So there’s always debates between what classifies as a collector’s diecast rather than a toy. What makes a diecast one made for kids? What makes collectors scrabble to the pegs? What differentiates them? Fantasy castings? Construction? Materials? Colours? I’m not entirely sure, I just hoard what I like. But Maisto’s Fresh Metal line is one that seems to always fall firmly in the “toy” camp. The models are very basic, and some rather crude. To be fair to Maisto, they’ve never argued that models in this line are anything other than toys. But some recent castings have clearly been made with the diecast fraternity in mind, and have certainly caught the attention of some. There’s been a few that I’ve seen doing the rounds on social media: the 1966 Ford Bronco, 1979 Chevrolet Blazer, 1977 Ford F-150, 1964 Ford Econoline and today’s Lamley Daily: the 1971 Volkswagen T2 bus.
The Type 2 is not a vehicle that needs any introduction. It followed on from the legendary VW T1 and went on sale in 1967. The 1971 revision bought a fresh 1.6 litre engine to the line-up and front disc brakes became standard across the range. The T2 remained in production until 2013 in Brazil when the final water-cooled models rolled off the production line at São Bernardo do Campo.
Maisto’s version is finished in two tone yellow/orange and white and it’s a great choice. Although it looks more like Volkswagen’s famous “Brilliant Orange” in my photos, the colour is actually a shade of yellow very close to a VW factory colour called “Marinogelb” though as geeky as I am about this sort of detail, I can’t confirm the pantone! Nevertheless, the paint is bright and seems decent quality.
It’s got good proportions and the wheels are great. A decent steel wheel is a must have for any brand replicating vintage vehicles, and the wheels on this outstrip the mainline offerings of many other brands. Matchbox have nailed it but Hot Wheels and Majorette should be taking note on how to do a proper mainline “steelie”; these are a great benchmark.
When you analyse the rest of the construction in more detail it becomes clearer what sort of buyer this line is aimed at. It’s clear that they’re constructed for running over carpets and bouncing off skirting boards rather than sitting on the shelves and in the cabinets of collectors. The top part of the model is plastic, which there’s nothing wrong with at all, but there’s also no interior. This means the windows are replaced with a solid mass of black plastic which is a little unsightly to say the least. There’s also a couple of QC issues in decal placement on the front grilles and headlights. But… it’s a toy! And one that I paid £1.49 for (in TK Maxx for any curious UK collectors), which in my eyes makes it rather excellent value for money.
The simple construction also means that diecast customisers won’t have any issues cracking this open and letting their imaginations run wild. I’ve already seen a few super cool customs on Instagram and I’m sure many more will follow. And hopefully I’ll be able to bring some more of the aforementioned Maisto highlights to you in the future, I really do like the look of that Bronco!
(Find the Maisto Fresh Metal Volkswagen T2 on Ebay)