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 medical  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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Sweet November! (No relation to the movie. Nope.)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day, spending time with your families and not out Black Fridaying with the massing mobs. Suncoast Diecasters‘ November meeting was great, with many great finds, buys and trade.

Speaking of great finds: You know that every month, I designate a Find of the Month. Well, I can say that we had, in a sense, two FotMs in November. I was very greatly surprised to find that dear Marge had returned from her four-year sabbatical. She did bring several trays of cars, of which other members including You Humble Webmaster didst partake, but the main joy was simply that she returned. We don’t know if she’ll continue to attend, but we were all very insistent that she at least make our December meeting.

Recall that the Saturday before our meeting was a K-mart Collector Day event, the last one of 2015. I did pretty well this time. Got a Flames-edition Hudson Hornet and ’41 Willys, the K-Day edition “sandy brown” Subaru Brat, and the literally shiny ‘n new Hi-Roller.

'Tis pretty!

‘Tis pretty!

One more thing: I probably don’t have to do this, but I apologize that I couldn’t get our November update published actually in November. I have a new job, and the darn thing is interfering with my site update time.

And now, on to the photos!

November 2015

Doug picked up this Other Blue Oval NASCAR racer and Meyers Manx, along with a slot-car controller which does not work with either of those cars but, what the heck, it’s the holidays!

There are some jokes here which write themselves, so I won't bother typing them.

There are some jokes here which write themselves, so I won’t bother typing them.

If you’ll recall, back in September Big Tractor Mike bought several Last Action Hero items from me. However, some accessories were absent, oddly not being in the same box. When I went back into my storage unit, one of the boxes I brought out just happened to have those self-same accessories, with which I RAOK’d BTM at our November meeting. As you can see below, one of the items is the Ripper’s hat. Yes, he’s a psychotic murderer; but, he’s a dapper psychotic murderer!

Hmm... That ''dapper'' line would've made a good caption....

Hmm… That ”dapper” line would’ve made a good caption….

The other three or four of you who’ve seen Last Action Hero know that it’s the story of young Danny who gets a magical movie theater ticket which allows him to enter the in-movie realm of his hero, Jack Slater. Among the accessories, I also found the Danny action figure, officially named Hook Launchin’ Danny, and his shoulder-fired grappling hook. This device is an amazingly detailed and astoundingly accurate replica of the one which Danny did not use in the movie even once ever at all. However, I do have to give props to the toy’s designers. It has an impressively powerful spring, launching the hook over two feet before friction from the line slows it to a fall. Plus, the anchor allows a child (i.e., Big Tractor Mike) to attach both ends as a type of zip-line.

Massive as the launcher is, I'm surprised I was able to get the figure to balance without support.

Massive as the launcher is, I’m surprised I was able to get the figure to balance without support.

Also back in September, BTM bought a model figure kit of Constable Odo from Deep Space Nine. I asked him if he still had it, and he said yes. So, I RAOK’d him with this publicity photo of Odo, advising him to pair it with the model if he ever decided to sell it. I got the photo at a Star Trek convention at which Rene Auberjonois was the headliner, and was shocked when I realized there was not autograph on the photo. I clearly remember standing at the autograph table, complimenting him on his performance as Odo, so I must’ve had something else autographed. By the way, the blue blur in the upper left corner is glare from the overhead lights when I took a shot of this picture.

Yes, kids, you're looking at a photograph of a photograph. ...SCIENCE!

Yes, kids, you’re looking at a photograph of a photograph. …SCIENCE!

Scott was a model guest, buying this AMT Vicki Hardtop from me.

See how I used the word ''model'' there? *That* is how you do comedy.

See how I used the word ”model” there? *That* is how you do comedy.

BTM bought this Rat Fink set from me. You might notice that the plastic blister is quite crumpled. See what happens when you try to store your collectibles, kids? Remember, always rip ’em right out of the package!

Better-focused and somewhat less-glarey close-up included as our free gift to you!

