Before Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning was one of the few die-cast makers that took an interest in making station wagons. This 1973 Chevy Caprice wagon was the first issue by Johnny Lightning in 2007. There have been nine more variations since, including some demolition derby vehicles. I wasn't crazy about the graphics on this car and was glad that later issues had more of a classic paint scheme.
Brand: Johnny Lightning
Series: 13 Customs
Model: 1973 Chevy Caprice station wagon
Year Issued: 2007
Hello die-cast fans! While at the Q-Mall in the Tennoji district of Osaka Japan, I happened on a department store called Ito Yokado. It was selling new Tomicas for the retail price of 349 yen, but what really got my attention was some older Tomicas that were packaged together in a plastic bag. For 880 yen, you got 4 vehicles, working out to 220 yen per car. These were blister packaged cars however and not boxed.
Here is the silver Toyota Noah which I believe came out in 2010. This minivan has some nice details on the grille and rear doors. Also, it has not one but two sliding doors revealing a nicely adorned interior. I'm sure this would be a popular minivan seen at many parks and shopping centers in Japan. This casting is probably an older model for seasoned Tomica collectors but it's a new one for me. Do you have this one in your collection?
I had the chance to visit the Tomica Shop in the Umeda district of Osaka Japan. I'll be posting a lot of pics of my visit in a future post. I also picked up this flyer but unfortunately I can't read Japanese. If anyone could help me translate it I'd be very appreciative. Looks like it might be some kind of event.
I bought a few of the Tomica Limited Vintage die-cast thinking I got a pretty sweet deal, paying only 500 yen each (around $5 USD). I surely didn't expect the size of the car to be so small considering that the box clearly states the cars are 1:64 scale. I mean, this Honda 1300 is very nice with it's detailed front and rear end, and authentic rubber tires, but come on 1:64 scale? I don't think this car is that small in real life. It's size is more like the Cararama I saw that were about 1:72 scale, which I could have paid only a buck for.
I've placed it here next to a Hot Wheels Toyota Celica so you can see the size difference. The size of the box is misleading as there are other Tomica cars which are larger that fit into the same size box. I can't even imagine someone paying full retail on this, which I would guess to be around 1500 to 2000 yen (ie 15 to 20 bucks). I'm an absolute novice when it comes to Tomica, so please let me know if I'm way off base here.
Here is another recent acquisition from Nippombashi otherwise known as Den Den Town in Osaka, Japan. This is the Suzuki Alto which is part of the Tomica Limited Vintage Neo series. In my prior post about the Tomica Limited Vintage Honda 1300, I had remarked about how small the car was and speculated on whether the car was indeed 1:64 scale as was indicated on the box.
Well several of my friends on Facebook and the die-cast forums definitely set me straight that Tomica Limited Vintage vehicles were most definitely 1:64 scale and some had provided specs to prove it. I wish to thank everyone for educating me on this topic, I really appreciated the feedback!
I still can't get over the level of detail for a car this small. In fact, this may be my smallest 1:64 scale car in my entire collection. The lights and logos on the rear hatch are just exquisite. And you can see how realistic the front headlights and signage on the grill are.
There is almost certainly a resemblance to an early Honda Civic if you look at it. As with all Tomica Limiteds, this one rides on rubber tires, albeit they are little donuts, if you compare it to my Greenlight Ford Crown Victoria which incidentally is also 1:64 scale in size. Anyways, it has been my pleasure to present this litle Suzuki Alto to you today.
In Osaka, there were two main shopping districts that I visited, Umeda to the north and Namba to the south. There are large department stores, such as Takeshimaya and Hankyu that have a floor for kids toys, usually the section will be called Hobby. The department store prices for Tomica diecast are typically at full retail price which is 378 yen.
Kiddyland, which occupies 3 floors in the Hankyu shopping complex in Umeda carries Tomica on their B1 floor and they are also at full retail.
Also in Umeda, on the 13th floor of the Daimaru building, one can find the newly relocated Tomica store. I believe it used to be in Namba walks a few years ago. The Tomica store, is located behind the Pokeman store and has quite a good assortment of vehicles and they have some excellent displays showcasing their products like cars, diorama buildings and train sets. They also feature a kiosk where one can have a special die-cast assembled before your eyes. All pricing here is full retail.
I later learned about a large electronics superstore called Yodobashi, in Umeda which sits on the north side of Osaka station. They carry Tomicas at the low low price of 260 yen for the regular editions. Too bad I didin't know about it when I was in Umeda.
About a 15 minute subway ride to south of Umeda, lies Namba. Just south of the Dotonbori, you can find Biccamera, the competitor to Yodobashi. They too carry Tomicas for an excellent price of 260 yen. In Namba Parks mall, a large ToysRus store has a huge inventory of Tomicas but mostly in blister packs, not so many in boxes. Their prices were 299 yen, which was lower than retail price.
A bit farther south is Nipponbashi which is also called Den Den town. This is Osaka's mecca for manga, figures and toys. There are several toy shops selling new and used die-cast, and it is here that I found Kids Land Joshin whose prices on Tomica Limited Vintage vehicles are the lowest I've seen. Their regular cars were also competitively priced at 294 yen. In some toy stores, you can also find Hot Wheels, Greenlight and even Johnny Lightning, however their prices tend towards the higher side due to lack of local interest. For example I saw mainline Hot Wheels for about 300 yen and GLs and JLs at over 800 yen each, which is quite a premium price.
If you know of any other places to find Tomica in Osaka, please let me know.
Today, I went to the only Tomica store in Osaka. It's located on the 13th floor of the Daimaru building, part of the Osaka train station complex in Kita Umeda.
While there, I happened upon a display of ten vehicles which were advertised for 500 yen each. These were packaged in a green and yellow box and you could not tell which one you were getting. There was a sign underneath that asked customers not to shake the boxes, but I went ahead and did it anyways (shhh, don't tell).
The heavy boxes were obviously the crane and the forklift, and the lighter weight boxes I surmised to be the helicopter and the motorbike. If the cars did not roll inside I assumed they were one of the buses or the dino carrier. That left the 2 trucks and the taxi, and I would have been happy with any of those. I took a chance and bought one.
So when I got back to the hotel and opened the box, I was pleased to get this cool turquoise blue Toyota Dyna dump truck that has is carrying a load of dirt. The rear bed lifts up also. I haven't been able to find any info on this truck and what model number it's supposed to be, so please let me know if you have any info on it or this mystery series.
The wife, the sister and the aunt all wanted to go shopping on Osaka's Shinsaibashi street.
Far be it for me to complain, as this was the perfect opportunity to return to the shops in DenDentown. I had seen a store selling Tomica Limited Vintages but wasn't sure if the prices I had seen were right. Today, I went back and sure enough, my eyes had not deceived me.
The four pictured vehicles were the cheapest of all at only 500 yen. As shown they are the Tomica Limited Vintage Honda 1300 LV-61b, the Tomica Limited Vintage Neo Suzuki Alto Gtype LV-N28a, the Tomica Limited Vintage Neo Nissan Be-1 LV-N40b, and my favourite of the bunch, the Tomica Limited Vintage Mazda Dump Truck LV121b. The name of the store I found them in is called Kidlands Joshin.
There were other Limited Vintage cars and trucks going for between 1100 to about 1700 yen, but this price point was getting a bit too steep for me. Here's some random pics I took of the ones in the shelf.
In a future post, I'll take some pics of the cars i got out of box.