What was your first model?

And do you still have it? I bet that many of us still do. After all, collecting in essence is saving things. However some of us who are on this road for long may not even remember which was the first one. Moreover, very possibly, this first model may be long gone, either sold or traded or perhaps even simply lost. I’m fortunate that I know what model it was and when I got it. And even more important, it is still with me 🥰.

Though it’s not part of my “active” collection I have it safely displayed. Want to know what it is? Just click HERE.

New photos

From time to time, I redo some of my older photos. Well, at least after July 2020. That’s when I got my Sony A7 III, replacing my old Nikon D70. Since the A7 III was a HUGE upgrade, I could do a much better job in showing my models. Besides, this year I made three new dioramas, two race tracks and one “parking lot”. With the better camera and better scenery, I could do better shots. That being so, once in a while I will re-shoot some of my older cars.

Such a gorgeous model deserved better photographs.

And this time I photographed the coolest MacF1 of all times, the 1995 BBA Compétition #42 art car. I recently made a new guardrail, and I thought #42 would look good with it as a backdrop. Without a doubt, the new photos came out much nicer than the previous ones.

Three little piglets…

Spark × Minichamps × Highspeed, from left to right.

With my new Pink Pig from Spark, I was able to do this small comparo. On the left you see the new Spark, and in the middle is my old Minichamps. And on the right is my daughter’s Highspeed model. She’s 11 and according to her, the Pink Pig is the coolest Porsche. Ever 😁.

Same order, from the rear.

The biggest difference between the Spark and the Minichamps is the black tape. During the race, car #23 had black tape around the door and engine cowl. I think Minichamps used the car as it sits at Porsche’s museum as the base for their model. In fact, I have the impression that most of their models are based on the cars as they look today. Spark, on the other hand, replicated the model as it was on race day. And for me, at least, that’s a BIG plus.

Spark on the left, Minichamps on the right and Highspeed at the bottom.

In terms of overall detail the Spark model has the edge, being it little more refined then the Minichamps. And as expected, the Highspeed version is much simpler. Nonetheless, it is NOT terrible – far from it, in fact. Therefore, it comes down to how much you want to spend and/or how important the Pink Pig is to your collection.

Whatchamacallit? Käfer, Fusca, Beetle or Vocho? And is it Bus, Kombi or Pão-de-forma?

At first Volkswagen just called their two most popular models the Sedan and the Transporter. However, with the years that changed, especially when these models began to be exported and manufactured in other countries. And both of them received many different local nicknames. Interestingly, with time, and in some markets, VW adopted that nickname as the models’ official name. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know of no other car with so many names. And I’m talking about official names, of course.

When I began to look into this, I was honestly surprised to see all the variations. Over here I listed a few of them, with a brief history of how it all started.

Mercedes 300 SLR: Spark × Minichamps

Very recently I upgraded a grail model, the Le Mans’ Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. This is one of those models that was paramount to have in my collection. I first got one in 2017, from Minichamps. And I was quite pleased with it, being the best one available at the time. However, in late December 2021 Spark released their version. Since the car is a grail model, I almost immediately bought one (or two… 😉). So, is it in fact better than my previous Minichamps version?

Oh yes, take a look here 😎.

The good, the bad and the best

I’m confident very few here recognize this poster. Heck, I think even fewer actually watched that film… Though I can’t say I watched it when it first came out (1966 – I wasn’t born yet), I watched it in the 80s. And I loved it – one of the best “spaghetti westerns”, a film genre that is long gone. However, I doubt that modern audiences will like it very much. Too “slow” for today’s movie standards.

But what the boogers does a 1960’s western has to do with 1:43 model cars?!? Well, other than the somewhat similar title, not much 😁. However, the title is pretty close to what I found out when I compared three 550 GTS Maranello models. Three models from three different brands with three different detail levels. What I concluded was not what you would normally expect

Top 5 – 2021

This year I decided to do something different to close the year. Well, I almost did this last year, but with the COVID pandemic raging the idea kind of floundered. Anyway, the intent is to show the Top 5 models I reviewed in the year. Not just the best models from a craftsmanship perspective but models that for some reason have special significance to me or the W-143 Garage. So without further ado, and in chronological order, here are the Top 5 models of 2021:

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR #104 – Spark

Not only a FRIGGENTASTIC model from Spark, also the final “factory” Silver Arrow for the W-143 Garage.

BMW 3.5 CSL #43 – Ixo

Though a so-called “budget” model, probably the best bang-for-the-buck I found in 2021.

Porsche 934 “Jägermeister” #68 – Spark

Not a winner, however being a Jägermeister car (the only one at Le Mans), a very dear model to me.

Porsche 935 #40 – Spark

A class winner and a special one for the Garage – the second of the X-Ray cars. And, Spark-goregous.

Porsche 911 (964) Carrera 4 RAUH-Welt Begriff “Waikato” – Tarmac Works

The nice surprise of the year – I was genuinely impressed by Tarmac Works. A GREAT model on a budget price.

The tools of the trade

In theory, as long as you have available space (and money!), you don’t need anything else to collect 1:43 cars. However, after you get serious about the hobby, maybe you should put together a toolbox. There are a few items that definitively will make your life easier. Not many, and everything cheap and easy to find.

To find out what you need, clickety-click HERE.

Spark’s partworks (update!)

PW much? A TA driver is a good investment!

Until very recently, I had four models of Hachette’s “24 Hours of Le Mans Cars Collection”. These models are diecast and all partworks (pw), however they’re made by Spark. When I got these four, despite being pw models, I was quite happy with the series. I felt that for the price they had a superior value for the money. However, I recently got two more. And now, I have to say I’m not as favorable to the series as I initially was 🤨. If you head to the original page I added an update explaining why.

The devil is in the details

What makes a model “good”? And conversely, what characteristic (or lack of) makes a model “bad”? Being overly simplistic, the answer would be accuracy. If the model accurately represents the real car in scale, it is a good model. In other words, in 1:43, if you recreate the real car 43× smaller you have an accurate model. However, model manufacturers not always can shrink every detail of the real car. Furthermore, some details have more significance in the collector’s eye.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche once said “the devil is in the details”. Even though shape and proportions are paramount, some details are more important then others. With that, the presence or absence of a specific detail makes or breaks a model. If you want to understand what I’m talking about, click HERE.