Upgrading models

Published 06/23/21

A few months after I started collecting 1:43, I began swapping a few models – “upgrading” a poor version to a better one. Since then, I upgraded quite a few partworks and Altayas to Ixos and Sparks. At the time, that poor model sounded like a good option. After all, I could always buy a better one later, right? Nonetheless, the perfect scenario would be to only buy keepers, avoiding the need to upgrade later. And that got me thinking: why not try to avoid upgrading?

Sorry, this is crap. And so is the photo.

Financially speaking, upgrading is stupid. Unless you got the model for free, you will loose money. If you first bought a cheaper model, even if you paid a bargain price on it, more than probably you will NOT get your money back. And, of course, as it has happened to me, no one else wants to buy your crappy models 🙄. When you decide to sell them, you can’t find anyone interested in them, even if you’re asking for peanuts. More then once I asked myself if it wasn’t better just to donate the thing. Photographing the model, finding the bloody box in the attic and then the packing… All that effort is not exactly rewarding if you’re asking for pennies 😣. With that, I still have quite a few stowed away waiting to go online.

The Spark (left) has the correct aerial and detailed interior, MUCH better than the Altaya (right).

Therefore, if it’s a given that you loose money upgrading, why buy the poor model in the first place? I can only think of two reasons. The first reason, and basically my case, is that I was “inexperienced” (or more probably, dumb). It’s no use, when you start collecting you want to fill up your cabinets. Yes me, with a LOT of experience with 1:18 years ago, did that. You want to get things started so you buy questionable stuff (always for cheap). Of course, in a couple of cases I was just naïve, and didn’t know the model was bad or had issues. Prime example is my Porsche 936 #20 from Troféu. However, I was aware that my pw Jaguar Type D #6 was not great. So why did I buy it? Well, it was my eighth model, and a Le Mans winner, and cheap, and, oh well…🤐

Altaya with no chrome on the roof.

The second reason to buy a poor model in the first place is buying a “placeholder”. This only applies to the seasoned collector, and not to a novice, who doesn’t know better. You’re experienced and you know there’s a better model available, but you settle for an inferior version. Like buying the Ixo version until you can find or afford a Looksmart. Though those two examples are not the same car, I think you get my meaning. It’s a matter of personal modus operandi, and fortunately that’s one practice I never did. If it’s possible (both in terms of availability and financially) to one day get the best version, I’ll wait. I’ve learned that patience pays off, and sooner or later that grail model will eventually show up.

The pw (left) doesn’t have the shaded windscreen like the Spark (on the right).

A very good example of this is Silberpfeile in 1:43. Brumm and Whitebox offer a lot of Silver Arrows, but almost all are, being blunt, crap. Case in point, Fangio’s 1955 Mercedes W196 #10. Ever since I started collecting Silberpfeile, I “needed” that car, and the Brumm version was easily available. And pretty cheap too. However, Brumm’s model is a dog, so I elected to ignore it. Yet, as luck would have it, in 2019 I found the Premium ClasiXXs version. I could have gotten the Brumm or even the Whitebox version as a placeholder for peanuts, and eventually upgraded. But they stink, so it was better to just do without that car in the collection.

Spark vs Brumm.

Sometimes, however, you do buy the best model available but then a better one comes up. This happened with my 917K #20. That car is a grail for me, and the original Spark version was impossible to find, so I got the Brumm. A very decent model in fact, but I needed the best possible version of it – in this case, the Spark. Being honest though, if the car was not a grail I wouldn’t have upgraded, because the Brumm was pretty good. Nonetheless, when Spark reissued the 917K #20, I jumped on it. And now my Brumm is still awaiting to be sold…🙄

The Altaya (right) has too thick aerials and a not-so-good cockpit; Ixo’s (left) is more refined..

Bottom line, what I’m trying to say is that it’s way better if you don’t need to upgrade a model. If I can offer some wisdom, it would be plan ahead. Upgrading will invariably make you loose money. So if you think that that grail model will be available sometime in the future, WAIT. Don’t settle for the cheap and/or poor one, just wait and eventually it will show up for the right price. And for the novice collector hear me out when I say you will get there. Just be patient and enjoy the ride, no need to rush to the end of the road. Establish some criteria, buy what you like and enjoy what you buy. Before you realize it you’re collection will make you proud, and not just because of it’s size.

Trust me, upgrading is a hassle 😤. So do your best to buy only once – it’s much better to buy two different cars than buying the same one twice.

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