Model Cars Posts

Ben van Roode, Dutch Diecast Expert, Joins hobbyDB Advisory Council

Ben van Roode

The vast collection of knowledge available on hobbyDB keeps growing with yet another diecast vehicle expert. Ben van Roode, best known as an author of articles and books about model cars, has joined the Advisory Council.

“I played as a boy of course with cars,” said Ben, who lives in The Netherlands. “Then in my teens model cars disappeared into the background because other interests took over.” The lapse wasn’t for long, however, as he got his first job at the age of 16 and began collecting Dinky toys along with other brands of model cars. “There was one slight problem. Sales girls did not ask whether it was a present, but supposed right away that the guy of 18 or so was not the one that would receive the gift,” he laughed. “So they wrapped it up in nice gift paper that I removed as fast as I could.

“Dutch society is more individual than ever today, though, and people do not judge about the hobbies you have.”

In his twenties, he joined the biggest society of Dutch diecast collectors. “Rather soon, I was asked to become a member of the board,” he said. “I started a club magazine and was responsible for the contents. In the meantime the number of members rose to around 5500. We celebrated the 25th jubilee in 1990.”

For the jubilee, the club organized a large exhibition of models in 80 glass showcases that was on public display for six weeks. The event was sponsored by BMW and opened by a member of the Royal family, it was a big deal.

MAR Model Auto Review

Big Boys don't play with Dinky ToysAs an adult, Ben has written about model cars in Dutch and English. I wrote among others for a Dutch classic car magazine. I wrote for MAR (Model Auto Review), and so on. In 2004 he wrote a book called “Big Boys Do Not Play With Dinky Toys,” a celebration of 40 years NAMAC (Netherlands Association of Model Auto Collectors) in a print run of 8500 copies. “American cars in all scales were a main theme for me,” he said about his collection, “but the club included models of cars from anywhere.” Despite leaving his functions in the club, he was made a honorary member for life.

Despite many collector clubs losing membership in recent years, the NAMAC continues to thrive, with over 5000 members. “Every two months there is a large model car fair in the center of the country. With over 500 tables and around 6000 visitors, it’s the largest fair in Europe that’s organized this frequently.” Collectors and traders from Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, the U.K., and further away attend the meetings.

NAMAC meeting

The mulit-annual NAMAC diecast shows are among the largest collector events in Europe.

Having recently moved to a smaller apartment, he decided to sell a large part of his collection (large in number and scale). “I now collect mainly 1/64 scale,” he said. “I love Johnny Lightning and to a certain extent also Matchbox and Hot Wheels. I was positively surprised when JL and Auto World returned with their new lines in 1/64.”

Ben’s interests extend beyond model cars, of course. “In art, I especially love the photorealism but am open to all painters, including the modern ones too. Architecture is another thing that interests me,” he said.

He creates his own art as well. “I draw a little myself, but it is not very good. I love collecting drawn art of cars that are drawn, like the Pontiac ads in the sixties and many other car art people, Ken Eberts, William Motta… the list is endless..” he said. “I made a little book of ads from American cars from American magazines.” As an appropriate soundtrack for enjoying Detroit steel, his Spotify account is populated with Motown and Pennsylvania soul music.

At 70 years old, he is nowhere near slowing down For one thing, he writes for Modelauto Krant, an online diecast blog. He volunteers as a member of the board for some charity organizations and still does personal writing. “I need my diary every day. You have to stay active in your life.”

It’s a joy to know someone who enjoys his hobbies so much. Welcome aboard, Ben!

The Most Expensive Cars Ever are More Affordable in Miniature

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We recently stumbled onto a list of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction, all of which you’ll likely have to valet, name, and put to bed with a few bedtime stories. If you don’t have a few million to spare on one of these beauties but still want to swoon, there are affordable models you can find on hobbyDB of just about every car on the list.

1937 Mercedes 540K Roadster – Sold for £3,900,000 ($4,818,800)

western models 1937 Mercedes 540KOnce owned by Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula 1 Racing, this car was one of only 26 ever built. There are several options to choose from including a 1/43 white metal version from Western Models, which usually sells around $100-125.

1904 Rolls-Royce 10hp – £4,000,000 ($4,942,359)

airfix rolls royce 1905This was the first car ever built by Rolls and Royce together, with a 1.8 liter engine cranking out a whopping 10 hp. (A modern Mini Cooper has an engine about that size and puts out over 10 times that power.) We haven’t found any models of this exact car, but there is a four seat version of the 1905 car that doubled the horses to 20. Airfix made a 1/32 scale model kit of it, available in different packaging for about 30 years.

