REVIEW: TrueScale Miniatures McLaren F1 LM XP1 •

REVIEW: TrueScale Miniatures McLaren F1 LM XP1

Words and photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov


It feels like we waited an eternity for this model, and it’s finally here. No idea why it took TSM so long to release it, as they never communicate anything to their fans, but it certainly would have been a better idea to release it prior to AUTOart’s effort, which was quite stellar. TSM’s version is a wholly different proposition, certainly not without its flaws, and having owned the AUTOart, I will now explain why I chose to go for this one instead.

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP130

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP132

I like TSM models because they make some great stuff. Their subject matter is right up my alley and even though Quality Control must be a strange and alien term to TSM, their models are usually exquisitely detailed for a very fair price. The AUTOart version was like every other supercar they’ve ever released. Same plastic hoses and details, same carbon pattern and generic mesh that seems to look the same on every model. The TSM has a certain authenticity, despite the inaccuracies which I will address shortly, that seems to be absent from the AUTOart version. While I do admit that, overall, the AUTOart is the safer choice, personally for me, the TSM has some features that make it the winner in my book.

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP1

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP120

Let’s start with the packaging. If you’ve ever opened any TSM model, then you’re quite familiar how special it feels. Everything is wrapped individually, there is a cool plaque to display with your model, and you get the feeling that whoever made this thing gave a crap about it. I love the huge, ostentatious chin spoiler at the front, the more detailed interior, the nicely done headphones with properly coiled cables. These are tiny things, but they elevate the model. The exhaust is crisp and shiny, the badges at the back are slender, as are the rear wing supports. Opening up the engine compartment, you get braided wire hoses and that cool looking distributor. For some reason, my AUTOart F1 LM did not give me this same feeling. In the words of Austin Powers, having said that, I do have some thoughts…

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP17

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP115

First off, the paint work is not as lustrous and consistent. There are thin areas everywhere you look. It feels as if they skimped on the painting process, leaving out an additional coat or something. Various corners where hinges meet body work have very rough paint that looks like it might have been touched up. These are, of course, tiny niggles, but are there, and must therefore be addressed. That vent on the right side (if you’re facing the model), next to the XP1 logo, is not even supposed to be there. The front wheel offset looks to be too far inboard, in line with the F1 GTR models, not the F1 LM. The conclusion here is that TSM, in order to cut costs, thought we wouldn’t notice and used the same mold for its GTR models and the LM XP1. But we did notice. Bad, TSM, very bad!

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP125

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP134

The model, however, is quite a lot cheaper than the AUTOart version, but I still like it more. Taking all the flaws into account, it’s still a good effort and I like it more than the plasticky AUTOart. I just wish that one day we’ll see proper metal parts on AUTOart models and good quality control on TSM models. Something tells me neither of those are about to happen, so I leave the decision up to you. Most collectors have already added the AUTOart version to their collection. Some even bought both. But the limited run of the TSM version will ensure that none of them will remain unsold, and may even turn out to be the more desirable version down the line. I’m pretty satisfied with my decision, which is what it’s down to in the end. Personal preference will always prevail over logic, and now I’m looking forward to the F1 GTR replicas coming soon from TSM.

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP135 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP12 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP13

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP14 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP15 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP18

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP19 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP110 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP111

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP112 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP113 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP114

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP116 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP117 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP118

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP119 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP121 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP122

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP123 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP124 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP126

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP127 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP128 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP129

TSM McLaren F1 LM XP131 TSM McLaren F1 LM XP133

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12 Responses to "REVIEW: TrueScale Miniatures McLaren F1 LM XP1"

  1. DS Team says:

    Wes thanks for the write up! There seems to be pros and cons on both sides. I personally own the AUTOart, it came out first. I was thinking about adding this one too, but I think I’m going to stay status quo with one. My main beef with TSM’s version is the front wheel offset it’s seem off. I also like the fact that AUTOart capable the access panels on the side. Tough choice in the end…

  2. thumper says:

    I share the same comments. The paint on mine I bought one of the race versions and it has the same issues you pointed out. AUTOart definitely tops TSM for quality control, but TSM did more in the detailing department. If TSM can put them together right, we might have a winner here.

