Diecastarama!

The Diecastarama event takes place on Sunday, June 10th in Spring Hill, FL. Details are on the flyer below; a link to a full-size image of the flyer is at the bottom of the page.

Click below for full-size image

Down here! The link is down here!

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March 2018: The O’Ken Show!

I could not be at our March meeting, as I was attending a friend’s engagement party. So I delegated photography duty to Original Ken.

He took several great pics. Not much info on the individual models, however, so let’s get right to the photos!

March 2018

But, before we get to the photos, we are pleased to announce this year’s Port Richey Diecast Show. It’s on Sunday, April 8th, and the rest of the info is on these images:

This year's show is in color.

This year’s show is in color.

Not to scale. (The hall is actually much larger than shown here.)

Not to scale. (The hall is actually much larger than shown here.)

I’m still exploring the WordPress gallery options. Although this is a different layout, it functions the same as last month’s version: Select any preview to bring up a larger image, and arrow your way to the left or right.

See you at our April meeting!

~WM

February, featuring fabulous fotos!

Alliteration, boys and girls. It’s known as alliteration.

Thus, with such a delightfully educational intro, let’s get right to the photos!

February 2018

We start off with this great Baja Breaker variation (courtesy Big Tractor Mike; photo by Original Ken). This is “Motocross Team”, part of the Scene Machines series.

1979 was a very creative year.

1979 was a very creative year.

Next is this 1978 Holden Pick-Up (courtesy Big Tractor Mike; photo by Original Ken).

...Which is *not* 1977's '56 Hi-Tail Hauler(!).

…Which is *not* 1977’s ’56 Hi-Tail Hauler(!).

I have to say, I am very impressed by the level of detail on these bikes.

They even went so far as to give them different numbers.

They even went so far as to give them different numbers.

O’Ken goes big-time with this 1/24th-scale John Force funny car by Winner’s Circle from BTM. Unboxing it for these photos was quite a project. I think it took Ken about ten minutes!

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The chassis and everything else is plastic; the body shell is surprisingly heavy metal.

And now presenting: Another New Feature! BTM asked me if it was possible to have the post photos (which I’ve standardized to 550 pixels wide) link to larger versions. There are in fact several methods; but the easiest option seems to be to use something WordPress offers: the Gallery.

Now, generally speaking, each of these posts, with its collection of photos, can be considered a gallery. But WordPress’ gallery function is a browser script which provides an interactive display. In fact, the slideshow, which I first used in August of 2017, is a variation in the gallery settings. I created larger photos here, some as wide as 1,000 pixels. I then chose various display settings (in this case, three columns of circular previews), and inserted the gallery.

To view the larger images, simply click on any preview. This will open the gallery to that image. You can then go from one photo to the next using the left and right arrows (screen or keyboard). To exit the gallery, click the X near the upper right corner, or press the Escape key. Enjoy! (And post your opinions on this new feature in the Comments.)

BTM has been having trouble with his e-mail, so I’ll have to wait for him to post info about these models in the comments.

As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to our Find of the Month item, often one model just stands out; yet sometimes I have to choose between two. I have in fact done dual FotMs. But this meeting was unique, in that I honestly was equally impressed with all the models.I have chosen to forego “multiple” FotMs, because I think that’s a bad precedent. So I carefully reviewed the photos, and one finally began to draw me in. So, for its working gate, its real metal chains, and its beautiful hand-cut wood siding, this custom by Doug for BTM is Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for February 2018.

Not your typical Woodie.

Not your typical Woodie.

See you at our March meeting!

~WM

K-Day Update

I reported back in November the sad news that our local K-mart would close (and it has). I didn’t know if Mattel would continue the K-Day tradition in light of all the store closings, or whether our county’s last K-mart store would be included if it did continue.

I recently received e-mails from Hot Wheels Collectors advising of the next K-Day event. Per the store list, it has in fact been moved to our last Pinellas K-mart, and the details are on our Calendar.

(I won’t be attending. Once again I’m uninspired by the event cars, and that’s too long a drive just to see what else shows up in the boxes.)

January 2018 Update: Great Start to the New Year!

You may recall that previous years’ January updates were lightweight affairs. Post-holiday wind-down, attendance was low, and few if any trades took place. This year, our January meeting was radically, wonderfully different — a good crowd, and some serious treasure-tradin’ and car-findin’!. So get to the photos!