1929 Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSK – £4,700,000 ($5,807,272)

bburago Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSKThe SSK is one of sleekest cars of its age, longer and lower than many other roadsters from the time. With very few mods (mostly involving removing unnecessary annoyances like running boards), it was an outstanding race car. While there are several models available, probably the best-known one comes from Bburago in 1/18 scale. There’s even a Mickey Mouse version…

1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM – £4,800,000 ($5,930,831)

looksmart 1962 Ferrari 330The one shown here was driven to victory at LeMans in 1962 by Phil Hill. So yeah, there’s a premium to be paid for pedigree. There are fewer models of this car than you might expect. This one is from Looksmart in 1/18 scale.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB – £6,900,000 ($7,289,980)

Polostil Ferrari 250 GT SWBNothing noteworthy about this particular car aside from the fact that it’s rare and beautiful and fast and once owned by actor James Coburn. There are several models of these available including a nice 1/18 offering from Polistil, who are usually known for their smaller scale cars.

1931 Bugatti Royale Berline – £7,900,000 ($9,761,160)

RIO Bugatti Royale BerlineLong before Bugatti became an ostentatious modern supercar, the name was bestowed on ostentatious luxury coupes. sedans and Phaetons. This particular one was owned by the Bugatti family, so again… pedigree has a price. There have been numerous models other Bugattis, but not many of this style. This similar fixed roof model from Rio is about as close as you can get to the real thing, and at $13.99 it’s a bargain even in 1/43 scale. (Or, if you like a project, you can acquire this one for less and restore it.)

1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa – £8,000,000 ($9,884,719)

bburago Ferrari 250 Testa RossaUnderneath that sleek, dripping coachwork is a V12 that is often described as the best-sounding Ferrari ever. Bburago brings you several smaller, quieter versions in 1/18 scale.

1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe – £9,200,000 ($11,367,427)

rio Bugatti Royale Kellner CoupeLong, low, and sinister looking, and powered by a 12.7-litre aircraft engine, the Kellner was too expensive for a car launched during the Great Depression. As it turns out, it would have been quite an investment if you could have held on for another 75 years or so. There have been models of similar vintage Bugattis including this 1/43 droptop from Rio.

1963 Ferrari 250 GTO – £12,000,000 ($14,827,079)

pink kar Ferrari 250 GTOOne of the most iconic and recognizable Ferraris ever, there were only 36 of these ever built. But there are lots of models, thank goodness. So how ’bout a version you can actually drive? This slot car from Pink-Kar clocks in at 1:32 scale.

1936 Bugatti Type 57C Atlantic – £27,000,000 – $33,360,928

brumm revival Bugatti AtlanticThis is the Bugatti that everyone recognizes from their early days… a low, swoop Art Deco sculpture on wheels. Only three were ever made, so they tend to be expensive. There have been far more models of it, of course, in several scales. Here’s one from Brumm Revival for around $45, which scaled down, is pocket change by comparison.

Do you know of any other record-smashing auction cars that we also have in our database? Or other versions of these models that are even closer to the real ones? Let us know in the comments!

Laudoracing Models Sets Up Shop at hobbyDB

laudoracing panda rallyWhen you first discover Laudoracing-Models, you’re likely to assume the company is from Italy. After all, most of their models are based on Alfa RomeosFiats and other Italian marques, and even their name sounds Italian. Non, monsieur, they are a French company. Either way, we’re proud to announce that Laudoracing has set up a store on hobbyDB and has also added their complete, Official Archive to our database. Since the information comes straight from the source, you know it’ll be accurate and complete.

laudoracing interior

Laudoracing offers a wide range of resin cast 1:18 models, with beautiful finishes and incredibly detailed interiors. Quite a bit of the detail is hand painted, but with such accuracy that it’s hard to spot. On top of that, they then add crisply printed decals for things such as badges and gauges. One point of pride for the company is that they try to make cars that have never been offered in that scale.

laudoracing seat

laudoracing alfa 75In some cases, it might be just a particular, rare version of a real car that is similar to, yet so much rarer or desirable than a more common car in the real world. Many of their models are available decked out for racing with additional equipment mods and special livery. Often you can even tell what specific race the car appeared in based on sponsor decals and other subtle clues. A few of the rally cars are even available spattered in mud like this Fiat Uno. Not everything they do is based on Italian marques, of course… Take this SEAT 850 Especial (although it’s basically a Fiat built for Spain.)

Laudoracing works closely with the original manufacturers, using their photos and original design drawings to generate 3-D computer renderings of the cars. From there, everything is painted and assembled by hand. Or, if you prefer, they also offer a series of resin kits in scales ranging from 1/24 to 1/18, such as this Alfa 75 model.

spare parts

Some spare parts are available separately, such as weather stripping and window trim for certain cars, which is an incredible labor of love. There’s also a series of aftermarket wheel and tire sets that could be used to modify cars from other model companies.

laudoracing abart 1400Production of their is very limited, usually no more than 500 pieces, sometimes as low as 50 copies. Considering the amount of hand assembly and detailing, it would be impossible to make more than that in some cases. Laudoracing likes to listen to customers for suggestions, and will even consider making a model of your own car if it fits their mix.

laudoracing turbodelta

Rocky Mountain Diecast Club Archives now on hobbyDB

Rocky Mountain Diecast ClubThe Rocky Mountain Diecast Club is now hosting their Official Archive at hobbyDB. Having a collectors club post their history here is the beginning of what we think becomes a big movement in the collecting community.

