Car models come in the form of plastic model kits and also die cast model kits. The cars that are made from die cast are mainly produced from tin and zinc and are seen more as toys. The plastic model kits are more of a collector’s item as they need to be assembled together, whereas the die cast always come fully assembled. The plastic model kits all have a variety of difficulty levels with the purchaser being required to glue the parts together and paint the finished vehicle. The finer the details of the vehicle model the more difficult it is to assemble, so each kit is given a difficulty level, so the buyer will know if they have the necessary skills to assemble the car.
The most popular vehicles are the ones that are usually no longer being mass produced. If the vehicle has some type of historical significance that helps to improve its image. A good example of this would be Revell’s 1/24 VW T1 Samba Bus “Flower Power” Plastic model kit. The campervan looks at home in the swinging 1960’s but it is such a unique model that many collectors would love to purchase it. It comes in 169 separate parts and is aimed at those modelers with the highest skill levels. It has detailed interior fittings, moveable doors and an imitation engine. There are various chrome parts on the vehicle and the paint work and decals must be of the highest standard if the purchaser is going to get the real impression of the striking impression of the model.
Another vehicle with an interesting history is the 1/25 48 Ford Police Coupe 2 n 1 plastic model kit. This police car from the 1940’s was modified in design following the Second World War and the kit reflects this. The kit comes in 136 parts and this Super De Luxe version is powered by a 239 ci flathead V-8 engine. The police feature that come with the model are sirens, spot light and radio and the model is aimed at the most skilled modelers.
These plastic model kits have undoubtedly produced their own followers and a lot of these were the same people who were attracted to the slot car craze. This craze is an extension of the model collecting as the collectors are now given the opportunity to race their models. The change from static models to models that could move came from the development of electricity travelling through a pre-assembled track. The cars are attached to the track by a slot with metal strips either side of a central groove. Under the car is a blade which connects into the slot, and contacts alongside the blade carry the electricity to the engine. The voltage carried through the strips is controlled by the resistor which is held by the racer. The harder the resistor is pressed the faster the car will travel.
Modelers spend hours of their time recreating the authenticity of their racing models and many are built from scratch. The most famous mass-produced slot cars came in the form of Scalextric and many children were given the basic starter kit that came with a track, electrical kit, resistors and a couple of racing cars. In time slot cars have risen in popularity so that model racing clubs were formed. Extensive races would be organised, and prizes would be given to the race winner as well as the most authentic looking models. The model car industry is big business and attracts many followers. As long as manufacturers keep on reproducing vehicles with their original features there will always be a healthy demand to purchase them.