THE FAST LANE OF DIECAST IN BANGLADESH

By Abeerul Abedin

The word Die-cast might sound very pale to people but it surely holds a distinct value who collects die-cast cars or in other words, scale model of actual cars! Bookish definition say, any object made out of a die is a die-cast. This doesn’t have to be a car, it could be anything. Talking about people who collects scale model or die-cast means something very different. Die-cast thrills people who are collector of set of wheels to be kept with utmost honour & pride. These little ponies never fails to amaze like actual cars!Unlike any other hobbies, this is one of those which was not so talked about yet.Like a raging storm, over time this has revved up to the red line with invincible boost. For a couple of years some brave & passionate souls have defined their passion with a mark of excellence to unleash it to you! The thriving hunger of dedication & patience has glorified one hell of a hobby to be brought into broad daylight with utmost dignity. This hobby has a remarkable past in other countries & it has been dominating since then. With time, as cars got advanced on the tarmac! Collecting die-casts has also reached to a matured level in our country as well.

 

The name “Hot wheels” brings immense joy to a kid’s heart! Alone dollar toy can instantly bring a million dollar smile to a young face. But sometimes the same can happen to a collector who has been a father for years! Starting from McDonald’s kids meal to local superstores, Hot wheels can be found everywhere. For kids anything on wheels can be great but for collectors an animal shaped character on wheels holds no value, instead they hunt for the miniature version of actual cars. Luckily Hot wheels got both of them covered ever since. A collector dad keeps replica of the actual ones for himself & his son can play with the fictional character toy car, following footsteps of his father while he grows up. Although Hot wheels is not defined as scale model but this is where the journey starts. Ultimately leading to brands like Kyosho, Tarmac, J-Collection, Inno, Tomica, Altaya, M2Machines, Ixo, AutoArt, Carisma, Tamiya, Norev, Dinky, auto world, Sun-Star,Kinsmart,Minichamps, Welly, MINIGT, Maisto, Whitebox, Almost Real, Lledo, Tonka, Johnny Lightning, Greenlight, Spark, Tiny, Schuco, Racing Champions,Autorozza etc.Usually die-casts come in various scales such as 1/64, 1/43, 1/32, 1/24& 1/18. Among all these sizes sometimes some unusual scales or some extremely rare gems are being sculptured behind the curtain. As we stretch our neck to have a clear view of a limited edition watch in an exclusive shop, the term “Limited Edition” is also an inevitable part in the world of die-cast.

Every die-cast in a collector’s collection is precious& holds an unparalleled influence. Pieces of metals bonded with vibrant lines of beauty, crafted to be a matter of pride to a passionate personality. When it comes to limited edition die-casts, these are mostly hidden from the line of mainstream production. They are made to be handpicked from hands that moves in command of a vibrant soul. Starting from the making to rest with utmost dignity in a collector’s showcase, limited edition die-casts carry symbols of patience, honour, pride & immeasurable joy!

Apart from the marked ones some die-casts automatically get rare with time. Some are produced for a very short period of time in very limited numbers. As the production year of a particular die-cast starts to fall behind it slowly begins to indulge itself in the aura of rarity. Coming across the wind of time few companies disappeared from the scene, A popular example might be ‘Whitebox.’ It is a history now! Hence, available die-casts of Whitebox among resellers have already become more costly than its original price while the company was existent. Basically, the above mentioned information were necessary for a reader to be able to differentiate between regular & rare scale models. Now let’s dive into the scenario of the die-cast community in Bangladesh to know more interesting specifics about prominent collectors & their terrific collections!

