October 2017

Our October update is published with yet a wee bit of October left! Let us dance and cavort!

Before moving on (by which I mean, scrolling down), I’d appreciate it if you’d take a moment to peruse our new page in which Your Humble Webmaster engages in a little self-marketing.

Okay, now we can move on to the photos!

October 2017

This is our first meeting after Hurricane Irma. (As you may recall, our September meeting was cancelled on account of that cacophonous countess.) I wasn’t sure whether it be dour or joyful. Turns out it was, in the words of Star Lord, “a bit of both.”

Dour in the sense that precious little trading occurred. In fact, the only trade that happened was this RAOK from me to Tom, our well-established and long-enthroned Viscount of VWs. Upon reflection, dour is a wholly inaccurate word, as this gift was warmly and readily received with great appreciation. So, joyful is the better word here. (Take that, bit of both!)

~*~*~*~

~*~*~*~

~*~*~*~

~*~*~*~

Beyond that, it was a meeting in which friends who hadn’t seen each other in two months just relaxed, talked, gabbed, and basically reconnected. And that’s always joyful.

See you at our Novemb — Aw, heck, I forgot to buy a red tractor! Anyway, see you at our November meeting!

~WM

Advertisements

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!

~~~~~

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  October meeting!

~WM

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

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.

Our Merry Christmas gift to you: a Free Screensaver!

Really, it’s true!

(It's actually bigger than this.)

(It’s actually bigger than this.)

Suncoast Diecasters has been around for ten years. We’ve been online for nine. In that time, through WordPress (fellow bloggers and e-mail subscriptions), Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been blessed with about 380 followers. True, there are social media “superstars” who’ve amassed thousands of followers. But for this little local, humble club to have several hundred people interested in us is simply fantastic.

So, to celebrate a decade of tradin’ and collectin’, as well as to say “thank you” to you, our faithful followers, I’ve put together what I hope you’ll find to be a jolly little holiday screensaver.

Also, I’ve updated our Calendar with Suncoast Diecasters‘ 2017 schedule. I’ve tried several different formats for our Calendar over the years. Thank the Lord, with WordPress’ help I’ve found a new one which is tidy, more easily read and, most importantly, repeatable.

I’ll give you the link for getting our screensaver at the end of this update. So, get your holiday mood going, and start enjoying our photos! (And thank you again!)

December 2016

Of course, our December meeting is also always our Christmas meeting. For proof, here’s a shot of just some of the decorations around the Sports Bar. I assure you, the icicles had richly colored LEDs; they weren’t the glaring white things my camera decided they were.

'Tis all a-twinkle!

‘Tis all a-twinkle!

Last month a conversation between Scott and Original Ken eventually turned to the collecting of marbles as a hobby. Thus, Ken brought in some of his collection this month for Scott to peruse and appraise. Scott provided some interesting details about the marble hobby. For example, he pointed out that while Ken’s stash contains many glass, mass-manufactured marbles, there are also numerous clay, hand-made marbles. The clay ones are opaque, and not quite as shiny as the glass ones. More interestingly, he pointed out the many flat(tish) surfaces of a clay marble, contrasted against the machined and polished roundness of a glass one. Eventually Ken and Scott agreed on a price, and Scott walked away with a bagful.

Because it's Christmas, for your sake I will *not* make the obvious joke here.

Because it’s Christmas, for your sake I will *not* make the obvious joke here.

Very similar to last month, I had to shoot this with my phone’s convenience camera because the meeting was nearly over and my equipment was put away. I wouldn’t have taken the pic at all if I didn’t happen to just notice (thank the Lord) something toy-like in R.D.’s hand as he was saying his good-byes. This is Inside Story, and he bought it from Big Tractor Mike. The Super Kings’ size allowed me to shoot them from a reasonable distance. In contrast, this single, small toy necessitated a close-up which, coupled with the overhead’s glare off the white paint, prevented a better, more clear shot.

