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Diecast Models FAQ

What are diecast models?

Diecast models are miniature replicas of vehicles, typically cars and trucks, that are made from diecast metal. They are also known as diecast toys, diecast models, or diecast cars. These models are usually highly detailed and accurate representations of real-life vehicles and are often used as collectibles.

How are they made?

Diecast models are made using a process called diecasting, in which molten metal is poured into a mold and then cooled to form the desired shape. The mold is usually made of steel or aluminum and is created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. The finished diecast model is usually made of a zinc alloy, which is a mixture of zinc and other metals.

Diecast models come in a variety of scales, with the most common being 1:18, 1:24, and 1:43. The scale refers to the size of the model in relation to the size of the real vehicle. For example, a 1:18 scale model is 18 times smaller than the real vehicle, while a 1:43 scale model is 43 times smaller. The smaller the scale, the more detailed the model can be, but also the more expensive.

Diecast models can be highly detailed and accurate, with many featuring opening doors, hoods and trunks, functioning steering and suspension, and detailed interiors and engines. Many diecast models are also highly collectible, with some models being produced in limited quantities and becoming highly sought-after by collectors.

Diecast models can be found in many specialized stores and online retailers, as well as in some department stores and toy stores. The price of diecast models can vary greatly depending on the brand, model, and level of detail, with some models costing hundreds of dollars.

What sizes do they come in? 

Diecast models come in a variety of scales, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common scales for diecast models are:

1:18 Scale: This is the largest scale commonly used for diecast models and is often used for models of sports cars, luxury cars, and other high-end vehicles. At this scale, the models are large enough to show a great deal of detail and can have opening doors, hoods, and trunks, as well as functioning steering and suspension.

1:24 Scale: This is a slightly smaller scale than 1:18 and is often used for models of muscle cars, classic cars, and other vehicles. Models at this scale can still be highly detailed, but may be slightly less expensive than 1:18 scale models.

1:43 Scale: This is the smallest scale commonly used for diecast models and is often used for models of everyday cars, trucks, and other vehicles. At this scale, the models are smaller and less expensive, but can still be highly detailed.

1:64 Scale: This is a smaller scale, often used for Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other toy car lines.

1:87 Scale: This is the scale used for HO scale model railways, and also for some diecast models, particularly for commercial vehicles and buses.

1:72 Scale: This is a scale used for some military models, and also for some diecast models, particularly for planes.

1:12 Scale: This is a large scale, used for some motorcycle models.

These are the most common scales, but some manufacturers may also produce models in other scales such as 1:32, 1:50, 1:100 etc.

What do these numbers mean?

The measurements for each scale of diecast model are as follows:

1:18 Scale: These models typically measure between 10-12 inches in length.

1:24 Scale: These models typically measure between 8-10 inches in length.

1:43 Scale: These models typically measure between 4-5 inches in length.

1:64 Scale: These models typically measure between 2-3 inches in length.

1:87 Scale: These models typically measure between 1-2 inches in length.

1:72 Scale: These models typically measure between 2-3 inches in length.

1:12 Scale: These models typically measure between 12-14 inches in length.

It's worth noting that not all vehicles are the same size so the sizes of the diecast models will vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer.

Who makes diecast models?

There are many companies that make diecast models, some of the most well-known and respected ones are:

  • Jada Toys: A well-known diecast model manufacturer, Jada Toys is known for its highly detailed and accurate replicas of popular vehicles, including classic cars, muscle cars, and sports cars, as well as licensed products from popular movies and TV shows.
  • Hot Wheels: A division of Mattel, Hot Wheels is known for its wide range of highly detailed and collectible diecast models, particularly in 1:64 scale.
  • Matchbox: A division of Mattel, Matchbox is also known for its wide range of diecast models, particularly in 1:64 scale.
  • Maisto: A well-known diecast model manufacturer, Maisto produces a wide range of diecast models in a variety of scales, including 1:18, 1:24, and 1:64.
  • Autoart: A high-end diecast model manufacturer, Autoart is known for its extremely detailed and accurate models, often in 1:18 scale.
  • Minichamps: A German diecast model manufacturer, Minichamps produces a wide range of highly detailed and accurate models in various scales, particularly in 1:43 and 1:18 scales.
  • Greenlight: A known diecast model manufacturer, Greenlight produces a wide range of highly detailed and accurate models, often in 1:18, 1:24 and 1:64 scales.
  • CMC: German manufacturer of high-end diecast models, CMC specializes in models of classic and racing cars, aircraft, and military vehicles

These are just a few of the many companies that make diecast models, and there are many other manufacturers that produce high-quality diecast models as well.

Why are these so popular?

