REVIEW: Bburago Signature Ferrari 488 GTB • Diecastsociety.com

REVIEW: Bburago Signature Ferrari 488 GTB

Ever since the departure of the Hot Wheels Elite alliance with the Ferrari marque, there has been a gap in the industry for collectors on the whole for any recent Ferrari cars.   That is unless you wanted to play with the big boys and enter the $400 plus threshold of model car collecting, which isn’t an option for most.  With costs constantly on the rise, where are collectors to go to satisfy the hunger for modern Ferrari replicas?  Enter Bbrurago, their first pieces under the Race & Play series brought hope, but overall execution – while good – did not provide nearly enough detail to match the predecessor assortment of Hot Wheels Elite.  The Bburago Signature is the answer.  The first couple of releases, which included the Ferrari California T and Ferrari 458 Speciale, were definitely strides in the right direction.  The model presented today is the latest in the Bburago Signature series, the Ferrari 488 GTB!

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Let’s start with the box of the Signature line.  I personally love it!  It’s loud (red), gets you excited for what is potentially inside!  Exterior features graphics, logos, and proverbial copyright banter.  Internal styrofoam shell elevates the look and feel from the Race & Play series, while providing the required model protection us collectors appreciate.  Bburago also supplies a tool to help access the various opening elements on the model.  Enough on the packaging, let’s move on to the model itself.

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Upon opening the box, the first thing that strikes you is the deep, dark red paint.  You Ferrari fanatics can confirm the official “Ferrari” red label. Overall the paint work is very good and consistent throughout. You can also see from the exterior shots, panel gaps and shutlines are very well executed indeed.  Also note the full window (left and right) on the Signature 488 GTB, something that fans of Hot Wheels Elite never saw, and an upgrade from their Race & Play series.

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Something I thought was cool was the 3D door handle.  It actually has enough meat for you to use to open the doors.  Note the black painted intake in the rear, an upgrade over the Race & Play version.

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Moving to the front of the 488 GTB the lower cooling grilles are solid plastic pieces.  Definitely an improvement is required to bring the model into Hot Wheels Elite territory.  Headlight detail is average at best.  I like the fact Bburago captured the two black fins/pieces at the front section of the hood.  Fit and finish is excellent!

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Opening the front storage is where the “old” Bburago makes its mark with the new.  The massive hinges, though they work well, take away from the overall authenticity of the replica.  Hopefully future models can address this with possible strut supports to aid in the operation.  Also there is no carpeting; a simple, somewhat textured plastic is used.

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The rear section has no perforated bits either, solid textured pieces that are definitely underwhelming.  Taillight detail is above average.  Ferrari logos are photo-etched top and rear.

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The heart of the beast, as with most Ferraris, is found in the rear.  The hatch is accessible, no struts are aiding the open and close operation, just two simple hinges.  One thing I hate on the particular model is the cooling vents on each side of the hatch. They aren’t metal, but plastic molded pieces.  Grille graphic is added to the plastic to give it the perforated look.  If that wasn’t bad enough, each side has a very rough finish, sharp enough to make any Italian mamma proud as she can cut slices of Provolone cheese for family brunch!

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The motor isn’t too bad at all, I’m somewhat impressed with the overall execution.  The Signature excels over the Race & Play by painting the lower section of the motor block red.  Other than this, I believe the two pieces are identical.  In my opinion, the 488 GTB still falls short of a Hot Wheels Elite, but they aren’t that far off.

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You may have noticed the absence of the black wheels.  I opted to swap them out for the silver, they are the standard wheels on the Race & Play series.  The modification is very easy to complete and totally transforms the look of the car.  The ride height is good, to have it maybe a little lower in the rear would have been nice.  The 488 GTB is completed with a full spring loaded suspension.  The “old” Bburago makes an appearance here too.  The simply steering engineering and suspension tech add to the lazy camber seen in some models.

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The wheel and tire package is very good overall.  Paint/finish could be slightly better.  I also believe the size of the rear caliper is out of scale, slightly too big.  Is there room for improvement?  Absolutely.

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The interior of the 488 GTB is likely the weakest link.  It is definitely an improvement over the entry Race & Play due to the added paint work.  Access to the interior is tough; opening the doors does require some finesse from the end user.  And when finally open the swing distance is minimal at best.  Bburago’s dated engineering of the hinges definitely is at play here.  Add the cheap look of material and textures and the interior just falls short.  I will say the team is heading in the right direction, and is leaps ahead of any older Bburago products.

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The Bburago Signature Ferrari 488 GTB packs a lot of punch for a model costing around $80CND.  The model is nowhere near perfect, though with time I’m sure the gap can be closed.  My hope is the team listens to my criticisms and continues to improve on quality and execution.  At the end of the day I want them to succeed!  They need to become my Hot Wheels Elite!  If that requires for us to pay a little more to get to those levels, I for one am willing to do so.  Folks, don’t shy away from this one, a true bargain in a sea of resin and high priced models in our modern era of collecting.  You’ll definitely see this one on the DiecastSociety.com 2016 Model of the Year candidate list.  Enjoy the pics!

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14 Responses to "REVIEW: Bburago Signature Ferrari 488 GTB"

  1. Roberto says:

    Havent’t bought a model Ferrari in years, this type of quality wont change that. i cant help but think that the market could handle a $100 model with perforated grilles, carpeting and better engine detailing. Also would love to see the Blue GTB spider from the ads.

  2. Atalante says:

    Definitely a good step in the right direction to eventually replace HWE that is truly missed. But for now that 488 with front hood “fangs”, lack of color choices (forcing collectors to buy a R&P just to swap the wheels…) and the lack of details like perforated grilles and interior… can’t see this model as the Model Of The Year. But certainly in a new category “bargain model of the year”

  3. Daniel says:

    There is a gap in the market for sure! Exactly where AutoArt where before they went to composite! The first company to fill that are sure to be successful!
    Where Burago are with this won’t be where the money burning a hole in my pocket will end up!

