- Written by webmin
In small-scale (3-inch) car-collector circles, among those who refuse allegiance to a single die-cast brand and enjoy all three-inch die-cast cars regardless of maker, there is a slow but steady undercurrent among the conversation: Can’t we have a plain ol’ sedan? Do we need another VW New Beetle (at least 15 done, in coupe and convertible form, since the late ’90s), or Mini Cooper (nearly two dozen, mixing in S and cabrio models), or another new-generation Camaro? Do we need multiples of every new and vintage sports car from across the seven seas? What about what we can see on the street? It sounds complainy, but there is a larger point here. Cars immortalized in scale (in 3-inch scale, anyway) tend not to be the plebeian models, the four-door sedans (unless they’re police cars). They’re usually coupes, convertibles, sports cars – fun stuff far higher on the scale of 1/1 desirability.
At the same time, America’s No. 1 selling car for years and years has been the Toyota Camry. Hasn’t sold less than 300,000 a year since 1994, and since 1999, Camry has sold more than 400,000 a year for all but three seasons. (In 2007, Camry was pushing the half-million-unit mark.) Know how many 3-inch Camry models have been introduced in the last decade? One. Spotting a gap, Welly has now launched a second Camry: a current-style (XV40-generation) four-door sedan, in white.
Welly’s stock in trade are nicely done models at a realistic price. They’re not the fastest, they’re not the coolest, there are no opening features (not even a sprung suspension) and they’re marketed as toys. Oh, the base is plastic (and not that well-trimmed – some untrimmed chassis sprue prevented the chassis from sitting under the body properly), and the interior has no side panels, so you can see the naked half-painted body insides. But the basic shape of the car is on the money, headlamp and taillamp detail is painted neatly, the badge tampos on nose and tail are crisp, and there’s a delicate line of silver-painted chrome around the grille that could teach some of the larger die-cast companies a thing or two about applying tampos neatly. The white paint itself is smooth, with no dust or orange peel, and not too thick. Tires are plastic but treaded, with neat silver-painted 7-spoke wheels that are well-proportioned to the car. The chassis offers molded-in front and rear suspension, plus exhaust, gas tank and spare tire, detail. The black interior is hard to make out, save for the right-hand-drive instrument panel. They’re detailed, but not delicate.
And they’re not expensive: Wellys fall into dollar-car territory abroad, where it would be a one-pound car or a one-Euro car or some other currency denoting “cheap for what you get.” Problem is, 3-inch Welly models aren’t widely distributed in this country, the occasional splash at the Target Dollar Spot notwithstanding. We received ours from a private trade in Australia, where the cars were sold at Easter time in shrink-wrapped colored plastic eggs for two Australian dollars each before postage. (The car inside was in bubble wrap, lest it be scratched). Even in small-scale, Camry represents value; be prepared for international postage to cost more than the model itself!