  3. Wes says:

    It’s a very tough decision. Also, I have to say, by being imperfect, the TSM feels more bespoke and hand-made. I don’t know why, but that appeals to me very much.

  4. myself says:

    While i do appreciate your reviews Wes I find them oddly distractful in the clear bias towards anything that is NOT autoart. Any little issue with an Autoart model and you decide it is worthless and sell it after a month, but TSM, CMC, or any other model with innacurracies, QC niggles, or lousy paint and you say it gives it character. Which is it?!

    • Wes says:

      On the contrary, there has so far been only one Autoart model to receive stern criticism from me, and that was the Maserati MC12 GT1, for having waterslide decals on a $300 model. This one cost me near as makes no difference $100 less than the Autoart version. By commanding such a premium, the Autoart sets itself up for high expectations. I thought I was pretty harsh in this review, and even mentioned that, objectively, Autoart is the better choice. What I know is that I’m not the only one to prefer the TSM, so clearly me and a few others have our reasons, which are wholly personal and subjective, as is the nature of this review.

  5. Wes Shakirov says:

    I actually exchanged this unit for another today, as I noticed a QC fault that I previously missed. Almost all of the previous flaws are absent on this example and it’s almost flawless. I am a lot more happy with my decision now.

  6. Jacomb says:

    AUTOart is more maintstream in the diecast community compared to TSM. I doubt TSM will be anymore desirable than the AUTOart. Firstly because the prices are higher than TSM and only appreciate ^ when kept in good condition. Secondly AUTOart is more mainstream in the diecast community. Lastly the McLaren F1 LM is a legendary car in the 90s for over a decade, they will always have a reputation for desirability.

  7. I have ordered a TSM F1 and I am currently awaiting its arrival. I wasn’t even looking for this car but I’ve come upon a Chinese site that has posted some incredible prices , and after I successfully receive my purchases I will name this seller. If they are on the up and up it would then be my pleasure to share what I consider is my good fortune . That ‘s how incredible the prices are, ( sites rated at 97.5) All new pieces ! The reason I was excited at the prospect of a TSM is , I had previously purchased a F1 Lotus by them , and the feel in my hand ,the paint and the extremely well done mechanical detail rated this car in my view at a very hi level. Much more so than its advance notice ( that was in my knowledge) indicated. The F1 McLaren I bought has a Marlboro cig livery that I’m not in love with ,but the photo’s on the site showed it to be the same as what I see in your pic’s……..There’s no doubt that Autoart has a great rep and build quality to go with it, and I don’t believe that I am possessed of the extreme and specific expertise about these manufacturer’s as some of you…..but I do know good when I see it, and disregarding resale value as well as other aspects that are ancillary in nature TSM is very GOOD , in some ways head and shoulders above others asking a higher price point, in a more normal,and a not discounted numbers situation !! Finally , the other companies repped on the site about which I’ve spoken are Minichamps, Autoart, Kyosho and others of a less attractive desirability (of course Burago Signature is not entirely without merit) I guess I’m just a snob ) Who knows what ‘s to come , Hopefully the cars I’ve already purchased . I do worry , that’s how incredible the prices really are !!! Sorry if I’m long winded…..

    • Wes Shakirov says:

      The Marlboro edition you’re talking about is the Zhuhai car and I believe it’s very limited, something like 300 pieces in total. Be very glad to have one if it does come in as described. You’d be able to flip that for good coin, but I’d keep it if I were you. Still waiting for the FINA version myself, but TSM aren’t very good at releasing new stuff or communicating with customers or retailers.

  8. Scott says:

    I have to agree with Wes on the points of this model, I myself sold the Autoart which replaced the older Ut version i had bought some 20 years ago. I loved the autoart but when i got the TSM version i was more impressed with the amount of detail and interior that it was an easy choice to let go of the autoart and to this day i still have no regrets.

  9. Death7890 says:

    Guys do you know that you can get models on taobao for a lot less than here?
    of course you should buy them in china, or you are going to get stung by import taxes etc.
    hope you enjoy it!

  10. MYTHIC says:

    now that that I own the harrod’s livery version I can see what you’re talking about when it comes to those little details that really make the model stand out. my new favorite!

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