Being able to purchase and finance your dream car in your dream specification is on every petrolhead's bucket list.
Cars, in their entirety, not only give us an outlet through which we express and practice individuality, but they also give us a sense of belonging; something we can fall back to, admire, energise ourselves with and spring back into action when the going gets rough. However, rambling on about the joys of owning your dream car becomes redundant the moment someone asks, "But, what if you can't purchase your dream car and are instead stuck with a 2002 Toyota Probox?"
You see, apart from sitting in the corner of your office during lunch break and weeping over how the 2022 GR Corolla will be too expensive to import into the country, what if I told you that you could buy your dream car, have it shipped to you in Bangladesh and literally carry it to the next underground car meet for everyone to gawk at? Enter the magical world of scale-model cars.
As the term suggests, scale models are quite literally scaled-down replicas of anything and everything including planes, trains, ships, cars and even kitchen utensils. That's right, your child's tiny plastic model kitchen with the tiny utensils is a scale model. Right now, we shall only focus on scale model automobiles as this is an automotive publication, that is until the day we get permission to review a 787 Dreamliner, or a kitchen.
The world of scale model automobiles can be quite intimidating to newcomers as the said world is saturated with multiple brands producing scale models of various makes, models and trim levels.
To make things easier, allow me to break this down for you. There are mainly two kinds of materials that scale models are made with - diecast and resin. Diecast models, as the name suggests, are made from die-casting metal into a mould. Resin on the other hand is a type of plastic and thus, resin models are plastic.
It is much more difficult to cast and mould fine details in a model than it is to shape them with resin and as a result, resin models in most cases are much cheaper than their diecast counterparts and usually more detailed. On the flipside, resin is also equally as brittle and light and this is the opportunity cost that keeps diecast enthusiasts up at night, apart from when their next shipment is going to come in.
Now that we have gone over the nitty-gritty, we can begin heading into the multitude of scale model automobile brands that exist today. The crème de la crème includes CMC Modelcars, FrontiArt, BBR and Amalgam Collection.
Think of them as scale model boutiques as opposed to hobbyist stores. Reserved for serious enthusiasts with deep pockets, these ridiculously-accurate scale models have everything sans a working engine and working electronics. From detailed carpeting, intricate finishes to their sheer exclusivity, no expense is spared when it comes to making these miniatures.
However, one can get a taste of the intricacy in this level at a relatively lower price in the form of Ignition Models, AutoArt, Kyosho and Minichamps scale models. All of them are known for making incredibly detailed diecast scale models at relatively affordable prices. Their pricing, finish, build quality and so on are desirable enough for a number of their models to be unavailable for purchase in multiple stores due to their demand, in turn, raising their prices.
For beginners wishing to forage into this unfortunate world where one's scale models outnumber the panjabi's they have in their closet, and with a lower budget, they may choose to look into brands such as Norev, Solido (some are made in Bangladesh!), KK-Scale Models, True Scale Miniature (TSM) to name a few.
These brands offer models which are not quite as detailed as the ones mentioned above, often having non-openable doors and hoods as well, but still providing enough details and overall satisfaction to leave even the most serious hobbyist happy with their purchase.
The brands mentioned above offer model cars in various scales- from 1:18 all the way down to 1:64. Ultimately, you yourself must decide which scale is right for you.
Some collectors prefer sticking to one scale while for others, the scale does not matter as long as they have the model. At the moment, I have been collecting 1:64s and 1:43s as I find these two scales the perfect size to display anywhere in my tiny room or to transport in a suitcase or bag. Mini GT, Schuco, Ignition Models, Hobby Japan, Minichamps and Kyosho are some brands in a non-exhaustive list of scale model brands which make brilliant 1:64 and 1:43-scale models.
Most of these brands in varying scales are available in Bangladesh's vast online diecast community. Groups include Club Diecast, Diecast Car Collectors' Club Bangladesh (DCCCB), Diecast Collectors of BD and many more. Annual diecast meets are hosted as well by these where one may display their collection, purchase new additions to their collection or enquire about scale model brands and diecast related issues with the ever-helpful members of the community.
Collecting scale model automobiles for a petrolhead is more or less the same as, say, collecting vintage cameras for a photography aficionado. It is an extension of our undivided love for a specific thing, be it photography or cars. Being able to own a scale model of a car you wish to own one day does incredible things to your self-esteem. It makes you want to put in the hours, crunch hard and work your way up to that point in time when you can finally write a check or take cash out of the bank and deposit money for the very car you saw in 1:18 scale at a hobbyist store.
Besides, collecting scale model cars sure beats collecting cat hair off of your couch from five different cats, or worse.