DIECAST NEWS: 10-12-05

By Rudy Panucci

Die Cast collecting is a great hobby, but it can run into big bucks, if your tastes run to high-end, large-scale, or vintage toy cars, it can put a huge dent in your wallet. 

However, it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can very easily enjoy collecting die-cast cars without having to get a second mortgage.  There are several low-priced die-cast lines that can be a load of fun to collect, without the headache of knowing that you paid more money than any sane person would for toy cars. 

For the next few editions of DIE CAST NEWS here at Mastercollector.com, we’re going to examine the joys of collecting low-end, inexpensive die cast cars.  Or as we like to call it…

DIE CAST COLLECTING FOR CHEAPSKATES

First up, we have an overlooked line of cheap, but well-made cars that you can find at Wal Mart.   These are sold under the name “Kid Connection FANTASY COLLECTION”, but they are actually made by Maisto, a manufacturer who makes tons of die cast cars under a variety of names, but still manages to fly under the radar of many collectors.  The designs are pretty far out, like cartoonized throwbacks to the early days of Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning, but with a more contemporary look. 

I’ve suspected that Mattel may have been watching this line, because it predates their bizarro Hot Wheels lines like “Toonz” “Bling” and “other goofy super-deformed cars. 

But back to the FANTASY COLLECTION, the cars range from futuristic monstrosities to extreme examples of auto design that look like refugees from last year’s “Creepster” line from Playing Mantis.  These are fun, imaginative cars that kids love.  It’s not just kids, adults also like them enough to keep boosting them from my office. 

Which can be a real pain when you haven’t photographed them yet. 

The single cars in this line sell for 67 cents, while packs of five cars sell for under three bucks.  You can’t beat that value. 

The cars themselves are not too shabby.  They feature bright colors, interesting style choices, and free-rolling wheels.  They do sport cheaper plastic chassis, instead of being entirely die-cast, but that makes them lighter, and faster, and therefore, if you’re the type who likes to send your cars flying around your desk, more fun to race.   Most of the FANTASY COLLECTION cars are way cool, futuristic splashes of color.  If you want realism, look elsewhere.  If you want the neatest-looking concept car beasts on four wheels, this line is for you.

And getting back to the point, you can collect each series of twelve cars for a little more than eight bucks.  These are sold exclusively at Wal Mart, and it seems like they carry three series of twelve at a time.  They sport names like “HoopDe Coupe”, “Mozkeeto”, and “ShredWing”.   Sometimes Wal Mart will give these guys an entire endcap in some stores. 

You’re not going to get museum-quality mini-sculptures at that price.  You might find flaws in the paint, or the occasional crooked axle, but at this price, you can’t really complain. 

These are not the cheapest cars we’re going to look at, but they are the most fun among the cheapies. 

Next time, we look at the real “No-Name-O” die cast cars that come in bulk packages.