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.