Better-focused and somewhat less-glarey close-up included as our free gift to you!

BTM bought this literary gem from me. It’s filled with interviews, behind-the-scenes photographs and early concept sketches of the ships, costumes and the monster. As well-known as Alien is to the Nerdo-American audience, it’s fascinating to consider what the movie might have been had Scott and O’Bannon made these different choices. For example, the small, train-like line sketch near the lower right corner is what eventually became the Nostromo.

I don't know what the big blue thing in the middle is. It wasn't used in the movie.

I don’t know what the big blue thing in the middle is. It wasn’t used in the movie.

Once again, I brought in a bunch of Star Trek items, and once again Big Tractor Mike took them all away. Why do I bother? Er, um, what I mean is, I’m glad Mike bought these from me! He paid me a good price for them, and I didn’t have to re-pack them and take them back home again.

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER!!??

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER!!??

I beRAOK’d Ken with this comical car(toon) from Nickelodeon’s CatDog. Ken appreciated it because it’s a garbage truck, but he also got a kick out of its pull-string action. Pulling CatDog from the trash pile unwinds a string which winds a spring. The spring then unwinds, causing the wheels to roll and retract CatDog back into the pile. On a clear, smooth floor it can run about six feet. And, yes, I am now complicit in Ken’s mad scheme to own every garbage truck toy ever.

-:-

-:-

The toy is a premium that was available in a Burger King Kids Club meal. It may be hard to see in the shadow, but in the upper left corner it states a copyright of 1999 (see inset in lower left corner for enhanced image). I posted this shot with the copyright for a very specific reason. It’s because…

-:-

-:-

…Of this: the battery still works. Think about it: this is 2015; it’s copyrighted 1999; that means the toy is sixteen years oldand the battery still works! That is impressive. You may notice the mini-wheel below the front bumper. For unknown reasons, the toy’s designers put the spring-power drive to hidden wheels under the toy, and made the “cartoon” wheels merely part of the body casting. And if you’re wondering why there’s an oversize SunRacer occluding the upper right corner of the photo, it’s because your family doesn’t need to see my big ol’ thumbnail, especially not during the holidays.

I advised Ken to change the battery before it gets all explodey.

I advised Ken to change the battery before it gets all explodey.

Ken asked me to photograph the treasures he bought from Marge. I was trying various arrangements when I realized there was veritable rainbow of toy cars in front of me. Thinking back to last month’s focus on composition, I carefully sought a natural chromatic flow which would involve all the cars. I might’ve been able to invert the black cars with the Mountain Dew cars, tying their green logos to the green truck, but I think this arrangement works better.

I honestly think the colors flow very well here.

I honestly think the colors flow very well here.

When I started sorting through the bag of Ken’s cars, I jokingly told him I hoped he had a Mountain Dew car.

A. One. Singular. Fer cryin’ out loud.

Not sure if this is three cars, or one car doing a spin-out with the camera shutter open.

Not sure if this is three cars, or one car doing a spin-out with the camera shutter open.

One of the three cars I bought from Marge. Yeah, the paint’s chipped along several edges, but the wheels are straight and clean, and the body and tampo are in relatively good shape for a toy that’s probably over thirty years old. Just wish I could I could remember the name of this model…

I'm usually good with car names, General Lee speaking...

I’m usually good with car names, General Lee speaking…

Numbah Two car from Marge: Rock Buster. This is the 1983 Malaysia version. Yeah, it’s missing its roll cage. But, its wheels too are clean and straight, and its paint and tampos are in great condition. So the what if the roll cage is missing? When would I ever again have an opportunity to obtain such a rare model, much less for such an affordable price?

Rock Buster! Oh, no, that's this car. Dang.

Rock Buster! Oh, no, that’s this car. Dang.

