Much loved by children and fathers alike in Japan, Tomy Corp.'s range of die-cast toy cars and train sets are catching on in Britain and are to be rolled out across Europe and America in the coming months.
The expandable system of road, rail and construction toys has been a huge success for four decades in Japan, with the various components able to be merged together to create limitless cities that include elevated railway lines, street layouts, shops and figures.
To mark its 40th anniversary, Tomy Corp. released its range in Britain in late July with a special event at London's St. Pancras Station. The tallest toy railway network ever built was constructed beneath the station's iconic Meeting Point statue, incorporating 4,500 individual parts and standing more than 10 feet (3.05 m) high.
The toys are already available in France and Germany and the company is planning to have its range on the shelves of toy stores across much of the rest of Europe in the run-up to the all-important Christmas season, where they will compete with Matchbox and Mattel toy cars.
In the United States, Tomy has signed a deal with leading toy retailer Toys "R" Us for the first year, with the release date set as September 26.
The initial release will consist of seven die-cast cars, three train sets, six accessory sets, six destination sets and five deluxe play sets. The designs encourage children to construct cities that are complete with a fire station, rescue and police headquarters, as well as drive miniaturized replicas of cars that are officially licensed from Toyota, Nissan and Suzuki.
Prices will range from $4.99 (€3.89) to $79.99 (€62.36), the company said.
"It is important for us to carve a new niche in the North American market with a product that has truly left its mark in Japan," said Mark Shinohara, executive vice president and COO at Tomy Corp. "The Tomica line has experienced massive mainstream success and we are thrilled to bring such a widely loved property to a whole new audience."