2015 Was The Year Of The Datsun 240Z

2015 was the Year Of The Datsun 240Z. What you see here are the black and white 2015 Mainline cars, the red 2015 Real Riders car, and the silver (nominally) 2014 Cool Classics Series 3 car.

This casting has always been something of a disappointment to me. Even though the car cuts a beautiful profile and a nice head-on view, there is something about the geometry that just doesn't look right when you have the car in your hand, something to do with the way the nose is very flat and not dipped and the way the headlight covers are placed. I can't really describe it, but it doesn't look entirely like the car it is based off of.

When you have all of them together, it is easy to see the differences. Of them all I like the Real Riders car the best. The paint is beautiful and the tampos are not overly busy. It has a nice weight in your hands thanks to the metal base. I personally find the Cool Classics car as disappointing, because despite the nice metal base the car has very poor roll qualities due to a manufacturing/assembly defect that leaves the rear wheels fouling on something.

All that said I was surprised to get the Cool Classics car and the Real Riders car last year. Normally models like that don't come to Canada, and if they do, they get scooped up so quickly the only thing left is Twin Mill things or the like.


Toon'd Pajero

Mitsubishi Pajero (Toon'd)
Mainline 2004-054
This is a rare car in my collection -- a 'Toon'd car, where the wheels are exaggerated in proportion to everything else and the car is generally cartoony. I usually don't like these kinds of model, I am more interested in a realistic portrayal of the car I am collecting. This is one of two exceptions, and I got it because the 'tooning does make the car look like the Dakar racers that was running around northern Africa around the turn of the century, in particular a Renault powered one-off called a "Mega". In this case, the 'tooning works for the model rather than against it.


Ferrari F12berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
Mainline 2014-031

This is also one of the highlights of 2015. This car represents one of the last, if not the last, common Ferrari casting for Hot Wheels. Despite being a 2014 series casting, this car was almost depressingly common through the early parts of 2015, the bright yellow standing out on both the racks and in dump bins. And it was hard for me to resist because I found the car so attractive and because of what the car represented. I have three or four of them tucked away somewhere.

That said, this particular model doesn't seem to photograph well. The combination of the yellow and the harsh white lights I am using for lighting seem to emphasize every flaw on the car, while simultaneously turning the detail into yellowish mud.

It is still a favourite, to the point that it is one of the cars that grace the desk at my office.


Subaru BRAT


Subaru BRAT
2014 Cool Classics Series 3
Subaru BRAT
Mainline 2015-123

The Subaru BRAT isn't a new casting, it was released first in 2012 as part of The Hot Ones premium series. This year we got three more examples. The blue one is a Mainline car, and there is a bright yellow variant with the same tampos floating around as well that I have not been able to get. The red one is a Spetrafrost Red Cool Classics Series 3 car, ostensibly from 2014 but only making an appearance here in Ottawa in late 2015 in the Dollarama stores. However when I first saw the red one on the internet I knew I had to have it. I have two, one that is opened and one that is still in the package. For the mainline I also have two, but the one in the package is broken.

It is interesting to compare the two cars. The red one is a metal-on-metal car and has a much more solid feel to it than the mainline, which has a plastic-chrome base. Similarly the red one has more premium wheels on it than the mainline. Put the weight and the wheels together and the Cool Classics car is clearly the better car on the orange track, although the nice paint would make me more reluctant to put it on the track in the first place. Both of them are visually fun to look at, and I'm still on the look out for the yellow one should it surface here in Ottawa.


'96 Nissan 180 SX Type X

'96 Nissan 180 SX Type X 
Mainline 2015-205

This is one of the nice surprises of 2015. I like the relatively clean and unfussed lines and the half-recessed headlights. I was reading somewhere that Mattel usually releases new castings, especially real castings, with very simple decorations -- no wild tampo art -- and that these ones were more popular with some collectors. I do agree. For the most part, the busy tampo art can detract from the forms of the car itself, like the car is trying to take on another identity somehow.


Super Tuned Open Wing

Super Tuned
Mainline 2001-017

The Super Tuned casting was introduced in 2001. Most of these cars released that year, and all of these cars released since, had the solid, filled-in spoiler seen on the right. But some cars of this blue 2001 color had an open spoiler instead. Normally I'm not a truck person but this casting appeals to me, and for some reason I find it particularly photogenic -- the other color from 2001, the bright yellow, modeled for one of my favorite photos I have ever taken.


Time Machine Hover Mode

Time Machine Hover Mode
Mainline 2016-221

Was down by Inkerman yesterday and stopped at the Walmart at Highway 416, and look what I found. Someone had put it on the rack backwards with the cardboard facing out, but it was right at the front so when I pulled it off to have a look I almost had a heart attack. (Pro tip: if you are hiding Hot Wheels on the rack, put them near the back of the peg, not right on the front.) I never expected to find one ever, and here it is right in front of me. Mattel also makes a "1885 Time Machine" with the ridiculous white-wall tires but that's a premium car and that series wouldn't last long if it showed up anywhere, so if I want one of those I'm probably eBaying big bucks. I'm currently on a open-everything kick but this is one I just might keep in its package along with the non-hover-mode version from 2011.


Ferrari FXX

Ferrari FXX
Mainline 2008-033

Just playing around with the macro mode in iOS Camera+. When I took a picture of this one last week, it visibly had a bunch of dust on it, so I've carefully brushed and air-blown the car so it looks all pretty. I have a bunch of FXXs, I think they look nicer than the Enzos that they are based on.

(Mattel part number #L9948 from the 2008 Mainline.)