by Rainer Sliwinski

Hot August nights have passed and what was sounding like a fever curve forecast in July has really happened: shadow temperatures up to 40° Celsius (~130° Fahrenheit) at day, regardless the sunshine Who has been hesitating for long to build a pool was convinced to do so in this European summer and those who regularly escape the German summer by traveling southward have regret doing so. The holiday season normally goes along with the so-called summer hole in most parts of both public and business life. Surprisingly the diecast world is still in motion and during my regular web searches I found the following news:

Maisto has launched pictures of new releases at on their home page. Apart from the big scale models, our 1/64 community will have to find the following new models from the regular line (images courtesy of Maisto), maybe already during Christmas shopping:

#150011, '02 Saab 9X Concept

#150012, '02 Cadillac Cien Concept

#150013, '02 Chevrolet Bel Air Concept

#150014, '03 Ford StreetKa

#150016, '56 Chrysler 300 B

#1500113, '03 Volkswagen Touareg

#1500114, '03 Volkswagen New Beetle Cabriolet

#1500115, '02 GM Autonomy Concept

#1500116, '02 GMC Terra4 Concept

#1500117, '02 Pontiac Solstice Concept

#1500118, '02 Saturn Sky Concept

The pictures of the Cadillac and the Ford StreetKa seem to be taken from a real model, while others are still waiting for their original casting. Maisto is likely to continue the model line by casting concept cars of G.M. and Ford especially; remember the multiple car sets being released in 2002. All new castings are unique in this scale except the Cien, the GM Autonomy and ­ of course ­ the New Beetle, which have been chosen by Hot Wheels for their 2003 New Edition series, respectively by Siku.

The other cars are welcome for any collection; my favourite one is the amazing Saab X9, firstly presented in 2001 at the IAA in Frankfurt, Germany. No car of this mark was made in scale 1/64, since Matchbox cast the Saab 9000 Turbo in 1987, regardless the smaller scale castings of contemporary Saab models by Hongwell/ Schuco. Models of convertibles will enjoy the completion by interiors. I think I'm sharing the fear of most collectors that we will have suffer the dark tinted glazing trying to obscure the absence of detailed interiors in non-topless moulds. Maisto, did you hear?

Apart from the "mainline" cars there are four new castings labeled "Excess Tuners"; the models (images courtesy of Maisto) as follows:

#15314-1, Mazda RX-7

#15314-2, Subaru WRX STI

#15314-3, Acura RSX

#15314-4, Acura NSX

Most manufacturers seem to have not been able to escape the Fast & Furious fever. After the movie has been played in cinemas across Europe, young people are seeking to modify their first rides, no matter to which mark, age and size of cars they are forcing tuning moulds. It would be worth making a picture series. Release dates of new models are entirely not indicated by the manufacturer. Altogether Maisto has made a reasonable contribution for this year and maybe more is to be expected.

Realtoy is about to become a true shooting star within the 1/64-scale diecast market. I've followed a web link, given by a fellow collector and arrived at a Chinese website, showing fantastic new models of premium class cars. To gather more information than just pictures is difficult due to language script code. It might be a collector's page, which also displays models by Tomica etc. Nevertheless the models' casting qualities are fully corresponding to the brand's name Realtoy. When you see the pictures (images courtesy of Realtoy) you may forget the word "toy" in the company's name; amazing and irresistible! Trying to claim more hasn't been successful yet, but it's already worth counting:

'02 BMW M3

'02 Ford Focus SVT

'01 Mercedes-Benz C-class Sedan

'03 Mercedes-Benz CLK 320

'02 Mercedes-Benz SL 500 top up

'01 New Mini Cooper [BMW Group]

'03 Nissan Fairlady Z33

'02 Peugeot 206 Turbo (WRC)

'01 Porsche Boxster hardtop

Take a look at the pictures, no word can add any reasonable judgment. Ask me, if you can hear the engine sound

In comparison to the new C-class Mercedes by Welly, the casting looks quite like the Realtoy model shown here. The difference: detailed colour schemes added to the body and nicer 5-double-spoke rims. The SL 500 and the CLK are yet unique in this scale until others may be challenged to compete. Both models are representing the top-up resp. hardtop versions and will probably remain as unique castings (Siku's SL 55 AMG is fine but not really matching the scale).

Realtoy's home page doesn't show any of these new finds, but they will have good sales anywhere for sure. Readers who know more about the origin of Realtoy castings and brands respective their market availability are welcome to make contributions. We all remember "Made in Taiwan" as the label for the crude tin or diecast toy car back in the Seventies. These models are now representing the improved quality and the economical engagement of the New China and their toy-manufacturing industries; well done!

Revell's Lowrider series will see a continuation in 2003. Split into two sub-series named Lowrider Magazine and Lowrider EURO Magazine the new releases will comprise the following car models (images courtesy of Revell):

#3051, '81 Cadillac Coupe de Ville

#3052, '77 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

#3053, '82 Buick Regal

#3054, '02 Ford Focus SVT (no image)

#3055, '02 Honda Civic Si Coupe

#3056, '02 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe

Highly welcome are the models of the American cars since they are representing a period of time in automotive history, which has been expelled from our minds for several but unknown reasons. Car manufacturers of the late Seventies and early Eighties have been confronted worldwide with numerous economical difficulties and environmental concerns. After almost a quarter-century it is time to remember the icons of this period. Newest social science research studies carried out in the U.S. and Europe have shown that the span between cultural revivals in the western world has shortened by 5 to 10 years. Beware: the Eighties are coming back! And: expect diecast manufacturers to hook on this trend. Furthermore and for the records: Revell has already released some models of the Rat Rods series, as they are:

#3032, '29 Ford A Roadster

#3033, '29 Ford A Tub

#3034, '25 Ford T Pickup

Those cars have seen lots of replicas and customs in the recent years by various manufacturers and one may seek them just for the reason of having a xx-variation of the popular Ford models of the Twenties.

The models of the Lowrider series are announced to be released during the Christmas shopping rush in December or early next year.

Last but not least the fifth continent is about to join the 1/64-scale diecast market by Biante Minicars. A small but fascinating range of 1/64 castings has been released by this company in order to serve our fellows "down under" with vintage and contemporary Australian cars. Different versions of the Ford Falcon and the Holden are available, throughout in high standard quality, comparable to JL or RC Ertl. I've not yet been able to hold one of these precious miniatures in my hands, but the website's pictures showing great details.

Biante Minicars are available through the manufacturer's online shop and in the U.S. by Gateway Models. They are not cheap due to the model's quality and their exclusive marketing. The product presentation is comparable with the 100% Hot Wheels series by Mattel.

The castings have colour variations and feature different stock car respective engine versions.

The model list as follows (images courtesy of Biante):

'70 Holden HG Monaro GTS 350

03 Ford BA Falcon XR8 Sedan

'01 HSV VU II Maloo R8

'02 HSV VY Clubsport R8
Images were not available of the following:
'83 Ford XE Falcon (stock version)

'01 Holden V2 Monaro CV8
'02 Holden VY Commodore SS Sedan
'03 Ford AU Falcon V8 (stock version)
'02 HSV GTO Coupe / '02 Saturn Sky Concept

Availability and release versions are difficult to verify and some models will be part of limited editions. Biante's contribution to the market will be highly appreciated by collectors worldwide. Congratulations to a successful start up in the market! Our Australian readers should feel encouraged to feed us with more information.

Happy hunting!