Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tomica vs Matchbox vs Kingstar - Nissan Fairlady 280Z-T S130

1978~1983 Nissan (Datsun) Fairlady 280ZX

Fairlady begins its life as early as 1959 in the form of a roadster. The roadster represented Fairlady in the first decade until the Z car came along in the early 70s. It was the 240Z and it hit it well in the America. This 2nd generation Z looks much muscular than the 240Z. I think that the headlights looks distinctive enough and nicer than its predecessor. The traditional long nose is also an attractive Fairlady trademark.

We have 3 cars with me today in this another Go! Go! Tomica comparo. We have the usual suspect, Tomica, together with Matchbox and Kingstar.


All 3 are housed in little paper boxes. I would say Tomica is being very consistent with its black and yellow box with a nice illustration of a real car. This Matchbox is a Japanese released so the box might look a little different from the regular ones. The box in blue looks rather familiar which reminds me of the Matchbox superfast series of the early 70s. Thumbs down for being lack of originality in design. If you are able to live past the shadows of resembling to Matchbox, I would say Kingstar is still a good buy. Well, at least it isn't pack in blister which is not really collector friendly.

My Preference on the boxes:

Tomica: 4.2 / 5

Matchbox: 4.0 / 5

Kingstar: 3.0 / 5

The Cars:

Obviously these are no Hotwheels as out of this world colour scheme and livery are not available here.

Matchbox 280Z, Scale 1/58, Made in Japan

Being the largest car here, it is also the car with the most mass here. It will be great if you intend to sell the car as scrap metal after getting tired of it. I think this is one of the criteria most of my collecting buddies consider. I always ask them if they actually buy them to scrap rather than collect. This car looks really spartan in a way. If this is a real Fairlady, this must be the base model. It should or could be better considering it is a Matchbox (rather than Kingstar) mainly the detailing on the bonnet if you put it side by side with the Tomica.

My Score: 3.5 / 5

Kingstar 280Z-T, Scale 1/60, Made in Korea

Although Kingstar is not in the same league with Matchbox and Tomica (in terms of pricing), I think it is a "reasonably priced car" that delivers better than a Welly or Yatming. The car has windows tinted in blue inclusive of its pair of headlights. It is a good intention but quite poorly presented although the other 2 cars do not have that feature. This is the only car here that include demister in the package. I supposed that is a luxury option in the 70s or early 80s? I still vaguely remember that the late 90s Thai built Toyota Soluna does without demister. This Kingstar is built at a budget like the Soluna except that it has a fake defroster.

My Score: 3.3 / 5

Tomica 280Z-T, Scale 1/61, Made in Japan

Tomica is the specialist in making Japanese cars. I almost take it for granted on that till I put it together with other makes like I usually do for my blog. The detailing especially the front of the car is so well done that it look so much like the real car from front 3/4 view. The overall profile of the Tomica is better proportioned as compared to the Matchbox and Kingstar.

My Score: 4.5 / 5

On The Move:
The Matchbox has a set of superfast wheels as its series say so. I have to say that I really hated this set of rims since I have my first Matchbox when I was a kid. I felt that justice is not done to the cars which are having these wheels design. They made the cars look very truck-like or van-like. They should have use the button wheels which are used in transition from Lesney to Superfast instead. The car does not really benefit from the set of superfast wheels in terms of acceleration. It moves like a truck if you head on with the Tomica and Kingstar.

Although I do not fancy Kingstar 8 spokes rims which is made up of triangles and squares but much better than the Matchbox. The Kingstar move swiftly but not smoothly, passengers will enjoy a bumpy ride as the car wobbles while on the move.

The Tomica moves willingly and smoothly in a straight line although not really fast like Hotwheels. Tomica is also the only one here that gives you a suspension. The suspensions of the other 2 cars are a tad too hard that it is as good as no suspension. I still prefer Tomica 5 spokes design wheels, don't really like the 4 spokes design. I know button wheels is a like it or hate it issue for some collectors (especially Hotwheels collectors).

My Score:
Tomica: 4.0 / 5
Kingstar: 3.0 / 5
Matchbox: 2.0 / 5

Build & Finish:

All cars has opening doors!!!! Ok, nothing to shout about.

Matchbox as traditionally is well build in general. It feels good to hold as you can see that they use more metal than other 2 cars here. Paint quality is average but follow closely to the cars they represented. I realised they hardly use metallic colours unlike Tomica in the 70s. I do understand that cars then do not have metallic colours. Nothing much serious to complain about this Matchbox expect on the detailing and the ugly wheels.

My Score: 3.5 / 5

I swear that I did not stick that onto the base of the Kingstar. It is really made in Korea (South). For a low asking price, I understand that it is build at a cost constrain. If Kingstar are still made today, they should be in the same market positioning as Maisto. The Kingstar beats any current Maisto 3 inches but Maisto still survives and Kingstar is dead.

My Score: 3.2 / 5

Tomica wins not just that it is built according to scale but to the right proportions too. I have to admit that some Tomica does look weird in a way. The other makers who are able to match that good qualities are the Schuco Modell and the Polistil RJ. No complains on this Tomica.

My Score: 4.0 / 5


Tomica ranks #1: (83.5%)

Matchbox ranks #2: (65.0%)

Kingstar ranks #3: (62.5%)


  1. interesting comparison...I have a Kingstar Ferrari Dino and came here looking as to the origin, it has no "Made in Korea" sticker on the base.

  2. is the base plastic for the tomica i have the 30th anniversary version made in araound the 00s and the base is flat out black plastic and is made in china