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Plastic models vs Diecast

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  • Member since
    August, 2017
Plastic models vs Diecast
Posted by japan617 on Thursday, August 31, 2017 10:23 AM

I've been mainly focused on building model aircraft in the past but I've recently gotten interested in building auto models. Having dabbled in diecast before, I can't help but compare my work to diecast models from makers like Autoart, Kyosho, or Minichamps (and even Maisto to a certain degree). It's hard to laydown a finish comparable to
the factory, apply photoetch details, scale hinges, and tampo printing. Maybe it's just me but it all seems a little bit disheartening. Armor and aviation models can be differentiated by weathering and finishing techniques, and skilled builders can do everything mentioned above and more but it will take numerous hours for just one project.

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Thursday, August 31, 2017 12:16 PM

I agree that it takes much time and effort to create a truely accurate and authentic model. However, I have never seen ANY diecast model, even very expensive ones, that can match the level of quality that a skilled modeller can create with a good plastic kit. Sure, a good amount of kit bashing and scratchbuilding may be required, but that is just part of high-end model building.

If a shelf full of ornaments is all you are after, then die cast is the way to go. But model building is very much a case of "the journey is the destination". Don't be disheartened by comparing a nice die cast to a model you have built. Your model will have personal touches and a level of creativity that just doesn't exist in a mass produced model, and it is therefore exponentially more interesting.

If you wish, you can use a quality die cast as a benchmark to aspire to, though if you examine most of them very closely you will find they are not really all that good. A well done hand polished paint job can't hold a candle to the orange peel surface of a mass produced paint job. A quality built model with hand fitted parts shines in comparison to the fit & finish of even high end die cast.

Your comment about the opportunities for differentiating aircraft builds with finish and weathering techniques is interesting. I would think that a model car would offer at least as many opportunties for this type of work (though admittedly I haven't built aircraft since I was a kid, so it is not my area of expertise). Wiring and plumbing details on a model kit can easily surpass any diecast, especially when it comes to the colours and textures of materials used (one example; many builders use yellow ignition wires with no regard for shade of colour, surface texture, opacity, or the material's ability to drape effectively, but as a builder this choice is available to us, and we can thereby surpass the look of the ' lowest cost supplier' used by die cast manufacturers if we so choose). Interior details can also excel with texturing and shading. When chassis and engine compartment details call for black paint, use four of five different shades of balck for different components. Same with metaliser type paints. You won't find that on a die cast of any price. And there is no model car that can't be weathered to some degree.

Don't be discouraged. With skill and will your models can surpass even the best die cast (some of which can well surpass $2000). As model builders we tend to be our own worst critics. Perhaps your own builds, when judged with an unbiased eye, are already there.

Power matters in the straights.
Lightness matters everywhere. - Colin Chapman



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