Lap of Luxury: M&D International Rolls Out A Winner

Jan 04, 2012 1 Comment by

Luxury Collectibles came out of left field (actually, Brooklyn, New York, by way of Florida and China) a couple of years ago, and got pushed out into the daylight by the father and son team of Drew and Matt Heitner. Drew is the head, and Matt the heir apparent, of M&D International, the worldwide point of contact for a literal boatload of American diecast model and hobby supply companies.

Baby’s Got Back(ground)

While the Luxury line is their first foray into making and marketing models on wheels, they’re no strangers to manufacturing; after years of repping companies like Lane, Highway 61, Spec-Cast, Mint Models and others in the global hobby and collectibles market, M&D stepped outside the box a little while back, and fired up their own line: a series of beautifully done, scantily dressed, and positively bootylicious 1:18 and 1:24 figurines called “Fast Women”. The response to the well-rounded resin figures (marketed with the tag line “the kind of girls your mother warned you about!”) was nigh-on seismic, even if the overtly juicy proportions and booth babe poses of the wee ladies was seen as a tad scandalous among some older collectors.

The straight-laced crowd didn’t have to wait long; M&D soon backed up the buxom bims with a more wholesome and nostalgic series of small folk called “Motorhead Miniatures”, leaning heavily toward the ‘forties and ‘fifties ethic of ticket-writing cops, roller skating car hops, t-shirt wearing greasers and pretty, pony-tailed gals in skirts and Capri pants. Response was so good that M&D expanded the lines in different scales, adding new figures here and there, and then providing a series of nicely done, budget minded scale garage and shop accessories to the multi-scale mix a while later.

Roll ‘Em

We first saw the Luxury Diecast line late last year, and the first cars did relatively well on the market. While they weren’t possessed of ground-breaking detail, the presidential limo and a Chevy Suburban done in Secret Service dress lured quite a few collectors. Barak Obama’s custom Cadillac “Beast” had opening doors and enough detailing to make it shelf-worthy for pro-car fans; the ’09 Chevy SUV, available as a separate model or as part of a set with the limo, was pretty good, too, and it was also available as a stock truck. Both models were definitely budget-conscious pieces – but they delivered solidly for their asking prices.

Then Luxury broke out a new series in resin – and aimed it straight at the current market for mid-to-upscale 1:43 images currently lorded over by Spark, BBR, and the up-and-coming NEO/American Excellence brands. From the look of things, these may be a game changer in this segment.

Lux Trucks – and Muscle

Luxury’s resin lineup, called “Luxury Collectibles”,  is growing – quickly, we might add – and the current catalog includes a Chevy Camaro SS, in convertible and coupe (with some new colors on the horizon as pre-orders); a pre-order late-model Lincoln Town Car, and even a zoomy looking Caddy CTS-V coupe that’s on the see you soon list; these join an already-in-circulation Cadillac CTS-V sedan, Corvette ZR-1, and even a pair of Hummers in H3 and H3T trim. That would seem to indicate that this maker is sticking with late-model cars – an area that doesn’t get a lot of attention in resin, or this scale.

We haven’t spent any time with any of those later releases yet, but what we have seen – the Hummers and the Corvette we’re showing here – have won us over, enough so that we recently offered the Hummers as part of a giveaway.

The reason we like the models so much is sheer bang for the buck. Where the majority of Luxury’s diecast cars tag in the thirty-ish range and ship on plastic bases, these up-market resins arrive fastened to painted wooden plinths, with slightly better quality acrylic tops, for around $75.00, smack in the middle of the current price range for mass-produced resin replicas in this scale. Take the models off the mounts and palm them, and they’re surprisingly heavy. The resin is dense, smooth, and beautifully prepped, and the samples we’ve seen – all factory sealed when they arrived – were virtually flawless in their finish and assembly.