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Slightly astigmatic Spider-Man!

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Slightly astigmatic Spider-Man!

The following three (or, maybe four) items were all purchased from BTM by Gary. The JL ShowRods set below was the last shot I took using LiveView, which I’ll explain in a moment.

Wait, isn't this *2* of only 5000?

Wait, isn’t this *2* of only 5000?

Like most digital cameras (I presume), mine has an LED screen on back which lets you see exactly what the lens is seeing. In my camera’s OS, this is called LiveView. This is incredibly convenient for determining both zoom and focal point. And incredibly inconvenient when I get an all-red screen with the warning text, “Battery too low for LiveView”. So, I had to use my camera’s regular optical viewfinder for these next two photos, only guessing at the result. Thank the Lord, they both came out well-focused.

***

***

I would've made funny captions for both these photos, but I'm two-tired.

I would’ve made funny captions for both these photos, but I’m two-tired.

JIm bought the following four (exactly) items from Ed. First is this picayune and puny Purple Passion:

Car's so small, it took two photos to make one good one.

Car’s so small, it took two photos to make one good one.

Next is this Hot Wheels Collectibles-series King ‘Kuda. I’m amused by the claim, “multi-piece car”; it’s my understanding that all Hot Wheels models are multi-piece.

You'd think the mechanic would've remembered to get that rag off the fender.

You’d think the mechanic would’ve remembered to get that rag off the fender.

And lastfully, these two classic Redlines: The Demon (b) and Custom Cougar (t). The Cougar obviously is based on a production vehicle. The Demon (a.k.a. Prowler) is based on the Li’l Coffin custom show rod. Yes, Virginia, there is a Li’l Coffin.

48 years of well-earned paint chipping.

48 years of well-earned paint chipping.

No, this photograph is not backwards. If you’ll read what it says, you should understand why it appears backwards.

Cidemarap is a leading OTC medication.

Cidemarap is a leading OTC medication.

This is a VW “Samba” ambulance by Maisto, from BTM to Ed. Well-appointed, too. Painted tail and fog lights, and that “glass lens” texture on the headlights in the above photo? Two of the most thoughtful tampos I’ve ever seen.

***

***

Ed bought this Matchbox ambulance from Big Tractor Mike. I wonder if perchance it looks familiar…?

***

***

Back in June, Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike a Speed Kings-series Mercedes Benz “Binz” ambulance. Here, Ed has done it again, but at a smaller scale.

One wonders if Ed is planning to start his own two-scale empire.

One wonders if Ed is planning to start his own two-scale empire.

A brilliant entrepreneurial business idea: combination auto mechanic and drive-in theater.

See, 'coz one has its hood up, and the other is facing ... Look, it's Christmas, just go along with the joke.

See, ‘coz one has its hood up, and the other is facing … Look, it’s Christmas, just go along with the joke.

Original Ken bought these from BTM. Both are from the 100% Hot Wheels series.

***

***

Curiously, only one has a working hood.

***

***

Just like egg nog:

Thick. Er, I mean yummy.

Thick. Er, I mean yummy.

Ed displayed several Hot Wheels Christmas diorama/playsets on his table. A few, I already own. One or two, I didn’t particularly care for. But this one … this one really stood out.

Sing along, folks! "It's the Little Saint Nick..."

Sing along, folks! “It’s the Little Saint Nick…”

The action poses, the great coloring on the vehicle, the barely-hanging-on elves — this is happy holiday hilarity for sure. You might be wondering why I haven’t provided any photos of Santa and his sweet ride outside of the box. Very simple: I haven’t opened it yet. That will happen sometime Christmas morning.

Yes, this is my Christmas present to myself.

Yes, this is my Christmas present to myself.

There’s a certain vehicle which has appeared off and on among BTM’s wares for quite some time now. After some research, which I will illustrate later, I decided to by it.

Pictured: *Not* the Yellow Submarine.

Pictured: *Not* the Yellow Submarine.

It’s Hover-Raider, a large-scale Matchbox vehicle. It’s part of MB’s short-lived Battle Kings-series.

