Japan Booster

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

First Look: 2014 Hot Wheels '71 Datsun 510 Wagon (Standard Version)...

Does this model even need an introduction?

We could probably write a book on how a mini replica of a '70's Japanese Wagon became one of the hottest Hot Wheels models around, but there is no need.  Most of you probably know why.

It could be described as the perfect storm in our hobby.  A mix of a great model, released while a particular car culture is red hot, and then becoming nearly impossible to find.  The the Datsun Wagon's debut was in the mainline, and was easy to find, it would be a different story.  It would still be a popular model, because all vintage Japanese Hot Wheels are hot right now, but the rarity factor puts it over the top.

Most collectors spent almost the entirety of 2013 trying to find the Boulevard version.  It is crazy to look back at how things materialized.  The Wagon was originally released to hobby dealers just after New Year's in January 2013.  There was already a lot of buzz about the Datsun since its unveiling at the 2012 JCCS, but most collectors figured they would pick one up when it arrived in droves at Walmart.

That never happened.  Due to poor sales of the previous year's Boulevard line, the box stores didn't want the 2013 line.  Somewhere around April, a very small number of Walmarts got the line, but it wasn't many.  As collectors started to realize that the Boulevard line might be a little more difficult to find than expected, the price of the 510 Wagon on ebay started grow from $2.99 each to $10.99 to $14.99 and on and on.

Finally the 510 Wagon did show up in stores, but not until September, and only in West Coast TJ Maxx and Marshall's stores, as well as some Shopko's.  Those who were lucky enough to find them gobbled them up, and that was that.  The Datsun Wagon was officially a rarity.

So if you want to take a model that is already highly desired and shoot it into the stratosphere, make it a Super Treasure Hunt.  And that is what Mattel did.  So just like the debut of the Toyota 2000GT last year, Mattel is making another JDM model that most collectors haven't seen debut as a Super.  So there you go.  Super Duper Hype.

And the Super TH lives up to it.  We will be featuring that later today, but for now let's have a gander at the it overshadowed counterpart, the standard mainline version.

While Malaysian sellers are putting up loose Super after loose Super, the regular hasn't really appeared anywhere.  So we will give it its due prior to showing the Super.  And to be honest, if there was not a Super to take most of its attention, the standard would be buzzworthy as well.

We don't need to tell the story of the design of this model, as Japanese Nostalgic Car has already done a nice job of that.  So here it is in photos.

Yes, the Super is going to be very difficult to find, but the regular is a very nice consolation prize...

Hot Wheels '71 Datsun 510 Wagon (2014 Mainline):

Monday, July 28, 2014

Early Look: 2015 Matchbox BMW M5 Police 3D Print...

While I was in Albuquerque at the Matchbox Gathering, the team from Mattel allowed me to photograph the 3D prints of upcoming 2015 Matchbox models that they brought with them.  So throughout this week we will pass those photos on to our Lamley readers, to help them get an idea of what is coming.

The 3D prints are exactly what you would think they are.  Essentially rough drafts of what the team is working on.  As the casting is designed, the team can create a 3D print and see how it looks.  Then they can modify it and do it again.  So these prints are where these castings stand now.  Changes can and most likely will happen.

And why not start with one that more than a few of you are excited about, including we here at Lamley: The BMW M5 Police.

There are essentially two things that we can comment on at this point, the selection of the M5, and general look of the casting.  Obviously there is a lot to be done, and we look forward to seeing the finished product sometime in 2015.

This is a Miguel Lopez design, and by golly it looks like an M5.  All the right lines appear to be there, and we are quite keen on how it sits.  The M5 is a speedster, and needs to stay close to the ground.  This one does.  It is also easy to make out the headlights and tail lights, and it all looks fantastic.

The M5 is an excellent choice, and to be honest we prefer it as a police car.  It fits really well in the current Matchbox direction, and makes the model a little more unique.  Thinking of it in all kinds of police liveries gets one excited for the possibilities.  Considering we have the 1M, and the X5 Police is enjoying a comeback, we are building up a nice little set of BMW's.  We have to think that is not what a few of you were expecting from Matchbox.

We will be all over this one, and can't wait to see how Miguel and the Matchbox team finish this one up.  What do you think?

Matchbox Rarity: 2005 SF37 Porsche 959 that never was, by David Tilley...

Some of you may noticed a very unique Matchbox Porsche 959 is up on ebay right now   We thought because this Superfast rarity rarely pops up, we would have David Tilley write a little about.  DT has one of the only others known, and in pure Tilley-ness, he opened it.

If you are a rare Matchbox or Porsche collector, you may never get another chance at this one.  The listing ends tomorrow:

Enjoy the article...

