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 Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?

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Migrant

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PostSubject: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Fri Jul 21 2017, 10:20

First off, this is in no way meant to be an inflammatory or derogatory question. As a builder of plastic kits, I'm genuinely interested in what makes diecasts popular. I know some forum members enjoy both genres, but – so far – I've yet to be persuaded to buy a diecast.

So, what is it: the weight/heft of the model? The opportunity to own a replica without the investment of a lot of time? Potential increase in monetary value?

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lemmings418



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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Fri Jul 21 2017, 15:41

Migrant wrote:
First off, this is in no way meant to be an inflammatory or derogatory question. As a builder of plastic kits, I'm genuinely interested in what makes diecasts popular. I know some forum members enjoy both genres, but – so far – I've yet to be persuaded to buy a diecast.

So, what is it: the weight/heft of the model? The opportunity to own a replica without the investment of a lot of time? Potential increase in monetary value?

To have stunning looking models of aircraft, which I have been in love with since childhood, knowing that my kit building skills will NEVER reach the same level of quality.
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ACpilot

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Fri Jul 21 2017, 17:53

Unfortunately I haven't had the time to build a plastic kit since age 14!

That and being too perfectionistic combined with a lack of skill dictates diecast for me.

Dan
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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Fri Jul 21 2017, 18:29

I have and enjoy both: die-cast and my own built plastic kits.  What's the allure?

Die-cast:  They are generally well made.  They are fairly accurate.  You just take it out of the box, slap on some parts and voila!  Instant gratification! If you don't want to build that particular plane or scheme, die-cast saves you time, effort, and yes, even frustration.  Also you can repackage them for storage or resale - once you build a kit, you are done and it can't go back into the box.  The metal components of a die-cast model are usually more durable and last longer than a kit.  If you sell a die-cast, you just pack it in a box.  A plastic kit usually gets damaged.

Plastic kit builds: There are more variations of planes and sub-types available to you.  Planes that will NEVER be made in die-cast are likely to have been done as a kit.  You get the satisfaction from making it "yourself".  Want a special scheme? Buy the decals and do it yourself - no need to wait for some company wonk to decide to make that scheme you're dying for.  You don't have to depend on the motivation of an under-paid, over-worked flunky in some factory doing a good job - you're doing it yourself so you control the quality.  Kits are cheaper to buy and a lot more common to find.  I can buy 5 - 6 kits for the price of one die-cast model depending on where I shop. Building a kit is a form of art - it takes time, effort, patience, and a love to work with your hands.  Die-cast? Open the box and pop out the model and parts. Die-casts hold or increase in value much faster and at greater prices than kits do, but there are some pricey kits out there that are giving die-casts a run for the money when it comes to secondary market prices.

I like both and both have a place in my collection.  I know builders who scoff at die-cast collectors as being "lazy" and doing it the "easy" way.  I don't see it that way.  Likewise, I see die-cast collectors who think if it's a plastic kit, it isn't worth collecting.  Again, not my opinion.  I collect planes that interest me.  Whether die-cast or plastic, if I want it, I get it.

pmmaker

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Propwash

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sat Jul 22 2017, 00:52

I started collecting die cast when the hobby was cheap and the selection was plentiful (circa 2002). I found it a wonderful way to obtain models of aircraft that were well made (usually) and awesome to have on display. Especially since my plastic modelling "skills" were questionable at best. I'm also a collector at heart (some people would say "hoarder," but they are usually uninformed - or a spouse affraid What a Face ) so I was buying to complete series or themes. At the height of my die cast collecting I probably had close to 400 or so models (1/72, 1/48, and 1/32).

Flash forward fifteen years and I find die cast collecting has lost lots of its allure. The outrageous pricing for the models, quality control issues, poor subjects, and lack of choice has really caused me to back away from something I once really loved. So I have been selling or trading models off to a more manageable level. Also, storage is a REAL issue. I still get a model now and then, BUT only when the conditions are perfect (pricing) or a subject/model I absolutely have to have (the next Corgi B-17 release). Otherwise, meh.

On the other hand, I'm falling head-first into model building. The old forum was a great (or bad? Wink ) influence on me and got me back into this hobby. My skills have improved tremendously from when I started owing to seeing and learning from the builds of other members. Sure, I am not anywhere near Migrant quality in my builds (but I still dream of it one day), but they are no longer an embarrassment like they once were. And, for many of the reasons pointed out by PMM, plastic has won me over.

Both have a place in my collection.
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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sat Jul 22 2017, 07:17

The analogy is it's like buying bread.  Some people love to bake their own bread and they don't mind the time and effort involved.  But for the majority of people, it's just so much easier and time saving to go to the store and buy bread made by some large scale operation.

pmmaker

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Migrant

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sat Jul 22 2017, 09:33

Thanks for the considered replies guys.

I've been thinking a bit more about why I take the plastic kit route, and I think it's because I enjoy the journey more than the destination. It's the building, detailing, painting and finishing that I enjoy more than owning the finished model of a particular subject. That's probably why the vast majority of my built models are stored in boxes, or why I have no problem parting with them on eBay and suchlike: the 'joy' was in the building and not so much in owning the final result. For me – personally – a die cast would eliminate the whole journey.

