Greatest name in Diecast
The greatest name in diecast, that was the catchphrase of Matchbox Collectibles some years back but who could claim that title today? Obviously Matchbox Collectibles couldn’t as that range no longer exists, due to what I think was poor decisions in marketing and distribution the Collectibles range was killed off some years ago, Mattel still make high quality diecast but now it is released mostly under their Hot Wheels brand and of course the subjects modeled are very different. Could Matchbox still hold the claim though? When you look at some of the models we have looked at recently on this blog like the MB885 : Renault Master Ambulance or the MB778 : Heritage Ice Cream Truck I would question it.
So I got to thinking, just who could claim the title of The Greatest Name in Diecast today?, certainly on the larger scale models you would have to look at the high end models like autoArt, Minichamps or Kyosho for the winner in that category but what about the lower end of the market. I choose to look at this end of the market as this is about the only place the Matchbox brand still competes, but are they still The Greatest Name in Diecast? I think not but of course you be the judge.
There is no doubt that Matchbox on the whole make some fantastic castings, just look at some of the releases in the last 10 years like the MB807 : Holden VE Ute, the MB896 : 2015 Range Rover Evoque or the MB1239 : 2018 Toyota HiLux, you can certainly say that in cases like these the designers at Mattel really know there stuff. These guys (and girls) have really managed to capture the essence of the vehicle which I don’t think is easy to do in such a small scale and certainly they deserve a lot of credit for the fantastic job they have done. Sadly though that is where it stops, moving on through the company they then get a paint job which at times leaves a lot to be desired to say the least, there has been pages and pages of internet discussion from collectors all over the world about this so I wont go into great detail about it, suffice to say that the way in which Mattel can take a fantastic and well designed casting and completely stuff it up with a coat of paint is nothing short of amazing. Add to this that for whatever reasons Matchbox no longer have working features on their vehicles, unless of course its on a premium line and I have heard a lot of reasons for this like cost cutting or child safety but when you compare them to another small scale diecast vehicle, none of these excuses stack up. The other feature that is missing from Matchbox is realistic features like rubber tyres, and interiors, again with the exception of the premium ranges which on the whole are bit over priced. All up when you look at a current Matchbox vehicle there is no way that I would classify it as the greatest in the world.
So moving on what about the Matchbox sister brand Hot Wheels? Well sadly I think this brand also suffers from the same problems as Matchbox, their basic range vehicles whilst priced well do not have moving features, do not have realistic features like rubber tyres but do come in a range of ghastly colours and tampo prints. I would however say they are better than Matchbox because they do have more tampo prints on some vehicles, this means when they almost get it right, the car will have printed headlights, taillights and maybe side indicators, pin striping or logos and these small things can make a very big difference to the overall look of the car. Clearly a little more money is spent on the Hot Wheels range than what Mattel spend on Matchbox but still its not enough in my eyes to win the title.
Also competing in this market, although I haven’t seen any locally for a while is companies like Realtoy. Their cars are cheaper to purchase than Matchbox or Hot Wheels but are just as well designed. When you hold one in your hand you can feel that the metal is lighter or thinner than a Matchbox so they don’t quite have the feel and I am sure wouldn’t stand up to as much punishment as the Hot Wheels or Matchbox car would, but if you are a collector who just wants to put them on a shelf then they are fine. The printing on the vehicles is an exceptionally high quality, from painted grills to vehicle logos, Realtoy seem to live up to their name and make a toy that is very realistic in its design and execution which would certainly make them a contender for the title. Would they win the title, in my opinion, no they wouldn’t. They seem to be lacking some of the features that would make them a winner as well, whilst their printing is better they still have plastic wheels and tyres not rubber, limited or no moving parts also lets them down, but for a cheap toy car they certainly came up punching well above their weight.
Welly is another player in this market and one that like Realtoy is definitely a contender, like the other manufacturers that have gone before them they have, like Realtoy great tampo printing, but also like Realtoy they have little to no play value as they lack working features on most vehicles are very light in the metal department. The other let down for them is in the casting department, sure for a small scale vehicle they are accurate and they look good too, but they just lack the quality of Matchbox and unlike Matchbox just don’t seem to be able to capture the essence of the real vehicle
So who do I think would currently be the winner of the title Greatest Name in Diecast? Well I think currently that title would have to go to the manufacturer that makes their miniature vehicles in an almost regular scale, the one where most vehicles have very realistic features like rubber tyres. The manufacturer that has a lot of built in play value in their cars with moving features like opening doors, bonnets and boots. The manufacturer that creates fantastically accurate castings that capture the essence of the real thing and then paints them in believable colours and paint schemes and the one that makes other add-ons in the same scale to aid in the play value of their cars like street signs etc. And the name of the company that is doing all this is Siku, yes in my mind the current company that could lay claim to the title Greatest Name in Diecast would have to be Siku.
The German diecast manufacturer seems to have just got everything right at the moment, just about all of the vehicle they release have great play value, realistic parts, moving parts and come in a consistent scale. They also have add-on items like street signs that can add so much more to a childs playtime and unlike any of the other brands we looked at they cover a vast range of subjects. Siku have their Siku Super range to cover off vans, trucks, cars, forklifts and yes even a ride on lawn mower. Add to that they have the Siku Farmer range to cover off tractors and other farm related equipment, I just don’t think there is a diecast manufacturer in the world at the moment other than Siku that can please both collector and child alike with their range of offerings.
Of course that is just my opinion, what do you think? Am I right? Or am I wrong? Have I forgotten a manufacturer? Let us know what you think.