The charming world of Tomica Toy Cars is finally coming to Lamley

Ok, it is finally time.  I get asked A LOT why I don’t feature Tomica basic cars.  With my love for Tomica Limited Vintage, and based on the fact that I feature Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and even Majorette, it doesn’t make much sense that Tomica gets ignored.

Frankly, the only reason I haven’t is because I have never pursued them.  I have purchased the occasional model here and there, but never jumped in, much to the chagrin of many of my Japanese-car-collecting friends.

One fo those folks who has been on me to feature more is Jeff Koch.  Many of you know Jeff as a writer for Hemmings, others know him as the Toy Pimp, the diecast-schilling auto nerd on Instagram.  He has an incredible inventory of Japanese diecast, as well as maybe the most diverse pair of JDM cars in his garage:

Jeff is a dual expert.  By day he dives deep in classic cars, the 1:1 kind, in his features for Hemmings.  By night, so-to-speak, he is the Toy Pimp, but it is far more than just selling unique (and mostly Japanese) diecast.  He knows his stuff.  Many times have I been the beneficiary of Jeff’s knowledge, from the history of a particular Japanese car, to the different diecast companies who make replicas.  It’s deep, poetic, and always interesting.

At the end of every chat I have with him, though, he hounds me about featuring Tomica.  It is asinine to him that I have ignored such a storied and vibrant brand, and he is right.  So, moving forward, that is going to change.  I have partnered with Jeff to feature each monthly Tomica release.  I will spread the news, feature the models both here and on the YouTube Channel, and if you are interested in said models, guide you to Jeff on Instagram to grab what you want.  It’s called partnership.  Cool?

So, Jeff sent me a starter pack.  Tons of current Tomica, in all their beautiful variety.  In this video, I talk of my skepticism, but you can see how the charm of these models take hold over the course of the presentation.  I should have jumped in long ago.

(Follow Jeff Koch on Instagram)


28 Replies to “The charming world of Tomica Toy Cars is finally coming to Lamley”

  1. The mainline Tomica has never really done it for me. Though my traditional wheel/models presently outnumber my TLV, they are mostly special releases. One of the issues I have with the mainline Tomicas is their scales. I have a Toyota Avensis which is absolutely dwarfed by every other model I have. And then the Lexus IS350 is bigger than a Honda CR-V.
    Of course, none of this is in reference to the black box Tomicas which were awesome.

  2. Finally! You’re about to see the light, mate. Tomica Basic is one of the best lines around, with the most accurate bodies this side of $5. It has yet to let me down.

    Oh, and BTW, the rumor mill is saying Ferrari might just come to the brand.

  3. I would love to see greenlight featured… for jeffs personal cars i know these cars arent common in the us but elsewhere like australia these are very common cars! Very cool to have in the usa though!

  4. Tomica was to me a brilliant car maker back in the 70s even with American Iron and British Motoring along with mid 70s to 80s JDM in absolute if monochromatic detail. Tomica back then was my first introduction to Absolute scale was through Tomica. Sure, it was maybe closer to 1/70 than 1/64. But they were awesome.They disapeared…and I remember asking the shop keep at the Toys R Us in South San Jose, California why they were gone. He told me they couldnt compete with Hot Wheels. Seriously bummed me out. I was pretty young. Not old enough to drive.

    When Tomica reapeared here in America just a couple years ago, I knew something wasnt right. 3 inch diecast cars had a place in Toys R Us. A whole isle and endcaps filled with them. And yet the Tomica was being sold in the preschool creator/imagination section.
    They have gone once again. The only way to get Tomica is online. I dont shop for my hobby like that. I enjoy the hunt. Ebay is cheating. (No slam against TLV or Jeff Koch)
    I am relieved that you are falling for the Tomica Mainline. I hope you may be able to do some retrospectives on the old 1970s era Pocket Cars.

