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The earliest 3" Pacesetters had four-digit style numbers such as 3005 before they were changed to the letter "P" and three numbers. I don't recall when that change was made but it was probably in the early 1980s.

Nice to know that! I will incorporate it into our diecast history summary for the Pacesetters later this afternoon! 馃

 

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Interesting follow up to model rotation and cost factors. So I guess this model has proven itself to be a 'popular' issue over time! In the DFW area where I gather my diecasts from primarily - this teal and white version has only recently been seen in a few new colors. I found this one in 2014 and have picked up a few more examples of it as late as 2020. I believe I do have an earlier example in Silver though. Were you involved in the development or design of this casting during your tenure at Maisto?


Maisto Fresh Metal '57 Chevrolet Corvette
by Milton Fox, on Flickr


I picked up this red and white cove example back in 2017 but had not seen it locally until last Summer in the Wal Mart Adventure Force multi packs.



Maisto '57 Chevrolet Corvette
by Milton Fox, on Flickr
I don't think that I was involved with this one at the U.S. office. Most likely, it was added by the Hong Kong office as a copy of the larger-scale Bburago ones. Maisto bought the Bburago tooling.
Here's the history of the 1/64 colors:
1957 Chevrolet Corvette0019silver, red covex20022006
1957 Chevrolet Corvette0019red, white covex20072008
1957 Chevrolet Corvette0019turquoise, white covex2009-
There's a "hidden" code in Maisto style numbers on the baseplates. The first two digits are the year the project was started. In this case the "00" means the year 2000 even though the item didn't appear until the 2002 catalog. The second two numbers are a consecutive number of new products in all scales. So, this Corvette was the nineteenth new product started in the year 2000.
 

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I don't think that I was involved with this one at the U.S. office. Most likely, it was added by the Hong Kong office as a copy of the larger-scale Bburago ones. Maisto bought the Bburago tooling.
Here's the history of the 1/64 colors:
1957 Chevrolet Corvette0019silver, red covex20022006
1957 Chevrolet Corvette0019red, white covex20072008
1957 Chevrolet Corvette0019turquoise, white covex2009-
There's a "hidden" code in Maisto style numbers on the baseplates. The first two digits are the year the project was started. In this case the "00" means the year 2000 even though the item didn't appear until the 2002 catalog. The second two numbers are a consecutive number of new products in all scales. So, this Corvette was the nineteenth new product started in the year 2000.
Wow! Excellent information to have shared with us. If it is not already obvious I am primarily a Corvette casting collector and will be spending some time relabeling a few image titles this evening! 馃
 

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Nice to know that! I will incorporate it into our diecast history summary for the Pacesetters later this afternoon! 馃

Actually, Maisto is not a U.S. based company. May Cheong (aka MC Toys) was/is a Hong Kong based company. They were a supplier to Intex Recreation Corp. (mainly U.S. and a few other countries importer) usually under the Zee Toys brand but sold some of the same items elsewhere as MC Toys. In the early 1990s Intex decided to end their toy business. May Cheong created the Maisto brand name (it sounded a little like the "May" in the company name and also sounded Italian). At the same time, they established a presence in the U.S. with an office/warehouse in Fontana, California with the name "Maisto International, Inc." At first there was little U.S. design being done there but it gradually increased and I joined them in 1999 at the request of a new general manager (formerly from Intex). Still, the main office was and is in Hong Kong.
 

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Here is the Silver version I have. It was acquired from another collector back in 2015 so I am not sure of the actual distribution year date but it is date stamped with a 2002 Tonka copyright.


Maisto Tonka '57 Chevrolet Corvette
by Milton Fox, on Flickr


Maisto Tonka '57 Chevrolet Corvette
by Milton Fox, on Flickr
Maisto started the Tonka licensed items in 2001 but it did not include this Corvette in the 1/64 line. I don't have 2002 through 2004 catalogs but I'd guess that this Corvette was new in 2002 (the copyright date on the baseplate and the Fresh Metal version appearing in the same silver/red cove paint in 2002 are clues). When I did the Fresh Metal research it was before I retired from Maisto so I used company catalogs -- I don't have a complete set at home.
 

