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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Motormax 1:24 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata



Man, this summer's been filled with lots of large scale convertibles lately: S2000, Ford Mustang Cobra, BMW Z3 M Roadster, 40th Anniversary Corvette, and now another Mazda Miata.  After being impressed with the new 2015 MX-5 Miata from Hot Wheels and Matchbox, I also brought in a few other Miata's that I kept to show the transition over the years.  One of them was a green one from Motormax that has excellent details despite looking a bit plain and having a warped upper windshield header.  What I never predicted is that I would own the larger 1:24 scale version in the same color.  Now I pondered this casting from time-to-time inspired by the details but unsure about having another Miata to the collection, especially since I'm not a fan of the 1st generation's rounded styling.  Then this dark green/tan interior beauty appeared and I had to have it!





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Motormax is not a company known for excellent detailing or quality: it's a budget diecast model for those who cannot afford the highly detailed, but pricey premium versions or who wants a younger generation to start their love affair with cars.  Most recently Motormax's quality has gone downhill to the point with fewer opening parts, more plastic than metal, and fewer details.  (Like how can a nice 1:18 2015 Ford Explorer lack opening front hood and liftgate???)  The earlier Motormax, or Redbox, castings of the 1990's were the best with more opening parts, a bit more metal, and pretty good details for the price point.  I had quite a few Motormax 1:24 castings that I have yet to share that I like, and including the 1987 Buick Regal T-type and 1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee that I reviewed here earlier this year.  The Miata is another one.  This dark green was offered twice as limited production models in the first-generation Miata: once as the 1991 British Racing Green to celebrate the U.K.'s introduction of the Miata sales and in 1996 for the M edition.  A few details here and there point to this casting being based on the 1991 model.





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The rounded look is clearly there on a car that looks smaller than it is in scale.  The front and rear bumpers are plastic and separate from the body: they look uniform in this darker color, but the gaps between body and bumper do show.  The front has concealed pop-up headlights, detailed signal lights and side marker lights, Mazda logo, and lower grille with visible silver radiator pan.  The hood has the correct hood bulge, though the hood does not close flush.  The sides have a strong windshield design, side windows on the doors right next to the exterior mirrors and the chrome door handles.  I added details to the side marker lights, while the 6-spoke wheels are correct even though the treads are a bit deep and the wheels roll very poorly (they don't feel as smooth as a typical 1:24 wheel should roll).  The rear has round taillights with two lighter dots for the signal and reverse lamps; I added silver to the reverse lamps to differentiate the colors.  The MX5 Miata plate is in blue, while the exhaust tip stands out of the bumper and even more in silver.







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Nothing sets a fine dark green car like a tan interior, and this Miata doesn't disappoint.  What does is the lack of color separation that is commonly found in lighter-colored interiors: there is always a touch of darker color, mostly black, in some areas with the dashboard the most common to cut down on windshield glare from the dashboard.  After researching the actual tan interior colors I added black to the correct areas of the interior, along with silver on the pedals.  Now it looks even better!  The front seats are buckets that need a back rest to cover the hollow insides visible from the back, a convertible boot in black to conceal the top, a small storage area inbetween, and a trunk that opens up to reveal a full-size spare tire: I tried to add full details to the spare but the confined space in the area prevented me from doing a finished job.  The door panels are detailed and I added black to the speakers and the door handles.  Speaking of speakers there are additional ones located in the headrests as well on the actual car.  The center console was painted black to match the center stack and houses the shifter and parking brake, both not properly seated on my tester with the shifter sticking up and the parking brake rattling around in its seat.  The dashboard looks nice with the black and tan accents that features three-spoke airbag-less steering wheel, detailed gauges, pedals that stand out with silver accents, and center stack with radio and HVAC controls.  It's very simple as this car is more fun to drive on the road than just inside the cockpit alone.





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The hood opens up to reveal the 2.0L DOHC I-4 and 5-speed manual combo.  The engine bay is nicely done despite being an engine pan, but painting it all-silver seems like an afterthought.  Then again after researching photo's of the engine bay and adding the detailing it occurred to me that there is more silver in the engine bay than what I originally thought.  The engine is in the center with the large valve cover, detailed hoses, belts, and fluid resovoirs throughout the engine bay, and an airbox that enters the left and crosses over to the right to the large intake manifold.  The base underneath does not show much depth, either, but like the engine bay just add enough color to make the details stand out.  I detailed the front subframe with lower wishbone control arms that sit above a detailed lower oil pan, drive belts, and radiator fan shrouds.  Then the transmission and exhaust system is detailed in the middle, leading to the rear with the detailed lower control arms, half-shafts and differential, gas tank, and the muffler exiting out to the single exhaust tip.







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Is it one of the best Motormax castings?  Well, not really as there's a few blemishes here and there that need improvement, but otherwise it's very nicely done for the scale and price point with more opening features and details that not even today's modern 1:24 Motormax castings can match.  Plus, this Miata looks killer in British Racing Green with a Tan interior!






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