Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tomica vs Playart - Lotus Elite

Lotus Elite Type 75 & 83 (1974 to 1982)

Lotus Elite begins its life in 1958 as a roadster. This is the 2nd generation Elite and in the shape of a 4 seater coupe which is quite rare for a Lotus. This is my favourite Lotus of all time because it is a much practical sport cars as compared to the 2 seater Esprit. It may look like a hatchback but it is really a coupe and the shape is so distinctive even by today's standard. It has close relations with the Eclat and it also look like the more modern Excel. There was once I saw an Elite parked in a garage but it is covered with rust and dust which is likely a de-registered car. The owner might not bear to see it crushed into scrap metal so it was likely "preserved" for memory sake. I don't have time to stop for a moment to take a second look as I was driving and I bet this could be the one and only Elite left in Singapore considering only 2000 over units are produced worldwide. The Elite was powered by 2.0L or 2.2L engine and it weighs less than a ton!

Tomica Lotus Elite, Scale: 1/63 (Made in Japan)

Playart Lotus Elite, Scale: Unknown but should be around 1/60
Made in Hong Kong)

Tomica and Playart are the most "played with" toys when I was between 3 to 8 (I guessed, I mean the age). If I remembered correctly, I have a Tomica Elite (Blue) then and I bought it back some years back with the help of eBay. I got a Playart almost everyday then and I used to hate it because of the ugly "flower" wheels (not the type you seen in this Elite) and I have repeated cars from my beloved grandma. There was once I had 7 pieces of a same model, either a Chevy or Dodge. My grandma passed away 11 years ago but I still love her very much. I thank her deeply for all the love, Tomica and Playart she showered me with.

Honestly, I still hate the Playart last year but lately, I started to appreciate older Playart (those with ugly "flower" wheels) much more than its competitor, Yat Ming, which is seen more like a Tomica copy in the past. I do know that Playart are not really well made as compared to the Tomica. Sometimes, you just have to appreciate the rough edge and ugliness of the toy because you don't get this anymore and it is a piece of history. The casting of Playart is also huge when you park it side by side with the Tomica. I shall start commenting the casting of the 2 cars. The Tomica is more detailed and proportional if you compared it to the picture of the real car. The Tomica cast includes the "Elite" (front) and "Lotus" emblem which is found on the real car too but the Playart missed that out so that they can sell it cheaper by half the price of Tomica. The Tomica did have a pair of hinges on the hatch too but none was found on the Playart. The Playart did tried their best by using a plastic "ventilation grill" but they used the wrong color! Black is a more appropriate color instead of red. Tomica scored highly here.
Tomica 1: Playart 0

For the paint department, I have no complains on both model although the Tomica wins by a slight margin by using cream white which looks more realistic for this Elite. The obvious winner is determined by the green "decal" / accent (it's paint actually) on the side of the car. The Tomica has more uniform paint and used a nicer shade of green as compared to the Playart pale green to doesn't really bring life into the Elite.
Tomica 2: Playart 0

Small golden button wheels vs big chrome button wheels. I believed that the wheels used on the Playart is of a later generation because the earlier ones are either "hub cap" type or the more common "flower" shape wheels. The Tomica wins it hands down as the golden button wheel looks really good on the Elite and the Playart opts for a "upgraded" oversized sport rims which made the Playart Elite looks like an XC or 4WD Elite.
Tomica 3: Playart 0

The base of the Tomica has more details and information as compared to the really simple and bare Playart base.
Tomica 4: Playart 0
I seldom comment or compared the plastic used in diecast. If I want to nick pick, the interior of the Playart is really very much inferior to the Tomica. Softer plastic used and some "burrs" on the steering wheel.
Tomica 5: Playart 0


The Playart was badly beaten in this face off and this is actually an expected result. Is it worth collecting? A definate yes! Initially I thought that Playart is a Tomica copy but they are using their own cast and you have to respect Playart for that. Hong Kong was once the largest toy maker in the world and they made budget toys like what China is doing today. Although many toys are build under licence then but Playart is a true Hong Kong diecast just like Tomica of Japan. Tomica wins this time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tomica vs Schuco - Mercedes-Benz 450SE

Mercedes-Benz 450SEL (1975 to 1981)

This month Go! Go! Tomica features the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL. This is what we known as the S-Class of today. There are many variations of the old S-Class starting from 280S to 450SEL. This 450SEL is a 4.5L V8 engine which produces 160KW and maximum torque of 360Nm. Top of the range will be 6.9 V8 engine which produces 210KW and maximum torque of 550Nm. Maximum speed of this luxury sedan goes all the way till 140mph. Around 7000 over units were produced during her 7 years of existence.