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Actually, Maisto is not a U.S. based company. May Cheong (aka MC Toys) was/is a Hong Kong based company. They were a supplier to Intex Recreation Corp. (mainly U.S. and a few other countries importer) usually under the Zee Toys brand but sold some of the same items elsewhere as MC Toys. In the early 1990s Intex decided to end their toy business. May Cheong created the Maiso brand name (it sounded a little like the "May" in the company name and also sounded Italian). At the same time, they established a presence in the U.S. with an office/warehouse in Fontana, California with the name "Maisto International, Inc." At first there was little U.S. design being done there but it gradually increased and I joined them in 1999 at the request of a new general manager (formerly from Intex). Still, the main office was and is in Hong Kong.
Duly noted. Will make edits later today!
 

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A nice resource with the catalog link but it reminds me of all the cool castings and series we dont ever see in my DFW area! We do have the 3" diecast but that is usually limited to just the Fresh Metal castings. And the 1:24 scale models do show up at the drug store chains. Our Wal Marts have had 1:18 cars and the Motorcycle line on ocassion but not ever consistely (even before Covid.) 馃
 

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Ok chepp my only concern about maisto was that the card never introduce the actually car in the blister why is that? I would usually keep the card of all that I would take out for my display except for mailto cards. What ratin
Automotive parking light Car Vehicle Tire Automotive lighting
 

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Maisto for me is like trying to get Kaidohouse castings at present. M2 ,Green light.AutoWorld takes long for delivery.As for the info I do and many more appreciate you contribution of enlightenment in diecast. Thank U Cheap
 

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Ok chepp my only concern about maisto was that the card never introduce the actually car in the blister why is that? I would usually keep the card of all that I would take out for my display except for mailto cards. What ratin View attachment 322110
It is pretty normal for most low-end brands to use a common image for each line of items instead of having a special card for each car. It keeps the cost down. A few, such as Muscle Machines, included a trading card in each blister card that was specific to the car.
 

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Hi @chepp, not to completely shift away from the topics being discussed but I was wondering if you could go through your process of designing a diecast car. I think you've done both 1/64 scale and larger scale as well, right? I'd be interested in hearing some of the differences in approach to small scale vs. large scale. If you have any drawings you can share I'd love to see those, too :)
 

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Hi @chepp, not to completely shift away from the topics being discussed but I was wondering if you could go through your process of designing a diecast car. I think you've done both 1/64 scale and larger scale as well, right? I'd be interested in hearing some of the differences in approach to small scale vs. large scale. If you have any drawings you can share I'd love to see those, too :)
Sure! It will take a while for me to respond so keep checking back.
 

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Hi @chepp, not to completely shift away from the topics being discussed but I was wondering if you could go through your process of designing a diecast car. I think you've done both 1/64 scale and larger scale as well, right? I'd be interested in hearing some of the differences in approach to small scale vs. large scale. If you have any drawings you can share I'd love to see those, too :)
I'm going to divide this into multiple posts. Here's the first one.

Part 1 What to make

Font Number Monochrome Document Pattern

First, management looks at the past year or two to see what categories sold well and uses that information to anticipate what would be likely to sell in the future. As you can see, Zee Toys made more than just die-cast toys. This information is from a Feb. 5, 1991 report showing data from 1989 and 1990. The 1991 figures are predicted results for the future. The date is important because it was a week or so before the big annual sales meeting at Toy Fair in New York City.

Font Monochrome Document Number

Second, management would look at specific item sales and recent market test results to see how well things was selling. This is just one page from a 1991 product document. The T-bird stock car, custom VW convertible and the Mustang GT convertible were my "babies."

Based on this information as well as input from the largest retail stores, the Zee sales manager (with management concurrence) would tell the product development manager what new items (and re-decos of existing items) should be made. These requests needed to be carefully reviewed because the retailers often would request what would sell 鈥渞ight now鈥 鈥 but by the time we designed and produced them to be on the shelf a year later they might not be such good sellers.

The product development department would propose our own recommendations and the manager would reconcile those with the sales department and company management. I wasn鈥檛 in management but I generated a lot of suggestions 鈥 of which only a tiny fraction ever made it into production.

Some were "safe bets" such as every new version of Corvette, Mustang, Camaro and so on. Others required a lot of thought. Licensing agents would often provide confidential advance information on upcoming vehicles. For the really hot ones, like Corvette Z06, they would offer an exclusive license (only we could make certain scales of die-casts, for example) at a higher license royalty of course. Other times, to get a hot new license we had to also agree to make a less-desirable model, too, that probably wouldn't sell very well but some higher-up at the vehicle manufacturer insisted on.
 

