Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kenmeri Skyline - Mary, Diane Krey-Wesley

I like to thank Jeff for helping me get my Hot Wheels Skyline autographed by Mary. I am referring to Skyline Mary who was once shot to fame because of the Nissan Skyline commercial aired from 1972 to 1974 in Japan. I understand from Jeff that every Skyline has got an unique name such as "Hakosuka", "New-Man" and the C110 is known as "Ken & Mary Skyline" or "Kenmeri Skyline". If you have not watch the 8 instalments of C110 Skyline commercials, you might like to watch the below clip (in case you haven't seen it) which is a compilation of all 8 commercials. Nissan was targeting at American market then so Ken & Mary are born. It's aMARY-KEN, got it?

Mary is definitely not her real name. "Mary" was played by Diane Krey-Wesley and "Ken" by Jimmy Zinnai. I did not managed to get Ken's autograph because he passed away at the age of 17 in a motorcycle accident. That explains why the series of commercials did not continue after Ken's death. I think Ken & Mary would be best of friends today if that tragedy did not happen. As for the song which had a catchy tune in the commercial,I don't know if you like it but I like it so much that I bought the CD from Japan. The song is sung by "Buzz" who should be the "boy band" of Japan then.

When Jeff told me the story of Mary, I got interested and got myself hook since. I bought the Buzz CD as mentioned, I got Jeff to send me magazines which had articles written by him. I even suggested to him to request for Mary to autograph on my Hot wheels Skyline. So, I got it finally after a long wait. This should be the first Hot Wheels I will treasure as there are stories which I can relate to my friends.

Way before Hot Wheels made the Kenmeri Skyline, Tomica did it 40 years ago. Maruka had one too, see my die-cast oddities. I still prefer the Tomica though. I like to thank Jeff for everything or I couldn't have this special Kenmeri Skyline.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Best Tomica of 2011

It has been another year and how time flies. There are some obvious changes for Tomica in 2011. Firstly, most Tomica has shrunk. It all started actually in 2010 December with the released of Nissan Juke. Tomica also revived the "First Colour" edition which they introduced this strategy from 2003 to 2006. More foreign cars being made in 2011 as compared in the last 10 years. In December 2011, Tomica introduced full pledge foreign cars as their regular cars of the month. I started to wonder if Takara-Tomy had read my blog because I did mentioned that I wanted a slimmer Tomica (but they shrink it instead!?) like they used to make. I hope to see more foreign cars as I hope that they revive the "Foreign Series". Maybe it's just coincidence, I don't think Takara-Tomy will ever read my worthless blog.

Before I reveal the "Go! Go! Tomica" edition of Best Tomica of the year 2011, I wanted to stress the point that this is just my own opinion. I am doing this for fun and much of my own consumption rather than to entertain. I saw my "Best Tomica 2010" post was posted in one of the forums and gets some negative comments. It's the usual patriotic Tomican who cannot tolerate my negative awards to Tomica. I don't really mind negative feedback as long as they are constructive. I do post negatively in forums too as long as I do not agree but I will give some explanations to support my claim. So, I will repeat this again. This is just my opinion and if you are not happy with what I wrote, move on, do not read my blog.

June Release of 2011
Overall is well made but not the best. I just do not know how to appreciate some of the odd looking utility vehicles.

May Release of 2011

I do not really fancy air craft. If I do, I will go broke buying Matchbox. It is still a good effort for Tomica to introduce a helicopter. There are fans for almost everything.

April Release of 2011

This can be both interesting and boring vehicle. I believe not many people know this is a custom bike or trike that is made in Japan. Not really mainstream but it will be cool to ride on a real one. It's better made than the Yamaha last year.

March Release of 2011

It's just another Elf to me. There will be more variants coming up for sure.

February Release of 2011

Not really a fan of this kind of rescue vehicle unless it is a model which I really like.

August Release of 2011

The Toyota FJ is nice but it could be better if the scale could slightly increase to 1/64 to have more presence felt especially when park beside the H2 or the Pajero it replaced. The wheels to replace with the ones used on the Pajero. I felt that the downsize of Tomica might be due to the small rim size of the button wheels. The wheels will be hidden under those arch if a bigger body is made. I think Takara-Tomy might be adjusting the scale to fit the button wheels. Just a guess.

September Release of 2011

Another "Honey, I shrink the Tomica" vehicle. The rear of the car has no plastic as window. If Siku can do it and they are retail around the same price as Tomica, I believe Tomica can do similar. The plastic used on a Tomica is also using lesser material as compared to the bigger scale Siku.

June Release of 2011

It's probably a forgettable car if you think "Honda Fit". It was made as it is one of the better selling car in Japan.

April Release of 2011

The new Swift looks nice at some angles but I don't know if my eyes are playing tricks on me. The headlights look a little oversize and the A-pillars look a little thick to me.

October Release of 2011

I applauded Tomica for continuing the Vitz generation as they made the previous two. Besides Vitz, I realised that Tomica also made every generation for Odyssey, Estima, Prius, Fit. The previous Tomica Vitz are better made than this one.

