The drought is over. Finally, after a decade in which 1:64-scale Formula 1 models were rarer than an F1 fan who likes Verstappen and Hamilton, there are lots of new models to talk about. In fact, my cup runneth over.
In previous articles I bemoaned the lack of small-scale F1 models in recent times. Since Kyosho stopped regularly putting out new 1:64 content, I’m pretty sure there had only been a random Bburago Red Bull and a handful of Sparky releases (Mercedes, Renault, McLaren) to fill the void.
Suddenly, it’s all go. There’s a slew of new releases not just from Sparky but also ixo/Tarmac Works and Mini GT. Why? I’m guessing a combination of three things. First of all, premium 1:64 is booming, with all sorts of new brands rapidly growing the market. Second, F1’s commercial rights holder since 2017, Liberty Media, is way more interested in exploiting its marketing potential among regular fans – as opposed to the corporate crowd – than Bernie Ecclestone ever was. That means more affordable 1:64 models alongside the high-end 1:43s and 1:18s. And finally, Netflix’s Drive to Survive has taken F1’s popularity to new heights, especially in North America. If a diecast brand knows it can sell product in that market, it makes the business case much stronger than when relying solely on the older F1 markets in Europe and Asia.
As you can see, I’ve bought a few of the new models and will go into more detail shortly. Check out the different design philosophies on the Red Bull and Mercedes in this overview pic. As we now know, one worked, one didn’t!
I thought it would be helpful to list what we know is out there and what is coming, so here we go, starting with…
Spark’s 1:64 line carried the F1 torch at a time when no one else was interested. Now it’s exploded from the occasional release to half a grid’s worth of new models, all from the 2022 season. It’s like Polistil all over again!
|Y250||Alpine A522||Fernando Alonso #14|
|Y251||Alpine A522||Estaban Ocon #31|
|Y252||AlphaTauri AT03||Pierre Gasly #10|
|Y253||AlphaTauri AT03||Yuki Tsunoda #22|
|Y254||Red Bull RB18||Max Verstappen #1|
|Y255||Red Bull RB18||Sergio Perez #11|
|Y256||Mercedes-AMG W13||Lewis Hamilton #44|
|Y257||Mercedes-AMG W13||George Russell #63|
|Y260||Alfa Romeo C42||Valtteri Bottas #77|
|Y261||Alfa Romeo C42||Guanyu Zhou #24|
|Y262||Aston Martin AMR22||Sebastian Vettel #5|
|Y263||Aston Martin AMR22||Lance Stroll #18|
I don’t have them all, but let’s look at a few of them.
Sparky 2022 Alpine A522 Fernando Alonso #14
I’m impressed with these new models, which feature a metal body and plastic floor. Overall, Sparky has upped its game on the detail compared with its earlier F1 efforts (see the 2017 Hülkenberg Renault for comparison, below). The wheels, tires and brakes really stand out in this regard. The trade-off is that they don’t all roll brilliantly.
(find Sparky F1 Alpine on eBay)
Sparky 2022 Mercedes-AMG W13 George Russell #63
This one arrived in pieces due to a manufacturing flaw. The good people at Tokyo Station are sourcing me a replacement as it can’t be fixed properly – you can tell from the wing angle that the rear has come apart, terminally!
Here it is with the much simpler Sparky model of Hamilton’s championship-winning W06 Hybrid from 2015.
(find Sparky F1 Mercedes on eBay)
Sparky 2022 Red Bull RB18 Sergio Perez #11. It’s the star of the show for me, looking so sharp in matte blue, and it rolls perfectly. The decos on all three of these Sparkys are great, though.
Here it is with the Bburago RB9.
I’ll do a comparison with the Mini GT RB18 when it arrives. I have a Verstappen car on order!
(find Sparky F1 Red Bull on eBay)
Update 13th May 2023:
A couple more Sparkys arrived so I’ve added pictures below.
Aston Martin AMR22 (Sebastian Vettel’s last ride).
Alfa Romeo (Sauber) C42. It’s Valtteri Bottas in there but you can’t see because of the position of the mirrors (contrast with the Vettel car above).
The colours are great on these two. The more I look at these Sparkys, the more I appreciate the detailed differences between them, from the profile of the underfloor to the shape of the brake ducts. I wish the front axles rolled better, but overall they’re excellent!
Mini GT has won a ton of fans in a short space of time thanks to its models’ attention to detail, rolling wheels and reasonable price. It’s been less successful with following through in a timely fashion on what it’s shown in prototype form, but we know that’s not always under the brand’s control.
The first two models to be announced in its new Grand Prix Collection were 1970s classics, the Tyrrell P34 and Lotus 78. I don’t have them to show yet but these are now finally landing with retailers, more than two years after the P34 was first teased!
