When you are a car enthusiast, you are naturally inclined to anything related to the car, even the smaller scales of your favorite brands. And, if it’s nurtured well, it becomes an obsession gradually. If you’re searching for a scale model of your car, chances are you’ll end up looking for spotty ones. Maisto is a well-known brand with high volume and low pricing found in most stores— from Costco, Target to Wal-Mart. And, the best part of the brand is, it is licensed by almost every manufacturer known.
Maisto isn’t great when it comes to the quality, but not bad either, especially considering the price. There are some inconsistencies and lower quality detail with mass-produced diecasts. Overall, Maisto is an excellent entry-level brand for the beginner diecast collector.
On the other hand, I felt the best part about Maisto is that it includes moveable parts such as opening doors, trunks, and hoods, and even suspensions in some models. Maisto is a bang for your buck if you’re just getting started or want to rack up a large collection.
In this blog post, we are talking about Maisto as a diecast car brand. Is it good? Is it worth collecting?
Let’s jump to the discussion.
Who makes Maisto?
The company that makes Maisto is Maisto International Inc. which is owned by May Cheong Group. May Cheong Toy Products Factory Limited’s main headquarters is located in Hong Kong, and they have a newer headquarters located in California, USA.
Maisto International Inc. is a global toy brand owned by the May Cheong Group. Even though the brand is now headquartered in California, its origin and the main company is still based in Hong Kong.
Founded in July 1967, Maisto, since then, produces diecast models of automobiles, aircraft, and motorcycles. In the 1980s, Maisto rose to prominence as a diecast vehicle manufacturer following the merger of May Tat Toy (chiefly motorcycles), May Cheong (MC Toy- which manufactured smaller vehicles), and Maisto. Throughout the 1990s, Maisto was considered the US division of Thailand’s Master Toy Co. Ltd., with May Cheong serving as the Kowloon, Hong Kong subsidiary.
The company has also produced several Tonka products under license from Hasbro. It also now owns the former Italian brands Bburago and Polistil.
Where are Maisto models made?
The manufacturer of Maisto International Inc., which is May Cheong Group is located in Hong Kong. However, their factories are located in Mainland China and Thailand. The main reason is that they are trying to reduce the labor costs of making their products.
The May Cheong Group, the manufacturer of Maisto, is headquartered in Hong Kong, but their products are manufactured in China and Thailand. The factories of China and Thailand produce 1/12, 1/18, 1/24, 1/25, 1/27, 1/43, 1/31, and 1/64 scale model replicas, and the majority of models have officially licensed replicas of popular vehicles. Others are fantastical rod and custom creations more akin to the Hot Wheels formula.
Maisto creates a wide range of licensed properties that reflect current promotional and industry trends, as it’s an official licensee of Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company.
Chrysler is a frequent user of Maisto for promotional models–one example was the distribution of three versions of the PT Cruiser (stock, sport, and panel) to auto journalists first, but later sold typically in Walmart and other stores.
Is Maisto a good brand?
When it comes to price and access, Maisto is a good brand since you can easily find its products in local stores. However, because of their low price point, their build quality is not that good compared to other premium brands. But Maisto is good with detailing wheels and suspension.
Maisto rose to fame around 1990, mainly competing in 1/18 scale with Italian Bburago, Polistil, and the more expensive Franklin Mint Precision Models.
By 2000, a slew of companies, including Yatming, Ertl, and even Mattel’s Hot Wheels, joined the larger scale–1/18 gang. No other company wasn’t able to compete with Maisto on a larger scale since Bburago failed, except Jada Toys. Nonetheless, the 1/18 scale market is not as famous as it once was. In 2010, 1/24 scales were still popular, but larger scales lost the hype in retail stores.
Maisto’s products are generally cheaper than other brands
The price is close to $29.99, but usually available for half of that, Maisto can be found in any retail stores—Costco, Target, Wal-Mart, anywhere. If you prefer shopping online, Amazon has a massive range of Maisto models.
Maisto’s build quality and performance aren’t as good as other brands
Honestly, the build quality is not up to the mark. But, you can’t blame it if you consider the price point. There are some inconsistencies, and a lack of detail can be noticed.
Sometimes, the paint application is too thick or uneven. And, where the detailing should be chrome, it is frequently painted silver. Body panels are often uneven, lights are unrealistic, and trim is excessively thick and tacky.
Diecast society has reviewed 1/18 Lamborghini Huracan Performante and noted that the interior is not detailed–everything is painted black and made of plastic. And, when it comes to the grille area that covers air intakes, air vents, ALA ducts, it is totally sealed.
The positive sides they mentioned are the color and the engine detail.
While reviewing the 1/18 model of C8 Corvette, The Diecast Man pointed out that the paint is coming off, which is a huge disappointment.
He also pointed out the lack of details in the interior, front part, and uneven back part. But he liked the detailing of wheels and suspension.
Darazman from Tack on Red, also complained about the lack of detail like others while reviewing the 1/64 model of Lamborghini Huracan.
He complained about the unrealistic and plastic features and found the features of Tomica are more realistic than Maisto. It seems that he is not at all impressed by the build quality of Maisto. However, in his other video, he mentioned that the build quality of Maisto is better than Majorette.
