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)

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