K-Day / #Irma update

I tweeted a K-Day summary last Friday. Nothing has changed, but for those interested here are more details.

On Sep. 8th, a Mattel e-mail advised collectors of the 20-for-1 ’76 Ford Gran Torino mail-in promo … but curiously did not mention the associated K-Day event. I had noted back in February 2016 that the dates for K-Day and the first day of the mail-in promo no longer coincided, but this is the first time K-Day wasn’t even mentioned.

On Sep. 15th, a Mattel e-mail advised collectors of the K-Day event. In reading over the web page, I noticed that two separate dates were listed: September 16th for most of the U.S., and October 7th for the southeast region. Clearly, Mattel had thoughtfully taken Hurricane Irma into account. The statement included this link to a list of the affected locations.

So, for us collectors in the southeast, the major story is that Irma has passed and we have begun recovery. The minor story is that we still have a K-Day to look forward to in a few weeks. Happy Hunting!

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Even though I knew the 16th event was cancelled, I went to my local K-mart anyway, you know, “just in case”. I also went there just to get out of the house, and to see if the place had reopened yet. Much to my very pleasant surprise, I met one of the K-Day regulars there. He and I chatted about Irma, the damage, its effect on the schedule, our general disappointment with the cars offered over the last few cycles, etc. Sounds low, I know, but actually we had a good time, and I was glad to see a fellow collector out-and-about.

Sign o' the times.

Sign o’ the times.

See you at our November meeting!

~WM

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September meeting cancelled due to #Irma

Big Tractor Mike and Original Ken have considered the situation regarding Hurricane Irma. Although our side of the state, the west coast, may receive the lesser impact, out of an Abundance of Caution® they have cancelled our September meeting. I will update as needed. Please keep Florida in your prayers, thanks.

Slammin’ Summer Showdown!

Hoo-doggies, son! Our August meeting was quite the event, and a great way to close out Summer!

The biggest thing that happened was the return of long-time members Tom and Bill. Both had been absent from us for quite some time, as each is facing personal challenges. (If you’d care to pray for them, that would be appreciated.) We all very much enjoyed and appreciated their company.

Also, many great trades took place. And don’t you know, I have the photos to prove it! In fact, we’ll be introducing a new feature in this update to showcase certain photos.

Also also, I’ve updated our March 2015 post.

So, on to the photos!

August 2017

You know it’s a good meeting when Kenny acquires more garbage trucks. Yes, officially these are refuse trucks, but no-one uses that term. Not in polite society, anyways.

I refuse to use that term myself.

I refuse to use that term myself.

Here, Kenny has a pair of M2Machines Plymouth Hemi Road Runners, and a Zee Camaro Z-28. The dark Hemi has a scoop, while the light one has a set of pipes with an interesting stagger. The Camaro has a feature modern-day high-end makers such M2Machines won’t even consider: opening doors.

I'll take chipped paint and opening doors over high-end glitz every time.

I’ll take chipped paint and opening doors over high-end glitz every time.

Bill nabs a sweet couple o’ Matchbox classics: a Ford Cortina Mark IV, and a Renault 5TL. The 5TL was called “Le Car” only in America, because American auto importers are whimsically intelligent folk who really understand their customers [citation needed].

Opening doors: Why older toy cars are better.

Opening doors: Why older toy cars are better.

From Big Tractor Mike, I purchased this Johnny Lightning Mysterion, which is from JL’s Fright’ning Lightnings series. The Mysterion is of course one of many creations from the mad mind of Ed Roth. I purchased several JLFL models when they originally came out, so this may in fact be my second Mysterion. I have addressed this issue previously.

I appreciate that, compared with the illustration, the toy is very accurate. Except for that whole "completely wrong front cowl" deal.

I appreciate that, compared with the illustration, the toy is very accurate. Except for that whole “completely wrong front cowl” deal.

And now for our new special feature. Back in July, I told you about our issue with PhotoBucket which has prompted me to limit the number of photos in updates for the foreseeable future. However, when I walked into our August meeting, I saw a wonderment: a to-scale corn crib diorama, custom-built by Doug for Mike. There was no way I could not take numerous photos of it. But, rather than simply stack an unwieldy bunch of photos, I chose the best, then made use of some handy WordPress-tech. Thus we introduce to you Suncoast Diecasters‘ first-ever slideshow!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And yes, this corn crib diorama is Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for August 2017. Congratulations, Doug and/or Mike!

Hey, there’s still nearly a whole week of August left! End-of-Summer victory!!!

See you at our September meeting!

~WM

GTOooh! (Designs by Gus)

A fellow employee back in the ’90s drove a sweet GTO to work. His department started earlier than mine, so he was usually able to get a good parking spot in about the same place each day, and so I’d often see that GTO as I drove in. I had this notion to take a […]

via GTOooh! — Designs by Gus

July 2017, starring Kenny!

