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Part 1.1: Introduction - Collector Scale 1:43

Welcome to part 1.1 of my exploration into the world of model car collecting.

Historically, the 1:43 scale has been the favorite scale of adult collectors. The average car in this scale measures between 4 and 5 inches in length and the scale was made popular by British model car brand Dinky Toys, a brand introduced by toy manufacturer Meccano Ltd. in 1935. Below is a great example of a vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom released in 1962 in the Dinky Toys range.















Dinky Toys as a toy brand had a long run with many interesting cars in this scale. In 1979 the factory was closed due to increasing costs and heavy competition from other brands, including fellow British manufacturer Corgi Toys. The brand left its mark and is very desirable for serious collectors. In the 1970s through the 1990s other 1:43 brands started to surface that focused on increased realism. Tomica Dandy from Japan released a great number of Japanese cars and European cars that are highly collectible today. They featured opening doors, hoods, and trunks, smooth running wheels with rubber tires and heavy diecast construction. Below is an example of an early 1980s Nissan Skyline 2000RS (R30).



Other brands worth checking into and well-respected for amazing realism are Minichamps, AUTOart, and Kyosho. These brands produce limited edition versions of everyday cars, sports cars, and supercars. Both Minichamps and AUTOart make manufacturers' promotional models that are given away at auto shows during press events and are sold at gift shops in car dealerships. In retail locations and on toy auction sites these models can range from $30 for common car models to over $100 for very limited edition models of exclusive car brands. The five models shown below are great examples of Minichamps 1:43 scale models that would thrill any serious collector.


Many collectors shop for these cars on internet sites and in higher-end model car stores. When shopping for used cars in this scale it is important to watch for certain defects that could pop up after a few years of display, even in a store setting. Cars can show faded paint if they were displayed in areas that allowed for direct sunlight. The same can also affect the rubber tires used on these models. Cracking and a deteriorating white dust can form and hurt the value of the car. Earlier releases used more traditional style decals, which can crack and deteriorate over time. Displaying these types of cars takes special care and I would recommend a glass display case in a non-smoking environment. Leaving the car in its own display case also protects it, but I have to admit that they often display better without it. If any plastic accessories break off due to handling or old age make sure to use glue that does not leave a white film. Some epoxy glues are best for this purpose and only use a minimal amount to fix the part.

The 1:43 scale sees a continuous coming and going of brands from all over the world, which makes this size model car so very interesting. The majority of brands produce in very capable factories in China and Thailand. There are still high end brands such as BBR Models and MR Collection Models that make small series of super detailed cars in Italy. These cars will range from $200 to over $500 depending on the production run and type of detailing. An amazing MR Collection model of a Lamborghini 350 GTV is shown below.



One brand to take note of is Esval Models. Founded in New York in 2013 by two enthusiastic model car collectors, this brand is quickly expanding its model portfolio. The cars are made from a resin material, which allows for small series of cars with intricate detailing. Check out the Duesenberg and Cord models below and it's easy to see why people can find it so fascinating to collect these small pieces of automotive art.

Coming soon: Part 1.2 - Introduction: Collector Scale 1:18

Link to Part 1.0: Introduction - Collector Scale 1:64

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