Buyer's Guide > Comparison of Scale Model Car Brands

This is a guide to the scale model manufacturers that Legacy Motors represents. We hope to help those unfamiliar with the best diecast cars and best diecast brands understand what their money will purchase. It also helps the evaluation of models in terms of each manufacturer’s reputation, standards and subject focus.

Looking for a specific make and model? Use the “Fast Find” search box on every Legacy Motors page or click on the Showrooms tab to see a drop down of useful categories.

Paul Normand

Please thank collector, Paul Normand, who contributed the organization and
product insight into
this section.

Author, Paul Normand

1320, Inc.

1320, INC

Beautifully crafted models of dragsters and Funny cars. 1:24 scale. Price $60 – 75. There is a deftness of touch in these intricate diecast models that reflects the super-light 1:1’s that they portray; great scale models from a uniquely American sport. Limited to existing stock.

Amalgam

AMALGAM

English company that creates ultra expensive models of the highest quality in 1:8 scale. High price range of $3,750 – $5,500. Focus is on Formula 1 racing models and related road cars. Steering wheels and nose cones, for the current crop of F1 cars, are produced annually. If you can afford it, a collector’s heirloom.

Autoart

AUTOart

AUTOart offers superior value primarily in 1:18 scale models. Price range is $100 – $200. Non-metallic parts are skilfully used to hold prices down. Fit, finish and detail are invariably excellent. 1:12 scale: Price: $500 – $600. These large scale diecast models are meticulously made and very desirable.

BBR Models

BBR MODELS

This Italian company has always worked closely with Ferrari. In 1:18 scale models, price range is $325 – $350. Highly recommended.

CMC

CMC

Brilliant collaboration between Germany and Japan; CMC models are synonymous with accurate reproduction based on: exhaustive research; obsessive attention to detail; precision manufacturing and superb finish.

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $ 280 – $360. The yardstick by which all other 1:18 scale model cars are judged.

1:24 scale model cars. CMC no longer issues new models in 1:24, although some are still available on Legacy Motors.

1:12 scale model cars. Price $2,300 – $2,560. These are peerless museum quality models.

Danbury Mint

DANBURY MINT

Highly prized by collectors of 1:24 scale model cars for their inventive selection of subjects and renowned for their virtuoso detail. Primarily American cars from the 1920’s to the present time.

1:24 scale model cars. Price $130- $200. 1:12 scale model cars. Price: $800. Usually only a single 1:12 model is offered at any given time.

Ertl/ AutoWorld

ERTL/ AUTOWORLD

After decades of popular model-making, Ertl quit making 1:18 scale cars, so originally issued Ertl models are worth more. The molds were leased to AutoWorld who is remaking some of the original. Having stockpiled original Ertl diecast models, Legacy Motors still offers a selection of the original Ertl models. 1:18 scale model cars and trucks. Price: $50 – $80.

Franklin Mint

FRANKLIN MINT

No company did more to popularize the diecast collectible hobby in the eighties and nineties. Specializing in 1:24 scale model cars, the Mint models span an extensive and adventurous selection of American and European cars. Especially strong in Corvettes. Note that Franklin Mint’s more recent issues are much more limited edition and they are not reproducing older issues. So these diecast models have increased in value. Price: $135 – $145.

GMP

GMP

One of the reasons 1:18 scale grew to such popularity in model cars. Great detail for the price. Acclaimed by car people for their creativity and fidelity. Focus on muscle cars, European road racing, dragsters and hot rod scale models. Excellent finishing and good shut lines.

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $120 – $150. For their Masterpiece editions: $290.

1:12 scale model cars. Price: $500. Highly detailed models of iconic road and race cars offer excellent value for money. GMP also makes: 1:24 scale model cars; 1:6 scale dashboards; scale figurines and lots of other stuff that makes the hobby so much fun.

Highway61

HIGHWAY 61

Highway 61 specializes in scale model muscle cars, trucks and pick-ups, and mid Twentieth Century American models – with occasional interesting and welcome diversions (like a series of Dry Lakes Model A racers scale models.)

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $70 – $120. Primarily muscle cars and a few classics and lake racers. Lots of diecast metal, yeoman like level of detail, reliably good value for money.

1:16 scale model cars. Price: $95. Marvellous vintage trucks, in a big scale, with satisfying detail and presence, that are imaginative subject matter.

Kyosho

KYOSHO

Kyosho offers excellent value at every price range. Best Ferrari models for anywhere near $100. Excellent quality control.

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $100 – $205. Range focuses on European sports cars and exotics with some Japanese thrown in. Both street and racing legends. Check out the Cadillac CTS! Admirable detail, fit and finish; well packaged to boot. Excellent quality control.

1:12 scale model cars. Price: $450+. They are highly recommended: unusual but high appeal exotics that will spoil you with their numerous details.

