1:18 Model Review: Gallardo Superleggera by Maisto

A great model capturing the Gallardo with a stunning level of detail, but with some manufacturing defects.

I recently purchased a 1:18 model from Maisto of a 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. This model was to sit alongside my Huracan model and compare the two to see the evolution of Lamborghini’s design.

The Gallardo was the first V10 “baby Lambo,” and the Superleggera was the track-performance-on-the-street trim line. The Gallardo was the first Lamborghini whose design spoke to me as a young design student, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Lamborghini Gallardo in lime green
Photo by Valery via Adobe Stock

I wanted to share my impressions of the model in case you fellow Lamborghini enthusiasts were thinking of adding it to your collection.

Overall the model is great but not perfect. The designers at Maisto put together a nice piece, but some corners cut in manufacturing keep it from being one of the best models I have ever owned. I am happy with my purchase.

I am an industrial designer by day, so I can appreciate some of the hoops the manufacturer went through to make this model nice and other parts they cut corners to save money. Humbly, the factory did a much better job than I could have done if I had assembled this from a kitted box. My main issue is with the paint, but they still did a better job than I could have done.

The paint is thin. It should be a consistent orange all over, but it fades into an orange-grey in the nooks and crevices that the particles from the paint gun have a hard time getting into. The paint is especially thin around the rear air intakes on the Gallardo model.

There is only a slight amount of orange peel texture to the paint, which is excellent for a model like this. Minimizing orange peel is the benefit of having thin paint; a light layer of paint can be smooth without being polished.

Orange peel is a slightly bumpy texture to paint because of dust and electrostatic forces during the painting process. The texture can make the highlights and reflections in high gloss paint look less clear and glass-like unless it is polished out, as it is on premium cars like Lamborghinis.

I had a premium model of a Ferrari 360 Modena made by Hot Wheels in the early 2000s, which had excellent paint coverage, and the orange peel was polished out. It is possible to have it all.

There was a ding in the front bumper from out of the packaging. It looks like it happened before painting because it is painted over. The ding doesn’t ruin anything for me, but notable.

The panel gaps on the model are great overall. It gets a little thick around the frunk on my model, but I am being picky for this review.

The decals are all placed perfectly. There isn’t a single one I would say is out of place.

The Maisto designers and manufacturers did a great job texturing the black plastic to look like carbon fiber. The tiny square bumps look like a weave of carbon fibers under resin at a distance. I believe they used a chemical photo etching process in the plastic mold; whatever they did, they nailed it.

The detailing of the engine and the engine bay looks fantastic. The Lamborghini script logo on the valve covers in silver sells the look of the engine bay. It is interesting details on the bottom side with the oil pans with the ribs for cooling that you appreciate about a car through a model, unlike any other medium.

A strange detail that they completely missed was the tailpipes. The model has two tailpipes finished in chrome and draws attention to themselves. Odd, since the Gallardo Superleggera has four tailpipes plated in dark grey to blend into the diffuser. (The Gallardo is one of the only Lambos that is subtle with its tailpipes.) There is no hole in the middle of the tailpipes on the model, which is just weird. It would have been better to mold the tailpipes into the plastic representing the diffuser.

It’s just odd because clearly, the designers at Maisto had an attention to detail. There is a liner piece to the inside of the hood, which matches the real-world cars. It would be an easy way to save some money, so it shows they don’t want to cut corners.

The interior is well detailed with many decals, such as the crazy fine printing on the gauge cluster. It shows the race orientation of the Superleggera with the aggressive racing bucket seats.

The steering wheel turns the front wheels. We have come to expect this from diecast models, but I still find it a fun detail and so does my young son.

The exterior color paint just barely covering the metal on the interior is distracting. It’s tempting to go on there with a brush and some flat black paint. I understand the designers need that there for the hinging function of the door, but the orange in the middle of the black interior is jarring.

Another thing I would touch up with black paint is the heads of the screws for the suspension on the underside. Again, it takes you out of the experience to have these shiny Philips screw heads.

Those screws are there to assemble the moving suspension, which is a neat feature. I just wished they’d used different hardware or hit them with some paint.

The box and the base it comes with are cool if you like to keep those things. The box has the official license stickers, something your buddy’s models from Wish aren’t going to have. The base holds it on an interesting oblique angle.

In Summary

Maisto’s 1:18 Gallardo Superleggera is a perfectly acceptable model that you can be excited to add to your collection.

The model overall is a B+. You can tell they were striving to make it an A with attention to detail, even panel gaps, and the fascinating plastic textures.

But the model isn’t without its flaws introduced in the manufacturing process. You could display it, and no one without the keenest of eyes would notice, or you can go in with some model paint and fix some of these flaws.

Except for those weird tailpipes – not sure what happened there!