Ixo: I’m impressed


As a 1:43 model manufacturer, Ixo is one of the so-called “budget brands”. That group consists of brands like Altaya, CMR, Schuco (they also have a premium line), HighSpeed, Brumm, Herpa, etc. Its a long list. I’m never shy in saying that you shouldn’t judge the model by the brand, however in general terms, budget brand models are not very good. In fact, they’re usually poor. Of course, to be a rule there has to be exceptions (I always cite Brumm in this case).

Ixo, however, has been consistently the exception to the budget-brand-means-bad-model rule. Their current models are truly good, to the point that they can rival Spark, in terms of bang-for-the buck. Click HERE if you want to read a little more about this.

Top 5 – 2023

Another year gone, my hair is whiter, my back complains more and it’s time for the Top 5 models of the year. The 2023 collecting year was pretty good, and I got some VERY nice models. And at the time of this writing, the W-143 Garage now consists of 531 models 😯. I guess that the biggest news is that I officially added a Rally Wing to the W-143 Garage. I can’t say that now I’m a “rally collector”, because I won’t buy a lot of stuff. However I will try to get some specific models that speak to my heart. So, to list them in chronological order, here are my Top 5 Models of 2023:

1️⃣ The 1992 905 is a Le Mans winner (= must buy) that eluded me for a few years. One of those models that are hard to find for no obvious reasons – it looks the same as the 1993 winner 🤔. Nonetheless, I finally got one!

2️⃣ Ooooh, a Looksmart. Considered to be one of the top premium brands in 1:43, I was dying to see what it offered. A beautiful model of a class-winning car, however just Spark-good at 150% Spark’s price. Very nice, but too expensive.

3️⃣ When Minichamps wants to, they make a killer Silberpfeil. In this case, Bernd Rosemeyer’s Typ Lucca. Just when I thought I wouldn’t get any more Silberpfeile, Minichamps comes out with this gem.

4️⃣ The Breadvan. Didn’t even finish one Le Mans race, yet it represents a few guys that got fed up with Old Man Enzo’s wife 🤣. Only in Italy… Comedy aside, the model is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s, possibly THE nicest I have.

5️⃣ Of course I had to put a rally car in this list. I got some nicer models this year, no doubt (Mini, Quattro, etc). However, the “Safari Delta” made the list because it was the first Ixo rally car I bought. And I was thoroughly impressed by what they can offer at a very low price.

NEVER judge a model by its brand!

I’m pretty sure I said that before once or twice. Or ten times. So let’s take into consideration Technomodel. I have three models from the brand, and very possibly I consider it the best brand I have, based on those three. Recently I reviewed the 1966 White Elephant from them, and I was all praise. Heck, their Breadvan is one of the best five models that I own! And as I also said many times, I’m NOT a Maranello fan. Well, what I’m trying to imply is that I really like Technomodel as a 1:43 model maker. However, they also offer the 1967 version of the White Elephant, and that one comes with the elefantino rampante on the rear winglets.

Technomodel – €100.

Anther brand that also offers the 1967 car is Altaya, a budget brand through and through.

Altaya – less than €20.

Now look at the color of the wheels and winglets on the real car, in 1967:

The real deal on race day. And snubbing Ferrari? Priceless 😁!

Wheels and winglets were dark blue, not black. So yes, Technomodel botched the color of the wheels and winglets 😲. Not that the Altaya version looks great, with that humongous windshield wiper. And with the solid rear air intake. However, they at least got the color right. For just 1/5th of the price 🤔.

Before somebody asks, yes, this is why I got the 1966 car instead of the 1967 one. For €20 I may close an eye (or two) to some shortcomings. But for €100? It better be REALLY good. In other words, do some research BEFORE buying a model, even if its from a high-end brand.

And now I’m disappointed with Minichamps 😣

Well, being honest, it’s more like I’m mad at them. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that the brand released quite a few new Silberpfeile. Since models of the Silver Arrows are pretty rare, I was really happy. I even posted about them – though, at the time, I wasn’t aware about the Typ A “Langheck” #1 below. However, since then I had the time to look them over in more detail. And after some research, I was pretty upset with what I found.