  5. Why hasn’t John Lambert dove into main line tomica? Seems quite obvious. The only things John Lambert “dives into” are things he gets for free. Matchbox, Hot Wheels – supplied by Wheel Collectors and Mattel, AutoWorld – supplied by round 2, Majorette – supplied by Majorette, Kyosho – supplied by Japan Booster, Tarmac Works – supplied by Tarmac Works and Surplus Goodies, TLV – supplied by Japan Booster, and now, mainline Tomica – supplied by The Toy Pimp. John Lambert is not a collector but rather a shill. When’s the last time something got a negative review on this site? Right because it’s hard to keep the “gimme free stuff” flowing when it’s not given a positive review. John dislikes the quality of Greenlight and no longer reviews them only after he quit getting them for free. Go back to 2017, check the posts about the “fantastic black bandit series and GTr from Greenlight” the wonderful models from Breaking Bad etc. then, all of the sudden, they stop. Why John?

      1. We can all look at things the way we want to. I have an audience that I am very thankful for, and if someone thinks I do this for “free models” that is their prerogative. I can’t control what narrative anyone wants to create. I know how and why I do what I do and I am appreciative of the people that visit and read the blog, including those that don’t like the way I do things. Tim clearly is a dedicated reader and I appreciate that. Truly.

    1. To be honest, I don’t like the quality of Greenlight either. Over half of the few Greenlights I have collected have bad wheels and/or bent axles, and some have bad pait jobs, which you normally can’t see until you open the package. And M2 Machines? Same thing, plus I have seen too many disassembled in the packages, and the store clerks don’t even bother to pull them off the shelves. Greenlight and M2 are no longer on my preferred list. They’re really aren’t worth the $5.00 asking price.

      1. Some of GL’s castings are way off and long in the tooth. Compare the ’70-’71 Challengers to the ones from AW. The front ends on the GLs are too thick. They should also abandon those oversized tires and wheels they’ve been using forever. Quality-wise, I recently bought a Ram 2500, and one of the clear headlight lenses fell off as soon as I opened the package. Some castings, on the other hand, are spot on–especially if the right-sized wheels and tires are used. The ’68-’70 Charger, ’70 GTO, ’60s Dodge D100 trucks, Fox body Mustangs, and the various ’67 Mustang castings come to mind.

        Don’t get me started on M2.

  6. I see an element of what Tim’s said. Lamley is great entertainment – one of the best 1/64 diecast commentators which I enjoy but I also sense some unbiased ‘reporting’.
    In fairness John did comment on the average wheels, but let’s give some further critical appraise to the:
    1. Impreza at 6m.27s – the casting is rubbish (not up to HW standard).
    2. The New York Taxi at 10.52 is nice but Majorette do a much better sliding door on its Trafic van. Tomica’s sliding door is plastic – you can tell because the colour of the door is paler and the edges slightly translucent. Come on! Where’s the quality in that?!
    3. Hot Wheels’ Ford GT is just as good.
    4. The mix of scales is annoying.
    The art work on the boxes make you think that what is inside is amazing – but not necessarily so.
    I’ve highlighted the negative here to make a point, but it must be said there are some nice examples here too.
    We love you Mr Lambert – keep the news coming please but please keep it sound 🙂

    1. I’m biased. I’m a collector. By definition I am supposed to like what I like. I appreciate your comments.

      1. I’m quite the same as well. I like to collect what I like, which is why I never waste my time with Treasure Hunts. I’ve left lots of TH’s on the pegs, because many of them were not/are my style. Plus, I collect plastics too, as well as brands that are not readily available in the US.

        Don’t worry about the grouches, John. Keep up the good work.

      2. It’s all good. It doesn’t bother. Actually many times the criticism is fair and helps me as I go forward. I can’t keep everyone happy. Apparently my choice of footwear was being scrutinized this weekend on instagram. That is flattering and a little creepy. But I like to show what I show and I am also appreciative that diecast manufacturers and sellers feel my audience is valuable enough to connect with on their products. I won’t apologize for that.

        As far as Greenlight goes, nothing has really excited me lately. The Tokyo Torque just missed for me, and other models have run their course. But there are some things that have my attention. Ford GT, upcoming Bigfoot Etc. I might pursue some of those, and if they ever want me to preview something for them, I am happy to. But in those cases I will say what I think. I don’t think Greenlight would want me to preview Tokyo Torque.

      3. I leave hundreds dangling on the peg because as a collector…I am not a completist. I collect what I like.

    2. Having seen both, HW’s GT is a far cry from the Tomica. Matched colors, more accurate bodywork, and actual working suspension to emulate Race Mode. Most–if not all–the supercars are brilliant, which is weird considering this is not really Tomica’s forte.

