Sunday, February 24, 2013

Diapet Cherica 100 - Honda Civic

I decided to feature the first generation Honda Civic because most people I know of only focus on EG6, EK9, FD2 etc. This car deserve some credits and respect because this is the car which puts Honda on the world map. To pay tribute to the first Civic and Diapet Cherica, I picked a rare Civic made by Yonezawa.   

In the 1970s, the Honda Civic is just a humble runabout. It was also introduced at the right time because the world is experiencing an oil crisis. Japanese compact cars became an instant hit for being more practical than huge American guzzlers. The Kenmeri GTR was not spared for this crisis either resulting in only 197 units produced. If you are asking if there is a Type R variant, Type R only came into the scene some 20 years later.

So.... what is Cherica 100?

Cherica is a series under the Diapet range and produced by Yonezawa. There is Cherica 80 which I featured in my blog from time to time because they are closer to my collecting scope. Cherica 80 means that it is a Cherica which is able to fit into a 80mm box. Cherica 100 will be for cars up to 100mm. The Cherica 100 range of cars are based on Japanese compact cars. I have 3 pieces in my collection so far which includes a Subaru Leone and a Mitsubishi Minicar. Cherica 80 & 100 is a short lived series in the Diapet range so they are getting rare these day. I don't see many of these last year in Japan compared to I first visit Japan 7 years ago.

To show the difference in size of the 80 and 100, I place them together to have a better comparison. The Cherica 100 is larger than any regular Diapet and Dandy. Cherica is a series which I demand to be mint in box unless the loose car is reasonable enough to justify. To find a empty box for Cherica is really hard comparing to a Tomica box (repro excluded). I urged those who are still producing repro box to sell in eBay to stop doing that. Real collectors only appreciate original. We do not want people buying them and sell their loose Tomica as mint in original box.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Toyota Corolla Levin 1600GTV (II ADO & K-two)

I always wanted to buy this variant of the Corolla Levin AE86. The main reason for doing so as I like the match of RS Watanabe 8 spoke rims on the Levin and I just love collecting Corolla. Ironically, Corolla is also a car which will never appear on my list when shopping for a car (I mean real car) unless it is a KE35 and yellow.

I bought not one but two Levin. This is a limited edition made by II ADO (left) while the Levin on the right is made by II ADO too but a special edition custom by K-two (300 pcs only). The K-two variant received a TRD sun visor, rear GTV nomenclature and painted rear lights.

Watanabe sport rims, something you do not see on a normal day Tomica. I have seen other toy companies making AE86 in their product line but none is as charming as the Tomica. The closest competitor might be the Corgi but it is a larger scale toy which I always refrain from buying them unless I couldn't resist their charm. If I got my facts right, Tomica (TLV not included) had made the KE25, KE35, E80 Sedan, Levin AE86 3 doors Liftback, AE86 2 doors Coupe, '84 Sprinter Carib Wagon (Tercel in some market), Corolla Spacio E110, Corolla Axio E140 and the current E160 Corolla Axio Fielder. I have almost all casting with exception of the current Fielder. I hope Tomica will continue to produce future Corolla models.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kahla International - Toyota FT86

Toyota FT86 Special Custom by Kahla International

I came across Kahla International some years ago as I buy my Tomica from Japan frequently. Just some time ago, I saw a set of 370Z in Ken's Garage custom by Kahla. I was interested in the Red Bull 370Z only but Ken is not selling the cars individually. I gave it a miss as I am not prepared to pay premium for Tomica which are not considered "official" by Takara Tomy. Kahla International is a custom shop based in Japan. All the Kahla Tomica are based on existing current release and heard that each design is only limited to 300 pieces. I need someone who knows about Kahla to confirm the actual quantity. I have to say that the tempos are professionally custom to look more than original. I decided to hang on till a Tomica model which I felt is worthy for me to cash on. Last week, I saw a Kahla Toyota 86 and decided to buy my first Kahla Tomica. The Kahla Toyota FT86 arrived from Japan yesterday together with many Tomica. I have the chance to get different designs of custom Toyota FT86 while I was in Wonderland in Yokohama last December but I was too engrossed with vintage and rare toy cars you can't get in Singapore and some are  hard to come by even in eBay. I could have completed my variant collection in December (minus the TL Toyota 86 as it was just launched the day before Wonderland) but honestly speaking I was having second thoughts then, measuring between custom new toys and vintage rare cars. This FT86 is nice but I still prefer the Red Bull 370Z. Will I buy another Kahla? Why not? But, selectively.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nissan Tiida / Latio

Special Edition Tomica released by Tomica and Nissan in 2009.

Made in China, Scale 1/60

This is not a regular release Tomica. You can't buy it off the shelve.

I believe many Latio owners in Singapore who are reading this by now wanted one too. It was a total sold out few years ago.

Tomica Nissan Tiida set released by Nissan in 2009.

I believe Nissan has close relationship with Tomica. They have been producing factory visit free gift in special colour / box for most Nissan models. Tomica also produced Nissan Atlas which is not a regular release. Beside Tiida produced in multi colours, there are the Cube and the Note in a set of 8 as well. I have asked my friend in Japan to help me on these Tiida sets in 2009 but I was too slow. All sets are snap up almost immediately. It was retailed by Nissan Japan for 7000yen per set and the price appreciate fast within very short time. If you are lucky, you might be able to find some loose pieces in Japan. The loose cars are usually priced from 1800~3000yen today but most are 2500yen and above. If you see one selling at 2000yen, grab it. 1 down, 7 more to hunt.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Go! Go! Tomica Facebook Group

Dear Friends,

I have created a "Go! Go! Tomica" Facebook page on 22nd January 2013. I like to welcome friends who like Tomica to join in our group discussion. You may show us your collection or even toy cars you have hauled in flea market. I am unable to link my group to my blog at the moment. Perhaps you can do a search in Facebook for "Go! Go! Tomica".

