Category Archives: Toyota

A couple of models direct from China.

By John F. Quilter

All texts and photographs by, and copyright of the Author unless otherwise stated.

While surfing eBay recently I turned up this new Chinese MG ZS 1:43 scale model, and from the same vendor at a ridiculously low price of less than $3.00,  a third generation Toyota Prius.  So I bought both.   The MG ZS may be something you see on the streets in the UK (Ed: They are imported to the UK but seldom seen) but they are totally unknown here in North America but it’s still carrying on an iconic brand even if it bears no resemblance to the MGs of the past aside from the badge.  It’s a nice little model in a bright blue colour with classic MG octagon badges front and rear.  Black interior with a glass roof,  and left hand drive, I guess it is made for the Chinese market.   Judging by its weight I seems to be a diecast with a plastic base showing some detail of the front and rear suspension, fuel tank and exhaust system.  The only markings on the base are “SAIC MOTOR”, so I am guessing it’s done as a promotional item for the MG brand.  I see them in red, white and blue and even a set of all three colours.

The second model, a Prius, is very well known to us in the USA as they are almost ubiquitous here now.   In silver with  a black interior but this one is right hand drive.  It  seems to have the same construction techniques as the MG but has markings on the base of “Toyota Prius,    License by Toyota Motor Thailand Co Ltd.  Scale 1:43,  Made in China”   I see them offered in white or silver and there is a separate version from J Collection as a plug in hybrid  with unique multicoloured livery.   And finally I turn up a 4th generation version in two colours by TSM, aka True Scale Models.    Prices vary greatly from what I see on the ‘bay.


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Takara Tomy – Cars for Kids

The closest thing to the old Matchbox 1-75 series available today is the Tomica range of “fit the box” models.  Sadly they do not appear to be sold officially here in the UK and imports from the Far East make them much dearer than Mattel’s Hot Wheels or Matchbox models. But the uniform red and white boxes with drawings of the cars on front are popular with Japanese children with  a model being released every month and 140 kept in the range at any time.  Like old-fashioned Matchbox the models are a variety of scales with everything from large construction vehicles to the smallest of cars all fitting in the same box though Tomy do print the scale on the front for your information. They also print a lot more on the box but speaking no Japanese I cannot translate it.  The range was started in 1970 and has always aimed to cover the output of the Japanese car firms, though some foreign cars have also been included in the range. The models are made in Vietnam rather than China nowadays.

Here I look at two cars that would appeal to kids in the UK as well as Japan. As Japan also has right hand drive cars the home market cars are often little different to the ones we see here. Though many of the cars made by Tomy are never exported to the UK though they may be seen in Australia and New Zealand where many are imported second hand..

#50 Toyota Prius

The Prius is a well known hybrid car frequently used as a taxi or private hire car here in the UK.

The printing of lights and black areas on these models is not particularly neat but quite a bit of effort has gone into the badging. The rear window on the Prius is actually painted on.

The wheels are very like Matchbox speed wheels.

Play value is provided as the hatch opens. The hinges are very thick presumably to meet toy safety standards.

The profile of the model is fairly accurate though paint is very thin at the panel lines .

 

#76 Honda Civic Type R

Lots of black paint to highlight the spoiler and intakes but not particularly fine masking! The opening bonnet gives the model play value but the huge hinges take up most of the engine space!

The shape of the Civic is nicely captured.

The Honda badge on the front is printed well and gives the front end a nice balance against all the matt black.

At the rear the Honda badge again looks good as does the tiny printed Civic badging.

From the side the black printing shows as a bit crude in outline. The large plastic spoiler has been very well modelled. Even the speed wheels are a diffrent type with fashionable coloured wheel rims.


It is nice to think that Japanese children might be being given these models as pocket money toys in the way that I was given Lesney Matchbox models by my Mum. Perhaps this will make sure that diecast collecting stays alive at least in Japan.


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News from the Continent August/September 2017 – Busch

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Manufacturer.

The releases from Busch, and allied brands, expected by the end of September are shown below. All models are moulded for Germany to 1:87 scale.

