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The Last 10 Years

So much has gone on in the model industry and the collecting hobby over the last 10 years that it’s impossible for me to single out any one favourite - I’d even have problems with a Top 50 !  However, one welcome newcomer of handbuilts springs to mind.

It’s no secret that most manufacturers of handbuilt models have, frankly, found it harder going over the last few years.  To combat this, depending on their resources, they have either eased back production, widened their ranges, lowered their profile, or retired.  Against this background, it’s great to see one new manufacturer come onto the scene and have his products enjoy increasing popularity, especially as they are toward the higher price end of the market.

This is J & M Classics, whose policies of making top quality models and covering a limited number of marques in some depth, are paying dividends.  Principal Mike Rodgers used to work with Max Kernick of Top Marques, whose models were considered among the best anywhere.  When Max decided to concentrate on models of Rolls Royces and Bentleys, Mike took over the rest.  He cleaned up the old masters and moulds for better quality castings, went for top level finish and detail, and managed to reduce the price substantially at the same time.  Consequently, the products, replicas of Alvis cars initially, became good sellers even at the £120.00 price level.

Over the years, Mike has widened the range to cover Healeys and most recently Daimlers.  The models are frequently reviewed within these pages of course, and Mike’s planned new release schedule stretches well into next year, so the future looks good.

On a more general note, and looking at the whole industry and market, the two big developments have to be the rise of the Chinese volume producers and of the internet.  The Chinese have gone from being commission manufacturers for big-name brands like Corgi and Minichamps, to marketing their models direct, and at such low prices that they can’t help but sell big-time.  The Internet has had a big influence on marketing the products, and on the collector’s fairs, not to mention on the traditional model shops.  After the honeymoon period when it seemed as if everyone was deserting these for the ‘net it looks as if quite a few are returning to the fold, having had their hands burned a time or two by the inevitable scams, but it is still a major factor in today’s model car hobby, and set to remain so.

Richard Carlson

This article appeared in The Diecast Collector - September 2007

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