Model Reviews : March 2024 – MG Metro and a pair of Jaguars

Welcome to our second 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.


Everyone loves Metros, right?

CML MG Metro model

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

This month, we bring you an impressive 1:18 scale model of the MG Metro created lovingly by Cult models, an ‘OO’ scale Jaguar XJR and a Matchbox XJC. Obviously, the Matchbox will be a devil to find – specific models always are.

Car of the Month: Cult Models – 1988 MG Metro Turbo 1:18

CML MG Metro model

The launch of the diecast Austin Metro in 1981 aligned with Corgi producing its 1:36 model release at the same time and proved to be very popular. Surprisingly, the Metro has been somewhat forgotten to be retold in small scale since then. Cult Models now adds the Metro to its 1:18 catalogue and not just any old version.

E190 CTV is a MG Metro Turbo, which was recently on the market with just 15,000 miles on the clock. Depicted in resin, this model is off the scale. The accuracy of exterior is all there – the badging, shape, wheels and sunroof are immaculately presented.

CML MG Metro model

But although a sealed model, it is the interior that is absolutely outstanding. Exactly replicated with full binnacle, sumptuously finished motifed upholstery, this is nothing short of stunning.

A brilliant example of British motoring in scale modelling, this is one Metro even Alan Partridge would be proud to own.

Price: £206.99

Order from: cultmodels.com

GCD Jaguar XJR (X300) 1:64

GCD Jaguar XJ model

GCD is a brand that creates excellent quality models at very good prices. Normally these cover the realms of JDM, with glances in at European models. However, the latter are done well – including the company’s latest casting of the Jaguar XJ X300 – many of which sadly seem to find their way to the Banger circuit these days.

Available in correct Jaguar colours, GCD has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that Geoff Lawson’s design is captured well at this scale. The attention to detail is noteworthy: the logo embossed wheel nuts, correctly applied indicator lights and the well replicated interior. The front wheels are adjustable, but to be honest, it is a bit of a gimmick and not really needed at this scale. The only thing that is missing is an authentic reg plate – that would really be a lovely piece of detail to enhance. We would be delighted to see a Daimler Double Six/Super V8 version as well, which could bring a real touch of class.

For those who have a premium on space and budget, this is a perfect fit. Quite delightful…

Price: From around £20

Order from: Various online retailers

Matchbox Mainline 2024 – MB58, Jaguar XJ-6C

Matchbox Jaguar XJ6C

The first wave of MBX releases are just about trickling through now for 2024 (even though they were released in late 2023). On social media, one can observe the gleeful boasts from those across the Pond finding the new castings as well as the consistent pander of individuals seeking attention via ‘happy, happy’ finds even though they get them for free from Mattel.

Collectors in the UK just give a stiff upper lip and hope for the random best – Mattel’s main market after all is the US, anything outside that region is… well, an afterthought.

However, the frustrating thing is that, despite the challenges in seeking out these models, there is always a cracker coming out, none more so that Matchbox’s excellent choice of new casting in the Series I Jaguar XJ-6C. It has been a very long time since we have seen a Big Jag in the Matchbox line up, the last being the XJ40 back in 1986 (Model reference: MB1)

You have to put up with the horrid plastic base which is a nasty cost-cutting measure (as the US consumer refuses to pay over a $1 for such models), but one can be delighted with the form of the casting. What is very well done is the tampo print front and rear – this really adds to the model and Mattel could have easily skipped this, so credit to them for making the effort. It would have been nice to see a genuine period body colour, but the blue hue works well and gives the car presence.

That said, for who really want a little more authenticity at this level, then you must go back further to Mettoy’s wonderful Corgi XJ12C from the 1970s, but this will set one back a few quid. For the time being, this is Matchbox XJ6-C is an excellent highlight to the mainline range and, for the price, is a damn good addition to a collection.

For those who wish to keep up with the new and historic Matchbox releases, do check www.matchbox1-75.com, where new information is always updated as soon as possible.

Price: From £1.50

Order from: matchbox.com

Matchbox Jaguar XJ6C

21 Comments

  1. These are all way over-priced. E540 VOA in red is available on ebay for £145.04 and even that is expensive, because another manufacturer sells an Escort RS Turbo which is just as detailed as the Metro for £81.

    The XJR isn’t very good. The headlights are body coloured. The scale of the window surrounds and the rubbing strip is ridiculously large.

    The XJC is just absolute rubbish.

    • Thanks for your feedback Lucy:

      Metro – It’s a resin and that is how much 1:18’s coem in at these days – I remember getting my 1:18 R32 GT-R by AutoArt almost 20 years ago for £38 delivered – the cost of model production has really risen and this one is a resin as well.

