Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars

A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others

I’ll start off with a spoiler photo before I bore you with a story. These cases have been shared on LaLD before but I haven’t heard of anyone else use them for Tomica boxes.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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When I first started collecting again, I was getting ready to come home with three Tomica Nissan R34/R35 GT-Rs. And I needed a way to display them. One really cool item I came across was this Tomica Display Square that I found at AEON, a department store in Asia.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
Image: Stock photo from Rakuten
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It was almost perfect for what I needed. I took a closer look at the pictures on the box and noticed there was an example on how to use the display.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
Image: Stock photo from Amazon.co.jp
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Three Tomica cars plus their boxes displayed on the side? Perfect, nice and fancy with the box like those professional in-store displays at department stores! [Why can’t we have nice things like those here in the US?] Why didn’t I bring it home? Eh, I’m not paying 20 bucks to display three little cars. At least it inspired an idea of what I wanted to find back home.

I always felt like display cases shouldn’t cost more than a dollar per car to display because why should I pay more for the display case for Hot Wheels than the Hot Wheels itself? I had a feeling there’d at least be something at a dollar store or toy fair but no luck. So I just about gave up. Hobby Lobby had these $16 Auto World 6-compartment display cases so I decided to swing by my local store for that and save on shipping.

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Then I discovered this. [Along with their legendary 40% coupon because I’m cheap a thrifty shopper.]

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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So for $4.79+tax, I went home and did this. Under a dollar a piece and fits like a glove!

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Lots of ways to play around with them.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others

I like them even more when stacked.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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And sandwiched.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Fast-forward the collection a few months.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Works with Matchbox Power Grabs too.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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And obviously TLV.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Tarmac Works x Greenlight colabs too. But they’re a bit tight so you’ll need a thin ruler to wedge it back out. Global64 boxes fit better but they’re a bit plain.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Sadly these Matchbox Globe Travelers are a wee too tall. Will come back to this topic later. And Auto World boxes are too long.

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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Fast-forwarding the main display again but prior to a massive hawl (and display overhaul).

Illustration for article titled A display case for Tomica, Matchbox, Tarmac Works, and others
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I really like how displaying with the boxes gives the feel of a toy shop or archival museum display. They stack well but once it gets too tall, you’ll probably need something to hold these together in case it falls over. I’ll share my way of doing it at a later time. They’re not as solid as say a one piece 30-144 car display but they’re great for small collections and start off more affordable. Plus there’s some flexibility to shuffle them around once your collection begins to grow.

They’ve since raised the price by $1 at Hobby Lobby (or $0.60 rather after coupon, so 10 cents per case) but it’s still under $1 per car to display. You can stop by and try to pick up a pack a day with the coupon, assuming they’re in stock. Or you could get them in bulk directly from the manufacturer and split a case with your HWEP buddies.

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Hope these cases inspire some Tomica and Matchbox collectors out there with new ideas!

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