Very happy to report that, unlike last month, some actual buying and selling took place during our July meeting! And it’s mostly thanks to Original Ken!

Also, I’ve updated the photos for our September 2015 post.

Thusly, on to our July photos!

July 2017

Kenny starts off with this beautiful white Rolls Royce. It’s by Zlymex, model D44. Really nice condition for its age. Kenny later advised me this is actually a Rolls Canardly. It easily rolls down one hill…

...And canardly roll up the next.

…And canardly roll up the next.

Kenny tells me that when he posts table photos to our club’s Facebook page, we get lots of hits. So, at his prompting I took the following table photos. This first one is your basic, low-angle table-front shot.

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For this second photo, I wanted to get a sweeping vista of the great variety of items on Big Tractor Mike’s table. I set the camera high on my main tripod, and tilted and rotated it for the shot, knowing I’d have to “un-rotate” it (that is, rotate it in the opposite direction in my photo software) to restore the verticals.

For my fellow photogs, the final image is rotated exactly 26 degrees counter-clockwise.

For my fellow photogs, the final image is rotated exactly 26 degrees counter-clockwise.

The original photo came out as I wanted it; however when I cropped & scaled it down to fit our blog, it was too many items in too small a visual space. Knowing that the Jammer case is the most significant vertical object in the photo,  I used it as the focal point for the site photo. I played with zooms and crops, and finally got an image which fits and still has enough volume of detail to be interesting. You can see the full image here. The white triangles in the corners reveal the rotation I mentioned.

This third and final table photo is experimental. I put the camera on my mini-tripod, and set the tripod actually down into Mike’s display case. I adjusted the legs to put the camera just above the toys, and set the angle so that the far edge of the next case over became the distant horizon line.

Composition!

Composition!

Finally, we have Kenny’s sweet Chevrolet Chevelle SS-396, by Welly. If you look closely at the rear left tire, you’ll see it has a “Whizzwheels”-style ridge. I had a bit of a challenge deciding between this model and the Rolls for FotM. Then I recalled that we have numerous Zylmez models on the site, and few Welly models. So that sealed the deal, as it were. Thus, I declare this Welly SS-396 to be our Find of the Month(*) for July 2017.

Congratulations, Ken!

Congratulations, Ken!

See you at our August meeting!

~WM

Final Village Flea Market Finds (via The Race Case)

After 42 years, the Village Flea Market in Wichita has closed. It was reported that the owners had decided to convert the massive building at Pawnee and Meridian to a storage facility for their real estate development company. I’ve made some nice finds at the Village over the years, including this bunch of Hot Wheels […]

via My Final Village Flea Market Hot Wheels Finds — The Race Case

Kicking the ‘Bucket

If you’ve perused some of Suncoast Diecasters‘ older posts recently, you may have noticed something a bit … odd … about them. In fact, you may even have noticed the smaller oddity to the left, where our SunRacer logo usually resides.* Our photographs have been replaced by a plea from PhotoBucket to update our account to enable 3rd-party hosting.

*(Fixed 19 Jly 17)

That term, “3rd-party hosting”, refers to the practice of storing files on one site, then linking to them from, and using them on, another site. Suncoast Diecasters (the 1st party) stores our photos on PhotoBucket (the 2nd party), and we link to them through WordPress (the 3rd party), which hosts our suncoastdiecasters domain name.

PhotoBucket no longer allows 3rd-party hosting without a paid subscription. This, I presume, has to do with the cost of bandwidth. Now, from a business standpoint, I understand this. The “everything on the Internet should be free” business model is a phantom. Nothing is really free; that’s why there are ads on every site. This goes back to broadcast radio. The consumer pays a one-time cost for the radio, then a very small utility fee for electricity (or buys batteries); the programming from the local radio station is free.

Except, it’s not. There is a plethora of costs, and the overwhelming majority of these costs are covered by advertising. It’s the “and now a word from our sponsor” business model. But with the Internet, this is inverted. It’s like a Burger King taking on all the costs of making a large number of burgers all day, only to have someone from a McDonald’s across the street come in, take all those burgers and give them away. (Okay, maybe that’s not a great analogy, but I think you get the point.) When someone views an image on our WordPress site, what’s actually seen is a copy of an image transmitted from PhotoBucket’s servers. Multiply that by a huge number of free accounts times a really huge number of image files, and that’s a whole lot of bandwidth cost for Photobucket. Again, I understand that.

The one problem I have with this change by PhotoBucket is that they’re limiting the 3rd-party hosting option to only their most expensive subscription plan. If they were offering differing levels of bandwidth with the various plans, that would make sense. But to not only restrict that option to just their highest-cost plan, but to also price that plan at a rate which frankly I think is not the least bit competitive with other hosting options available online is, in my humble opinion, an incredibly foolish move.