If you’re interested in Tomica car models, then I have an article discussing the brand. Here is the link: Everything you need to know about Tomica Car Models
Is Maisto better than Hot Wheels and AUTOart?
Generally speaking, when comparing Maisto to Hot Wheels and AUTOart, Hot Wheels are better than Maisto when it comes to overall feel and quality. AUTOart is actually better than Maisto when it comes to attention to detail. However, Maisto is not behind when talking about the price to quality ratio.
If you compare the build quality and performance of Maisto and Hot Wheels, of course, Hot Wheels is quite ahead. The subtlety in paint quality and parts is immediately noticeable, with a sturdier overall feel and higher-quality components.
The Elite version, with its soft compound slicks and detailed livery and paint scheme, is an excellent model for the fanatic collector, with a retail price point ranging from $75 to $150, depending on the model.
I have made an article discussing AutoArt and Hot Wheels in a separate article. I think it is a good article to read after this so you will also have an idea on Hot Wheels and AutoArt. Here are the links: Are Hot Wheels worth collecting? Why is AutoArt Expensive and Valuable?
On the other hand, AUTOart is famed for its intricacies and details. Like the real thing, the mesh on the motorsport kit is separate and noticeably softer than the body.
Each component of the kit feels distinct (lug bolt, exhaust, spoiler, etc.), which is a perfect replica of the original mold. Most 1/18 Autoart models start from $129, and it’s quite justified
“Only the things I love”
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So, here are the things I love when taking care of my Diecast Models.
Cleaning the Models
The first we are going to talk about is cleaning the models.
- Air Brush – For me, this is the best since it not just removes dust but you can use it in painting/clear coating.
- Air Duster – This is a good alternative to Airbrush
- Normal Brush – If you are short on budget, you can use a normal brush. However, make sure that the brush has soft bristles because there are some hard brushes than can cause scratches. That’s why I recommended a good brush that can do the job properly.
Cleaning and Shining Hacks
Well, here are some of my cleaning hacks for removing scratches, oxidation, and so much more.
- Removing Decal Adhesive – Use Goo Gone on those hard-to-remove decal adhesives. It works fast and works like charm!
- Waxing and Polishing – Here is something a lot of people don’t know. Waxing protects the clear coat and paint while polishing shines the model. Instead of buying it separately, use a 2 in 1 to save money. Get this instead.
- Beginner Wax – The wax I recommended earlier is good and provides the best results based on my experience. But a beginner might have a problem especially if they’re not good at applying wax. Solid wax reaching hard to reach surface can be hard to remove. You have two choices here. One is to use a qtips to reach those surfaces, another is to use a liquid wax I recommended.
- Cleaning Wheels, Rubber, Plastic – Do not forget that rubber and plastic surface are quite different, especially in the cleaning process. Just wiping it down won’t do the job. That’s why I use Meguiar’s Vinyl and Rubber Cleaner and Conditioner. Works like charm!
- Make the Wheels Shine! – Making our models look good won’t be complete without tiny details such as shiny wheels! Do not forget this because however small this is, the difference can be as big as night and day.
- Remove Scratches Easily – Tiny scratches are not the end for your model. Here is a simple trick I’ve been using to make my models look scratch-free even without repainting. Use T-Cut.
Painting the Models
Make sure when you paint models, have these ready.
- Tape – A tape is important if you are painting a straight line. Furthermore, it will prevent your paint to scatter on other parts. I recommend Tamiya Tape since it is really made for models. Furthermore, they stick really well preventing paint splatters.
- Brush (Beginner) – Find a good set of brushes to paint your models. Of course, you can opt for an airbrush but it’s quite expensive.
- Airbrush (Intermediate/Expert) – This will yield a significantly better result than an ordinary brush because you can easily spray the paint evenly. I recommend this if you know what you’re doing.
- Stand(Optional) – Stands are good because it can be hard to manually hold the models while painting. It is optional but in my opinion, the price is well worth it for the comfort it gives.
- Drop Cloths – Drop Cloths will protect your surroundings from the paint.
- Primer – The most common beginner mistake I see is painting models without any Primer. A primer will prevent imperfections such as bubbles or paint not sticking to your models. It is a small price to pay for quality results.
- Clear Coat – A clear coat will protect the paint of your models. This will make the paint last longer. Also, it is the one responsible for making your models shine.
Of course, you can’t do painting properly without paint. So here are the ones I recommend.
- Acrylic Paint – Good for beginners because it dries quickly. However, it doesn’t produce results as good as enamel paint.
- Enamel Paint – Provides a good quality finish and longer-lasting paint. However, it takes longer to dry and requires expertise to use.
- Simple Wood Cabinet – While it doesn’t let you display your models, wooden cabinets are good storage for these models. For one, they are not heat conductors which means that the temperature inside will remain constant and remain cool. Furthermore, they prevent light from reaching the models which can cause oxidation.
- Clear Cabinet with Lock – If you want to display your models, then I recommend this. It closes so dust won’t easily get to your models. I also recommend you don’t put more than 1 model in each compartment since metals are good conductors of heat.
So you want to show off your models to others? Well, I got you covered.
Here is my beginner-friendly model photography tutorial that teaches everything from taking pictures to the editing process.
You will also see me doing hands-on photography in that tutorial.