Sunday, 8 July 2012

Cars, A Passion, Even in Miniature.

I was visiting  a friend for a bit of beer and movie fest kind of night.  I noted that his children had quite the collection of toys.  In fact, his son had a huge toy car case--it probably held 100 cars.  I checked out his collection of cars, and was impressed by the size and choice of his cars.  The fact that he still played with them, despite his love of his iTouch games was also commendable.
I think toy cars are cool.  I had a fun collection when I was a kid.  Most adults with a love of cars would tend to aim for the pricier, highly collectible large scale die cast cars that are ubiquitous these days.  I am not one of them.  I might like to build car models, but I only have one large scale die cast car--I got a Shelby Cobra as a gift one year.  I do love it, but I would rather have a Pocher kit of it to build.  When I think of it, I am sure part of the attraction is that most of us will never get to drive their "dream car."
cool subjects and box art
I enjoyed Hot Wheels and Dinky cars as a child, but I am not really into them as an adult.  I check them out from time to time when I am in a toy store, or a department store.  Nothing seems to grab me.  However, when I am visiting Japan, I always check out the Tomy brand of miniature die cast cars.  Of course, anyone who has read some of these blogs before knows I am a real mark for things Japanese.  However, I am not sure it is the Japaneseness of these products that really appeals to me, or just the overall exotic nature of them.
I love everything about them. 
Maybe it's the packaging.  I mean the box is cool.  I am not really a fan of the North American blister package.  The Tomy box has either a cool picture, or an artistic drawing.  If I were a collector ( by which I mean, looking to make a buck) the boxes themselves would be collector's items. I think it is much cooler opening that box than tearing the blister pack apart.
Maybe it is the subject matter.  Despite the widespread embrace of public transportation, there are a lot of cars in Japan.  Among them, there are a lot of cars which will not be seen outside of Japan.  That kind of uniqueness appeals to me.  Some of the subjects re odd,  but there is also a blade runneresque quality to some of these cars--science fiction come to life, that makes them cool.
a box, stickers, and a cool Lapin
Maybe it is my connection to Japan.  My collection is small.  I bought most of them at a Don Quixote discount store in Chiba.  The price was probably around 125 Yen--which means that these cars probably didn't appeal to Otaku culture in Japan.
a limited edition
A funny thing is that I have never heard of a group of people collecting these cars.  Maybe they do, but maybe this is one of those things that seems so much cooler by an outsider than someone in Japan.
this one is pretty cool, but the packaging?
I have seen some of these cars available at the Pacific Mall in Markham.  The price was a whopping $10 each.  Needless to say I didn't buy any of them.  I would love to expand my collection--I know a purchase service in Japan if I really want something, but I will probably wait until I visit Japan again to augment my collection.  Besides, as anyone can see, I have enough hobbies to tide me over until that vacation.

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