And the Third and Final Car I bought from Marge: Camaro Z28. You may suspect by the large blocky section between the rear wheels (lower portion of photo) that this is either a friction or pullback model. (I can’t tell which, as the mechanism doesn’t work.) Now, I generally have no interest in Camaros unless it’s a particularly special model, and I never buy frictions (or pullbacks, whichever). So why did I grab this one? Well, I looked at its base to see if it had any info at all — and I discovered it claims a scale of 1/59. I don’t recall ever seeing a scale on a friction. More importantly, it has the Zee logo. Yes, this is actually a Zylmex, not just some no-name repli-pony. I have a few models in the 1/5x range, and seeing as this is a brand-name model, I had no hesitation in buying it.

Zee produced a Z, as you can zee.

Zee produced a Z, as you can zee.

Aah, now we come to the truly interesting stuff. You may think you’re seeing (clockwise from bottom) Custom Police Cruiser, Lola GT70, Torero, Lola GT70 (with spoiler?!?), and Turbofire, but you would be so very, very wrong. For instance, that’s simply Cruiser.

They're creepy and they're kooky...

They’re creepy and they’re kooky…

These are actually Lola GT and Lamborghini Special.

...Mysterious and spooky...

…Mysterious and spooky…

And these are merely Lola GT (again, with spoiler?!?) and Super Turbo.

...They're all together ooky.

…They’re all together ooky.

Okay, okay. At this point you’re probably thinking I’ve really misunderstood my own off-site links. Cleary, these cars are Hot Wheels models, right? Well, yes and no. What they are, are Muky castings of Mattel models. How did Muky get so precise in copying the look of HW models, you ask? Simple: they were cast using actual Mattel dies. Huh? Muky was a toy manufacturer in Argentina. The company obtained in some manner dies which allowed them to produce Mattel-accurate toy cars. I say “in some manner” because there are several competing theories as to just how Muky got the dies: they were imported directly from Mattel; they were stolen from Mattel; they were reproduced from actual Mattel blueprints; etc. One particular curiosity is that Muky offered a version of the Lola GT70 with a spoiler, a variation never offered by Mattel. Regardless, it’s interesting to note that, unlike many other foreign manufacturers, there is a great amount of information about Muky available online.

Bob had these on his table at our November meeting. This is one the very best things about Suncoast Diecasters membership: discovering rare foreign models which can greatly enhance any collection. These are all now currently enhancing Big Tractor Mike’s collection, in fact. For their rarity, their great condition, their completeness with the original boxes, and especially for their intriguing mystery, I hereby very readily declare this set of Mukys to be our Find of the Month(*) for November 2015.

He likes it! Hey, Muky!

He likes it! Hey, Muky!

See you at the December meeting!

~WM

March 2015 (needs a better title!)

Yes, it’s true: I couldn’t come up with a whimsical title for this post. I was gonna do a play of some sort on “March Madness”, but in looking over the Suncoast Diecasters archives, I discovered I had already done such a thing. So instead, we’ll just get right to the update with twenty-eight super new photos for your enjoyment:

March 2015

Big Tractor Mike hauls in nearly a whole movie set’s worth of goodies with this bunch of Kenner Aliens toys he bought from me. Starting with this awesome Power Loader, which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) used to battle the Alien Queen. What I like about this toy is how, at only about 10” tall, it nonetheless gives one a sense of mechanical massiveness. Not to mention the fact that the pincers actually work (via push-buttons atop the shoulders).

Dexter used this to play dodgeball.

Dexter used this to play dodgeball.

Now, as you drink in the image of the Power Loader, you may eventually notice several design inaccuracies, not the least of which are the (non-working) treads which somehow have replaced the machine’s ambulatory legs as seen in the movie. However, Kenner makes up for this by offering an astoundingly realistic sculpt of Ripley (he typed mockingly).

That is *definitely* Sigourney Weaver. Or Audrey Hepburn. Or Bjork.

That is *definitely* Sigourney Weaver. Or Audrey Hepburn. Or Bjork.

