The Grand Gathering of August 2018

I apologize for the lateness of this update. I’ve recently had a cutback in hours at work, so my overriding priority right now is to find a good replacement job. Thus, frivolities such as these club updates take a back seat. (If you happen to know a Tampa Bay area business that’s in need of a hot-rodding creative, please let me know!)

Nonetheless, our August meeting was indeed grand. Good group of people, including a couple o’ members we hadn’t seen in a while. And one stupendous structure.

Hey, get to the photos!

August 2018

Bill does very well for himself by buying this Hot Wheels 20th Anniversary 3-pack. No idea what the CW/CP price tag represents. Circus World, maybe? If you know, share in the Comments!

Twenty years, and only three cars? That's ... not too productive.

Twenty years, and only three cars? That’s … not too productive.

Sorry for the glare and shadows. This is actually the last photo I took, before my camera’s battery went out.

Bill also bought this good-looking Indentor, an entry from the Crack-Ups series. I was hoping to get a really nice photo of it…

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…But unfortunately as I was setting it up, I broke it.

I'm such a bad person.

I’m such a bad person.

A bit of a departure here: Some nose art on a Midnight Otto.

I mean, it's on a door, but still ... nose art.

I mean, it’s on a door, but still … nose art.

Ed was at the meeting. It’s always good to see Ed. He’s a great guy. But I wish he’d bring some stuff to the meetings once in a while. He never brings nothin’!

And I mean -- NUTHIN'!

And I mean — NUTHIN’!

Amongst his nuthin’, Ed had this oddball little fellow.  Threw us all off for a little bit, because we couldn’t ID it. Then we figured out why we had trouble recognizing it…

...Because it usually has a Volkswagen Drag Bus shell wrapped around it.

…Because it usually has a Volkswagen Drag Bus shell wrapped around it.

Mike C. has been absent from the club for the last few months. He made a delightful surprise appearance at our August meeting. Looks good, sounds good. And to make his return complete, he bought some items. A few. You know, three or four.

Some of Ed's nuthin', and some of BTM's nuthin'.

Some of Ed’s nuthin’, and some of BTM’s nuthin’.

Big Tractor Mike bought this set from Ed (leaving him with nuthin’), which features a Batman “action guide”, and three Batman-themed vehicles: one of the over five hundred eighty six variations of the Batmobile; a Joker-themed Evil Twin (a sly choice for comic book aficionados), and a Bane-themed whatever that is.

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By day, he’s Big Tractor Mike. By night, he’s the BaTMan! (See what I did there? I hope you see it; it’s very clever.)

Original Ken picked up this lovely Mercedes 350 SL (Majorette, 1/60 scale), which I actually thought he bought at the previous meeting, but no.

Yes, now. Then, no.

Yes, now. Then, no.

Man, I dig those reflections.

Well-appointed interior, and an opening trunk, which is always nice.

Plus a few nicely embossed -- if somewhat overscale -- surface details.

Plus a few nicely embossed — if somewhat overscale — surface details.

And now for the Big Thing of the Meeting: The Grand Barn, a custom hand-built replica of an actual barn, by Doug. I don’t know what scale Doug built it at; nor did I ask him to place his hand in the photo. He was discussing the barn with another member, and just happened to point out a feature right before my camera’s timer fired. A lucky accident, as it gives you some idea of the size of the model.

For additional reference, Doug is 9'12" tall.

For additional reference, Doug is 9’12” tall.

I call it the Grand Barn for several reasons, such as its sheer scale, and its incredible detail.

Click below for sheer scale.

Click below for sheer scale.

Size: 1000 x 486 pixels.

This build is loaded with details.

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Details such as the pallet leaning against the wall.

See the small sub-building on the right? It will become important later.

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Foreshadowing.

Size: 1000 x 562 pixels.

Note the gleam just off the right of the nose of the contented cow on the left. That’s light reflecting off the artificial water in the trough. Yes, artificial water, a product used to add yet another touch of realism.

The staining around the base of the trough indicates these are some sloppy Santa Gertrudis.

The staining around the base of the trough indicates these are some sloppy Santa Gertrudis.

Note the real metal chain on the post in the above photo. It’s used to shut the open gate in the below photo.

And yes, you *are* seeing an actually lit light.

And yes, you *are* seeing an actually lit light.

Size: 1000 x 536 pixels.

Here’s an interior shot of the upper section, in which you can see some of the amazing detail that Doug put–

Ha! I’m foolin’! This is actually the storage shed in back of the Sports Bar.

Oh.

Oh.

