Why are Diecast Expensive: What You Need To Know

When we see news of expensive diecast models being sold, most people would wonder how that happens. They are just replica which doesn’t even have motors but some can even be sold for $7.5 million like the Lamborghini Aventador gold. But why is this happening? Why are diecast models expensive? Let’s find out.

Diecast models are expensive for many reasons. One of which is that producing diecast models require some sort of specialization which drives up its labor cost. Furthermore, some diecast models are in limited edition pulling up their price because of increasing demand.

There are multiple reasons why these models get expensive. In fact, I actually listed 9 reasons why these models can get expensive. Let’s start.

Why Are Diecast Models So Expensive?

Diecast models are so expensive because of their labor cost. Producing diecast models requires experts to operate such as when producing smaller model parts. Furthermore, there are licensing fees with actual car manufacturers forcing them to increase their prices.

Diecast collectibles are engineered and handmade. Each model needs a significant amount of time, money, and talent to produce.

Some are antique and classic collectibles, as well as one-of-a-kind similar to jeweler’s masterpiece, sell for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Like most stuff in life, you get what you pay for, and model vehicles are no exception. That said, below are some of the reasons why diecast models are expensive

If you would want to see how much the most expensive diecast cars were sold, you may check the article I’ve made here: Are diecast cars a good investment?

1. Chinese Experts Cost/ Professional Labor

With an hourly wage of around $1.20 US per hour, China will still be considered a low-cost labor economy.

Other emerging countries find it difficult to compete with China in terms of arts and crafts.

It could be viable to relocate the manufacturing facility to just a country with cheaper labor expenses to reduce production costs but the Chinese expertise makes this a tough decision to make.

Because precision with which they detail and manipulate such little pieces with their fingertips is unrivaled in the world.

2. Labour Cost

The average basic worker received a lump sum compensation of 400 to 500 RMB Yuan per month a decade ago. 

Their pay has now been raised by another 20% as a result of the Chinese government’s new minimum wage standards.

In 2007, the government enacted the Labor Law, which the industry had previously largely ignored.

As of today, the average worker makes around 2,000 RMB Yuan each month in a lump payment. In China, the average monthly minimum wage is presently around $300 US dollars.

Due to the hundreds of people required to construct each model automobile on the manufacturing line, the ratio among material and labor costs is around 1:4.

The labor cost of diecast vehicles is also significantly high due to the automobiles’ high level of detail.

The reason for this is that meticulous attention to detail necessitates skill, and such expertise comes at a high price.

As a result of the high production costs, the price of the end product, the diecast model will also be influenced.

Factory workers are dissatisfied and will readily abandon their positions in search of better pay elsewhere.

3. High licensing fees

Every year, the license rates for model vehicles rise.

Producing model vehicles were more profitable in the early 2000s when models were around $50 US than it is now when they cost three times as much.

It’s tough to keep up with the ever-increasing expense of production no matter how many times the lease rates are raised.

High license prices are caused by three key factors:

Because the original car manufacturers do not want to leave any money on the table, modeling outfits must pay license fees before receiving authorization to build diecast models.

The second reason is that diecast producers must create models of automobiles that people will want to buy; they cannot simply construct miniatures of vehicles except people already like them.

The third reason is that model producers want the original blueprint from a real car from a brand in order to create model vehicles that are as authentic as possible to delight collectors and hobbyists.

4. Original Manufacturer’s Design

Usually, the prominent luxury cars, race cars, and supercar manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and even Mercedes-Benz sanction the best model brands to ensure that it represents their brand well.

Because each model’s design is a complicated and time-consuming procedure, especially in the case of contemporary car models, designers use authentic CAD designs from the main vehicle manufacturer.

This includes images and digital scans of actual automobiles to recreate the original elements in the miniature diecast vehicle.

5. Handmade by Professionals

A team of skilled model builders creates high-end models by hand.

Some of the kits have over 800 parts and are painstakingly built with meticulous attention to detail.

To create each model, hundreds of hours of specialized effort may be required.

To complete every model, a large amount of time and specialized effort is also required.

6. Value for Craftmanship

A typical 1/18 scale model car presently costs around 120 to 150 US dollars.

Given the amount of effort and investment put into each model that is launched, the pricing is still considered to be very affordable.

Each model is made up of hundreds of components and takes about a year to construct, with hundreds of workers working on the production line for each model.

7. Special Edition

The majority of premium model automobiles are made in special edition releases with extremely short production runs.

Production runs can be limited to 1,000, a few hundred, or even a few dozen in the case of exceptional limited editions.

Individually numbered limited production runs are frequently accompanied by certifications of authenticity.

The cost of these very unusual model cars is influenced by the rarity of these models, as well as collector demand.

Collectors, as you might expect, are willing to spend much more if they know there are only 50 of a certain model available.

Furthermore, these types of models frequently increase in value over time, making them valuable investments.

8. Top-Notch Materials

High-end models make extensive use of premium materials to make even the tiniest aspects of the car, bring them to life.

Specialty textiles for seating including upholstery, leather, carpets, wood paneling, and other authentic materials are frequently used in vehicle interiors.

Because so many various materials are used, the assembling process becomes more complicated.

9. Item of Wealth

Premium models diecast vehicles are exotic collectibles designed for collectors and hobbyists, rather than toys that are for tom, dick, and harry.

It may seem odd to non-collectors why someone would spend several thousand dollars on a 30cm miniature vehicle.

The serious collector, on the other hand, recognizes that these automobiles are works of art and a form of investment.


The ratio between material and labor costs is around 1:4.

Diecasts are expensive due to their high production costs, and as a collectible, they are appreciating assets manufactured in current limited-edition models.

If you value the diecast model so much the rareness and increase in their price become a justification to own them.

Remember, since their price is steadily increasing, this just proves the point that they are really a good investment.

That’s a solid reason why you can even resell them at a high fee later in the future.

Only the things I love”

thediecastmodel.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I earn an affiliate commission.

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.

Removing Dust

  1. Air Brush – For me, this is the best since it not just removes dust but you can use it in painting/clear coating.
  2. Air Duster – This is a good alternative to Airbrush
  3. 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.

  1. Removing Decal Adhesive – Use Goo Gone on those hard-to-remove decal adhesives. It works fast and works like charm!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Painting Tools

Make sure when you paint models, have these ready.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Drop Cloths – Drop Cloths will protect your surroundings from the paint.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. Acrylic PaintGood for beginners because it dries quickly. However, it doesn’t produce results as good as enamel paint.
  2. Enamel PaintProvides a good quality finish and longer-lasting paint. However, it takes longer to dry and requires expertise to use.

Model Maintenance

Model Storage

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Model Photography

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.

Here is the link: How to Take Pictures of a Diecast Model or Model Kit | Helpful Illustrated and Video Guide

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