More Colorful Model Car Brands You Might Not Have Heard Of

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

A while ago, we shared a list of unusual Model Car Brands with strange histories. The response we got was terrific, so we did another list. Since then, we’ve dug up enough other odd brands to compile yet another batch of model and toy cars you may have forgotten (if you ever heard of them at all.) All in all, this round of models comes from seven different countries if you’re counting!

Dream Become True

Dream Become TrueNo, that’s not a typo, it’s just clunky translation. This company started as “Dream Become True”, possibly playing off Chinese auto company Build Your Dream. They then changed it to “Dream Becomes True” which is still kinda clunky. Their main offerings are Model Cars in 1/32 and 1/24 scale, which are fairly detailed and include working parts as well as lights and sounds.They also make some pretty basic models of mostly high end exotic cars in 1/64, including about the only model of the Koenigsegg CCX available and, even if the doors don’t open correctly.

Gay Toys

gay toys school busSimple, inexpensive toys molded in color… what could go wrong? The sheer coincidence of the name unfortunately became a headache for the company, (parental objections, etc.) so they didn’t produce many models under this brand. And well, when you try to do a search online for them, well, just make sure you keep “safe search” turned on. Even better, look for them on hobbyDB instead.


QuiraluQuiralu models were made in France in the 1950s and ’60s and included several microcars. The company and their models went into hibernation for many years until the original molds were resurrected in the late ’90s. They were used again to make a limited number of models with the same body castings but slightly different tinplate base and window glazing. The colors for each generation are often loud and fun.


radon model carThe name Radon probably doesn’t have any strange connotations in Russian like it does in other parts of the world. These cars are cold war relics, from a Russian state factory. They are mostly 1:43 scale diecast Soviet vehicles, including marques that aren’t likely to be reproduced in any other country. As a bonus, they do a lot of limos and other service vehicles, which are always neat to look at.


rextoysThis Portugal based company is best known for their models of 1930s American cars. Detail is simple, but the cars sometimes come with well-known passengers… You can get the Cadillac V16 Convertible with President Franklin D. Roosevelt riding in the back, or, if you prefer, Italian actress Cicciolina. But not together, even though that would be really awesome!


SimbaThey Farbwechsel when they Temperaturwechsel! Simba, despite the very elephantine name, was a German company that made mostly models of German marques. Their color change cars were revolutionary at the time, as they were among the first where the color depended on the temperature of the water.

Smelly Speeders

Maisto Smelly SpeedersSure, these look like standard Majorette models. Except they have some odd color combinations, especially the brightly colored tires. And when you open them, well, the reason for the name becomes obvious. Each car was scented in generally favorable aromas such as coconut or strawberry, not unlike those emanating from your car air freshener. Unfortunately, if you find one in the package, there’s a good chance the scent has worn off over the decades.


Tomte-LaerdalStarting in the 1940s, this company produced primarily models of German cars but also one of an American military Jeep. Bodies were made of a single piece of rubbery plastic in a single color (some look kind of swirly) with a separate clear windshield in some cases. Details were crude at best. Later models mostly eschewed the clear parts for solid molded windows. Based on their Datsun 240Z model, it’s safe to say they were still making these at least into the early 1970s.


StarmadaStarmada is fairly new to the model car business, debuting at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg in 2009. They offer mostly European marques with a heavy emphasis on Mercedes-Benz. These are sold under the name Brekina in many countries. Two really neat things about them… they make a lot of odd body styles such as limousines and hearses. And if you can believe it from the photos, these cars are 1/87 scale, some of the most detailed cars you can get for an HO railroad.

Victory Industrial Products

Victory Industrial ProductsVictory Industrial Products or VIP was a small company that began its life during the second world war in a boat house which stood directly alongside Kingston Bridge in Hampton Wick near London. It was founded by two men, Captain William John Warren and Gerald Fenner Burgoyne who set up the company to manufacture small electrical components for the Ministry of Supply. Not quite nanotechnology, but the components were useful for making model trains, 1:20 plastic models and 1:32 slot cars. They were mostly odd, utilitarian cars, but charming in a huge way.

Do you have any favorite odd brands we haven’t covered in these articles yet? Let us know in the comments!

