Paudi Models has, up until recently, been hard at work self-promoting their lineup of high-featured 1:18 diecast cars here in the United States. Here’s good news: the manufacturer now has a pipeline into the US – Taylor Sports Collector – and the going, crowing, and growing for this premium maker should get a lot smoother.
Here’s the better news, especially if you’re a new-car kind of collector with an eye for the global market: Paudi’s suddenly easy-to get lineup leans toward newish Asian market offerings, starting with relatively pedestrian cars like Toyota Camrys and Honda CR-Vs, and tops off with cars like this pair – a fully-detailed, late-model Infiniti FX50 SUV and a G37 coupe – all of which dish out great castings and a truly bodacious level of hands-on fun.
Infiniti’s FX50 is Nissan Corp’s BMW X-series -battling crossover ute, toting upwards of 390 horsepower, a NASA-grade 7-speed automatic with all-wheel drive, and enough built-in tech to get James Bond reading the owner’s manual. It’s big, but nimble; heavy, but powerful enough to offer a sporting drive. It’s also a full-on luxo-truck, with quilted leather seats and every possible amenity, including some features (like multi-stage ambient entry lighting) that most folks never even knew they needed.
That spirit of overkill lives strong in Paudi’s version. The detail borders on insane, and the design and build quality aren’t far behind. To start, the model’s got a full-metal frame (a feature it shares with its G37 cousin in scale), with a working (hidden-spring) suspension and steel brake discs behind realistic, complexively cast satin-toned wheels. The four doors, rear hatch, and hood all open, as does the sunroof; if you can hook a finger in, you can slide the roof shade open or closed, too. Another feature that had us at “hello” was the folding side view mirrors. For a sickening moment, we thought we’d broken one while removing the model from its clamshell; when it simply pivoted back into position, we were pretty relieved – and more than a little entertained.
If you’re feeling particularly dexterous, open the console between the soft-faced seats, then slide the seats themselves back and forth. A fabric pull strap in the rear compartment allows for removing the floor to display a fixed-in-place spare and tools; we liked the twin struts that hold the hatch aloft, and loved the opening gas filler door – mostly because its fitment was so precise, it looked like it was a non-operable part of the body casting.
Paper-thin panel gaps are all over this big model. The hood fitment is so tight, a push button release wasn’t just a convenience – it was a necessity. Even cooler is the removable beauty shield that pulls up off the plate-cast engine (and snicks back, thanks to magnets at the corners) once the hood is open. No, the 32-valve V8 isn’t a fully-realized piece, but given the real SUV’s jammed-in motor, the effect, as done by Paudi, should be more than passable for most collectors, since the deep-relief casting has been detailed with matte and metallic paints.
No such illusions exist below the hood of the G37 Coupe. The 3.7 liter V6 – a lovely growler that can propel this lux-sport rocket to 60 in around six seconds – looks to be a fuller casting, and the hoses, pipes, and decorated bits that surround it sell the area well. Below the engine, the chassis detailing is great, especially the two-into-one-into-two exhaust and its multiple heat shields and elements. The interior detailing below the tilt and slide sunroof is just as deep here as on the FX – even though the G’s cabin isn’t quite as sumptuous, or nearly as vast – and it’s got tilting/sliding soft-touch seats, an opening console, and fabric seat belts, a detail we couldn’t locate on the bigger FX. Pull the rear decklid up, and there’s another removable floor, and another fixed-in-place spare and tools; one of the coolest parts of exploring the model was the way that magnet-equipped, carpeted floor piece popped back home when we were done peering into the trunk. And yes, Virginia – the G’s gas filler door opens. Of course.
At the end of the day, all of that finger fun – and boy, is there plenty of it – is certainly entertaining. But these models offer more than just gadgetry. Doors and roofs closed, quietly buffed and parked, the models look great, with deep metallic paint, amazing decos and badges, and shut lines so precise they rival sealed-body resins when closed. The lensing and glazing are tightly fitted, realistically cast, and well bezeled, and the smallest details – like the “INFINITI” on the brake calipers – have been given the same consideration as the models’ larger, more visible elements. That’s a level of consistency that approaches the fit and finish of the real cars.
No wonder Paudi was crowing about their models all this time. Now, we’re crowing right alongside. Nice stuff.