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Monday, August 11, 2014

Top Mark 1:43 scale Toyota FT-86



Ever since the Toyota GT86/Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ came out in 2013 I was eagerly waiting for a diecast version of this model.  After a brief wait I finally got the Hot Wheels version; However, this casting was slightly customized and was too small to really show off the details of this casting.   OK so how about a 1:18 or 1:24 scale version?  None for the latter, and as for the former all I see is versions well out of my price range.  So it seems a 1:32-1:43 pullback was the only way to go, and as I was waiting for the Welly version to arrive I got a big surprise one day while looking at T.J. Maxx and ran across these two!

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New to the fold

Made by Top Mark, this 1:43 scale Toyota FT-86 is packed full of details including the pull-back motor, sound and lights when the hood is pressed down, opening doors and hood, and excellent details inside and out, all in a casting about 1:43.  This amount of stuff in a small scale would've been impossible a few decades ago!  The Toyota/Subaru duo was a combined result of making a pure 2+2 sports car featuring Toyota styling and Subaru 2.0L Flat-4 to the rear wheels by a six-speed manual or automatic.  Having a smaller engine allowed the motor to sit close to the ground and behind the front axle for proper weight distribution only equivalent in cars costing twice, or three times, as much as this car's $20,000 est. base price!  Despite some early problems, controversial exterior and interior styling, and a long wait for possible spyder and turbo versions, the Toyota/Subaru duo are doing their job just fine.



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Amazing in every way!

I actually found the orange one at another T.J. Maxx, but anyways both were checked for any defects and to make sure all the parts were there (the headlight on the orange one popped out while I had it in my hands at the store, which was a good thing!).  A word of caution:  if you find one at T.J. Maxx, be sure to thoroughly check it out for any missing parts or defects as this was a common occurrence for a few other cars from this brand there, including a Mercedes-Benz SLS-AMG, 2nd Gen. Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the 2014 Porsche 911 coupe, current-gen. Toyota Land Cruiser, 2nd. Gen. Mini Cooper, and not found is also the 2010 Camaro SS coupe and a few Lamborghini's.



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Quality-control is not the best with headlight lenses, some still with flash and having the tendency to come out, the red car's hood fit not flush, a few chips and black paint marks, the black window trim not properly stamped (easy fix with a sharpie), the rear spoiler on the orange car trying to come off on one corner, the squatting rear wheels (blame it on the front sound and light function), and the orange car had bad batteries from the get-go.  So essentially some TLC will be needed when handling these vehicles.



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Otherwise they look amazing!  The red has a smoother look, while the orange has some metalflakes in the paint, but otherwise looks good.  The front has clear headlights with the bulbs perfectly positioned where the projector lenses would be on the real car!  The lower grille is flanked by silver side scoops and FT-86 plate.  The hood and front fenders have the matching flow of the real car, the fender badges are not clearly detailed but are visible, doors have mirrors, and the rear has dual exhaust, the correct curves with the taillights that stick out.  Oh, by the way there is a variation (about a 50/50 split between colors) where one has clear lens with round red dot for the taillights (the red car), while the other has full-red taillights with a poorly-stamped "TOYOTA" badge (the orange car).  The black spoiler looks out-of-place, but it can represent a TRD-style add-on spoiler.



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Inside, the tan interior nicely breaks up the black of the dash.  The front seats are molded into the interior tray (and are thick on the backside), while the rear seats get the usual central luggage common in pullback vehicles.  The dash is nicely done with the proper switch gear an buttons, though the radio area is blank, with the proper 3-spoke steering wheel.  The console also has the correct placement of controls, and...uh...as for the shifter...well...uh...try to look at it without a dirty mind!  The hood opens up to an engine tray that shows the details of the 2.0L I-4 from the top.  Doesn't seem like much but remember there's a lot going on underneath with the lights, sound, and the switch that clicks as you press down the front to simultaneously activate the flashing front lights and sound of a car starting up, revving, and then zooming off for about 1/4 of a mile.



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The wheels have rubber tires with silver spoke wheels; I would've looked for the blacked-out inner-spokes like on the actual car.  The base shows the exhaust and a few small details overshadowed by the speaker and the battery door, which uses three small cell batteries similar to the ones used for hearing aids.  My advice, especially to those who plan to put these in storage, is to remove the batteries to protect the contacts from corrosion.


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Overall they're two very impressive, and interesting models.  Ok, it could use better quality control and better distribution of the brand, but they're just small downsides to a casting that packs so much details and functions that paying more than usual for these pullbacks would be worth it!

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