Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is Tomica Limited Worth Collecting?

I used to preach to my friends that Tomica Limited is a range not worth spending my hard earned money based on the price charged to consumers. It is basically a regular Tomica with some detailing. As I always felt that a true Tomica should be a toy car with regular button wheels, I don't really buy this range unless I fancy certain models. The first few models of Tomica Limited is a total turn off to me because most of the models made are based on mould made 30 years ago. I often teased them as "re-issues" because the Japanese mould are modified for expansion of product range. I wouldn't mind buying the detailed Tomica if the initial mould are China made. My collection of Tomica Limited is also "limited" because I have not more than 20 models of this series. There are also some other brands which is doing similar strategies such as Matchbox with its "Superfast" series and Hot Wheels Speed Machines. The two Mattel products are dropped in this comparison as they still have some distance from being labelled as detailed models. I have short listed Tomica, Siku, Norev and RMZ City. I understand that there are brands such as Johnny Lightning but they are almost non-existence in Singapore and they are distributed mainly in America. Let us just stick to these four for this moment.

Only 1 type of packaging to I know of for Tomica Limited. Black card box with plastic inserts securing the car in it. Clear plastic cover over box made it looked like a static display stand. Earlier series does comes with a metal name plate.

Cars Release:
Like the series suggested, they are limited to what is available in the regular Tomica. There are also some exceptions like the new Mini Cooper which TL is released before the regular button wheel version. There is also a Lexus GS300 which Tomica regular is not available. The LFA super car is also not available in the regular series.

Build Quality (In General): 8.0
Paint used are good. Detailing is an upgrade from the regular series. The car felt solid with a little more mass comparing to the regular series.

Accuracy & Detailing (In General): 8.0
Most of the body frame looks proportionate to the real thing with exceptions of some models having smaller wheels. Rims follow closely to actual models.

Dealer's Promo Car: 7.0
Most promo cars' emphases are on the proportion, accurate shut lines so usually they do not have any opening features. As Tomica does not have full range of Japanese cars, it will restrict the number of models made into TL series. Nissan love to use Tomica for their promo car in the regular series.

Overall Package: 8.0
- Reuseable box that able to display the car
- Suspension that works well
- Most Tomica has one opening feature or at least one moving part
- Rubber tyres
- Realistic rims

Value For Money: 6.5
Price: SGD$12.95

Strictly for the Tomica die hard fans. It will be more reasonable if price is lowered to SGD$9.90.

Siku are packaged in a short blister for 0800 series to 1400 series. Anything above these series are boxed.

Cars Released:
Most of the cars are based on German cars since Siku is a German brand. Occasionally, you will find a few Toyota models in their range.

Build Quality (In General): 8.0
Let's based on 1000 to 1400 series for Siku since 800 and 900 series are either generic or base cars. Siku is one of the few toy car maker who still use extra material on the front and rear lights which is a very nice touch. The rear windows are made with clear plastic rather than paint on metal like what Tomica did to reduce production cost. Siku rolls well too, thanks to the 100 hours endurance test performed on its wheels.

Accuracy & Detailing (In General): 7.0
Most Siku are built to scale of 1:55 which is good to be uniform although I think that there are a little too big for some models. 1:60 will be a much appropriate for today's car since most cars has grown in size. Siku loses points here for the oversize ugly wheels.

Dealer's Promo Car: 6.0
I don't think I will regard Siku a good choice for promo car in the showroom mainly because of its rather generic wheels. It will be a nice promo car if realistic rims are used and they made the door shut instead. The doors open extraordinarily wide in my opinion.

Overall Package: 6.0
- Opening doors
- Rubber tyres
- Nice touches maintained throughout the range

Value For Money: 7.5
Price: SGD$5.90

Siku display nicely to my surprise. It has toy like features build with Germanic quality.

Norev Mini Jet Series comes in various packaging. They have "Show Room", "Racing", "Drift", "Tuners" and so on. They have made and packaged for car makers which I supposed are the promo cars for dealers. Norev are window boxed which display like Tomica Limited.

Cars Released:
Most of the European cars which you can think of. They do have a few Japanese cars as well but they are really limited. I can only think of Suzuki Swift Rally, Subaru WRX in many variants, Mitsubishi Pajero Rally and Nissan 350Z. You will have a wider range of Japanese cars in the 1/43 scale range.

Build Quality (In General): 7.0
I must admit that Norev look best in presentation among the competition here. I can forgive some minor bloops on the details as it is not really serious, keep in mind that we are not paying Kyosho or Ebbro price here. What actually is a little disappointing is mainly the wheels. Not the rim designs but they don't really roll well. Some cars had only 3 wheels touching the floor. Norev has suspension like Tomica but the suspension is built similarly to the early Hot Wheels. Tomica has the suspension of a Honda but Norev has the Type R suspension. It's too hard but at least they will not give way easily (although the wheels might because some Norev has bent wheels before taken out from the box, could be due to mishandling during transportation).

Accuracy & Detailing (In General): 9.0
Everything look so right that you might think that they look expensive for certain model such as the 2 VWs above. If Norev has plastic rear lights similar to what Siku did, they will look fantabulous.

Dealer's Promo Car: 9.0
It will be the best choice if you are to launch a car in Europe since almost every model is available. The overall presentation have nothing much to fault. If you do not look close enough, you might not know they don't run on rubber tyres.

Overall Package: 7.0
- Reusable box
- Suspension
- Realistic rims
- Many colour variants available per model

Value For Money: 7.0
Bought at 5~6 Euro per model, Approx. SGD$15.00 per car after shipping in.

Norev are available mainly in Europe and they have all makes of European cars. It is still worthwhile to specially ship them to Singapore if you appreciate 3 inch cars with some details.

RMZ City are either packed in blister card or you buy as a dozen in a wholesale box.

Cars Released:
Only 24 models available for the 3 inch range. The larger scale RMZ has numerous models. Since
this series is launched just this year, we hope to expect more models to arrive.

Build Quality (In General): 7.0
Cars are properly assembly with exceptions on material used on the spoiler. The plastic looked fragile and will shattered after some hard playing. Some cars such as Skyline has spoiler dismounted slightly when I receive the car. I just do some refitting and they look perfect again. Some models such as Toyota Prius and Honda Insight looked flawless.

Accuracy & Detailing (In General): 7.5
The cars looked proportionate and nice rims are used. Downside for RMZ is the detailing is very minimal.

Dealer's Promo Car: 7.5
RMZ City looks quite similar in terms of design flair to my Mitsubishi i dealer's promo car when displayed together. Coincidentally, the Mitsubishi has motorized wheels just like RMZ. It's a shame that RMZ has only 24 models available at this moment.

Overall Package: 6.5
- Rubber tyres
- Realistic rims
- Motorized wheels (Subjective to individual)
- 4 colours available per model

Value For Money: 8.0
Price: SGD$2.80

Amazingly value for this low price. This brand has yet achieve certain pedigree and a small fan base.


  1. i think that you should check out SSTuner by Muscle Machines. They are a well detailed lineup of tuner cars by Muscle Machines. They come with interiors and rubber wheels,engines,opening stuff. Makes Hot Wheels look like they were done by cavemen. Check them out. They are old from 2002. I hope you get some and compare them.