 

Zahir Ibna Majib, currently at his late 30s. A charming personality in the community. His vast collection of 1/43 & 1/64s would take no time to make a fellow collector jealous! But the people in the community are so refined & humble, they believe in appreciating each other’s fleet keeping competition aside. Mr. Zahir is currently working at a renowned bank in the capital. His insane fanaticism for cars started a long way back. One fine day after his son Iman joined as the newest member to his family, Iman went for toy shopping with his mom & dad. Watching Iman’s curiosity towards miniature cars made by ‘Kinsmart’ displayed under the glowing spotlights in the shop! Mr. Zahir was deeply influenced along with his son too. He found some cars which he grew up watching them on the streets. Both of them returned home with a bag full of cars, while Iman’s mom was thinking to send his dad to a psychiatrist! Of course she was just trying to act funny with her husband, even Mr. Zahir couldn’t realize back then that he had just entered to a world of fascination which he could never come out of. Die-casts are definitely not friendly with your wallet! It’ll keep on taking out cash of it &you really can’t help yourself once you start rolling. As Mr. Zahir says, it is very important for young collectors to set the line of collection in the very beginning according to their taste. Otherwise, they might lose the fun & eventually get rid of the once ambitiously collected treasures. These days, young crowd are crazy about JDMs. So, it’s better to allocate a fixed space at home for die-casts & spend money wisely. He also added, starting with 1/64s could be a great way to enter the game. Price tags on them are usually not so high &almost a huge wave of both JDMs &European cars are covered by ‘Kyosho.’ Brands like ‘Racing Champions’ &‘auto world’ has a stunning fleet of American classics & rumbling muscles, says Mr. Zahir. He is considered to be one of the legendary collectors of Tomica Limited Vintage which is the most finest brand in making finely detailed die-casts in 1/64 scale. His 1/43 scaled Prancing Ferrari’s are way beyond the league too!Yet helives asimple lifestyle as a 9 to 5 working guy. He is one of the most oldest member in the community & his contributions are being appreciated since then.

The next person in the pipeline to be talked about is Mr. Quazi Ashfaq Uz Zaman. As the world is round & small, he happens to be the best friend of Mr. Zahir. Mr. Quazi spent a large time of his childhood around Land Rovers, Suzuki Jimny, Toyota Corolla EE80, Austin Mini & other classic cars. He got this privilege because he grew up amidst scenery of vast tea gardens. His dad worked as the manager of Duncan Tea Estate. Hence, he could enjoy the pleasure of revving those beautiful engines on the tarmac with vivid green views on the windshield.As he grew up with such vehicles, he couldn’t resist himself of getting his hands on die-casts. He has plenty of limited edition Lledos with certificates to identify the unique production number.Currently there are ten exquisite Whitebox die-casts of 1/32 scale in his collection. A humble soul in the community presented him a 1/87T oyota Probox which takes the size of a nail tip! Moments like these are to be cherished forever, says Mr. Quazi. He also got another gem from a different personality, this too was a gift for him. Undoubtedly both individuals are really close to him, this was a certified gold plated 1/64 scaled American muscle! These two die-casts surely holds a distinct emotional attachment to him but the most interesting story of Mr. Quazi’s life is yet to be written! This part is about the person with whom he promised to share his life with, she is none other than his beloved wife. On their honeymoon trip, as Mr. Quazi is also a 9 to 5 banker like Mr. Zahir, living a simple yet peaceful life like his friend! Mr. Quazi was bounded with a not so lavish budget. While enjoying a lovely evening walk with his wife on a street in Kuala Lumpur, suddenly his eyes got stuck on a shop’s shelf through its crystal clear glass.It was a very mainstream scaled model of Nissan GT-R(R35) but his dear wife could read the emotion in his eyes within those seconds& understood how big it could be as an appreciation to his husbands love for cars/die-casts! Despite such conditions of their trip, his wife Mrs. Quazi saved a couple of bills & shocked him before the day of their return. She humbly asked him to buy the die-cast & it meant nothing but the whole wide world to him. Nature also showered its love on them, he got a hefty amount of discount while buying that & the couple happily returned home with some sweet memories. Although that piece of metal is not a handcrafted limited edition one but it is kept with utmost care as it contains the truest form of love which needs no certification. It is completely separated even from his most expensive & limited edition die-casts. It occupies the most safe& secured place in one of his showcases placed in his bedroom on the topmost corner, just like the way The love of his life takes place in the bottom of his heart.Mrs. Quazi has set an ideal example of how a life partner should be like, she has always wrapped his husband’s hobby with love since their marriage.Mr. Quazi has made no mistake in choosing his life partner& just like his cars he got a limited edition wife too, as a blessing from God.

