Click here to buy Formula One diecast replicas at Grand Prix Legends
With the release of Norev’s first 1:18 Formula One replica, we can make some kind of objective analysis of the efforts of 2008’s three 1:18 F1 model-makers. Representing Norev is Fernando Alonso’s Renault R28, while Minichamps enters the ring with Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren MP4/23 and Mattel goes into battle with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari F2008.
Starting at the front of the cars, the Norev Renault has the ‘weakest’ front wing. The mount for the bridge wing is not actually attached to the nose of the car, leaving the wing feeling quite fragile compared to the McLaren and Ferrari. Aesthetically, however, the Renault wing looks fine, while the Mattel Ferrari is let down by the obvious joins where its bridge elements join the side of the nose. It looks to be stalemate on the suspension components, with all three manufacturers offering carbon fibre effect plastic pieces. Moving on to wheels, the Renault can be forgiven for missing the brake disc covers, as the team did not start the 2008 season with them. The Bridgestone lettering does seem a little on the large and blocky side, however. The Minichamps McLaren easily has the best tyres out of the three, with Mattel’s and Norev’s offerings seeming quite plastic by comparison.
It’s in the cockpit where Norev really loses out to Minichamps and Mattel; no driver figure, leaving just a rather basic moulded plastic seatbelt treatment. All three manufacturers have done a good job on the paintwork and decaling, which the majority would say is the most important aspect of any given model. This highlights the fact that all of our trio have created very decent models that you wouldn’t be ashamed to have in your collection. If anything, it is the decaling where Minichamps comes off worse, as on the McLaren’s silver paintwork you can quite easily see the edges of the decals, on parts of the car such as across the engine cover, and down the nosecone. This is also slightly evident on areas like the Ferrari bargeboard, while it is much harder to see any evidence of this on the Renault. Having said that, Norev has failed to pick up on a couple of features, such as the red flashes for the on-board camera denoting the number one driver, and the vertical wing joining the barge board to the sidepod winglet.
Finally, to complete our review, there is the rear light. Surprisingly, Minichamps is again upstaged by Mattel and Norev. Whereas the Ferrari and Renault both have a separate fitting for it, Minichamps instead uses a silver decal. In conclusion, all these models are more than acceptable in terms of quality. The best model, overall, is probably the Minichamps McLaren. But the award for best value; that goes to Norev.