Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Collector's Corner - Bburago 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10

When I was a kid, I loved the Dodge Viper RT/10. It was a perfect car for a bedroom wall poster, especially in red. And Bburago knew exactly what they were doing when they churned out thousands of 1:18 scale red Vipers to meet the demand of children who thought the V10 truck-engined sports roadster was the awesomest thing ever. Bburago is known for its budget diecasts, which offer Maisto quality and detail while being designed to be treated as toys. The cars are pretty durable. The fact that this one survived my youth with as few paint chips as it did is a testament to Bburago build quality. I figured out at a young age how to pop out the interior door panels, pull the doors off and remove the black roll bar trim. The only things that ever broke were the sun visors and one of the seatbacks.

The Viper is surprisingly simple in its detailing. The body doesn't have very much ornamentation and what few badges exist are molded into the panels or are stickers. The turn signals are stickers, the gauges are stickers, and the Simpson brand name on the racing harnesses is a sticker, too. The instrument panel looks especially cheap. Still, everything opens from the hood to the trunk, even though the trunk holds nothing interesting and doesn't stay open without help. Panel gap is on par with a $20 model aimed at kids. There aren't a lot of really fragile, tiny parts and no sharp edges. Engine detail is basic but recognizeable as the 8.0 liter V10. My biggest pet peeve is the crooked rear license plate sticker. I know it's a cheap, glorified toy but that's just lazy.

The model photographs pretty well from most angles and looks decent enough for beginning collectors who can't afford Auto Art pricing or want to collect older diecasts. It appears to be the only first-generation Viper roadster on the market in 1:18 scale (Maisto did a GTS coupe and GTS-R/GT2 race version). Bburago Vipers were made in red, black and yellow, with or without contrasting racing stripes. And amazingly enough, it was made in Italy. It's very rare nowadays to find a display model not molded, screwed or glued together in China. Now that Bburago is part of the May Cheong (Maisto) empire, their models are produced exclusively in Asia and a number of castings are interchangeable between the Bburago and Maisto brands.

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