# K-107

# K-107

Here’s the research, illustrated as promised. I was fairly certain I had the smaller hovercraft, but I was concerned that it was amongst The Many, Many Items Packed Away For The Move That Never Happened. Thank the Lord, I found it in time for our December meeting. My intent was to create another “Two Scales” photo set — which you can see is not quite as I imagined. As soon as I spotted the 107 on BTM’s table, I realized that, apart from the colors and general shape, the two models are dramatically different.

The smaller hovercraft is 'Superfast'-series # 72 & 2. Yes, "& 2" is actually part of its designation.

The smaller hovercraft is ‘Superfast’-series # 72 & 2. Yes, “& 2” is actually part of its designation.

And, yes, I am aware that our forlorn Two Scales page is sadly underloved and malnourished. Perhaps next year I can set aside time to go through The Many, Many Items Packed Away For The Move That Never Happened and relocate the models with which I can give that page the attention it deserves.

Anyway, I bought the K-107, for four reasons: 1) I really did want it; 2) Mike’s price was very reasonable; 3) I did go through the trouble of finding the 72; and 4) The Discovery.

The Discovery? Oh, that the K-107 has a Rolamatics feature. This is not indicated on the baseplate at all. Quite literally, I discovered it only because I felt something move against my fingers when I tried to straighten the radar housing. As with most Rolamatics models, being decades old, the feature no longer works properly. The radar spins about half-way, then the whole thing locks up. This happens both forward and backward. Still, it gives me the opportunity to give you your Christmas bonus: a new video!

Hover-Raider Rolamatics demo from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

For this truly unexpected feature — not to mention the fact that it’s simply a great large-scale model — I declare the Matchbox Battle Kings-series Hover-Raider to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month for December 2016(*).

Okay, you’ve been Nice and read the whole update down to this point. (Or, maybe you were Naughty and just leaned on the Scroll Down button. Whatever.) First, some details: You’re going to download a compressed (zip) file named SD-10th-Xmas.zip. Inside are the screensaver itself, a Readme file (and please read it; it’s there for a reason (the reason being that you should read it.)), and a Music sub-folder which contains the music MP3s and a license. (The music is already embedded in the screensaver; I included the MP3s in case you wanted to use them elsewhere.)

The screensaver is compatible with Win XP and newer operating systems. (Windows/PC only; sorry, Apple/Mac users!)

Okay, you may now download your free screensaver. Thanks again for being part of Suncoast Diecasters‘ extended family.We wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah. and a Happy New Year 2017! See you at the January meeting!

~WM

The Call of Fall: Final K-Day & Promo for 2016

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s that time: the leaves are turning color; the clocks are turning back; and K-mart turns into the place to be for Hot Wheels. Our Calendar is updated with links to the final 2016 mail-in promo (which features a sweet piece o’ eye-candy!), as well as the final 2016 K-Day in-store event. So click on over, and get ready to do some a-wheelin’ and a-dealin’!

#FreeSlurpeeDay!

It’s the 11th of July — In other words, it’s 7-11! And, it’s the Slurpee’s 50th Birthday! Today from 11 am to 7 pm, you can get a free small Slurpee at, um … aw, heck, what’s the name of that store again?

http://fiftee.slurpee.com/

Free Slurpee!

Free Slurpee!

1500+ pics!; And, Thanks to all our Followers!

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s true! As of this update, Suncoast Diecasters has set a new record: over fifteen hundred photographs!!! One thousand, five hundred seventeen (1,517), to be exact, all for your viewing pleasure. WHOOO!!!

And as if that weren’t enough, we have serious follower numbers as well: Seventeen people follow us via WordPress; thirty-eight folks follow us through Facebook; and we have a whopping two hundred thirteen followers on Twitter, for a grand total of two hundred sixty-eight (268) followers!

Yes, there are celebrities (and, you know, “celebrities”) with followers in the many multiple thousands. That does not impress me. What does impress me is that, even if you subtract all the members on Ken’s mailing list, this humble little local club still has well over two hundred thirty followers, outside its regular membership.

