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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Playmind 5-pack from Dollar General



When it comes to those "other" diecast brands, some gain some reputation, while others do not.  Companies like Yatming, Maisto, Welly, Motormax are just to name a few that have bucked the trend from making cheap toys for kids to making something interesting that most of the time collectors missed; to put into perspective take a look how far Hyundai/Kia has come from the beginning making cheap, sometimes unreliable cars that were unknown to the general public to a company that is right up there with bigger automakers with quality cars that are stylish as well.  Same goes for some diecast companies, should they succeed and finally make some worthy diecast.  One example shown here is a 5-pack that I found at Dollar General.  There are three different 5-packs offered, and quite frankly most of the models are pretty poorly done despite being based on realistic vehicles; however, the newer castings have shown quite shockingly good details and proportions despite some work to be done on quality control.  Here's a 5-pack that struck my interest.






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All of these are made by Playmind, a company that has been around for a while usually making cheap cars that barely have a resemblance to the real vehicle.  Take this BMW Z8 for example: it barely looks like the real car.  The front-end has some nice details, but after that the car falls into disarray with no exterior details, no interior, and a base that looks like an exoskeleton than an actual full-covered base.  This was the early days of Playmind.  Then the company started to make progress, but some work still left to be done.  The Shelby Cobra 427 in white with blue stripes is nicely done as it has detailed headlights and signal lights, the correct fender shape, the grille opening, the hood scoop, the rake of the windshield, the side exhaust, and the shape of the rear end.  The interior has the two-seat cockpit with the simple dashboard layout and the driver's side rollcage hoop.  The base even has the detailed drivetrain and side exhaust layout, and the 10-spoke wheels don't look half bad, yet quality control problems persist on the chrome flaking from the wheels to questionable notches over the front wheels.  Starting to look better.




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But still copycatting exists, and it has happened plenty of times before (for example, a few Motormax 1:64 castings are actually Matchbox copies).  The 2009 Ford F-150 in yellow is one example as it looks a lot like the Hot Wheels 2009 Ford F-150.  The difference here is that the casting is narrower, the grille and bumpers are part of the body, and the beltline seems a bit tall.  The yellow paint tends to cover the fine details that include the grille work, the detailed headlights and taillights with no side graphics (taking note, Mattel?), running boards, and tailgate design.  The bed area is functional, the interior has similar details like the Hot Wheels version, and even the base with the dual exhausts at the rear is definitely Hot Wheels-related.  The wheels are nice, but look rather large on this truck.  This truck stands at the middle between the poor Z8 and the finely-done Shelby Cobra.





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Things get interesting with the Toyota 86 in orange, though competition in this scale is fierce with Hot Wheels, Welly, RMZ City, Top Mark, Tomica, just to name a few vying for replica's of the same car.  The shape of the car is nicely done with the pointed front-end with lower grille, side foglights, and headlights detailed in silver.  The sides have the correct flow of the bodylines and the 5-spoke wheels are nice despite the treads showing on the edges (and look quite similar to Motormax's wheels).  The rear has the correct trunklid design and lower diffuser with dual exhausts, but the taillights could use a more complete detail.  The base underneath could use some proper drivetrain outline design, while the interior is nicely done, if lacking full detail, with some strange luggage over the rear seat hinting at a pull-back motor (there is none).  And again the paint quality is not one of the best with some flaking in spots.




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But the biggest surprise was this lovely 2014 Porsche Boxster.  Trimmed in a bronze color, this Porsche is beautifully done and shames the Matchbox Porsche Cayman S in every way.  Take a look at how the front-end is done: it has the proper slope, point of the bumper, and flow of the lower grilles compared to the flat-faced Matchbox Cayman.  The sides show the proper beltline design right down to the lower rocker panels, with the side scoops nicely done.  The rear has the detailed taillights with rear spoiler that flows into the taillights, rather large PORSCHE label on the rear trunk, and dual exhaust that may be missing, yet is a minor flaw to a beautifully-done casting.  Even the lace wheels look right at home on this car!  The base shows off the proper detailing of the engine, exhaust, and the underside panel covers on the real car (no imperfections here!), while the interior has detailed seats with rollbar and top concealed behind it, dashboard layout with simple controls, and center console with shifter.  It has the same low dash to cowl problem as the Matchbox Cayman, but overall it's a complete package.




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So, yeah a complete stunner from a company known to make some crude castings, out of a 5-pack that has some impressive castings with one poorly-done old-school version.  Of course, not all of them are nice, but with the Boxster, Panamerica, and Nissan 370Z offering fantastic detailing Playmind could be the next force to be reckoned with and shake things up in the diecast world.

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