new 1:18. Of the four models purchased, the Maisto C8 Corvette is first up.

Among the four Costco Maistos, the C8 Corvette stood out the most when I was in the store. I’ve been wanting to review it ever since I heard earlier this year that Costco was planning to stock up on Maisto 1:18s at the end of the year. It’s been said that Maisto’s C8 stands out when compared to their recent castings. My sources tell me that this C8 is supposed to be much more detailed with far better-shut lines and higher quality paint – rare traits when it comes to a Maisto model. The buzz I heard set the C8 bar pretty high. I wondered if this model would be everything I’ve ever wanted in a budget 1:18 or would it have all the faults often found on 1:18’s at this price point. Let’s find out.

Maisto’s fall into the crowded sub-$50 category (along with Bburago) which comes with risks, but can also produce rewards with the right car. As I’ve been reviewing some high-end models lately, I had to reset my expectations to give the Maiso a fair shot. Looking at the C8 with the proper perspective, I came away impressed overall with what this Maisto had to offer. The beautiful paint job, this one dubbed Rapid Blue, has a lot less orange peel than most Maistos and perfectly applied Midnight Grey Dual Racing Stripes.

The build quality is also very impressive. None of the usually found offenders such as loose plastic aero bits were present on the C8. I found everything to be rock solid. Even primary poor quality offenders such as the headlights and rear wing were in good shape.

The only first impression that came up short was the packaging. I’m a packaging fan and Maisto takes the easy way out by using the same packaging for every model; the name on the baseplate is the only differentiation. Maisto’s packaging on the C8 is the exact same packaging used on the models I purchased last year from Costco. If you use the same packaging you might as well make it look a little more visually appealing and higher-end, like Bburago Signature boxes. Outside of that, everything isn’t bad at all!

When considering the price point, the exterior is the best part of this model. I found the proportions and body lines to be just about perfect; the same can go for the moulding of the panels and ride height. The headlights aren’t loose pieces of slightly opaque plastic, instead, they’re far more sturdy and of higher quality. Other aero parts such as the front and rear wings, side vents, and side skirts are painted much better than what you’d find on older castings. This is a massive plus as I feared this aspect would turn out poorly. The C8’s gorgeous five-spoke wheels compliment the paint job very well, with the green calipers adding a touch of flamboyancy.

The rear is equally as good, Maisto paid great attention to things they’ve overlooked with past models. The rear vents are detailed to a reasonably high degree for a $15 model; so are the taillights and “Corvette” script. The plastic engine cover (and windshield) is (thankfully) very solid and doesn’t distort, something I wish I could say about the previous model I reviewed. All in all, I’ve found the exterior of Maisto’s C8 Corvette to be excellent.

Unfortunately, the C8 interior is that of a $15 model. The entirety of the interior is made up of coarse black plastic with very little detail. The only somewhat detailed items are the gauge cluster, infotainment screen — both low-quality decals — and door speakers. Maisto barely painted the row of buttons stretching from the dashboard to the armrest and didn’t paint the storage compartment and buttons on the door.

To make matters worse, there isn’t any texture to the door either, besides the speakers. No window controls, door handles, or anything else. Only a flat piece of black plastic. The only other real details inside Maisto’s C8 are the painted seat belts and Corvette logo on the steering wheel. Granted, this is a budget model, but it’s disappointing regardless.

Under the hood — well, engine cover technically — lies the C8 Corvette’s magnificent 490 horsepower, naturally aspirated 6.2L V8. Sadly, and like usual, Maisto falls apart when modelling the engine. None of the wires, hoses, tubes, etc. are present; it’s all just black plastic.

With that said, I have to give Maisto credit for the moulding of the engine itself excluding the surrounding bits. It’s painted quite well with the “Corvette” script present as well as the logo. However, that doesn’t excuse the otherwise mediocre reproduction of surrounding mechanical parts.

I love the model but there are a few small things Maisto could have improved upon to make this C8 perfect:

Camber: Like many Maisto models, this C8 suffers from horrible camber, most of which is present on the front wheels. It looks really bad and makes it seem like a toy car.

All black plastic: There’s a lot of black plastic, most of which is cheaper and more coarse than what you’d find on better 1:18s. Adding insult to injury, all that coarse plastic reflects light, making it look even worse when examined closely.

Exhaust tips: I know this comes as no surprise considering the $15 price tag, but the exhaust tips are pieces of chrome plastic without the depth found on other models. At an absolute minimum, Maisto could have painted them grey or gloss black.

Vents: None of the C8’s vents are perforated. Maisto uses moulded plastic, the same plastic mentioned above. That isn’t too bad for a $15 car except there are a lot of vents on the C8 Corvette which further highlights the problem. I’m not expecting a Maisto model to have more expensive, perforated vents but more effort could have been put into making these vents look more realistic.

Hinges: Don’t even get me started on the hinges. For ages, Maisto has used very large and thick “dogleg” hinges that look horrible, and here they are again on this model.

