09 March 2021
We look back at the very best of the diecast and resincast releases that we've reviewed in Diecast Collector
Welcome to another of our annual retrospective model awards ceremonies as we look back at the very best of the diecast and resincast releases that we've reviewed in Diecast Collector over the previous twelve issues for the purpose of choosing our favourites.
Shortlisting these finalists is always a difficult task in itself but then to have to choose a winner in each category has been even harder than usual this year as there were some remarkable new models released during 2020, and the overall standard that we have seen has again been incredibly high, perhaps even more so than last year.
The criteria for selection is very simple, it has to stand out, and with good reason too. There were many outstanding models that didn’t even make it to the final selection. Just being the most accurate rendition isn’t sufficient – we always take into account value for money, desirability and originality.
Are you ready? Then we shall begin.
TV & FILM
Last year, the TV & Film category was incorporated into the new, all encompassing Weird & Wonderful group. But we've realised the errors of our ways and, for this year, we added an extra category and given TV & Film its own award back again. Given that 2020 has been a year of huge disruption in terms of supply chains, it is reassuring that there were still plenty of potential winners to choose from and that this made it a very tricky task to choose the finalists.
Greenlight Collectibles 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk1 - The Italian Job
PRICE: £8.99 each REF: 44880A/44880B/44880C
These really are superb little replications of the film's hero cars, with an excellent body shape, the right number of auxiliary spotlights (with the central one correctly mounted slightly higher) and nicely sculpted miniature Minilite wheels. The leather bonnet straps are tampo-printed on, but at this scale it works very nicely indeed. The interior isn't forgotten about either and is easily visible through the ample glazed areas. The models come in colourful and suitably-themed blister packs that are more than good enough to display without breaking them open. Now all we need are a suitably-scaled Bedford VAL 14 Harrington Legionnaire coach and a trip to Turin to re-enact all the film sequences! But don't be pushing the Minis over a cliff, obviously. Are you whistling the song yet?
Johnny Lightning Christine with Garage Diorama
PRICE: 24.99 REF: JLSP032
This diecast of the demonic 1958 Plymouth Fury, star of the 1983 movie, Christine, features an opening bonnet. As a proper 'baddie', Christine is replicated here in 1/64 scale, with darkened windows, meaning something unpleasant is probably about to happen. But fear not, the model is completely harmless, and comes complete with a resin backdrop replicating Darnell's garage, where she is stored during downtime. Nice!
Corgi The Beatles London Bus - Yellow Submarine
PRICE: £19.99 REF: CC82333
Launched as part of a range of less-detailed Routemasters, all wearing Beatles movie-inspired artwork, this really has a superb level of tampo printing for such a budget model. The incredibly eye-catching visuals wrap all the way around the lower deck and are added to by equally pleasant representations of the film's real hero and associated graphics to the upper bodywork. A proper 'talking point' model, this one!
Here is a category that always offers up some excellent models and is a firm favourite amongst many collectors. But this year's winner might raise a few eyebrows as it's possibly not what first springs to mind when the word commercials is mentioned.
The winner certainly grabs your attention, that's for sure, and that was ultimately the deciding factor. In the runners up spots are two manufacturers that have both carved out enviable reputations in the world of commercial vehicles too.
CMR Citroën DS Tissier Car Transporter 1970
PRICE: £103.99 REF: CMR 139
CMR has rightfully earnt a solid reputation for perfectly treading the tightrope between price and detailing, and this delightful diecast really pushes the limits of both, representing truly incredible value. At an impressive 18 inches long, it has real presence and can easily carry a suitable 1/18 scale car. Extend the supplied ramps and it's even longer, of course! The finish is simply gorgeous and the vibrant red is an outstanding choice, although it is also available in a rather beautifully subtle shade of blue with the red decks retained (No CMR 138) that looks every bit as stunning. Detailing throughout is wonderful - the texture of the loading area is worthy of note, in particular, as is the look of the interior seating.
Oxford Diecast Volvo FH Boulface Recovery Truck - Manchetts
PRICE: £23.95 REF: 76VOL08REC
Oxford Diecast adapted its already superb Volvo FH tooling to produce this incredibly detailed release as a recovery truck. Add into that the eye-catching Manchetts hi-vis yellow with green accents livery, and it's a real winner, representing truly great value as a result. A fabulous model that is sure to find favour amongst the truck collecting fraternity. Oodles of detail and a striking colour scheme too.
