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AW vs. HW vs. JL vs. M2...; A newbie's first impressions on four small scale manufacturers
Topic Started: Aug 29 2016, 03:50 PM (2,427 Views)
JayFields
Microcar
Hi all,

I've been looking in the forum for a topic comparing the various 1:64 model manufacturers, but I couldn't find one. If such already exists, my apologies.

I also don't know whether this is the right place for such a topic; if not, then if you please moderators move it to the proper spot. ;)


As a very short-time collector (I'm still only on the 80 units mark so far), here are my first, brief impressions regarding the four manufacturers present in my collection:

AUTO WORLD
Pros: Constant in scale (all within the 1:63, 1:64 range), excellent quality and detail.
Cons: A (still) kind of short variety of models and colors (though I believe these latter are the ones found in the real cars).

HOT WHEELS
Pros: Practically inexpensive (at least the recent models).
Cons: Too extravagant for the serious replica collector, especially as far as wheels and body colours are concerned. Not mentioning of course those ubiquitous fantasy models...

JOHNNY LIGHTNING
Pros: A huge variety of models, many of them not present anywhere else. Reasonably good detailing and body quality.
Cons: Generally underscaled (mostly on the 1:67 mark). Might also improve on paint and wheels quality.

M2 MACHINES
Pros: Very good overall quality and detailing. Screwed-in parts are a valuable plus if you ever want or need to disassemble your model.
Cons: Inconstant scale - you may have either a model around 1:61 (e.g. the '60 Chrysler 300F) or one down to 1:67 (the '57 Turnpike Cruiser) - they don't look too good standing side by side!

This being said, I would rank these 4 manufacturers as follows:

1. Auto World
2. M2 Machines
3. Johnny Lightning
4. Hot Wheels

(As a side note, to my knowledge only the HW brand is available in shops here in Portugal; all the rest have to be ordered through the internet - very hefty on postage costs! :( ).

I'm still waiting for my first Greenlight (a '69 Mustang Mach 1) to arrive; then I'll be able to establish its place among those other manufacturers.

I would very much appreciate your opinions, as experienced collectors, on this subject.

Cheers! :thumbup:
Edited by JayFields, Aug 29 2016, 05:50 PM.
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Swifty
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The Mustang II is a Mustang too!
Welcome to the Garage! :thumbup: :wave: :) You're going to love GreenLight. :D

You should also have access to Matchbox, Majorette, Guisval, and Siku in Portugal.
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JayFields
Microcar
Swifty
Aug 29 2016, 05:03 PM
Welcome to the Garage! :thumbup: :wave: :) You're going to love GreenLight. :D

You should also have access to Matchbox, Majorette, Guisval, and Siku in Portugal.
Yes, those brands you mention are available here too, but I see them mostly as kids' toys, not as real replica collectables (so says my larger scale collector side B) ). In fact, Hot Wheels themselves are meant to be mainly toys to play with, aren't they?
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juantoo3
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JayFields
Aug 29 2016, 03:50 PM
This being said, I would rank these 4 manufacturers as follows:

1. Auto World
2. M2 Machines
3. Johnny Lightning
4. Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels themselves are meant to be mainly toys to play with, aren't they?
First, welcome aboard! I hope you enjoy your stay!

I would definitely count Hot Wheels as playthings, at least the mainlines and many of the premium issues. As a collector of toys, this has never bothered me, but for a collector of scale models I suppose it can create some challenges.

Having said this, there are many suitable models in the premium lines, and particularly among the 100% and Legends lines, perhaps among some of the best made scale models available in and around 1/64 scale...and their aftermarket prices reflect this.

Greenlight is a very capable company, certainly on par with the best of Johnny Lightning in their heyday. If memory serves, I believe the fellow that started Greenlight initially had a relationship with Johnny Lightning. More relevant to me, is that the Greenlight MotorWorld line has continued some of the better High Speed castings.

High Speed, in all of its iterations (Grell, Malibu International, some Schuco, some Top Mark) are some very nice scale models as well, particularly at the price point, and hold up nicely against some like Kyosho and Aoshima, although most models are likely on the smaller side of 1/64 (never an issue to me). Aoshima are very nice models, but their selection is very limited, and all are JDM models.