On behalf of Big Tractor Mike, Original Ken and all the Suncoast Diecasters members, I thank you all for helping us achieve this great social media presence!

So let me say to all you “outsiders”: If you’ll be travelling in Pinellas County, whether on business or vacation, be sure to check our Calendar. If one of our meetings coincides with your trip, stop in and see us. As Original Ken says, “The food here is great, and a good time is had by all!”

Now, on … to … the … PHOTOS!*

*(Just, you know, not all fifteen hundred at once.)

March 2016

We start off with past, present and futurantic, courtesy of Doug. The past is beautifully represented by this classy and well-appointed VW Beetle. The present, by the can’t-be-taken-seriously Smart for Two micro-car. And the future by this passenger plane which … um … has its rotors facing the wrong direction??

Up, up and -- uh ... Eh, it might work....

Up, up and — uh … Eh, it might work….

Oh, I get it. It’s a VSTOL configuration. Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing, for those of you with acronymophobia. The manufacturer of this particular miniature was thoughtful enough to provide articulation for the rotors. The tampos say “Everest” and “Climber Transport”; while there’s a lot of info online for Everest excursions, I’ve found nothing that specifically features this plane.

All ahead full! And by ''all'', I mean ''both''.

All ahead full! And by ”all”, I mean ”both”.

Mike C. put in a relatively rare appearance, and took out one of our 2015 Club Vehicles, which he missed the fist time. He intentionally chose number 13, reasoning that since Christine is a haunted car, he’d double-down on the spooky factor.

We haven't heard from Mike since, so....

We haven’t heard from Mike since, so….

Mike also nabbed this sweet Construction Crane, still in its sweet original Workhorses-series packaging. The model has a swiveling cab, and the crane boom actually extends.

From that long-gone era known as ''When Mattel Actually Cared.''

From that long-gone era known as ”When Mattel Actually Cared.”

If you’ve been visiting Suncoast Diecasters online with any regularity, you know I rarely pass up the chance to showcase vintage price tags. This is on the back of Mike’s Crane above. I fondly remember the days when Sears actually had a real live toy department. (I find it interesting that mainline models today are typically around $1.09 each.)

Apparently, Mattel saved $0.20 per toy by eliminating the ''working features!'' feature.

Apparently, Mattel saved $0.20 per toy by eliminating the ”working features!” feature.

Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike this Volvo fire engine by Corgi. No scale is stated, but from the model’s size it’s easily in the 1/40s or 1/50s. The clear plastic band is simply a retainer to keep its ladder from flopping about and getting mangled in the packaging.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

I had a little trouble finding a point at which the ladder would actually balance without support, but eventually I was able to get the shot I wanted.

''It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'': The Home Game.

”It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”: The Home Game.

Yes, Ken again managed to find yet even more garbage trucks. Starting at upper left, the green-on-green is a somewhat generic model by Maisto. The one with the toll-free tampos has no manufacturer’s name, despite the quality of the casting. All of us who’d looked it over at the meeting agree that it must be a promotional give-away item. Finally, the yellow one is a Lotus Europa. More significantly, it’s not a Matchbox; it’s very nice casting by Zylmex.

Which also probably explains why it's a European sports car and not a garbage truck.

Which also probably explains why it’s a European sports car and not a garbage truck.

Well, 1-800-Got-Junk certainly seems to have 1-800-gotten its money’s worth; the brand (Branding!) is all over the miniature. I really enjoy being able to get nice sharp, tight shots like this, even if it is just corporate jetsam.

Hmmm ... I should ask Mike and Ken about franchising Suncoast Diecasters....

Hmmm … I should ask Mike and Ken about franchising Suncoast Diecasters….

Tom bought from Big Tractor Mike this swingin’ double-decker bus. Again, no scale is stated but it’s clearly in the 1/40s or 1/50s. If you look closely at the tampos, you’ll note that this model is not just promotional; it’s self-promotional. Rather self-congratulatory, as well. Curiously, the manufacturer doesn’t quite seem to appreciate its own products. An actual quote from the Shinsei site describes a toy as “a small article of little real value but often prized for some reason.” Well, la-dee-da.

