The Hot Wheels Japan Historics are as great as advertised…

Yeah, I’m not calling this a First Look.  These models have been a huge part of the Hot Wheels collecting world for awhile now.

They haven’t even hit the US (that is happening in the coming days), and they already have a crazy history.  There was no doubt that the Car Culture line was going to be a big deal from the day it was announced, especially the Japan Historics segment.  Factor in that everyone has gone cuckoo for JDM, add new a new Real Rider, a new casting, two Skylines, a Toyota racer, and everyone’s favorite 70’s grocery getter, and you have a can’t-miss series.

That also means tons of illegal sneak peeks and unfortunate factory theft shenanigans too.  Tangent alert:  I will say this.  I’m bummed that there was a time I showed factory-stolen sneaks here.  It is always fun to know what is coming, but I don’t think I gave enough thought to what the ramifications were for showing them.  Not only did it contribute to the increasing amount of sales of stolen items (just look at all the yet-to-be-released Supers on eBay and Instagram for sale), but it also steals from the hard work of the people at Mattel.  They design these models, they market them, and they work with licensors all the time to make sure these products are released the right way.  I have no right to take from that.

There is another aspect I never thought about as well.  It puts the licensing relationships Mattel has in jeopardy.  When something gets leaked, it could be an incomplete version of an upcoming model, or complete but yet-to-be-approved.  The licensor sees something they haven’t approved in public, and could have second thoughts about doing something more with Mattel in the future.  Does Mattel need to tighten their security?  Surely they do.  But we as collectors need to control our appetite for illegal images and models.  If no one wants the info and images, or stolen Supers or “prototypes” (and trust me, they aren’t real prototypes), there is no reason for anyone to steal them from the factory.  We put high demands on Mattel.  We should do the same for ourselves.

I fully admit to being part of the problem in the past.  I quit showing them awhile ago, and am committed to avoiding sneaks of all kinds unless approved or already released by Mattel or any other diecast maker.  Alright, tangent over.

Back to the history of the Historics.  They were always slated for an April release, yet our friends in Canada got the first dibs as early as a couple of months ago.  Considering the demand for these models, my guess is collectors in other parts of the world made good friends with collectors in Canada, so thank the Historics for bringing friends together.  Oh the love…

That means we have all seen these beauties, and many of us already have them.  And now – queue the Rocky theme – the first batch of what could be the most popular Hot Wheels premium line ever, makes its way to the States.  (I seriously have the Rocky theme playing on my computer while I right this.  Totally random too, thanks to iTunes.  Ok, I just made it repeat.  This is now far more dramatic than it needs to be.  But I like it.  This is how #lamleyhype is built.)

I don’t think I need to go into all the details on this set.  I will say the Japan Historics will undoubtedly be the most popular batch of the first year of Car Culture, and it is cool to see the Mattel is releasing it first as opposed to last, when there is always a greater chance to less distribution.  We have seen too many times in the past that best batch of the line is the last batch, and for whatever reason retailers don’t want it because of poor sales, and we never see the models.  Thankfully, that is not the case here.  The Historics will sell very well, and hopefully that leads to a better lifespan for the series.

And all hype aside, this batch is nearly perfect.  I am sure we can get nit picky about certain aspects, but overall, the line is beautiful.  Yeah, the new stretched-tire wheel is most welcome, and beautifully executed.  Just thinking about all the future models that will sport them is exciting.  Super TH’s?  RLC?

My favorite?  The Toyota 2000GT.  The livery and wheels are based on a real racer, and it is easily my favorite 2000GT so far, with all due respect to the Super TH and RLC release.  The Hakosuka is also a great companion to the First Edition, and Police Kenmeri and 510 are nice too.  The model I wondered the most about was the Mazda RX3, after I heard it was going to be purple.  But Mark Jones nailed the casting, and the purple over chrome wheels is tremendous.  Easily my favorite model to photograph.  Its gorgeous.

Anyway, all hail the Historics.  Hobby dealers like A&J should have their orders soon, and more on that later.  This is a set that kicks the doors wide open to some great collector-aimed models in the future.  It’s a good time to be a collector…

37 Replies to “The Hot Wheels Japan Historics are as great as advertised…”

  1. Most of these shown before today were found legally on the Pegs. Most of the sneak peeks out there on these are 100% legal. JH hit Malaysia, Canada and Singapore in Dec/Jan. I showed them on my blog way back in January. How? I found them on the pegs.

