Monthly Acquisitions July 2020

I am still collecting under the shadow and restrictions of the pandemic. I don’t spend so much time browsing in toy shops as before the pandemic, also some of the pre-pandemic outlets are not around. I have, however, added a few significant models to my collection this month.

monthly acquisitions july 2020
July Acquisitions

Only one model was bought new, a Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz Unimog 1300.

The highlight of the month is a Soviet made Lada Niva with trailer in 1:43 scale, this was a present from Levan, the father of one of my students. A welcome addition to my Lada models.

Lada Niva and trailer
Lada Niva and trailer (1:43 scale, made in USSR)

There were also the three Majorette models from the seventies, which I found at Dry Bridge Market on Sunday. These three models were made in the seventies in France and are models of French cars. I found 3 Majorette Cars at Dry Bridge Market today. (blogpost). The box from the same era was thrown into the deal, although I don’t have the car depicted on the box a Citroen GS Bertone Camargue.

Majorette models: Chrysler 180, Matra Simca Bagheera and Peugeot 504


  1. Chrysler 180 (1:60 scale) This has a terrific nostalgia buzz, when I visited Paris in the mid seventies as a child, I picked up three Majorette models among which was a Chrysler 180.
  2.  Peugeot 504. (1:65 scale) My brother actually owned a Peugeot 504 at one time, a rugged car popular in many African countries.
  3. Matra Simca Bagheera (1:55 scale). A sports car with unusual three abreast seating.

Hot Wheels

  1.  Sol-Aire CX-4. A mid-engined racing car loosely based on Aston Martin and Nimrod’s “NRA/C2” Group C GT racer from the eighties.
  2. BMW M3 GTR. Racing tampos.
  3. Custom Volkswagen Beetle. This model has a roof rack.
  4. Mercedes Benz Unimog 1300. This had been on my wants’ list for a few months.


I added only one Matchbox model this month, a bright orange Oshkosh Extending-Ladder Fire Engine from the 1990s. My one is missing the extending ladder part but the ladder still rises and the turntable works. (Made in Thailand).

A few models left the collection, I really have too many (1570), I gave four to “Tsiteli”, who gave me the Custom VW Beetle, he sells models and vintage games at Samgori Market.

July acquisitions departures


  1. Nissan GTR (RMZ City). This is a brand I don’t collect, I now have a couple of Hot Wheels GTRs so this one can go.
  2. Jeep Scrambler (Hot Wheels).
  3. Ferrari 360 (Hot Wheels). Coca Cola deco.
  4. Mercedes CLK GTR (Maisto). Maisto is not a brand I like at this scale, the cars look cheap and the wheels are poor compared to Matchbox or Hot Wheels.


Totals: 9 Models:  4 Hot Wheels, 3 Majorette, 1 Matchbox, 1 Made in USSR

1 Bought new, 6 bought secondhand, 1 gift, 1 traded

Outlets:  1 Pepela, 3 Dry Bridge Market, 3 Secondhand Toy Shop, 1 Samgori Market, 1 gift from Levan,

Net expenditure: 67.90 lari ($21.97)

1 lari = 32 US cents

I found 3 Majorette Cars at Dry Bridge Market today.

I first encountered Majorette when I visited Paris at the tender age of 9, way back in 1974. They were similar in size to Matchbox but Made in France not Made in England. The first model cars appearing  on the market under the Majorette name came out in 1964.

Today, I ventured to Dry Bridge Market not expecting to find anything much, last month I found a couple of interesting models at Dry Bridge Market, a Matchbox Super Kings Ford Sierra XR4i and a Soviet made Moskvitch 427.

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Amidst a diverse range of items, 5 model cars, three of which are Majorettes.

The three Majorette cars were all from the mid seventies: a Chrysler 180, a Matra-Simca Bagheera and a Peugeot 504. When I went to Paris as a nine year old the three Majorette cars I brought back as souvenirs included a Chrysler 180 (so there is a big nostalgia buzz there), the other two were a BMW 3.0CSL and a Mercedes 350SL. I asked the woman on the stall the price of the cars and she told me 15 lari a piece ($4.88), which seemed reasonable, then she hesitated and called her husband over and the price went up to 20 lari a piece or 3 for 50 lari ($16.26). I still considered this a good deal, the woman was apologetic her husband had upped the price, I didn’t take long to decide, I was also given a box for a Bertone Camargue, from the same era (but no car).