IXO 1993 Freightliner FLA and 1955 Peterbilt 281
PRICE: £32.99 each REF: TR046/TR048
Both models are excellent replications of real trucks and represent truly astonishing value from Ixo. Impressively scaled at 1/43, this makes them great for display as they really make a statement. With diecast cabs and chassis, the models are both sturdy and have a real quality feel about them. Detailing, such as mirrors, bumpers, fuel tanks, exhausts, fifth wheel etc., are all moulded in plastic and have an excellent chrome finish where appropriate. Superb stuff from Ixo.
BUSES AND COACHES
Another very hotly-contested and popular category - collectors of buses and coaches crave originality and variety, as much as fleet completeness, and this year we certainly saw many releases that ticked all the boxes here. Ultimately, though, three very familiar manufacturers fought it out for top honours, covering new and old, with two large-scale heavyweights in the mix, as well as both sides of the Atlantic - and it was a very close one to call.
Northcord Model Company Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC - First Glasgow
PRICE: £59.99 REF: UKBUS6514
Northcord's Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC is a one-piece casting with clean lines accentuating the square, gasketmounted windows. Another feature is its single tree protector at the front. The front dome on the model is significant, with curved windscreens on both upper and lower decks. Northcord is setting new interior design standards too. The outstanding layout of the Enviro400 MMC features extensive use of handrails on the upper and lower decks, all replicated here.
Ixo 1956 GMC Greyhound Scenicruiser
PRICE: £53.99 REF: BUS021
Ixo has updated its awesome, large-scale GMC Scenicruiser with the later Greyhound livery and it looks striking with the vibrant red, white and blue striping. Originally released as part of a Hachette partwork series, this new 'main range' release looks absolutely superb alongside its earlier-liveried sibling. Ixo's range of 1/43 scale buses just gets better and better, and this makes for a most welcome addition to any collection.
Oxford Diecast Weymann Fanfare - Southdown
PRICE: £43.95 REF: 43WFL001
The fresh two-tone light and dark green Southdown livery is perfectly applied and features cream masking around the windows with cream detailing to the front and rear. The Southdown logo is beautifully printed in gold and black dropped shadow lettering with chrome work to the lower body, together with the bright green wheel hubs, all adding to the attractive finish. Interior detail includes a compartment for the driver with pale green passenger seating throughout. Superb.
There is always more than a hint of nostalgia in the Aviation category, and this year, as was the case last year too, all three prizes go to vintage subjects. All three winners represent brand new tooling, an initiative that is to be applauded during these trickiest of times, and the manufacturers certainly deserve the plaudits as a result. The three successful companies all certainly have a reputation to uphold in this category, as they constantly produce exciting models.
Aviation 72 Folland Gnat Single Seater
PRICE: £42.99 each REF: AV 7228001/7228003/7228004
Aviation 72 released the first three examples of its newly-tooled single-seat Folland Gnat at the beginning of 2020. Following in the contrails of Aviation 72's successful two-seat T.1 trainer variant that has spawned many versions in 1/72 scale, the model's casting has been modified to replicate the original solo cockpit 'light fighter' F.1 that first flew in 1955. Initially released in these three schemes (RAF Cosford Museum XK724, Finnish Air Force, and Indian Air Force E1974), each really looks the part with the smaller cockpit and are all wonderfully finished in the appropriate liveries for their respective aircraft. The paintwork on all three features a suitable level of sheen and the markings are all beautifully applied.
Corgi Fokker E.II - Kurt von Crailsheim, October 1915
PRICE: £49.99 REF: AA28701
Corgi's replication of this famous flyer, adding to its superb range of 1/48 scale aircraft of the period, is exquisite. The tension cables to keep the wings steady are a testament to the prowess of the model designers, and had to be done well as they are an integral part of this iconic design. The finish and graphics are excellent and you can almost hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the machine gun over the throb of the detailed Oberursel rotary engine.
Schuco Junkers JU-52M/3M A-701 - Swiss Air Force
PRICE: £106.99 REF: 3551901
Schuco's replication of this important aeroplane is nothing short of superb. With the main structure being fully diecast, the model has an incredibly weighty feel to it. Whilst the Swiss Air Force livery is simple, the silver paint finish is perfect. The cowlings are correctly painted blue and all three props spin freely. In the cockpit, there are pilot and co-pilot figurines, clearly visible through the windows. A top effort by Schuco, it is thoroughly exquisite.
WEIRD & WONDERFUL
For last year's awards, this category was a new one, having evolved from the original TV & Film group. But such has been the quality of the samples received that it was necessary to split them out again, re-establishing TV & Film as a standalone and giving Weird & Wonderful a selection in its own right. It was an easy decision. Not so easy was narrowing down the possibles and actually choosing one for the top step. But the originality of this year's champion was the deciding vote.