Propwash wrote:
I'm also a collector at heart (some people would say "hoarder," but they are usually uninformed - or a spouse affraid What a Face ) so I was buying to complete series or themes. At the height of my die cast collecting I probably had close to 400 or so models (1/72, 1/48, and 1/32).

The collecting aspect I can empathize with, PW Very Happy My kit stash is currently around 160. Periodically I accept the absurdity of this and go on a selling spree; 6 months later I've bought just as many, if not more. And I'm heading up to the hobby shop this morning...

pmmaker wrote:
I like both and both have a place in my collection. I know builders who scoff at die-cast collectors as being "lazy" and doing it the "easy" way. I don't see it that way.

Neither do I PW, and I hope no-one took my question as implying it. Embarassed

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sat Jul 22 2017, 19:23

Although I have made my share of kits, this has virtually stopped with the availability of so many varied diecast models. In my case, I find kit building to be tedious and the end product is very delicate and not readily amenable to code 3 work which I have come to enjoy as a from of creative and, sometimes artistic, expression. With diecast models you get a sturdy product which can be handled roughly and manipulated without fear of the whole thing falling apart; also, you can sand and drill almost to your heart's content without fear of losing the panel lines or having the wing fall off. If I hadn't developed my code 3 skills and didn't enjoy creating missing parts, filling gaps, painting, applying decals, etc., I guess that I would have no alternative but to go back to kit-making, however, I would probably have a very much smaller collection.
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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sun Jul 23 2017, 07:25

I used to love doing Code 3 modifications at one time just like you do Ed. But now I really don't any more. I have three primary reasons why:

1) COST - even the cheapie, low end die-cast models will run you $30, $40, or even $50 a pop. That's a lot of money to spend just to get a base model to repaint and re-decal, and in some cases, butcher. I can buy several kits off eBay for that money and have the same level of enjoyment.

2) SELECTION - face it, you are at the mercy of the die-cast manufacturer who has lots of other financial and physical criteria to take into account other than the common lament of "I want a Frank, a CR-42, a Ventura, or a F-80". Plastic kit manufacturers have done a pretty fair job making some VERY obscure aircraft. But their concerns are quite a bit different than those faced by die-cast manufacturers. Hence the die-cast folks tend to stick with the safe, tried but true best sellers like the Mustang, the Zero or the Tomcat. Look on any die-cast forum and you'll find the ever present and tedious "What I want" dream list of planes that will probably never be made in die-cast but have more than likely been done already by someone in plastic.

3) GAPS, ADD-ONS, and QUALITY - parts don't align, huge, unsightly gaps are in weird places, important parts and details are missing, and panel lines are way too deep and pronounced. A plastic model kit is designed to be put together with some finesse work to address gaps, details, and panel lines to give a model that truly represents the real plane. A die-cast model is designed for quick assembly by unskilled labor with gaps being an integral part of the final product. Die-cast models are more difficult to modify, hence why it's a good thing you can handle them.

Today, I only buy a die-cast model if it is already in the scheme I truly want. I can no longer afford to buy these replicas just because I want to repaint and remark them. Collecting die-cast has definitely become a rich man's hobby which I can no longer participate in.

pmmaker

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Migrant

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sun Jul 23 2017, 10:30

pmmaker wrote:
3) GAPS, ADD-ONS, and QUALITY - parts don't align, huge, unsightly gaps are in weird places, important parts and details are missing, and panel lines are way too deep and pronounced.

That's probably the biggest hurdle to my buying a die cast, PMM. The panel lines do look deep/soft, which I realize is a limitation of the manufacturing process, and there are generally large gaps where the components come together. Dan just posted a review of this Skybox Devastator: it looks superb. Sharply painted canopy, beautiful smooth finish and 'painted-on' markings (are they actually painted/printed on, or are they decals?) and some nice detail in the cockpit, but personally I can't get past the deep panel lines or the gap between wing and fuselage. I admit some plastic kits have overly emphasized panel lines too, but not quite to the same degree.

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sun Jul 23 2017, 10:37

PM, I feel that I should respond to your comments, not so much in rebuttal but merely to continue the dialog.

In my business---media/advertising-----there is endless complaining on the advertising side about how greedy the media have become with their constantly higher rates for TV air time, while the actual size of their average telecast audiences are shrinking due to competition from an increasing number of channels. I frequently feel obliged to point out that this is primarily a function of ongoing inflation----just as the typical marketer now gives the consumer the same product as before---or a smaller dose---but raises prices in order to make a profit. That generally causes people to think beyond their own personal perspectives and take a look at business the way it is conducted in a capitalist world.

In the diecast warbird field, I believe that the same issues prevail. Many of us got into the collecting hobby when prices were cheap and we kept buying and buying---but now we are complaining about the sharp price hikes while at the same time demanding the full set of amenities---both landing gear display options, pilot figures, good stands and packaging, lots of add-on parts like bombs, missiles, fuel tanks, tampon printed markings, not decals, etc. and, of course a quality product-----but we only want to pay just a little more than in the good old days. I submit that these are unrealistic expectations and the solution is not to quit the hobby but to adapt. Instead of buying every single version of the Prowler that HM puts out pick one or two and stop there; instead of buying a full squadron of F-18s, each with a different configuration of armament and other features, be content with the basic versions and ration yourself to a few Hornets, etc.

