Ixo, the budget brand that can

Published 01/06/24

As I’ve said a bazillion times, I’m a confessed Spark fanboy. In my eyes, they deliver two very important things: subject matter and detail level. However, you also have to factor in price. And doing so, at their price point, you’ll find that the brand offers a very good return for your investment. In terms of “premium brand”, I think they have the best bang-for-the-buck. Bar NONE. In fact, in the premium class, the likes of Looksmart or BBR for instance offer just a little better quality yet at a higher price. And of course, the models that they offer are VERY limited in scope.

This is the box of Ixo’s current releases.

All right, where does Ixo fit into this? Ixo isn’t a premium brand, far from it. Nonetheless, sometimes at less than half of the price of a Spark you get a model that is at least 80% as good. In the past I found some very good models from them, like my Rebellion Lolas. Those two cars made me realize that you can have excellent models from a budget brand. Spark offers the same models however I honestly see absolutely no point in spending twice as much. In my recent “rally phase” I’m seeing the same thing: models that are at least 80% as good as a Spark yet for around half the price. And just like Spark, Ixo ships the models with the necessary decals to complete the livery in case of tobacco advertising. The mighty HPI never did that – and good luck trying to find the correct decals.

Their old box style. Nonetheless, some models (like this S4) are almost as nice as the current ones.

However, I have to make two points clear here. I’m speaking about Ixo’s more recent race cars (I think the cut date would be around 2015?). Their older stuff is truly budget material – quite better than Altaya and the likes, nonetheless budget models. Of course there are exceptions: the Delta S4 above, for instance, is almost as good as any current release. On the other hand, their recent passenger cars are just okay, nothing out of the ordinary. Moreover, Ixo’s subject matter is also a lot limited compared to Spark. Well, in terms of rally cars, however, they may offer even more stuff than Spark. While this may be true, their Le Mans offerings are very slim. The same goes for their road cars – they’re also not very varied, and furthermore, are mostly only passable.

Other than Spark, I don’t know of a 1:43 brand that offers Tobacco decals to complete a livery.

These current models have a lot of details. Definitively not as fine as what you would see on a good Spark, yet with a lot of details nonetheless. For instance, you get mud flaps and all the correct aerials, though they are “thicker” than what Spark does. Even so, the model looks fantastic with all the minute details. However, to my utter frustration, many of the current models still have “deadeye headlights” 😫. For crying out loud… Is it that hard (= more expensive) to make headlights without a central pin securing the lenses to the rim? 🙄

Unfortunately, so far Ixo only issued rally support vehicles. Yet, the ones that I’ve seen look fantastic.

And what about their support vehicles? Très cool, unfortunately though so far only for rally racing. If you search Ixo’s website, you will be astonished by how many they issued. Only vintage stuff, however a lot of models that would make a rally collector go bonkers. And get in trouble to find display space in his/her collection. Honestly, I don’t see myself as a rally collector, and I’m checking myself to not get more of them. However, if there were Le Mans offerings the story would be different.

The detail level is not as delicate as on a Spark, but the details are there. AND, come with complete liveries!

In conclusion, Ixo has a fantastic value for the money in the case of their current race car releases. And specifically speaking of rally cars, with great variety and (at least) very good detail level, they’re absolutely terrific. Therefore, if you add everything up, Ixo has become a GREAT option for race cars in 1:43. To the point that I would say that they almost rival Spark (in the bang-for-the-buck department). And yes, that is not small potatoes.

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