January 2018

You’ve seen various farm dioramas from Big Tractor Mike before. Well, sir, I walked into our January meeting and hardly got situated, when I looked over and saw the biggest display BTM had yet brought in. BTM asked for several photos; I took ten photos overall, including a few focusing on a certain special black truck. Later I’ll update this update with info from BTM on what you’re seeing here. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful slideshow:

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Ed was in attendance, and brought in a wonderful variety of models: Treasure Hunts, almost all in Kar Keepers; quality loose models in Jammers; packaged sets; and … the cardboard box.

It was about a foot square, and loaded with loosies priced at “priced to move” prices. A few guys began cautiously picking through the box. Then Ed, to ease their hunting, unceremoniously dumped the whole thing out onto the table:

Awwww.

Awwww.

From this forlorn pile of rejectlings several treasures were found. For example, here are the ones Original Ken acquired:

Matchbox ambulance, and High Speed police car.

Matchbox ambulance, and High Speed police car.

Matchbox Mayflower moving truck with opening rear doors (and without rear axle).

Matchbox Mayflower moving truck with opening rear doors (and without rear axle).

Ferrari Testarossa, a transitional Corgi casting issued by Hot Wheels. The blue Malibu with flames is a Jada, from Big Rob's son Robby

Ferrari Testarossa, a transitional Corgi casting issued by Hot Wheels. The blue Malibu with flames is a Jada, from Big Rob’s son Robby

Speaking of Kar Keepers: I told you I would, and I did. I asked around at the meeting if anyone had a Kar Keeper or Protecto Pak. Big Tractor Mike demonstrated some left-over holiday spirit and RAOK’d me with a P’Pak! Later, I secured my Milano as promised.

See? The one Milano is safely MOC in the shell, while the other can be displa-- THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD! THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD!

See? The one Milano is safely MOC in the shell, while the other can be displa– THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD! THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD!

Ken got this sweet Zee (Zylmex) school bus from BTM. Overall the package is in really nice condition, with beautiful artwork.

I'd give this Zee an "A".

I’d give this Zee an “A”.

By the way, I was originally going to not point out the vintage price tag, as Wal-mart is quite contemporary. But then I thought about the fact that Zylmex has been gone for a while. In fact, according to the Zylmex Tribute Page, the company went out of business in 1996. As of this writing, that’s twenty-two years ago — in other words, nearly a quarter of a century. I guess that’s pretty darn close to vintage.

(I haven’t included a separate photo of the price tag because this image is very close to the original’s size, and is quite clear.)

Big Rob had a nice assortment of Johnny Lighting Lost in Space miniatures, and sold this Robot B-9 to … somebody. Seriously, neither Rob nor Ken nor myself can remember who bought this. Even so: Enjoy your recent purchase, Unknown Suncoast Diecasters Member!

Mystery Collector; Are you ready for your Mystery Collector?

Mystery Collector; Are you ready for your Mystery Collector?

As club photographer, I’m always taking photos of people’s treasures. But at this meeting, something unique and wonderful happened: Ken took photos of my treasures! Ken was impressed by the cars I found, and snapped photos for our club’s Facebook page. For example, from Robby, Big Rob’s son, I bought this NASCAR Stocker. Very good condition. This is the version which says “Racing Stocker” on the base. While not the exceedingly rare “Mountain Dew Stocker” version, I am nonetheless very happy with this model.

Although, to be honest, I'm a Coca-Cola man myself.

Although, to be honest, I’m a Coca-Cola man myself.

From Ed’s pile-o-playthings, I found three cool models. First is this Mercedes convertible by TootsieToy.

This is a really good-looking casting.

This is a really good-looking casting.

Then I got these two unusual Hot Wheels models:

Okay, that … that photograph might be a little misleading. Actually, I posted it to proved these are Hot Wheels-branded. Further, they’re copyrighted 1985. And that’s all we know about them. Here are the actual models:

Um...

Um…

As you can see, they’re somewhat cartoonishly proportioned. Both have the same base, and the same construction: The one-piece engine/interior simply snaps into the body shell. Both have friction motors. The blue is gummy, and goes neither far nor fast. The red on the other hand still performs relatively well.

However, quite seriously, no-one in the club has any idea where these models are from. Not even Ed, who had them in his cardboard box. So if any of you fellow collectors out there can shed any light on these mystery mobiles, please let us know in the Comments. Thanks!

So, let me make this official: 2018 starts off grandly with Dual Finds of the Month(**): Ken’s classic Zee bus, and my Hot Wheels oddball unknowns. Three cheers and a tiger for us!