      GCD Jag – I liked it – I have never owned a X300, but let me ask you the question: how much detail do you need at 1:64 scale at the price point? The more detail, the more expensive.

      MBX XJ-6C – it’s not a bad thing, but remember these are pocket money toys – if you don’t like the casting, walk on by, there is plenty around. Would be good to know why you think that this model is pony as well.

      • The Matchbox Jaguar XJ6C looks superb for it’s price point though more chrome and better wheels would probably have helped its cause more. These are appearing at certain The Entertainer stores alongside an equally impressive Lincoln Continental and Morris Minor.

        • Indeed Craig – Mattel constrains the MBX to add the detail and with the Yanks crying foul of anything over US$1, it is a struggle.

          For £1.50, it’s not a bad one.

          • Agreed at that price it’s excellent.

            A bit random though, as “collectors” would want something better, while children would presumably want a model of something more current?

          • Though with recent price increases I’m not sure there are any UK retailers left selling them at £1.50. Even Poundland now charge £2 for Matchbox.

    • Umm, not sure you are looking at thee same models as I am, you clearly do not retail diecast/Resin models so have no idea on pricing, I have sold a significant number of the Metro models for £189.99, you completely fail in your £145.04, postage is extra, AND IT COMES FROM ITALY, so at LEAST another 25% on top, and do not ever buy anything direct from the brand Keith, you will be paying way more than necessary, I never charge RRP, and all my models from 1/43 upwards include postage, and I am frequently the cheapest on eBay, I make sure of it. Now the MG Metro is out, and not as a pre-order, prices can come down a little more. The XJR is a beautiful model, and no the lights are not body coloured at all, I have that, and many other models from that brand, and all are amazingly accurate for their price point. It has a little inaccuracy in the thickness of the window surrounds, but at that size, it is seriously difficult to get then thinner.

      As for the Matchbox, what do you expect for a couple of quid, it is very well re-produced, as are all Matchbox these days, but they have to work to a price, and to be honest for what it is, it is not back at all. Junk definitely not, far from it.

      These Jags have been a massive success for MBX, to find one in the shops in the first case, has been impossible, the scalpers have been out and about and cleared the shelves, with only two per box in the first release and one per box in the second release, getting one will be very hard, I only have two myself, and I am a retailer.

      What Keith has not said, is that CULT also have made, the Austin princess, Austin Maxi, Mini 1275 GT, Austin 1100, MK II Austin Healey Sprite, Austin Healey 100S, Jag XJ40, Jag XK120, E-type Low Drag Coupe, XK150 -S, XJ SIII, E-Type SII, 2.4 MKI, XJR X300, 1965 S-Type, XJ-SC, 1990 XJ-R, XK120 FHC, Mini 850 Pick-Up, Mini Clubman Estate, Austin Mini Cooper MKI, Mini 1275GT, Mini Moke, ’53 MG TD, MG B GT V8, Range Rover Classic Vogue, Triumph Dolomite Sprint, Triumph Vitesse DHC, Triumph TR5 P.I., Triumph TR7 DHC, Triumph Spitfire MKII, Triumph TR7 Coupe, Triumph Stag, Triumph 2500 P.I., Rover 3500 P6b, Rover 3500 SD1, Rover P5B Saloon, Rover 3500 Vitesse, Rover 3500 SD1 vanden Plas, A large number of Land Rovers and Morris models as well, all of which come in a number of colours, and 96% of them are sold out and very limited, some as low as 100 only, like the MG Metro models these are low production runs.

      Prices are not expensive for what you get, which is resin based, hand assembled and very very low run models, but then we all have a different idea of what is class and what is not. I personally have about 30 CULT models in my collection, with the latest being the Maxi and one of each of the MG Metro.

      Another model that Keith has not mentioned here, is the OTTO MG ZR, another great model again at a high price point, but again a nice model, I have one of those as well. CULT like to concentrate heavily on UK produced cars, and ones that maybe have not stood the test of time, either reliability wise, or reputation wise, another new one is the Aston Martin Lagonda Wedge, and I am looking forward to adding that to my collection.

  2. Though with recent price increases I’m not sure there are any UK retailers left selling them at £1.50. Even Poundland now charge £2 for Matchbox.

    • Aldi were selling multi blisterpacks of 4 for £4 recently, so I think there maybe some retailers doing below £2. Be true full back in the late 70s early 80s, Matchbox was the dearest of the major manufacturers, followed closely behind by Corgi and then a lot cheaper being Majorette, if you could find them. Luckily as a small child we had a shop in Westcliff which had a rather nice carousel display stand and I had nearly everyone in my 1979 catalogue, which unlike the cars (which my cousin actually still has now located Canada!), I still have even if it is a bot dog eared.

