5000km to Glory …in plastic


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 Auctions 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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Tom Cat Cruiser

It looks like Italian model maker Bburago got bitten 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 its 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 tooling. I’d love to see someone re-create that forward tilting cab for real!

Fifty 5’s

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.

Luxe37’s Macro Madness

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 had 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 maybe?), 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. Part 1 is above the other other ten follow below…

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Matchbox Art

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 1970s, 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 often lifelike backgrounds, are clearly pictures of the toys themselves complete with the occasionally odd proportioning of the toy and ‘superfast’ wheels. Right through the 1970s and into the start of the 80s, the cars continued to come in these wonderful picture boxes. But they were not to last. With the sale of the Matchbox brand to Universal Toys, the classic Matchbox packaging was replaced with boring plain light blue boxes with a clear plastic window though which the toy car could be viewed. Later, the boxes themselves gave way to the familiar, modern blister pack…

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Silly Skyline

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. Has 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 below…

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Little Violet

The latest from Tomica’s 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 really small, in 1/64 scale, the detail is quite incredible, 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.

Golden Wonders

Hoarders of Datsun and Nissan related merchandising and collectibles may already be familiar with with these cigarette cases, based on various models built by the company. They appear to date back to at least 1959 and it seems that virtually every model sold since then has been represented by one of these cases… well into the 1990’s it would appear. The earliest examples I have seen are modeled on the 310 series Bluebird and 30 model Cedric, but cars as late as the Nissan Cima and R33 Skyline are also represented. It’s impossible to say whether every variant of every model series built is covered, but there are saloon, coupe and even estate versions, so perhaps they are?

All feature the same basic design which consists of a very heavy, one piece cast metal body, usually around 1/18 scale, with a removable roof to allow access to the cigarette tray and match holder inside. Generally they are plated in a gold finish, although a few appear with a silver or pewter finish.  Many even include a small clockwork music box which plays a tune when the roof is lifted off. It’s unclear exactly what marketing purpose these served, but it seem likely that they were issued to distributors and dealers of the companies products rather, than to the general public, as they certainly are not that common.

Below, I’ve gathered together a gallery showing some of the various Nissans modeled in this way. There are dozens more and it would appear that some other Japanese marques were captured in the same way, most notably Toyota.  Best place to find them is Yahoo! Japan Auctions… but be prepared to part with a fair bit of money if you want a nice one!

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Sunny Kits

Last month I looked at the range of plastic kits available depicting Nissan Silvia and Gazelle series. This time it’s the turn of the Sunny range. Kits of the Nissan/Datsun Sunny series only really cover the first four incarnations, the B10, B110, B210 and B310, although the latter is quite poorly represented. Regardless of generation, the kits available are all models of the coupe variants, as seem to be the way with the majority of Japanese model kits. Most have some kind of motorisation, either by battery and electric motor or by simple clockwork mechanisms. I have had only around half a dozen different Sunny models, so unfortunately I can’t comment of the accuracy or quality on many of them, but I have compiled a run down listing most of the kits I have seen. Most are now obsolete and some will be very rare and expensive, but all of them still pop up from time to time on Japanese auction sites.

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