The next generation of super-exotics boasts greater capabilities that can shame hypercars of yore, befitting their role as technical demonstrators. They’ve also become difficult to contain in public roads. Good thing most of them are in 1:64—but even that is a problem, especially if two diecast makers run the same car.
For this year’s LaLD Car Week, I present to you the McLaren 720S, from both Hot Wheels and Tomica Basic.
Inspection Room reviews diecast models to see if they’re worth your time. So it makes sense to do comparison write-ups like this if the same car gets made by two diecast brands. The only problem is cost: it’s far easier to buy two different Hot Wheels than an example from a different brand—one that’s often more expensive.
This is why it took a while to do the 720S review: I waited for the Tomica release to come out in local stores and enough money on hand to buy it. Then there’s time: with multiple engagements in college, finding time to shoot and write the story is difficult, especially with school work and debate training.
But here it is at last: the first comparison review that pits two versions of the same car together. And it had to happen: unlike the Ford GT (which was a foregone conclusion), these two cars are evenly-matched.
And right out of the blister and box, there’s a problem. Having stared at Mattel’s 720S by itself, I couldn’t tell what was wrong with the body, as much as I can sense it. Only when I saw the Tomica version did it click: there was something weird about the former’s proportions that don’t exist in the latter. For some reason, the Tomica seems to ride lower, even with the suspension system. Finally: why J5s? I know later recolours eventually used 10SP wheels but these shoes don’t do the car much justice—it’s better off with anonymous Tomica Sport wheels.
There’s more: the intakes and headlamps (while unpainted) on the Tomica are deeper, as though it has actual holes. The cabin feels glassier, too, and has real pillars, unlike the HW version. Certainly, Tomica has a more robust construction. The body lines, however, do check out for both. Just.
Here’s where the Tomica begins to pull away: detail. From the top alone, Takara Tomy has shown its strengths: the roof alone conveys more of the car than Mattel’s version, thanks to the pristine plexiglass they used that shows the interior splendidly. Then we turn to the intakes.
Most every part of the 720S that’s supposed to be black I had to shade in with a marker, with results that show the incompatibility between the paint and Sharpie ink. The headlights are there but aren’t accurately-applied, leaving much orange space to be filled in.
There are no such problems with Tomica’s rendition, though I kind of wish they still snuck in some silver inside the headlamp/intake area and some red in the taillamp area. Besides those minor gripes (and some movement on the rear window), Tomica’s paintwork seems much closer to the real thing than HW.
What will seal the deal is functionality and play value. Scale counts less here—even at 1:62, the Tomica isn’t really big enough compared to the HW. While I reckon Hot Wheels’ 720S is faster on orange track, the suspension on the Tomica is more reflective of the damping the real car has. And the latter is just more fun to take pictures with—it looks more real.
At Php250, the Tomica is twice as expensive as HW, but considering the superlative quality, you get your money’s worth on this rather than two of the same 720S from Mattel. A more mint Tomica 720S holds more of its value in the secondary market, too, so it’s possible to profit by flipping an unopened example.
Tomica simply did it better in every way. From front to back and roof to base, their 720S is the one that’s much closer to a replica of the real car, even if it isn’t truly 1:64. Hot Wheels’ casting, for its cost, is admirable, but it’s obvious that some corners needed cutting to keep the model in the mainline. Frankly, the only thing the Tomica needs are 10SP wheels. Other than that, Japan wins this fight. Tomica’s McLaren 720S is on top.
So concludes the first versus feature for Inspection Room and the last for the weekday. After another break, I’ll return not with a review, but a pair of short fiction stories featuring cars from my collection.
Thank you for reading!