Tomica have really been pumping out the releases lately - and still are going. So I’ve had a hard time keeping up. Ordering was the easy bit - paying for it a lot harder. Finding the time to DLM, photograph and review the lot very difficult. There’s still stuff lying around unopened, un-looked at, and in order to fix that, I am making this a “New Tomica Weekend”.
So here goes - the stuff first that I most anticipated - the new Premium line. Three of the six releases have reached me this week - three more are still on their way and should get here in a week or two.
Let’s start with the Lotus Europa Special (or “JPS” as it was unofficially known).
The first question everyone has: Is it the same casting as the old Regular or Limited version? The quick answer here is - no, it is not.
It lacks the opening engine bay of the original and is completely different in many ways. It’s just that...I can’t really decide if it is better or worse.
The lines are crisp, the tampos are sharp and spot on, the wheels look great (though still a step removed from TLV quality). It has a working suspension - and all that for the price of JPY 680 (about US$ 6.50). Not bad. It is just that there is one drawback, which you can’t see in the photos, but...
Let me put it this way - when I picked up the box, I thought they had forgotten to put the model inside. It was that light. Very light. Like picking up an empty Tomica box. So I open it and the model is in there - it just weighs about 0.000005 grams. I double checked again - nothing missing. I check if it’s made from metal - the answer is “probably yes” - it’s just eggshell thin. Eggshell, that sums up the tactile experience. I happened to have an AutoWorld Wagon sitting on my desk when I was opening this. In terms of feel, they are polar opposite. This just feels and even sounds flimsy when you roll it around.
And - ooops - the engine sprung a leak immediately!
Only kidding, of course. But it wouldn’t have surprised me if it did. So is it worth it? At HLJ prices, it’s a nice thing to look at. Just don’t touch it. I see them now on ebay selling for 20 bucks - at that price, I wouldn’t go near it. You’d be better off springing the extra few Dollars and get yourself the “Limited” casting if you can find one at a good price. And so I open the next model...
何だ一体? But of course, it’s an easy to assemble model of the JAXA Hayabusa 2 space probe. Any 5-year old can put this together in a minute - which explains why it takes me ages after I got it wrong in the first place. But once done, it actually looks very nice.
The irony here is that it’s a fair bit heavier than the Lotus! The gold part is quite a solid lump of metal!
And on to model number three - another very solid, heavy piece...
Now, I don’t go out of my way to collect military pieces, but I don’t shy away from them either. And as far as the art of model making goes, this one is a winner for me. Tomica have made a range of military stuff over the years - and all good quality pieces. They included a range of tanks in the 70s, which are now very hard to find, and expensive when they come up for sale.
“What the...?” really is one of the FAQs when it comes to collecting Tomica - and why they chose to include a Space Probe and a Tank in their first release of a new line really is beyond me. But I’m thinking they want to showcase Japanese technology. Which doesn’t really explain the Lotus, though.
So - I am waiting with basted breasts on the other three Premium models - the Skyline, the Tuner RX7 and the Morita Fire Engine. But if you enjoyed this post, please do stay tuned for more beautiful, strange, and downright bizarre Tomica arrivals which I will post this weekend.
Just remember - Tomica is like Curry flavoured Lemonade and Candied Octopus - it’s a Japanese thing, and we may just not understand...