Fooled you twice! It really is a shot of the upper interior, as you can see in this farther-backly photographed photograph.

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And if you still doubt me, compare the light spill between the boards in both pics. You’ll see they match.

Size: 1000 x 882 pixels.

How’s this for detail? Lightning rods!

Not to mention that double-hung window.

Not to mention that double-hung window.

More evidence of Doug’s attention to detail: Each piece of this door is hand-cut, and the hinges work.

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It’s also evidence of his patience: That door is *barely* the size of a postage stamp.

Remember that sub-building I mentioned earlier? I wanted a shot of the interior detail, so I set my camera on the table with the lens just outside its door. Didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.

No idea how I got a nicely focused shot of the far fence *and* light smear like someone kicked my camera.

No idea how I got a nicely focused shot of the far fence *and* light smear like someone kicked my camera.

I knew I had to try again while I still had some battery. So I reviewed my camera settings, pushed the camera’s lens into the door, and hit the button…

…Ten seconds later, I got the shot. The modified flash setting lit up the interior details nicely while also creating rich shadows, and you can still see that the lights are lit.

Let me emphasize: This shot was taken with my camera's lens *inside* the doorway.

Let me emphasize: This shot was taken with my camera’s lens *inside* the doorway.

Impress yourself with Doug’s amazing detail by clicking the link below:

Size: 1000 x 750 pixels.

For its  size, its realism and its astounding and near-overwhelming quality of detail, Big Tractor Mike and I declare Doug’ custom hand-built Grand Barn to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for August 2018! Many congratulations, Doug!

See you at our September October meeting!

~WM

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July 2018 features a Golden Anniversary!

Just go right to the photos!

July 2018

More on this little guy later…

A tease!

A tease!

Big Tractor Mike becomes Small Truck Mikey for the day with this trio. We start with this Greenlight stake truck with swapped cab.

Though if he hadn't mentioned the cab swap, I don't think anyone would have complained.

Though if he hadn’t mentioned the cab swap, I don’t think anyone would have complained.

Next is this custom hay elevator, which raises and lowers. The hay bales are hand-cut painted wood.

Hey.

Hey.

Finally, we have this ERTL custom Dodge service truck with tool box and air compressor.

Splotchy paint aside, that's a nice-lookin' air compressor!

Splotchy paint aside, that’s a nice-lookin’ air compressor!

Tom rolls up some (rumpled) royalty with this not-quite-MIB Petty product with purty Petty picture.

Couldn't say "Petty photo" or "Petty card" because that would interrupt the flow of my vibe, man.

Couldn’t say “Petty photo” or “Petty card” because that would interrupt the flow of my vibe, man.

So they greenlighted the movie idea, eh? (Get it? ‘Coz that’s what they say in Hollywood, see, and the brand is Greenlight, see, and — You know what? I’m gonna give a nod at Tom for buying this mint-in-shell set, then I’m just gonna stand over there somewhere.)

Opening and closing credits.

Opening and closing credits.

"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cig--" Yeah, yeah, we heard it before, Egon.

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cig–” Yeah, yeah, we heard it before, Egon.

Remember last month when I jibed Original Ken for not nabbing this Wiking street cleaner? Well, guess what — he went ahead and bought it this month! (Good thing, too, because this model has some nice details.)

Harrumph.

Harrumph.

Tom firmly establishes his reign as Suncoast DiecastersViscount of VWs by apprehending from BTM this Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Volkswagen Beetle. (Cue fanfare and confetti.)

Click below for your free larger image to use at home, school or work.

Click below for your free larger image to use at home, school or work.

1000w x 996h

To make sure there’s no mistaking that this is not a 50th Anniversary Edition (cue fanfare and confetti), Mattel has placed the “50” logo everywhere. On the backer, as well as on the vehicle illustration on the backer…

I dig how cartoony the Beetle looks here.

I dig how cartoony the Beetle looks here.

…On the model itself, of course…

Go back and look at the 0 in the previous image; does it look like a track loop to you?

Go back and look at the 0 in the previous image; does it look like a track loop to you?

…And even on both the background and car image on this sweet reproduction Collector Badge.

This ain't no plastic cheapie -- this is a real metal memory-maker!

This ain’t no plastic cheapie — this is a real metal memory-maker!

Thus I very proudly declare the Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Volkswagen Beetle (cue fanfare and confetti) to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for July 2018. Thank you, Mike, and congratulations, Tom!

See you at our August meeting — which is this Saturday!

~WM

Customs! on! Parade!

A situation at work required my presence, so once again Original Ken provides the photos. We have several nice customs in this update, so get to the photos!

