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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Tomy Co. of Japan was founded in 1924 by Eijira Tomiyama in Tokyo, Japan. The company has also been know as Tomiyama and Tomy Kogyo Incorporated along the way. The Tomica brand of diecast toys was started by the Takara Tomy Company in 1970. The diecast car line up though can trace its roots back to 1959 though when their line of accessories for the Plarail toy train line up (Tomica World(?) was started.

The Tomica brand is traditonally associated with the 3" (1:64) scale range of vehicles, but the castings themselves come in various scale sizes depending on the type of vehicle being modeled. The first series of small-scale diecast cars consisted of (6) Japanese brand cars in September of 1970. A 7th casting was issued later in that same year. New car models, along with taxis, buses, trucks and construction vehicles were added over the next few years. Even a steam engine and an ocean liner were offered at one time.

Most castings were produced in Japan, but a few were made in Hong Kong and are considered rare. By 1978, there were 109 models available. The first #109 model was shown in that years catalogue, but is not known to have been released (?). Models are numbered from 1 to 110 then, and as existing models were phased out, their numbers were re-used. As new models were issued or replaced an existing model, each was assigned a number from 1 to eventually 120. In 1983, due to Tomy’s financial issues, the range was reduced to only 80 models.

Initially, the product boxes used a black background. But beginning in 1984, each new model came with a new red-and-white background. Existing models issued before 1984 kept using the older style box with the black background until 1988. Then all boxes were updated to the new red/white color style. Most domestic models are commonly referred to as the “black box” or “red-and-white Box” models depending on when they first appeared and their box design.

From the initial range produced as toys for children, Tomy has expanded the brand to include a number of collectible series featuring models of vintage vehicles with higher detail levels that were aimed at collectors. They also produced the Tomica Dandy range of 1/43 scale vehicles from 1972 until 1993.

In 1973, they launched their Combat Tomica Series. This was a range of 11 tank models done in 1/87 scale. They were only shown in the 1974 catalogue. Models were #ed from 001 to 013, but #6 and #10 were never issued.

In 1974, a line up of North America brand cars was issued as "Pocket Cars" for the American and European markets. By this time, Tomy had opened an office in Carson, Californai. Like Matchbox, these Tomica castings carry a series # for each model. But, as above, every 5 years or so a new model is introduced that replaces an old casting model with the same number used again. Based on their blister card data, "Pocket Cars" were issued in America until around 1986.

In April 1976, a new series of other foreign models began to be released with the issue of the Winnebago Chieftan. These were called the "F" series in reference to the F letter that proceeding their base casting number. Another series released this year was the "Tomica Long" series.

Made from 1976 to 1994 the Long Tomica series range included trucks, buses and train locomotives done in 1:100 scale. They were made in Japan and originally came in blue boxes, but after 1984, white boxes with red printing were used. Another series that followed is called "Power Tomica".

Except fo the "Pocket Car" series of castings which were issued on blistered card backs. Most of the other product line was available in window boxes or in sets, which earned them the nick name as the 'Matchbox of Japan'.

In 1986, Tomica actually had a brief relationship with Matchbox distributing the Matchbox "Road Blasters" series, in Japan.

In 1987, Funrise issued their Takara made Penny Racers in America.

Tomica castings were initially issued with metal bases. Plastic bases came into production in the 1980s. The base includes the model name, number, scale, and country of origin. At first, production occured in Japan, but like almost all other diecast makers - production eventually moved to China.

In the 1990s, the Chara Tomica line was introduced. This was a series of (14) castings based on the existing Tamiya 4WD RC models and the Manga comic book series Bakusou Kyoudai Let's Go! created by Tetsuhiro Koshita and published in Shogakukan's CoroCoro Comics from 1994 to 1996. It was also a TV Anime adaptation, produced by XEBEC and aired on TV Tokyo in 1996.

In the 2000s, two new series were being distributed as "Limited" and "Vintage".

Another offering from Tomy Yujin Corporation was found in bubble gum type machines. These very small castings were made of plastic and came with mini "Pocket" car boxes (?). Tomy Yujin Corp was based in Newport Beach, California.

In the mid 2000s, International Playthings (New Jersey) marketed Tomy's "Tomica World" cars.

In 2009, the line up expanded again with the introduction of a line of models reminiscent of the old "Long Tomica" series. These models are designated with the numbers 121-140.

In 2013, the "Dream Tomica" series were assigned #s 141 to 156. Not all "Dream Tomica" releases were issued with a # though and #157 did not appeare until 2016, further adding to this casting list sequences confusion.

In 2017, they made (4) castings for a McDonald's Malaysia Tomica promotion. During the Fall months a different bagged car was available in the Kid's Happy Meals. They were the - Lotus Exige R-GT, Mazda Roadster, Nissan GT-R, and the Toyota 86.

Tomicas are still most popular in Japan, but the internet has made them accessible to almost anyone today. They also produce(d) promotional models for Honda dealerships in Japan.

Sourced references -

HobbyTalk members - @Toyotageek
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)
Planet Diecast.

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I do not know the how and where and other information but know at least two Tomica models were sold by Sears in the early 1970's. I don't know if they were part of a playset or what but found a green Datsun Bluebird and the Datsun pickup at the Sears store in Spokane loose - which makes me think they might have been part of a set that was damaged. Only saw those two and in those days didn't travel to other cities that would have had a Sears store.
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