Generic Diecast : Good or Evil?
There are a lot of differing opinions on generic diecast models, the general argument is over why should they exist? Are they acceptable? Should I collect them? I guess the first thing is to understand why companies make generic diecast, knowing that certainly will answer the ‘should they exist?’ question. In my opinion the answer is yes, they should exist, in fact they need to exist for the financial viability of the manufacturer and because of the modeled vehicles or objects can be done just as well as a generic as they could if it were a licensed model. But a lot of collectors don’t like them, so why do the companies produce them?. That question is easy to answer, money. Pure and simple it is about money, in this day and age every time a company produces a replica of a real vehicle it costs them a lot of money in licensing fees, lets take for example a popular sports car, the Porsche 911. Each time Matchbox, Siku or Hot Wheels produce a small scale replica of this car, they need to pay Porsche AG a licensing fee to use the companies logo and design, this means that a portion of each sale will go not to Mattel or Siku but to Porsche AG whereas with a generic, it can be loosely based on a real vehicle but all money from the sale stays with the manufacturer as there is no licensing agreement in place because the generic vehicle was wholly designed by the manufacturer so they already own the rights to it. Now imagine if Matchbox produces a Mercedes Delivery Truck with a UPS logo, then some of the proceeds of each sale go to Mercedes and some to UPS leaving even less for Mattel, the manufacturers of Matchbox.
So now we know why the manufacturers include generics in their range, the next question is are they acceptable?, well obviously this is more a personal choice for each collector to make but for me on the whole I say yes they are depending on the subject matter. There is no doubt that some generic vehicles should not be produced, they don’t resemble anything on the road today and are in fact nothing but the daydreams of the design team and for me personally that is not what I like, of course others will differ on that opinion, just look at the Go-Rolla pictured above. This monstrosity has no place in a range of diecast cars. You must give credit to the designers, they do try, but sometimes they just dont hit the mark, a good example is the Matchbox Radar Truck, not a bad idea but was widely panned by the collecting community and rejected by the key target market, children.
This hideous model spent years hanging about in the stores as nobody wanted them, But then there are others that become a definite must have, just look at some of the generics produced by Matchbox in the last few years, there is the MBX Tanker a fantastic replica of a fuel truck, the Aqua King which again is a great representation of a water bottle delivery truck, the Hazard Squad is another vehicle that you can believe you might find driving down the road and of course the Skidster is a great replica of a Skid-Steer. All of these are generics and all of them are more than acceptable, but the key for me is that they must be believable, they must be representative of what you would see in the world around you.
So should you collect generic vehicles, well this one depends entirely on your own personal preferences.Some people are what is known as a completest (I know, thats not a real word) in as much as they must have each casting made by a manufacturer so of course they will collect them, others just stick with the collect what you like philosophy so may not be interested, either way generic vehicles are a necessary evil and are here to stay so as collectors we need to get used to them and accept them as a necessary evil.