You will, of course, remember Egidio Reali's LookSmart and MR Collection models played a huge role in our recent Lamborghini Retrospective feature here on Toy Collector, so we were very pleased to be able to grab the chance to have a conversation with Egidio himself on the LookSmart and MR Collection stand at the Nuremberg Toy Fair this year.
LookSmart is in the enviable position of being "official" modelmaker to Lamborghini, Bugatti and numerous other high-end car makers - when you order a new one of these cars in 1:1, two months before your car arrives you'll receive an exact LookSmart model of it, incorporating all the options and colours you've specified. In addition, the company has exclusive rights to model all the Audi concept cars in 1/43 (Audi even lent Egidio the A1 Sportback concept to display on the LookSmart stand).
Egidio Reali with the Audi A1 Sportback - and LookSmart's model of the car.
And if all that wasn't enough, Egidio also developed and designs the Elite range of high-detail 1/18 scale models for Mattel, after they invited him to become involved with their plans to create a high-end range.
We asked him how he got started in the model car business:
"I started at university to study law in 1982," he told us. "And I assembled model cars for people for a job - people would ask me if I could put together a model for them and I would. It was an easy job to do because I could fit it around my studies, I could do it at home late at night and it would cover the costs of my university course. Soon I realised I could make more money from this, so I opened my own company making handbuilt models and it grew from there."
LookSmart Ferraris on display at Nuremberg.
Egidio also told us how he pioneered the use of resin in model car manufacture: "Eight or nine years ago, I went to China to find a factory to use, saying that I wanted them to cast models in resin, and I had to work so hard to convince them. Now, everyone is doing it there. All the model companies are making model cars from resin."
MR Collection Lamborghinis in another of Egidio's Nuremberg display cabinets
And it looks like that pioneering spirit will ensure MR Collection, LookSmart and Elite will continue to be successful for a long time to come.