  2. Now that you mentioned it I thought you ought to know that I'm one of those Canadians who received the opportunity to purchase the die cast purple Mazda and the die cast Japanese police car (forgot its name) approximately a month ago at a local Wal Mart store (Fredericton,NB which as some of you know is my hometown & home province.)

  3. That “tangent” was interesting, although we heard it before many times. You should blame Mattel for releasing a set that was bound to be popular in a market smaller than California instead. That 100% markup on top of retail prices is money that they didn't make and that collectors won't be spending on other diecasts. A bit like buying Tomicas at a 150% markup…

  4. There were some illegitimate sneaks before that, though. It is an overall problem, not just with this mix. Plenty of times in the past there have been cars sneaked that should not have been. Mattel has been in hot water a few times because of it. I know of a few licenses that were almost canceled because of unauthorized sneaks and line pull sales.

  5. Beats me. This really bothers me a great deal. It was the same with the Heritage line and there is no other explanation than cost cutting measures to maximize profits. Understandable for a mainline product, but for a premium line? And when you consider what the competition is doing at that price point? Not only that but the quality of the tampos is also quite bad once again. When you compare it to older Hot Wheels, like the Vintage racing series, it's night and day in terms of quality.

  6. I feel us Canadians getting this series early is cosmic justice for us never seeing beyond the first wave of Heritage cars last year (at least in Ottawa-area stores so far as I saw).

  7. JH series has been available in aus for the last couple of months as well and they were snatched up everywhere almost instantly!
    I was part of a pre order last year and I'm still waiting on them but I found a set on the shelves here haha

  8. Doomus, I think the problem of 'illegal sneaks' is blown out of proportion. Honestly, Mattel probably benefits at the end of the day from the sheer hype they generate. People were salivating over Historics like chained Pitbulls half a year before they came out and a lot of that had to do with the psychology of collectors seeing them and not being able to get them. The stolen cars are also overdone. Say 1000 supers get stolen per year. That is max 1k in revenue for a 11 billion market cap company. A drop in the bucket really. And I can say honestly I have never bought a thing from Malaysia or gotten illegal factory sneaks. It just doesn't really matter if we look at the big picture and don't involve ourselves in any illegal activity.

  9. Well said and I 100% agree(The Western Diecast Review). Now, as for the self-centered North Americans (me being one of them) that need a reality check, retail prices for Hot Wheels in Malaysia are 3 to 4 times higher than in the US/Canada. I know of Canadians shipping boxes of mainlines to Malaysians, I am not kidding you. Enough with that prototype BS, yes, it's more exciting than going through a box of 72 cars with 3/4 of them being peg warmers, but as the other guy said above, you are blowing things out of proportion. This is not last time I checked.

  10. I was not addressing to John or Doomus in particular, just a general comment based on what I see/read everyday in the community. Let me put it more clearly: we North Americans (Americans & Canadians) are spoiled brats when it comes to this hobby: cheapest retail prices in the World, largest and newest inventory, a lot of exclusive series, cheap shipping (ok, not for Canada LOL), and the list goes on…yet, we complain about freaking prototypes? I don't care about prototypes or any chase piece for that matter, it's a marginal issue at best and that topic has already been beaten to death over and over, here and elsewhere.

  11. Good discussion, but doomus is right. Sure it gets discussed a lot, and the idea that someone can't find a Super because there were too many stolen in Malaysia has no merit. But, the fact that these are out has huge potential ramifications for Mattel. There have been some very serious issues in the past and there are some sensitivities now. I don't know what they are, but have been told that there are some current fires that Mattel is trying to subdue.

    There might be lines that could have been that are no longer because of this problem. That is why I brought it out.

  12. They were snatched up in Canada too. To be fair, those who say they are peg warmers are sensationalizing a bit, never seen any on the pegs or on the pallets, with the exception of one lonely police Skyline 3 hours from Toronto…

  13. I will say (and I know you didn't say or imply that John, that's only my opinion) that launching the Japan Historics 3 months ahead in Canada was not a very smart move from Mattel. Too much money left on the table and also frustration of their core base collectors. Not sure if there was a particular reason for different launch dates, but not smart at all on their part IMO.

  14. Yes.. I hate to be cynical, but it gets the best of me too when a company sacrifices certain aspects of it's product when it comes down to making more profit! It's all about the profit these days and to me.. I think CEO's see it as a way to compensate themselves for their “work” and to uphold the lavish lifestyle they must maintain.
    From what I can see from the photos these cars should have tail light tampos at least, esp. if they are to be charged a premium price.

    I LOVED the Vintage Racing line, as well as the Speed Machines run, and those were high quality cars (a good # of those cars had head & tail light tampos!).

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