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More for Part I What to make

Sometimes the boss, Mr. Zee, would ask if we should make something. For example, he circled some cars on a National Geographic mini-poster of significant cars. They were good choices so we made them: '32 Ford roadster and '64 Mustang.

Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Vehicle Automotive tail & brake light Toy

One of my first tasks at Zee in 1982 was to come up with something new for die-cast. I rearranged a bunch of parts to make some urban warrior vehicles. The wheels are missing from these mock-ups that I still have. I think that the two on the left fit onto some sort of tank-tread chassis and would rotate. The pickup on the right would have had off-road style wheels and tires. This idea went nowhere. I was a couple of decades too early -- it would have needed a movie or TV show with similar vehicles to pave the way for these to sell.
 

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The T-bird stock car, custom VW convertible and the Mustang GT convertible were my "babies."
These models?

Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Vehicle Car


Tire Car Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle


Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive parking light


I have good memories of playing with all three of those at my grandparents' house when I was a kid, and I think the Beetle and Thunderbird were among the cars I inherited from them. Not sure what happened to the Mustang though :/

I love those mock-ups! Bummer that they didn't get produced.
 

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These models?

View attachment 322116

View attachment 322118

View attachment 322117

I have good memories of playing with all three of those at my grandparents' house when I was a kid, and I think the Beetle and Thunderbird were among the cars I inherited from them. Not sure what happened to the Mustang though :/
Yes! Thank you.

I love those mock-ups! Bummer that they didn't get produced. Oh, well. Mad Max came out a couple of years earlier in 1979 but things just didn't work out for my warrior vehicles.
 

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Hi @chepp, not to completely shift away from the topics being discussed but I was wondering if you could go through your process of designing a diecast car. I think you've done both 1/64 scale and larger scale as well, right? I'd be interested in hearing some of the differences in approach to small scale vs. large scale. If you have any drawings you can share I'd love to see those, too :)
Part 2 Gather reference material and send it off for model making

Car Vehicle Land vehicle Tire Wheel

The Maisto sales department requested "an old Ford" to be added to the 1:18 Special Edition line. I got the OK to do a 1939 Deluxe Coupe. I found this one pretty easily through the Early Ford V-8 club in southern California. It was lightly modified and the owner allowed me to change the few hop-up parts back to stock on the model. Even though the Maisto die-cast was supposed to be stock I included the real car's Columbia 2-speed rear axle since that was a popular dealer-installed accessory. I shot a "million" photos from many angles including the underside, engine compartment, interior and inside the trunk.

In the photo above at the right you'll see a man holding a dimension card that I made. It has several metric markings. A lot of the photos that I shot had the card next to details to make it easy to see the size.

Below are two of six pages of instructions that I sent along with the photos for the tooling model makers to follow.
Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Land vehicle

Tire Automotive tire Product Tread Automotive design

Not shown here are lots of measurements along with a 1/25 scale plastic model kit so the tooling model builders can see the complex body curves and details that might not be clear in my photos. Before sending the kit, I was VERY careful to remove all of the custom and hot rod parts then X out those parts on the instruction sheet. I also sent an Ertl 1:18 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe for reference, along with a bunch of notes showing how it was different from a 1939.

- - -
For the Maisto 1:24 1955 Buick I took a ton of measurements and transferred them to images of the car as shown below. There were no model kits made of this car so I wanted to be sure that the tooling model builders had every last little thing. Unfortunately, the car had no engine and a lot of parts had been removed so it sat higher than stock because of its lighter weight. That made the torque tube driveshaft/rear axle "creep forward."

Automotive parking light Car Vehicle Land vehicle Automotive tail & brake light


This was just one of many pages of instructions that I sent along with the photos. The tooling model came back almost perfect but I'll save that step in the process for a later post.
 

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Awesome information! And a lot more detailed work than I would have imagined. I too, was expecting just a blue print type drawing as the starting point! Nice work on the development of your self made reference tool!

The inclusion of a model kit and a diecast car in your researched materials to model builders is also very interesting. In the Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006) they include several references to manufacturers using built up model kits and notations that they copied 'measurements' from other diecasts but actual confirmation is phenomenal to have! It also makes more sense that the reference models would have been of a larger scale model kit or diecast than the end product!
 
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