2016-05-30

Intellectual Property

Today we have one of my sentimental favorites from the '80s: a Buick Grand National. This one is from the semi-premium Fast & Furious set from 2015.
Buick Grand National
2015 Fast & Furious #6
If I ever decided I needed to own a living room on wheels, I'd probably choose this one because under some circumstances it is a living room that is faster than a similar vintage Corvette. This car exemplifies the "if you only do one thing, do it well" way of thinking. This car is a dragster, plain and simple, a blunt instrument for the street war.
 Aaand here's my gripe with this car: some intellectual properties just can't help themselves from littering their toys with their names. This is actually the third car we've seen so disfigured after the A-Team Van and the Ford RS1600. At least the Ford's marking is black on moderately-dark-blue, so that it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, but on this car, the stark white (c) message is just awful. Firstly because it detracts from the authenticity of the model -- I'm pretty sure none of the cars in the movie had this message stenciled on them -- and secondly because in this case it really doesn't fit.

In this case, what we have is a typical late-'80s black-on-black Regal Grand National. There's nothing special about it that make it unique to the Fast & Furious franchise. The only thing Fast & Furious-related would be the packaging that the car comes in. But the car itself? 110% GM intellectual property.

I would make the same argument for the Ford, since it is painted in stereotypical-Ford sport paint. The A-Team Van you might have an argument for, as that particular combinations of custom paint styles, aero pieces, bash bars etc just might be enough to be "unique". Let's face it -- if you showed up at a car fair with a van dressed like that, everyone is going to recognize the A-Team van. But if you showed up in one of these Grand Nationals, practically nobody will even remember that they were included in the Fast & Furious movies.

The other thing about these intellectual property markings is that for the A Team Van and this Grand National, the ugly intellectual property stencil is against the blister pack back -- meaning you don't realize your model has been so sullied until after you've purchased it. It turns the whole labeling thing into something that they are hiding the fact that they are being so blatant about it, if you follow me.


Also, for a pseudo-premium car, the paint on this one is pretty terrible. Now part of that is because it is black, the lights find and emphasize every flaw in the paint and the underlying zamac. But you can get around that by making the paint just a tiny bit thicker and you don't end up with a car that photographs like it's been riddled with bullets. Fortunately you don't see this when you have the car in your hand.

I don't know -- am I expecting too much for $2.65? When the major flaw of labeling can either be avoided or made much more subtle just by selecting a better paint color, I don't think so. I don't think I'd have even noticed the zamac paint flaws had the label not put me off right away.


If you can ignore those two glaring problems, then this is a nice model, especially with the driver's side hidden.



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2016-05-27

Plastic Wrap

Sometimes you build up expectations beyond what they should really be and you set yourself up for disappointment. Personally I'm not sure if today's #FerrariFriday car is an example of that, or if this car is just... disappointing. Yes, I'm talking about the Ferrari FF.

Ferrari FF
2011 Mainline #045
On paper this car is the ultimate Ferrari for me. Four seats, all-wheel-drive, a ridiculous technological component (I speak here of the separate transmission that drives the front wheels, and doesn't drive the front wheels at all in top gear -- the car reverts to a rear-wheel-drive format). All that plus a Ferrari badge and a body which isn't half bad to look at. Since 2011 I've had two of these in their blisters, waiting the day when they could be released and examined. And I did just that for today's post.


There is immediate -- and I mean instant -- disappointment with the model, which I'll get to in a moment. First though let's look at the car's profile and admire the clean, flowing lines from the front to the rear. The extended roof line to accommodate the rear seats looks odd for a Ferrari, where the two-seat layout with a flat deck or long hatch is more common. But I still think it looks nice.


The nose has restrained styling with light creases in the hood to suggest the more wild lines of other, wilder Ferraris. There is good attention to details in the brake vents, front grill, and the intricate headlight tampo. 

However let's get back to the disappointment. This car feels like it is 100% plastic, and I don't mean the thick kind either. It is incredibly light and flimsy feeling. Even the body shell is plastic. It looks like Mattel didn't pass up any opportunity for weight savings with this car, with the bottom attached to the top of the car with a plastic wedge through the "license plate" area instead of a rivet. This is a gorgeous car to look at -- except from the back -- but in the hand, it just doesn't feel like a toy that would last long in the real word.

I have two more of these cars, the silver one in the blister and a white one in a 5-pack. While I have plans to open the 5-packs in the future, I may pass on opening the silver one just to avoid more disappointment.





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2016-05-25

Flight

Back to the slightly weird and wonderful for the Grab Bag of the week: the Flight '03. We'll see more "fantasy" cars in the grab bag than we will the rest of the time because most of my preferences lean towards the licensed cars rather than the fantasy cars. Many of the older cars I have, which came either from the flea-market purchase or from when I was less discriminating in what I purchased, are of the fantasy type, but currently I don't buy many of them.

