Sunday, April 5, 2015

CAM Toy Show in Hamburg

Here I am back to the familiar scenery outside of my Ibis hotel in Bremen. This is the first time I transit in Munich which is so much better than Frankfurt airport.

While I was on the plane, something saddening happened at home, I wasn't in Singapore for 2 weeks and I felt I wasn't with Singapore to certain extend.
Found a new shop near a customer's office. Went in and bought some little people, little horse and little pigs.

The nicest building in Bremen. I was always walking within Bremen since it is a small city so I have chances to take photos of the buildings.

I stayed in Bremen for 2 days and on the 3rd day, I ventured into Stade for a little while. I was in the car preparing to move off from Stade to Buxtehude, a nearby city near Stade.

This is my companion for the day. A Skoda Rapid.

Customer's office in Buxtehude. Was driving the whole day and seeing 3 companies that day.

Finally, I made my way to the underground car park of Ibis Holzdamm in Hamburg.

I can keep the car till the next day but I just want to return the car the next hour after I reach Hamburg. So I send the car back to Avis before going for my spicy Sze Chuan dinner.
There are many nice classic cars in Hamburg but usually they are moving faster than my hands. I managed to get only these 4 because they are stationary. A Rover Mini Cooper above.

Another classic Mini Cooper near my hotel.

A W123 made my day and this is even better, a C123.

I bet many of you doesn't know this. It's a Citroen Mehari, a "Jeep" variant of a Citroen 2CV. How cool was that?
The day I was waiting for, 28th March, Saturday for the CAM Toy Show. Show started at 12pm but I was there at 10am. According to my friend, he will be there at 10am to set up.
This is my friend's stall and he is in the middle of setting up with a friend whom he shared table with.

A stall with some Solido, Schuco, Corgi and many others.

Let me zoom in a little more.

And I will focus on the lot of old Siku at the same stall. I wanted the Toyota 2000GT, seller was asking 30 Euro so I did not ask for price of other cars. I bet the price should be higher than what I wanted to pay.

That's my friend, Kay, in red manning his stall.

I bought 3 cars here, seller was kind enough to give me a discount without me asking so. Want to make a guess which 3 cars I bought?

Standing on the stage to take a better view of this hall, the stage has a few stalls as well. This show had 2 halls to cover it all. My friend told me that he will be going to Netherlands in April for a toy swap meet which is 10 times bigger.

These are the stalls on the stage. I saw one lot of old toy cars mainly Siku and I bought some of them.

Anyone into trucks? These are really well made and very detailed too although they are made of plastic. I didn't buy these Herpa or Wiking trucks at the show but eventually I bought them at Miniatur Wunderland and Dreamcars after the show.

Oh boy, just realized that there is a Playart here.

Any type of toy cars could be found here although this is meant for HO scale.

Close up for guys who are into Beetles.
See what I mean? HO scale including houses to create a miniature town. There are stalls selling trains to complement the town to make it more complete.

Kay's stall once again as it is fully set up now.

The small tray of cars belongs to me and I am not done yet. By the time I posted this to share with you guys, I still have not open the box of cars I bought at this show. I should have done that when you are reading this. Chios.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Lesser Tomica

Tomica like Matchbox, had many copies during their peak during the 70s and 80s. Toy cars was still a luxury to kids in developing countries like Singapore. For parents who can afford only cheaper toys can only turn to makers from Hong Kong. Japan together with Hong Kong was the largest toy manufacture back in those heyday. China was hardly in the picture yet until the mid 80s as some of the Matchbox started to manufacture there. I bought some toy cars recently and like to share with you guys on some of those which I had when I was younger.

I had one of these Chevrolet Chevette and it could have been bought by myself. This is made by Welly in Hong Kong and they cost only $1.00 then which were much cheaper than a Tomica at $2.40. It could be from the mama-shop near my home. This is one of my favorite car then because it's a hatchback (love hatchback since a kid). I always thought that it was a Toyota Starlet KP61 until I saw the base. I was still thinking if there is any mistake. I have never seen a Chevrolet then but I do know that American cars are huge and not compact like this one.

Another nice example from Welly, a Lamborghini Countach LP500. I am not sure if I had this one. It looks suspiciously similar to a Tomica. The main different that I can spot is the extra pillar on the side window. I will do a comparison in my next post hopefully.

Welly BMW 3.5CSL, another example of a Tomica knock-off. I had the one on the right and I always thought that it's a Tomica. Have you notice that Welly had either 4 spoke button wheels or dish wheels just like most Tomica? Unfortunately, they don't run as smooth as a Tomica.

Welly Cadillac Seville, I just need a Seville casting of a Tomica copy.

Welly VW Beetle Cabriolet, a much cheaper VW with low rent material.

Welly Porsche 935 Racing, looks Martini but maybe they couldn't get any licensing as "Martini" accents are not found.

Welly Nissan Fairlady 280Z, finally a Japanese car among my Welly.

Welly Lotus Esprit without the pop-up headlights. The only difference spotted from other Welly, it is made in China rather than Hong Hong.

Some says that they are known as CF and some says it's a Faie. The Porsche 930 is the hardest to hunt amongst the 6 models in the whole range. This is one of the must have in my list.