Updated: 22nd April 2014
If you like to join my group, please drop me a mail, juliansclim@hotmail.com, I will not add you unless I receive an email from you. I have too many inactive members who requested to join but never communicate.

Julian of Go! Go! Tomica

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Tomica Memories - Wind-Up Pump

I found this while I was doing my toy car hunting in Tokyo last December. I had one when I was 5 or 6 and it is one of my most played with toys.

I did not know that there are 5 different toys in this series. I will have to get the other 4 to complete my collection.

This is an accessory in the Tomy Tomica series years ago. I can't remember who bought this for me and I don't have the box as well. I thrown all my boxes after getting the contents in it, I believe most of you did the same too then. Pumping petrol in the kiosk is always a fun experience for me whenever my father refuelled his car. Fun as I am allow to buy candies in the mini mart at the kiosk. The station would also give out free gifts if there was a promotion, we had toy cars, Esso Tiger coin bank and stuff I can't recall. This toy enables me to drive my Tomica for refueling. It is a fascinating toy for me then because it is a wind-up toy and in the mean time there is a "ON-OFF" button. "ON-OFF" button (to me then) is only found on battery operated toys. This is one unique feature which toys today don't make anymore. I realised that most Tomica accessories such as their town set even till today, Tomy still tried to instill some fun into their toys. I almost wanted to buy a town set today but it's Chinese New Year now. I should be clearing my old stuff and not buying more new ones.

The Mini Cooper is not included in the package. Just took one from my collection to revive my good old memories playing with this toy pump.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tomica Collector On Taiwanese TV Program

Found this online when I was randomly going through the website for Tomica. 
Above as part 1 and below as part 2.

I will summarise the interview if you do not understand Mandarin. This collector has been collecting Tomica for 4 years (as of the aired date). He is showing a small portion of his collection as his collection is around 1000 pcs. Most of his Tomica are bought in Internet auction or through friends who travels to Japan. He mentioned that the Tomica Bluebird SSS is made in Japan and 41 years of age. Seriously, the SSS looked more like a gift set car issued in 1999 or 2000 not really a vintage. The TV producer should have make sure all information are accurate before airing the program. His most expensive Tomica are the military vehicles in domestic black box which cost about NT3000.00 (USD100.00). He like to custom his own toy car and making architecture buildings. He likes old buildings and appreciate cultures of Taiwan so he made paper building which is suitable for diorama use. His creation went into production eventually. I bought his creation when I was in Taiwan last year. 

I still keep these paper houses untouched in their original packing because I don't have space to build them for display. As the packaging has Tomica in the cover, I bought them almost immediately. This is the scale I have been looking for since most houses or buildings are HO scale instead.

Monday, February 4, 2013

How Tomica Save My Life

This is not a childhood memory but it is part of growing up. Many people do not know some of my Tomica stories, not even close friends. As I was chatting with Martin, owner of "It's All About Cars", from The Philippines, he told me that Tomica actually save his life. Somehow, Tomica did save mine too. To be a little precise, Tomica help me to be who I am today in my career life.

I started working as a sales engineer in a safety instrument company in my early 20s. I had to travel within Singapore island to meet all the safety officer from all area of industries. I appreciate that my previous employer gave me a chance for the position although I had no working experience and no mode of transport. Initially, I had to depend on my colleague to send me to the customer's site but I do not want to create any inconveniences to him. I tried taking cabs to my destinations instead for the rest of the first month. I thought to myself that I can't go on doing this without a vehicle but how can I afford a car if I have no savings. I told my parents that I will get a car but they are furious that they asked me to resign instead.

At that time, I was also a seller in eBay and was selling mainly regular Tomica in order to fund my cravings for vintage ones. If I recalled it well, I sold a Tomica Falken Toyota Supra online and someone wanted this model in multiples. The buyer was from Hong Kong and he was a famous Tomica collector in Hong Kong as well. I was following his Tomica website then. Some who collect Tomica long enough should know him. I like he named his website as "busybeetoys" and I was a close follower then. I called up the store, reserve 100 pcs and I drove my manager's car to collect the Falken Supras. I pack all cars and off they flew to Hong Kong. I made some quick cash from this deal and combined my new drawn salary the following month, I found myself in the used car centre ready to hunt for the right car. Eventually I bought a 8 year old compact hatchback as my first ride. I had to hide this car for 2 months before my parents discovered it.

Some 8 or 9 years later, I decided to thank him personally and made a trip to his showroom in Hong Kong. He told me that he stopped buying the new Tomica as the quality was disappointing. He sold a big portion of his collection as well. I was kind of sad to hear that. I told him that I like the Tomica HK taxi he produced and was still looking for the earlier Cedric which they nicknamed it "shark head". I told him my purpose of visit. He was surprised that he has indirectly helped me by buying a hundred Falken Supras from me. This Tomica model started my career in my life and he indirectly became my saviour in life. He is now a distributor for a brand of model car.

Thank you Falken Supra and thank you, Danny.