Mercedes-Benz 170V

The pleasing shaped 170V was first presented to the public in February 1936 during the 26th International Automobile and Motorcycle Exhibition (IAMA) in Berlin.

41448 Mercedes-Benz 170V Cabrio limousine – two-tone green/cream
41450 Mercedes-Benz 170V Cabrio limousine – two-tone red/cream

 

Cadillac 66 Saloon

42958 Cadillac 66 Saloon “Metallica” – silver
42960 Cadillac 66 saloon “Metallica” – blue metallic

 

Toyota Land Cruiser Crawler

43038 Toyota Land Cruiser crawler vehicle

This special power train has been in use for 15 years and has even passed strict military tests.

Mercedes-Benz 300 Landaulet

44807 Mercedes-Benz 300 State Landaulet

Only three of this type of body were built. This was in the early 1950s and they users were the German Federal Public for state occasions, the Pope for his tours, and an Arab State.

Chevrolet Bel Air

More variations upon the old Revell-Monogram 1957 Chevy moulding bought by Busch.

45045 Chevrolet Bel Air Saloon 1957 “Metallica” – grey metallic
Chevrolet Bel Air Saloon 1957 “Metallica” – red metallic

 

Cadillac Eldorado

Another long running moulding in the Busch range. Here with custom wheels and a metallic paint job.

45118 Cadillac Eldorado Cabriolet, open, “Metallica” – brown metallic
45119 Cadillac Eldorado Cabrioet, open, “Metallica” – green metallic
45121 Cadillac Eldorado Cabriolet, open, “Metallica” – silver

 

Ford Probe

The Ford Probe 24V was made from Summer 1988 to Autumn 1997 in Flat Rock, Michigan, USA. It was imported into Europe too though it was never a strong seller.

47413 Ford Probe 24V “Metallica” silver
47414 Ford Probe 24V “Metallica” red
47420 Ford Probe 24V “Sport” blue

 

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

In the livery of the German motor rescue outfit.

 

48546 Mercedes-Benz M-Class facelift “ADAC”

Land Rover Defender

50361 Land Rover Defender “Carabinieri”

Caribinieri are a special Police Force unit in Italy.

 

50363 Land Rover defender “DLRG” with surfboard

This vehicle is equipped for rescue activities. The Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft e.V. (DLRG)  is the German Life Saving Group and is the biggest such organisation in the world.

Smart Fortwo

50712 Smart Fortwo Coupe 2014 “German Police”

Mercedes-Benz V and G Class

Many public services represented here. From the Fire Brigade to the Emergency Doctor Service and the Technical Assistance Service.

51169 Mercedes-Benz V-Class “Fire Brigade of Karlstein
51411 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 1990 Emergency Doctor
51460 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 2008 THW

EsPeWe IFA W50

95231 IFA W50LA TLF16 GMK “Fire brigade of Ellrich

The TLF16 appliance went into production in 1985 based upon the 4×4 chassis of the IFA W50.


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Big Hand Crafted Four by Fours – Part Two

By Robert Gunn

Readers of MAR magazine will have been familiar with Robert’s contributions as an expert on pickup trucks. Since retirement he has been making a selection of 4×4 vehicles by hand which he will share with us over a series of articles. All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Models

The models are hand made to 1:10 scale. Each is a unique creation and when finished is displayed on a modelled plinth in a clear cabinet. Here we look at the second of my models the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ25 from 1958.

How the models are made

All have a softwood chassis of pine or deal. Most body sides are tempered hardboard, as are the floors, but bonnet lids are metal – either aluminium or or nickel-silver sheet. Rounded corners are of timber beading, usually hardwood. Small details are made of anything which suits from my huge boxes of bits – parts of old pens, pieces of metal or plastic, nuts and bolts, tubes and so on. Sticks of solder are good to file into manifolds, carburetors and similar. Windscreen frames are either brass sheets and strips, or latterly in sheet polystyrene plastic.

Parts which I can’t make are brought-in, such as wheels, tyres, mirrors, lights, and badges.