Consider all the exclusive merchandise a club can generate over time…  special T-shirts, club exclusive cars, publications and newsletters you’ve created over the years. Wouldn’t it be great to put those things in a permanent museum here? Even better, each item is linked to variants and other related items and Subjects in the hobbyDB database, making it easy for club members to do research and for other folks to find you.

According to Kevin Feeley of RMDC, the club has been active for over 20 years, starting as the Rocky Mountain Hot Wheelers, and changing the name recently to be more inclusive of other brands and interests. “We are a group of car enthusiasts that enjoy getting together to discuss and trade, the latest releases, and treasured diecast vehicles of the past, he said.” Meetings have been held in various places around the Denver area, and they currently meet every other month in Boulder at hobbyDB’s headquarters, of all places. It’s a great space for collectors, especially diecast, specifically Hot Wheels.

Rocky Mountain Diecast Club

Kevin Feeley of the Rocky Mountain Diecast Club with a small portion of his collection. The club has produced very limited Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars for events.

In addition to the bi-monthly meets, the club does other events. “Several members attend the annual Nationals, and Hot Wheels Convention each year, Kevin said. “The club sponsored a diecast toy show at the local fairgrounds several years ago that was very well attended.” If you were there, you might have been able to snag some very rare collectibles. The club has produced some limited edition custom models from Hot Wheels and Matchbox to commemorate such club activities.

rocky mountain diecast club

A Sizzlers track is part of the Hot Wheels action at a recent club meeting.

The next event is April 15, 2017 at hobbyDB.The club has about a dozen regular members who attend, but they are always looking for more to join them in the hobby. “Everyone is welcome and we would really love to see some new faces at our bi-monthly meetings.  I would also like to thank HobbyDB for all of their help in attempting to expand our club in the Rocky Mountain region!” There’s a simple application and a $20 annual fee to cover the club’s basic expenses like their summer picnic.

rocky mountain diecast club

The RMDC visited the Shelby American Collection in Boulder.

Are you in a diecast collecting club? Or ANY kind of collectors club for that matter? We’d love to have you host your Official Club Archive here on hobbyDB. It’s a great way to publicize the club and promote events, and you might find a lot easier than maintaining an archive on your own site. Contact us and we can help get you started!

Dave Chang of KustomCity Adds Official Archive to hobbyDB

kustomcity dave changThe latest Official Archive on hobbyDB is as much about a diecast model  company as it is about a designer and customizer. Dave Chang has added KustomCity as well as his extensive history to our database, and we couldn’t be more excited!

hot wheels scrape modifiedHe’s worked for Hot Wheels and Muscle Machines over the years, creating wild graphics for a wide range of models. For Hot Wheels, he is best known for the Scrape Modified, a heavily customized 1939 Lincoln coupe, and smaller scale models like the the 2003 Redline Club Drag Bus.

kustomcity evo drag busMore recently, Dave is best known as the mastermind behind the KustomCity Evo Drag Bus series. If you aren’t familiar with these models, imagine if the Hot Wheels Drag bus were crossed with a streamlined steam locomotive. These 1/64 models were designed from the ground up, a totally original take on the modest Volkswagen Bus. The long, sleek, aggressively tapered body work suggests an fiercely fast vehicle designed to do one thing: Go very fast in a straight line.

kustomcity firewagenHowever, on closer inspection, the Evo Dragster is designed for more than that. Besides, the Bus variant, there is a pickup version that has been further tricked out for all kinds of uses. There’s a tow truck model, from the “Big Tow” series. And a fire engine (the “Firewagen”). Actually, there are several versions with built in cargo, such as motorcycles or surf boards (the “Surfwagen”). But who are we kidding here… these things are anything but utilitarian.

kustomcity surfenwagenDave has created an enormous number of different paint schemes including candy chrome hues (aptly named “Over-Chrome”), drab military schemes that defy the word “drab”, and wild murals of crazy graphics. Depsite the limited production numbers, there are even rarer “chase” versions. With their large areas of relatively flat surfaces, the Evo vehicles have been popular with other customizers as well.

david chang diecast hall of fame

Dave Chang (lower left) and the rest of the original 2009 Diecast Hall of Fame class.

Dave is also a member of the inaugural class of honorees in the Diecast Hall of Fame from 2009, which should come as no surprise. In the almost decade since that honor he hasn’t slowed his roll one bit.

kustomcity evo drag bus