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.


  1. Wow, it's my 1st time to see this casting from Tomica, I never knew they had this. Thanks for sharing Jedi.

  2. Hi Jovet, Tomica actually release quite a number of nice foreign cars in the past. They should continue foreign cars series in my opinion.

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