Glues used vary from white PVA (Woodworking Glue) through super glue, Scotch glue and others. “JB Kwik” two pack epoxy is also very useful stuff – a combined glue and filler.

Part Two – Toyota Land Cruiser FJ25 1958

Like Rover in the UK Toyota were a company with a strong engineering heritage from power looms onwards. By the 1950s they too had seen the need for a sturdy utility vehicle with “go anywhere”  capabilities. Indeed they were asked to build some Jeeps for the US military during the Korean War. The Land Cruiser series were Toyota’s equivalent to the Land Rover built in various configurations to meet a multitude of requirements.

FJ 25 pedals and gear levers depicted in great detail.

Completed FJ25 model shown on a turntable diorama with Sarah the farm girl. The figure started life as Jennifer Lawrence as “Katniss” in the Hunger Games, re-clothed by the Author.

This is the basic body: tempered hardboard and sheet metal bonnet in nickel silver. The bonnet was very hard to make.

The windscreen frame: all made from brass.

Trial assembly painted with primer coat. As well as checking the fit of the parts test assembly helps keep up enthusiasm on a long and complex project.

Toyota rear bumper, bolted together just like the real (steel) one.

Toyota spare wheel carrier, pinned and screwed from solid brass.

Toyota seats – Imitation leather from a charity shop handbag stretched over wooden ‘cushions’ with frames made from coat hanger wire.

Dash and steering wheel of the Toyota. The glovebox opens on tiny hinges.

Frontal view of the completed Toyota.

Nearside view of the completed vehicle. 

Left hand side of the completed vehicle showing the 4×4 stance. 

Rear view of the completed Toyota. A specialist made me the ‘Toyota’ badges, and he did a fine job. Even getting the slightly greenish -cream enamel infill colour exactly right. Thanks, Gary!

Toyota bonnet badge was filed from two pieces of real silver bought as scrap pieces from a jeweller. Strip along the bonnet centre line is also made from silver. 

The Land Cruiser’s engine bay with detailed engine and ancillary parts.

The bonnet displayed opened.

I made a working, fully functioning screw-pillar jack for the Toyota. the Frame is bent from thick nickel silver bars and the rest is built of adds and ends. The jack can actually be used to lift the model!  

Sarah checking the radiator.

Loading animal feed. Showing the working drop down tailgate.


Future articles by Robert will cover the following vehicles: Datsun Patrol L-60 1965; and the Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition 2016.


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Australian Jottings

by Graeme Ogg                                                     July 2014

A little while back I saw some photos of an interesting 1:43 1959 Australian Ford Fairlane which was being offered on eBay. Unfortunately the model was photographed in its box, making it hard to see some of the detail. I found the website of the maker, Ace Models (www.acemodelcars.com) and just for fun I contacted them to ask if they had any decent photos. It turned out that the owner, Tony Hanna, knew me from my scribbling days in MAR and was happy to provide some background info.

He spend 20 years working as a pattern-maker for Trax, but has also produced models on his own account, like the Holden Torana GTR-X Concept and a Broadspeed Mini, under the Modelcraft Miniatures and Revolution names. Ace Models is his latest independent venture. He supplied me with the Fairlane shown here in pale blue and white resin. The brightwork is a mix of photo-etching and adhesive chrome strip (like a kind of very heavy-duty Bare Metal Foil).

 

He was very honest about the fact that he would like to improve some small details. For example the rear amber indicator lamps (which were white reversing lamps on US cars) are a little too large. He also hoped to improve some of the trim pieces. But as you can see, it is a pretty attractive model as it stands, and there are plenty of resin models on the market with more serious detail faults – and not a word from their makers about correcting them!

