Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Toy Car Shopping in Mumbai

My shopping is usually done after dark and I do not have the luxury to shop everyday except till last day of my business trip. Imagine going customers to customer under the heat and the heaviest jam I ever seen. In addition, I am wrapped in a suit. Just can't wait to go back to hotel after dinner. So, please pardon for above photo captured in the dark. The shop in the photo is a typical Indian toy or gift shop which I found a white Ambassador Classic.

In the shop, you will find toys store in glass display which is quite nice and neat despite most or all toys are made of plastic (if you haven't realised).

A toy shop found in Colaba known as Souvenirs. I thought they are selling souvenirs because I saw the big "Souvenirs" signboard and walked towards it. Oh, it's a toy shop and I was attracted by their Caterpillar display of trucks. They sell Lego, Hotwheels, Matchbox, some diecast toys, plastic Indian toy cars, PS games etc.

Some Hotwheels bought in Souvenirs

The yellow diecast metal Porsche 911 Safety car bought in Souvenirs. The rest of the plastic toy cars are bought in Colaba night market. Didn't buy many toy cars this time because I have no space for more already. See you next year, Mumbai.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kombie in Mumbai - India

Kombie goes to an Indian restaurant and we have vegetarian food..... Ok, I have beer, so not full vegetarian.

Kombie looking out of window from my hotel room. We stayed in Le Royal Meridien. Great hotel, one of the best in service I have ever stayed.

Kombie at Gateway of India. Historical!

Me, Kombie and background is the famous Taj Mahal Hotel.

My friend, Gupta, Kombie and Gateway of India.

Kombie parking near Taj Mahal Hotel. Looks grand isn't it?

Kombie traveling with me everyday to work in a Chevrolet Tavara.

Mumbai is the City of horns. Featuring Kombie at very last minute.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tomy Pocket Cars Commercial

Tomy Pocket Cars advertisement in the early 80s when they enter the America market. It's a shame that they didn't succeed. Tomica is re-entering US and Europe this year. Sincerely hope that they will make it this time and hopefully will revive the F-Series.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

World of Imitation Tomica

We may be living in the Tomica world but do you think that we are really alone? Ever seen a Tomica which trying to look like one but it just isn't one. Or have you encountered Tomica that are pack in a "special" packaging which you might thought it is a foreign packing. Or..... have you ever pick up a Tomica which you thought that comes from a special series and they are look so "unique" that you actually thought that it was a custom piece. If you have seen one (or not), welcome to the world of imitation Tomica.

A&L (Aoli):
The vehicles look exactly the same as Tomica and they come in pack of 4. A&L are made in China and they are the imitation Tomica of recent years. Though they look exactly the same as a Tomica, the quality isn't. Each set cost approximately US$9.00 (cheaper than the real stuff by approximate half) and I think they overprice it considering that there is almost zero research, development and design of the toy cars. Oops....Sorry, let me rephrase it, there is some design done by the Chinese like the theme (Fire Rescue series etc), the color scheme of the vehicles, the packaging and the imprints found on the vehicle. Where in this world can you find a "Tomica" imprinted with Chinese characters and yet they doesn't exist at all in the real world. You can't buy these "Tomica" anywhere too because these are the "domestic" series (they aren't available elsewhere except China).

Look at this! How lucky I am to have an error Aoli on my first purchase.

Aoli Toyota Harrier City Rescue Service car

Aoli Mitsubishi Pajero Fire Chief car

Aoli Nissan Fairlady 300ZX Firebolt Rescue Service car

The base is different from Tomica, if they manufacture a base with "A&L" or "Aoli" trademark, Aoli might cost more than Tomica.

I just bought one out of the many sets they have. Linglibao copied many of the Tomica giftset. Do you find this postal service set familiar in the Tomica range? The plastic used on Linglibao are of the lowest grade (same goes for the box) as plastic parts of the bike broke when I open it in my hotel, could be due to mishandling by Toy'R'Us staff (I think that is where I bought this set). A few sets I saw in the shop do contain broken parts too. They cost slightly more than Aoli. Skip this totally and save for that ugly wheels.

Winner made imitation Tomica and Schuco. These are made in Hong Kong in the 70s. Almost all toys are made in Hong Kong then and they are producing toys in full throttle like what China is doing today. Winners are the best and most worthy to collect imitation Tomica. The quality is definately made at a budget but they are better than current day Tomica. Why? Obvious reason Winner is using the same cast as Tomica and Schuco without much modification done. Take note that the Winner still carries the "Schuco" on its registration plate. The difference is the color variation and all Winner keep their doors shut although the Tomica Celica below does open its doors. Cost saving is a first priority for imit Tomica.

Authentic Tomica Toyota Celica LB2000GT

Winner Toyota Celica LB2000GT

Authentic Schuco Opel Commodore

Winner Opel Commodore

Most collectors should know Yatming of Hong Kong. I remember they were sold in provision shops packed in blister or as a loose car at $1.00 each then. The good news about Yatming if you happen to like them, they aren't exactly costly to buy. The bad news is they are still worth $1.00 after 30 years (actually to be fair to Yatming, usually goes for $1.00 to $3.00 each).