November Release of 2011

The Daihatsu Move is the only Kei car made this year. The previous Tomica Daihatsu Move comes in 2 colours as well. Everything is well put together except for the super stiff suspension and I don't really agree with any cars that has a paint over hatch as a window.

February Release of 2011

I like the new Rex to be made but not this way. Maybe Tomica should start designing slightly bigger wheels rather than shrinking the body. They did it for the yellow 370Z and I have to admit that giant button wheels look weird. Tomica needs to return to the drawing board, work something out to strike a balance.

January Release of 2011

The casting is handsome but suffers the same fate as other smaller Tomica.

August Release of 2011


I was actually looking forward to the release of the Civic Type R but it looks more of a Civic iVTEC. Tomica failed to bring out the spirit of a Type R especially when Matchbox has one which is better.

December Release of 2011


They churn out 3 variants within 3 months and this is a new casting. 2 of the variants are selling like hot cakes.

This car has a lot of potential for other variants. They just have to pray that Bumblebee continues to be a Camaro. Tomica Limited version, maybe?

January Release of 2011


Doing it once is forgivable but please don't do it again.

November Release of 2011


They shrunk cars. Now they shrink excavators too.

December Release of 2011


The Unimog is consider well made for a current day Tomica and the tipping deck does surprise me. The truck is so light that I thought the box is empty when I pick one up.

March Release of 2011


It bounces although not really on par with the Japanese suspension. The surprising part is this car is made in Vietnam. All Vietnamese made Tomica are well known to have a super hard suspension that doesn't bounce.

September Release of 2011


The Lotus looks ready to take on any car here even the Reventon. The last Lotus Tomica has made was more than 30 years ago.

May Release of 2011


I couldn't buy one here in Singapore.

July Release of 2011


First colour sold out within days in Japan. Both colours sold out within 3 months in Singapore.

September Release of 2011


This is one of the better example of a recent Tomica. It is one of my favourite car made for 2011 and the proportion looks precise.

October Release of 2011


I surprise myself by placing this truck second as it never caught my eye. It is well made and it looks much better than the Elf.

July Release of 2011


If Kobelco is not in the list of 2011, I will be in a dilema which Tomica to take the gold award. The Kobelco crane was first released in 2008 for Kobelco which is believed as a promo vehicle for the company. This crane has great mass and I personally felt that this is the most handsome crane made in recent years.

The above is the Kobelco promo variant which is first released. The colour is different from the regular release and it has slightly more details on it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Recent Haul of Tomica & Dandy

Never before I bought so many Dandy at one time. There will be another huge box of Tomica coming in soon.

Pooh, please do not try too hard by straining your eyes on the photo of my haul. I couldn't put all cars into one photo.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lone Star Flyers

Lone Star started as D.C.M.T. in 1939. D.C.M.T. was producing metal toys in the 40s then. The toy car production started only in 50s and the earliest Lone Star 3 inches vehicle series is the Roadmaster. In 1968, Lone Star Flyers were introduced to compete with Matchbox Superfast and Hot Wheels.

From rear to front: Maserati Mistral (Red), Volvo 1800S (Centre), Ford Taunus 12M

What Lone Star has an edge over its competitors? Most cars have more than one opening part like the Volvo above which has an opening bonnet, boot and doors. All Lone Stars do have suspension like Tomica which was introduce a few years later. Lone Star made their cars more complete in comparison to other toy cars in the market. The Ford above could be produced at a later stage as earlier casting allows it to open its bonnet and boot. The earlier one piece wheel is nicer if compared to the wheels on these 3 cars. These wheels look cheap to me.

Lone Stars are very charming and collectible even today. Unfortunately, they couldn't sustain their business and was closed in 1988.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Top Gear Stig Power Series

I bought some Top Gear super cars today. In fact, I bought 2 sets of these Top Gear Stig Power series. I will be keeping a set while the other set to sell someone who like to have them. I am attracted by these cars because each car comes complete with "The Stig"!

Just to show you a better view on some of these cars. Above is a Maserati MC12 with Stig.

Here is the Mercedes SL65 AMG with Stig. Pretty cool for a 1/64 car to have race car driver at its wheels.

The other 6 cars are still a mystery as they are not release yet. It will be great to have the GTR, Fiat 500 and the DS3. I will keep a look out once they are out in stores.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Real Toy - Military In Action

I was helping a friend looking for some cars he requested so I made a trip to the store yesterday. I found some "Real Toy" which I had never seen before. Perhaps these might not be new because I never take a second look at "Real Toy" unless they are having promotion (but there's no promotion yesterday). What actually caught my eye is the tank, it is quite well made so I decided to get it. Usually Real Toy has multiples of same models but strange enough that these are one of each.

At an corner of my eye, a truck actually caught my eye. I never seen a "Real Toy" truck that is so nicely made. The "Gift Set" came with soldiers and an air craft carrier. It look like a mini Matchbox Superking to me and it had wheels beneath the hull. It's one and only set or I could have bought another, to rip one set for play. Cool finds today.