Most exhibitors are happy to show their products to collectors too, seeing
Toyfair as a unique opportunity to get in touch with those people who buy their
products in the end and appreciate them the most. However, there are exceptions.
Particularly the larger companies make it sometimes very difficult for "ordinary
people" to enter their stalls.
The most interesting items at the Corgi stall were the new OO
(1:76) scale models of British vans which are part of the Trackside range.
Trackside used to be a range under the Lledo brand, but that brand name
seems to have been finally discontinued. I find these models very attractive
and very reminiscent of both regular wheel era Matchbox and Husky, and
they might even be better than both of those in some respects, such as
detailed bases, interiors and window glazing. The range consists of four
different castings: Bedford CA, Ford Transit Mk I, Morris J2 and Morris
Beside Trackside, the Corgi stall featured a few more small scale models,
all of which had been seen before. In the TV & movie section, there
was still the small scale Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and some of the "slightly
larger than three inches" James Bond models are now offered in connection
with the new forthcoming Bond movie "Casino Royale". Also on
display was the "Corgi Wheelz" range, including Realtoy castings,
as found before at stores in the UK.
In the new 'Trackside' range
Norev's small scale diecasts are now subdivided into two categories:
the "toy" category which consists of three inch models of regular
passenger cars and "tuners", and the "1:64 scale collectibles"
category. The latter are all made to the same scale and are slightly smaller
and more detailed, but also much more expensive than the "toys".
The "1:64 scale collectibles" shown at Nuremberg comprised
Hummer H2 and some Chrysler models: several variations each of the 300C
and Crossfire and the ME-412 concept car. In the "toy" category
the items on display did not include anything that was new to me; even
some new castings introduced the year before were absent this time. I
was told that the "toy" assortments will be enhanced by and
by with the inclusion of more castings which are presently only available
at car dealerships (none of which were shown), but it cannot be predicted
which ones will appear when. Dealers ordering assortments have no knowledge
of which models they will eventually receive. (Comment from a German Norev
rep: "If we have to sort them, they will be twice as expensive!")
Some of Norev's new Chrysler line
The Bub range of 1:87 scale diecast models continues with a large
variety of models of vintage German cars. This includes some very unusual
subjects such as pre-war rally cars by BMW, Mercedes and Wanderer, Phänomen
vans and NAG trucks, an Auto Union Grand Prix racer and the VW Type 64
"Berlin-Rom". The 1960s sports car models (Porsche 906, Ford
GT 40, Ferrari 250 GTO) are now fitted with new, more realistic wheels
with treaded tires. A new sub-range of 1970s racing touring cars will
be introduced, initially consisting of BMW 3.5 CSL and Porsche RSR Turbo
VW Type 64 "Berlin-Rom"
Schuco's ranges of small-scale models become increasingly difficult
to survey. First, there is the Piccolo range of 1:90 scale full metal
models, which is enhanced by many attractive new castings, such as Alfa
Romeo Giulia, Carbodies FX4 Taxi, Austin Mini Van, Auto Union Type C racer,
Citroen 2CV Van, Citroen H Van, Ford Escort RS 2000, Porsche 914, Renault
4 and Alpine Renault A110.
Schuco's "Edition 1:87", which is believed to be mainly made
by High Speed, also features a lot of new models, most of which were only
to be seen at the Schuco stall but not at the High Speed stall. The list
includes: Alfa Romeo 147, Austin Mini, Audi A3 & A6, BMW 1, 3 &
6 Series, Ford Mustang GT, Jaguar XK 120 & Mk II, Lamborghini Gallardo
& Murcielago, Mercedes 190 SL, A Class & SLK, Mini Cooper Cabrio,
Peugeot 407 Coupe, Porsche 356 Coupe, Boxster, Cayman & 911/997 Coupe,
Skoda Octavia, VW Golf V & Bus T2, Audi, Mercedes and Opel DTM racers,
Citroen Xsara WRC, Peugeot 307 WRC, VW Race Touareg, and the most spectacular
of them all: the Maybach Exelero concept car. The full size vehicle was
on display at the Schuco stall.
The Schuco Junior 1:72 scale range is now a combination of castings originating
from Hongwell and Yat Ming, and it is difficult to tell which are which.
Again, many new items displayed at the Schuco stall were not seen anywhere
else. The following were designated as new models: Aston Martin DB7, Audi
RS4, A6 & A8, Dodge Viper SRT-10, BMW Isetta, Ford Fiesta, GT &
Mustang GT, Hummer H2 SUT, Lancia Delta Integrale, Land Rover Freelander,
Defender & Discovery, Mazda RX8 & MX5, Mercedes G Wagon &
E55, Opel Speedster, GTC & Vectra GTS, Porsche Carrera GT, Volvo V50,
VW W12 & Beetle Cabrio.
Finally, the Schuco Junior 1:64 scale range (made by High Speed) featured
a relatively small number of new castings: Alfa Romeo Spider & 156
GTA, Lamborghini Gallardo & Murcielago.