Next is this disturbingly accurate playset of the Alien Queen with giant ovipositor. Just like in the movie, the Queen can be detached from the nest to rumble with Ripley. And, just like not at all in the movie at all, glow-in-the-dark slime was included to pour into the top of the eggarator, which would then drip onto whichever action figure was standing or lying in the pit beneath the goopositor’s, uh … faucet?

''Does this ovipositor make my butt look big?''

”Does this ovipositor make my butt look big?”

''Make sure you get my beast side.''

”Make sure you get my beast side.”

Yes, I know, you’re clamoring for a nice, creepy Queen cuddle. Here ya go. Don’t e-mail me later about your nightmares.

''All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.''

”All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Occasionally there are controversies when toys are seen as depicting frightening or disturbing concepts. (In)famous ones include the Al Snow figure with “Head” accessory, and the talking Venom figure which said (among other phrases) “I want to eat your brain!”. No such concern with the Alien Queen playset! There’s nothing here that could possibly upset small childr — — Oh, gack … That’s disgusting….

Eeeeewwww!!!

Eeeeewwww!!!

Anyways, BTM also got this Alien Warrior with seethroughishable carapace, along with Hicks with super-duper Space Marines rifle blaster gun.

''I'm gonna cocoon you to a wall so a facehugger can implant an egg in your esophagus. No offense.'' -- ''None taken.''

”I’m gonna cocoon you to a wall so a facehugger can implant an egg in your esophagus. No offense.” — ”None taken.”

Someone at Kenner very thoughtfully made the interior of the pit removable for easy cleaning. Other accessories include a flexible facehugger, the missile for the Power Loader (see, it wasn’t missing), Ripley’s flamethrower, and an Alien Queen spawn. The brownish thing which looks like someone tried to carve an Alien out of a Tootsie Roll is the spawn accessory that “launches”, facehugger-like, from a gimmicked egg on the playset base.

Kids! Start your own ''Aliens'' franchise at home!

Kids! Start your own ”Aliens” franchise at home!

I’m fairly certain the darker spawn item is supposed to be a Queen. If you look at its head, you can see ridges which to me suggest the crest of the Queen’s adult skull structure.

Wave your queens in the air like you just don't care!

Wave your queens in the air like you just don’t care!

Oh, dear.

Rrrmf hrrmf mrrmf frrmf hrrmf. Mrrmf.

BTM also bought from me this 75th Anniversary Publix tractor/trailer set. Started in 1930, Publix’s 75th year was 2005, thus making this toy now ten years old. So, will BTM bust it loose for play and display, or will he keep it sealed on its card for further collector valuation? I do not know.

And we keep our pleasure in the southeasternmost states where it belongs.

And we keep our pleasure in the southeasternmost states where it belongs.

Somewhat ironically, Big Tractor Mike not only collects big tractors but also teensy little vehicles as well. Such an example is this very cool Lunar Landing Collection, courtesy Your Humble Webmaster. Personally, I’ve always found most Micro Machines models to be slightly cartoonish in their proportions. In contrast, the vehicles in this set seem much more accurately scaled. See for yourself.

How could the moon landing be a hoax when it has given us such cool toys?

How could the moon landing be a hoax when it has given us such cool toys?

Honorable BTM-san also relieved me of the burden of this kool kaiju kollection. Methinks I got it at a Star Trek konven- er, convention, due to its kanji/kana text. Yes, the box is dented, but that’s okay, because so is BTM. Starting at lower left and going clockwise, the figures are: MechaGodzilla; Rodan; Mothra; King Caesar; Gigan; King Ghidorah; and Godzilla himself. Little baby larva Mothra is effectively invisible in the glare and shadow bewixt Mothra and Caesar. See for yourself.

Click link below for Best. Godzilla. Movie. Ever.

Click link below for Best. Godzilla. Movie. Ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s3UogfAGg0

Tom deftly defends his position as Suncoast Diecasters‘ Viscount of VWs with the following purchases. The”L’il BUGger” is a custom repaint by Jim. Having been stationed in Germany, I can tell you that Polizei is in fact the German word for Police.

