Thursday, April 7, 2016
The Hot Wheels Japan Historics are as great as advertised...
Yeah, I'm not calling this a First Look. These models have been a huge part of the Hot Wheels collecting world for awhile now.
They haven't even hit the US (that is happening in the coming days), and they already have a crazy history. There was no doubt that the Car Culture line was going to be a big deal from the day it was announced, especially the Japan Historics segment. Factor in that everyone has gone cuckoo for JDM, add new a new Real Rider, a new casting, two Skylines, a Toyota racer, and everyone's favorite 70's grocery getter, and you have a can't-miss series.
That also means tons of illegal sneak peeks and unfortunate factory theft shenanigans too. Tangent alert: I will say this. I'm bummed that there was a time I showed factory-stolen sneaks here. It is always fun to know what is coming, but I don't think I gave enough thought to what the ramifications were for showing them. Not only did it contribute to the increasing amount of sales of stolen items (just look at all the yet-to-be-released Supers on eBay and Instagram for sale), but it also steals from the hard work of the people at Mattel. They design these models, they market them, and they work with licensors all the time to make sure these products are released the right way. I have no right to take from that.
There is another aspect I never thought about as well. It puts the licensing relationships Mattel has in jeopardy. When something gets leaked, it could be an incomplete version of an upcoming model, or complete but yet-to-be-approved. The licensor sees something they haven't approved in public, and could have second thoughts about doing something more with Mattel in the future. Does Mattel need to tighten their security? Surely they do. But we as collectors need to control our appetite for illegal images and models. If no one wants the info and images, or stolen Supers or "prototypes" (and trust me, they aren't real prototypes), there is no reason for anyone to steal them from the factory. We put high demands on Mattel. We should do the same for ourselves.
I fully admit to being part of the problem in the past. I quit showing them awhile ago, and am committed to avoiding sneaks of all kinds unless approved or already released by Mattel or any other diecast maker. Alright, tangent over.
Back to the history of the Historics. They were always slated for an April release, yet our friends in Canada got the first dibs as early as a couple of months ago. Considering the demand for these models, my guess is collectors in other parts of the world made good friends with collectors in Canada, so thank the Historics for bringing friends together. Oh the love...
That means we have all seen these beauties, and many of us already have them. And now - queue the Rocky theme - the first batch of what could be the most popular Hot Wheels premium line ever, makes its way to the States. (I seriously have the Rocky theme playing on my computer while I right this. Totally random too, thanks to iTunes. Ok, I just made it repeat. This is now far more dramatic than it needs to be. But I like it. This is how #lamleyhype is built.)
I don't think I need to go into all the details on this set. I will say the Japan Historics will undoubtedly be the most popular batch of the first year of Car Culture, and it is cool to see the Mattel is releasing it first as opposed to last, when there is always a greater chance to less distribution. We have seen too many times in the past that best batch of the line is the last batch, and for whatever reason retailers don't want it because of poor sales, and we never see the models. Thankfully, that is not the case here. The Historics will sell very well, and hopefully that leads to a better lifespan for the series.
And all hype aside, this batch is nearly perfect. I am sure we can get nit picky about certain aspects, but overall, the line is beautiful. Yeah, the new stretched-tire wheel is most welcome, and beautifully executed. Just thinking about all the future models that will sport them is exciting. Super TH's? RLC?
My favorite? The Toyota 2000GT. The livery and wheels are based on a real racer, and it is easily my favorite 2000GT so far, with all due respect to the Super TH and RLC release. The Hakosuka is also a great companion to the First Edition, and Police Kenmeri and 510 are nice too. The model I wondered the most about was the Mazda RX3, after I heard it was going to be purple. But Mark Jones nailed the casting, and the purple over chrome wheels is tremendous. Easily my favorite model to photograph. Its gorgeous.
Anyway, all hail the Historics. Hobby dealers like A&J should have their orders soon, and more on that later. This is a set that kicks the doors wide open to some great collector-aimed models in the future. It's a good time to be a collector...