Happy New Year, New Photos and New Gallery!

Having parked beneath the warm glow of a streetlamp, Santa and Mrs. Claus spend some quiet us-time on a park bench under the stars, while the glow of the Woodland Church’s lights reflect on a frozen pond behind them

Suncoast Diecasters 2013 Christmas panel

Download a larger version of this image by clicking on it.

Long-time members of Suncoast Diecasters may have been wondering if I’d be doing this here on the new blog. For those of you who are new visitors, something I’ve been doing since 2008 on the original site is replacing the main home page between the December and January meetings with a Christmas-themed image. I’m very glad to have been able to come up with one for this year.

And speaking of Christmas images, I can now very happily introduce to you the latest feature of our blog: Galleries! One of the things that made Suncoast Diecasters a great site is the well-organized archive of yearly galleries (plus the individual members’ galleries). I’ve been wanting to recreate the galleries here on the blog, and I realized, what better one to start with than a gallery of all our Christmas panels!

Also, with the upload of this update’s photos, we’ve finally broken 1,000 photos in our PhotoBucket library! In fact, there’s exactly 1,010 photos — woo-hooo!

Also also, the Calendar has been updated to close out the last couple of December items.

So, with that, I wish you a Happy New Year 2014, and may God bless us, everyone! Now, onto the December photos!

December 2013

Krista yust goes nuts batty at Christmas, having stocked up on Gotham gear for stocking stuffers.

Always make sure your sidekicks are hermetically sealed to ensure freshness.

Always make sure your sidekicks are hermetically sealed to ensure freshness.

Bite-size bat-goodies make any holiday a … um … well, still a holiday, I guess.

https://i2.wp.com/i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb168/suncoastdiecasers/0201312002.jpg

Ideal, Galoob, Hot Wheels, ERTL … Okay, fine, *everyone* can have a “micro” line!

Here, clockwise from bottom center, she purchased from Your Humble Webmaster the Batmobile from The Brave and the Bold, the GreenGoblinmobile, the Phantommobile, the Mr. Freezemobile, and the, uh … um … the, um….

What? Why are you looking at me like that? WHAT!?

What? Why are you looking at me like that? WHAT!?

Bill was clearly dreaming of a green Christmas with this verdant gathering. Clockwise from bottom left: Sir Rodney Roadster; Mantis; Sand Drifter; Vega Bomb; Heavy Chevy (’74 Flying Colors); and Sir Rodney Roadster in the incredibly rare “So orange it’s not even green anymore” color variation.

Not to be confused with Stan Freberg's

Not to be confused with Stan Freberg’s “Green Christmas”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5IXlfJSEi4

A personal favorite of mine in the above photo is the Mantis. Today if you buy a new one off a peg, it’ll have only solid louvers (no exposed engine) and a fixed canopy. Mine was an earlier, perhaps transitional model; louvers, but the canopy still opened. Bill here displays the 1970-only release which featured both an opening canopy and the exposed engine.

I still think I could punch holes in mine and add some, er,

I still think I could punch holes in mine and add some, er, “after-market” engine pods….

Bill scores super-big with this dang-near-mint-on-card Dump Truck from the 1970 The Heavyweights series. With the classic stylized Ira Gilford cab, wide card and collector button, this one serious slab of nostalgia.

Boss styling! Working parts! Exaggerated hyperbole!

Boss styling! Working parts! Exaggerated hyperbole!

Ken adds to his Foreign/Oddity collection with these German-edition Happy Meal toys (from Your Humble Webmaster). Not mere mini-models featuring McDonaldland characters (which would be cool enough), these little runners are equipped with pull-back motors, similar to Penny Racers.

...You vanten ze Fries mitten zat?

…You vanten ze Fries mitten zat?

You may be thinking to yourself, This is not a toy car. (You may also find yourself living in a shotgun shack, but whatever.) This is my Christmas RAOK to Ken: a garbage man action figure, from Kenner’s The Real Ghostbusters toyline. As you should know by now, Ken collects garbage trucks. When I found this guy in a box whilst preparing for a garage sale, I knew it had to go to Ken.