So, what's the German word for Volkswagen?

So, what’s the German word for Volkswagen?

Another repaint by Jim. The “Flower Power” van spreads love and harmony with songs of the brotherhood of man and thoughts of communing with Nature and, you know, other crap like that.

''Those were the days, my friend/We thought they'd never end/'' -- Fortunately they did end, and we're all better off for it.

”Those were the days, my friend/We thought they’d never end/” — Fortunately they did end, and we’re all better off for it.

In this next photo, Tom is — — Um…

''Pinkie swear?''

”Pinkie swear?”

''Pinkie swear!''

”Pinkie swear!”

Oh, for crying out loud. Anyway, in this next photo, Tom is all about branding. I’m not sure what brand, however, or what make or model or product line or … Well, look, let’s all just enjoy the branding!

''Gimme the branding!'' - Evil Kirk (approximately)

”Gimme the branding!” – Evil Kirk (approximately)

Well, looky here! There’s a cute little figurine of the Michelin Man atop the van! How adorable! …By the way, did you know that the Michelin Man’s real name is Bibendum?

Le cute!

Le cute!

Bill sez this: “The pearl  white GT Racer [upper left] is from the Dash `n Crash set from 1991. There`s one other version of this car in pearl white that I know of. The tampo is different; it has an orange, pink,and magenta design on top and sides. Mine has dark blue replacing the magenta. The Nissan 300ZX [lower right] is from the Park `n Plates series. There are two other variations of this car, so three in all. Mine is from Malaysia with white-painted base. The others are from Hong Kong, one with an unpainted base, the other with a painted base. All have the same tampo. And the last car is the 80`s Camaro from the 1996 Track System Starter Set.”

Opening doors!?! Truly, it must be ''The Toy of Tomorrow''!

Opening doors!?! Truly, it must be ”The Toy of Tomorrow”!

And then Bill sez this: “These were originally cast under the name Gun Bucket, but later recast in under the name Tank Gunner,  with 5 different tampo variations. Both the tan and the olive versions are from the Action Command series from 1985.”

If you cross your eyes, the photo is in 2-D.

If you cross your eyes, the photo is in 2-D.

Towards the end of the meeting, Ken and I were trying to figure something out on my laptop. It took longer than I’d wanted, thus I didn’t have time to photograph his treasures, so I told him to just shoot his own and e-mail ’em to me when he got the chance. Later that day at home, Ken was apparently rolling around on the carpet like a child, playing with his toy cars, when suddenly he remembered that he owed me some photos. That, I guess, is the explanation for these two pics.

Clockwise from bottom left: 3-Window '34; Front Runnin' Fairmont from the ''Gas Station'' Sto & Go playset; Vega Bomb in green w' blackwalls, from the '83 ''Speed Machines'' series; and American Hauler

Clockwise from bottom left: 3-Window ’34; Front Runnin’ Fairmont from the ”Gas Station” Sto & Go playset; Vega Bomb in green w’ blackwalls, from the ’83 ”Speed Machines” series; and American Hauler

Clockwise from left: Gremlin Grinder ('76 Super Chromes); Sand Drifter ('75 Flying Colors); and Redline-era Classic '32 Ford Vicky

Clockwise from left: Gremlin Grinder (’76 Super Chromes); Sand Drifter (’75 Flying Colors); and Redline-era Classic ’32 Ford Vicky

I’ve been carded! Heh. Okay, so why do I have this card which seems to be wrapped in plastic (which it is, by the way)? Because it’s underneath the super-neato thing with which Big Tractor Mike RAOK’d me at the end of the March meeting. Additional by the way: You can no longer “join the club!”. Playing Mantis disappeared into RC2, which later became Learning Curve Inc., and then was absorbed into Takara Tomy.

'Tis no more, me lads!

‘Tis no more, me lads!

''Man, let's ditch the chicks and go get us some serious brewskis.'' -- ''Dude, I am totally with you, bro.''