  7. I haven’t seen a Tomica car sold in any store since they were available as Tomy Pocket Cars in Venture Stores back in the late 1970s, early 80s. I have about 100 of them. I’d certainly be interested, but there certainly doesn’t seem to be any chance of it in Walmarts or Targets since they’ve already shrunk their diecast sections as it is. (Unless perhaps if these stores finally realize that the “Cars” vehicles just sit there taking up space.)

    1. Actually, it’s up to Tomy to decide if it wants to be truly active in the US. In fact, they had that chance when they picked up Learning Curve/RC2, but they blew it by failing to actively promote Johnny Lightning and teaming exclusively with TRU. (And for the record, Majorette is going down that same path with the TRU deal. That means I can soon pick up any missing Majo’s at Tuesday Morning, where a lot of the Tomica inventory wound up). There are several retailers and hobby shops that would love to stock Tomica, if Tomy would consider working with them.
      And I agree, “Cars” just wasting up space on the pegs. I never really cared for the movie, and also never bought anh of the models, except for the 3-wheel Reliant character, because I could never find a credible Reliant for the collection (and no, Hot Wheel’s Poppa Wheelie does not count).

    2. RE: The Greenlight Ford GT tribute models, John…prepared to be disappointed in the brand yet again.

      I saw the whole set of them in a TRU, fortunately before I had ordered them online. Sloppy paint detailing on all of ’em.

      Too bad…I had really wanted to get the red LeMans 1967 tribute model and the yellow Sebring 1967 tribute model…but the black printed details were out of whack on both if them…and the yellow paint on the Sebring tribute model was thin, as so many yellow painted diecasts are.

      So I settled for the black LeMans 1966 tribute model, because there is obviously no misplaced black detailing to worry about on a black painted car.

      Too bad Greenlight couldn’t paint these things properly, because the casting itself is absolutely perfect. I love that black one I bought…the stance is perfect!

      Yep…these Ford GT’s don’t have that, er…”off-roader” look that ruined Greenlight’s Tokyo Torque models. They got this car modeled right.

      I find it’s best to see Greenlight models in person before buying. I wind up leaving so many behind due to their flaws.


    1. Boom nailed it! Actually I’m happily married, not a virgin, I do however appreciate the idea that I could be 16 again, when I actually was a virgin with no friends. Ah to be young again, but growing old is part of the fun no? It’s the journey not the destination.

      Back to toy cars. Greenlight, I like Greenlight. Do they have issues? Sure, of course they do. What brand doesn’t? M2, disaster, autoworld overall for $6 and under is likely the winner of the quality war. Mattel is slipping. Agreed, Tokyo torque total shit show. Bigfoot Truck. I will buy. Now why did I make the criticism I did? Because it would be a lot more entertaining to come here every once in a while and see a post that didn’t say “so and so sent me this! It’s awesome!!! Get it before it’s gone!!!!” Once in a while a post that said “I bought this,” or even “I was sent this, and it’s a heaping pile of garbage” would be amazing. It shows honesty. It shows that John isn’t just doing it for free cars. In the beginning? Sure. This site was all about the cars, the community. Now? It seems that’s all but gone. The shit show I caused here in the comments is pretty entertaining though.

    2. Kinda rude. Seeing as you post on this blog you apparently follow. If you are talking about John, you are mistaken. He has a daughter who finds mention in his blog. The Mrs Lamley does not, but who arenwe (you) to judge any of us?

  8. There are some very nice cars available from the Tomica brand. The Toyota FJ Cruiser, a Jeep Wrangler, a very nice solar powered car and where else can you find a FAB 1 ? All these are very detailled cars and very high standard. As a collector I have all these and very happy with them.

  9. It’s interesting that several of the commenters here really don’t care for M2 Machines, myself included. They do look good, but the quality has a lot to be desired. And at the asking price? No thanks.

    Some of their offerings left me in the cold. Like the Patriot Series, for example. The quality was bad, sure; several of the Ford F-100 pickups were either bent at the bad and cab, or the bed completely disconnected from the chassis), but the entire concept was completely off. What do all-black colors and the numbers supposed to represent?

    We all most certainly complain about Jada’s claim of their models being 1/64 (in honesty, they’re more 1/55 in size), but but at least their quality is good. Not great, but good.

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