This guy was often the last person to see our old toys....

This guy was often the last person to see our old toys….

It seems odd, though, that a toyline such as The Real Ghostbusters would include such a mundane character as a garbage man. After all, there’s nothing creepy or horrifying about a garbAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

It bears repeating: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

It bears repeating: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased this gleaming goodie: a nicely-detailed ’32 Ford coupe, done up in, I don’t know, some sort of “racing” theme by some “Bill Elliot” guy.

Better than an Oscar statuette. Well, more affordable than an Oscar statuette.

Better than an Oscar statuette. Well, more affordable than an Oscar statuette.

The Ford was not the only thing I got from BTM. I also picked up a DeLorean (not in Back to the Future configuration), and another Curiosity rover. Yep, I gots two of ’em now!

Space travel + Time Travel = retro coupe. Prove me wrong, I dare ya.

Space travel + Time Travel = retro coupe. Prove me wrong, I dare ya.

As we were packing up at the end of the meeting, BTM offered to buy Jim’s entire stock. Jim accepted. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I bought this Hot Wheels-liveried Deora from BTM before he hauled everything out to his truck. I do collect Hot Wheels-liveried vehicles; however I don’t buy every one I find, because either the model itself doesn’t appeal to me, or the livery just doesn’t work well on that model. But this Deora looks really sharp, and I’m glad I own it.

From Jim, to Mike, to me. That's the kind of commerce I like. Especially the

From Jim, to Mike, to me. That’s the kind of commerce I like. Especially the “to me” part.

From me, BTM bought this random assortment of Micro Machines miniature vehicles.

I was going to type "Micro Machines micro machines", but I decided not to.

I was going to type “Micro Machines micro machines”, but I decided not to.

Also from me, Mike also bought this Kenner SSP Time Trial Set. I advised him that one of the hubs for the ends of the catch-arms is missing, and that the bulbs for the “christmas tree” don’t light (the actual interior lighting is basically a pair of glorified penlight flashlights, which should be repairable), but that otherwise it works. In fact it’s possible to “time” a race without seeing the lights, because you can hear them. Yes I actually typed hear them. The lights are not LEDs, nor are the bulbs electromechanically switched by the timer. Rather, they’re mounted in swing-arms mechanically linked to the timer (which winds like a kitchen egg timer). When activated, the timer causes the arms to loudly clunk-clunk-clunk their way down from red to green before activating the seconds dial on front. So, players can actually time a race start by simply waiting for the last “clunk”.

...And it really really works!

…And it really really works!

Aside from that one hub & the light issue, the set is remarkably complete. The plastic baggie prevented me from getting a better focus, but still you can see here the instruction sheet, T-pull, speed calculator, flag, decal sheet, mini-catalog and catch-string.

Do not use if Freshness Seal is broken.

Do not use if Freshness Seal is broken.

Ah, yes; here’s the photo you’ve been waiting (and drooling) to see. The included SSP vehicle, the golden Rail Bird. Aside from being a great racing toy by design, it’s clearly also a great display model. Big Tractor Mike suggests the gold color makes it look like the Drag-u-la. (Click for larger version)

Sweet, sweet speed.

Sweet, sweet speed.

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Whatever do we have here? I tell ya, it pays to clean the garage. We continue the Kenner SSP theme (as well as the bought by BTM from me theme) with this lovely, lovely thing. Kenner combined two great properties, SSPs and Star Wars, to provide us this magnificent thrill machine. And look!: it even has its original box!

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Ooh, it even has its original T-pull! Now, as I said, I found this while cleaning the garage and going through boxes for a garage sale. Still, I had no idea I even still had it (much less in its box). Nonetheless, since Big Tractor Mike was very happy to get this into his hands (and it might even be in someone else’s hand by now), and because this toy is just fully loaded with childhood nostalgia, I’m declaring this item our December 2013 Find of the Month.(*)

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

With our very successful and well-attended December meeting, 2013 ended well. I’m sure our upcoming January meeting will get 2014 off to a good start. See you at the meeting!

~WM

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