Lane Exact Detail

LANE EXACT DETAIL

Lane Exact Detail helped GMP arouse collectors into an almost decade long mania for 1:18 scale muscle cars. No longer creating new molds, past issues are not reliably reproduced so these scale model muscle cars are destined for rareness.

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $100 – $110. Not latest modelling technology, but still exceptionally well made diecast models. Never disappoints.

Le Mans Miniatures

LE MANS MINIATURES

As their names suggests, Le Mans Miniatures makes scale model Le Mans cars. A sister brand to Spark from France, their scale models are made from resin. This means few if any operable parts, but exceptional detail and finish have been lavished on the exterior qualities of the cars.

1:24 scale model race cars. Price: $198. Very well presented curb side scale models that are intriguingly detailed and presented in their own display cases.

Mattel Hot Wheels

MATTEL HOT WHEELS

Mattel, the people that own Hot Wheels and Matchbox in 1:64, produces scale model cars in larger scales as well.

1:18 scale cars. Mattel produces three levels of 1:18 scale models: Foundation ~ $50; Elite ~ $100; Super Elite ~$200 – $300. Detail escalates with cost.

Mattel also makes 1:43 scale model cars at both Foundation and Elite levels.

Minichamps

MINICHAMPS

Minichamps is a German company who reached 20 years in 2010. They produce in a broad range of scale models, from 1:6 to 1:64 scale, as well as half scale racing helmets.

1:18 scale model cars and trucks. Price $90 – $200. Minichamps provides a spectacular range of European scale model cars. The finishing is very high grade and the detail, particularly of the interiors, is outstanding. The series includes diecast limousines, sports cars, race cars, as well as some more mundane forms of transport with a time span from the 1930’s to the present.

There are 1:6 and 1:12 scale motorcycles; 1:12 scale model cars; a limitless range of 1:43 scale cars, including a burgeoning variety of American cars and a recently introduced collection of 1:64 scale cars.

Norev

NOREV

Norev has existed for five decades before producing its first 1:18 scale model in 2005. A French company, they replicate an excellent range of French scale model cars.

1:18 scale model cars and trucks. Price: $65-$80. Well cast scale models with good levels of detail and a dash of Gallic aplomb. There is an ever increasing choice of cars that reflect European tastes and styles of the last forty years. They are an invaluable source for diecast models of some rarer alternative vehicles.

Red Line Models

RED LINE MODELS

Red Line Models is closely aligned to Spark Models and makes resin model cars principally in 1:43 scale but have expanded to 1:24 and 1:87 scale models. They only offer models of Ferraris.

1:24 scale model Ferrari. Price: $200. The range is limited, but the quality of these curb side models is high. Because they are resin models, detail is lavished on what you can see without needing to open anything. They capture the fragility of the 1:1 cars they are based on.

1:43 scale model Ferrari. Price: $60 – $120. These models are beautifully made with photo-etched parts and, where applicable, very accurate racing liveries. They are a must for all Ferrari collectors.

Shelby Collectibles

SHELBY COLLECTIBLES

As you would guess, Shelby Collectible die cast cars are sanctioned and produced by Carroll Shelby. With one notable exception the scale models are all either Cobras or Shelby Mustangs and therefore the collection is uniquely American.

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $60. The diecast models have accurate engine and interior detail. They have acceptable shut lines and are finished to a collectible standard.

Sun Star

SUN STAR

Sun Star is a scale model manufacturer from Macau, near Hong Kong, and the most densely populated region on earth.

1:18 scale model cars. Price: $70 – $80. The top range is The Platinum Collection. These are detailed scale models of American cars of the late 1950’s and European cars. Good shut lines and well finished. They also make diecast models of both modern and classic rally cars as well as fun subjects like Back to the Future DeLoreans and the Good Humor Truck.

1:12 scale model cars. Price: $140 – $190. All 1:12 scale models are European subjects and have cult status. They are extremely well presented and tons of detail to relish.

1:24 scale model buses. Price: $150. Sun Star produces (uniquely) a range of UK public transport buses, most of them are double-deckers. These are very detailed and highly recommended.

Truescale Miniatures

TRUESCALE MINIATURES

True Scale Miniatures make 1:18 scale model race cars that are very nicely liveried. They are expanding to 1:43 scale model cars and figurines in both 1:18 and 1:43.

1:18 scale model racing cars. Price for car models: $165 – $175. Well detailed, stylishly and well packaged.

Yat Ming

YAT MING

Based in Dong Guan, China, the Yat Ming workforce is housed onsite, standard for most factories in China. They make both 1:24 and 1:43 scale model fire engines; 1:18 and 1:24 scale model cars.

1:18 scale model cars and trucks. Price: $35 – $60. The models cover a broad spectrum of American and European subjects and are of sturdy quality and a lot of model for little price.

1:24 scale model Presidential limousines. Price: $48 – $68. Yat Ming offers two excellent ranges: Presidential Limousines and fire engines. Highly regarded by collectors.

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