The annual Nuremberg Toy Fair is where scale model car companies traditionally introduce new products amidst very little fanfare, but this year Autoart dropped a bombshell with the announcement that they would soon release a line of products rendered in ABS-composite plastic. Yes, Autoart, the company that revolutionized mass-market 1:18-scale diecast in the late ’90s with their exquisitely detailed yet (then) sensibly priced models made from good old-fashioned zinc metal, was following the lead of upstarts like TSM and Ignition by moving to plastic-bodied cars. The protests from devoted collectors were as loud as they were predictable. Hell, it seemed, had frozen over.
Then, we actually got a look at the product.
Autoart has pulled off something of a minor miracle. Their ABS models have the same substantial hand feel as their classic metal-bodied cars (as the plastic body panels are hung on a metal skeleton…much the same as many real automobiles parked in the world’s garages) with perhaps even finer exterior detail. Panel gaps and wheel fitment have long been among the toughest challenges facing model car makers, and though Autoart was already among the very best at tackling these problems, the ABS modelling process promises even tighter quality control in these areas. Plus, unlike most other plastic-based miniature cars (typically crafted from resin) Autoart’s models will feature opening parts, as one would expect of the standard-bearer of high-quality scale model automobiles.
The first of Autoart’s new composite cars to grace the halls of Carriage House Models will be the 1:18-scale Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, which we expect to have in stock by mid-April. Though sadly lacking an opening engine compartment, the Aston’s doors open to reveal an interior that’s detailed to perfection. We anticipate pricing around $155, which demonstrates the additional value of composite casting: it’s a cost-effective way to offer premium-level precision. Please visit http://www.carriagehousemodels.com for availability updates.
(Of course, this does not mean that Autoart is planning to abandon zinc metal casting altogether…we’ll introduce an upcoming metal model later this week!)