Lamborghini Gallardo (polizia)
Siku had its new issues for 2006 on display in the usual way.
What is unusual is the introduction of seven generic castings in the lowest
price group: four sports cars and three pick-up trucks. All of those closely
resemble particular real vehicles, but are disguised just enough to put
collectors off. This has probably been done to avoid licensing fees, but
may do quite a bit of damage to Siku's reputation.
However, there are some new realistic models from Siku as well, including
a Porsche 911/997 Coupe, a Mercedes CLS, a BMW 645i Cabrio, a VW Passat
Variant and a Bugatti Veyron. Besides there is a new series of small-scale
military vehicles, and a lot of products connected to the 2006 Soccer
World Championship held in Germany.
At Mattel's stall, for the first time in many years, the Matchbox display
looked more attractive than the Hot Wheels display, which has even been
acknowledged by Hot Wheels collectors. The Hot Wheels display was
dominated by various racetrack sets and other playsets as usual, with
some current mainline, Acceleracers and Classics models placed alongside.
The Acceleracers feature a new packaging style and are scheduled to be
discontinued after 2006. In addition, the tuning-themed and slightly larger
models called Dropstars were shown at Nuremberg for the first time. There
was a separate stall in a different hall devoted to Hot Wheels Collectibles,
but the items displayed there were all larger scale models, including
two 1:1 scale Ferraris.
Dropstars 1970 Ford Mustang
In the Matchbox display, thankfully, the main emphasis was put
on the models themselves. The display already included basic 1-75 range
Miniatures from the very latest wave, which is not available in stores
yet at the time of writing. This wave features three new castings, a Mercedes
CLS, a Tractor Plow and a new Dune Buggy. The latter two are generic castings
but realistic enough to be attractive to collectors, even more so as they
sport metal baseplates. The rest of the 2006 range was only shown on the
new poster which will be available in the USA shortly and elsewhere at
a later date. All the new models as well as the liveries of the new recolors
look very realistic and attractive. The trucks are all generic but believable;
new passenger car models include VW Golf V GTi, 1961 Jaguar E Type Coupe,
new Jaguar XK, new Ford Crown Victoria Police, Range Rover Sport, Land
Rover Defender 110, Audi RS6 Avant and a vintage Cadillac Hearse which
is either a 1959 or a 1963 model, depending if you believe the text or
the picture. A new London Double Decker Bus looks very much like the old
With regard to other Miniatures ranges, the items on display were only
2005 issues which are already in stores. This includes Superfast and Stars
of Cars. Both of these ranges will continue and will be offered over here
in Europe. Of course, the display also featured various multi-packs and
playsets, Convoy trucks including many new liveries and the re-launched
larger scale ranges of Super Kings, Models of Yesteryear and Dinky. Of
the latter two ranges only old samples from the 1980s were shown, and
it is understood that those are the castings to be re-issued in new liveries
later this year.
Unfortunately, one of the strictest companies in this respect is Smoby,
the current owner of the Majorette brand. This year I did not manage
to get into their stall at all, so after not seeing any new Majorette
models in any stores for ages, I did not get to see any at Toyfair either.
As we have learned about forthcoming new castings in the 200 series via
the internet before, it is possible to mention them here for the sake
of completeness (Peugeot 107, Citroen C1, Renault Clio III, Fiat Panda
4x4, BMW 1 Series, Toyota Hilux, Hummer H2), but I did not see them at
the fair. That was certainly the worst experience for me this year.
At the Realtoy stall I did not notice the Real-X range of 1:72
scale models anymore, which leads me to believe it has been discontinued,
although I may be wrong about this. In the basic "toy" range
still called Action City I did not spot anything new.
There was nothing new in the 1:64 scale display at the Revell
stall either. One positive remark I can make is the fact that the 2006
Revell Metal catalog includes a few 1:64 scale models from the Lowriders
and Hot Hatch ranges, whereas those catalogs were always restricted to
large scale models in previous years.
The fact that the exhibitions are focused on dealers rather than collectors
also means that more and more companies do not find it necessary to show
any new models planned for future release, but instead restrict their
displays to the items which are already found in the stores. Thereby they
just indicate which product lines are available to be ordered, but not
which actual models those lines will consist of in the future. Apparently
the buyers of retail companies do not care about individual models, but
this practice can be very frustrating for collectors looking for information.
For this reason I have to report that I only saw items which have been
known before at the stalls of AutoArt, Golden Wheel, Motormax,
Widea and Yat Ming. All those companies were represented
with their own respective stalls at Toyfair, but did not show anything
After a few years of absence, finally some Johnny Lightning products
showed up at Nuremberg again, but only in a small corner of the RC2 stall.
On display were some spaceships from the "Legends of Star Trek"
range and some wildly decorated cars from the "Monsters" range.
As in previous years, a query about availability in Europe would result
in a reference to the Cars & Co company, which in turn still does
not offer any small scale models to its customers. This is still a dead
end for European collectors.