Flight '03
2003 Mainline #31
This one takes its inspiration from the late '90s hot-hatch market and then ups the wild factor with ridiculous aerodynamic pieces. One wonders if the car could possibly have enough power to make carrying all that downforce around worth while.


The back of the car is especially nuts, with fenders flowing into rear spoilers, a roof wing, and some kind of strange ground-effects diffuser thing going on.


Overall though I like the effect. It might look better with less wild paint and more subdued colour choice, but frankly I doubt it.



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2016-05-23

Sorta Holiday Car

Today in Canada it is Victoria Day, where we celebrate the birth of Queen Victoria with a holiday that slides around May such that it always falls on a Monday. In Ontario, this is known more traditionally as the May 2-4 weekend, when people go up to the cottage and drink beer. Well, those who have cottages do, or know people with cottages do, I guess. Having a cottage seems very upper-middle-class to me. 

Excuse me, I think I got distracted.

Anyways I don't have a suitable Queen Victoria Day car, but since it is a holiday I thought I'd open one of the special cars I'd been holding back for a while. And here it is: the '85 Honda CR-X.

'85 Honda CR-X
2014 Cool Classics Series 2, #11
This casting is interesting because the body is actually two pieces. If you look, the "two-tone" separation down the waist of the car is where the two pieces come together. The gaps between them allow the typical '85 Civic nose to be completed with the windshield piece.


I had personal experience with Civics of this generation. My family owned a '85 4-door which was purchased from new, and then when I went to college I found the money to buy a used '86 4-door for myself, something I drove for two years until I got my first "real job" and could buy a "real car". The CRX was the sportscar version of the Civic line, and of course all teenaged/early-20's Civic drivers would have rather have had that instead of whatever one they ended up with. So this car is a bit of personal nostalga for me.

Unlike the production car, this model has the engine in the rear. There's some nice detail there. There's nice details everywhere on this car, a lot of care was put into its design.


Some SpectraFrost paint hanging on to the rivet holding the back together, I didn't notice that until I was looking at the photos.





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2016-05-20

Classic LM Racer

Another endurance racer today, the Ferrari 250 LM. And yes, it is yellow. I seem to like yellow, although this was part of a catch-up purchase made a year or two after the model was released.

Ferrari 250 LM
2007 Mainline #
Nice attention to details, including the odd notch on the rear window. This car obviously had more rearward view than did other endurance racers of the time.


The styling is what would be expected for early 1960s aero-racecar-cum-exotic shapes. One thing you can say about the styling is that it looks slippery.

There are some subtle details are hidden in the casting, such as the slide-style windows, which weighed less than did the crank assembly that was typical.


No Ferrari logo on the nose, but there is one on the front fender, and that's good enough.




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2016-05-18

A Convertible For Summer

Well actually it's like five degrees outside as I write this, but it's the middle of May so we should be getting the convertible weather pretty soon. And this one for today's Grab Bag is a nice looking cruiser.

Jaguar XK8
2001 Mainline #161
This is another model that I think is highly successful in marrying playability with being true to the original car. The styling naturally lends itself to the track-friendly raised nose and smoothed side fenders. At the same time, the convertible aspect makes it attractive to imagination play. I also like the windshield being extended to the nose to form the "head lights".

You can see that this one didn't get the air-duster treatment before being photographed. That is because I need to get more compressed air to clean off these older cars when they get picked.






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2016-05-16

Colour Shifter Fun

No, my auto correct isn't broken, this is in fact a 2014 Colour Shifter Fandango. See? It's spelled out on the card and everything. Take that, America.

Fandango
2014 Color Shifters
The Fandango is another of those castings I can't explain my attraction to. I never particularly liked vans, or SUVs, or trucks in anything more than a passing way. But something about this casting speaks to me, and I have a whole pile of them.


This one is an international-card Colour Shifter car that I bought out of a sense of completionism. As you can see, it was only removed from its packaging today. For some reason, I was more reluctant to open the rarer cars -- this one is apparently rare enough that it doesn't appear in the Hot Wheels Wikia page for the Fandango. CollectHW didn't have one listed, and the HobbyDB one listed appears to be an old listing of mine that I created during one of my previous attempts at using that particular site.

When I end up with a car that is apparently rare (thank you Wal-Mart), I seriously have to wonder what else is unlisted, waiting out there that I know nothing about.

But this is a colour shifter, right? So let's have some fun with it.


After two minutes in the sink, I discovered that the dark green is the "cool" colour, and the lime green is the "warm" color. I wanted to show the contrast, so I "warmed" the whole car, then let cold water wash over the nose. The resulting pattern is neat, and shows off the details of the nose.


Anyways, like I said I have a whole pile of these casting, so we will undoubtedly see more in the future.

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