Chrysler 180 (orange), Peugeot 504 (pink) and Matra Simca Bagheera (green). Also a box for a Bertone Camargue.



Lada”  («Ла́да») was originally the export brand for models sold under the “Zhiguli” name by AvtoVaz in the domestic Soviet market. I was told “Zhiguli” sounded too much like “gigolo” so they changed the name to Lada for the export market.

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I currently have a dozen Ladas in my collection, some made in USSR, the others made in China. Most are 1:43 scale.

The Fiat 124 based Lada 2101 was a big seller in the Soviet Union and in numerous export markets. A town and factory named Tolyatti, after the leader of the Italian Communist Party were built in the Samara region of Russia near the Volga river. The keys to its success were: competitive price, reliability, simple DIY-friendly mechanics and unpretentious functionality. Their cheap utilitarian nature made them joke fodder for some:

Why do Lada’s have heated rear windows?
So you can warm your hands when pushing it.

The father of one of my students recently gave me a Soviet made Niva, I was very pleased, I’d been looking out for one for a while but the prices at Dry Bridge Market were too high for my budget (200 lari = $65.15).

Lada Niva and trailer
Lada Niva and trailer

The Niva (VAZ-2121) was described by its designers as a “Renault 5 put on a Land Rover chassis.” It went into production in 1977 and was a pioneering SUV vehicle.

Lada Niva
Lada Niva by DeAgostini

Ladas may have been the butt of cheap jokes in UK but in the Soviet Union, where temperatures might vary between -60 C in the winter and 50 C in the summer, where the roads were poor and the petrol low on octane, they came into their own.


Moskvitches (Made in USSR)

I have a selection of 1:43 scale Moskvitch models made in the USSR. The blue car in the picture is an Izh Combi, it was considered to be the first Soviet hatchback. The Izh Combi was based on the Moskvitch 412, the five door hatchback design was a novelty in 1973 when it was first produced, only the Renault 16 and Austin Maxi predated it. The only East European Car my father ever owned was a Moskvitch 427, during the brief window when they were imported to Britain in the mid seventies.  My father’s was Mustard Yellow with a black vinyl roof. He didn’t have it for very long as my sister almost fell out the back, when the door unexpectedly came open on a journey. He decided it was safer to get rid of it and get a more dependable Ford Escort (My Dad’s Cars) instead.

moskvitch ad

Moskvitch advertisement from the early seventies

Moskvitch cars were sturdy, reliable on substandard roads and were offered at low cost. Demand always exceeded production, so people in the Soviet Union had to wait a long time for a new car. The models cost me between 15 and 50 lari a piece (approx $5 to $16). The saloon/sedan is a 412, the estate/station wagon is a 427, the van is a 434 and there is also a pick up version.

Moskvitch 427
Moskvitch 427

In addition to the Soviet made models I have some DeAgostini models of Moskvitches, also in 1:43 scale, which were made in China. These include a police version of a Moskvitch 400-420 and a racing car, the Moskvitch г-5. These would have originally come with a magazine in Russian.

Moskvitch x 5 DeAgostini
DeAgostini Moskvitches

The DeAgostini models are not as robust as the Soviet-made models and are clearly aimed for adult collectors and not playful children. The Soviet models also have opening parts, whereas the DeAgostini models don’t.

Moskvitch x 11
Moskvitch and Izh Models (6 Made in USSR, 5 Made in China)

Monthly Acquisitions: June 2020

After last month (Monthly Acquisitions May 2020), when I added nothing to my collection, this month was closer to my pre-Pandemic collecting behaviour.

monthly acquisitions june 2020
June Acquisitions

The first car I picked up this month was the Hot Wheels Porsche 917LH at Carrefour, where I do my grocery shopping. Then I came across the Hot Wheels Chevy Monte Carlo in a secondhand toy shop near the Central Station. The Matchbox Super Kings Ford Sierra XR4i came from Karo’s stall at Dry Bridge Market.

Then I had a surprise; an old school friend from England, Paul Ridley, sent me a package containing a Sunbeam Alpine. This was a model I already had and was even thinking of giving to him as he once had a real Sunbeam Alpine. The Sunbeam Alpine was driven by James Bond in the film Dr No.