Comments (3 Comments)
Karl S

Another great mix of old and new stuff.   Some are well-known in France (Quiralu), or in the UK (Victory), or by 1/43 American car collectors (Rextoys)!  I've even heard of Radon ... But others are even more strange!  A Gay bus with no front window??  Thanks for the review  :-)

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The Futureeeeee…. What’s Coming to hobbyDB in 2018

Thanks for an incredible 2017

Here at hobbyDB, we couldn’t do what we do without the support of our fellow collectors. So thanks for helping to make 2017 such a great year. From more than 100,000 new price points added to our new price guide in December alone, to an entirely new marketplace experience, we’ll keep working hard to bring you a better, all-in-one collectible resource. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming to hobbyDB in 2018.

More Data

Data makes the hobbyDB world go round! In 2017 we (and that includes you!) added 80,000 items to the database. Throughout the year we partnered with several organizations to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information was being added to the database. From customizers such as David Chang (AKA Kustomcity), to publications like Model Auto Review, to diecast brands including AutoCult, Bburago, Brumm, Laudoracing, and  Replicarz, 2017 was a busy year in the data mines!  One of our biggest projects was adding PopPriceGuide, the enormous vinyl art toy database! We even had folks join us to open totally new segments, such as our first 500 decoys!

More Accurate Data

We know that all this data means nothing if it’s inaccurate or incomplete! So we’re putting new tools in place to ensure our database maintains top notch quality. Going forward, the ability to add and edit content on hobbyDB will go only to users who have shown they add quality data. “Probationary” users who are new to the site will still be able to view everything, but will have to be approved before they can make changes.

Pricing Data

hobbyDB’s aim is to be the most accurate, up-to-date go-to destination on the net for collectible prices. We aim to be the premier, one-stop destination for calculating the value of your personal collection. And we plan to do that by gathering our price information from the widest range of data sources possible, with stakeholders updating prices in real time! The project is off to a flying start too, having added more than 100,000 prices alone in December. We’ll be adding values from many sources throughout 2018, starting with 1.9 million price points from our partner site PopPriceGuide. You can read more on our blueprint for the price guide here.

Collection Management Revamp

We know the hobbyDB collection management system needs a little bit of tweaking. You’ve let us know what you want — printable lists, more wish list integration, snazzy ways to group and view your collection, a mobile app — and we’ve listened. We’ll be rolling out a bunch of features to make the hobbyDB collection management tool more powerful and user-friendly than ever before.

More Marketplace Tools

Another goal we have is to become the safest, most secure environment for trading. We’ve all been burned by either an unreliable seller or buyer somewhere on the internet, right? So we’re adding tools to ensure you’re always protected whenever you buy or sell on any hobbyDB powered marketplace. In 2017 we caught and stopped 22 fraud attempts and protected every hobbyDB buyer and seller! In addition to a safer marketplace, we’ll also be adding new ways to buy and sell items, such as our “best offer” feature and the addition of new currencies.

In an effort to make selling even easier for you, we’ve embarked on a journey to integrate with both Shopify and the U.S. Postal Service. Much like Frodo’s quest in Lord of the Rings, the integration will be an epic battle to ensure you get the best experience and rates possible. But in the end…it will all be worth it. (Disclaimer….this is going to be a huge effort, so hang in there with us, and we hope to have it up and running in the second half of the year).

Getting more involved

Last year, we relaunched an improved Diecast Hall of Fame and helped Jim Garbazewski publish the Hot Wheels Newsletter Guide to Hot Wheels.

This year, we have plans to do a much needed revamp to the Toy Collector Hall of Fame, to help publish other long-awaited collector books, and to even organize a collectible related Guinness Book Record (stay tuned for that one). More on our plans here.

Whew! Well that’s it for now, so here’s to an awesome 2018 – be sure to follow the hobbyDB blog and Facebook page to stay in the know over the next year.

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Congratulations on all the hobbyDB accomplishments in 2017!

The Editors of Model Auto Review


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Boris Becker Should Have Documented His Trophies On hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

There comes a time in every collector’s life when you lose track of exactly what you have and where you keep it. “Do I own an Antifreeze Hot Wheels Twin Mill? Or is it Metallic Green? And if so, is it in my library, office, garage, or summer cottage?”

Keeping track of your collectibles inventory is important for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want to trade one of your vinyl caped Jawa action figures. Or you’re thinking about buying a Princess Di Beanie Baby but can’t remember if you have one already. Or perhaps you need to sell one of your hard-earned Australian Open tennis trophies because you’ve fallen on hard times.

Wait, what?

Boris Becker Australian Open

The kangaroo is an unexpected bonus.

In a case we can all relate to, former professional tennis player Boris Becker has run into financial difficulties and plans to sell some of the awards he has won in his impressive career. But he’s apparently having trouble locating some of them. Not just one, but TWO Aussie Open trophies. A trio of Wimbledon awards. An Olympic gold medal. And a few others.

