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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Suzuki Samurai's from Hot Wheels, Maisto, and Siku

Ever since the Jeep came out and serve its duties in World War II, manufacturers have been making there ways of challenging the Jeep.  Toyota's FJ Cruiser, Chevy K-5 Blazer, Ford Bronco, Dodge Ramcharger, International Scout, and even this Suzuki Samurai

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From kei car to practical off-roader

Known also as the Jimny, the Samurai started life as a small kei car that resembled a Jeep and used various parts from different manufacturers.  It's durability off-road and on-road allowed Suzuki to grow the line to the second-generation with the larger Samurai that was also now best-suited for U.S. roads.  The Samurai tries to stay more away from the original Jeep look with a look of its own, while still providing the same features as the Jeep like fold-down windshield and top and removable doors.  The front has a crate grille with round headlights, short wheelbase even shorter than the Jeep, flush side body lines, and rear bumper with integrated taillights and exterior spare tire.  The interior features seating for four with a more car-like dashboard (for a 1980's Japanese vehicle) and a smaller level for the part-time two-speed transfer case behind the main 5-speed manual shifter.  You'll need that manual to get the most out of the 1.3L I-4 producing 65 hp.  Yea, not fast but then again it's light, compact, and the motor has enough torque to pull this little guy out of any large obstacle.  With live front and rear axles with leaf springs rear and coil springs front it's durable, though not as comfortable on the road.  This SUV was also involved in the heatly-debated 1988 Consumer Reports for rolling over easily on the emergency manuever test.  Still, the Samurai continued for more years, spawning the GEO Tracker as well.  Due to new safety regulations, the Samurai was replaced by the Sidekick in 1995.  While not in the US anymore, the Suzuki and Jimny still continue to be sold worldwide.

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The interesting Siku

One company that is not as common in the US stores, though it does occasionally pop out in select areas at times, is Siku, and their Samurai is a marvelous piece of work!  The white vehicle is in good condition, even the removable top that does remove though i'm not sure how.  The front has a grille guard and front Euro plate that the other examples do not provide.  Crisp bodylines and door and hood lines are nicely-done, as does the rear gate with SUZUKI letters, though there's no spare tire.  The bumper has the finely-detailed taillights with trailer hitch to haul various Siku trailers.  The interior is not the best, but then again is much well-informed than the other two examples here.  The wheels with white multi-spokes and Siku white lettering looks a lot like the Hot Wheels Real Riders of the 1980's, but the tires are plastic and one-piece.  Now look at the base and note that it is metal, it is made in West Germany, and doesn't use the typical rivet press base attachments; instead the metal tabs are bent in a Y-shape.  This is one sporty-looking Samurai with the right look, details, and a clean appearance without any graphics of any sort.  Love it!

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The highly-popular Maisto

Every time I see one of these Maisto Samurai's go up for auction it bids like crazy.  Nowadays the frenzy has cooled off a bit, but it is still a popular casting.  The red has Samurai on the hood, with the same body line details of the Siku.  The front has a separate chrome piece for the grille and headlights, while the rear has a spare tire and taillights on the quarter panels and not the rear bumper.  The base and wheels are bland and cheap, though the working suspension is nice.  The top does come off and it's a no-brainer, leaving an interior that only has seating for two with a rear area good for some light hauling.  Now this model here is the most-demanded since others include topless versions and one with one heck of a wacky color sheet!

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The Hi-Raked Hot Wheels

Finally is the Hot Wheels version that is really built for the rough stuff with a tall lift and large knobby tires (same ones that were used on construction machines in the Hot Wheels line) on a metal base, but the axles tend to bend easily, as does the front bumper that is part of the interior piece along with the front grille.  Earlier versions had the SUZUKI letters in the grille, later removed on other variations.  The front bumper also has a winch for getting out of rough spots, while the rest of the body has the typical Samurai look.  The back gets kinda plain with no spare or details whatsoever!  The interior is just as bland as well, with the rear seat removed for a rollcage for the open-air experience.  Note the gas cans used to hide the rivet mounting post underneath.  This Samurai is cool at first, but then wears off after a while and I have to blame that on the lack of finer details at the rear and inside.  If they fixed those two then this would be a fantastic casting; then again we'll never know since this casting was retired in the 1999 Final Run series.

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1 comment:

  1. How do I buy these miniatures, what price and
    Do you ship to Brazil? tonypaiva@hotmail.com