Tomica have long been well built models, and though their lower tiers tend to be toys, they still stand in well as models. The Tomica premium lines are arguably among the nicest and well made scale models, but they can be on the small side of 1/64 as well.

There are a number of 1/72 and 1/87 makers that make exceptional scale correct models consistently, makers such as Hongwell, Boley and Busch come immediately to mind.

Back to 1/64, or close to, I don't see you listing Ertl American Muscle. Beyond any doubt, this line of models would rank as my first choice. They are the standard I hold all others to. I would probably rank Auto World immediately behind American Muscle.

I also do not see Revell on your list, I would rank them consistently on par or slightly above the best of Johnny Lightning and Greenlight. I am fond of M2, particularly their older cars from the 50s, my only complaint with them is sometimes inconsistent quality...when they get it right they are phenomenal, when they mess up it really shows.

There are a number of short lived examples, one that comes to mind is Yow Modellini, certainly worth mentioning. Paul's Auto Art has a limited number of very nicely made 1/64ish models. I'm sure there are many others that escape my mind at the moment.

So my ranking would look a bit different than yours, but keep in mind I am not a strict observer of 1/64 scale...close is good enough for me.

Ertl American Muscle
Auto World
Revell

These would be my top three picks.


Hot Wheels 100%
Paul's Model Art / Minichamps 1/64
Tomica premium level
Aoshima
Kyosho
High Speed
Yow Modellini
M2
Johnny Lightning
Greenlight

All of these are pretty close in desirability, so even with the ranking it doesn't necessarily mean one is better than the next...a lot depends on the particular model choice...but I hold all of these and more to be very well done. This isn't counting the smaller 1/72 and 1/87 issues, many of which rank very high, close to the top considering the scale.

Another that slipped my mind but is worthy of note is the Majorette Deluxe Collection, at 1/60 probably just a tad too large for your parameters, but exceptionally well done models for the limited line that was produced, and quite uncommon to find.

Yet another that may now seem a bit toyish but for the era in which they were produced were the pinnacle of technology, would be the Lone Star Impy line. No other line of scale vehicles in and around 1/64 had more features than Impy; opening doors, hood, trunk, jeweled headlights, rubber tires, and steering front wheels.

Aurora Cigarbox models early on with colored bodies and rubber tires are well done (at least on a level with other makers with no opening features), but would be hampered by scale as they used HO slot car toolings for the bodies, so they come in closer to 1/72. The upside for collectors is that they are fragile, so not many have survived in collector condition.

Most every maker out there has some gems. Even Racing Champions, who many collectors dismiss without another thought, has some worthy models. Their Duesenberg SSJ is an astounding model, worthy of sitting beside the best models from this list.
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Swifty
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The Mustang II is a Mustang too!
When Wes indicates 'small for 1/64' he means 'they're truly 1/64 castings of really tiny cars' like the Volkswagen Golf. Tomica Limited Vintage/Neo are incredible. Same with Kyosho and Konami. Unfortunately you're not going to find them in stores.
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juantoo3
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Konami! That's the other JDM maker I was trying to think of!
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jedimario
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RAWR
JayFields
Aug 29 2016, 05:46 PM
In fact, Hot Wheels themselves are meant to be mainly toys to play with, aren't they?
Yes. In general, they are one of the most toy-like of the mainstream brands. Siku and Majorette in particular stick out in my mind as brands that offer something more detailed and appealing to collectors while still maintaining some play value that others like AW and JL lack. They do have scale issues, but most brands do.
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JayFields
Microcar
Many thanks for your inputs, which I found most valuable for a beginner like me.

For instance, I hadn't yet realized that Ertl has an American Muscle line, which by the way fits perfectly in my 1:64 theme - American cars from the 40's to the 70's. Will have to have a look at these models!

After having written my previous post, I've ordered a '60 Chevy Impala from Racing Champions - judging from eBay pics, it seems to be a fine model, let's see if this stands true when it arrives.

Duesenberg SSJ? It looks fantastic, but virtually impossible to find in Europe - and shipping costs from the US are insane! :angry: I'll be keeping an eye on it though...

I'll also have to 'investigate' those HW 100% and Revells, you made them sound promising!

As to the other brands that you mention, some of them I've never even heard about, while some others I suspect are either too difficult to find nowadays or, for that reason, way too expensive.

