May Update: Great, ‘tho Late!

Well, my apologies for the lateness of this update. I’ve started a new job, and of course that tends to mangle one’s otherwise-free time. Plus, there was another medicalĀ  issue with my mom (now resolved), which overrode all other concerns. So, I’ll keep this intro brief.

I do want to point out that our Calendar has been updated with some interesting links.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike and Original Ken. As of our May meeting, I was still out of work, and had put together an online portfolio to address that. I asked them for permission to link to it from here, which they gave. As stated, I am now employed again, thank God; nonetheless my portfolio remains, because I have other interests I wish to pursue. So, you may visit it here, Designs by Gus, from which you can also visit my Bible-teaching blog, Zero Faith Saint.

And now, finally finally, on to the photos!

May 2016

She’s a ladyWhoa, whoa, whoa, she’s a lady … And if you say anything different she’ll bust your jaw. This is Pvt. Vasquez from Kenner’s Aliens line, with which I RAOK’d Big Tractor Mike. Not a bad sculpt, less inaccurate than the Ripley figure. If you’ll recall, back in March of 2105, Big Tractor Mike bought half a studio’s worth of Aliens toys from me. One of them was the Corporal Hicks figure, which included a blaster rifle. Except, it turns out that it wasn’t Hicks’ weapon, it’s Vasquez’. After (re-)finding Vasquez in one of my bins, I did a web search to identify her other weapon, as each figure in the line included two. Turns out, it was that rifle.

Sugar and spice and probably some brass knuckles.

Sugar and spice and probably some brass knuckles.

In case you’re wondering what I mean by “other weapon”, perhaps you noticed something around her waist. It’s the clip which holds her backpack rocket launcher. And yes, the launcher is absolutely just like the one Vasquez did not at all have in the movie.

I was genuinely surprised to be able to stand the figure without support.

I was genuinely surprised to be able to stand the figure without support.

Despite its movie-inaccuracy and its cumbersomeness, it has some good engineering. In particular, I like the simplicity of its trigger: it just slides back and forth. After reloading, just slide the trigger in the opposite direction. No resetting! The trigger can be slid quickly for a rapid-fire barrage, or slowly for selecting multiple targets. I conscripted Doug’s young son for an “arms dealer promotional video”:

Rocket_Launch! from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

Original Ken picked up this NMOC 1992-edition Hiway Hauler…

...Because the '80s were *rockin'*, dude!

…Because the ’80s were *rockin’*, dude!

…And (separately) was RAOK’d by Emergency Back-up Ken with this promotional “stress relief” squeeze toy. As you (should) know (by now), both Kens specialize in collecting garbage trucks. I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness — not to mention appropriateness — of this gift that I have decided to declare this a Bonus Find of the Month.

Nope, it doesn't roll, but it's still groovy.

Nope, it doesn’t roll, but it’s still groovy.

EBU Ken nabbed this rare space set. How rare is it? Well, I didn’t even know Mattel made it, so there you go.

''To EBU Ken's Collection, and Beyond!''

”To EBU Ken’s Collection, and Beyond!”

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased this sweet pair of Johnny Lightning Back to the Future DeLorean DMC-12 time machines. BTM asked me to spot the difference between them. There’s a slight difference in the printing of the Universal Studios copyright on the bases, which could literally simply be a printing error. The only genuine manufacturing difference is in the wheels: one has “silver-gray” plastic hubs, while the other’s hubs are chromed.

The time-travel paradox, illustrated.

The time-travel paradox, illustrated.

Grab yourself a larger copy: 1366 x 395

Man, I didn’t even own the cars an hour when Doug goes and breaks one. No, I’m kidding! — he picked it up, and the whole front end just fell out. Several of us looked it over, and the consensus is that the front rivet had been pulled through by a previous owner. Still, it provided this opportunity for an interior shot we’d otherwise never have.

This cost $12,000???

This cost $12,000???

(BTM then wondered if the difference in wheels is because someone did a wheel swap. After looking more closely, I determined that wasn’t possible because the rear of the interior is still riveted over the axle.)

BTM picked up two very special “special edition” models:

A great charity, and some *great* wheels!

A great charity, and some *great* wheels!

Everyone's favorite Hot Wheels collectors' guide!

Everyone’s favorite Hot Wheels collectors’ guide!

Doug acquired this awesome John Deere pencil case / mini tool box / we’re not sure what it is, but it’s awesome.

Nothing awesomes like a Deere.

Nothing awesomes like a Deere.

I tried several locations around the table, but I couldn’t find one in which I could get a nice, straight-on shot without serious glare. So, I took an angle shot, then ran it through my photo editing software to skew the perspective, creating this near-straight replacement. Enjoy!

I know, I know: This looks shopped. You can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in your time.

I know, I know: This looks shopped. You can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in your time.

If you like that, you may also like this larger version which affords you a better look at the lovely Farmer Lady.

Big Rob brought in this classy chromed ’72 Ford Ranchero. A great-looking ride on its own, Rob had a friend swap out the stock 5SPs with “old school” Redlines to further retro-ize the readily retro Ranchero.

Shine-y and Redline-y!

Shine-y and Redline-y!

He had it in a clear display shell. I used the shell as a stand, and after some careful camera alignment and elevation, I got the glamour shot I wanted. I hereby readily declare this our Find of the Month(*) for May 2016.

Hot Wheels' Billionth Editio-- ...Oops, wrong model.

Hot Wheels’ Billionth Editio– …Oops, wrong model.

See you at the June mee– Sorry, my bad. ;D

~WM

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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 theĀ 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