My name is Rok Britovšek, I am 26 years old and I am finishing my study on Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenija (Slovenia is ex-Yugoslav Republic, with just 2 million citizens, we are small, but very beautiful & diverse country located between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia - you should check us out). Click here for infos & photos of Slovenia.
How did it all start:
I could say the story began in the year 1996, when first Mercedes-Benz car came to the house. It was a beautiful C class (W202) silver limo, with dark blue interior and wood trim all around, even today a very nice car.
So, I had a rare opportunity to drive this car very young, at age of 13, at first on a sport airfield nearby our summer house on the country. I will never forget that airfield strip and me behind the steering wheel, the first accelaration with the car and my first use of brakes on it... haha, I remember my dad saying: "be gentle son with the car" :)
Then came the first Benz coupe, it was CLK (W208), again silver, and then another model of CLK (W209) new generation - of course in silver colour. And A class also silver... all silver, I could say it is our family colour.
The first Mercedes-Benz models were brought to me by my father when I was still a child, among many others, but I prefer Mercedes-Benz models because I drive/drove them and have plenty of nice memories about them :) So this is how my collecting story of Mercedes-Benz models began.
I specialised in collecting Mercedes model cars between year 2001/2002. The decision had to be made... I loved collecting many different cars (from various brands like Bugatti, Mercedes to various types; sports cars, limusines, SUV etc.), but allready then most of the cars were Mercedes Benz :) ... I always loved Mercedes cars, especially luxury coupes and limousines... it was obvious and not hard to make a serious collectors choise...
and so the STORY begins...
... i started collecting three pointed star models.
The collection speaks for itself ; all scales (the goal is to collect most of the 1/18 MB versions) of Mercedes models & toys, all model makers, every era, and with a price tags from a few euro to a few hundred euros per model/toy...
Let' me start with a definition: Scale - A proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents.
Diecast model cars are a great way to display our love for cars and their history. Whether you spell it diecast, die-cast or die cast, one thing is for sure; there are plenty of them and they come in many different scales from small 1/64 scale models to large
scale models. Scale is a fractional representation of the size of a model in comparison with the real car. A
scale diecast car for example will be 1/18th the size of a real car. Every 18 centimeters of the real car will be represented by 1 cm of a scale diecast car.
The easiest way to visualize this is through an example. Using a 1/18 scale diecast car, let's compare it to a real car. If we take the popular 1/18 Mercedes SL 55 AMG (Maisto) diecast model car with dimensions of 25 cm long x 10,30 cm wide, we can calculate the size of the 1:1 car.
25 * 1/18 = 450 cm long (453,5 cm original)
10,30 * 1/18 = 185,4 cm wide (182,7 cm original)
The actual measurements vary based upon how accurately the model car is modeled and how close the tooling is from the diecast manufacturer.
What's a Model Car ?
A model car is a miniature representation, or scale model, of an automobile or similar powered vehicle, generally reproducing the shapes of actually-produced vehicles. Other miniature ground-running vehicles, such as trucks, buses, etc. (but not railroad trains or tracked military vehicles) are usually included in the general category of model cars.
The line between model and toy cars is not well-defined; some toys can be scaled and detailed well enough to be considered models also. Miniature cars which are poorly proportioned or lack significant details are usually considered to be pure toys rather than models.
How and what are they made of ?
When we think of diecast cars, we often think of the details and features that each one offers but if you take the time to understand the process of creating these replicas, you can enjoy each one even more. This will be a simplified description of the process that manufacturers go through to produce a diecast car as there are several steps that can take well over a year to produce a final “run” of cars, a process comparable to the manufacturing of a real automobile.
Once a 1:1 car has been selected to replicate, the manufacturer creates a hand shaped mold of the outside of the car. This mold is duplicated and the duplicate is turned into a hand crafted working model. This model is the one used to create the tooling. Each part of the hand crafted model is precisely measured and a die is made to produce each part. This tooling is often a very expensive process requiring hundreds of hours of machining and is the reason why manufacturers usually produce several variations of each model car.
First a 1:1 car is selected...
Once the dies have been cut, a test car is cast and assembled to determine if any changes should be made. If all of the parts fit and work correctly and the textures and shape of the parts are correct, then the die is hardened and ready to mass produce.
Each die is made of at least two parts. These parts are assembled and injected with molten metal under high pressure to produce the casting. Once the casting has cooled, the die is taken apart and the casting is then removed, trimmed of excess material, buffed out, and primed for paint. Once painted, each part of the diecast car is assembled until completion. They are then shipped to the manufacturer and distributed to customers.