Like the Sunbeam, most of the cars I got this month were doubles of models I had acquired previously.

monthly acquisitions june 2020 doubles
A few models I picked up were doubles of those I already had

The final model was a Soviet made 1:43 scale Moskvitch 427, Karo offered to sell one for 150 lari, a couple of weeks ago. Gocha’s prices are more reasonable and at 50 lari, I couldn’t resist. My father drove a Moskvitch 427 in England for a couple of years in the seventies, his was mustard coloured with a dark vinyl roof.

Moskvitch 427
Moskvitch 427 (Made in USSR)

It wasn’t all additions, I gave away a Matchbox Land Rover Discovery from my collection to the father of one of my students, who used to own a Discovery.

monthly acquisitions june 2020 and minus


Totals: 5 Models:  2 Hot Wheels, 1 Matchbox, 1 Made in USSR, 1 Made in China

1 Bought new, 3 bought secondhand, 1 gift

Outlets:  1 Carrefour, 2 Dry Bridge Market, 1 Secondhand Shop, 1 gift 

Net expenditure: 89.55 GEL ($29.26)

1 lari = 33 US cents

As the Pandemic restrictions lift

As I observed in my last post, restrictions are easing here in Tbilisi; COVID-19 is still a threat but the country is easing out of lockdown.  Public transport is working again, although we have to wear a mask to use it. This means I can get around town again as I don’t have a real car and it is too hot to walk far.

In May, I didn’t add a single model to my collection for the first time since I started blogging. Monthly Acquisitions May 2020

diecast expenditure
My expenditure on diecast models is much lower  this year 2020 (in red) than last year (in blue). The y axis should read in lari not USD.

This Sunday I again ventured to Dry Bridge Market, I didn’t visit other pre-Pandemic haunts, although I had gone to Vagzlis Basroba in the week. There were fewer traders than before the pandemic but a few were selling diecasts.

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Some carded Hot Wheels

My favourite stallholder, Gocha, was still absent, but I did buy a model from Karo. A Matchbox Super Kings Ford Sierra XR4i. Karo’s prices are usually high, I asked about a Moskvitch break he had, he stated a price of 150 lari… $49.18. For the Ford he suggested 35 lari, I offered 30 lari ($9.84), which he accepted.

The green Moskvitch with black hood was on sale at 150 lari, the boxed Niva and trailer, I’m sure would have been even higher, I didn’t ask

After Dry Bridge Market, I went to Carrefour to do some grocery shopping. I noticed they had replenished their Hot Wheels pegs again, but saw nothing new, which I wanted (the stock is still from the 2020 D Case).

I have bought three models this month, so far: a Porsche 917 LH (from XS Toys last Sunday) , a glittery Chevrolet Monte Carlo (from a secondhand toy shop near the station) and the Sierra XR4i, I picked up today.

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This month’s additions: Chevy Monte Carlo, Ford Sierra XR4i and Porsche 917 LH

I hope you are all safe and well, the pandemic isn’t over, but we can at least get around more freely.

Hunting for model cars during a Pandemic

The COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are easing here in Tbilisi. Georgia (the country not the state) has been touched by COVID-19 less than many other countries, we have only had 13 deaths to date (unlucky for some). Georgia is hoping to open up to overseas tourists from selected countries where infection rates are also low on 1 July. Public transport is working again, although we should wear a mask to use it. This means I can get around town again as I don’t have a real car and it is too hot to walk far.

As it is Sunday, I thought it would be a good time to explore my pre-Pandemic haunts and see if I could find some diecasts to add to my collection. Last month, I didn’t add a single model to my collection for the first time since I started blogging. Monthly Acquisitions May 2020

My first destination was Dry Bridge Market, the big flea market in the centre of Tbilisi.

