Chances are that if you’re reading these pages on the web, you are already a collector of diecast collectible models. South Florida retailer Awesome Diecast models supplies collectors and corporations with the latest in metal and resin miniatures to over 60 countries globally.
In business since 2002, the firm offers a collection of more than 6,000 models, as well as commissioned private stock to clients ranging from Greyhound Bus Lines, DHL, CBS, FedEX, CEMEX, Maersk Shipping, and Atlas Van Lines.
They are all very familiar brands, seen almost daily on the highway, and occasionally on the shelves of collectors. It’s just the thing for a storage-challenged home dweller, especially one whose spousal unit limits vehicle size to no more than 1:43rd scale. Said spousal unit has also limited a guitar collection to no more than five examples, but I digress.
The stock at Awesome Diecast ranges from street and racecars to trucks, buses and fire apparatus. Occasional specialties such as Australian “Road Trains” even manage to land in the warehouse but only for a very short time before repackaging for shipment to buyers. According to company owner Jeff Silver, no one is doing what his company is, complete with acquiring the licensing to reproduce a company’s fleet in miniature. Most of the models are made with Cad design files directly from the OEM manufacturers.
“We have a very good web presence around the world. One of our earliest was a run of Fonterra milk tankers. They are the largest milk producer responsible for about 30-percent of the world’s dairy output, out of New Zealand,” said Silver. “We did everything over Skype, and email, had them manufactured, with licensing from Scania trucks and others, and then delivered more than 15,000 units to them.
The Awesome Diecast showroom is located in Boca Raton, Florida, and features shelves of new products, private commissions, estate purchases and some of Silver’s personal collection. “The first piece I collected is even here,” said Silver. So too, one of fifty gold-plated Greyhounds issued by Corgi.
Iconic Diecast, one of the company’s private labels, has issued a 1931 Greyhound bus, based on a Mack chassis, that is near and dear to Silver because it was driven daily by his great uncle between Montreal and New York in the 1930s. Knee high riding boots were part of their uniform, adding a touch of style to the experience.
“If it has wheels, we can get it produced. We have a partnership with a company in China and they are actually expanding into Bangladesh. I go to the Nuremburg Toy Fair, New York, and others around the world. Our cars and trucks are all limited edition: Once we make and sell out the run, it won’t be recreated. For instance, with this Greyhound bus, it will be created in a limited run, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. I will make it into a Trailways version but I will never recreate an already completed vehicle. That way the models have potential to increase in value as well.”
Silver continues, by saying, “When we do a model for the VanHool bus company, it will be for 100,000 pieces and they will actually own the dies so no one else can utilize them. All clients own the dies. They pay up front for a one-time tooling fee but subsequent runs have no die fees. It’s best to start with a minimum of 2,000 pieces.
Custom trucks and buses typically range from $59 to $89 USD. Prices vary according to quantity, features –like opening hoods and doors, and scale. They produce models as large as 1:8th scale and in the case of the Vanhool models, some were over three feet long. Silver offers flat-rate shipping to Europe for $34.95 USD. It doesn’t matter if there is one or 20 models in the box.
Story and Photos by Mark Elias