FIRST LOOK: Hot Wheels Elite 1:18 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 “Launch Version”

Jul 28, 2012 No Comments by

Hot Wheels Elite’s 1:18 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 “Launch Version” is one hell of an impressive model, for reasons that became apparent while we were taking it (and a pair of race-liveried variants) out of the box from overseas. First – the heavy models were in a newly designed box featuring a proper styrofoam clamshell, a la Minichamps, Kyosho, et al. When we opened those, we were happy to see the cars screwed to the lower halves of the containers. The days of tricky, damage-inviting wires and straps are gone, at least where these are concerned.

Once out of the boxes, the cars were stunning. The GT2 takes the Italia’s already aggressive shape and adds even more in-your-face spoilers and a lowered stance; fender flares around the car’s massive wheels are straight out of a boy-racer’s sketchbook, as is the multi-vented front boot cover and high-mounted rear wing.

It’s all here in the HWE model, and it’s all done with a high level of finesse. The removable boot lid and rear engine cover come as separate pieces affixed to the top of the clamshell; these attach and snuggle onto the car with hidden neodymium magnets. Below these pieces, the 4.5-liter V8 and complex plumbing at the car’s nose are replicated very well, using everything from cast and painted plastic, faux carbon-fiber, vinyl hoses, photoetch screening, and even dyed, clear styrene to reproduce the brake reservoirs on the front bulkhead.

More carbon-look surfaces are inside, as are painstakingly-placed tamped-on gauge and dial detailing. The steering wheel looks like soft foam, and there’s even a coiled wire run between the hub and the firewall – a neat detail that belongs on a car priced well above this one’s sub-$120.00 ticket.

Add this one to our ever-growing video backlog; it’s well worth the camera time, and represents a new level of excellence for a model maker already working near the top of the hobby. Highly recommended.

Gallery > HWE Ferrari 458 Italia GT2

Hot Wheels Elite


1:18, Featured News, Uncategorized

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.
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