Volume IX, Number 2

2006 Nuremberg Toyfair - Toy Car Report
story and images by Christian Falkensteiner

I want to begin my summary of small-scale diecast models which I saw at the 2006 Nuremberg Toyfair with a few remarks about the status of this fair, which some readers may not be aware of. Officially it is strictly a trade fair, open only to representatives of toy retailers, not to the general public and therefore not to collectors. While it is usually not difficult for collectors to get tickets to enter the fair thanks to the kindness of toyshop owners, each exhibiting company has the right to restrict access to its stall to its "valued customers", i.e. to people who regularly place sizable orders with this company.

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 LD.

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 variations.

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.

Bugatti Veyron


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 Routemaster.

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.

Mercedes-Benz CLS


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 truly new.



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 before.



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 Republic.



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.