Ixo 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen
PRICE: £24.99 REF: CLC331N
Widely regarded as the world's first production motor vehicle, it was built by Karl Benz. Roughly 25 were produced, through to 1893. An example of this incredible vehicle is on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Ixo's model is a lovely memento. An engineering masterpiece, the model is a great tribute with some incredible detail. Largely plastic, it does have a diecast chassis and all the main parts are there to see. The incredibly complex rear end of the real car features a large flywheel and this is wonderfully captured by Ixo on the model, as are many of the ancillaries, and the front wheel assembly swivels.
DNA Collectibles Subaru Baja
PRICE: £139.99 REF: DNA000050
The Baja is the fourth Subaru produced so far by DNA Collectibles. All the exterior details are present - including the roof bars, sunroof, and perfectly reproduced engraved lights. The interior is equally impressive - all the tiniest details have been replicated, such as the air vents, radio control buttons, dashboard details, and the seat belts. Even the indicator switches are detailed. The exterior is accentuated by the incredibly realistic tinted glass areas, plus superbly realistic alloy wheels.
Solido 1993 Renault Twingo Mk1 - Green Coriander
PRICE: £45.99 REF: U1804001
Solido's release of this super fun automobile picks up on all the features that made this little runabout so appealing. The compact design of the car carries on through into the interior, with its nicely-recreated and centre-mounted equipment console. The funky Coriander Green paintwork is wonderfully reproduced, and finished, and the minimalist badging is spot on too - even the dealer supplied stickers on the rear window are there. Top job, Solido!
The 2019 awards saw this category called "1/18 Scale & Above", but such has been the increase in the number of 1/24 scale offerings during 2020, we felt that this one needed renaming to give this scale a fair crack at the title this year. Having said that, all three finalists are 1/18 scale this year, but at least it gives us a wider remit going forward. This was a fiercely-contested award this year, in particular, with some stunning releases, but the overall winner just nudged ahead on the vital details.
DNA Collectibles 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country 'Ocean Race'
PRICE: £160.00 REF: DNA000043
Yet another exquisite replica from the passionate team at DNA Collectibles. The removable roof box, the exquisitely engraved lights and precise Volvo logo are all examples of DNA Collectibles' dedication to detail. Look closely at the headlights and, in addition to all the LED lights, DNA has even engraved "Volvo" on the exterior to make them as accurate as the real car. The exterior finish to the perfectly replicated body shape is absolutely superb and the Crystal White paintwork is totally flawless, set off nicely by the pale grey trim and day-glo orange accents. DNA's signature detailing is everywhere, applied by hand in the factory.
CMC Mercedes-Benz 600 6-Door Pullman
PRICE: £987.99 REF: M204
CMC's precision metal replica features a fully-working sunroof, with incredible levels of intricate detailing and authenticity throughout the entire model. The amount of work that has gone into this is absolutely stunning, with plenty of exquisite detail, right down to the pleated curtains at the rear. Almost everything that can open does and the finishing touch is the inclusion of an accessory box that includes handling tools plus four sublime hub caps that attach by way of magnets.
KK Scale 1970 Alfa Romeo Montreal
PRICE: €62.92 REF: KKDC180382
Released to coincide with the Alfa Romeo Montreal's 50th anniversary, KK Scale's Montreal is exquisite. One of three sumptuous 1/18 scale releases that hit the shelves early in 2020, these feature some truly excellent detailing, the finish is rather fabulous and each of the three colour versions look totally superb. The shape is just right and the paintwork is flawless, plus the detail to the front end is stunning – those unique slatted upper headlight grilles being particularly worthy of note.
This was yet another category that was really difficult to narrow down this year, with another bumper crop of new releases over the past 12 months. With a shortlist that featured plenty of nostalgia throughout, it certainly gave us a few headaches. But in the end it was a trio that represented a big tooling investment as well as tugging on those all important heart strings that took the spoils and will go home with the top prize - they've been a long time coming, but have truly been worth the wait.
Corgi Jaguar XJ6 & Daimler Sovereign
PRICE: £29.99 each REF: VA13900/1/2
The eagerly awaited new tooling, of Corgi’s long-wheelbase Jaguars and Daimlers, had been in development for some time - but it was worth the wait. And as a special treat, Corgi released the first three examples of its new tooling at the same time - a Daimler Sovereign Double Six Vanden Plas (in Caramel Metallic), Avon & Somerset Constabulary Jaguar XJ6 Series 2 4.2-litre, and a Jaguar XJ12 Series 2 in Juniper Green. All three are beautiful pieces of miniature engineering, with plenty of marvellous detail, and at a great price.