Wimbledon trophies

Fun fact: The Wimbledon Gentlemen’s trophy and Ladies’ award (the Venus Rosewater Dish) remain at the All England Lawn Tennis Club after the award ceremony. The winners take home a smaller replica to keep. Or to sell, if circumstances warrant.

It might make sense that he misplaced his first Wimbledon trophy, since he was only 17 when he won it. Can you remember where your high school sophomore spelling bee runner up plaque is?

All kidding aside, hobbyDB offers a great way to track your collection for a variety of reasons.

Locator guide: Not just for items in storage, but it’s easy to misplace something in a large collection on display. On hobbyDB, you can add a note regarding where that item can be found.

Variant and condition notes: You know you have a pink Hot Wheels Beach Bomb, but is it mint on the card, or lightly played with? Or is that the red one you’re thinking of?

Insurance purposes: It’s useful to have proof not only of what you have and where it is, but also what it’s worth.

Estate planning: We hate to say this, but someone else might inherit your collection some day, and hobbyDB is an orderly way to give them a clue to what’s there. Whether they want to keep it, sell it, or donate it, they will be glad to have this information at their fingertips.

hobbydb add to collection

When you add an item to the database, you can also add it to your collection.

The process is simple, really. When you add an item to the hobbyDB database, take a moment to also click the “Add to Collection” button. There, you will be able to quickly create notes on the condition (for the item and the packaging), the price you paid, how you acquired it, and where it’s located. You can also add photos of your own item. Finally, you can choose whether to keep all of this information private or make it public. Of course, you can do this with items that are already in the database as well.

hobbydb add to collection

You can add notes on how you got it, including “Won in Competition.”

We sincerely hope Mr. Becker locates his trophies and gets back on his feet soon. Congratulations to Roger Federer, who just added another Australian Open trophy to his collection, and to Caroline Wozniacki, who just picked up her first. No matter how many you have, it’s not too late to track your awards collection on hobbyDB.

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Feedback is here! Share your marketplace experiences with other buyers and sellers

Now you have the ability to share your buying and selling experiences with the hobbyDB community! Your feedback will help other customers and sellers make better decisions when purchasing on hobbyDB or any other hobbyDB powered marketplace. Leaving feedback is a breeze – check out the step-by-step instructions below.

Quick Note: We’re currently in data collection mode, so your feedback will only be visible in your buyer/seller dashboard until it goes live on the marketplace next week!

To get started, visit the hobbyDB marketplace

Leave feedback for a Seller – 

  1. Make sure you are logged in to your hobbyDB account. If you do not have an account, you will not be able to leave feedback.
    Note: If you place an order using “Guest Checkout”, you will not be able to leave a review, track your package, or automatically add items to your digital collection.
  2. Once you receive your item, log in to your buyer dashboard.
  3. From your buyer dashboard, click the “View Cart” link in the order that you’d like to leave feedback for.
  4. Once you’re redirected to your specific order, click the “Leave Feedback” button on the top right-hand side of the page. 
  5. Add your star rating and a message. Star ratings are 1-5 with 1 being “I hated it” and 5 being “I loved it”. Please ensure your message is respectful and constructive. We reserve the right to delete any comments that do not follow these guidelines.
  6. Click “Leave Feedback” and you’re all set!

Leave feedback for a Buyer – 

  1. In order to leave feedback, you will have to be signed in to your hobbyDB seller account.
    Note: If you placed an order using “Guest Checkout”, you will not be able to leave a review for that order.
  2. Once your item is delivered, navigate to your seller dashboard.
  3. From your seller dashboard, click the “View Cart” link in the order that you’d like to leave feedback for.
  4. Once you’re redirected to your specific order, click the “Leave Feedback” button on the top right-hand side of the page.
  5. Add your star rating and a message.
    Star ratings are 1-5 with 1 being “I hated it” and 5 being “I loved it”. Please ensure your message is respectful and constructive. We reserve the right to delete any comments that do not follow these guidelines.
  6. Click “Leave Feedback”.
  7. All done!

If you have any other questions regarding this feature, always feel free to reach out to our support team!

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Antique, Vintage, Classic? Depends On What You’re Collecting

Christian Braun obsesses over collectibles and antiques and toys more than the average person, but in a productive way.


“Antique, Vintage, Classic Batman Clock, Correct Twice a Day. $50.”

