Collecting Diecast Models: Why Do People Do This?
You may know someone who likes collecting model cars, planes, trains, or buses. However, for someone who doesn’t understand, it can be hard to figure out why people collect diecast models. Furthermore, you may be researching and finding some new hobbies. Thus, I decided to write this blog post to give you insights into why people collect these models.
As a general rule, people collect diecast models because it is a hobby that has turned into a passion. This can be a sentimental value to the actual model or some fun memories while playing these models as a child. Furthermore, diecast models are easy to maintain and durable, which makes them attractive to new collectors.
But, more than just a hobby, people collect diecast models for different purposes. In this article, we are going to discuss possible reasons behind why people collect diecast models.
Why Do People Collect Diecast Models?
Collecting diecast models is a hobby that gradually turns into a passion that people usually adopt from childhood.
For diecast enthusiasts, these are much more than toys and attractive because they accurately represent the mechanical and historical innovations of the original vehicles.
The liking for vehicles such as planes, cars, boats, or trains makes someone admire and collect diecast models.
Over time, this hobby can turn into passion.
Examples of people who love to collect models also love to drive and follow rally racing, adventure travel, group driving.
It’s the speed, the excitement, and the experience that drives them to collect diecast models.
With the diecast model in front of you, there is a sense of pride and respect for the vehicle that inspires someone.
Psychologically, it is also proven that a person tries to keep what he likes. Therefore, if you have loved diecast models since childhood, you will surely become its collector.
Some people also collect them because they are more durable than ordinary car toys and last longer.
Furthermore, these models don’t rust because they’re made from a specific metal alloy called Zamak.
Some collect it so that they can sell it later and make a lot of money.
So you can say that there are different reasons for everyone to collect diecast models, such as passion, sentiments, and investment.
Here are the reasons why people collect diecast models.
1. Collecting Models is a Passion
You’ve probably met many people who have collected cars, motorcycles, trucks, boats, and planes as their hobby.
Collecting models usually starts as a hobby. However, their love for these models might turn into passion.
The hobby usually started in childhood when they had some good memories playing with these cars.
Furthermore, it can also stem from a sentimental value
Everyone can become a hobbyist who loves to collect diecast miniature models or a serious collector looking for very old vintage models.
2. Diecast Models are Easily Accessible
Let’s not forget that diecast models are very accessible and can be purchased at any toy or hobby store.
Furthermore, there are lots of websites selling these models.
Because diecast models are easy to collect, more people are enticed to buy these models.
Lastly, diecast models are not expensive, so it’s easy to start collecting even if you’re on a budget.
If you need some tips on where to buy diecast models, especially the rare ones, I have a guide for you. Here is a link: Diecast Model Marketplaces
If you want a collector preferred scale for diecast models, I suggest getting a 1:43 scale since it is often called the collector’s scale.
However, the 1:18 scale is also popular and readily available for diecast collectors, especially diecast car models.
There are many types and editions of limited editions available, and some companies also make serialized limited-edition diecast models.
Tip: One of the common diecast model brands is Hot Wheels. If you’re an absolute beginner, it is good to start with them since they offer good models at a reasonable price. However, if you need to know what to look for when buying, I made a blog post about the topic: What to look for when buying Hot Wheels.
3. Diecast Models are Good for Decorating
Diecast models are suitable for decorating your living room, bedroom, or guest room.
Some people prefer buying these model cars to display them in their homes.
Mainly, they buy rare models for they are good displays.
4. Diecast Models are Durable
Diecast models are durable due to advanced manufacturing and the high-class technologies involved in their production.
As their manufacturing involves metals, so they avoid risks of minor damages. Still, you have to avoid dust particles from your model.
Till now, white metal and pot metal are the prioritized ones to use in diecast model manufacturing.
This is due to their rare properties and advanced features.
Generally speaking, diecast models don’t rust simply because they’re made from Zamak and not from iron.
Zamak is an alloy of aluminum, zinc, and magnesium. Zamak is another term for pot metal.
It has been said that if you keep your models in a pleasant room with air conditioning and away from direct sunlight, your models can have a great long life of at least 100 years, if not more.
Since diecast models are made of metal, cast models tend to have a higher level of detail than their plastic counterparts and are also more durable – a massive plus for enthusiastic collectors.
Note: While it is true that diecast models don’t rust, they are prone to zinc pests, a greenish-white discoloration that happens on models not taken care of. If you need a guide on preventing and removing zinc pests, check this other blog post: How to prevent and remove zinc pests from diecast models.
5. Diecast Models are Easy to Maintain
Diecast models are easy to maintain.
In fact, if you want them to remain in perfect condition, all you need to do is not to open their packaging.
The packaging is a perfect space to preserve your models.
For other people who like to display their models, various display cases are available online that are made for diecast models.
As I said, if taken care of properly, these models can last a century.
6. Diecast Models Can Be an Investment
While people collect diecast models for fun and a hobby, they also collect them for business and profit.
These people are called Scalpers. They are called scalpers because they buy rare models cheaply and sell them to collectors for a higher price.
If you’re good at restoring and maintaining models in the diecast space, you can earn some money.
For example, the 1969 Hot Wheels Beach Bomb has a book value of $150,000, and the 1998 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy Monte Carlo has a book value of $4,500.
Also, because it is clear that these values continue to increase over time, it is rare to see some loss if you know what you’re buying.
People collect different diecast models and either follow their designs and complete a new design, or if they cannot do so, they sell them at a reasonable price.
Are Diecast Cars Increasing In Value?
If your eyes lit up when I gave some examples of expensive diecast models, then you’re not alone.
I would also like to get my hands on those models, but I don’t.
But this proves my point that diecast models are valuable. Thus, you would also see scalpers who make money by buying and selling rare models.
Suppose you only want to collect models. Would these diecast cars increase in value?
Since diecast models are absolute gems and only in limited quantities, it goes without saying that these models not only hold their value very well but, in most cases, increase in value within a few years of production.
This is because of two things which as the model’s rarity and the demand from collectors.
Usually, models have an inscribed year of production in them. Even the cheap Hot Wheels have them.
If you’re interested in that, feel free to check this blog post: How to tell how old a Hot Wheel is?
But my point is this.
Once the year is over, the production for that model has stopped. This means that over time, these models tend to become rare and rare.
And the time it takes is not that big.
For example, the 1995 Hot Wheels treasure hunt set is now valued at $3,600.
That’s why you’ll often see the year of production on rare models. As a general rule, the older the model, the more expensive it gets.
And we can see a practical example of this in the current era that their prices have increased a lot compared to the last few years.
This shows that diecast cars are gaining popularity over time, and their value is increasing.
Collecting diecast car models can’t be a common hobby because it’s hard to afford.
Also, you would have to specially take care of your models in every aspect.
For example, you have to dust your diecast models regularly to avoid or damage them.
What’s Next? I talked about the 1995 Hot Wheels having a high book value despite not being that old yet. If you want more examples of expensive 1990 Hot Wheels, feel free to check this blog post: Are Hot Wheels from the 90s Worth it?
“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.
Here is the link: How to Take Pictures of a Diecast Model or Model Kit | Helpful Illustrated and Video Guide