TSM Model Land Rover Series III SWB - 1983 Camel Trophy, Zaire
PRICE: £100 REF: TSM164321
TSM's resincast is nothing short of spectacular, with a perfectly replicated bodyshape,finished beautifully in the correct matte Sandglow. Jam-packed with accessories, such as jerry cans, auxiliary lights, meshed headlight protectors and get-out-of trouble shovel, the level of detail on this model is truly excellent, with the interior not being left out either. Finished off with Camel Trophy signage, this is a really beautifully-crafted model.
AutoCult 72 MG Mini M-Type
PRICE: £93.99 REF: ATC 02020
AutoCult has already earnt an impressive reputation for being the masters at modelling one off and rare prototype vehicles at both 1/18 and 1/43 scales in resin, and the craftsmanship is a real joy to behold, always finished flawlessly and with great attention to detail - and that's quite a boast, in the very best way of course. The finesse to the Riley-like grille is sublime and the proportions are perfect. It is a truly wonderful model.
A category that has largely been dominated by 1/76 scale in recent times, but as last year, the 2020 award goes to one of the ever growing number of 1/64 scale releases, and was pushed hard by some serious competition. Interestingly, 1/76 didn't get a look in on the podium this time (but not for want of trying), as both the runner-up spots were snaffled by 1/87 scale models, or in once case, a trio of them. This category also has a heavy US-inspired feel to it this year too.
Mini GT by TSM Acura NSX GT3 'Uncle Sam' 2017
PRICE: £14.00 REF: MGT0032
Last year's category champions have done it again. The Mini GT range is expanding at a cast rate of knots, thanks to its incredible popularity, but its stand out model release for 2020 features an incredibly intricate livery, that clearly took some doing in a 1/64 scale diecast. The stunning Acura NSX represents an American racer from 2017. Incredible livery and looks stunning.
Oxford Diecast 3-Piece 1949 Mercury Set - 70th anniversary
PRICE: £19.95 REF: 87SET002
Three completely different takes on the Mercury make up this 1/87 scale set from Oxford’s US Classic Cars series in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the launch of the marque in 1949. All three are beautifully finished with delightful 'chrome' trim to the body sides and around the windows, as well as the bumpers too, of course. The realistic number plates are always a nice touch on these US models as well.
Schuco Porsche 356 A Speedster
PRICE: £9.99 REF: 26498
Continuing the US-themed look of this category, whilst this is a German car, of course, the Speedster became synonymous with cruising up and down the West Coast and was to be seen doing exactly that on both the big and small screens. The small scale of 1/87 never ceases to amaze with the amount of detail that can still be incorporated. Whilst detail is lost, compared to its larger siblings though, none of the charm is. And at this price, it's a must have.
Our final category this year is our second extra award for 2020, and this time it's a total newbie. Motorsport has always featured highly in many of the other awards, so it was a sensible option to give it a sporting chance (groan!). It wasn't until we laid these pages out that we realised there was a heavy red-based tint across all three of our winners - it wasn't intentional, honest. And we'll refrain from making any racing references to them all being 'winners'. Oops, too late.
TSM Model Lotus 56 1968 Indianapolis 500 - Team Lotus
PRICE: £236.20 REF: TSM141801
TSM's sumptuous diecast replication of Maurice Philippe's gas turbine-powered, four-wheel-drive Lotus Type 56 racing car is an absolute joy to behold, with the company's attention to detail shining through on this model. The upper body can be removed in two parts, with the nose separate from the main body section. Doing this reveals some truly astonishing detail to the cockpit and ancillaries, but taking it a step further and removing the white shroud behind the roll bar reveals the turbine itself. An incredibly special model and, even though it wasn't victorious at Indy in 1968, it's definitely a winner here.
Ixo Ford Escort Mk1 RS 1600 - RAC Rally 1974
PRICE: £69.99 REF: AA38210
When Ford decided to shoehorn a 1.6-litre Cosworth BDA lump into its humble family saloon at its Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) plant at Aveley, in Essex, the car was given the full rally upgrade treatment. Beautifully finished in the correct livery, the Colibri graphics are perfectly crisp and superbly applied too. And on that subject, when you think about the sponsorship, it makes the perfect partner to all the tobacco advertising that was rampant in motorsport at the time - clever!
Bburago 2019 Ferrari SF90 F1 Team - Vettel/Leclerc
PRICE: £59.95 each REF: 18-16807V/L
The designation of the team's 2019 car, the SF90, was a celebration of the marque's 90th anniversary, and the Maranello-based team decided to honour this achievement in a suitable manner at the first race of the year in Australia. Bburago's brace of beauties correctly wear a sublime matt red finish and the graphics are all there, including the special "90 YEARS" logos. Detailing is very good and the models represent excellent value, with driver figures included. They look absolutely superb together, don't you think?