An article in the latest issue of THE DIECAST MAGAZINE by the chief executive of a die-cast model car maker is disturbing. The chap has laid out the history of die-cast vehicles from the 1980’s to the present day and has accurately traced the rise and fall of the average model car.
He’s pointed out the economic fact that the Chinese model making workers are getting better off nd expecting more pay in the future. The heyday of cheap labour from the PRC is over as the population starts to benefit from their own productivity. The western buyers who got a great model for $ 70 will be paying 4 x that amount in a few years time. It will mean that fewer prototypes are modelled.
There will be museum-quality stuff made always, and the rich can have marvellous new toys, but the small modeller will be left with repaints of previous issues. The collecting hobby may well stagnate.
I’m saddened by this. I’ll cope by changing what I collect and photograph to match what is made, and in some respects this will be a good challenge. I am already making a modern prototype diorama and will look at other slices of auto life in my own country to illustrate. Enough to do for my time, I am sure.
But here’s hoping…not for economic downturn or despair in China…but for renewed interest in reasonable quality scale cars for reasonable prices.
I, for one, am more than happy to sacrifice opening bonnets and boots and sometimes opening doors to allow a particular model to be successful. I have an Australian XP Falcon made like that and it is all I need. I would be happy with plastic resin cars, provided they are models that no-one else does and can be detailed enough. And I would dearly love some of the licensing restrictions to be taken off MOPAR and British cars.