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Friday, August 21, 2015

China Post #3: High Quality KDW Trucks

If you read my last post, you'll see that I bought a KDW truck crane (scale = 1:50?), and was very impressed at it details and long long LONG working boom... 
Well, at the same time as I bought that truck crane, I also bought these 2 KDW tractor trailers - and if anything - I actually like these more than the crane...
The blue container truck has 2 removable containers.  Unlike the containers of the Matchbox Super Kings model from the late '70s, these containers are made of heavy weight metal. 
The trailer bed has a telescoping feature, which collapses when you don't need to carry both containers.  And they are a number of indentations to hold the container at 10 + different positions. 
The green tractor from the flatbed set is interchangeable with the blue container set (in fact - they are the same tractor casting).  The flatbed includes a nicely detailed excavator, which is probably sold as a unique model (and would be well worth buying on its own). 
Overall the units have a very high quality feel - at least as good as a SIKU or Corgi casting.  But the value was tremendous...  I paid $15-$20 for each set - when the excavator alone would be worth that cost. 
As mentioned in the crane post, I bought them in a little store in Beijing.  You can buy them on EBAY, for roughly 2X what I bought them for.  In fact, I'd advise you to make that purchase.  At $30 per piece - I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

China Post #2... KDW Crane with 3+ foot long working boom!

In order to keep my huge diecast toy collection from becoming too expensive or too overwhelming, early on I decided to establish some limits to it...  Back in '96/'97, I decided that I would only collect 1:64 scale Matchbox-type cars, like the ones sold in their 1-75 series. 

The problem, as discussed in earlier blog entries, is that the 1-75 2.75 inch cars and trucks really were not true 1:64 scale, particularly when it comes to heavy trucks.  In order to get 1:64-ish scale trucks, I needed to buy vehicles that Matchbox sold in their King Size/Super King ranges...  So I've gradually allowed my hard and fast rule to be broken, collecting larger toys as long as they fit roughly into 1:64 scale...  Hence toys like this one...

This is the 2nd blog entry from my China trip.  In this case, a wonderful mobile crane, modeled by a company known as KDW... 

And what a high quality toy it is...  Look at the length of that boom extension!!!   The end of the boom (the top yellow part in the first photo - actually pivots 180 degrees to double back on itself during transport - its held in place by a removable pin - and the company provides a spare pin for us. 

My *only* complaint is the out-rigger stabilizers.  While they come out nicely, they aren't actually effective at stabilizing the crane.  With so much weight in the boom arm, the crane tips EASILY, even without any load, any time the boom goes out to either side. 

This piece is available on Ebay, just type in "KDW".  I paid only about $12-$14 for it, in a comics store off of Dashilan Street, in the QianMen area.  But if you don't feel like paying for a $1,800 plane ticket to Beijing, then $30 plus shipping on Ebay will sound like a good deal, particularly for such a high quality and incredibly functional and realistic model... 

Look out for more KDW toys.  They are as good or better as the larger Corgis and Sikus. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

China Trip! (1st Post). Drugstore-ish cars found in Beijing Night Market

Dear Readers,

Sorry for the delay in getting updates to Matchbox Frenzy...  I just got back from a trip to Beijing, which included a lot of car thought (real cars - based on the mushrooming native Chinese car industry - and model cars - with the *hope* that I'd find stuff that I don't find in the USA).  I tried to update my blog while I was there, but the Google/China rift meant that the blog was blocked to me while I was in China...  So here I am, a few weeks late. 

As I said, given how many diecast toys are actually produced in China, I really hoped that I'd find some cool - and hopefully inexpensive - stuff, particularly Tomica. 

Unfortunately, though I searched through all of the bazaars and flea markets and toy stores that I could find (including the toy market located behind the pearl market), I found very little Tomica...  1 store only - and their selection was not as great as I had hoped.  You'll see my Tomica finds on a later post. 

And as for pricing - well - there are many things that are super inexpensive in Beijing...  Street food, subway fares, taxi rides, etc., but that list does not include diecast cars.  The Tomica and Siku that I found were on the order of $5 US per car (incidently - the Matchbox/Hot Wheels that I found were not much cheaper).  So they weren't expensive - just not as cheap as I'd hoped. 

But I did find some cool stuff, starting with the set of cars shown here.  I have no idea what brand they are.  They seem like what you might get in a drugstore - though the heaviness of the cars makes them feel higher quality than say a Maisto.

This packaging of cars - all packaged in groups of 4 - was fairly commonly found in many of the night-market/flea market types of vendors.  Actually, the most interesting things about these night markets was how much repetitive merchandise you found - almost as if there were wholesale suppliers selling merchandise produced expressly to be sold in night markets.  It made the vendors feel less original... 

I probably paid about $9 for this set - not sure if I got ripped off or not (I probably did...).   The cars actually feel pretty nice.  They are slightly large - not quite as big as Sikus, but a tad larger than comparable Matchbox Cayennes.  Given that they are models of large SUVs, that probably means that they are close to correct 1:64 scale. 

The set included 4 luxury SUVs; a Range Rover, a Cayenne, an Audi Q7 and a BMW X6, all reasonably well modeled, all with opening doors.  Unfortunately, they have pull-back friction motors in them - so you can't pull them back without winding up the motors.  The paint scheme is also a little unfortunate - its hard to imagine a construction company giving their engineers Porsche Cayennes to toodle around in.  But a nice set of cars to have found regardless.  Incidentally, this is my first model of a BMW X6... 

Overall a nice set of cars.  If you see them on EBay for not too much money then I'd recommend adding them to your collection.  The only problem - since there is no brand - I don't know how to search for them...  On the other hand, if you go to the Beijing night market off of WangFuJing street - then look for this set.