Guess what! After talking about the tiny Probox which was presented to Mr. Quazi by someone, a lot of questions might have raised in your mind. Time to reveal one of the most down to earth person who always maintains a very low profile. His name is Mr. Saqif Maqsud. He comes from a very aristocratic family but it’s difficult to believe so because of his ordinary lifestyle. Belonging to such environment he could have easily chose to have a grand collection of scaled European Supercars but he couldn’t forget the simple & purposeful attachment of his childhood, that is habitual Japanese machines which they have had in the past& present ones in their garage. Also the ones which he came across in the streets of Dhaka since he was a kid. He is a true admirer of the simplicity of Japanese machines & of course! It has to be a right hand drive variant to take place in his collection with respect to Bangladeshi right hand drive rule of the road. A choosy collector who lives a standard life.His unique collection has an invisible signature engraved, “Love for Simplicity.” He only buys his JDM die-casts from Japan which are of selected makes. Nobody else takes care of die-casts like him, he has a temperature controlled storage, so that the paint on his die-casts always remains in factory finish quality. Takes the feel of his scaled models wearing gloves leaving no fingerprints on the body of his gems. He is a true pride of the community with his extraordinary collection, yet he humbly terms his collection as, “Ordinarily Yours!”

A very engaging character in the community, Shariful Islam Shawon. Started buying Hot wheels from the money he used to be given from his parents to buy grocery &ended up with a symbolic collection!With time God has blessed his collection with lots of rare scale models but he kept his childhood love(Hot wheels) in a separate show case. By his wittiness, he is extremely talented when it comes to die-casts! He knows detailed insights about the production year of Hot wheels. Infrequent to be found among today’s collectors. His specific knowledge about Hot wheels lead him to successfully collect all the existent variations of his favourite car models in the form of rare collectibles.Apart from collecting only for himself, Mr. Shawon also finds pleasure in bringing your desired scale models from his various foreign sources.Besides his vibrant series of Hot Wheels he also has his hands on some extremely rare limited edition miniature automobiles. Noticeable ones among those are a Toyota Supra MKIV made by Tarmac, limited to 1632 pieces worldwide. It’s a Malaysian exclusive model. It doesn’t take much to infer about his die-cast sources!Toyota Harrier is considered to be one of the most luxurious vehicle in the streets of our country, it also beautifies his collection in a scale of 1/43. One of the 1008 pieces ever made by J-Collection.

This is how fascinating scale model or die-casts could be. It doesn’t matter what name you call it by. It is an accepted fact from heart to live for, to such passionate souls.Hobby is like a breeze of wind that brings joy to life. These amazing people, who are better known as collectors has chosen their hobby on pulsating lines of metals. It can be concluded, this hobby has kept them away from all the possible negative magnetism that could destroy their lives. Although their cars are quite different from what we’ve known so far from the word ‘Car!’ These Cars might not run by the power of motor but it surely runs by the power of heart. No ordinary heart can pursue this hobby but nothing extraordinary is also not required to enter this club. Like the wheels of car, no matter how much horses you have in your collection! Keep your feet on the ground & connect your heart to the amazing world of Automobiles on a diet.

An ending note, A social media group named “Diecast Collectors of BD” has been providing a platform collectively to bring all the distinguished hobbyist of scale models under the shelter of a family. They have a separate buy/sell & auction group called, “Diecast Collectors of BD : Buy Sell & Auction Group” to help enrich the collection of collectors across the country. Join them to see& post top-notch photos of your scale models &fasten your seat belts to enter the fast lane of die-casts!