Land Cruisers of the Rising Sun Day
A 1:64 tribute to the one and only "Cruiser", on the eve of the model change
There are cars that need a spec sheet to be introduced, and there are cars that need a small paragraph to be introduced. Then there are cars that need no special introduction whatsoever, a car that has penetrated all regional, climatic, geographic and demographic barriers, the one and only Land Cruiser. Born as a Japanese rival to the Willys (and soon its rebadged Japanese counterpart), the Land Cruiser has evolved into a quintessential off roader and simultaneously, a massive luxurious behemoth. Being such an iconic automobile, it was quite disappointing that there were hardly any 1:64 models of the different iterations of this iconic machine. Things have changed dramatically in the recent past.
J50 - Tomica Limited Vintage
The J56V Land Cruiser is not only the real life granddad of the Estate / Station Wagon series, but the TLV iteration in itself is the oldest casting here; an interesting coincidence. Previous versions went for insane prices on resale markets, but fortunately Tomytec decided to launch a twin - variant release for 2021; a civilian version and a patrol car with Kumamoto Prefectural Police livery.
Both are rich in core TLV values of being on point with the details, and exceptional finishing.
The "patoka" edges slightly ahead of the civvy Cruiser in terms of execution and the additional details.
The rear doors feel almost openable. Incredible detailing.
That is not to say the civilian version is bad in any sense, far from it.
J80 - Master
The 80 series is when the Land Cruiser really started to grow into the mammoth it is today, and started becoming properly luxurious. J80 models have been incredibly rare (if not unavailable) in the 1:64 scale. The entry of new players into the market has been such a boon for the collectors, and so far two of the newcomers have released the J80; Master and GCD (Keng Fai) Master had a very strong entry with its exceptional Defender 110. Their 80 Series Land Cruiser is not to be ignored. That said, my example came with a pretty nasty imbalance, not the finest first impression for an otherwise excellent premium model.
Note how the "ELECTRIC WINCH" print has been mirrored.
Ridiculous suspension geometry aside, this is an absolutely brilliant little model. The details are even better than TLV and the proportions seem quite accurate. There is barely a rough edge to be noticed in the finishing department as well.
On the other hand, the Keng Fai / GCD model came along in the post this week. I haven't really had any time to get good photos, but initial judgment is that the GCD ranks a little below Master's attempt. Steerable wheels have been their USP, but the lifted model has tires that literally look like someone mashed rubber on to the existing normal tires, and the regular version came with a dislodged component. A little examination found that to be the rear seatback which had completely detached. Overall the Master's version (which is slightly different in the replicated version as well) ranks above GCD's attempt.
J100 - Hikasi
The J100 is my personal favorite in the Land Cruiser lineage; an elegant behemoth of an SUV. Finding a 1:64 version was extremely difficult, until the Hikasi popped up on eBay lately. Hikasi is another new entrant to the 1:64 arena, and they also offer a Lexus LX570 model. I am not a fan of their wheel - tire execution, and the finishing of this example could have been better at places. However, they got the proportions and most details on point.
J200 - Siku
One of the unusual models in this gathering, the J200 was considerably available in the 1:64 scale. Tomica, Siku and Kyosho released the first version of J200 series Cruiser in different detail levels, and I had to dig the trove to find a picture of the Siku version.
J202 - GCD
The last facelift for the 200 series Cruiser came back in 2016, and has now been superseded by the 300 series as the current generation. Currently the only available 1:64 alternative is the GCD Models version.
The steerable wheels give the GCD Cruiser J202 an incredible demeanor, and puts it almost on par with the Master for most comprehensive feeling model.
The arrival of the new brands to the 1:64 market has been quite refreshing, as they have seriously upped the game. The GCD is one prime example; it completely changed my mind on steerable wheels on a 1:64.
Lexus LX570 - Kyosho
The reason for bringing the Lexus into discussion is that the model, although marketed by Kyosho as a Kyosho product, feels quite unlike one. It may not be a coincidence that Hikasi has also released an LX570 which looks, er, very similar to this. This model also features steerable wheels, but this example has the steering mechanism somewhat flawed.
GCD absolutely nails the steering, Kyosho (or is it?) does not.
If only these brands could think of the Pajero on the same beat!
By the way, I changed my active Instagram handle to @minicarguy64. Do check out if you are on a visit over there!
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week ahead!