In my case, I'm fortunate to have the means to purchase as many diecast models as I please, however, I have applied the same advice to myself and am buying very selectively, often waiting when a new tooling is made---such as HM's Mig-23---- until the one scheme I prefer gets done and not buying the others. As a result, I am spending far less on diecast models than I once did, but am doing much more research on the planes and performing my code 3 work more slowly and carefully----with generally satisfying results.

One of my observations about diecast warbird collectors who comment on the various forums----I'm not talking about you, PM-----is a lack of flexibility in their approach to the hobby. Yet the hobby, through no fault of its own, has morphed into something quite different that prevailed twenty years ago. Now, we have many tiers of models, ranging from the low cost but very voluminous "cheapie" lines to a rapidly expanding high priced 1:30th scale category. Neither of these existed at anything approaching scale twenty years ago. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves stuck in the middle---with HM, Corgi and a few other manus---who continue more or less as before, but with sharply escalating prices as they have no choice but to cover their own rising costs and try to earn a profit. My advice is, sure, quit the hobby entirely if that seems like a good solution and turn to kit making exclusively---or be flexible and start to buy diecast more selectively, focusing on favorite themes but not everything , then fill gaps with kit-makes.

Just my opinion, PM and not necessarily one that everyone will agree with.
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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sun Jul 23 2017, 14:22

Completely agree with everything you posted Ed. Nothing there that I have not said myself.  A Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini can cost a quarter million dollars.  Are they worth that much? Many car enthusiasts would say "yes"!  But can I afford to buy one? No!

I don't begrudge the die-cast manufacturers their profits.  But if their product costs me more than I can comfortably afford, I just can't buy it.  That's why in the post 6 years I added 5 new die-cast models to my collection.  Like you posted, I'm careful, thrifty, and highly selective as to what I buy.  Likewise, in that same time, I've added 28 new plastic kit builds that I've built to my collection and close to 50 kits to my "stash" pile.

So to answer Migrant's initial question, for me die-cast has lost a great deal of it's past allure as my primary source for my model aircraft.  I'll still buy them if the scheme/cost opportunity is there, but generally, for me it has become mostly plastic kits. I'm still enthralled by die-casts models and love seeing what they've become, I just can't afford to buy most of them.

pmmaker

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Migrant

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Sun Jul 23 2017, 15:02

Edpap2 wrote:
In the diecast warbird field, I believe that the same issues prevail. Many of us got into the collecting hobby when prices were cheap and we kept buying and buying---but now we are complaining about the sharp price hikes while at the same time demanding the full set of amenities---both landing gear display options, pilot figures, good stands and packaging, lots of add-on parts like bombs, missiles, fuel tanks, tampon printed markings, not decals, etc. and, of course a quality product-----but we only want to pay just a little more than in the good old days.

The same principle applies to plastics, Ed. Those of us who grew up in the 70s viewed plastic modelling as a 'pocket-money' hobby, and for some of us it's been difficult to adjust to the new reality that it no longer is. Schoolboys are no longer the target audience – adults with disposable income are, and as a result kits have become larger and infinitely more detailed/complex, with the associated increase in costs. Many large scale Trumpeter/Tamiya/Hasegawa kits cost well over $100. In my current situation that would be hard to justify, although the models may well be worth that kind of money.

Fortunately, cheap kits are still available. The new-tool Airfix kits are great value, as are many kits from Academy, Hobby Boss and Revell-Germany. There's also a big market for older kits. With some basic skills such as re-scribing, and a few scratch built items, many of these older or simpler kits can be brought right up to today's standards, plus there's a huge aftermarket industry to help with this (Is there an equivalent industry for die-casts: alternative weapons sets, conversion parts etc? I have no idea).

Anyway, I appreciate everyone's input and viewpoints. There are some online forums where this discussion would rapidly have degenerated into an us/them brawl, so it's good there's mutual acceptance of both sides of the hobby Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Tue Jul 25 2017, 09:12

Migrant wrote:
Anyway, I appreciate everyone's input and viewpoints. There are some online forums where this discussion would rapidly have degenerated into an us/them brawl, so it's good there's mutual acceptance of both sides of the hobby Very Happy  

It is nice to be able to discuss a topic without having to deal with snide remarks, angry name-calling, and me vs you posturing that can (and sadly does) happen on other forums.  

There is no right or wrong here - everyone has different hobby needs and varying financial resources available.  As long as we enjoy our version of the hobby and are willing to share what we build, buy, or modify with each other, it's all good.

Personally, I love seeing what everyone else has done to add to their collections.

pmmaker

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PostSubject: Re: Diecast Collectors – what's the appeal?   Wed Jul 26 2017, 01:09

pmmaker wrote:


Personally, I love seeing what everyone else has done to add to their collections.

pmmaker[/size]

I agree wholeheartedly. Good stuff
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