Tomica Mercedes-Benz 450SEL, 1/67 (Made in Japan) vs Schuco Modell Mercedes-Benz 450SE, 1/66 (Made in Germany)

If I were to say Schuco Modell is the Tomica of Germany, I believe I will receive many nods around me. Both are quality toys made with passion in the 70s and are quite close in terms of scale. The only difference between Schuco and Tomica is that Tomica is scale down to fit into the standard Tomica sized box while Schuco has a standard scale of 1:66. They look similar sized because the Tomica has a scale of 1:67. The Tomica is packed into a slightly larger than matchbox size box with a beautiful illustration of the content while the Schuco is packed in a clear plastic case with engine specifications of the car. If you were to ask me, I will still prefer the Tomica packaging because of the nice illustration of the vehicle. For Schuco clear case box, it will be really nice to display the model but somehow, I still cannot figure out how to open the plastic case. Tomica wins Schuco by a slight margin.

Tomica 1: Schuco 0

Paint work of the Tomica scores over the Schuco. It's not a matter of the colour used on the Schuco. The green looks good but they used too much or should I say the paint work is too thick on the Schuco. The paint work has a few minor blots too. The Tomica has more colour variations and the paint is better work quality and evenly applied if compared to the Schuco. Tomica scores again here.
Tomica 2: Schuco 0

Both cars have same opening features. In this case, both front doors open. Please take notice at the Schuco that it has an oversized steering wheel and the steering wheel is part of the cast which is quite rare. I actually quite like it even though it is oversized. I will not grant a point for the Schuco because Tomica has done a equally good job on the interior too.

I always stressed that I like the Tomica button wheels but the Schuco "hub-cap" wheels looks even better. This is the standard wheels for Schuco and I should say that the wheels suit almost any car under the Schuco range. It has a more classic feel and "authentic" feel on the Mercedes-Benz. The size of the Schuco wheels is more proportionate too. It could be due to the button wheels are a tad too small and totally disappeared under the "huge" arch of the Tomica.
Tomica 2: Schuco 1

Since paint work was discussed earlier above, let's take a look at the fit quality. I have seen other Schuco Modell fit quality and I would use "superb" or "near perfection" on other Schuco models I have seen so far. I am a little disappointed when I saw this Schuco MB 450SE but it is still better than the Tomica MB 450SEL! Just look at the gaps on the doors and front grill on the Tomica vs the Schuco.
Tomica 2: Schuco 2

The Mercedes is a German car and the Tomica is just a Japanese made German car. So is this home ground advantage? I would say a definate yes in this case. The casting of the Schuco wins over the Tomica. The Schuco looks more Mercedes than the Tomica. It looks more correctly proportioned than the Tomica. Without looking at the front grill, the Schuco looks 100% Mercedes feel and more presence. If viewed from the rear, Hotwheels collectors might mistook the Tomica as a Cadillac or maybe a Toyota Century (if they know what is a Cadillac and a Century). The Tomica might have better defined body lines and cleaner details on its bonnet but I believe the Schuco will not score too far away if better paint was used. The Mercedes badge on the front grill on the Tomica is also a little too big compared to the Schuco.
Tomica 2: Schuco 3

The base of Schuco Modell is always interesting. There is basically engine specification, horse power, max. speed of the car. It is like playing Top Trumps using a toy car instead of a card. For this additional useful information, I am more than willing to give Schuco another point.
Tomica 2: Schuco 4

Schuco is a clear winner here but I do hope to show more Schuco Modell in future as there are better and nicer Schuco models compared to this MB 450SE. Tomica is no loser here but it has just met a stronger competitor. I will not be able to compare Schuco Japanese car as they only made European cars (mainly German cars) in the past. There will be more "face off" coming up but due to commitment in work, I will have lesser time on my blog. I will try to do another this month if my viewers like this "special" series I have done.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tomica 2010 Mar

Nissan Skyline SUV / Hatch?

Not again. Mitsubishi Bus

All pictures taken from TakaraTomy website:


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Aaron's Toy Room

I visited my friend's home on the first day of the new year. This is the "x" times I've been to his apartment but it's the first time I took some serious thoughts to take pictures of his collection and post into "Go! Go! Tomica". An hour was spent on taking at every corner of the room since it is totally filled up with treasures (diecast cars) from all over the world. Just to name a few, vintage cars coming from Great Britain, West Germany, Israel. Japan, Spain etc. The core collections are the retired Dinky, Corgis, Tomica/Dandy, Diapet, Lesney MB and many different makers which are really hard to find or almost unheard of. As mentioned that being been to his apartment "x" times, I still spend time to view the whole collections every visit and ask tonnes of questions about the history of the maker and car model which I am unsure of. My world used to be only limited to vintage Tomica but I have to admit that there are better made Tomica sized car out there which I might show case in future face off series. However, Tomica is still my favourite as I grew up with Tomica and the way of buying Tomica in the past is so different from today. I can still recall the times when I was brought to a Tomica store or counter to choose my own Tomica. It's the sentiments that cannot replace Tomica with any other diecast. This visit to Aaron is fruitful for me as I bought 2 cars from him. A Mandarin Chevy van and a Majorette Golf MK I. I might feature my Mandarin Toys in the near future as this Chevy van will be my 9th Mandarin diecast. These Mandarins are actually Made in Singapore in the 60s to the 70s, it's a part of Singapore toy history and our national "pride & joy" (ha ha). The Golf Mk I will likely be the next player in my face off series. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year to all fellow Tomicans