*Not* from the 1970 children's TV show.

*Not* from the 1970 children’s TV show.

Two things about this toy: 1) It is truly a toy. As you can see in this close-up, it’s made of a thick, (relatively) soft plastic; the drooping side mirrors are of a similarly soft material; and the paint on the grill and headlights looks rough. However, 2) overall it’s well-made; it has a surprising gimmick — a pull-back motor; and the manufacturer even thought to include a smart little driver figure. Well-chosen, Tom!

*Not* Cliff Richard from 1963's ''Summer Holiday''. Well, probably not, anyway.

*Not* Cliff Richard from 1963’s ”Summer Holiday”. Well, probably not, anyway.

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased three cool items. First is this Boulevard-series DMC-12. Dressed up a bit more nicely than the mainline DMC-12, and still in its package. By the way, this is the second time you’ve seen my new approach to presenting on-card vehicles; the first was the crane above. Previously I would have a photo of the entire card. With this update, I’ve decided to focus on the vehicle, thus the closely-cropped image. Yet, to demonstrate that there really is a full card, I’ve dropped a postage-stamp sized pic of the whole card onto the car photo.

Let me know in the comments how this works for you.

Let me know in the comments how this works for you.

Next is this way whacked-out DMC-12 Time Machine. Like the bus above, it’s very clearly a toy. But, it’s also unlike any other DeLorean I own. It too has a pull-back motor. I just wish I could source it. Its base states “Universal Studios and U-Drive”; unfortunately, U-Drive returns too many search results, none of which stand out as a source for the toy. And it’s definitely not a Happy Meal prize. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

Its low, drawn-out profile seems to accentuate the rise of the thrusters, so I wanted to see if I could come up with a shot to further enhance that accentuation. For this shot, I set the car on a pool table side rail, and placed the camera below it on the playing surface, with a pad under the front edge to tilt it up. Fortunately, I long ago learned how to use the camera’s timer, so I no longer have to worry about even the slightest deflection from pressing the shutter button. The camera remained balanced on the pad, and I got my shot.

Composition!

Composition!

Finally, the third vehicle I bought from Mike is this exceptionally clean Emergency Van from Kenner’s Fast111s line. This is one of the best-looking examples of the forlorn KF1 series that I’ve ever seen. Aside from a small patch on the license plate blank (and that could a chroming error as much as decal residue), this truck is basically flawless.

*Not* starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth.

*Not* starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth.

Now, here is something special. This Kool Kombi, which BTM bought from Jim, is not riveted. No, I don’t mean it’s not Rivited. I mean the base is not riveted to the body shell. Unofficially called a “line pull”, it also has treasure hunt wheels and whitewall rubber tires. You want it? Too bad; Mike already sold it.

Pictured: Drinkin' wine, explodee-odee.

Pictured: Drinkin’ wine, explodee-odee.

And here we proudly have our Find of the Month. Yes, this garbage truck. No, it’s not a typo. Yes, yes, I know; our FotM model is usually a wild custom, or a very rare model, or a very rare wild custom. But the workmanship and detail on this model are such that it deserves to be showcased. For example, you can clearly see that the rear section is articulated with “working” hydraulic rams. The thing that looks like a handle is a handle, which operates the hopper inside the rear section. And according to Emergency Back-up Ken, the black piece on top is a run for electrical and hydraulic lines. Original Ken and I have seen that on only one other model.

Yes, this is Original Ken's. Seriously, did I really have to tell you that?

Yes, this is Original Ken’s. Seriously, did I really have to tell you that?

In this animated GIF, you see both the internal hopper and the rear section operate. Yes, the empty hinges mean that one or more parts are missing, but that does not significantly detract from the model’s design quality.

Note also the full array of lights on the upper and lower rear panels.

