Hot Sixty 4th: The Evolution of the Land Cruiser casting
A fan favorite designed by the late Ryu Asada (hotsixty4th landcruiser toyota)
Welcome to Hot Sixty 4th where I showcase DLM 1/64 and smaller and sometimes slightly larger. Before the late Ryu Asada became known as a Hot Wheels designer of JDM, he started with Matchbox and this is one of his legacy so for my 94th post in Drivetribe and 340th total post I bring you the Toyota Land Cruiser by Matchbox.
Hear ye, hear ye
I've been wanting to write something about the Matchbox Land Cruiser since it is one of my favorite casting to come out of the Matchbox brand so what I am about to write comes directly from the heart.
Although this is not the first color release of this casting, this is how it originally started. it has nicely tampo front headlights, turn signals, the bevel and the word Toyota clearly printed on the front. The body is all metal and is clear of any tampos. The mainline wheels although plastic definitely look great on it and the stance is just right.
No tampo on the taillights but being at the bottom does not distract the detail on this casting. In fact anyone can simply add some color on it. The LC usually comes with a spare at the rear but most of us know that there are limitations on individual parts that Mattel allows on a mainline casting so most likely Ryu abandoned this idea since he might have to either include the shape of the spare with the body mold (which Tomica did in their black box release years ago) or mold the spare with the interior just like what was done on the Matchbox Willys Jeep.
The base including the bumpers would be molded together using plastic but definitely not bad for a $1.00 casting.
As is typical of the $1 car, if tampo were printed on the side, something has got to give.
Here we see that tampos on the front and if applicable on the rear will not be applied, again due to the limitations that Mattel sets on a $1 car. Most of us would either love the side tampos or hate it. However if you can't stand the sides but still love the casting most customizers will either strip and repaint or just removed the tampos.
But then something terrible happened
It seems like someone in Mattel decided that the best way to reduced metal on a die cast due to possible cost cutting measure is to cut out the fenders AND the front of this casting replacing it with plastic by including it with the interior mold. As a fan of the Land Cruiser FJ40 this is like a stab at the heart. The lovely casting is now only a shell of its former self. There is now no way that this area can match the color of the rest of the body. It would now only be possible to match the color if you drill the rivets and repaint the whole interior mold including the body with the same color.
Reimagine the image of the Land Cruiser casting?
So I said to myself maybe its not so bad since the sides now sport tampos that represent different material or color on the body so why not a different color on the front and fenders. So I tried to do a bit of customizing to try and improve the image. The thing I decided is to add paint to detail the bevel and headlights.
Next i decided to change the stock wheels with rubber tires from Greenlight.
Added some silver paint on the side mirror.
For a comparison here is how it looks with a stock Matchbox.
As a bonus besides detailing the taillights I also attached the original tire as a spare.
Did my effort worked? In a way I think it did help to make it more presentable although for me I still think it will not looked as good compare to an all metal body with matching color.
Even though I have collected a few varieties of this casting, my only regret is not getting most of the castings issued when it still has full metal body even though it does not have tampos on the front as I was not a fan of their side tampos at that time.
Question for fans, designers and customizers
If you were to redesign the FJ40 what would you have done to cut cost? Please leave your comments below. Thanks for reading my view and rant.