Today I received my first ever Tarmac Works model in the mail, the 2016 Honda Civic Type R. It’s a beauty and I will definitely be after more from Tarmac Works in the future. However, this addition present a surprisingly uncommon scenario to me- the Tarmac Works has a nearly identical specification to another 1/64 Civic Type R in my collection, the recently released Hot Wheels. So, naturally, they need to be compared!
As you can see, even down to the wheels these things are pretty much identically spec’d out. The only real difference is that the Hot Wheels is left hand drive while the Tarmac Works is right hand drive. They even both have the OEM style black wheels with a red rim.
Honestly, the biggest takeaway I had comparing these two models is that the Hot Wheels is very, very good once you consider price. Looking at the details, it lacks a few specifics but has most of the important things included. Things like the black door handle, spoiler, and mirrors are missing from the Hot Wheels. It also has parts bin wheels like every mainline, but even those are a good approximation of the real thing. We also see a solid red interior on the Hot Wheels, which looks nice but is not correct like the Tarmac Works’ mostly black interior with red seats and trim. Other than these minor things, the Hot Wheels is excellent. The tampo stamps are clear and accurate and there enough of them- more than I’d expect from a mainline at this point, to be honest. And it’s close enough to actual 1/64, which is not always a given with Mattel.
But make no mistake, the Tarmac Works version is far superior. It has all the trimmings you would expect considering its price and is thoroughly well executed. Multiple pieces for the spoiler and mirrors, jeweled lights, correct wheels with rubber tires...it’s all there. Additionally, the casting itself is more accurate, particularly in rear fender flare area. To top it off, the Tarmac Works car has no defects, which is more than you can say for the vast majority of Hot Wheels cars these days. Of course, that comes down to a car-by-car basis, so your mileage may vary there.
The Tarmac Works is $20 USD+ shipping, unless you’re lucky enough to have a brick and mortar store local to you that carries it. Probably not, and if so, it may charge more than $20. Meanwhile, the Hot Wheels can be had at your local big box store for under $1. The Tarmac Works is a collector’s item, the Hot Wheels a toy. A damn good toy, but a toy nonetheless. At the end of the day here, we have two excellent pieces that serve their intended purposes extremely well. If you want a collector piece and don’t mind the cost, the Tarmac Works is the way to go. If you want something a little more durable or don’t like spending double-digits on 1/64, the Hot Wheels is also a great replica of this car and will fit nicely in your collection.
Of course, if you’re like me, you just want both of them. That’s ok too. They’re each well worth their respective cost.