June 2018

I apologize for both the haziness and smallness of this first photo. OKen took a wide “group photo” of some of Big Tractor Mike’s Tomica stock. Thus, no particular item was really in focus. Also, since the pic was comprised of such a large number of boxes, even at full resolution (which this is) each box was smaller than our standard photo size. nonetheless, I was intrigued — not to mention a bit creeped out — by this freaky spider crane model. I swear, it looks like something that could be part of ROTF Devastator.

Or, maybe it'll be Spidey's new ride in "Into the Spider-Verse".

Or, maybe it’ll be Spidey’s new ride in “Into the Spider-Verse”.

Here’s something that will make your eyes happy again: Ken’s beautiful photo of BTM’s Custom T-Bird (original Redline).

Much better.

No, it’s not a garbage truck, yet I’m still surprised that Ken did not buy this Viking street cleaner.

Some nice mechanical detail on the rear panel.

Some nice mechanical detail on the rear panel.

Renault 5TL and Ford Group 6, both by Matchbox.

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2 Matchbox Citroen S.M. models, and a Citroen CX, via Mike’s stock

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Actually, Ken had all three of these models staged in a single photograph. However, somehow this ’77 edition was accompanied by a sweeeet reflection — on the pleather pool table cover, yet! — and I just had to showcase it.

Original Ken: Le Artiste Photografique.

Original Ken: Le Artiste Photografique.

1983 Extras Series Upfront 924 — the extra being the snap-on ski rack. As I pointed out back in August of 2010, the ski rack isn’t merely some vaguely ski-shaped pieces; there are two pairs of poles with baskets, and two pairs of skis with boot bindings. And thanks to Ken’s hi-rez camera, you can see this even more clearly now.

The fact that the rack is shot through the rear window is, apparently, of little concern.

The fact that the rack is shot through the rear window is, apparently, of little concern.

Two Tyco Corvette slot cars, which Ken sold to Scott.

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And now, we get to the customs. These first two photos feature another farm display by BTM, which includes two custom handmade trailers.

???

The original of the above photo had quite a tilt, which sharply cut off the road piece. I was able to rotate it, but had to crop out the sharp road end because it looked like it was just falling off into space.

I appreciate how a few pieces of green shred appear to be shrubs when in context with the vehicle models.

I appreciate how a few pieces of green shred appear to be shrubs when in context with the vehicle models.

An M2 Machines pick-up, customised by Doug for Mike.

"For show only".

“For show only”.

And for our Find of the Month(*): ’76 Hot Wheels Corvette Stingray, with custom paint and tampo by Jim. Bought by Bill. Nicely done, Jim, and well-chosen, Bill!

Click below for larger image.

Click below for larger image.

1000h X 556v X 168kB

And with half a week of June left, I shall treat myself to a cheeseburger in celebration!

See you at our July meeting!

~WM

May Update is Up, Up and Away!

Our May meeting was lots of fun. Slightly smaller crowd that last month, but still lots of laughin’, reminiscin’ and braggin’ took place.

By the way, I’ve updated our About page to include info on Suncoast Diecasters membership. Please check it out.

Okay, now you can get to the photos!

May 2018

When the Incredible Hulk has a rupture...

When the Incredible Hulk has a rupture…

The Hulk is from the DCU, right? Heh. Kidding, of course. Once again, Big Tractor Mike brought in a wonderful scale-correct display of farming equipment, some of which has been highly customized by Michael. Oh, yes, there are more photos. But first…

…Ed shares some choice models in his collection:

(L) Top Eliminator [1978, w' "AC" logo]; (R) Vetty Funny [1983]

(L) Top Eliminator [1978, w’ “AC” logo]; (R) Vetty Funny [1983]

Formula 5000 [L - 1977 Super Chromes; R - 1977 Mainline]

Formula 5000 [L – 1977 Super Chromes; R – 1977 Mainline]

(L) Monte Carlo Stocker [1979]; (R) Ice-'T' [1977/8]

(L) Monte Carlo Stocker [1979]; (R) Ice-‘T’ [1977/8]

Here is the most beautiful of the models that Ed asked me to showcase, the ’69 Chevy Camaro Convertible. If you look closely at the photos (and you should be doing so anyway), you’ll note that the model is far more detailed than a typical off-the-peg model. However, I’m unable to ID the specific series. It’s not listed in the 100% Hot Wheels series. It may be part of the 100% Preferred GM Performance Parts series, but I can’t prove this as there’s no photo in the listing.

