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History and Understanding the Term:

1:18 scale as it relates to the diecast toy model car industry


Some History on the term 1:18 scale

1:18 scale is the name of a type of diecast model cars originally produced in the late 1980s, around the same time that the old-car hobby enjoyed a huge increase in popularity.

At the time of the inception of the 1:18 scale, Ertl and Revell were selling a limited number of diecast models of cars, mostly older American models (although Revell Germany sold a number of diecast German and American models). ERTL's 1:18 scale line was called "American Muscle" and through the 1990s, the number of different models increased exponentially.

By the mid-1990s, other manufacturers became aware of the popularity of this scale, and introduced their own lines of models. These companies included Yat Ming, Sun Star, Motor Max and Maisto. Often, cars featured in collectible car magazines (such as Collectible Automobile) were soon the subjects of 1:18 diecast models.

As time went on, not only did the variety of 1:18 diecasts grow, but the quality did likewise. Early examples suffered from poor chrome plating quality, inaccurate interior details, and body dies that did not accurately reflect the actual body lines of the cars themselves. Unlike plastic, which is much easier the shape than metal, some of these models have heavy lines or shapes that reflected these difficulties.

During the early 2000s, these problems were solved, and the quality and accuracy of models improved drastically. Today (2006), many features are found in mainstream, low-priced diecasts that were only found in models costing upwards of $100.00. Engine wiring and plumbing, carpeting in the interior, detailed instrument panels, seatbelts, and photo-etched details are common even in models costing under $50.00. Around this time, "premium" manufacturers including Highway 61, GMP, AUTOart, and Lane Exact Detail began to offer very high quality, high-detailed models at higher prices ERTL has recently introduced a new line of high-detail models in their "American Muscle Authentics" series, at reasonble prices.

Generally these models are made with attention to details which replicate a real model. It will have a working steering which steer the wheels in larger models. Doors, hood and trunk that open. Tyres that are mounted on a workable suspension system. The hood opens to show a detailed engine complete with a things like an exhaust system and other items contained in a typical car engine.

In smaller scales some of the details are elliminated. So eg in 1:32 or 1:43 scale cars the steering and wheels will not be working. Likewise only the front doors and hood will be functional, with non opening rear doors and trunk.

Typically companies that make such model cars will have a licensing arrangement with real car manufacturers to make replicas of their cars, both in current production or of models no longer produced.

Today, the lower-priced models are easily obtainable from a number of diecast merchants, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores such as Toys R Us, Wal-Mart and K-B Toys (in the United States). Premium models are typically offered on the Internet from such sites as Ebay, as well as number of online diecast stores. Often these stores offer the models at significant discount from list price. As time goes on, more and more collectible (and modern) cars become the subject of 1:18 diecast models, so at this time there is a very large number of diecasts to choose from. Significant categories include:

Antique/Classics (pre-World War II)
Fifties Cars
Muscle Cars (1960s and 70s)
Modern Cars (1990s and newer)
Trucks from all eras

Understanding Scale
Diecast Directory

See ALL 1:18 scale diecast model cars (in stock and out of stock)
See only IN STOCK 1:18 scale diecast model cars


This page was last modified 4 January 2007.
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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "1:18 scale"
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