”Man, let’s ditch the chicks and go get us some serious brewskis.” — ”Dude, I am totally with you, bro.”

What the — ??? Okay, all you Kenner Aliens franchise toys! Knock it off! (Ahem) Anyway, back to the baggie containing the card (and the brew that is true): Well, let’s see here … It’s white, with the Johnny Lightning Tour ’96 logo…

Get it? Johnny Lightning, taking the country by storm? ''Lightning''? ''Storm''? GET IT???

Get it? Johnny Lightning, taking the country by storm? ”Lightning”? ”Storm”? GET IT???

…It has an opening hood* with detailed engine… *(Actually, an opening hood is a sweet treat anytime in the world of toy car collecting.) (And, yes, I apologize that the baggie blurs the bodacious big-block.)

Just ... LOOK ... at that detail!

Just … LOOK … at that detail!

Why, it’s the special, limited “Club Member” edition Custom Toronado! Now here I face a challenge: to free, or not to free? Like the Publix truck above, this has been in its original, sealed container for quite some time – nineteen years, to be exact! It seems that the longer a collectible stays in its original package, the longer one has to let it stay in its original package, so as to allow the item’s collector value to increase. I’d readily bust it loose, but after nearly two decades, it that wise? Well, that’s my burden, not yours. You may simply drink in the fact that this item is our Suncoast Diecasters Find of the Month(*) for March 2015!

''Lightning storm''! Don'tcha get it??

”Lightning storm”! Don’tcha get it??

See you at the April meeting!

~WM

Happy St. Valvoline’s Day!

(Note: Please read this article regarding blocked photographs.)

Branding! That’s what it’s all about! I mentioned last month that Ken and his daughter set up a Suncoast Diecasters Facebook page. They use a cropped version of our Fifth Anniversary Club Vehicle ”family photo” as the wallpaper (or banner, or header). It looks so good that I decided to do the same thing for our WordPress blog and our Twitter feed! So now we have a consistent look on all three sites. Or, in BrandingSpeak, “We’ve implemented a unified synergystic visual strategy across multiple social platforms.” It all works so smoothly that you probably didn’t notice the subtle and nuanced joke in the title of this post. Go back and look at the title again. I bet you didn’t even see it.

And now, on to the photos!

Branding!

February 2015

And now, a belated Christmas ditty, just for you:

Four Star Trek plates
A Three Stooges plate
Two Simpsons plates
And a box nabbed from Big Tractor Mike

'Cause I didn't feel like unboxing & untaping them after Tom bought 'em from me.

‘Cause I didn’t feel like unboxing & untaping them after Tom bought ’em from me.

Seriously, the above plates are from my collection of Hamilton Collection plates. And yes, they are from our February meeting, not from Christmas. Tom got them for his brother’s ”man-cave”. Had them taped and boxed a good half-hour before I realized I should’ve photographed them.

Along with various assorted sundry cars, Big Tractor Mike also bought these items from me: Alien poster puzzle (3′ from top to bottom when completed); 8” Gizmo and 12” Stripe figures from Gremlins; and the V alien visitor action figure.

Explain to me again how LJN went out of business?

Explain to me again how LJN went out of business?

When I pulled this out of storage, I was surprised to see that the human mask was still in its little bubble. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t even once try the “pop the mask on/pop the mask off” gimmick. So I slid the inner cardboard  “tray” out of the box, and discovered a slit paralleling the rear border of the bubble. Clearly, I had in fact taken an X-acto knife to the bubble specifically so’s I could test-fit the mask. Takes away from collector value, of course, but least it’s less damage (and less obvious damage) than simply ripping the bubble off the tray.

And it makes a better presentation than having the mask flopping around loose inside the box.

And it makes a better presentation than having the mask flopping around loose inside the box.