Blog tin plate cars
Tin plate cars and trucks

There were fewer traders than before the Pandemic, my favourite trader, Gocha, was absent. I saw a few model cars but nothing to add to my collection. Those I saw being too recent, too big or just of no interest to me.

blog Kinsmart selection
These models are too recently manufactured and mostly too large a scale to interest me. I do already have the red 1954 Packard by Welly (front row left)

After half an hour or so at Dry Bridge, I visited the Galleria Mall near Tavisuplebis Moedani. I hadn’t been to either Dry Bridge Market or Galleria since the beginning of March, when the COVID-19 restrictions came into force.

tbilisi markets route
my route

Galleria Mall has two toy shops on the third floor: XS Toys and Super Toys. The Mall was much less crowded than before the Pandemic. Entering the mall, a security guard checked everybody’s temperature. The use of escalators was restricted and masks were required at all times. Both toy shops were having a -30% sale. In XS Toys I was careful not to touch anything, until I chose my prey, a Hot Wheels Porsche 917LH in blue, they had some tempting Majorettes but their prices are too high almost 20 lari ($6.78) for a single model !, Hot Wheels were still 7.90 lari ($2.68) (or 5.50 lari ($1.86) with the discount). Super Toys had nothing to interest me.


Then, I took the metro to Station Square. Vagzlis Basroba, the sprawling market around the central station in Tbilisi, has three secondhand toy stores, which I frequented before the pandemic. Only one of the three was open and they told me they weren’t expecting any ‘new’ stock until 20 June.

blog vagzlis cheap secondhand shop
One of the secondhand toy shops at Vagzlis Basroba…closed

After exploring the Basroba (market),  I headed home with just the one model acquired for my collection. The Porsche 917LH  looks fantastic, it is based on the real-life Porsche 917 LH, ‘Langheck‘ (Long Tail). Only five 917 LHs were made and competed in the endurance racing in the 1970 and 1971 season.

blog porsche 917
Porsche 917 LH

Monthly Acquisitions May 2020

This is the first month in which I haven’t added a single model to my collection since I began recording my acquisitions back in 2012. The COVID-19 Pandemic has meant I have mostly been at home since early March, I have been able to buy groceries and the grocery store where I usually shop  (Carrefour) carries some Hot Wheels and a few Chinese made diecasts. Last month, I picked up a couple. This month, I did ponder the art cars ’92 Ford Mustang and the Custom ’01 Integra GSR  but left them on the pegs. Had I seen a Super TH (for the D case a Porsche 918 Spyder), I wouldn’t have hesitated. I did find my last Super Treasure Hunt in the Carrefour where I buy my groceries, an Audi RS6 Avant, back in December 2018, I haven’t found one since.

Mazda Repu and '49 VW Beetle Pick Up
Last month I added just these two: Mazda Repu and ’49 VW Beetle Pick Up

My average spending on diecasts this year has been around 50 lari a month ($15.70), last year it was around 124 lari a month. Stores are beginning to re-open, but public transport won’t start running here till June. I don’t know how the COVID-19 pandemic will have affected my old hunting grounds or how the pandemic will affect my collecting habits. We shall see in the coming months, I assume I will survive this pandemic. Georgia has been rather lightly touched compared to many countries with just 12 deaths recorded from COVID-19 at the time of writing.

average monthly expenditure
Average monthly expenditure on diecast cars has come right down in 2020, the y-axis should read in GEL not $

Most of the new diecasts I would like to find are put out by Matchbox and there hasn’t been any new Matchbox here since 2018 and that was just the Jurassic Park line.

Super TH Audi and regular
’17 Audi RS6 Avant: Regular and Super


Totals: 0 Models:  0 Hot Wheels, 0 Matchbox….

0 Bought new

0 Bought secondhand

Net expenditure: 0.00 GEL ($0.00)

1 lari = 31 US cents

Mazda Repu, outdoors

When I am out and about, I like to have a model car with me to photograph in outside settings, combining my two hobbies of collecting model cars and photography. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, “outside” is quite limited. There is a small area of wasteland near our block, I had my daily exercise and took some photos of this Hot Wheels truck.

Mazda Repu outdoors
Mazda Repu (Hot Wheels)

The Mazda Repu (1974-1977) was the world’s first and only rotary-engined pick-up truck. This model is with the Magnus Walker Urban Outlaw deco. The “52” on the roof is celebrating 52 years of Hot Wheels production.

Mazda Repu outdoors 2

I have photographed many of my models outside including the GHE-O Predator, VW Beetle 4 x 4,  Matchbox ’56 Ford Pick Up and Land Rover Defender in Svaneti and a Beach Buggy on the beach in Larnaca, Cyprus.

…collecting diecast cars, like the 3" Matchbox cars I had as a kid