Diecast Delights: Lotus Elise 111S in 1/18 Scale

You know, collecting diecast models is a peculiar hobby that everybody goes about in different ways. There are dozens of forums out there devoted to it, but a common theme is people fawning over the latest releases by companies like Exoto, Spark and CMC. These models are often made in extremely limited numbers, and the first person to flex their chequebook wins. The thing is, is this really collecting, or is it just shopping? And does it even matter?
With neither of my daily drivers being worth much more than £500, I have neither the funds nor the stomach to pump several hundred quid at a time into buying toys. Besides which, models at the high end of the industry are like jewellery, and end up being displayed in a similar way. It can end up being more about the model itself than the actual car it represents. For me the car is paramount, and if 85% of the detail can be bought for 15% of the price, then I’m all for it.
Hence this Lotus Elise now appearing in my collection after an eBay bidding war in which my maximum bid was £20.


My model collection is starting to get a bit silly, to be honest. When I started on this series of 1/18 model reviews the idea was that I’d look at those models I already owned, sort the wheat from the chaff and identify any which would be worth you guys picking up. However, before I had so much as written my first article I had abandoned that plan and ended up reviewing a model Ford Cougar from eBay. So far, when I look back at the models I’ve reviewed so far only half of them were already in my collection. Trouble is I keep seeing things which are too cheap, and too awesome, to pass on.

Take this Elise. It’s a model by JADI, who I confess to have never heard of until about a month ago. I have no idea if they’re still around, and I don’t really know if any of their other models are any good. This one is, though. Very good indeed.
In fact I’ve been looking at this model very closely and I’m not convinced I can find anything about it at all that would be fair to criticise.

From what I gather after probing the crevices of The Internet, this model was released sometime around 2002, possibly earlier. Certainly the series two Elise which it depicts was in production from 2001 onwards; a slightly frightening 14 years ago. Ouch.
In my opinion that makes the fidelity of this model all the more impressive, and especially since it was originally marketed at fairly low prices.

You know what? I’ve only just found another feature on this model; on the image above you can see a shiny diagonal bar in the engine compartment. A the time of taking that photo I didn’t realise that it was a functional stay for the engine cover. It works! The (legendary?) Rover K-Series engine is present and correct, and pretty realistically represented.
I really want to unscrew the yellow oil and water caps and check for possible signs of head gasket failure…

The inside story is just as good. The gearshift, pedals, handbrake lever and keep-fit window winders all look like you could jump in and operate them. The steering wheel, of course, you actually can. The material finishes are realistic, too; the aluminium castings, extrusions and box sections all have just the right colour to them. There’s a removable roof panel, I’ve not fitted it because it’s still in its original packet, presumably never opened. I think it would be a shame to disturb it.
This model came to me in good, boxed condition (albeit a little dusty from display) from eBay for £18, plus £7 postage and packing. So it stands me at £25 all in. At the moment JADI models are all over the place, price wise, and there are the usual chancers trying with £99 to “Buy it now” Don’t do that, do what I did and wait for one to come up, set a max bid and then snipe it at the last minute.
To be honest, if you’re building up a collection of important contemporary sports cars (and I’m not….), you need one of these. You can confidently display it next to AUTOart and Kyosho models of many times its value.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2015)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

  1. mve Avatar

    Serious diecast collecting question: how do you keep your cars clean? I used to wipe mine down with Windex or 409, but I don’t want to kill the finish, and there’s still the problem of the interior.
    Hmm – maybe I’ll have to do a post of my own when I get them unpacked.

    1. longrooffan Avatar

      Be careful with those solvents. I used 409 on my 1:18 1960-61 Impala convertible and wiped all the chrome finish off every bit and piece on that car. 🙁

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Should have done a rat-rod rebuild!

        1. mve Avatar

          Sounds like he did!

    2. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Water, q-tip, microfibre cloth, remove interior dust by dabbing with bits of slightly adhesive masking tape.
      Mind you I don’t have to do much cleaning, models I’ve owned from the get-go stay in their boxes.

  2. Lokki Avatar

    Cans of compressed air usually used for cleaning computer keyboards would be good for cleaning, wouldn’t they?

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Yup, sometimes a blow is better than a suck.

    2. mve Avatar

      Usually. I wish I had a tiny human I could hire to detail my cars for me. I could pay him with Bitcoin.