  4. George K says:

    Still just a toy.

  5. I think that with a little bit off skill you can turn this in a better model, I have seen it on forums people how turn it in a better model wit Mesh and a little bit of paint.

  6. JD says:

    @George K: of cos it is still just a toy considering the fact that all the scale car models we collect regardless of retail value are just toys in a manner of speaking

  7. Jase G says:

    First off….EXCELLENT review. I can totally appreciate Bburago/Maisto efforts to step up there game. That being said, just as others have stated, while the efforts are a good steps forward but for me, I just dont see these models as great or a MAJOR improvement over their standard line models if I’m being honest. I’d rather buy the R&P versions…..outside of the possible addition of some P.E badging & side windows, I feel that the attention to detail on the Signature/Exclusive line models from Bburago/Maisto is lacking (perfect example is the red on the seats in the pics above; doesnt appear to be carefully applied IMO – I also dont think the painting process of the outside is any better than their standard models….in my eyes, the finish is still far too thick and ends up completely obscuring many of the details of the body-look at the gap lines in the pic of the front bumper/body/rectangular part below the headlights) I also think that what they call “flocking” is a pretty shallow attempt. I noticed many of the same “flaws” on my Maisto Exclusive 50th anniv. Mustang. The Bburago Signature La Ferrari was slightly better (matte paint is nowhere near as thick….and interior being one shade of course negates some of the flaws) but when I bought the $13.98 reboxed Maisto version from sam’s club, I soon realized that outside of P.E emblems, and few brush strokes of extra detail paint here and there (engine bay and interior), there was very little difference between the models. In my eyes, Bburago and Maisto need to implement better Q.C & execute much sharper attention to detail if this line of models is to become really good.
    In the end, unless the “version” of the model is completely different than a standard release Bburago/Maisto (50th anniv. Mustang Vs. the standard issue Mustang GT) I can build a MUCH nicer version of all their models with a little elbow grease (plenty of P.E badges, flocking, and paint out there to detail out a R&P model) and still come in under the price of these Signature and Exclusive line models.

    great effort Bburago/Maisto….but you have A LONG way to go in my eyes!

    • DS Team says:

      “great effort Bburago/Maisto….but you have A LONG way to go in my eyes!”

      I absolutely agree, they definitely have work to do. The gap between R&P and Signature needs to grow, Signature should be miles ahead. I hope they implement this sooner rather than later. Though I fear is will go on to deaf ears…

      • Atalante says:

        I guess it won’t happen. These models are competively priced because they are designed to be produced in high volume. They need to be standardized as much as possible so besides relatively minor cosmetic changes the gap between R&P and Signature will remain steady. Now we have to hope that R&P improves so the overall Maisto/Burago brand improves. The 1 million dollar question is who will be able to close the gap between budget and high end diecast models.

  8. I guess I have to say I’m glad for whatever company continues doing diecast in this era of resin and composite. I’m grateful for Burago’s efforts to improve product , but it is my fear that they will only improve to the level of Maisto which regardless of the names given to indicate the leap in detail and quality have not even come to the level of Elite, which itself is just now achieving a degree of consistency. They’re bringing the use use of photo etch,separate instruments on the dashboard jnstead of decal plates and more detail under the hood to site a few of these improvements ! I am however still disappointed as I watch these minimal efforts of the industry who seem not to realize the hordes of diecast faithful whose money will be spent more and more in the secondary market while spates of new companies making resin(and not cheaply ) spring up and the greats of diecast like Autoart, and others are drifting in that direction as well…….As a collector the appeal of miniatures for me has always been that there are working aspects of these models that I could pose and change and see them in different ways. I guess I realize that I’ve taken the discussion a little off topic, but to sum it up , the point I’m making is that I wish that the Diecast industry would remember the growth spurt it had from around 2005 to around 2012 when Hwy 61, Sunstar Platinum, of course HW Elite,and Kyosho were at every opportunity advancing the technical growth of models with more and more complexities and working features People were even parting with cash for hi end CMC ,Exoto,and Marques like Bauer BECAUSE their imaginations were stimulated by those models. Mine was !!…….Finally I want to thank you for the time and effort you’ve taken to write these detailed reviews and descriptions. They do keep me informed and let me know what’s in the marketplace and what direction’s they are taking.

  9. I Find it quote good looping with everything closed

  10. robert drexler says:

    I like them to be a few notches above hot-wheels elite model. The hotwheels elite models where fragile, alignment problems, closed grills that where very obvious. It will be at least be 3 or 4 years before I buy a Bburago. Assuming they plan to improve.

  11. Nick Peacock says:

    I started out collecting bburago models and latterly maisto. They brought me great joy at the time. However with the passage of time my standards raised, and as much as it shames me, I became a bit of a diecast snob. I adore cmc, and if I had deep enough pockets I would happily buy every model that they release, unfortunately I don’t. I have been a huge fan of autoart, but their switch to composite, without a corresponding price reduction has left me cold. Resin, without opening features is of no interest to me whatsoever. Minichamps have apparently completely abandoned their commitment to producing quality models, and kyosho seem to be heading in the same direction. Perhaps in these days of diminishing quality we faithful collectors need to find a new champion. I can’t claim to be overwhelmed by bburago’s signature collection, but I do think it’s a move in the right direction, and they deserve every commendation for their efforts. I honestly hope that they continue to improve, and represent a genuine alternative to the overpriced mediocre offerings that are being pushed to us by the established so-called quality manufacturers.

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