      • Ah, the good old days………it’s a real shame that Mattel simply don’t produce the catalogues anymore – they were awesome.

        Have a look at matchbox1-75.com , the site catalogues as best possible all the 1-100 and older ranges.

        • Oh yep been there already. Catalogues were great. When I did my work experience back in Beatties back in the day, we had to ration them out as you would only get a small box of them. I can remember flicking through the Matchbox Dinky one and wondering why I hadn’t seen some of those models in store. The manager told me that they only bought the models they thought would sell, and to this day there are still some of those models I have not actually seen at any model fare or antique shop.

    • You can still get them at £1.50 – in places…………but £2 is more realistic (just don’t mention that price to the Yanks as they get very funny over anything that is over US$1!)

    • Correct Craig, I am seeing £2.10 in tesco at the moment, and nothing is selling, prices are getting stupid, when you consider the same model in the USA is less than half the price is here, mind you you are getting them at less than £1.50……LOL

  3. Keith – You’ve missed my points. My 1st point was – why is a black MG Metro Turbo more expensive than a red one from the same manufacturer. What is the difference other than paint colour.

    The other 2 are just badly modelled. The XJ6 isn’t accurate, and the C is just cheap and nasty. It is hardly even recognisable.

    It’s a child’s toy that wouldn’t last 5 minutes. If that is it’s purpose, then fine, it doesn’t need to be accurate, but it has no place being discussed on a site where people are interested in detail, accuracy and quality.

    • Lucy –

      Re: Metro – that is the RRP for the black one – retailers on ebay or otherwise are free to set their own prices…..

      Re: 2x Jags –

      X300 is a collector’s model in 1:64 – I think it holds up well – if you can provide a reference model that is perfect in every detail at this scale level, let me know I would be delighted to see them –

      The XJ6-C is indeed a kids toy, but for £1.50 – £2, what more do you want? MBX still holds a huge part of nostalgia for many remembering back the the Lesney days (I make a bold assumption that you missed out on the 1-75 series when you were a wee one), so this is a hint of that throwback. I can assure you – and I have seem it with my very own eyes – the models can take a real hammering – I have seen them be submerged in the swimming pool, buried in the back garden in 1ft of soil, covered in sand and “jumped” from heights, landing on hard concrete – and still functions (although it would need to see a panel beater). Please let me know what 1:65 scale brand tickles your fancy and we can see if we can get a review in for a future month. Criteria should be readily available, accuracy of scale and price point as well – feel free to drop me a PM.

      • Well said Keith 😉
        And as we both know every new Matchbox and Hot Wheels come with a “Lifetime Guarantee”.

    • They are not different prices, the RRP for all three is the same £206.99, trade prices are whatever they are, so retailers or individuals can sell them for whatever they like, I sold them for £189.99 including postage and packing, some are selling for the RRP, some more, some less, greed gets some people, some may have a few of a specific colour and less of another, so try to generate sales to clear them out.

      The XJR is accurate, except for the thick window surrounds, a downside of small models, the model is made from CAD, using scanning of the actual model, and then decreased to 1/64, this is how they all do it today, which is why things ARE accurate, some minor details are enhanced as it would be impossible to replicate one tenth of a mm thick line around the windows.

      5 minutes, I am not sure what you do with them to last only five minutes, but Matchbox are the ONLY brand in the world that offers a lifetime guarantee on the model, so if it breaks they will replace, no questions asked, you say this model has no place being mentioned here, because of “detail, accuracy and quality” some of which were NEVER part of the actual cars in the first instance, and why should they not be mentioned, they are a model of a car from a brand that is what this site is all about, you do not like that is totally clear, but to state they have not place on this site, is NOT for you to dictate, there are people out there that would love to get their hands on these models, so for them to be showcased here, is a good idea and a great choice of models has been listed so far.

    • “…but it has no place being discussed on a site….”

      In your opinion.

      If you don’t like it, move on. It’s not for you to dictate what should or should not be discussed.

  4. Regarding the MBX – some posters need to remember that this is a toy, and not a replica model. It’s to be played with, not put in a display cabinet. For Mattel, and more importantly for £1.50 it’s pretty good. I’ve not long sold off my remaining Corgi models – their XJ-C model wasn’t particularly accurate either…..and the reissued ‘Saint’ XJS wasn’t even painted correctly…….

    • Simon, thanks for your comments –

      It will be interesting to see if Corgi Model Club will properly re-introduce the Saint’s XJ-S……..they have a lot on at the moment with the future releases.

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