Typ D Stromlinie #18 – 1935 French Grand Prix (R. Hasse) – #410382018

Above is one of the new models. Auto Union arrived at Reims in 1938 with two new D streamliners and two old Typ C. Unhappily, during practice two cars crashed. For race day the team decided to use the two remaining chassis without the streamliner body. Therefore, the two cars that raced were a mishmash of both Typ D and C with a somewhat open body. Here you can see the starting grid – the three Mercedes W154 in front and the two Auto Unions (#16 and #20) right behind. From the pic you can see that the Auto Unions did NOT have a streamliner body. Besides, Rudolf Hasse piloted car #20, and not #18. And as you see on the model’s plinth, Minichamps also got the year wrong 🙄.

Typ A Langheck #1 – 1934 ADAC Eiffelrennen (H. Stuck) – #410342001

The Typ A #1 above is the other model in the same boat. At the 1934 Eiffel race (June 3rd), all three Typ A were short tails (Kurzheck), and not long tails (Langheck). Not a perfect angle, yet you can see Stuck’s #1 Kurzheck in the Eiffelrennen here. The Typ A Langheck was only used at the AVUS-Rennen on May 27th, and the three cars were numbered #42, #44 and #46. Moreover, all three cars had “closed” front suspension. In summary, Minichamps royally botched the model.

So… Are these models worth having? HELL NO, they’re totally wrong 😤. I can’t believe it toke decades (!) for new Silberpfeile to come up and this is what we get. Yes, they do look very nice in terms of details and craftsmanship, yet they’re still wrong. In essence, “fantasy cars”. Nonetheless, I thought about moding them into something historically accurate. Though the Typ A Langheck is basically useless, maybe you could create a test car of the Typ D. A good and feasible idea, however Minichamps announced that they would release this car in the future (#410382000). Another idea would be to make the Reims practice car (before the crash), yet since there’s no photos of the cars before the race as a reference, that possibility is out.

So, in conclusion, Minichamps made a royal SNAFU. And yes, they really got my panties in a bunch here…

Disappointed with Spark

By now, it is more than obvious that I’m a H-U-G-E Spark fanboy. Well yes, the brand makes some friggentastic models in 1:43, for a (somewhat?) affordable price. In fact, I’m almost at the point where I buy the model first and only ask questions later. Earlier this week I found a very rare one that is a must buy for me. One of the 1973 911 Carrera RSR Martini cars.

Image courtesy of eBay.

If you look closely, you will see that there’s no wing mirror. And yes, the real car had a wing mirror on the left side. Well, sometimes manufacturers can make mistakes, I know that. However, how the blazes did Spark get the #46 car right and make such a gross a mistake on the #47 😣?

Both these models, the #46 and #47 cars, are nowadays VERY rare, and to me personally a must buy. One of those models that unless Spark reissues them, I probably would never have. And then, out of the blue, I find locally (!) a mint #47 for cheap! Of course I bought it on the spot. However, right after I bought it, while looking over the seller’s pictures, I noticed it didn’t have the mirror. Oh crap, I bought a defective model – I knew it was too good to be true! I then did some research and to my surprise Spark didn’t make it with the mirror. So just a few minutes after hitting the BIN button I canceled the purchase. Boogers.

I know I shouldn’t get my panties in a bunch for this, yet… Finding a sought after model for cheap and then learning it’s wrong is REALLY disappointing. Honestly, I expected MUCH better from Spark 🙄.

New Silver Arrows?

Oh yes! Minichamps released a few new ones:

- Typ B #1 - 1935 AVUSrennen (H.Stuck)
- Typ A Rennlimousine ("Typ Lucca") #4 - 1935 AVUSrennen (B. Rosemeyer) 
- Typ C/D #125 - 1939 Grossglockner Hill Climb (H. P. Muller)
- Typ D Stromlinie #18 - 1938 French Grand Prix (R. Hasse)

I first found out about these models in early 2020 (I talked about them here). At the time, however, I was really skeptical that Minichamps would ever release them. After all, Silberpfeile collectors are a rare breed. Yet, to my surprise, in March Minichamps did actually release some of the models from that list. I found the ones above on eBay, and few online retailers are also offering them. Nonetheless, Minichamps made only a limited quantity of each (200 or 300?). And what that means is that they are already hard to find online 😣. Therefore, DO NOT wait to get them.

Passion for Matchbox

This is the story of Charlie Mack, and his 42,000+ (!!!) collection of Matchbox cars and toys. As a kid, I grew up on Matchbox, at a time that Hot Wheels were the el cheapo toy cars and Matchbox was the good stuff. Good times… 😊 Anyway, it’s nice to see such passion (obsession?) in a toy collector.

