Scalex £20-£30 (inc Sport)
Fly £32-£46 (some much more
Pink Kar £27-£29
What I mean is that those in the top list are makers who not only offer great value, but coincidentally or not, are also makers from who (whom?) I'd buy a car even if it wasn't an especially fond favourite. For example, I bought the Scalextric Corvette because I knew I had no worries about it being a good driver, but I haven't bought the Proteus Lambo because I'm not that mad on it and it's that bit more money.
Yes, I think SCX are very good value for money, as are Ninco but not for the same reasons. Nothing is absolute of course, but here's a quick guide to the way my mind was working, including a few others so far overlooked.
SCX - Good strong reliable cars with good decoration, good performance without the magnets. Usually make interesting mainstream cars plus have a sense of fun and history (rally pit crews and classic re-issues) and great value.
MRRC - The Cobra and the Chappy were a quite amazing mix of scale detail, nostalgia, unusual cars (in pre-Cobra ubiquity days of a few years back), great finish (I went wow - literally when I first held a Blue Cobra in my hand) and not too expensive. New Toyota hopefully a sign they'll stick to making nice models of unusual cars at good prices.
Scalextric - Okay they never quite get the shape 100% right, but hard to knock recent releases. High on-track (domestic) ability, highest level of decoration and round wheels, which is, if the failure of most other makers is to be accepted, close to building a moon rocket in engineering terms. Again, all at a good price.
Ninco - Best out of the box handling cars bar none. Shapes usually okay if a bit fat (for better handling). Only criticism is the paint finish is a bit thin and watered down next to a Fly or Hornby car. Classics lovely and fun, GTs great goers, F1 cars with steering and those karts are unique and fun - all at almost SCX low level prices.
Fly - Right, they can be buggers to make go smoothly sometimes, but the finish is always highest quality, the detail ever increasing, but sadly so is the cost. Okay the GT40 shows signs of a troubled gestation, but what about the Lola? Classics unmissable for any 40 something Le Mans fan and irrespective of anything else they made all those 917s. In sort, the passion and enthusiasm of the owner is evident in both the choice of cars modelled and in the lack of clinical attention to detail. Flawed genius.
Okay, now for those I'd need to want the car to buy from...
Carrera - until six months ago I'd never even consider buying a Carrera car. Now I've got several and keenly looking forwards to more. Why? Well, they go a lot better, they look a lot better and they aren't too expensive. Not hard really, makes me wonder why they took so long to catch on. Amazing the same company can have produced the Sauber and the Ferrari. Only in the bottom list as the track performance still not as good as those up there.
Pink Kar - Generally you have to say a pit patchy. GTO nice with work, 2CV bloody awful. I'm grateful for the chance to own a Bugatti for less than £1000 the originals went for, but would be nice if the guide system worked. I have only two, GTO and Beetle.
Slot.It - I don't especially like the Audi so have managed to hold back. All reports suggest great track cars and I'm looking forward to buying more than a few 956s and moving them up to the top list.
Spirit - Illegitimate offspring of Fly? If so it hasn't inherited the parent's ability to capture shape and high paint finish, but unusual cars. Perverse logic since I didn't buy a Slot It Audi, but the Lola isn't that much of a favourite either but I bought it to see what new maker was like. A bit disappointed to be honest. Hope for better in future, but will only dip my toe back in for a car I like and can't get elsewhere.
Proteus - Thought about buying a discounted Perugua or whatever it was called, but price never got low enough. For some reason can't get my head around road slot cars. Odd since I'm happy to buy road die casts. Must something about movement/racing. Wish them no harm, but they just haven't invaded my airspace sufficiently far enough to warrant launching a 'buy it ' missile. Make a JGTC Supra and all my money will be theirs.
VMG - Funny how quickly you can catch bad habits, isn't it? The fourth VMG I bought was no better than the first, but it took me those four purchases to wonder if there might be a fifth. Had thought the BRM would be it, but not if recent pics are anything to go by. As the other off-spring of Fly you can see the family genes in the pricing, ability to capture a shape and fine finish. Diff also interesting (and on my cars so far reliable) but obviously left home without the micrometer. Shameful that such nicely shaped cars have out of scale drivers/wheels. Lotus 72 should be pay dirt for them, but won't be an automatic purchase for me.
ReproTec - Pure nostalgia means re-issues of old, long unavailable classics are going to be attractive, but at what price? Cotches Miticos gave me an SL plus four magazines for less than they want for theirs. The 911 is a great handling classic, but not at Fly prices. Methinks they looked down from eBay pricing rather than up from SCX, which is what they are after all. In short, great idea and bad value. Wait for discounts for all but essentials such as Abarth 500s.
Team Slot - Only got two - Lancia Delta and Matra. Delta fast as a SCX so willing to put up with finish, but the Metro 6R4? For blind enthusiasts only - literally.