You can look at this model in two ways. The first is a $15 bargain at Costco, which has some nice touches for that price making it easier to overlook some of its flaws. The second is a model costing between $30-50 at many online stores. At that price point, it’s harder to overlook gripes such as the hinges and low-quality plastic. I’m preferring to look at it as the $15 bargain which is why I’d give this model a solid 4/5. If you’re interested in adding the C8 to your collection, get it from your local Costco or Sam’s Club. If you can’t find it there, you can purchase it more expensively here.

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8 Responses to "REVIEW: Maisto Chevrolet Corvette (C8)"

  1. DS Team says:

    Mason, thanks for the review. Our photographer is on hiatus until early 2022, so the flow of reviews is much slower than the norm. Thanks for keeping pace.

    There is no dispute the price tag is very attractive, but the results here target a specific collector in most cases, budget one. I’ve personally had many in my collection, some better than others. Do I want better-executed pieces, hell ya, but they are great placeholders until sonethi\ng comes along. Great colour too!

    • Mason Bloom says:

      You’re welcome; these models have their place but certainly can’t compete with a Norev or Auto World model. And I’ll be more than happy to take a few photo galleries to make up for the slowed content flow!

  2. Steven Weiner says:

    I bought this same Maisto Corvette at Costco recently, too. The bargain-priced Maisto’s at Costco actually got me started in the hobby exactly 1 year ago, and I bought 7 of them at Costco then! Although as you say, the detail isn’t great, but for $14.99, these are a steal! I actually like all of them that I bought at Costco, even though I have bought many other cars of more-expensive brands since then. Another excellent review, Mason!

  3. Marco says:

    I decided not to try budget models anymore after the horrible experience I had with the MCG version of the Tatra T87. It is a model made with 4 or 5 different pieces, put together with bad glue and then sold for 70 dollars. Norev would have done a great job for about the same price. Even though I think the Tatra T87 could easily be the greatest car ever, I refuse to place the MCG model in my favorite display case simply because it makes me sad to see its poor quality. From now on, I prefer saving money for a Kyosho, an Autoart or a CMC.

  4. kenney bee says:

    15$ what a super price for people who want to get into this hobby that we all enjoy ,
    thats how we all started, saving up our pocket money from car wash to paper rounds and as the years rolled buy moved on to more expensive models ,

  5. MRM says:

    Thank you for a very good review.
    I believe that brands like Maisto play pivotal role in the hobby and deserve more credit than they generally receive.
    During my recent Costco buying spree, I walked away with no less than 20 of these Maistos, many of which are actually branded BBurago on the bottom of the models. I also picked up the C8. It was available in 3 different colors. I don’t know if you have noticed, but they were not the same. I thought only the white one differed from the blue shown here, but now I see that you have same color as me, but with the different aero package. Maisto deserves huge cuddos for doing this. The model shown here has the extended front chin spoiler with flaps, the sport side skirts and the higher more aggressive wing and comes with silver wheels. My model is the identical color combo, but the wheels are black with a nice thin silver lip and has the regular front spoiler, side skirts and the lower much less aggressive wing. Maisto did the same thing with the Mustang 500R. That’s another one I got, after three of them showed up at my local car meet. With the Mustangs even the wheels are different.
    Having said all this, Maisto’s retail price is not $15. It’s $30. Costco runs a special on them for holiday season. But even at $30 they have some pretty amazing models. The plastics on this model don’t really bother me as they match the character of the real car, which I’m not too fond of. Not to mention that I have some Minichamps and AutoArt models, which retailed for double and triple Maisto’s $30 price tag even 20 years ago, with the same plastic molded panels. Speaking of which , I find it absolutely amazing that Maistos prices have stayed absolutely the same ever since they came on the market 31 years ago.
    When Maisto came on the market with the very first models in their line, a Mercedes SL, 911 Speedster, Lamborghini Diablo and a Ferrari 348, I was living in Switzerland. And I remember all the things that were of interest to me as a teenager were the same price – 30 Swiss Franks. That included baseball caps, plastic model kits (Revell, AMT), cool T-shirts that were still really made in the USA and 1/18 diecast models, which back then consisted of pretty much Bburago, the odd scale Tonka/Polistil and the newcomers Maisto. Then Revell showed up with the Porsche 930 Slant nose, BMW 8 series, Nazca C12 and also a 500sl Benz. But their models were 45 Franks, which was deemed at the time as outrageous. And here we are now, 31 years later and Maisto is still retailing their models for $30. I think this is a monumental achievement!
    One last thing. This model like most Maistos does not have dogleg hinges on the doors. It actually uses a very clever type of hinges, which were introduced by Bburago back in the ’80s. Except that on the Bburago Testarossa and F40 they allow a pretty good motion of the doors, on Maisto’s models the doors don’t open fully.
    At the end, no matter how you cut it, Maisto/Bburago are cornerstones of the hobby and can find place in anyone’s collection. I have models from 1/87 to 1/8 scale in my collection and ranging from $5 to $5000 and can honestly say that there are quite few Maisto/Bburago models proudly representing on the shelves next to some models retailing for ten times their price.

  6. Terrence says:

    Another well done review, thanks. At $15, what’s not to love? My 1:18 collection ranges from Bburago to CMC and I am glad to see that decent looking cars are still available at this price.

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