Model Reviews : January 2024 – Land Rover, Hot Wheels and Austin Maestro

Welcome to our first column of 2024 dedicated to the world of scale models with an AROnline twist, brought to you by the expert eye and passion of Keith D’Souza.

In a world where petrolheads are collecting miniature versions of their favourite cars in order to save their garages and bank balances, Keith will be your trusted guide through this most geekish of hobbies.

From a Hot Wheels Landie to a launch-spec Disco via a mini Maestro

Mistrale Land Rover Discovery 1

From classics to moderns, Keith’s reviews offer a detailed and insightful look into the world of scale models. It’s a new year, so why not buy a nice AROnline-themed diecast to brighten up your mantlepiece, desk or bedroom window sill?

This month, we bring you an excellent 1:43 scale model of the Land Rover Discovery in launch spec from the good people at Oxford Diecast, an ‘OO’ scale Maestro from the same people or a Hot Wheels Defender. We wish you luck finding the latter – nothing is more frustrating than trying to find specific Hot Wheels model, when you’re being jostled at the cash tills in Lidl!

Car of the Month: Oxford Diecast Mistrale Land Rover Discovery 1:43

Mistrale Land Rover Discovery 1

Oxford Diecast have an excellent track record capturing classic British cars in 1:43 form. Its Daimler DS420 Limousine and Jensen Interceptor are a masterclass in excellence at this scale.

Oxford Diecast now bring G660 BKV – a Series 1 Land Rover Discovery Mistrale – to the display cabinet, continuing the niche they are carving in the diecast landscape. The model is very well done – the Mistrale Blue paintwork is as it should look, with those funky 1980s graphics aligned to each side.

Good to see the Marina door handles get accented, plus other details such as the’ TDi’ badging, number plate with correct font used, roof rails and that Sonic Blue Conran interior. It is far too easy to go down the Defender/Range Rover route, but this casting is fresh and distinct. Even more special would be a LJ Honda Crossroad version – we can but hope!

Price: £24.95

Order from:

Oxford Diecast Austin Maestro 1.6L 1:76

Oxford Diecast Austin Maestro

For ‘OO’ gauge enthusiasts, the default accompaniment or enhancement to a diorama scene leads to Oxford Diecast and their immense range of mainly British models to enhance or complement a display.

Frustratingly, the Maestro has been sadly neglected in small scale apart from Corgi’s attempt of its ‘Working Lights’ MG 1600 version in the early 1980s. Scaled to 1:76, Oxford Diecast recolour its established Maestro casting in ‘1.6L’ specification, once again bringing this now Austin classic into mainstream availability – nicely formed and capturing details correctly.

Particularly pleasing is the registration plate which brings a welcome level of authenticity. Modelling at smaller scales does present challenges – the micro levels of detail are just not possible the smaller scale you go. But rejoice in the fact that this car is available and can be easily added to a railway diorama or just as a standalone miniature recalling a much loved firm family member.

Price: £7.95

Order from:

Hot Wheels Land Rover Defender 90  

Hot Wheels Land Rover Defender

Much to the detriment of the ugly stepchild Matchbox, Mattel do put in a lot of effort into its Hot Wheel brand producing original fantasy creations along with interpretations from today and yesteryear for their mainline range.

The inclusion of the Defender Classic in ‘90’ form is a good one. Okay, the tampo printing is misguided somewhat, it’s in left-hand drive and you won’t get heritage colours or authentic rims. But for around £2, this is excellent pocket money folly. The casting has enough detail to ensure authenticity for its target audience.

Adding some further highlights with some metallic touch pens on the front and rear lights would really elevate this Landie even more, without the need to fork out for the overpriced premium versions. It is a cute and delightful piece of small scale retro that fits perfectly on your desk or on display. It is well worth looking out for in supermarkets or such on your travels.

Price: £2.00

Order from:

Hot Wheels Land Rover Defender


  1. The Oxford version seems much better than Britains’ somewhat dismal attempt at a Discovery. FWIW Oxford/Carararama are a bunch of ex Corgi personnel, a bit like the way Lledo carried on from Matchbox/Lesney.

  2. Oops – clarification – Oxford has worked with Cararama (not Carararama…) developing some models but they are a separate company (owned by Hongwell).

  3. Nice to see the Maestro represented in die-cast. The Corgi working lights MG Maestro model was, in my opinion a bit poor. Under-wheeled, owing to the push-down mechanism for the lights, and totally lacking any interior detailing. Oddly as well, it was painted bright yellow, rather than staying true to the MG’s actual colour palette. The Scalextric model was better in every way!

    • Indeed Simon.

      The yellow scheme was most probably used as an eye catcher for little people. It was part of Mettoys last hurrah, and authenticity was just not on the menu back then in terms of accuracy for colour schemes, etc.

      I do remember vaguely the Scalextric model…. The slot cars back then were so much better than what Hornby churn out at the moment!

  4. The little Disco model looks quite good. I bought a Cult Models 1:18 and was disappointed by the lack of opening panels and the “chassis” broke when I tried to remove the screws to get it off the cheap looking plinth. And the front axle is way off centre!

    • You are dealing with Resin, which need a lot of care when handling…….I have taken over 30 mins to ensure that my resin models were unboxed without damage –

      Resin can be of beautiful form, but oh, so fiddly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.