March Toyness!

Madness? Brackets? Round-ball?

Puh-leaze! We’re here to talk about toy cars ‘n such!

By the way, please note that our “Miscellaneous” links page has been re-titled to the more meaningful, more humorous and less miscellaneous “Toys & Etc.”, and be sure to check out the great new top link there!

March 2014

Bookending this month’s post with this magnificent mini-garbager (which, if you’ve been paying attention, is of course Ken’s). Although it’s now owned by Hasbro, only Tonka remains an active company, the other two stamped-metal toy truck companies, Buddy-L and Nylint, having closed years ago.

Tonka: Titan of tiny tin.

Tonka: Titan of tiny tin.

A bunch by Bill. Clockwise from middle left: Chief`s Special with bar on roof (Hong Kong, 1976); Pontiac J-2000, with small sun roof (Mexico, 1985); Ford Escort (1985, Mexico); rare green-over-yellow American Victory (Speed Machines series, Malaysia, 1983); Tricar X8 with rare yellow base (1988, Malaysia).

Bill's ''primary'' interests. Get it? 'Coz they're primary colors! ...I'll just stand over there....

Bill’s ”primary” interests. Get it? ‘Coz they’re primary colors! …I’ll just stand over there….

Bill continues: Phone Truck (1985, Malaysia); Leo Inside Story (1984, India); and the exceptionally rare Rebel Run Purple Passion (1995). This variation was only available at the car show. [My personal fave here is the Leo model on the wild international card. ~WM]

Bill gives a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike for the American Victory and the Leo India Inside Story.

Bill gives a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike for the American Victory and the Leo India Inside Story.

Tom lives up to his VW reputation with this gathering of characters 86 and 87 … which includes what has to be the most boring Drag Bus variation ever (he said colorlessly).

A veritable variety of VWs.

A veritable variety of VWs.

Shoulda bought this when it first appeared on the shelves. I never thought I’d see it again. Turns out, Big Tractor Mike had one with him at this meeting. I found his price very reasonable, and now this’n’s mine all mine. I have the Mars Rover Sojourner Action Pack, as well as several of the Curiosity models. Now, thanks to BTM, I have this commemorative of John Glenn’s participation in the STS-95 mission.

''To boldly go where no ma--'' Sorry, wrong movie.

”To boldly go where no ma–” Sorry, wrong movie.

BTM bought several things from Your Humble Webmaster this month, including this supply of fantasy, phantasmagorical representations of (*snicker*)(*chuckle*) ”flying machines”. (*Snort*)

I mean, seriously,

I mean, seriously, “flying” — Ha!

RoboCop? Why, no, no, it isn’t. What causes you to ask whether this is RoboCop? Okay, perhaps you remember the little dust-up that happened when Radio Shack put this stalwart defender on the shelves: Orion Pictures Corp. got all medieval on Tandy Corp., and made TC remove “Galactic Man” from duty. There are plenty of knock-off toys at which to mockingly laugh, but they 1) usually stay overseas and 2) usually aren’t this dang accurate. The G-Man here got both wrong. And now, Big Tractor Mike has to deal with the Copyright Police a-knockin’ on his door.

Copyright infringement? But your Honor, I have a sword -- clearly, I'm an Etruscan warrior!

Copyright infringement? But your Honor, I have a sword — clearly, I’m an Etruscan warrior!

Here, BTM took the MacGyver approach to collecting (a.k.a. the kitchen sink approach). Counterclockwise from top left: Shogun Warriors Great Mazinga; ERTL Collectors Club cloth patch; cast metal soldier from Germany (yes, I actually bought it in Germany); and the 8″ tall, semi-poseable version of Vehicle-Force Voltron.

If variety is the spice of life, Big Tractor Mike must be feeling pret-tee spicy right now.

If variety is the spice of life, Big Tractor Mike must be feeling pret-tee spicy right now.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Vehicle-Force Voltron, here’s a larger image showing the manly vehicles that comprise his vehicular manliness.

Since Voltron is made of twice as many vehicles, I'm guessing he could defeat Devastator rather easily.

Since Voltron is made of twice as many vehicles, I’m guessing he could defeat Devastator rather easily.

Again, the joy of cleaning out one’s garage: Found a bunch o’ track partses I didn’t even know I still had. I divided ’em up equally into groups,each having track sections with connectors, spare connectors (baggies), uprights and a C-clamp. Kept some for m’self; these two sets were purchased by BTM.

Amazing that something as simple as a sheet of orange plastic has become imbued with such awesome nostalgic coolness.

Amazing that something as simple as a sheet of orange plastic has become imbued with such awesome nostalgic coolness.

My nephew got a first-edition Starbird about the time I was taking Basic Electronics in high school. After we played with it for some time, with his permission I opened it up to examine what was making the “power-up/power-down” effect. Among the more typical electronic components was a plastic shell containing a ball bearing. There were also a few thin wires on the interior surface of the shell. When the ship was tilted nose-up, the ball rolled to the back of the shell, triggering the “power-up” sound; tilting the ship nose-down similarly caused the “power-down” sound.

Now, being comparatively young then, and blessed/cursed with an imagination which (still) slips too easily into high gear, I conjectured to my nephew that the “power-up” sound was caused by “a massive static charge, which builds up on the metal ball. The longer the ship is tilted nose-up, the greater the charge and thus the higher the tone. When tilted nose-down, the charge dissipates and the tone lowers.”

Your Humble Webmaster: Super Genius. I have since realized that the shell with wires and ball was a very, very simple attitude sensor. “Attitude”, as in flight dynamics. The ball hitting the wires was simply the completion of one of two circuits (or of one circuit with two inputs). No exotic (and potentially weaponizeable) static charges involved.

Below is the even-more rare German edition, the Supervogel, which just like the metal soldier above, I actually purchased in actual Germany. Aside from the cool foreign-edition packaging, this model is unique in that, while the original Starbird and the Starbird (Space) Avenger have illustrations on the boxfront, Supervogel uses a photograph of a child with the toy. Big Tractor Mike now owns it, so if a static-induction wormhole opens in your neighborhood, it’s his fault, not mine! [H/T to Bug-Eyed Monster for the link! ~WM]

Ja, it hast der Elektronischer fur die ''Vrrrmmen'' und die ''Bleeeerpen'' und die geschtuff like dat dere.

Ja, it hast der Elektronischer fur die ”Vrrrmmen” und die ”Bleeeerpen” und die geschtuff like dat dere.

You may have wondered what I meant by “bookending” at the top of the post. This is what I meant: Tonka trucks at both ends. (Not to be confused with Tonka Trucks at Twenty Paces, which is no longer available for the Commodore 64.) When Big Tractor Mike set this car-carrier on the table, it was like a dream. The model is in exceptionally good shape, raising the bar for “near mint condition” to stratospheric heights. Bathed in what I can only describe as the palest of pale mint greens, I very happily declare this model to be our March 2014 Find of the Month.

Beautiful thing has a sort of ''Streamline Moderne'' look to it...

Beautiful thing has a sort of ”Streamline Moderne” look to it…

See you at the April meeting!

~WM

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One thought on “March Toyness!

  1. Pingback: March 2015 (needs a better title!) | Suncoast Diecasters

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