…And, our January updated was posted with a tiny little sliver of January left! Celebratory victory dance!

See you at our February meeting!

~WM

December 2017!!!

A holiday family gathering…

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With appropriate musical accompaniment…

So, let us get to the photos!

(Oh, and our Calendar has been updated for 2018.)

December 2017

Our Christmas bonus for 2017 came in the form of a new member. We have Original Ken and Emergency Back-up Ken, and now along with Big Tractor Mike we have a bonus Michael! He’s a friend of BTM, and brought in some handiwork. The green-&-white tractor is BTM’s; Michael fixed the wheels and axles of it for him. The silver tractor is Doug’s, and Michael cut some clear plastic sheeting to make windows for its cab.

By the way, both models are 1/64th-scale.

By the way, both models are 1/64th-scale.

Michael also made the tanks. They were plain cardboard tubes with plastic endcaps. He painted them white, then bent thin steel rods to make the pipes.

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Who’s that handsome fellow hiding in there?

Not it!

Not it!

Clearly that’s Doug’s tractor. But the real point here is not who’s hiding, but where the hiding is happening:

The broad side of a cliché.

The broad side of a cliché.

This is another custom build by Doug for BTM. I don’t recall what specific type of structure it is (I’m still a-waitin’ for an informative e-mail), but even though Doug says it’s not yet finished, I can tell you it’s really quite impressively detailed.

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Heck, I’ll even show you!

All pieces hand-cut and hand-assembled by Doug.

All pieces hand-cut and hand-assembled by Doug.

Those square structures above Doug’s tractor are the bottom ends of these square structures.

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I did say it’s impressively detailed, did I not?

Well, actually I typed it, but still...

Well, actually I typed it, but still…

The holiday spirit was flowing freely, as Tom RAOK’d Ken with two wonderful items. The first is this Dale Earnhardt-themed photo album.

(The pockets inside are empty; it's the cover that makes it collectible.)

(The pockets inside are empty; it’s the cover that makes it collectible.)

The second is this magnificent Brickyard 400 commemorative mug.

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-*-*-*-

In keeping with the holidays, I merrily declare this genuinely wonderful (and wonderfully generous) dual gift to be Suncoast DiecastersDual Finds of the Month(*) for December 2017. Congratulations, Ken! (And thank you, Tom!)

This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin': it's just an empty cup.

This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin’: it’s just an empty cup.

See you at our January (2018!) meeting!

~WM

Christmas in Florida

I really have to thank the Lord for this photograph. I was going to post just the photo, no text or commentary, but it all went so well that I have to tell you about it. It was taken out on the Causeway, about mid-day with the sun behind me. I piled up some sand to form a raised surface for the props, rather than shooting “down the slope”. I found a somewhat flattish rock to set the camera on.

There was no way for me to get down and accurately aim using the optical viewfinder. And of course, the sun essentially washed out the camera’s LCD preview screen, so I couldn’t tell if I was centered on the props or where the focus landed. In particular, I had no way of knowing whether the waters of the Sound provided the background I hoped they would. I was going to shoot multiple photos using different flash settings, just to see if one worked better that the others. But once I realized I was, as it were, “shooting blind” because of the sun, I simply went with the one photo, with the flash off and using only natural sunlight. I used the timer for stability, because even my lightest press on the shutter button would’ve jostled the camera on the rock.

After the shutter clicked and the camera finished processing the image, I previewed the photo by cupping the camera right up to my face. I had made no adjustments to the zoom setting, other than changing from Normal to Macro because the camera was so close to the mound, so I was surprised — and concerned — when I realized the props took up only a very small portion of the total image, as if I had shot from farther back. But I knew I could not improve upon the circumstances, and headed home accepting that however the photo came out, that’s all I had to work with.

Imagine my absolute delight and pleasure when, after offloading the image to my PC, finding that not only were the props very near the center, but also that the focus was just about dead-on perfect. There was actually very little I needed to do to the photograph. In fact, the single biggest change was rotating it a few degrees so the horizon was actually horizontal. I was also happy to see that the waters of the Sound fill about the middle third of the background. Otherwise, it was simply cropping it and a few other, very minor edits. Speaking of cropping, even though the props were very little of the images’ full “real estate”, even when cropped they were larger than the size I’ve standardized for our photos, so I actually had some working room for the edits.

So, despite not having anywhere near the control of the set-up that I typically have for our in-meeting photos, the Lord gave me a holiday photograph which required very little hands-on effort on my part. Even that flattish rock was a miraculous provision. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a mediocre Festivus, and a Happy New Year!

