And now Matchbox has done a scale model of the F-Type... It's a nice model, in black in the group photo to the right, but is a little let down by the clear plastic roof. It would've looked great if they'd painted in the steel roof panels between the windshield and the moonroof, and between the moonroof and the rear hatchback. But they didn't, leaving the model looking a little chintzy... But also really good... Its a nice model of a ridiculously nice car, just with a small error.
But then later on they produced a Whips version (in green in the photos) with nicer wheels. Overall its a nice casting, but there's always been something I didn't really like about it, something that was off about it... It just didn't have the same presence as the Matchbox versions...
Including these 2 additional models from Malibu and Hot Wheels made for a 5 model comparison test. And while all the models are nice and worthy in their own right, it was easy to pick the winners and losers:
5th Place: The Hot Wheels XK-8 hardtop. These were the most expensive models and they felt like quality. They also were the only model with an opening part (the hood). However the most important thing about a model is the overall proportions, and the Hot Wheels casting doesn't quite get it right. It's close, but not as close as the others, and to my eye, its not right. Maybe its too rounded? Or not long enough? I can't tell what's wrong about it, but I can tell that it's not quite right. Excellent paint, metal chassis, great detail, amazing wheels (green version) and rubber tires are all wonderful aspects, but they can't change the overall shape of the casting. On a scale of 10, this casting is a nice 7, but it can't win when the other castings were all 7.5s and higher.
4th Place: Matchbox F-Type (black hardtop in the group photo). In real life this is the handsomest design, particularly from the back. But cast in metal as a toy, the back and the rest of the design isn't quite as compelling (though the black paint that hides detail doesn't help... perhaps in a different color it would score higher). It's got nice wheels, that are shared with the previous generation XK. But the real thing that relegated this model to second from last is the roof treatment, and the way that Matchbox cheaped out on painting the "metal" portions. A 7.5 on a scale of 10.
3rd Place: Matchbox XK-8 convertible (red in the group photo). There is nothing wrong with this model to relegate it to a mid pack finish. Its a nice model, (especially in premium trim with rubber tires). Its realistic. Its a pretty design (though not as pretty as the next generation). Its a good (but lightweight) model that you should have in your collection. It just lacks an absolute "gotta-have-it" quality or factor to propel it higher in the standings. An 8 on a scale of 10.
2nd Place: Matchbox 2nd generation XK coupe. This is a great model. Such a nice model that I was thinking about a blog post dedicated just to this model. Big, handsome, wide, cool-looking, available in multiple colors and wheels. A model that makes you want to buy the real car, that actually looks BETTER than the already great looking real car. This model should have won the comparison test, if not for the dark horse Malibu model. A solid 9 on a scale of 10. Get it in every color you can find!
1st Place: Malibu 2nd generation XK coupe. Those Malibu designs were beautiful designs (aside from the under-scale VW transporter bus). I have an entire blog post dedicated to the incredible efforts they made on Land Rovers a few years ago (Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, LR3, etc., all beautifully done!). And this XK is done in the same quality vein. Its everything that makes the Matchbox one a winner - turned up an extra notch. The separate glass lights are a great touch, as are the factory correct wheels. It lost a few points for weight and for the somewhat bland silver paint, but still managed to out-do the car that was a shoo-in to win this test. A 9.5 on a 10 point scale... With a metal bottom and in a color besides silver it could have been a 10!
Congrats to Malibu for a winning model, and to Matchbox for making 3 different well-modeled Jaguar Grand Touring cars!
P.S. One problem that sometimes comes up with comparison tests is determining where to cut off the models included in the comparison tests... After all, the mid-90's XKs replaced the aged XJ-S - should I have included scale model XJ-Ss?
But in this case, the XJ-S, designed in the '70's, seemed like a more different car from the XK-8 than any of the models included in the test. Plus, I don't have very good XJ-S models.
Hot Wheels did a popular one in the '80s, but to my eyes it looks out of proportion - too long relative to its width, such that it would have easily taken last place in the above test. And Corgi Jr. had an XJ-S model in the '80's (a bit less well known than the Hot Wheels model - at least here in the USA), that was the exact opposite of the Hot Wheels casting - much shorter and wider (chubbier?) though closer to true proportions. The Corgi would have won hands down over the Hot Wheels, but probably still would have been beaten by all of the excellent XK-8 and later models. Finally I have a very unusual Majorette premium model of an XJ-S cabriolet - however my casting is the only example of this model that I've ever seen! Anyway, aside from the Majorette, the XJ-S castings seem somewhat bland and well known and I just wasn't excited to include them. So I didn't!