'69 Chevy Camaro Convertible: Wholly unidentified.

’69 Chevy Camaro Convertible: Wholly unidentified.

(In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just ask Ed when I took the photo, it’s because I turned the toy over, saw what I thought was the Vintage series logo on the base, on said to  myself, Well, that was easy.)

And here’s my favorite of the set, Sir Rodney Roadster, a pseudo-fantasy vehicle based on the Lotus Seven S4. I say “pseudo-fantasy” because it seems some liberties were taken with the design. Fact: I never heard of this model until about fifteen-ish years ago, and it was by accident. At a local shop I spotted some gimmicky Hot Wheels merchandise, little yoyo-like things. Each consisted of a “tire” about 2½” in diameter, with a teensy HW model inside. Pulling the string caused the car to race around inside the tire. So I bought one, seeing as I’d probably never own any other version of Sir Rod here.

Sir Rodney Roadster [1977] [Collector # KAR 120C]

Sir Rodney Roadster [1977] [Collector # KAR 120C]

Here, finally, are the afore-promised photos of BTM’s farm display. And look at them; they’re beautiful!

Okay, more kidding. These thumbnails are teasers; click on any one, and you’ll open a gallery of delightfully larger images which you may left/right through at your leisure. (There’s no info for this machines because BTM is still having e-mail trouble, and neither of us took notes during the meeting.)

By the way, I have chosen a Find of the Month model … but I’m not telling you which one it is. I want you to think about the photos in this update, and make your best guess.

Or you could, you know, just view it on Twitter.

And with two days left in May, I shall cry a hearty Victoryyy!

See you at our June meeting!

~WM

April 2018

No time for a wacky intro; head straight to the photos!

April 2018

Big Rob brought in boxes and boxes of oodles and oodles of goodies. The colorful boxes, as you can probably tell, are various Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning collections and race sets. The beige bombers in the background are chock-full of many, many, many individual HW and JL models in MoC condition.

I see about a dozen reasons you should attend Suncoast Diecasters meetings.

I see about a dozen reasons you should attend Suncoast Diecasters meetings.

While the vastly overwhelming majority of Big Rob’s collection are of course 1/64th-scale, one particular box held these footlong-plus behemoths. These are RC versions of Sweet 16 II and Twin Mill. Yes, he has the controllers also, in case ya wants ta race ’em.

These are actually larger than a Fiat 500.

These are actually larger than a Fiat 500.

Of course I did. You and Suncoast Diecasters have been seeing each other for about twelve years now. So of course I did a special favor for you. Enjoy.

Click below for special favor.

Click below for special favor.

1000 x 414 x 2.3mB

Bill bought two vehicles from Big Tractor Mike. First is this 1983 Fork Lift Truck, which is based on a Lansing Bagnall model.

Buy our fork lift with "Up" feature, and get our exclusive "Down" feature at no extra cost!

Buy our fork lift with “Up” feature, and get our exclusive “Down” feature at no extra cost!

Next is this Mercedes-Benz Container Truck from 1981. This version also has dark-tinted blue windows.

Room for plenty more rubber bands inside!

Room for plenty more rubber bands inside!

Not to be outdone (though clearly outmatched) in the “bigger than 1/64” department, Tom bought this gorgeous Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from BTM. This is MebeToys model A-26 from Gran Toros.

Elegance.

This beauty doesn’t just get by on looks alone. It also features an opening bonnet (with some rigging), opening doors and an opening boot.

If you look closely, you'll even see gauges on the dashboard.

If you look closely, you’ll even see gauges on the dashboard.

Well, well, what have we here? Why, it’s a reproduction of Alan Nash & Co.’s patent for Hot Wheels track connectors.

You didn't know those purple connectors had over four hundred moving parts, did you?

You didn’t know those purple connectors had over four hundred moving parts, did you?

Oh, and look: it’s Larry Wood’s original sketch for Tri Baby.

If this doesn't make a toy car collector drool, I don't know what will. I mean, beside pizza.

If this doesn’t make a toy car collector drool, I don’t know what will. I mean, beside pizza.

Whence come this intriguing images? They’re just two of several dozen such illustrations and photos in this wonderful book, Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Power, Performance, and Attitude. This is how our April meeting started, with Big Rob RAOKing this to Big Tractor Mike. For a host of reasons which should be obvious, I easily declare this book to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for April 2018.

Congratulations, Mike! And thank you, Rob.

Congratulations, Mike! And thank you, Rob.

…Aaand with about 15 minutes left, our April update is actually published during April. Let us all cavort!

See you at our May meeting!

~WM

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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