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Minichamps McLaren F1 Road Car 1993 1:18 review


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#1 OFFLINE   Mirta27

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 07:39 AM

Hiya DX!

This was my last acquisition of 2017, and unfortunately, it's my most dissapointing one.
It pains me to do this review, as I feel the F1 is the greatest road car ever concieved, but now I'm going to tear it apart.

However, let's start by just stating the facts about this model car. The Minichamps McLaren F1 has four competitors from AUTOart, UT Models, Maisto and Guiloy.
Out of these, the AUTOart is perfect, the UT models was great 20 years ago, the Maisto was never good and the Guiloy is horrendous.

Now, the Minichamps release slots in right between the AUTOart and the UT Models McLaren F1, making it the second best McLaren F1 on the market.
It belongs to Minichamps' budget model lineup, making it far cheaper than most Minichamps models.

I myself had to walk into this model relatively blind, as I found no decent reviews anywhere. I hope I can fix that for all of you.

I'll take a more detailed approach for this review than I have taken in the past. This means new categories, as I've got plenty to say about this model car.

General fit, exterior and stance

The opening parts include the front trunk, the doors and the primary engine cover on the rear. This misses four pieces that open on the real car, and on the AUTOart.
It has working steering, but no suspension.

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Body shape, materials, general fitness

The body shape is almost there, but not really. The front and rear wheel arches aren't curvy enough, the roof is too low and the front end is completely wrong, especially the headlights.
The side skirts start too close to the front wheels and abruptly end at the rear wheels. Finally, the rear bumper follows the rear tire way too closely, twisting the entire rear end of the car.
At the rear, the lights, grilles and accessories don't occupy enough space, leaving too much of the bodywork visible.

Most of the car is constructed from diecast metal, including the doors and their hinges (I believe). The bottom half of the front bumper, the separate piece on the door extends the front wheel arch, the opening engine cover and the rear bumper are plastic.

As far as fitness goes, the real panel gaps are tight and flush, while the gaps are clearly fake for panels that don't open on this model. Those are simply moulded into the metal body, this can be clearly seen here:

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Opening parts

I have to cover this, because this is one of those models with problems in this department. Basically...
-The front trunk is completely fine, just doglegs.
-The left side door has no resistance and only stays 100% open or closed. The door easily falls down when left in open position! Also, you have to manually close it to get tight shutlines.
-The right side door has a spring that tries to close it indefinitely, meaning, it never stays open. Shutlines are fine here.
-The engine cover clicks into place with such vigor that I'm afraid I'll break it every time I open it.

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(pictured: all parts open)

Paintwork

The only issues I can find here are that the paint is generally quite thick and the plastic parts are darker than the metal parts. This is especially clear at the rear end, since the entire rear end is plastic.

The dark metallic grey colour is brilliant, it truly makes this model more aesthetically pleasing than a bright colour would. It can, however, look bland at a distance.
Also, I don't know if this is a colour option on the real car.

Engine bay

Upon opening, you're greeted with beautiful simulated gold foil.

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At a glance, the engine compartment is beautiful, with black engine wiring, glossy carbon fibre intake assembly and realistic looking cylinder covers. But closer inspection brings out the golden exhaust manifold, which is clearly plastic, no attempt with those. Also, the engine compartment has a metal floor. I don't know if that's realistic.

Finally, something I truly hate about this model: the glass on this engine cover is very foggy. It's supposed to be clear like the rest of the glass on this car!

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Interior

The interior looks fantastic, even with camera flash! The floor is flocked, though oddly the flock is of very poor quality. The dashboard also has an untidied mould line running across it. This seam is featured in the real car, but it's a quality seam, not the cheap one here. Also, the McLaren logo on the doorsill looks tacked on.

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I love the array of different simulated materials and colours used in the interior. The steering wheel looks incredible, as do the pedals (as long as you don't use flash). The gauge cluster is pretty much painted on, but the rest of the various buttons and switches around the car are all painted and labelled properly! The gear shifter also looks great!

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The middle-mounted driver's seat looks amazing, featuring somewhat realistic looking seatbelts. The passenger seats really don't, they're pretty much just boxy moulded plastic, as is the entire roofline, but they aren't anything special in the real car either. The painted on seatbelt release looks weird. These seatbelts seem worse quality than the ones on the driver's seat.

Here's how the door card looks with the door open:

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Trunk

Nothing special here, just the greatest piece of photography I've ever made.

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It's pretty much just electrics with a Kenwood logo and other stickers. Probably the car battery. All of it is colored in, but this compartment is clearly just one massive piece of plastic, it has no depth.

Wheels, tires and brakes

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This is arguably the best part about the model. The wheels are almost perfect and the brake disks look fantastic as well. The brake caliper is clearly defined, correctly colored and it's got the Brembo logo on it. The brake disks roll through the caliper with the wheel. The tires are branded as Goodyear and they have the correct tire profile and tire width. The wheels even feature centre log nuts with McLaren F1 logos.

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Same story at the rear, except that the wheel is smaller, the tire is fatter and the brake disk is smaller.

Accessories

The headlights look really rather sad, they're like LEGO studs. Meanwhile the side indicators look pretty nice, the orange area should be slightly larger though.