Diecast models are popular for a variety of reasons, including:

  • High level of detail: Many diecast models are highly detailed and accurate replicas of real-life vehicles. This level of detail can make them appealing to both collectors and enthusiasts, who appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  • Collectibility: Many diecast models are produced in limited quantities, making them highly sought-after by collectors. Some models may also become rare and valuable over time, adding to their collectability.
  • Versatility: Diecast models come in a variety of scales, which makes them suitable for a wide range of uses. The larger scales, such as 1:18, can be used as display models, while the smaller scales, such as 1:64, can be used as toys or playthings.
  • Affordability: Some diecast models can be quite expensive, especially the high-end ones, but many models are also relatively affordable, making them accessible to a wide range of buyers.
  • Nostalgia: Many people collect diecast models as a way to relive their childhood memories, or to remember and appreciate a certain car or brand that they used to own or were interested in.
  • Variety: Diecast models come in a wide range of styles, from classic cars to sports cars, from trucks to buses, from planes to boats, there's a diecast model for every taste.
  • Decorative: Some people use diecast models as decorative items, for example, a car enthusiast might place a model of his favorite car on his desk, or a collector might use them to decorate a room.

All these reasons combined make diecast models a popular option for many people, whether they're collectors, enthusiasts, or simply people looking for an interesting and unique decorative item.

How do I know that my diecast model does not contain harmful chemicals or lead?

Here are a few ways to ensure that your diecast model does not contain harmful chemicals or lead:

  1. Check for certifications: Many reputable diecast model manufacturers are certified by organizations such as ASTM International or the European Union, which set safety standards for toys and other products.
  2. Look for labels and packaging information: Many manufacturers will list the materials used to make their products on the packaging or in the product information. Look for information about lead-free paint or other safe materials.
  3. Research the manufacturer: Check the reputation of the manufacturer. Look up customer reviews, or ask other collectors or enthusiasts about the manufacturer's reputation.
  4. Check for warning signs: If the model has an unusual smell or discoloration, it may contain harmful chemicals.
  5. Look for Safe alternatives: Some companies do use safe and non-toxic materials, you can opt to purchase from them.

Keep in mind that some older diecast models may contain lead, so it's important to be aware of the age of the model you're buying. Additionally, it's always a good idea to exercise caution when handling any diecast models, and to wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.

It's worth noting that Lead was banned in paint used on toys and children's products in the US and EU, so it's unlikely to find lead in diecast models produced after that date.

After what date?

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned lead in paint used on toys and children's products in 1978. And in the European Union, the use of lead in paint and surface coatings on toys and childcare articles was banned by the Toy Safety Directive of 2009/48/EC which came into force on July 20th, 2013. So any diecast model produced after those dates should not contain lead in their paint or surface coatings. However, as lead was used in paint for many years before those bans, some older diecast models may still contain lead and it's important to be aware of the age of the model you're buying and if there are any concerns it is better to not buy them.

In Canada, the safety of toys, including diecast models, is regulated by the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) and the associated regulations. The CCPSA sets out requirements for the design, construction, packaging, labeling, and testing of toys to ensure that they are safe for children and do not pose a risk of injury or harm.

The CCPSA also sets out specific regulations for lead and other heavy metals in toys, including diecast models. These regulations prohibit the manufacture, importation, and sale of toys that contain more than 90 parts per million (ppm) of lead in the paint or surface coating, or more than 600 ppm of total lead content. The regulations also prohibit the use of other heavy metals, such as cadmium, in toys.

In addition to the CCPSA, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) also sets out standards for toy safety, including diecast models. The CSA's Toy Safety Standards are based on the ASTM International standards and provide guidelines for the design, construction, packaging, labeling, and testing of toys to ensure that they are safe for children.

It's important to note that compliance with these regulations does not guarantee that a diecast model is safe for children, as there are other factors to consider, such as small parts that could be a choking hazard. Parents, caretakers and buyers should always check the packaging and labeling of the diecast model, to ensure that it is appropriate for the intended use.

What ages are suggested for diecast models?

The suggested age range for diecast models can vary depending on the manufacturer and the specific model. However, in general, diecast models are not typically recommended for children under the age of 3 due to small parts that could pose a choking hazard.

Many diecast models are marketed and intended for adult collectors, and are not suitable for children to play with. These models tend to have many small parts, intricate details, and are often fragile.

On the other hand, some diecast models are specifically designed for children and are more durable and less detailed. These models are often recommended for children over the age of 3, and are typically made with larger parts that are less likely to pose a choking hazard.

In general, it's important to check the packaging and labeling of a diecast model to see if there are any age recommendations or safety warnings. Additionally, it's a good idea to exercise caution when buying diecast models for children, and to supervise children when they are playing with these types of toys.