Some of the first examples went to a well-known Australian model shop, Gateway Models, so to us foreign buyers it looked like they were the only game in town, as the Ace website doesn’t show them. But in the meantime Tony had been approached by Trax and offered a deal, with the result that they took the rest of the first production batch. Suddenly, the model is on the front page of the latest Trax mini-catalogue. They don’t actually claim it is a Trax model, it is meant as a stop-gap until the next real Trax models come along. Apparently it is part of the deal that the additional stocks now being produced will keep the model in its original form, without any changes, so if an enhanced version eventually appears, it will come out under the Ace Models name. In the meantime he is working on a 1959 Fairlane station wagon in both Australian and US versions, to be followed by a 1959 Dodge Custom Royal four-door and 1960 Dodge Phoenix four-door (both cars were imported CKD from the States, so they will effectively be the US versions). I don’t know at the moment if these will also be marketed by Trax, or independently under the Ace brand.

He also mentioned that other forthcoming items this year include a 1966 Chevy Nova, initially in sedan racing form for Australian race fans, then in a civilian version for world-wide sales, a New Avengers Broadspeed Jaguar XJC (complete with John Steed figure!) and a Goggomobil Dart, which was a diminutive but surprisingly pretty Australian fibreglass-bodied sports car. It was based on the what is of course acknowledged to be one of the finest sports car chassis of its generation, the Glas Goggomobil microcar.

Tony is currently looking for overseas distributors in the UK and elsewhere. In the current overcrowded market he will have to come up with models that fill a gap and catch the imagination, at an acceptable price. Brave man; I guess we should wish him well.

The fact that the banner at the top of the Trax catalogue says Getting Trax back on track … is quite revealing. Without getting into personalities, it seems that the management changes at the top were a bit turbulent, and model planning and commissioning got somewhat sidetracked in the process. That was compounded by production delays and erratic deliveries from China, which cannot have helped the cashflow situation either. And just like MAR before it went digital, there are ongoing concerns about the impact of increased postal charges.

 

Tony reckons this whole upheaval cost them about a year of normal operations. There haven’t been many really new models, the only new item showing on their website for the past few months has been a re-hash of the old 1:24 Chrysler Charger. And they seemed to be pushing their luck with too many versions of the very nice Holden Statesman in the Opal series (basically just grille and colour variations) and may be struggling to unload them all. Then they pulled a real stunt with the Holden Trax LTZ mini-MPV, requiring Trax fans to cough up AU$100 dollars advance payment, with the balance of another 30 dollars or so payable when (or if) it eventually emerged. After some production problems it is now on release, which must be a relief, although unlike their usual limited specials not all were sold out in advance, so they are now on offer to all comers for a mere AU$99. Those who paid up front for the exclusive must be really happy. Available in eight colour choices each model comes with a cheap digital watch with a plastic strap matching your colour choice. (If that doesn’t break your resistance, nothing will). By the way, this SUV was apparently designed by Opel in Germany, mainly styled by Ford in the US but, oddly enough, with the nose and grille style contributed by Holden, and it is built in South Korea. There will also be Chevy Trax, Opel Mokka and Suzuki Kruze versions.

The mini-catalogue shows a couple of other forthcoming models, a Surfer Roo, which was a one-off built by Ford in 1969 based on an XW ute, and a Holden Commodore Walkinshaw Group A racer built by Holden Special Vehicles in 1988. Both models are resin, and look a little rough in the photos but Tony confirms they are mock-ups he produced some time ago and should be much better in production form. Whether they are of much interest to many people outside Australia is another matter.

 

It seems that much of Trax future production will be resin, and apparently at twice the price of their old-style diecast models. I don’t know how well that will go down with their traditional buyers, or maybe they have decided that casual demand for models of Oz family favourites is dwindling, and they are now catering to a hard core of serious buyers.

Another new string to their bow is that they seem to have joined forces with Century Dragon and are offering a 1:43 resin Land Rover (made from 166 parts) for AU$149 and a Toyota Land Cruiser (made from 266 parts) for AU$165. Again, not your usual pocket money model from Trax, but a lot of parts for your money.

Speaking personally, I thought they struck the best balance between the simple diecasts and the expensive Select models with their Opal series, which had nice quality and a distinctive style. But there you are.

Let’s hope they manage to get their act back together. There are still things to be done. A note at the back of the catalogue says COMING SOON … Things We Missed from the Past and Aussi Icons (Gee, I thought they’d done all those). We shall see what emerges.


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