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This hole is supposed to have a black horizontal bar running across it. It does not. The radiator looks very plasticky as well.

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The taillights have attachment stubs in the middle, which is something the real car also has, but it's much more subtle in the real deal. Otherwise the lights look fine. The rear grilles are also see-through, letting you see the engine through them (though it's not as easy as it is in the real car).

Also, I'm pretty sure the mesh at the bottom is meant to have a cutoff for the exhaust. The exhaust tips just kind of slam through the mesh in this model. They look nice though.

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The windshield wiper is clearly defined, but relatively thick plastic. Still one of the better wipers in my collection. The side mirrors look fine outside the car and so do the rear view mirrors inside the interior. The side indicator is also visible here, it's a separate piece of clear plastic. Looks great!

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There's a small F1 logo at the edge of the window. The model also features the door opening buttons, which also kinda look like LEGO studs, but that's fine. The fuel filler cap is also visible, it's not very detailed, but it's there.

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Underbody

It's highly aerodynamic.

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This picture clearly shows the problem in this car's steering. If one wheel is pointing straight forward, the other wheel isn't. This is an amateur mistake..

Summary

The point I made at the beginning still stands here at the end. This is the second best McLaren F1 on the market, but still very far away from the stunning AUTOart release. It's funny, this almost feels like a model where the basic things like opening parts, steering and overall feel of the model are terrible, but where the deeper detail is great, such as the interior and engine detailing.

Overall, in my opinion, this looks cheaper on my shelf than the Hot Wheels Ford Shelby Cobra does. It doesn't present as well thanks to the dull paint colour and the half-plastic exterior. But it's still the second best McLaren F1 on the market. If you're happy with that, get it, but if you're not, look for the AUTOart.

To anyone who actually read all of this, thank you very much! I'm sorry if I came across as salty in this review, it's difficult to be objective with a model I'm dissapointed in. This is now the longest review I've ever written, with a solid three hours of photography and writing from start to release. I'd love any feedback, so I can improve my style for the next review!

Mirta out.
Isamu Ohira - Be At Home

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#2 OFFLINE   ironsim

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 08:08 AM

Very nice review, quite complete and was interresting to read, I have the Autoart version so it kinda hurts my eyes to see this one with all the shortcuts and wrong dimensions(headlights mostly) but its cheaper of course...as for the 2nd best F1, are you sure its better than the old UT? From what I remember, the UT shape is a little bit better but maybe not as detailed as this one ? But again, I didnt see it for a long time so maybe someone will correct me :nice:

Edited by ironsim, 27 January 2018 - 08:09 AM.


#3 OFFLINE   snackwel5

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for making this review! I too have the AUTOart, so seeing the big differences really makes cringe, and also makes me question why Minichamps made this model in the first place. I'm also a bit confused why the 1:18 only has 4 opening parts, while their 1:12 has every feature (except luggage surprisingly).
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#4 OFFLINE   Mirta27

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 10:33 AM

@ironsim

I think the UT is quite clearly worse when you check out a review. The front end of the UT, to me, looks even flatter than this one and it simply doesn't have the engine/interior detail of the Minichamps. It also has those plastic door hinges that like to snap. However, I'm not saying it's a bad model compared to this, especially after some modifications.

@snackwel5

I really don't know either, you'd assume that any diecast maker would put all their effort in if they got the F1 license. Minichamps clearly did not.

Anyways, the LM Edition is still out there in case I'm willing to buy an AUTOart F1, or come across the UT version someday.
Still, I'm kinda glad that I have an acceptable F1, my shelf would never be complete without it.
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#5 OFFLINE   mcaf123

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 04:13 PM

Nice structured review!
I also have the AUTOart F1 and F1 LM - my collection wouldn't be complete without them they are that good!
Please check out my collection thread HERE
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#6 OFFLINE   dingo

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 03:34 AM

Thanks for the detailed review! I've been thinking about getting this model without having seen a proper review, but you've made my mind up - I'll grab the AUTOart at some point.

#7 OFFLINE   vulpex

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 08:30 AM

Many thanks for this honest and un-biased review!!
I agree with dingo - AUTOart or nothing.

Sadly the F1 street car is still on my wishlist and when I see where AUTOart F1s meanwhile are traded it will become quite expensive to close this gap in my collection...

#8 OFFLINE   blackvitzrs

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 11:54 PM

This is a fantastic review. I have both the Autoart, the UT, and I had the Minichamps F1. I agree with every point that you have mentioned. This is the 2nd best McLaren F1 diecast model overall.

However, I have to say that the UT F1 has better shelf presence. Minichamps has got the shape of the front end entirely wrong. The bonnet is too flat (same as the UT Model). Even with the bulge on the side where the headlights are, it still lacks the curve of the real car. Autoart was able to model this perfectly. On top of the flat bonnet, the roof line is too low, and the windshield is slanted more than what it should (UT is better in this regard).  With these two flaws added together, it makes the car lose presence when displayed. My UT F1 in silver actually displays much better than the Minichamp F1 did.

In my opinion, its the Autoart, or nothing.

Edited by blackvitzrs, 28 January 2018 - 11:56 PM.





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