Toys, Models & Kits

Dutch model car distributor Replicars BV launched their own 1/43 scale range back in 2007 under the name Neo Scale Models. Since then they’ve produced only three Datsuns but all three are very welcome additions to the growing number of 1/43 scale Datsun miniatures. Best of all, Neo seem to be keen on producing models of the cars that others are unwilling to do. Whilst there are dozens of versions of the 240Z, the Skyline GT-R in various flavours and even quite a few 510’s, Neo has chosen the C230 Laurel, 910 Bluebird saloon and the less popular version of the S30, the 260Z 2+2. I suspect that this is the only 1/43 model of a C230 Laurel available, especially as a plain old four door rather than a hardtop. Likewise, it’s nice to see a 910 model that isn’t either a Turbo, SSS or a hardtop. All three models are also in European specification with left hand drive. The Laurel and 260Z each come in four different colours while the Bluebird is available in two.

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eidai510a

As I mentioned in my original post about the movie ‘5000km to Glory’ there is a little bit of movie merchandising related to the film, even though it was largely forgotten until it’s recent release on DVD and Bluray.  I have seen the movie soundtrack album (on vinyl naturally!) for sale on Yahoo! Japan Auction in the past and other items such as sets of postcards but the best thing I have ever come across related to it is this lovely 1/24 scale model kit made by Eidai. To be honest, when I first found this kit, I didn’t initially realise it was related to the film. Only a little later when I noticed the style of the ‘5000’ logo on the box did it dawn on me what it was! The 510 modeled in the kit is actually that of a 1968 model which makes it a little unusual as most 510 model kits are 1969 onward versions with the larger tail light and restyled grille.

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Looks like Italian model maker Bburago got bit by the custom van bug too in the late 70’s and early 80’s, if this 1/24 scale toy van I found is anything to go by. I was intrigued by this van as it’s design is totally wild, especially it’s forward hinging cab. A bit of web research revealed it was designed for Bburago by none other than legendary model kit designer Tom Daniel. That explains a lot, as Tom created literally dozens of wild custom car model kits during his years with Monogram from ‘67 through to ‘75, such as ‘Paddy Wagon‘, ‘Vandal‘ and the iconic ‘Red Baron‘. Apparently, he designed this for Bburago around ‘76/’77 and it was loosely based on the Chevy van of the time.Sadly Toms involvement with Bburago seems to have been short lived although it did yield a handful of other models based on existing Bburago moulds. I’d love to see someone re-create the forward tilting cab for real! Pic after the jump…

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I’ve no idea who made this toy Auto Factory. The box is just marked “Hong Kong” and aside from the slightly 1960’s looking artwork on the packaging, there’s no indication as to it age at all. This is the kind of toy that would have helped make a child into a life long gear head, much in the way similar toys did to me.

Although it’s pretty basic and not particularly interactive, it’s quite cleverly designed, as it assembles the little cars from the three main components, chassis, body and roof, using just a rubber conveyor belt powered but a little motor and a 1.5V battery. It needs some minor tweeking as there’s a bell that should ding as each car rolls off the line and the red light on the front should light up. Regardless, it’s a pretty neat and unique old car toy which I was well pleased to find. Some video of it working after the jump!


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It seems amazing that anyone these days would make a toy based on a Datsun other than a Z or Skyline but it seems Maisto are following Hot Wheels lead by producing their own toy Datsun 510 but in addition a 620 pickup to go with it! Okay, so they are a little cartoonish but still… it’s surprising they’ve made them at all. Check out the Maisto blog for more info.

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Followers of the Japanese Nostalgic Car blog will no doubt have seen some of Luxe37‘s awesome animations on YouTube but I recently noticed he’d added a few more vids. The action is centred around a series of animated car chases, shot stop motion style using an assortment of toy cars, mainly Tomica plus a few large trucks (made by Shinsei?), all of which are based on classic Japanese cars. Vintage Datsuns, Toyotas and Mazdas abound! The way these are put together and the clever use of sound affects is just great and they get better with each progressive chapter. I’ve gathered together all eleven parts after the jump. Enjoy!….

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I loved Matchbox cars as a kid and have no doubt that they played a large part in developing my obsession for all things with engines and wheels. But it wasn’t just the miniature die-cast cars that fired my imagination in the early 70’s, it was also the boxes they came in. For the 1970’s, Lesney Products, manufacturers of Matchbox toys, saw fit to replace the rather staid box designs of the 50’s and 60’s with colourful and dynamic ‘Superfast’ box artwork, most likely in an effort to compete with the then new Hotwheels cars from America. I think I particularly like the way the illustrations, whilst often adding realism such as chrome details, headlights and occasionally, lifelike backgrounds, are clearly pictures of the models themselves complete with ‘superfast’ wheels. Right through the 1970’s and into the start of the 80’s the cars continued to come in these wonderful picture boxes but they were not to last, as with the sale of the Matchbox brand to Universal Toys, the classic Matchbox packaging was replaced with dull light blue boxes with a clear plastic window though which the toy car could be seen. Later, the boxes themselves gave way to the familiar, modern blister pack.

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I’ve always wanted to drive a C110 Skyline Coupe, and finally I have the chance although not quite what I’d had in mind…

I really don’t know much about this toy car other than it’s made in Japan and has a diamond shaped logo on the base containing the characters “T.N”.  It’s about 20cm long and is powered by a couple of “C” batteries which provide it with forward and backward drive controlled by the column shift style lever on the roof. obviously the steering wheel functions too. It did have some very faded labels on it with race numbers but I peeled them off as they were in such poor shape. Thankfully the neat little “MOON equipped” label survived. Anyone seen anything like this before or know who the manufacturer is? I wonder if they made cartooned toys of other old Japanese cars? More pics after the jump…

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The latest from Tomicas awesome Limited Vintage range is a really welcome addition to my collection, as not only is it one of my favourite cars, the 710 model Nissan Violet, but it’s also a four door. Most models and kits, whether small scale or large, tend to only cover coupes or performance versions so it’s a real treat to get a model of an honest ordinary four door for a change. What’s more, the miniature is a stunning model. Even though it’s small in 1/64 scale, the detail is quite amazing right down to the emblems and the two tone interior. I’ve only picked up half a dozen or so of this series so far but this latest effort makes me think I should acquire a few more of this excellent range. If you are not familiar with the Tomica Limited Vintage and Neo ranges, you can have a look at the other offerings in the series HERE.

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Although the release of new models of vintage Japanese cars from Ebbro seems to have slowed considerably these days, over the last few years they have produced some beautifully detailed 1/43 diecast miniatures for collectors. Whilst many capture the usual suspects, the KPGC10 Skyline and Toyota 2000GT for example, there are many others that are more obscure, which until Ebbro modelled them had been largely unavailable in detailed small scale. The B120 Sunny pickup and 30 model Cedric are just a couple of examples.  Another treat for enthusiasts are the various models of competition cars from the 60’s and 70’s such as the Safari Rally cars and the beautiful BRE Trans Am 2.5 winning Datsun 510. As the range available from Ebbro has now grown to be quite large and not all of the models are available new any more, I thought it might be worth putting together a list of the models they have issued so far. The list I have compiled here only includes models of older cars, generally those that are pre 1983, and covers all the Japanese marques, not just Nissan.

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