Today we will provide you with a guide to a slightly older model that never was.  In the early 2000s, Matchbox were providing a premium series called "The Premiere Collection" along with various offshoots.  These models sported rubber 2-part wheels and a high level of detail not normally seen in the basic range.  By 2003, the range was starting to falter, and sales were struggling.  The guys in Mt Laurel were coming up with perhaps the last new item before they were all to be made redundant.  This in 2004, Matchbox began their latest foray into premium series with the return of the Superfast series.  These were simply a look into how Matchbox were when Superfast began in 1969, with a box inside a blister, high levels of detail and standard wheels.  The series of 75 models was produced to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Superfast and proved to be a big success.  In 2005, they decided to make a second series of 75, and as was the case when Superfast began, many of the models were carryovers from the 2004 series.  But some new castings were introduced, and other "older" castings were also brought in to replace some of the others.  This was to have been one of them.

In 2004, Matchbox released a 1957 Chevy BelAir as #37 in the range, and for 2005 they decided to go with the Porsche 959.  As you can see, this model made it all the way to the FEP stage, where they were mocking up the model inside the blister.

A sample run of 50 examples were produced as a test, and things were going well.  But then; at the last second; it stopped.  It was said that the Porsche 959 casting had a flaw around the wheel arches that caused the casting to fail.  It was going to take a while to fix, so rather than try to pursue that route, they looked at the previous model and just went with another Chevy Bel Air.  So this model never made it into production after all.

It is a real shame as it was a lovely little model, and the first we had seen from the 959 for a few years.  This is one of those 50 models.

Of course this was the last it was going to see of its package as it had to be set free.

To be honest, it doesn’t really look too bad around those arches.  Maybe it failed after they run these 50.  As was often the rule, test runs were normally made of models of anywhere between 20 and 2,000 models depending on what they wanted to check for. 

Bye bye box.  It was nice sitting on you for a while.

There was not a lot of additional printing on this particular model.  Although the rear would have not been noticed anyway due to the body color being similar to the red needed.

This is perhaps the last we will ever see of this model, as by now the casting will have lay destitute in the factory for the best part of a decade, and is likely not in any fit state for use at all now.  It is a shame, as these supercars of the 1980s and 1990s were very popular in the Matchbox range at the time.
But if you want to be one of the 50 lucky people interested in this, there is an example on eBay right now.

Here is a shot of the model with some older versions of the casting.

Or if you prefer, how about with a group of other pre-production examples of the 959 that were never made.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two from the Gathering: The cambered & stretched Honda Civic from 78toy4dr, and the uber-detailed Toyota Tacoma from Franklin2700...

Yes, it has been awhile since we did As is the Custom.  Three weeks to be precise.  The Matchbox Gathering will do that.

Prep and the event itself doesn't give us any time to review all the custom submissions we have received, so we have to wait.  And finally we are working on it.  There are literally hundreds of submissions to work through.  As is the Custom is coming.  We promise.

In the meantime, we have a couple of treats to show you.  We returned home from Albuquerque with two amazing customs, and they deserve to get their own post.  Both were done by customizers we have featured before, but it is really a treat to be able to photograph these customs here at Lamley.

The first is from Albuquerque resident and Instagramer Chris H, better known as @78toy4dr on IG.  We have always been impressed not only with Chris's immense talent, but his propensity to make creative and clean creations.  So it was a total treat to meet Chris on Sunday at the Gathering Toy Show.  Chris pulled me out of a crowd based on the JDM Legends t-shirt I was wearing the day before (I am predictable), and asked if I wanted to see his customs in person.

Of course I did, but from the work I had seen before, I knew there was another person who would want to see them too, so I introduced Chris to Mattel Designer Miguel Lopez.  At that point I just stood back as Miguel ogled over each of Chris's customs, even noting that many had been seen by members of the Mattel Design team when they were featured on Lamley.

There was one element in particular that Miguel honed in on: Chris's cambered wheels and stretched tires, made from Matchbox 5-spoke wheels.  We won't give away any of Chris's secrets, but what he has created is simply stunning.

As you will see in the pics, Chris has cambered all four wheels, and then given the wheels a stretched tire look.  And if the aesthetics aren't enough, the car rolls.  And rolls well.  It is the kind of gap that Stance Nation would be more than proud to show, but amazingly done on a Hot Wheels Honda Civic.

By the end of the day, we found ourselves returning with said Civic in our collection.  This was a tremendous gift to receive, and we wanted to show it off.  Chris was worried that our close-up photos would expose some flaws in his work.  Nope.  This model is truly amazing.

Thanks Chris.

Honda Civic EF by @78toy4dr - Instagram

The other model comes from Brian, aka Franklin2700.  We dubbed him "Steady Hands" awhile ago, because of his ability to detail standard Matchbox and Hot Wheels models freehand.  The details can be big or minute, but he enhances any model he takes on.

Brian was at it again, this time with the just released Matchbox Toyota Tacoma.  There is a lot of equipment in the back of that Tacoma, but little detail.  That is until Brian got his hands on it.  Pay particular attention to the ropes in the back.  That should be enough proof of Brian's talent and skill.

We love when what seem to be tiny enhancements totally change a model.  If you saw Brian's collection of customs, you would be more than envious.

Thanks Brian.

Matchbox Toyota Tacoma by Franklin2700

Seeing these two customs was a huge highlight of the Gathering.  We are glad we were able to give them the photo treatment here...