Diecast Delights: A C5 Corvette in 1:18 Scale

Around the time of the turn of the millennium, a great change was about to take effect which would significantly improve the lives of grown men who really should know better than to still be playing with toy cars despite their advancing years. Sorry, I mean our advancing years. This was the time that manufacturing techniques and technology were such that really, ridiculously, stupidly detailed model cars first became available to Normal (relatively) people straight off the shelf, as it were. AutoArt led the march.
Todays model, by UT Models, who along with Gate became part of the AutoArt machine, comes from that period immediately prior to super-detail breaking out all over the place.

Click the images for their enlargement to occur.

I get a bit cross with the auto modelling hierarchy. I find it annoying that Hot Wheels, for example, should offer so many different grades of detail on their models, pricing them variably to suit the budgets of a wide audience. I think it cheapens the whole experience. I liken it to an artist speaking to a potential commission and offering:
“Well, I can do you a painting for £100 if you like, and it’ll be alright, but if you give me £200 I’ll show you what I can really do”.
I don’t buy my art on price. I buy it on rightness, on its ability to represent the subject matter. I think this UT models C5 Corvette does that rather well.
Initially I wasn’t sure whether the roof was too bulbous, but now I’m sure it’s about right. The overall shape looks about right- the feeling that the car really is about five per cent longer than it ought to be is just as true of the real thing as it is on the model.
The paint is well applied all over, with no obvious sink marks or casting deficiencies. It’s a full-opening model, the only UT I have where this is the case. The shut-lines, particularly the ones for the rear bumper, are a bit on the variable side, but then again I’ve seen photographs of 1:1 scale examples with the same issue.
This is not a car with absurd levels of detail, but those bits which are there are done very well indeed. There are very neatly applied tampo decals for the badges and the CORVETTE script which graces the brake calipers. The way the name is embossed into the front bumper is nicely done, too. Only the front auxiliary headlights let the side down a bit, being made from clear, grey-backed plastic.
Under the hood there’s no wiring to be seen, but the rest of the engine is rendered so accurately that it doesn’t matter in the least. Also, the alternator and the throttle valve housing are picked out in silver in a fairly convincing manner.
The finishing touch is the red “Corvette” script on the cylinder head covers. It’s nice.
Nice, too, is the load area, which is correctly shaped to be able to house the Corvette’s removable, glass targa roof panel.
It’s worth mentioning here that the flocking they’ve applied here looks an awful lot more convincing than the strange carpet material a lot of firms use, which can sometimes be a bit toytown.
Speaking of which, the C5 ‘Vette was always slated for its Plastic City interior, with some of the very cheesiest, chintziest HVAC controls you ever did see. Well, its all here in its shiny blow-moulded glory. The dash markings are present and correct, right down to the layout of the standard fit Delco stereo system. The seats, too, are correctly shaped and modelled in a material that does a decent impression of GM’s “I can’t believe it’s not vinyl” leather of the time.
Warts ‘n all. That’s what we have here. Everything that was right about the C5 is showcased here, together with all the negative points. This is probably the most honest model in my collection; enough fidelity to take it beyond being a toy, but not so much that it becomes fussy. It’s a good place to be.
(All images copyright Chris Haining /Hooniverse 2015)

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  1. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    And now diecast metal and opening/working parts are too expensive, apparently. Many new offerings are in ‘resin’, (let’s just call it plastic, shall we?) and are ‘sealed’.
    I nearly bought the 1:18 Minichamps NSU RO80 until it was confirmed that it was to be ‘resin’ and there were to be no opening parts. (And they couldn’t get the headlights right.) No more purchases from me at diecast prices for plastic. At least Ottomobile have their pricing about right.

  2. longrooffan Avatar

    Rusty…your photography gets better and better with each issuance. This one is the best of the lot thus far. Keep up the great works.

  3. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar

    That’s an impressively detailed model, and some impressive photography too!

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    It’s nice, but I’m not sure about the side detail (the scoop mainly), and the shape of the outline.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      I’d say that based on a photo of a 2002 model, it’s pretty damn close.