Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tomica Cars

The Tomica (トミカ) brand of diecast cars was introduced by Tomy in 1970 to produce small scale Japanese cars for their domestic market. Tomica only made its North American and European debut in 2010, but their red-and-white boxes are familiar to most diecast car collectors today.

Like their Matchbox and Hot Wheels counterparts, Tomica cars are box scale, with a few models here and there suitable for use with 1/72 miniatures.

My first Tomica model was a 1/72 Mitsubishi Canter Garbage Truck (Tomica Common No.47). This model was produced prior to the merger between Tomy and Takara (now Takara Tomy) in 2006. The tailgate door of the model can be opened, and the body of the truck can be tipped back.

Dump truck, wrecker, and gully truck versions of the Mitsubishi Canter were also made, but are either difficult to find in good condition or expensive.

The Mitsubishi Canter is possibly (I believe) the only 1/72 model in the Tomica line-up. It is now out of production, and should not be confused with the current Mitsubishi Fuso Canter, which is apparently of indeterminate scale.

The other Tomica cars that I have are not actually 1/72 scale, but that's okay, since it's doubtful that they will ever be produced by another company. I picked up the following three models on a recent trip to Osaka.

Yanmar Tractor YT5113 (Tomica Common No.83). Stated to be 1/76 scale, but the interior looks awfully roomy.

Toyota Land Cruiser (Tomica Common No.103). This 1/71 scale model is the double cab version of the truck, so it will require a bit more work for those who want to convert it into a technical.

Morita Fire Fighting Ambulance (Tomica Common No.119) in 1/74 scale. The passenger side rear door can open to reveal the interior of the truck.

If you are interested in getting Tomica cars, make sure that you don't confuse them with the similar Pocket Tomica (ポケット トミカ) brand. I thought I got a great deal on a fleet of garbage trucks, but ended up with these tiny guys... orz

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

You're gonna need a bigger boat...

Sharks belong to the superorder Selachimorpha, and have a fossil record that goes back to the Carboniferous Period. It is often said that they have gone unchanged in form for over 350 million years, but this statement couldn't be any further from the truth.

The fact is that sharks have evolved over time. One only needs to look at some of the early sharks represented in the Safari Ltd. Prehistoric Sharks Toob to see how different they are compared to modern sharks.

Of the 10 sharks in the set, four can be considered to be approximately 1/72 scale.





Cretoxyrhina, Edestus, and Sarcoprion are all thought to have been around 6.1m in length, while Helicoprion could be as long as 7.5m (although the typical specimen may have only been 3-4m long).

For Sarcoprion and Helicoprion (which I believe have been reclassified as Chimaeriformes), I used a knife to cut notches in the spiral tooth whorl of their lower jaws to make the individual teeth more pronounced.

The most famous of prehistoric sharks is Carcharocles megalodon [or Carcharodon megalodon]. Due to its presumed physical resemblance to the Great White Shark, any >8" Great White could probably be used to represent the Megalodon. Purists however may prefer the Safari Ltd. Megalodon (Wild Safari 303329).

Size estimates for this shark range from 15-30m, but I prefer the more conservative size estimate. While I would certainly be impressed by a 30m shark, I have doubts that every specimen of Megalodon was really that big. That being said, I'd say the model scales out very closely to 1/72 scale if we're talking about a 15m shark.

Luckily for us, Megalodon is now extinct... or is it?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


The Surgeon's Photo - Fortean Pictures Library

The Plesiosauria are an order of prehistoric marine reptiles that include the Plesiosauridae and Elasmosauridae. Members of these two families are commonly thought of as having long necks, four flippers, and a short tail. A number of fresh water lake monsters are thought to be the last remnants of these extinct creatures.

Elasmosaurus also played a role in the infamous "Bone Wars" between Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope – an episode that demonstrates how peer review can help prevent a load of public embarrassment, and save money to boot.

A New Jersey Elasmosaurus with short neck and long tail...

Representing the Elasmosauridae in 1/72 scale is the CollectA Hydrotherosaurus (88139) which scales out exactly to 13m in length.

It would be nice to have a real Elasmosaurus in 1/72 scale though, since the body of Hydrotherosaurus (or at least of this particular model) does not quite have the broad, flattened shape of a typical Elasmosaur.

For the Plesiosauridae, Kaiyodo makes a couple of Plesiosaurus that are roughly similar in size and appearance. The one that I own is the Capsule Q Museum Plesiosaurus. Presumably this model represents one of the larger species, since it is supplied with a 1/72 scale diver for size comparison.

There is also a secret version of the Capsule Q model with a more elaborate color scheme. The UHA Dinotales Plesiosaurus (which I don't have) is also very similar in size and appearance to the Capsule Q version, even though it represents a smaller 3.5m Plesiosaurus.

The last figure is the Horrorclix Nessie (Nightmares #043). The miniature has its neck bent in swan-like fashion, which (despite popular depiction) is an impossibility for plesiosaurs.

Nessie bears somewhat of a resemblance to the Plesiosaurus illustrated in The Book of the Great Sea-Dragons.

The Sea-Dragons as they lived.

The figure really embodies Hawkins' appellation of "Sea-Dragon" as applied to marine reptiles, and bears only a superficial resemblance to Plesiosaurus.

In closing, though many cryptozoology aficionados like to draw comparisons between the Loch Ness Monster and Plesiosaursus, there are many arguments supporting why the Loch Ness Monster isn't a plesiosaur.

A comparison between Hydrotherosaurus and Plesiosaurus.