The blister pack says that it's a Dickie. It might be marketed as a Dickie in Europe then. It looks like a Yatming knock off but it could be a Welly too since they have similar wheels. I had one when I was young but I had no idea what was it. I am glad that I got it back again after almost 30 years. It's fun to hunt down childhood toys.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Best Tomica of 2014

Hi everyone, apologies for the long wait. After a week of selection for "My Favourite Tomica", we have shortlisted 7 cars out of the 24 released in 2014. The selection was done by our very own Go! Go! Tomican members, you! From 7 cars, you have chosen your favourite of 2014. Here are the results:

3rd Place: Nissan Fairlady Nismo

2nd Place: Mitsubishi Triton

My Favourite Tomica of 2014: Subaru BRZ
Round 1: 
This is a very tough year to choose the Best Tomica of 2014. For a start, 2014 is a recycling year for Tomica. If you look closely at the 24 cars released in 2014, half of them are based on old casting. I wanted to give the winner to a totally brand new car but the new ones are really far from good. So, I will just name the winner who follow closely to Tomica origins. In round 1, I will eliminate the cars which have corners cut heavily. 6 cars crashed out of the competition in round 1.

If you think that the Ford Focus is the best Tomica of 2014, I  assumed that you should be one of the newer Tomica collectors around. Based on photo before the official release of this Ford, I can say that the car is ready to be in the contention for the Best Tomica until I received the actual product. I was filled with disgust from B pillar onwards. Just look at the side and rear windows, no plastic window but a large area painted black to represent "windows". Fast Lane can do a lot better than that and it cost almost two third cheaper than Tomica. It is one of the worst Tomica of 2014.

Toyota Voxy and Noah are basically the same cars and equally good in cost cutting.

Both Noah and Voxy do have nice casting but C pillar onwards shares that same fate as the Focus.

The Suzuki Alto rear painted window on its opening hatch.

This Renault Megane is indeed a nicer variant as compared to the road car version but the rear painted window does not save it from being eliminated and crash out of round 1.

I really like the Suzuki Hustler when I visited the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013. It is a miniature version of a Toyota FJ Cruiser. The real thing look so much better than the Tomica version. It failed due to the rear hatch window too.

Round 2:
Round 2 see off 8 cars in all. The Skyline is a nice car but it should look better if it is 1/65 or bigger. Just slightly bigger will improve the proportion of the car.

The pink Crown suffers the same fate as the Skyline above. It's a let down for a Crown since Tomica been making them since the early 70s.

One of the smallest and ugliest Tomica bus around. Enough said.

The Dodge Viper could be one of the better Tomica if it is completed with suspension and opening doors.

The Spyker C8 has nice details on its rear but it looks really much softer than the real thing.

The Nissan X-Trail is indeed one of the best Japanese car but let down by the rear painted window.

Formula One vehicles are often unloved and so is this Renault. The plastic looks cheap too.

I hope that the passengers on board will be able to view the scenery when taking Dr. Heli.

Round 3:
10 cars in the contention. Have to choose the right ones with caution now.
The only feature that is well made is the burger.

The first Lexus (regular series) is a much better effort that it won the best Tomica. This one looks a little out of proportion, the detailing is a horrid. Road Tough (ex-Yatming) made an IS (previous model) and I am surprised that a toy that cost 3.5 times less than Tomica can have better mold. I can show you guys some other time if you really like to see it.

The safety car is nice but at this point of the competition, I have to nitpick even on little details.

I love this car but I just couldn't put the painted quarter rear window behind. That just destroy the whole package of a good Tomica.

The Triton was once the most disappointing Tomica of the year, mainly because of the ugly rear painted window. It isn't the worst now or the best.

Final Round:
The final five finally. There are 3 cars I wanted to place them top so it took me some time before the final decision is made.

The Fairlady is now a NISMO with an additional wing complete with "carbon fiber" side skirts. Can I request for lighter colour interior? The whole car looked almost like a Batmobile.
I struggled for a full 10 minutes if to put the Rex into top 3. The racing Impreza looks much better than the road car it replaced. This is one of the better "shrunk" Tomica made but I had to exclude it in the top 3 as the car rank third had better proportions.

3rd Place: Subaru BRZ
I did not expect Tomica to make a BRZ and I didn't expect the sister car to make it into top 3 again. The BRZ isn't spectacular, it is just the minimum requirement for any Tomica should be made.
2nd Place: Suzuki Carry Mobile Catering Truck

An interesting Tomica, much more than the Hamburger car in my opinion. The fun factor in this Tomica among the other 23 should be higher too. The potential of making this vehicle into a gift set of 4 peddling truck is possible too.

Best Tomica of 2014: Lotus Exige R-GT

This comes a little unexpected for me. I only open my Tomica once a year when it is time to choose the best Tomica of the year so every Tomica is a fresh sight for me. The Lotus was almost forgotten in my list of potential contenders for the best Tomica. Although the Lotus does not have any opening features but it is well proportionate. This Lotus was painted like a John Player Special colour scheme. Not much corners were cut for this model.

I was also a little surprised that all 3 recent Lotus made top spots. The Exige was 3rd in 2011, the Evora was 3rd also in 2013 and this Exige R-GT is the winner in 2014. I do not know why Tomica made Lotus better than any of their Lamborghini models. Probably Lamborghini is much easier to sell than any other cars. Looking forward to the Tomica in 2015. Just hope that they will give every Tomica a proper window, stop all opening hatch and stop painting side windows black. That is all I ask for and hope that isn't too much of a request.