How to Start Your Diecast Car Collection
Starting a diecast car collection can be confusing -- there are literally thousands of diecast models to choose from, made by many different manufacturers. If you need help figuring out how to choose the best diecast cars, we've put together a series of small guides to explain the basics of diecast cars to you. Whether you're just starting out your diecast collection, if you're looking for that perfect gift for a car enthusiast, or if you just want to know a little more about diecast, we want you to find the diecast car that's just right!
WHAT'S THE CAR FOR ME?
Most people who are shopping for diecast cars already have something in mind, and that's the best place to start. Do you prefer iconic American muscle cars? Vintage tailfin cars of the '50s and '60s? Modern European sports cars? Pickup trucks? Classic models of the '20s and '30s? Or are you looking for a diecast replica of a car from a favorite movie or TV show, like a Batmobile, Back to the Future Time Machine, or any of the various cars from the heart-pounding Fast & Furious series? You'll be amazed to see the range of diecast cars available, covering the best-known versions of most iconic makes and models.
Your first step will be to find what's available in the type that you're looking for. If you want a specific car, then search by year, make and model (eg 1967 Ford Mustang). If you're interested in a specific type of car, then you can use our website to browse by vehicle type -- check out our selections of pickup trucks, police cars, motorcycles and more!On ModelToyCars.com, you can also browse the diecast car selection by popular car models, such as the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Ford Model T and many other of the most legendary car models of automotive history.
And of course, if you're looking for cars from Movies & TV, you can also browse those. Almost all of the most-beloved vehicles from the top films of all time are represented!
Once you see what is available of the diecast cars that you're interested in, you'll probably find a list of diecast models with various "scales" and prices. This is where you'll move on to the next question of how to select your diecast car...
The scale of a diecast vehicle is stated as a fraction (just like the ones you used to hate in school!). This means that a 1/24 scale car is one 24th the size of the actual car. A 1/18 scale car is one 18th the size of the actual car, and so on. This also means that a 1/18 vehicle will be larger than a 1/24 vehicle, which is larger than a 1/32, which is larger than a 1/43, which is larger than a 1/64, and so on -- the larger the number, the smaller the car.
For example: if a real-life Corvette Stingray is about 15 feet (180 inches) long, then a 1/24 scale Corvette Stingray will be about 7 1/2 inches long (180 divided by twenty-four). A 1/18 scale replica of the same car would be 10 inches long.
Here is a list of approximate sizes:
|Diecast Scale||Approximate Size|
|1/18 Scale||9-12 inches / 24-30 cm|
|1/24 Scale||6.5-8 inches / 16-20 cm|
|1/32 Scale||4-6 inches / 10-15 cm|
|1/43 Scale||3.5-5 inches / 8-12 cm|
|1/64 Scale||2.5-3 inches / 6-7.5 cm|
For more on scale, see our article on Understanding Scale
If you've done a search on Batmobiles, for example, you've probably found that we carry various models, ranging in size from 1/64 scale to 1/18 scale. Based on the above information, you can decide which is the right size to put on your desk.
If you see a bunch of models available and you're still not sure which one you want, then you'll probably also be considering the question of budget...
You've probably noticed that diecast cars run from extremely affordable all the way up to downright expensive. So you may be wondering, "What's the difference between a cheap diecast car and an expensive one?" or in other words "Why would I ever spend $300 on a toy car?"
Well, as far as diecast cars go, it's pretty fair to say that the old adage applies that "you get what you pay for."
It's not that surprising, for example, that 1/18 scale models are almost always more expensive than smaller cars. In general, a larger model diecast car will cost more than a smaller version of the same car (although there are exceptions).
Still, it is also true that among diecast models of the same size, there can be large price variations. Why is this?
The answer lies mainly in the level of detail. Especially among 1/18 scale cars, there can be a very large difference in the amount of detail in a diecast car. High-end brands such as AutoArt and Sun Star offer cars with exquisite detailing, such as real hood ornaments and upholstered seats, as well as full suspension systems and intricately detailed engines with literally dozens of small parts under the hood.
With less expensive brands, you will likely find a decal instead of a hood ornament, and an engine and undercarriage that are made of one piece of molded plastic with some details etched into it.
In the end, the question really is; how much of a diecast enthusiast are you, really? Do you need all those intricate details, or do you just want something that you can put on your desk for visitors to admire? And of course there's always the question of how much you want to spend...
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you know what car (or type of car) you're looking for, you can further narrow down your choices based on size and budget until you select the diecast car that's just right for you or the person that you're buying it for.