Note also the full array of lights on the upper and lower rear panels.

This is by RealToy, and Ken figures it to probably be 1/43-scale. It’s based on an actual MAN vehicle, although I’m not able to ID the specific model. The logo states “The City of New York – Department of Sanitation”. Aside from the “toy-like” be-handled hopper, this has the well-crafted, professional appearance of a serious “adult collector” display model. Therefore I find it very easy to declare this our Find of the Month(*) for March 2016.

If you want to drink in its rich details, download the large image below.

If you want to drink in its rich details, download the large image below.

Original size: 1366 x 768

Oh, there’s one more thing about this truck that helped me make the decision to call it our FotM: it too has a pull-back motor. Yes, the clearly-a-toy bus has a PBM; and the very-clearly-a-toy DeLorean has a PBM. Yet, for all its serious and professional-level design quality, the MAN truck features a feature intended to make it an enjoyable plaything as well. This is briefly demonstrated in our latest (and shortest) (and silliest) video below. Enjoy!:

See you at the April meeting!

~WM

February’s OK(Day) with Us!

February went quite well for Suncoast Diecasters. Lots of great buys and trades at our meeting; and even K-Day was better than usual. For myself, I came away with three nice new rides. I first picked an “exclusive colors” variant of the Custom ’69 Volkswagen Squareback out of my box. I was kind of iffy on it, when I found a regular, teal(?)-colored one as well. I think they make a nice set, so I kept ’em. Also got the Grass Chomper custom lawn mower. You can tell by the “tumbling guy” logo on the card that it’s part of the “figures” subset, designed to carry Mega Blocks figurines. Most of those vehicles aer IMHO too toy-like, with all the pegs. The Chomper, however, has few such pegs, and they’re well-disguised.

And it has a neat (if unintentional) 1/43 look to it.

And it has a neat (if unintentional) 1/43 look to it.

Before moving on, I have another announcement: you can now search our site via categories! I’ve used categories pretty much from the beginning here at our WordPress site; however, it only just recently occurred to me that I need to put the Categories widget on the site. (And yes, the categories really need to be reorganized; some in fact would work better as tags. That’s a future project.)

Now, on to the photos!

February 2016

Boy, oh boy. All I can figure is that Big Tractor Mike just hates Star Trek. Every time I bring in Star Trek stuff, he makes it all go away! In fact, this month he even made nonStar Trek stuff disappear! Does his wrath know no bounds? Well anyway, he starts off with this Enterprise-E (NCC-1701-E) which first appeared in Star Trek: First Contact. What I’ve always appreciated about the various redesigns of the Enterprise — which I admit is an obvious notion — is how the modellers maintain the established saucer/hull/twin nacelles configuration while making each iteration more streamlined and futuristical. Features working lights and sound.

The toy, some 15'' long, looks sadly puny on its oversized stand.

The toy, some 15” long, looks sadly puny on its oversized stand.

Here, we go back to the future with the old-school, “Original Series” Romulan Bird-of-Prey. I haven’t been able to verify this, but I’ve often thought that designer Wah Ming Chang created the BoP at least partially as an homge to the classic “flying saucer” designs of 1950s sci-fi. I apologize for not even considering a photo of the toy’s ventral hull which features a great depiction of the “bird of prey” graphic. Features working lights and sound.

Yep, overexposed and washed out. My bad.

Yep, overexposed and washed out. My bad.

And finally we have the Enterprise-D … and then some. This is the “alternate future” D from the episode All Good Things… — except when it’s not. Despite the presence of translucent plastic details, this toy does not feature light and sound. Instead, what it does feature is the ability to transform from the “regular” D configuration to the “alt-future” version (and back). Note in the photo differences between the nacelle surfaces, as well as an enhanced phaser cannon to the left of the bridge. (It also features the massive “Borg Buster” cannon on the saucer’s ventral surface which, again, I neglected to photograph). I arranged it in this half-transformed configuration specifically to highlight the differences.

You remember that Star Trek/Transformers crossover, right?