From what I know about Majorette and Matchbox (both of them can be found here in Portugal, at least the basic models), my feeling is that they're maybe too 'toyish', too simple to be considered true replicas (I'm not acquainted with Majorette Deluxe, but if you say that they're more on the 1:60... :( ).

Thanks again! :thumbup:
Edited by JayFields, Aug 30 2016, 04:07 PM.
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juantoo3
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JayFields
Aug 30 2016, 04:07 PM


From what I know about Majorette and Matchbox (both of them can be found here in Portugal, at least the basic models), my feeling is that they're maybe too 'toyish', too simple to be considered true replicas (I'm not acquainted with Majorette Deluxe, but if you say that they're more on the 1:60... :( ).

Thanks again! :thumbup:
There is a great deal of love for Matchbox here, so what I have to say, I say at great risk to my standing here...

Matchbox are rather toyish. An argument can be made for the early 50s and 60s era cars with regular wheels, but then they suffer from the era in which they were made, in addition to being quite small for 1/64. For quite some time now, I would say early in the Superfast era, the emphasis seemed to shift to toys rather than models.

They do have an excellent line of 1:43 models, particularly the Ford and Chevy pickup trucks, but that is considerably outside of the 1/64 range.

Majorette, much like Matchbox, early on had a more model like approach that quickly disappeared as they moved into toys. In their defense, what I am seeing from Majorette over the past 2 or 3 years has come back around closer to being scale models. Since they are still toys, they do suffer from toy wheels, but the castings themselves are quite presentable. I haven't looked closely at scale, I seem to recall them ranging in and around 1/64, so in that regard one would have to take that into consideration.

There are other lines worth mentioning, perhaps a little easier to be found in Europe. There is an old line of plastic Siku that I have seen some amazing American cars from the 1950s not covered by anyone else. They do have a "train layout" vibe about them, so probably not suited to a modelist, but certainly worth considering on their own merits. I'm not sure of the scale.

Penny Polistil I believe made a line of 1/66 vehicles, the racers are fairly common but the civilian vehicles are less so. Nicely made and comparable to early 60s Matchbox for presentation

I seem to recall a line of 1/66 Schuco as well, a touch more modern but otherwise similar to the Pennys.

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JayFields
Microcar
Well, my first Greenlight (as said before, a '69 Mustang Mach 1) has arrived!

In my opinion, this model would place Greenlight just a tiny notch below M2 Machines, but well above Johnny Lightning in my personal manufacturers ranking.

My main complaint about JL goes to their erratic scaling, often around the 1:70 mark - the Tucker Torpedo was a big disappointment in that aspect -, although I find their '59 Impala (1:67), for instance, a very attractive and accurate model.

Of course this judgement on Greenlight might be a little hasty since based on a single sample - and we all know that every model maker has its ups and downs -, but I would easily change my opinion with the eventual arrival of other models from them.

Meanwhile, a very pleasant surprise came from Racing Champions in the form of a beautiful (truly 1:64) '60 Impala. I consider this one of the most accurate and detailed models in my small collection. So much that I'm already in the process of buying another two RC models, a '49 Buick Riviera and a '49 Cadillac Deville.

In conclusion, here's my updated ranking:

1. Auto World
2. Racing Champions (new entry)
3. M2 Machines
4. Greenlight (new entry)
5. Johnny Lightning
6. Hot Wheels

As to the other makers mentioned by juantoo3, they're not yet represented in my collection, one of the reasons being that I couldn't find so far any models from them which might fit in the theme.
:toy:

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juantoo3
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Glad to hear you picked some nice castings. I think you will find consistent 1/64 will be difficult to find. In that regard Auto World has claimed they plan to stay at 1/64 consistently, but they are new to the scene and new releases have been sporadic...though overall quality is very good. JL and RC both never had a firm commitment to 1/64, though most of their models are close, within a small range around 1/64, with notable exceptions. For example, the British Invasion series of JL are notably large for 1/64, and there are other models in the line that are quite small. M2 I believe has committed to 1/64, and the models I have by them seem pretty consistent. I haven't paid a lot of attention to GL, but I feel like they are an extension of the old metal base JLs, with scale being closer to but not necessarily committed to 1/64...to my eye they seem just a wee bit on the small side beside an AW. I think you will find where the HW 100% excels is in the details, and many models from that line probably are very close to 1/64, but I can think of a few that are probably a touch on the small side.