Hongwell seems to concentrate on a new series of small scale motorcycle
models at present and therefore neglect the cars quite a bit. There were
no new 1:72 scale car models on display. I did not even see any of the
Skoda models by Hongwell which are presently available in the Czech Republic.
However, a Czech company called Abrex had them on display at its
own stall. Abrex is the Czech distributor for Hongwell and is now offering
the Skoda models under its own brand name. The range is supposed to include
models of vintage Skodas as well eventually. A few mock-ups of those were
on display, but they are not included in the current catalog yet.
The very attractive and interesting models of vintage German cars released
by the Grell company during last year were not to be seen anywhere
at the fair. The Grell company itself does not exhibit at Nuremberg Toyfair,
perhaps because it does not see its products as "toys" and accesses
its customers in other ways, and the actual manufacturers of those models
(High Speed and maybe others) did not show them either, perhaps because
they are not allowed to do so due to exclusive rights agreements with
Grell. Whatever the real reason is, I think it is a pity.
Joy City was once again not represented directly at Toyfair, and
their 1:72 scale models could only be found at the Guiloy stall,
but again the models displayed were only older ones which had been seen
At the High Speed stall the 1:64 scale range did not include any
new items; the whole range was shown exactly as the year before. Some
new items were spotted in the 1:87 scale section though, including Citroen
Xsara WRC, Alfa Romeo 147, Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago and Porsche
356 Coupe. For more High Speed models see the Schuco section further below.
High Speed also exhibited a large amount of 1:64 scale BMW and Toyota
models by the Japanese brand Kyosho; the same models were also
shown by Kyosho themselves at their own stall. It was stated that Kyosho
acts as the distributor for High Speed in Japan, and I am not sure if
there is any other connection between the two brands beyond this.
Welly was another company which did not show any new models in
its three-inch diecast range. The same old basic castings are now available
in two different series, one of which is called "Special Collection".
This is probably to be sold at a higher price point, although I did not
notice much of a difference in detailing between this and the original
basic series. Welly's main effort, however, seems to have gone into an
entirely new range of H0 (1:87) scale diecast metal models. The models
look well-made, but the subjects chosen are a bit boring to me. The range
mainly consists of models of current BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche models,
the only exception being a Porsche 356 B which is clearly the most attractive.
Guisval did not have any new small-scale models to show either,
just a new packaging style consisting of plastic bags with cards contained
inside. I was told that one new model is in the works and should appear
later this year: a Peugeot 307 WRC. There is still no Guisval distributor
for Germany or Austria, but the brand is now represented in the Czech
Maisto's basic three-inch range may have been discontinued altogether
or not; in any case it was only represented by some old seven-piece multi-packs.
Otherwise the only small-scale models shown at the Maisto stall were the
"tuned" ones grouped in ranges such as Playerz, Pro Rodz, G
Ridez and East Coast Ryders. Some new castings appear to be featured in
those ranges, but I do not know them well enough to tell. They are all
models of US cars plus BMW, Mercedes and the inevitable VW Beetles and
Vans. In addition, I noticed a new range termed "Urban Metal",
which consists exclusively of generic sports car castings with cryptic
abbreviations for names.
Maisto's stall was decorated with flags depicting the Bburago
and Polistil logos, a clear indication of who the new owner of
those two brands is. However, there was no sign of what Maisto plans to
do with them - probably the date of the purchase was just too recent.
As the Polistil range used to consist mainly of Realtoy castings, it will
surely have to change in the future. At Nuremberg Toyfair no actual Polistil
models were shown anywhere. Bburago was represented (far away from the
Maisto stall) by a company called G.Invest, the purpose of which is to
get rid of remaining stocks of old Bburago models.
New Ray continues to offer small-scale models of rally cars and
racing trucks alongside motorcycles and many series of larger scale items.
The rally cars include Citroen Xsara WRC, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII and
Subaru WRX STi, the trucks are a Mercedes Actros and MAN TG-A. The only
other series of small-scale car models on display at the New Ray stall
was a range of badly distorted rally cars termed "Mini Muscle Cars".
This range has now grown to eight different styles, which can all be recognized
as models of real cars, but only with some difficulty.
The Edocar range appears to continue in much the same way as before.
The castings advertised as new do not seem to be new at all and mostly
originate from Golden Wheel or Realtoy. Most models have odd fictitious
names attached to them, which have surely been created to avoid licensing
fees but sound very strange. A new aspect of the "Mini Series"
is the fact that it now includes numerous trailers offered as singles.
| This concludes my report of the small scale diecast
model cars which I saw at the 2006 Nuremberg Toyfair. I hope I did not overlook
anything important. Please note, however, that 1:87 scale (and smaller)
plastic models have been deliberately left out. Those are always very plentiful
at Nuremberg Toyfair and really form a category of their own, which would
be worthy of a separate report at least as large as this one.