By the way, who else still have their old Matchbox and Hot Wheels? I still have quite a few of mine. Though all are stored away and not on display, I’m proud to say that most are in very good shape.

The Monopole Incident

Published 01/16/23

No, you are not seeing double. The photo above is also not a half-assed clever trick of photography. I really do have two X84. And why would somebody buy two units of the exact same model? Because that somebody is clumsy and stupid 😣. I bought the first X84 #52 in early November last year, and was very happy with it. As usual, as soon as it arrived, I removed it from the box for inspection and placed it on my display shelves. A few days later I got it out from the display to photograph it. Just like I always do. Just like I have done for years and years.

Interestingly, NO damage to the paint anywhere else, only where the resin cracked.

And that’s when disaster came to town. While setting it up for the first(!) shot, I dropped it 😫. Almost 20 years collecting models and I dropped a model (no, really). I was paying attention to the camera and not the model, and I placed it to close to the edge of the track diorama. Physics being physics, it fell off and crashed to the tiled floor about 100 cm below. Meanwhile, I looked on dumbfounded, torn between smacking myself once or smacking myself twice.

If I was any good with full-body painting, I’m confident it could be repairable. Alas, I’m not…

Since it is a resin model, as you can see on the pics above, it cracked in the middle. The seats snapped off, as did the number plate’s lights on the side. The seats I recovered, yet I never found the lights. I thought about fixing it, however that would demand a full repaint. And that, unfortunately, is outside of my (meager) modeling skills. Besides, I would also have to fabricate new lights somehow and buy or fabricate decals. With all that, I decided against it.

My second X84 #52 is safe and sound.

So I had two options: bin it and forget about the X84 #52 or get a new one. I really liked the model, and I already had done all the research and written the review. So I went back to eBay and fortunately found a second one, also brand new. And as painfully expected, more expensive than what I payed on the first one 😤. As always, stupidity doesn’t come for free, it always has a price.

So there you have it, kids. Pay attention (don’t be stupid) or pay the price 😣.

Baby-blue awesomeness…

Do I have all the Gulf 917? Not even close. Missing from that shot is one of the Gulf 917LH from 1971. It could be either the#17 or #18, I would be happy with either one – I’m not picky. And of course, the 1971 Daytona winner… The problem is that all three are hellishly rare to find, specially the Daytona car 😣. I’m aware that there are quite a few other 917s in Gulf colors, however the Le Mans cars and the Daytona one (because of the story of that race) are the ones I really covet. Lets hope that Spark reissue those, like they did with the 917K #20 and very recently with the winning 1933 Alfa. If Spark did, a LOT of collectors would go ballistic with joy (like yours truly). Besides, I’m certain they would sell like hot cakes.

Come on Spark! Pretty please? 🍀

Top 5 – 2022

I have to say that compared to 2021, 2022 was a much better year. The COVID-19 pandemic was almost over and in general things got better. And in the 1:43 collecting front I think I can say it was a pretty good year. I got some nifty-good models for the W-143 Garage, even some very meaningful ones. The bad part is that my collection, as of now, has 483 cars 😲. I’m not at my limit for display space yet, however I’m getting close. So if 2023 is as “eventful” as 2022, for 2024 I may be in trouble…😣 That’s one thing I’ll have to start thinking about. Well, since 2022 is history, it’s time for what I consider the best five models I got last year. And here they are, the Top 5 models of 2022 (in chronological order):

1️⃣ The car of the worst tragedy in the history of motorsports. Nonetheless, a fantastic model that means a lot to me exactly because of it’s history.

2️⃣ This year I got into my head that I needed a Beetle in my collection. Well, though I went a little over one model, I think this set was the coolest. Yeah, yeah, it’s a set, TWO models, yet you can’t buy the two apart.

3️⃣ Being honest, I’m not sure if I like more the model or the history behind the model. Even so, Spark a-c-e-d the car in scale.

4️⃣ The coolest of the pre-war Alfas, and a model that I thought I would have to do without in the W-143 Garage.

5️⃣ I’m a HUGE 917 fanboy and also a Le Mans nut. However, The 1970 Daytona winner has possibly the coolest of all the 917 stories that I know of. And, the Spark version is very rare in 1:43.