While that was a very brief explanation, hopefully it gave you an idea of the various time-consuming processes that can go into the manufacturing of just one diecast car. The die cast process used to manufacture these collectibles has been around for a long time but it is utilized for the advantages it has over other processes including economics, high speed production, dimensional accuracy, strength, multiple finishes, and simplified assembly.
Fabricated diecast shell of SLS AMG miniature model in scale 1:18
Die casting by pressure injection was developed in the mid 1800s and used primarily for making printing type. It wasn't until the 1900s that the die cast process was used for mass production of various parts. Over the length of 100 years, the die cast process evolved from a low pressure injection process with tin and lead to a high pressure casting with several different alloys that produce excellent surface finishes such as the ones found on our beloved model cars.
For now, die casting is the preferred method for all of the previously mentioned advantages but several factors such as the price of alloy, availability of cheap assembly labor, and tooling costs could one day change enough to make other processes more feasible. We've already experienced several price increases in the past few years due to increasing costs of alloys.
These changes could lead the hobby in a whole new direction or perhaps collectors will demand even more accuracy and steer manufacturers to produce models using actual materials from the 1:1 cars including carbon fiber, plastic, and fiberglass. Only time will tell but it is exciting contemplating which direction the hobby will go!
Diecast models are made from a metal called ZAMAK. ZAMAK is an alloy, made from aluminium and zinc.
Finished Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG model car and its 1:1 counterpart
Most collectors go for 1/18 scale... Why ?
Larger models often offer a better representation of the 1:1 car than the smaller ones. Having a larger canvas allows manufacturers to more accurately model the cars. This is just a general rule of thumb and the larger scale models usually cost more than a similarly detailed smaller scale model.
Often the price difference, level of detail, and space restrictions will dictate which scale a collector chooses and how many he or she can collect. One of the most popular scales of larger diecast cars is the
scale. This scale can incorporate all the detail you could want while still being small enough to collect hundreds in one room.
1/18 diecast cars are generally made with attention to details which replicate a real model, such as opening doors, trunk/boot, and hood/bonnet, steerable wheels, detailed interior, a detailed engine compartment, and tires mounted on a workable suspension system.
The 1/18 scale diecast world also has many manufacturers producing replicas for collectors to enjoy. From muscle cars to exotics, there is something for everyone.
Collecting diecast cars as a Hobby
While there are many different reasons to collect, there are people who collect diecast cars as a hobby. Those who collect diecast cars as a hobby will simply try to own as much as they can in a certain field. Those who like a certain car company (for example Mercedes) will attempt to collect all of the different diecast cars for that specific brand. Those who like a certain company of diecast cars will try to collect as many of their diecast cars as they can.These people simply collect for fun. While their collections may be worth thousands of dollars, they do not collect for the money, they collect out of their love for cars of all types.
Collecting diecast cars as Investments
There are people who collect diecast cars for the money, however. These people realize the potential to make money with diecast cars and purchase them in hopes of making money on them. People will look to find these cars on a steal, and will often try to find the diecast cars in home sales and pawn shops. Once they find the diecast cars, they simply sell them at auctions or to specialty stores who will take them in hopes of selling them for higher prices. Just like trading cards, diecast cars can be used to trade and collect, as well as sell. It is possible to collect for profit with diecast cars but this can be an exacting science and require years of patience to appreciate the largest profit potential.
About the diecast car world
There are multiple different brands available for those who are looking to buy diecast cars. Some of the diecast car companies will offer multiple types of cars, while some only offer a few specific types. Hot Wheels, Maisto and AUTOart are some of the most well known diecast car companies for example. These companies have different scale sizes that include the huge 1/12 scale as well as 1/18, 1/24, 1/32, 1/43 and 1/64 (both large and small).
Diecast cars are often given as a gift. People do not realize the collectability of these cars, and fail to realize that the diecast car that they have now may be worth more money down the road.The best way to understand as much as possible about your diecast car is to research online, and to take the diecast car into a specialty shop that has a great focus on diecast cars. You can better understand how to take care of your car, and if you want to sell it (and how much you should sell it for).