I do hope you get the opportunity to find at least one example from Ertl American Muscle. I think you will be impressed.

Good luck on your search!

I took a moment to revisit your theme, American cars 40's through 70's. Focusing on that for a moment...40's era American cars are notoriously absent in scale, especially among premium makers. Disregarding scale and detail, the most commonly covered models from that era are 1940 Fords (mostly HW mainline playthings) and '49 Mercurys (typically chopped customs) made by several makers, with late 40's Ford F-1 pickups following behind those two (various makers, again detail and scale are questionable). Apart from those three, there are perhaps another ten odd models that can be counted (*maybe*, being generous here), few of which are suitable for your parameters. Most of the ones suitable for you would likely be found as Revell (47-48 Chevy) or HW 100% ('46 Ford, couple other 40's era Fords that escape my memory at the moment). Nothing yet by AW, M2, or Greenlight that covers anything from this era, and nothing done by Ertl AM either. I would have to look closely side by side, and memory is always a questionable thing, but I seem to recall the HW 100% issues I'm thinking of as being just a smidgen on the small side, the Revell should be really close but might be off by a tad as well. To my knowledge there are no MoPars, no Studebakers (possible exception Shrock Brothers, extremely rare high dollar hand built models - I'm not certain of scale), no Hudsons, no Nashs, no other GMs (no Pontiacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles), and no other orphan brand American cars from the era apart from maybe Tucker (as you have discovered), and a chopped late 40's Cadillac Sedanette by Jada which would probably suit in terms of scale, RC has a "stock" Sedanette (pending paint and wheels) as well but it is quite small. There is a Buick Riviera with piano hinge hood in the RC line, might be late 40s but could be early 50s, again quite small. This would be a good place to mention the Yatming pickup trucks, some of which are 1930s models but are generally very well done series and while possibly a touch on the small side, they cover some rarely seen models in scale (Studebaker, Mack), but I do believe they are closer to 1/64 than usual.

That is one of my laments, is how makers have mostly skipped over the 1940s, there are very few models covered from this era.
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hw2six
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Compact
hello all,
i would like share my story :)
i start collecting(first time buy) diecast(hot wheels) around 2013-2014.
maybe more than 5 years before that i spend 5-7 minutes at store, whether want buy or not.
even the price only $1 or less, it took me long time, before i decided buy for the first time.
i choose hotwheels, mainly because it's price.
no doubt other brand, m2, autoworld, johnny lightning is far more nice diescast and also it's price.
for now, i am very happy to collecting hot wheels, with it's price and the variant car/ decal i can get.

someday if my finance allowed, of course i will start collecting other brand.
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pjedsel
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Muscle Car
The Schock Brothers models are a consistent 1/72nd scale. It is my understanding that they are now out of production. They are for the "serious" collector and are not cheap. When I bought my Avanti a number of years ago it cost $75 - most recent prices were $95 - $120. More than I would normally spend on a "toy car" but as one who really likes Studebakers I was willing to pay $75 to add one of their models to my collection but not something I would do very often. It is my understanding that most of their models are no longer in production.

My collection goes back to the '50's era Matchbox regular wheels and Budgie models - made with no interiors or window glass and I still think are great models. Most of those would be in that 1/76th scale range - designed somewhat to go with the British OO gauge trains. Into the '60's were the Lonestar Impy models with jeweled headlights and seemingly everything opening - doors-hoods-trunks - most of those listed around 1/60th. From that time period is also the Polistil Penny series and of course Majorette and Siku - all that are in the 1/64th ballpark but vary in scale.

It is fun to compare those to the offerings we have now from GreenLight, M2, the premiere Hot Wheels, etc. Likewise comparing the early Hot Wheels from the red line days to many of the current castings of today. It really gets down to collecting what you like and what you can honestly afford. My collection is basically in that 3 inch/1/64th scale range - everything from $1 Hot Wheels and Matchbox to models from GreenLight and M2 and others - these days the bulk of my collecting interest is emergency vehicles so tend to buy more GreenLight because of all the police cars they offer.

Just my :02: worth and a bit of rambling from an older collector. :)
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6A13TT
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Compact
Biante is another die cast brand that does some really nice 1:64 scale cars but most (if not all) are Australian Fords and Holdens.

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