Aside from parsing that description to determine that this clock doesn’t run, but will be accurate at 8:58 AM and PM, what does that mean?

janex batman robin clock

Holy Gimcrack!

What about “antique,” “vintage,” and “classic?” As collectors, we see and use these terms often, sometimes interchangeably. What to they mean, exactly? As it turns out, there is no “perfect” definition for these words. But they do hold meaning relative to each other.

Historically (and there’s another word we’ll need to parse), “Antique” has meant objects that are 100 year old or more. “Vintage” has generally meant older than 15 years. So “Classic” must mean… well, it’s complicated.

“Antique” and “Vintage” carry a set time frame, regardless of historic or aesthetic value. “Classic,” on the other hand, just means “it has stood or will stand the test of time,” regardless of age.

And “Historic…” What about that? “Historic” is often used as a positive term, but really means that something was a game changer, a revolution, a show stopper for some reason. And not necessarily for good reasons. The Ford Edsel has to be considered a “historic” car because of its massive failure. And over time, it has also achieved “classic” status. Whether the car is remembered for being good/bad/ugly/beautiful remains debatable. “Classic,” sure. “Historic,” absolutely.

Consider another conundrum. Boulder, Colorado (the scenic home of hobbyDB Headquarters), passed a law several years ago requiring houses over 50 years old to undergo an approval process by a city board if the owners wanted to do extensive renovations. At the time, it made sense, as houses of that age were built in the 1940s or before, many of them having some historic charm and significance. But with the passing of each year, a “50 year old house” was less and less significant architecturally.

The hobbyDB office built in 1968…

…and another 1968 house just down the next road.

Entire suburbs of more or less identical houses of that age just don’t seem to need that same kind of designation and protection. Sliding time frames like this don’t make a lot of sense after a while. The city realized this and altered the designation.

Also, consider what is a “classic” car. Again, in Colorado, it used to be that a driver could get official “Classic” plates for any car over 25 years old. The plates were less expensive and didn’t require modern emissions requirements, a great deal for muscle cars and anything earlier. In 1994, that meant cars from 1969 and older, most of which arguably stood the test of time to be called “classic.” But in 2018, that means a car from 1993.

Nothing against that Mercury Sable wagon, but calling it a “classic” is kind of head scratching.

 So there’s now a set date as the “Classic” designation, to be updated as needed.

A Facebook group called “Vintage Toys” only allows posts regarding 1994 and older collectibles. Why that designation? That doesn’t exactly fit the 15 year rule these days. It likely has to do with the age of the founders and moderators, and toys of that age hit a sweetspot with them emotionally, and later ones do not. If you don’t like it? You can start your own Facebook page.

Some categories or brands have their own distinctions that fill in those gaps between antique and vintage. Comic books, for instance, are generally divided into several ages:

  • Golden Age, 1938-1950  (from the debuts of Superman and Batman to the middle of the century)
  • Silver Age, Mid 1950s to 1970  (new advances in art, writing, and production values.)
  • Bronze Age, 1970-1985  (more serious, mature content and styling)

A few notable things… Why 1938 as the start? That was the time Action Comics (Superman) and Detective Comics (Batman) ushered in the more or less current definition of a “comic book.”

The Granddaddy of all comics.

Also, what about comics released in the last 30 years or so…are they worthless? No, they just need their own designation at some point, often just referred to as the “Modern Age.”

But what about 1951-1955? Turns out there is a gray area between the Golden and Silver ages, so something in that range could be considered to fall in either group depending on your tastes. Also, new self censorship guidelines debuted at this time, transforming the content considerably.

Hot Wheels is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Original cars sure seem old and rare. But by that definition, they are only halfway to “antique” status. On the other hand, calling them “vintage” seems unfair, which lumps 1968 releases in with 2003 releases.

Luckily, a brand such as Hot Wheels carries its own distinct eras… Redlines (1968-77) and Blackwalls (1977-94) cover the first two historic waves, and the rest can be broken down by various other distinctions such as Mainline or Treasure Hunts.

So back to that Batman clock… it’s from 1974. It’s undeniably cool. It’s not an antique. It’s certainly vintage. It can be reasonably called a classic. Your desire to own it and how much you are willing to pay will depend on a lot of criteria. But golly jeepers, you really should hear it!

Comments (2 Comments)
Karl S

Then there is the Classic Car Club of America.  they define a Classic as a car from 1915-1948, but not just any car!  It has to be on their approved list of fine and distinctive cars (i.e., expensive)!  Check out their museum if you are ever in MI!

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