Denshitoakuma wa shihai no tame ni tatakaimashita.
And for the next three years, their battle defined the new era of Super GT, one that took the GT500 class further beyond its already super-powered legacy. The same can be said of the toys shown above: a sign that one model-maker still has what it takes to be the best in the mid-range market.
Presented for the LaLD audience: Super GT GT500 racers from Nissan and Lexus, as built by Tomica.
As part of the debut year for Tomica Premium, the championship-winning Lexus RC F GT500 came out as the first machine representing the proto-Class One era of Super GT’s top division in this label and price point. With over 600hp and wearing arguably the second-fastest tyre compound in closed-top racing, this generation of SGT500 cars was setting qualifying times at LMP1 race pace, and looked mean doing it.
The Nissan GT-R GT500 looked even meaner in its 2018 iteration, as replicated for Basic. They were faster, too, although this manufacturer saw no further success with the GT-R after 2015. Together, the Lexus and Nissan arrived in Tomica as the most recent SGT models, continuing a legacy that started well in the 2000s.
And now, I’m reviewing them. Not against each other, but on their own, before putting them together to see where Takara-Tomy stands today.
First off: the GT-R. GoGoTomica declared it the best Tomica of 2018, a high honour considering the Honda CBR Fireblade 1000RR, LaFerrari and 488 GTB were in the lineup. And at first glance, it’s easy to see why: not only is it far more functional than the 2008-2014 Nissan GT-R GT500 model, it’s packed with even more detail from the splitter to the diffuser; details accurate to the real thing.
The stance is better, too: it’s properly low thanks to a lack of suspension functionality, but it’s not missed as much here. Not when its doors can open, showing a fully-featured interior, and close almost seamlessly with a satisfying sound to boot. Admittedly, I’m a little bummed that it doesn’t have a driver mould like the old one, yet it doesn’t detract from the overall package.
It’s the rear wing that smears an otherwise excellent casting. The soft rubber/plastic rear wing is misaligned and badly-formed, almost melting in the Manila sun. I’ve repeatedly tried fixing it with the hot/cold water solution but it’s still all wrong—the wing plane is uneven relative to the pylons, and simply cannot be mended straight no matter how many times I try.
That’s why it’s not ranked as high as I would have liked in my Best Of list: this sort of decision proved to be the car’s Achilles’ heel. Not the just-missed-it 1:65 scale, easily-chipped paint or the fact that its black paint is a little too deep (and all the fun liveries are exclusives that are way out of my reach)—the wing should have been built more solidly. They’re capable of it.
And you can see it here, in the mid-range Premium casting of the rivalling Lexus RC F GT500. Why? Because it’s a detachable part of the model. Naturally, with the wing built like this, there’s a compromise: no space on the swan-neck pylons.
I’m not complaining, though, not when the removable wing means I get, essentially, a widebody RC F tuner. And the 1:63 Lexus succeeds in more ways than one over the GT-R: from its cleaner, more durable white paint to the stunning silver livery treatment, and even actual spokes on the wheels (whose tyres have cutouts on them).
Everything else, all things considered, is equal. Well, not the doors—the ones on the Lexus stays shut forever. But with actual suspension travel, it’s every bit as accurate and robust as the GT-R, with enough room for possible configurations.
But that’s the expectation for the Php200-dearer Premium, though it’s hard to truly gauge its value considering I got this model cheaply on the secondary market (to about the same price as a new Basic in ‘18/’19). Which leads to the final box on the scrutineering checklist.
I purchased both models for Php250 each. That’s a massive bargain for Premium, even for an older issue, but it only feels like I got my money’s worth. That’s enough for me, but I feel like I got the RC F at a time when TomiPrem has yet to hit its stride, and it shows in some aspects of the model’s body detail and compromised wing.
On the other hand, the wing on the GT-R felt too finicky and fragile, a sharp contrast to the rest of the car and a massive liability in both play and display contexts. It’s hard to appreciate this model knowing that there will always be angles where it looks wrong, even if there’s so much to love about it.
Still, I can’t ask for much more than slight improvements. That’s a testament to how far Tomica has come in the past five years. Just one QC error in one example (I’ve seen straighter wings) and it’s not like I’d rate either car lowly. The RC F GT500 was king last year for me—it superseded all the other GT racers in my stable, and until I can get my hands on the BRZ GT300 (or until Tomica makes the New NSX-GT GT500), the RC-F will continue ruling the roost, with the GT-R GT500 lurking behind in the shadows, much like its real-life counterparts did in the Class One era.
So concludes my LaLD Car Week. And for once, I got through it without rushing the write-ups. But in truth, I’ve only just begun. With the right scheduling and time budgeting, I aim to put out at most three feature a week both on Kinja (because I just love my large-format shots) and on DriveTribe until the metro-wide quarantine is lifted (or at least until regular, in-person classes resume. Here’s to LaLD, and more excellent die-casts.
Thank you for reading!