The earlier Yatming were mainly copies of Tomica but they started to have different models which Tomica doesn't have in the 80s. The quality isn't great. I remembered buying a Yatming Civic (Green car with black strips I think) from nearby Indian provision store, excitedly open the blister. After 5 minutes of play (I might be rough), the front bumper drop off. I was a little disappointed as I like hatchbacks since young. It's sad to see the toy car lost its bumper.

Yatming were also produced in Thailand and China when Hong Kong becomes expensive to produce budget toys for children. That is when the quality dropped another notch. Base of Yatming the same as the Tomica but crude.

Authentic Tomica Fiat X1/9

Unknown Fiat X1/9

No name on its base. The car is the same except for the base, wheels and of course the material that made it. I once had a Bluebird SSS 1800 which I believed belong to this same maker like the Fiat above. I know the Bluebird and the Fiat are from the same maker because the wheels are the same. I have little fun with this "Fake Tomica" because the wheels are "rubbery" which doesn't allow me the drift, skid, accelerate the car while playing on the floor. The "Fake Tomica" doesn't comes with suspension too so the car had zero fun factor. I am also puzzled why the blue car number plate is CF305 (CF305 is their code number like Tomica F-28 for example) while Tomica has "Fiat" on the licence plate. I been thinking what CF stands for? "Copy Fiat", "Charming Foreign", "Creating Fakes". I saw some in eBay but they are not cheap and sold by a German seller. How on earth did these cars get there?

The base and bumper (one piece) of the imit Tomica is not made of metal. It looks like plastic coated with chrome paint. The chrome fades badly through the years of playing. Tomica shines brightly with smile in un-played condition. Although not really perfect, I do hope to buy the Bluebird I once had then.

I believe there are other imit Tomica which I haven't seen yet. Anybody heard of "TakWo"? I saw it in some website, they look like Tomica but less details. Anyone who has one can sell it to me? I am also looking for other Hong Kong made imit Tomica (except Yatming). Anyone who willing to let go to someone who will give the car a good home, please contact me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tomica vs Mandarin - Honda 1300 Coupe

Honda began as a motorcycle builder. They do want a share of Toyota and Datsun too so this is the first ever proper car from Honda (Sedan and Coupe). Before any Civic or Accord is known, this is the Honda 1300. The most distinctive feature from this car must be the front grill, I believed it is inspired by American cars which look similar to some old American cars in my opinion. Pontiac or Cadillac? Anyone could enlighten me?

Tomica Honda 1300 Coupe, 1/60, Made in Japan
Mandarin Honda 1300 Coupe, Made in Singapore
Scale unknown (Approx 1/55)

First of all, I like to thank my friend, Jeff, who send me this Mandarin from USA. Finally this Singapore made Honda has finally return to her mother land after 35 years (or more, I guessed). I like it very much and this is the first Mandarin car I have. I have 7 Mandarin planes, 1 Tank, 1 van and 1 bus. 1 Mandarin Bus was given to a friend in Hong Kong, the "boss" of Ken's Garage. He like Mandarin Londoner very much. He restored it to make it look like a vintage Hong Kong bus.

Initially I thought that the Mandarin Honda is a Tomica copy but when I took the Tomica Honda from the 1998 Tomica Vintage Gift set, it looked like a dwarf beside the green car. I am sure the Mandarin must be a copy and I am thinking Playart (or Dinky Hong Kong). The doors on the green car looked like they could open but they couldn't. Copies diecast in the past wanted to save some cost so most copies had no opening parts. Again, anyone could enlighten me and to tell me more on Mandarin Toys history.

Both cars are metal base and the Mandarin base looked like Tomica base. Tomica base and Playart body? I am puzzled now.

There is not much of a problem for the Tomica so let me just touch on Mandarin. Crude is the word to use but the charm of the Mandarin scores much higher than the Tomica.

Uneven gaps on the front grill, shutlines too big.
The paint work uneven. The wheel is not bent but not fitted properly into the "tyres".

I would like to compliment on the hub caps of the Mandarin. It look nice for a 70s car and reminds me of the Datsun Sunny 1200 (early 70s, Singapore number plate "EE" series if I still remember) which my tutor send me home after my tuition in late 80s.

I have to admit that the Tomica beats the Mandarin in terms of quality despite using a re-issue of 1998 Tomica. The charm of the old Mandarin toy is totally irresistible for me. This is the one of the best car I received this year.

Other Mandarin Toys:
I been collecting photos of collectors who had Mandarin. I forgotten where I have got these photos so I am unable to ask permission of the owners. Owners of the photos who bumped into my blog, please contact me if you want me to take them off. email: bonu@starhub.net.sg

Mandarin Toyota Corona MK II (Dark Blue)
Mandarin Toyota 2000GT (Silver with Playart wheels)
Mandarin Chevrolet Stingray (Looks like a Dinky)
Mandarin Toyota Celica 1600GT
Mandarin Nissan Skyline belong to big brother (Aaron) as Pooh call him. He still has another yellow Ferrari made by Mandarin but I forgot to take the picture.

Anyone who has got a Mandarin Toy, please take a photo and send to me so that I can add here for reference. If you like to trade with me, I welcome that too but car must not have missing parts c8 condition and above (preferred depending on model)