I've had surprisingly good luck buying diecast models from my local BigLots! bargain store. Granted, I've only bought two, but when they do get something good in, it's a heck of a deal. I've seen Hot Wheels, Revell, Bburago, Yat Ming Road Signature and Sun Star 1:18 models there over the years, all at deeply discounted prices. This 1999 Jaguar S-Type 4.0 Sport by Welly wasn't too shabby for $12.99. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about the Welly brand, only that I had to choose between the British Racing Green Jag and a black Volkswagen Passat. I have no regrets as to which one I picked.
From what I've seen, Welly is a decent budget model brand based in China. I have a few of their models and haven't been disappointed by their quality, especially since I haven't paid more than $20 for any of them. The Jaguar is at least on par with Maisto, which might have something to do with the fact Maisto also makes an S-Type. Perhaps the two companies use the same tooling? It's not unheard of in the industry for one company to sell or license their tooling to another. Welly and Motor Max have been doing it for years. Case in point: the Motor Max Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor is an old Auto Art casting, so you get near-Auto Art quality and detail for under $30. Not bad at all.
Once you pop the hood, you may be disappointed. The 4.0 liter V8 is rendered with about as little detail as Welly could get away with. Most of it looks like one shaped piece that incorporates the engine cover, air intake, shock towers, battery, radiator shroud and even the cowl and windshield wipers. Below that is a thin wafer of grey plastic shaped into all the spark plug wires and other hoses, and below those is a vague black square of plastic that serves as the engine block. Clever cost-cutting or just lazy?
I don't regret adding this car to my collection. It was my first four-door car model (aside from the Hummer H1) and it got me interested in collecting sedans and other mundane, everyday cars. It's clearly not a high-end model, and it doesn't pretend to be. What I like about it is that somewhere, some youngster is pushing a car just like mine across his living room carpet, making vroom-vroom noises and pretending he's just like his daddy who drives a real version of that same car. Exotics are wonderful, but some of us like the down-to-Earth cars, too.