If you are completely new to the hobby, I will tell you one thing: what are you waiting for? Here is what you need to do; pick out your favorite car & choose your scale and get started. There are plenty of budget models in various scales from small 1/64 scale to the popular 1/18 scale and larger (1/12, 1/10, 1/8) that won't break the bank. If you've got plenty of money to burn, you may opt for a higher priced models with much more detail. Some of these models are so close to the 1:1 car that you'll be trying to turn the ignition to take it for a spin!
From muscle cars to exotics, cars to bikes, die cast collecting has something for everyone. If you're passionate about automobiles then you'll certainly appreciate the craftsmanship of these small replicas. Miniature cars are often first assumed to be toys but once you get one, you will come to realize that they are so much more than that. It's better to compare them to a picture. Many of us take photos of our own cars or other cars that we like and a model car is just that...a 3d picture of a car frozen in time for you to enjoy forever.
Instead of squinting to see the details in a photo, you can pick your model up and examine every aspect of it from the fan belts to the brake lines. Many of these die cast cars have working steering, sun visors, folding seats, rotating drive shafts...the list goes on.
Most people start looking for die cast cars because they want a replica of a car they own or have owned at some point in their life. Others are gearheads that love all cars but can't afford to own them all. Some started collecting because they bought someone diecast model for present and they liked it as well. There are many ways from people around the globe, how they got involved with this beautifull hobby :) One thing is sure, we get the benefit of being able to look at all kinds of cars and show them off to our friends but we just can't take them down the street or cruise in them, too bad :)
We spend many hours in our 1:1 cars every year and often they represent our personality or interests in life. Die cast cars are just an extension of that and just as the real cars bring us happiness every time we look at them, a model car can do the same. There's nothing quite like waking up in the morning and seeing a room full of cars!
Different Model Car Collection Genres
The available categories of collecting diecast models is as varied as the real world and is growing daily and as new interests enter the hobby. Colections might include vintage diecast fire engines and pumper trucks, scale Model Diorama & Accessories, Formula 1 race cars, Rally Cars, Miscellaneous Collectibles, Drag Racing, Tuners, Jada Toys, Dub City, NASCAR, Exotic, Sports, Custom Models, Sedan, Coupe, Muscle Car, Classic Hot Rod, Motorcycles, Classic oldtimers, Trucks, SUV and more!
So what scale to choose...
Collectors often opt to collect only one or two different scales so choosing the one that's right for you can help steer your collection in the right direction from the beginning, but don't feel limited by one scale. Just as some collectors choose to stay with one, others may opt to collect only one brand of car. If you're a diehard Mercedes-Benz fan like me, then you may want to get all the Benzes you can find in any scale available.
Collecting is a hobby that we all do to make us happy. You know better than anyone what you like so don't feel limited by scales or manufacturers, just get to collecting and enjoy everything the hobby has to offer you.
Diecast vehicles and toys are an example of a collection that is a NEVERENDING STORY :)
How many ?
There are over 2500 Mercedes-Benz diecast model cars and Mercedes-Benz Toys in my collection, not to mention other diecasts ;)
How much ?
Prices are set "by" three different categories;
limited/special editions or out of production model cars (top €€€!)
about Mercedes-Benz Collection website
It all started with Google Page Creator (googlepages.com) which my good friend Rok suggested me to take a look at and make myself a personal website for my Collection. I had an idea/dream about owning a website dedicated to my diecast models and toys, but I planned it for a later stage in my life, let's say after my 30s :)
OK, so I came home and in about 30 minutes I built a template for the website with basic menu and subpages with some photos.
(actual print screen of my Googlepages website experiment)
And I was like WOW, this is it ! I do not want to invest another second into Googlepages (sorry :) ) so I started to search for a web domain + web hoster and making basic calculations of my investment :) I chose the domain name -> a last second split decision, and man I was lucky ! I decided for "mercedes-benz-collection.eu" because I was already too late for ".com".
14 days later after buying the ".eu" domain name, ".de" was taken, and three weeks later ".net", ".org" and ".info" ( bought by Mercedes-Benz ). I managed to get the ".us" domain (massive population = massive traffic for site) and ".cn" (China). Then came ".mobi" for mobile phones and in my opinion it is a very promising domain, so I bought it.
To finish the story; I bought the ".eu" website domain and hosting on my fathers birthday, that is on 17. 8. 2008 (no, it was not for his b-day present :) ). The website was officially "launched" on my 25. birthday on 18. 12. 2008 ;)
So, now you know... how it all started.
Tnx for reading, I hope you enjoyed it :D
For any questions & suggestions, critics etc. feel free to contact me.