You remember that Star Trek/Transformers crossover, right?

Those of you who recall the episode may wonder where the Big Missing Cool Part is. It’s hidden inside the necessarily-oversized neck, accessed by popping up the latch at the base…

How do we make it look more futuristic? By adding parts!

How do we make it look more futuristic? By adding parts!

…Lifting up the neck cover and pulling out a bunch of loose, floppy parts…

R2, that stabilizer's broken loose again. See if you can lock it down.

R2, that stabilizer’s broken loose again. See if you can lock it down.

…Then finally aligning those parts and snapping them gently together.

BOOM! Mutant third warp nacelle!

BOOM! Mutant third warp nacelle!

Mike also acquired this Scotty figure which features a really neat gimmick. You’ll note (despite the glare) that the figure’s lower arms and entire lower half are transparent, with glitter flecks embedded. The figure is on a stand molded to look like a transporter pad. A button on the pad activates a digital recording of the “Original Series” transporter sound effect while also ramping up a super-bright LED to full brightness, which then fades out again. The light dances up through the figure’s transparent parts, giving the illusion that Scotty is beaming out.

Och, me poor bairns!

Och, me poor bairns!

Oh, the wonders that show up on QVC. (Or Home Shopping Network, whichever.) Seriously, I bought this from a TV shopping show back in the ’90s. It’s a bump-n-go toy, but what really intrigued me was its secondary action. After a few moments, it would stop, then a pad would extend from the base, lifting the car off the floor. The rear panel labeled “Cosmo Fighter” would raise up to reveal lighted “thrusters”; its wheels would raise in a “hover mode” fashion; and short, Chitty-esque winglets would extend from its sides. Then it would reset and drive around again, repeating this cycle. The overall effect was a sort of combination of the Back to the Future DMC-12 and the Spinner from Blade Runner.

...And a name right out of '60s sci-fi!

…And a name right out of ’60s sci-fi!

Sadly, as is typical of bump-n-go’ers over time, its b-n-g drive no longer works. However, the secondary action still does, and it makes for a neat show. It’s also very large; the car’s a good foot long or so, so it’s also a great rolling toy. BTM got this in the Great Trek Removal as well. I don’t have video or a photo of its “alt-mode” because we would’ve been thrown out of the Sports Bar.

Because it's REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY loud!

Because it’s REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY loud!

Finally, Mike got this Happy Meal(?) toy, which includes a side of gimmick: pressing down on Ron McD winds a spring action, which sends the plane zipping across the floor when you let go. He also got the sculpted foam fireplace (which I should’ve posed better) and calendar from our Santa’s Cycle Shop Christmas panel. Yes, indeed, Big Tractor Mike acquired two pieces of Suncoast Diecasters original artwork.

Very uptown of you, Mike!

Very uptown of you, Mike!

When I suggested a certain price for the whole lot, I could tell from the look on Big Tractor Mike’s face that he was undulating, calculating and formulating a counter-offer. He later approached me with a car-n-cash offer. The car offered as the “car” in the “car-n-cash” offer is this … which at first I didn’t recognize, because its proportions are off. It is in fact a DMC-12. Not sure if its roofline is too high, or if its body is too narrow. In either case, its windshield is too square as a result; it should be clearly rectangular.

Totally for squares, dad.

Totally for squares, dad.

I checked its base to verify that it is indeed a DMC-12. More significantly, I discovered the Zee logo. Yes, this is a Zylmex model! I’ve done many foolish things in my life, but I’m not fool enough to turn down a Zylmex DeLorean. And imagine my further delight when I found it also does this neat trick:

Hey, Mattel! Notice anything? Gettin' any ideas?

Hey, Mattel! Notice anything? Gettin’ any ideas?

Tom, ever vigilant for VWs, picked up this Hot Wheels pack which features two beetle variations and two van variations.

Hippie commune not included.

Hippie commune not included.

Here they be, for your enjoyment:

There. Now you are enjoyed.

There. Now you are enjoyed.

Tom also went a bit loose with the definition of “beetle” by bagging this groovy Corgi retro-commemorative.

You know Tom loves these, yeah, yeah , yeah...

