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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Copied Porsche 910... Did Playart copy Corgi, or vice versa?

It sounds patently obvious to say that diecast cars are models of real cars...  ...Yet it is not actually always true.  In some cases, they are actually models of OTHER model cars.

I've seen it with Maisto flagrantly (and poorly) copying Matchbox' Audi Quattro.  And in this post, I show a fascinating example of Playart copying Corgi's casting (although I suppose that there is a chance that Corgi copied Playart casing).

There are several companies who produced models of this car, the most well known of which is the (red) model by Lesney's Matchbox.  That one actually looks very different (particularly in size, its easily the largest of the five) from the other models.  I also have a Dynawheels model (in brown), a Zylmex model (in blue, #910), a Playart model (in blue) and a Corgi Junior/Husky model (in yellow - a "Rockets" version with extra speedy wheels/axles).  Missing from my photos is a Speedy model that I spent an hour fruitlessly tearing apart my Matchbox collection trying to find.  Regardless, the last four are very similar in appearance and size, particularly the final two.  And upon closer examination, it turns out that the final two are actually copies of each other, with similar casting lines, choice of detail, etc. Examining the base and especially the opening engine compartment shows a very similar choice of detail.

In fact, the only two questions are 1.  Who did the copying...   Was it the second tier Playart copying toy giant Corgi, or was it the greater scandal of Corgi cribbing a design from no-name Playart, and 2.  Why bother?  Could it really have been that much harder to create an "original copy" of the real car?

P.S.  I suppose that as long as I'm showing 5 distinct (or is it 4?) models, I should at least pick a winner...  Who modeled the 910 best? 

Although I'm a big Lesney Matchbox fan, its easy to assign the Matchbox in 5th place.  Its a little too big, and just looks different from the others. 

The next 4 are closer in comparison, all nice and worthwhile models in their own right, even though several come from brands that aren't typically collected. 

In fourth place I assign the Zylmex, while its very nice - it just doesn't have the opening back hatch or the quality wheels of its competitors. 

The final three are in almost a dead heat.  But the Corgi's stance/wheels sets the model a little too high, giving it a 3rd place finish. 

Between the final two, the DynaWheels is missing the opening hatch of the Playart (and the Corgi), but the metal roof gives it an advantage over the all plastic roof of the Corgi and PlayArt.  The wheels also are slightly nicer.  Overall, its enough to put the DynaWheels in first place, ahead of the Playart. 

And of course the biggest irony is that the copy-cat Playart took 2nd place, beating out the copied Corgi...!

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Tomica Premium - the next big thing in diecast!

Regular readers of my blog know that I am a big Tomica fan.  They also know that I am NOT a big Tomica Limited Vintage fan - models, while highly detailed, tend to be slightly smaller scale - enough so they don't merge well with basic Tomica models, and in my opinion are not worth the hefty price tags.

Enter Tomica Premium!

Over the last 2 months I purchased about 15-20 Tomica Premium cars, and am THRILLED with the scale, quality, detailing, etc.  Many have opening doors.  Rather than talking in depth about each model, I thought I'd just release a bunch of photos of my Premium collection. 

Note to readers, I was PARTICULARLY impressed by the Supra, the R32 Skyline (in 3 colors/slight model changes), the 300ZX, the S2000 and the 1970s Porsche 911.  The least favorites (though all are nice) are the Celica All-Trac (odd wheels and no opening doors), the Miura (the lift-up rear is cool - but the front end is a bit more bug-eyed than accurate), the FD (3rd gen) RX7 in blue (I just don't like the customized look) and the 2 WRXs. 

Note also that the FC (second gen) RX7 in white is a really nice model - but is technically part of the "Dream" collection, as is the 240SX/Silvia. 

Overall, I'm highly recommending this new series from Tomica.  Price points are pretty reasonable given the quality - expect to pay about $5-6 from an internet shop like HobbyLinkJapan (again - a strong recommendation for HLJ!).

Enjoy the pictures!

Note - the yellow/green 911 is a basic Hot Wheels - but it looks nice and is in scale - so I included it in the photo!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Siku Audi 5000 wagon (100 Avant)

Old Sikus are one of my favorite collecting passions.  I particularly like the ones from the '60s and '70s, since the '80s versions ran larger - more like 1/55 scale than 1/64 scale - and have oversize wheels/tires.  A few of those older Sikus are among the nicest models (commenting on the model itself - not necessarily the condition that that particular model might be in!) in my collections.  

However, when I came across this '80s Siku Audi 5000 wagon at the local flea market with a $1 or $2 price tag on it - I instantly snapped it up.  It's labeled as an Audi 100 Avant - but to those of us who grew up in the USA in the 1980s, we will always remember it as an Audi 5000.

The Audi 5000 was a favorite car of mine - a big square but still somehow aero - one of the first examples of the rounded square styling theme.  I especially liked the wagon versions of the 5000, though they were much rarer than the sedans.  So to find a beautifully detailed and modeled diecast 5000 - and a wagon! - was a delightful treat. 

Of course - as a late 80's Siku - it IS large - and it does have the large kind-of-ugly '80s Siku wheels on it.  I should have photographed it against a more known Matchbox or Hot Wheels model so the reader gets a sense of it being over-scale for 1/64.  On the other hand, the 5000 being a large car in real life allows me to feel like the large size of the model is not TOO large. 

Overall, a fun car.  The tailgate opens up nicely.  The detail is reasonable (what I'd expect from a mid-80s Siku).  The car has a satisfying heft to it.   The only real downsides are the unexciting taupe paint color (certainly not helped by it no longer being shiny) and the previously mentioned scale. 