Another change has occurred relatively recently which initially I found very annoying, but which I now see as a solution. When I added an image to any update or page, I would use that image’s PhotoBucket URL. However, WordPress had begun copying each image into the media library associated with our account, then loading the image from that library rather than directly from PhotoBucket. I found this wasteful, as we now had two copies of each image, taking up space in separate locations. However, as I can upload images directly from my computer to our WordPress library, and insert them from that library (as I have with the most recent updates), I basically no longer need to upload them to PhotoBucket.

So, obviously all future updates will use our WordPress library. The, er, “fun part” will be replacing all the other photos. That is going to take some time; by PhotoBucket’s count, Suncoast Diecasters now has over 1700 image files stored. (And yes, I do have back-ups of all those image files.) To accomplish this, I will have to cut back on the number of photos I post to updates. I’ll still take a good number of photos during our meetings, but I’ll have to be much more selective in which ones I actually use, so that I can then spend some time updating the older posts. Be patient, my friends; this will be a long ride, but your appreciation of our site makes it worthwhile.

June swoons in Summer Slowdown

It’s Summer, which means the kids are out of school, and parents have the opportunity/obligation to keep them entertained and busy. Family vacations, summer camp, the great abundance of sci-fi, superhero and CGI cartoon movies out this season, etc., etc.

All of which cost money. Meaning there’s sometimes little or no money left for other activities. Case in point: our June 2017 meeting. Neither one car nor one coin traded hands.

But, that does not mean the meeting wasn’t fun. In fact, this was one of our best meetings for friends just being friends, gabbing and reminiscing. For example, I spent quite a bit of time talking with both Robs Elder and Younger about such topics as Major Matt Mason and ZaAt.

And yes, we do have some photographs for you. Please enjoy:

June 2017

Doug once again gets down on the farm by bringing in two more hay haulers. The left’n is an Ertl model, while the right’n is another 3-D printed production. The “bales” are static grass glued to wood chips.

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This is the undercarriage of the 3-D model. As I was setting up the photo, Doug mentioned that I had set it upside down. I did that intentionally, because I want you to see the impressively complex steering linkage.

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Doug also brought in these true 1/64th-scale concrete masonry units. They’re also 3-D printed. Doug intends — as I understand it — to cover the lower portion of a building model with these. I don’t recall the exact number, but I think the word thousand was in his description somewhere.

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As no buyin’, sellin’ nor tradin’ occurred, I decided to photograph a few choice items from Big Tractor Mike’s table. This is the Indy Eagle. It was produced only in 1969, for the Grand Prix series. Further, it is based on a real racing vehicle.

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This is Mantis. Designed by Ira Gilford, and produced only in 1970. That is, this original version with opening canopy and partially-exposed engine was produced only in 1970. This model went through a couple of redesigns and several name changes over the decades.

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This is Power Pad, also designed by Ira Gilford, and produced only in 1970. There isn’t much information available about this model. It seems to be a stylized Jeep or dune buggy, topped by an equally stylized camper shell. It also features an exposed transverse engine.(Interestingly, the transverse engine was introduced way back in 1899!)

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A change of pace here. Suncoast Diecasters‘ tables feature not just toy vehicles but playsets and media-related items as well. This is the toy set released by Corgi for the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I have to compliment Corgi here. The shuttle-like craft that Rogers piloted was named Ranger 3. Corgi could’ve just renamed their existing shuttle miniature as that, but instead used a proper shuttle name. It perhaps disconnects the set from the show a bit, but they earn a point for honesty.

The movie was released in 1979; Columbia's first launch was in 1981, so it's clearly for the TV show.

The movie was released in 1979; Columbia’s first launch was in 1981, so it’s clearly for the TV show.

Another vintage price tag. I have no idea what CW / CP means; can’t think of any stores with those initials. It could simply be a clearance tag, as clearance tags are often yellow. If you have any info on this, please post it in the Comments.

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Big Tractor Mike set this Matchbox behemoth in front of me, clearly wanting a photograph of it. It’s a King Size-series model, the DAF Car Transporter, model no. K-11. This model was produced from 1969 through 1975. What I particularly like about this model is the inclusion of “working” hydraulic lifts on the deck.

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Here we have the curiously mis-named Shelby Turbine. Another design by Ira Gilford, again for the Grand Prix series as was the Indy Eagle. This model fared a little better, in that it was produced from 1969 through 1971. The flowing body lines, accented by the camera angle, impart a nice fluid feel to the image. This is my favorite photo in this set.

Composition!

Composition!

See you at our July meeting! (…Which is tomorrow!)

~WM