Tomica Weekend Part 1 - the new Premium Line

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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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And - ooops - the engine sprung a leak immediately!

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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...

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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.

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The irony here is that it’s a fair bit heavier than the Lotus! The gold part is quite a solid lump of metal!

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And on to model number three - another very solid, heavy piece...

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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.

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“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.

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Just remember - Tomica is like Curry flavoured Lemonade and Candied Octopus - it’s a Japanese thing, and we may just not understand...

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