This particular version is not at all mint - but still very presentable.  Not my favorite Siku, but far from my least favorite.  A great addition to the collection!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rare Flea Market Find: Mini Dinky Cadillac Coupe De Ville!

Mini Dinky is a curious brand of toy cars.  An offshoot of the market leading Dinky Toys, but with cars made in 1/64th Matchbox size.  I wasn't even aware of the brand until I bought a set of cars containing one...  And even now, in my entire 7,000+ diecast collection, that one car is the only passenger Mini Dinky car that I have - the white '65-ish Ford Mustang.  For years I've been periodically scouring EBay for Mini Dinky diecast cars (made difficult since searching for Mini Dinky invariable returns normal Dinky scale models of a Morris Mini...) with very little success.  Those that I do occasionally find have obnoxious price tags on them. 
(Note that I DO have the nice yellow Mini Dinky construction toy set (road grader, etc.), which while still rare are more readily available on EBay).  
But today I ran across this model at the flea market and scooped it up.  It's an early '60s Coupe De Ville, with opening hood and trunk, in a scale that is close to true 1/64th scale, meaning that the car is a smidge longer than a typical Lesney Matchbox, such that it is slightly too long to fit into a standard Matchbox carry case.  Given the length of an actual Coupe de Ville, the longer-than-normal length of the Mini Dinky seems very appropriate (though perhaps still a tad short).
The detail is excellent, with a beautifully detailed old-school metal grill, nicely detailed rear end with long and narrow tail lights, and a detailed baseplate.  
As is typical of a toy from this era, both baseplate and body are made of sturdy metal.  The wheels have a high quality rubberized feel to them, gripping reasonably on a hard surface.  
My particular model is in good/great but not mint condition.  While nothing is broken or missing, it is a bit dirty, with non-lustrous and scraped-up paint.  
Overall, a very valued find for me and a worthy addition to the collection.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A slightly uncommon car.... Corgi Junior Porsche 917

I like featuring unique and unusual cars/pieces from my collection on this blog.  Sometimes they are extremely rare.  Sometimes just something different from the ordinary.  And sometimes they are ordinary pieces after all, but ones that I like a lot.  

Some would say that there is nothing overly special about this car, a beat-up model of a mighty Porsche 917 race car, modeled by Corgi Junior.  But Corgi Juniors are already somewhat rare models, and this model has a nice feel to it.  

One of the things I like most about it is its size...   It is big and imposing taking up every millimeter of a standard slot in a Matchbox collector case.  Hot Wheels did an excellent 917 as one of the earlier entries in their Adult Collectible series (sold as part of the 4 piece Porsche set in the late '90s), but while that model had great realism / detail and an opening back, it always struck me as being a little small.  In contrast, this Corgi is imposing, scaring other race cars right off the starting grid.  
In other comments, I wouldn't have minded a more race-car-oriented paint scheme (not even a number on the side), and the gold color is rather bland and unexciting (think mid '00s gold Lexus RX300s!).  But the car rolls well on its standard issue wheel.  

Overall, a nice car that deserves a quick mention on this (heavily read) blog...! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alfa Carabo...: Matchbox vs. Hot Wheels vs. Corgi

Why do toymakers have to copy each other, each making their own model of a car already modeled by another toy company, and leaving so many other great designs unmodeled...?  How many '67 Camaros do we all have...   And C5/6/7 Corvettes...  Yet we have no Honda Accords, Ford Tempos or Toyota Camrys...? 

Such is the case of the Alfa Carabo - a show car - not even a real production car - but one that was modeled by each of the 3 major toy-makers.  Well OK, as long as we have 3 distinct models - let's at least decide who made it the best?!?

I have the Matchbox version in 3 colors and 2 varieties.  The purple and pink superfast versions, and the grey (unmarked and without an interior or actual windows) Super GT version. Corgi gave 2 varieties - the standard purple - and the wizz-a-wheels forest green version.   Finally, Hot Wheels gave us the Red-line version - shown here in later lime green enamel paint - but also available in earlier spectraflame colors.  The Hot Wheels version is unique in that it alone has opening doors - scissor-style-Lamborghini Countach doors that pivot upward. 

Who made it best?  Well, its easy to see who made it worst....  The cheap-o grey Super GT version is the easy loser. 

Among the remaining 3 models, its a hard fight.  The Hot Wheels feels nice, with a heavy heft and the opening doors, but in the end it is the green whiz-a-wheels Corgi Junior, with a separate insert for the hood-mounted air-ducts, that wins the title for the best Carabo model. An unusual win - Corgi doesn't often win these comparisons! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

An absolute jewel of a model... Eidai Isuzu Elf airline re-stocking truck

Every once in a while I come across a model that is as close to absolute perfection as is possible to get...

A jewel...  ...perfect in modeling, perfect in scale, perfect in weight/heft/feel, etc....

This blog is about one of those models.

It's from a brand that almost no one in the USA knows about - Eidai.  I first stumbled across the brand at a toy fair/flea market a decade ago - a garbage truck labeled as "Eidai Grip Zechai" - that has the similar qualities as this model. 

The model is probably slightly under 1/64 scale (1/60?), and is slightly larger than a standard Matchbox model - enough so that it is probably 1/2 an inch too long to fit into a standard storage case, and probably 1/4 of an inch too high.

The base is metal.  The cab and chassis are wonderful detailed.  The paint is rich.  There is a driver in the cab.  The cargo hold rises up on an X-platform and plastic doors on both ends open up.

While this model is hard to find and a little expensive on EBay, it is a veritable bargain for the quality you get.  $25 is a cheap price to pay for a model that will be the pinnacle of most collections...