You know Tom loves these, yeah, yeah , yeah…

The box top (face?) flips up to reveal a nicely-displayed van, er, lorry, as well as a sculpt of the two groovy groupies.

...And with a van like that, you know Tom should be glad.

…And with a van like that, you know Tom should be glad.

The “45” in the corner reveals itself as an informative fold-out, with a mail-in card for further info on the Corgi Classics series tucked inside.

Being for the benefit of Mr. Tom.

Being for the benefit of Mr. Tom.

Now, you didn’t really think I’d leave without showing you a sweet close-up of the van, did you? (I’m not leaving, that’s just how the cliché flows.) Here ya go, along with a nice shot of the gals.

Or ''birds'', as they're called in the land of the Mersey Beat.

Or ”birds”, as they’re called in the land of the Mersey Beat.

Bill bagged this awesome 20th Anniversary set. These sets each feature a special variant Anniversary model, such as the Monster Vette here. Available in either gold or chrome, these models also have a custom 20th Anniversary logo stamped into the body shell. Price on the Toys ‘R’ Us sticker?: $1.99 (in 1988 dollars).

Ironically, this set is now 28 years older than the anniversary it's celebrating.

Ironically, this set is now 28 years older than the anniversary it’s celebrating.

Doug bought this massive Tonka bulldozer from BTM. This is from the days when toys were really meant to be played with. You’d go out to your sandbox (or, anywhere in the yard, really) and do some serious digging. At least until your mom caught you. Lovin’ that well-worn, much-played-with pitted surface on the blade. Don’t know if this is designed to a particular scale, but it’s huge.

I'd peg it at about ''1/2-half toaster oven''.

I’d peg it at about ”1/2-toaster oven”.

Recall that Doug  brought in a Sizzlers set, then more recently brought in an Anki Overdrive set. Well, for February Doug has gone full-circle– er, more accurately, he has gone full-trioval with the slot car set he brought in. A video is thoughtfully provided below for your viewing pleasure.

(Note on the video: What you’re seeing, or not seeing, really, is a whole lot of nothin’. The cars were overpowered, and kept flying off the track. Fully two-thirds of the total footage was of empty track, waiting for the cars to be reset. That was all edited out, to create the illusion of an actual race happening. I do think the result looks pretty good nonetheless.)

The ker-klak you hear at the end? Car flying off the track. (If the video doesn’t play properly, you can watch it in a separate window/tab.)

Ken cornered this quaint, kaleidoscopic quintet of colorful Colectomatics to corral into his cultured (if cumbersome) collection, capering and cavorting continuously.

That, children, is an example of alliteration.

That, children, is an example of alliteration.

More directly: Here Ken has a 1966 Dodge A100 pickup (Matchbox), a Jaguar E-Type 2+2 (yellow, Corgi), and a Jaguar E-Type (chrome, Faller).

Well, ''chrome-ish''.

Well, ”chrome-ish”.

Who, or what, is Faller, you ask? Faller is a German toy company which made a variety of toy lines over the years, including diecast miniatures and slot cars. Now the company focuses mainly on train sets and accessories. I’m just concerned about their possible ties to the German mafia.

Because it says ''hit car''. That's the joke.

Because it says ”hit car”. That’s the joke.

We interrupt this update for this brief Public Service Announcement:

From the Toy Safety Council of Hingna, India.

From the Toy Safety Council of Hingna, India.

Sharp-eyed readers (and anyone who can read) will spot the name Leo by the Mattel logo. This is a very rare variation, by Leo of India. There’s really no info regarding Leo online. Whereas most other foreign-made HW models simply say “Made in [country name]”, I can only presume that Mattel’s contract with Leo required (or at least allowed) the co-branding. This one is even more rare, in still having its original box.

A toy car in a matchbook-sized box? Ridiculous!

A toy car in a matchbook-sized box? Ridiculous!

Mike bought this from Ed, which was dang smart of him. For its unique foreign (dare I say exotic?) pedigree and richly-colored packaging which itself makes a nice display, I very happily declare this Leo Second Wind to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for February 2016.

That is one classy-lookin' photo, if I do caption so myself.

That is one classy-lookin’ photo, if I do caption so myself.

See you at the March meeting!

~WM