REVIEW: Solido McLaren MCL36 Emilia Romagna GP/Lando Norris •

REVIEW: Solido McLaren MCL36 Emilia Romagna GP/Lando Norris

Budget brand Solido is expanding its range of model cars again, to fill the missing void in the model car market. From European classics, tuner cars, Japanese icons and American muscle cars, you would have thought they satisfied everyone’s collecting needs in the budget world of die-cast model cars. This year, however, they are venturing to another territory – Formula 1 cars. In the past we have seen Hotwheels and Minichamps dominate this market, however, that has now changed, and this is where Solido comes in – to give us modern Formula 1 cars at very reasonable prices. Solido currently offers a few different teams and drivers’ cars, and today I will start with this one – 1:18th scale McLaren MCL36 Emilia Romagna GP of Lando Norris.

As this is a race car, it is packaged in Solido’s “Competition” labelled box which is slightly longer than usual – the longest box to date that I have seen. This model comes with mirrors and wing attached to the body and no extra assembly is required. To keep the model safe, Solido includes a clear protective molded plastic underneath the car to keep it from potentially sliding, and the usual four screws to keep the model mounted.

The construction of this McLaren is a combination of die-cast metal and plastic parts. Both plastic and metal parts have well-matched paint, which I do appreciate as it gives you a nice cohesive look. I think Solido’s metallic gunmetal paint application is even all around the model – I cannot find any sloppy application here – great job!

Moving onto the decal sponsors – their application and execution are quite decent. They are mostly smooth with only slight imperfections in a few places such as the outer side of the front wing. I would like to point out that there are understandably some sponsors absent from the model such as Velo, as it is a nicotine product company. There are markets where nicotine and tobacco products are not allowed to be advertised.

At the front, antennas are replicated, and the front wing has all the connecting pieces in place. The little opening on the front nose is present and shows some depth, but a full cut-out would have been welcomed. This is the same with side air intakes located just before the mirrors – it would have been nice to have them cut out. Overall looking at the front you get the sense of a decent quality model and quickly forget this is a budget piece.

From the side, the accuracy of the model is again reasonable with a couple of things I would like to point out. Under the DeWalt sponsor logo, there is supposed to be a long silver decal but it is missing. Also, the splash of orange on both sides of the model should run all the way to the air intake. On the model, it does not reach the air openings and stops at a starting line.

Moving onto wheels and tires – this model comes with red colour Pirelli P Zero tires, which means it is wearing soft tires or slicks. With practice sessions, qualifying and actual races, Formula 1 cars often run different compounds over the weekend. Verifying the accuracy of a correct compound is difficult as the model could represent any one of those sessions. The wheels on the model do turn in both directions. The rims look accurate however the center bolt should be chrome and not black.

Looking inside, I like the inclusion of the driver. On the flip side, the helmet does not have any decoration – I do not recall the helmet being all blue. The driver’s hands are on the steering wheel which lacks colour – the real one has colourful buttons and on the model, it is just black. The helmet visor is painted black – a tinted plastic piece would have enhanced the look.

At the back, the rear wing with McLaren Artura advertising looks right in place. The rear light is present as is the exhaust, which is showing depth, however, it is slightly off-center. It should be right above the light, and not angled towards the left. This may be a one-off with my model – I would need other enthusiasts to confirm that on their example.

To sum things up, l think the budget Formula 1 model is a great introduction to the model car market. Solido is definitely expanding in the right places and should have no problem finding F1 enthusiasts. Is the model perfect? No, but it is a pretty good effort and a very reasonable miniature in a 1:18 scale. For those on a budget who enjoy the pinnacle of racing, this should be a welcomed addition.

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7 Responses to "REVIEW: Solido McLaren MCL36 Emilia Romagna GP/Lando Norris"

  1. DS Team says:

    Luk, thanks again for supporting the budget-friendly side of the hobby! Nice to see Solido expanding more into F1, this gives many the option of a more affordable alternative. This example has it flaws, but what model doesn’t LOL.

  2. Aaron says:

    I just wish Solido would also do the Aston Martins as well. Especially since the Minichamps take is that stupid resin BS. For me it’s Diecast ONLY or nothing

    • spikyone says:

      Bizarre attitude. That “stupid resin BS”, on a car with fine aerodynamic details like an F1 car, is far more accurate than diecast. And most of the fine details on this type of car if it were made from metal would be plastic. You’re OK with that but not resin? I have dozens of 1:18 F1 models and the resin ones are hands-down better models.

      • Dudemeister says:

        Agreed. There are 2 reasons why resin models are desirable.

        1. As mentioned, they are better with finer details, which generally get somewhat muddled in metal
        2. It allows the manufacturer to make smaller runs without large casting investments.

        This is why you can find special short runs or one-offs

  3. spikyone says:

    Looks like a nice enough model, and I’m impressed that they have true multi-element wings all round, even if the scale looks a bit off.

    One criticism though; the review mentions gunmetal paint. I’m virtually certain that on the real car, those dark areas are exposed carbon fibre. It’s understandable that Solido took that decision, but it shouldn’t be seen as a positive for the model.

    Overall though, for the price it looks like a very good effort. With the Minichamps and Spark versions pushing £/$/€200, it’s nice that there’s a more affordable option.

  4. InTheFastLane says:

    Yes, you are right the real car has real carbon fiber, which could have been simulated with textured plastic (at this price point). I think to keep costs down, Solido used gunmetal paint which is actually not a bad option from a palette of colours available. I like it better than possible matte or gloss black. But we all have our own preference of course.

  5. Dudemeister says:

    I had previously bought the 2021 Alpine A531 and I was very impressed with the quality. I thought their stuff was much better than Burago, and almost being close to MiniChamps and Spark.

    So naturally, when I saw they were coming up with more F cars, especially 2022 model, I bought some, I bought the Valteri Bottas Alpha romeo, the Ricciardo McLaren and the Ocon pink Alpine.

    To say I’m disappointed it’s an understatement. They are now in Burago territory. Paint and decals, when there are OK, but sometimes incomplete (like the missing OTR logos and the plain orange helmet on the Mclaren. On the Alpine the BWT decal on the front wing is a single piece that stretches across all the blade element, as if a 7 year old had applied them.

    There is no more simulation of carbon fiber, and god knows these cars have exposed carbon fiber all over them, it’s just plain black or dark metallic gray, the tires are no longer realistic rubber like they used to be, just shiny soft “something”.

    So, what the hell happened to the quality that Solido put in their first F1 offerings?

    Take a look at the same Ricciardo McLaren from Spark, there’s no comparison. Yes, it costs nearly twice as much, but that’s no excuse, considering Solido has shown they’re capable of producing a nice model at a reasonable price. There are not it

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