That was especially evident with those Hummers. Despite the complexity of the trucks’ shapes, every angle and slope reads as dead-on, and each model is covered in a fine metallic, and deco’d with foil badges, added-on handles and mirrors, and deep, sharp lenses front and rear. The trucks have just the right stance, on knobby rubber wrapped around distinctive Hummer rims; nothing about the pieces gives off any sign of cost-cutting or corners cut. Up top, the marker lights are separately cast amber plastic, and both trucks have hair-thin wire antennas mounted to the fenders and scale-correct badges on their doors; the grilles boast photoetch mesh, the wiper arms are p/e pieces, and the glazing – painstakingly put in, and wrapped in hand-applied painted “gasketing” – is made from sheets of butyrate.

More of that high-end stuff was used to build the greenhouse on the Corvette, but here the glazing got a kiss of extra defroster grid detail – not to mention a wickedly complex curve and trim – to add a superb note of realism out back. Go forward, and the roof and pillars wear carbon fiber detailing – maybe the best we’ve seen in this scale, a deep, muted gloss that tops off a scale-correct (or visually so) weave pattern and repeat. It’s truly remarkable.

The multi element lenses are topped off with “gasketed” clear covers; the scoops and vents on the Z read as realistically as those on far larger models, and the wheels – though set a tad too far up into the front wheel wells – are beauties that front steel discs and calipers. A scale relief “Corvette” script rides on the rear bumper, and quad tips are set between the silvered and lensed backup lights. Our favorite details? The pinhead sized “bulbs” behind the ZR-1′s fully lensed driving lights, and the peek-a-boo hood section over the ‘Vette’s blown motor. Look through the former, and you wouldn’t be surprised if they flashed on; get a loupe near the latter, and you can read “LS9 Supercharged”. That’s some sweet detailing, and it’s done right.

We liked the interiors on both models very much – and really liked how easy they were to see, thanks to that well-placed and distortion free glazing. No doubt about it… you’ll need to bring some kind of strong light if you want to take in all the detail, but trust us, it’s there, right down to the nearly legible controls on the ‘Vette’s center stack. Typical of the current crop of resins, chassis detail is virtually non-existent, with only a few added pieces doing what’s necessary to provide an accurate profile when viewed from above. Given all the great things going on topside, that’s not a problem. Not at all.

Wrap-up

1:43 is a huge market worldwide, and we get the feeling that M&D has been keeping close tabs on the segment for the better part of the past decade. This is a world-wide company with a strong history in the business, and it isn’t for nothing that they’ve made the move to get behind this lineup. Savvy? You bet.

The models were worth the wait. If the newer models are as well done as these – and we have no reason to expect that they won’t be – they might just represent a breakout product line that will supersede the success these fellows have had with the “Fast Women” and “Motorhead Miniatures” figures. That’s saying something. We’re saying something, too: these come highly recommended.

luxurydiecast.com

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About the author

I was always crazy about toy cars and car-themed play sets, but I got hooked on car models when my cousin sent me a pair of built-up AMT kits - a '61 Continental and a '57 Thunderbird. I was six or seven years old when another cousin - Carl - showed me how to build and paint, and by the time I was nine, I had a pretty good collection and a great "spares box" on hand. The original Auto World catalogs were my dream books; my allowance was spent before it was ever earned, and I knew every hobby store and model retailer on Long Island. Then came slot cars, Cox .049-engined Baja Buggies and airplanes, and, ultimately, the real things. I still have some of those old models, and when time allows, I still build or detail scale cars. But it's the ready-to-display replicas and scale racing models that have really had me jazzed for the past fifteen years or so. The "mint" diecasts and the 1:18 American Muscle cars that I cut my serious collecting (and writing) teeth on back then led straight to the current crop of offerings from high-end makers and models in every scale. I also love scale model photography, and shooting, scoring, and producing videos of the models I love. I'm a proud member of the DiecastSpace Diecast Hall of Fame, as well as the Diecast Car Collectors' Club Diecast Scale Model Hall of Fame. I'm also proud to be a part of the Die Cast X Team, and as Editor-in-Chief, I'm looking forward to years of growing the publication and showing new collectors how much fun this hobby can be. And, yeah - I still have that spares box.

One Response to “Lap of Luxury: M&D International Rolls Out A Winner”

  1. Drew Heitner says:

    Thnak Joe!. Matt and I are flattered by your kind words. It drives us to be all the more certain that the products we offer from Luxury will simply be the best there is!

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