(find Mini GT Lotus Tyrrell on eBay)
We can also expect versions of the 2022 Red Bull and Alpha Tauri from that year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
(find Mini GT Red Bull Alpha Tauri on eBay – preorders are live)
Here are the Grand Prix Collection releases announced so far:
|MGT00488||Tyrrell P34||Patrick Depailler #4 (1976 Spanish GP)|
|MGT00489||Lotus 78||Mario Andretti #5 (1977 presentation car)|
|MGT00520||Red Bull RB18||Max Verstappen #1|
|MGT00521||AlphaTauri AT03||Yuki Tsunoda #22|
|MGT00538||Red Bull RB18||Sergio Perez #11|
|MGT00539||AlphaTauri AT03||Pierre Gasly #10|
When I asked what else might be coming, Glen at Mini GT said that the announcements regarding 2023 F1 models will begin in June. Watch this space!
Ixo x Tarmac Works
I’ve already written about one of the recent ixo/Tarmac F1 releases, the Gulf McLaren; you can read that article here. So far, six versions of the 2021 McLaren MCL35M have been released or announced. In addition, the first releases of the 2021 Mercedes W12 are imminent. Nice to have another car from the same year. Here’s the full list:
|T64G-F040-DR1||McLaren MCL35M||Daniel Ricciardo #3 Monaco GP|
|T64G-F040-LN1||McLaren MCL35M||Lando Norris #4 Monaco GP|
|T64G-F040-DR2||McLaren MCL35M||Daniel Ricciardo #3 Italian GP|
|T64G-F040-LN2||McLaren MCL35M||Lando Norris #4 Italian GP|
|T64G-F040-DR3||McLaren MCL35M||Daniel Ricciardo #3 Abu Dhabi GP|
|T64G-F040-LN3||McLaren MCL35M||Lando Norris #4 Abu Dhabi GP|
|T64G-F037-LH1||Mercedes-AMG F1 W12|
|Lewis Hamilton #44 British GP|
|T64G-F037-LH2||Mercedes-AMG F1 W12|
|Lewis Hamilton #44 São Paulo GP|
|T64G-F037-VB1||Mercedes-AMG F1 W12|
|Valtteri Bottas #77 Turkish GP|
I recently got Ricciardo’s Italian GP-winning machine.
As with the Gulf car, I had to add the nicotine-related decals from the supplied sheet.
Here’s a reminder of the Monaco GP Gulf scheme that was released earlier, shown here on Norris’s car.
The Tarmac F1 models are Global 64 releases, which means they roll beautifully but give up some detail compared with the more costly Hobby64 models. Mostly they still look great but it would have been nice to see a driver in the cockpit, as Sparky has done and as Mini GT will do on its modern F1 cars.
Pricewise the Tarmacs are roughly on a par with the Sparky or Mini GT equivalents in the US$15-20 range. I don’t mind paying that much but if you’re a completist then picking up everything from Tarmac, Mini GT and Sparky could quickly get expensive. Fortunately, I’m not!
(find ixo Tarmac McLaren MCL35M on eBay)
Tarmac has also released a pit garage diorama to go with the Mercedes models. It’s a version of the same accessory you’ll find in Mooneyes or HKS colours.
Now that the ball is rolling, I’m looking forward to seeing what else makes it into metal. In particular, Mini GT’s line of classic racers has tons of promise, but I doubt we’ll see anything further released this year.
As for the modern cars, I’m a Williams fan, so there’s a space on my shelf for an Alex Albon machine anytime anyone wants to make one. A current Ferrari would be good, too, to join the many Kyosho models I already have (more on those here). And who could resist a Haas? To paraphrase Guenther Steiner, the brand that produces a 1:64 Haas will look like f***ing heroes!
To finish, here’s a bunch of F1 models from my collection, including a 1:72-scale 2018 Renault R.S. 18 by Z Models that I found on eBay recently (there’s also a similar pullback version).
That’s it for now. Feel free to chime in with thoughts and any further knowledge you might have in the comments below. Happy collecting!
4 Replies to “It’s raining Formula 1. Hallelujah!”
Sparky lack of the rollover T-bar on their latest F1 cars is seriously disappointing. I was looking forward to getting some of the cars until I noticed that. A true deal breaker for me.
Fair enough, although it doesn’t bother me. Pretty sure that T-bar is just a camera mount rather than a roll bar though.
I can attest that Mini GT are off to a rip-roaring start with their classic F1 cars, especially the iconic Tyrrell P34. I quite like the Lotus 78 (with the Andretti livery no less) as well but part of me still wishes that Mini GT had gotten the rights to the legendary 79, or the 72E, of which I have a Kyosho from way back when.
I am really looking forward to the Red Bull and Alpha Tauri cars! It’s a bit harder to come by Tarmac Works cars where I am but I hope to snatch up those McLarens and Mercs!
I am a minigt fan for sure, but I’m going to hold off on the f1 cars for now. I saw some prototype images of this year’s IMSA/WEC cars and I know I’m gonna go broke on those.