Re-gifting a Web Page

If you’ve spent any time perusing the Suncoast Diecasters website, you know one of our pages is a Christmas Panels gallery. Similarly, if you’ve spent any time perusing our website, you know of our problem with PhotoBucket. I have uploaded copies of our Christmas Panels images to our local WordPress space, and replaced them all on that page, which has also been updated to include Christmas 2016. So, please enjoy our freshly re-worked, re-wrapped and re-gifted Christmas Panels gallery!

November 2017 Update – now with text & photos!

Been putting in extra hours at work because of the holidays. Nice for my wallet, not so nice for my free time. Particularly, it’s been impacting relatively frivolous things such as club site updates. That’s also why it took so long for me to post my lament on the closing of a K-Mart. So, no silly intro this month. Just get to the photos!

November 2017

Emergency Back-up Ken brought in this fabulous BMW Isetta 250. The Isetta has had a bit of a resurgence in pop culture popularity, thanks in part to TV shows such as Family Matters and American Pickers. Among toy car collectors, it’s probably best known for its super-powered appearance as Hot Wheels’ Whatta Drag. The Isetta is classified as a microcar due to its small size. Just how small is the Isetta?

Well, this is a 1/43-scale model ... and it's *barely* the size of HW's VW Drag Bus.

Well, this is a 1/43-scale model … and it’s *barely* the size of HW’s VW Drag Bus.

What’s this?? (asked William Dozier):

The zippest car collection, indeed.

The zippest car collection, indeed.

That’s the back (or front, same view) of an unopened shipping pack of Inside Stories (“Storys”?), courtesy of Big Tractor Mike. BTM explains that this is how Hot Wheels were shipped way back when: A box, not dissimilar to the boxes one sees at a K-Day event, contained not a well-organized arrangement of ready-for-hanging mixed models but rather the lot of identical models bagged thusly. That this set is still in its original bag is of course super-rare and thus super-special. Upping its specialness (in case you missed it in the above photo) is this neat detail:

Practically a brand unto itself.

Practically a brand unto itself.

Yes, these are from the near-mythical and poorly-documented Leo editions from India. With the exception of a “native language”-edition backer, one usually has to do some research to determine which country a particular Hot Wheels model is manufactured in. The Leo models, in contrast, are always clearly identified.

Now, here’s the hard choice for the serious collector: to open, or not to open? If one opens the pack to better display the models, the value of it being specifically an unopened shipping set is immediately lost. On the other hand, the set as it is … is frankly not much to look at display-wise.

Tom continues his reign as Suncoast Diecasters‘ Viscount of VWs with this purchase from BTM. This is the Volkswagen 1500 Saloon, (No. 15), a limited model in production only from 1968 through 1972. He paired it with a custom re-paint by Jim in the form of a candy-apple red Ice Cream Truck.

Note Jim's rustic hand-hewn lettering.

Note Jim’s rustic hand-hewn lettering.

Original Ken was RAOK’d via BTM using this custom edition of Jaded. This one features an illustration of that incredibly popular and very well-known DC superhero who developed bird-like superpowers after getting bitten by a radioactive raven, and who was advised by an old man, Remember, if you ever get superpowers, you should probably use it to do some good, instead of not doin’ some good.

In this scene, he's battling ... I don't know, Godzilla, I guess.

In this scene, he’s battling … I don’t know, Godzilla, I guess.

(Ahem) It reads: ‘From a time when nearly all businesses depended upon these versatile small commercials to deliver a variety of goods throughout the country.”

Please read along silently, as I type aloud.

Please read along silently, as I type aloud.

And just what is it delivering?

Garbage!

Garbage!

Courtesy Emergency Back-up Ken, this is the Scammell refuse lorry, a 1:76-scale three-wheeler from Oxford Diecast. Of course, it does not deliver garbage. It collects waste material from the residence or office, and carries it to a waste handling and processing center. Which … is … in actuality, delivering something from point A to point B. So, yeah, this thing really does deliver garbage!

Honestly, I don't know why you were giving me such a hard time about it.

Honestly, I don’t know why you were giving me such a hard time about it.

For its recognition and celebration of mundane workhorse vehicles, its well-sculpted detail, and for simply being a really good-looking model, I declare the Scammell refuse lorry to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for November 2017.

Congratulations, EBU Ken!

Congratulations, EBU Ken!

See you at our December meeting!

~WM