Friday, September 24, 2010

TOMY Tomica line hits U.S. Toys 'R Us stores!

While doing a little birthday and Christmas shopping the other day at the local Toys 'R Us store I ran across something that made me very curious.  I normally head right to the action figure aisles and eventually to the LEGO section and trading card island before leaving or checking out.  This trip however wasn't meant for me so we went down all of the other aisles I normally ignore.  These toys were merchandised oddly enough in the girl's section of the store.  Why?  I have no clue.  What did I find exactly?  This...look below:

Apparently TOMY's Tomica line of die-cast cars and trains are a big seller in Japan and now they are hitting Toys 'R Us stores starting this month, September 2010.  The initial wave is supposed to include 7 different die-cast cars, 3 train sets, 6 accessory sets, 6 destination sets and 5 deluxe play sets.  Prices range from $4.99 to $79.99.

These basically appear to be connectible play sets that allow you to build your own city.  Because it's a Japanese branded toy all of the cars are officially licensed by the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Suzuki.  The only angle I don't quite understand is the inclusion of these mini figures.  They look like a cross of LEGO and something else.  The figures don't fit inside the cars since they are on the same scale as Hotwheels or Matchbox cars, but it does appear the figures fit inside the trains.  The figures are able to interact with the play sets however in a manner of various ways.

The trains are what really peaked my curiosity.  I love trains - always have.  I've got a Christmas themed LEGO train we always pull out and set up after Thanksgiving.  These trains or plarail as I believe they are called in Japan and battery operated using a C battery that operate on a special blue plastic rail system.  I saw some rail accessory packs for $2.99 each that contained 10 pieces of track I believe.  They were sold in packs of straight or curved pieces.  The larger scale train sets retailed for around $80.00, but seem to featured a lot of pieces.

I believe the destination sets referred to include the likes of a car dealership, gas station and pizza shop.  The deluxe play sets include a police and fire stations.  One of the aspects I think makes these toys so interesting is the road pieces.  Not since Micro Machines have I seen so many different play sets that are connectible as such.  I'm not 100% sure however if these road pieces are included with the sets or if they will be sold separately.  The packaging I saw in the store didn't seem to indicate this...or if it did I missed it all together.

The last thing I have the time/space/money for is to be drawn into another toy line, but there is this unique charm surrounding these toys that will eventually lead me to buying something just to get a hands on opinion.  I'm sure I'll post these opinions once I have the opportunity.  I doubt I'll be able to bring a review of any of the train sets (unfortunately), but I'm too curious not to buy something in this new Tomica series.

** Pics courtesy of the forums

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