This is a bittersweet thing for me. I’m glad BTM bought it; I know for certain in my possession it would’ve only spent more years buried in storage. But in rediscovering the V figure, I also rediscovered yet another long-gone, classic element of the American fabric: Zayre. Along with such names as K-mart, McCrory, and Woolworth/Woolco, Zayre meant a wide variety of products and brand lines at very attractive prices. Zayre was sold to Ames in 1988, which at the time I found amusing, in that they literally “went from Z to A” in rebranding (Branding!) the chain. Ironically, Ames itself went out of business in 2002. Ah, well; before moving on, perhaps you could take another look at Zayre.

*--Sigh--*

*–Sigh–*

If you’ll recall, the day of our February meeting was also the same da— What? Oh. Yes, yes, I hear you. Fine. Here you go. Enjoy:

Well, that's just adorable.

Well, that’s just adorable.

Anyway. If you’ll recall, the day of our February meeting was also the same day as the K-day event. Again not impressed with the “special colors” models, I went through my case merely to see what caught my eye. I very happily came away with the Treasure Hunt version of Jet Threat 4.0; the new green version of Speed Dozer (I think this green is much more aggressive than the original “construction” yellow); Speed Slayer, a new, “salt flat racer“-style model; and my favorite of the four, the Mooneyes-branded (Branding!) Custom ’77 Dodge Van. Yep, much as I dig wild customs, my fave this time ironically is the mundane corporate roller.

Yet I still can't find ''Moongaloonie'' on the 'Net.

Yet I still can’t find ”Moongaloonie” on the ‘Net.

Ken purchased this RLC ’64 Ford Falcon Sprint from me, and was embarrassed about it because his “make offer” price was less than what I originally paid for it. I told him he should be happy, because 1) he got an RLC model at a discount, and 2) he alleviated me of one more thing to have to re-pack at the end of the day.

Well, Ken bought the upper one; I kept the lower one. Huh?

Well, Ken bought the upper one; I kept the lower one. Huh?

Speaking of Ken (see previous paragraph): What’s in the box, Ken?

Spoiler alert!

Spoiler alert!

Oh, here’s what’s in the box: a Chevrolet van, by El Junioro de Corgi. A little spanish lingo for you there, because this is actually a Brazilian import. Industria Brasiliera, by KIKO. You can find out more about KIKO by visiting Gary’s Cars.

It's a Varig nice miniature! (AND THE COMEDY NEVER STOPS!)

It’s a Varig nice miniature! (AND THE COMEDY NEVER STOPS!)

So who or what is Voe Varig? Well, after extensive research (at Wikipedia), I learned that Varig was Brazil’s primary international airline. And it still is … sort of. After reorganization, the company was split into two separate companies known informally as “old” Varig (which has since folded) and “new” Varig which is fully integrated into GOL Intelligent Airlines. Considering the logo, and the toy’s age, this seems to refer to the “old” Varig. (“Voe” is the Spanish imperative for “go”, as in “Go Greyhound!”)

An oldie but a goodie. No, not Hot Wheels' ''Oldies But Goodies'' series; look, you know what I mean.

An oldie but a goodie. No, not Hot Wheels’ ”Oldies But Goodies” series; look, you know what I mean.

It’s extremely rare to find a Hot Wheels backer that’s been autographed by the designer. For example, this is not one of those. I don’t know whose signature that is, but it didn’t stop Bill from buying it. (I find it quaint that three examples of the “fastest cars on the roads” are lumbering construction vehicles.)

Collect them all! All six of 'em!

Collect them all! All six of ’em!

Okay, here’s the real scoop: it’s actually a double-rare find by Bill. Rare once in that it’s a Leo production (from India), and rare the second time in that it’s still on the card. I’ve seen Leos loose, and I’ve even seen one in a box (like the Corgi above); this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Leo on a traditional-style backer card. Oh, and unpunched, thank you kindly. Can’t even find any definitive info on Leo online. Very happy to declare this our Find of the Month for February.(*)

Yes, I'd say ''limited edition'' is quite accurate.

Yes, I’d say ”limited edition” is quite accurate.

See you at the March meeting!

~WM