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’!
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?
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.)
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 non–Star 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.
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.
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.
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…
…Lifting up the neck cover and pulling out a bunch of loose, floppy parts…
…Then finally aligning those parts and snapping them gently together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Tom, ever vigilant for VWs, picked up this Hot Wheels pack which features two beetle variations and two van variations.
Here they be, for your enjoyment:
Tom also went a bit loose with the definition of “beetle” by bagging this groovy Corgi retro-commemorative.
The box top (face?) flips up to reveal a nicely-displayed van, er, lorry, as well as a sculpt of the two groovy groupies.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
We interrupt this update for this brief Public Service Announcement:
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.
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 Diecasters‘ Find of the Month(*) for February 2016.
See you at the March meeting!
Fellow collectors, Suncoast Diecasters has become quite the Social Media phenomenon! When we moved from a traditional HTML-coded website to this WordPress blog, we gained the ability to offer updates via e-mail subscription. Shortly after that, we added a Twitter feed. Then in January of last year, Original Ken and his daughter set up a Facebook page for our club (and I linked this blog to both feeds, so all three update simultaneously). Finally, with the advent of our second video, in August of last year I created a Vimeo account.
The people behind Vimeo are thoughtful enough to have even basic accounts offer decent compression so embedded videos load faster. And just like the other three outlets, a Vimeo account’s homepage can be dressed up. There’s no option for a “banner”, but it does allow for a custom address, so I chose — Well, you can find out right here!:
See you at the March meeting! Oh, don’t forget, tomorrow is K-Day!
Yes, collectoroos and collectorettes, we’ve been given official notice of the 2016 Port Richey Diecast Show. It takes place on Sunday, April 10th, from 9 am to 3 pm. Our Calendar has been updated to include a link to MapQuest so’s you can find your way there. If you’re interested in renting a table, contact info is on the postcard below, which you can download.
Note to Suncoast Diecasters members: The meeting first, and then the diecast show!
In fact, I dare suggest that this will be your most K-martiest February this year! Yes, fellow collectors, it’s time for the Hot Wheels K-mart Collector Event. Our Calendar has been updated with links directly to the explanatory pages.
You’ll notice something unusual about this year’s inaugural K-Day: The dates don’t line up. All previous K-Days had the beginning of the mail-in promo coinciding with the in-store box-busting. This year, the promo starts a week before the in-store. Me not know why.
Extra update #1: Our 2015 Club Vehicle is now available!
Extra Update #2: Our Calendar has been updated to include the next K-mart Collector Day!
Extra Update #3: We now have a second video! You’ll find if you just keep reading, so…
…On to the photos!
Merry Belated Christmas Giftery!
…Is what I offered to Rob. If you’ll recall from our 2007 Gallery, Rob has a sweeeet Ranchero. I picked up this book last December at Dollar Tree, strictly based on the name, as a gift for Rob. From that time forward, Rob has managed to successfully avoid Suncoast Diecasters meetings. His streak fell flat this month, and I begifted him. I advised him that it was a “title only” purchase, and knew nothing of its content. He promised to get back to me on that after he reads it.
Big Tractor Mike bought all my Star Trek toys! Now I don’t have any! (Except for the action figures, and playsets, and model kits, and Hallmark starship ornaments. But still, I mean, you know….)
Speaking of books: I got all the use I could out of this’n, so I put in on the table and tagged it “make offer”. Ken made an offer, I accepted it, and now the book is Ken’s. And now I miss it terribly.
Ken also acquired this awesomely retro collector’s case. Thought it’s an off-brand itself, it boldly declares that it’s suitable for “Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Corgi and most mini-cars.” It wisely and thoughtfully lists Matchbox first, considering its example car art is probably totally unlicensed.
As mentioned in the caption above, Ken got these two airport vehicles. Thought their plastic design is rather simple, they’re still quite cool. They’re also classic Ken, in that they are an oddball no-name foreign brand.
As mentioned in the caption above, here is a close-up for you. Specifically, the motorcoach. True, its shallow detail lines, solid (rather than clear or even smoked clear) windows and astoundingly simplistic wheels would indicate a “cheap” model. Yet, airport vehicles are a popular sub-set for collectors, especially since they often are available only through off-brands.
The other one is this groovy stair-truck. Most likely completely incomprehensible to younger collectors, this model harkens back to the days when airports did not have extended ramps and gates with segmented umbilicals that attach directly airplane doors, a simpler time when passengers actually walked out of the airport, across the tarmac and up mobile steps to their airplane.
I mentioned the example art on Ken’s car case. The big red fellow leadin’ the pack is clearly Mod Rod by Matchbox. The yellow van could be Matchbox or Hot Wheels or Corgi or Playart or Yatming or Summer or any other brand. There’s not enough of the purple one to identify it. But the one that really intrigues me is the green “rocket sled”-type fellow in third place. It looks like something from Harley Earl’s Firebird series. If you have any info on this model (if indeed the illustration is based on an actual production toy), please post it in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
Well, what have we here? The orange fellow in the upper left looks kinda Rodger Dodger-ish. Light blue guy at lower left might be the Ford Mk IV. Or, I could stop funnin’ ya and just tell you that they’re all Sizzlers. Yep, those wild, rechargeable self-running rods from the early ’70s. Oh, you don’t believe me?
Here, BTM knuckles down and charges up one them right before your eyes. As you can see on the label, “Sizzlers”. Told ya.
They’re all part of this awesome kit brought in by awesome Doug. This is the 2007 retro re-issue, and it the highlight of our August meeting. Doug set up a short loop (initially), and we basically had some demo runs. Later, he extended the loop, and we did some actual racing. It all was so entertaining that I even shot some video, and that’s available at the bottom of this update. For its coolness, its retro-ness, and its ability to keep middle-aged men entertained like small schoolchildren, I hyarby declare Doug’s Sizzlers set our Find of the Month!(*)
For this video, I decided it was time for something better, so I set up a Vimeo account for Suncoast Diecasters. Unlike our Christmas 2012 video, which is in uncompressed WMV format (and thus takes a while to load), Vimeo automatically compresses uploaded videos, so this one will load much more quickly. You may notice a difference in cars in the high-angle shot versus the “pit row” shot. That’s because they’re two separate runs. I edited them together to make the video more dramatic. Please enjoy:
(If the video doesn’t play properly, you can watch it in a separate window.)
See you at the September meeting!
Our Calendar has been updated with a link to the latest Hot Wheels Collectors’ Event: Buy 20 mainline cars at Toys-R-US, and trade ’em in for a sweet-looking ’76 Corvette!
Unlike the K-mart events, there will be no case-opening. However, there are several “exclusive color” variations, which you can find from our link. Happy Collecting!
…And by “us”, I mean Big Tractor Mike, Original Ken, and myself. Because we’re the only ones who attended the April meeting.
Well, that’s not quite true: Pete (of the old club) and his boy did show up and spend most of the meeting with us. Then, Doug and his boy showed up — at five minutes to closing! (Okay, they had a father/son day at the Aquarium…)
BTM, Ken and I reasoned amongst ourselves that t’other members were saving their money for the Diecast Show the following day. Clearly, they disregarded my admonition of “First the meeting, then the Diecast Show!”.
So, at this point, you’re probably figuring that not a lot of trading took place, and thus not a lot of new photos. Essentially correct; nonetheless, we do have some new photos for you (no foolin’!), so please enjoy.
Oh, hey, I almost forgot: There’s a brand new page for you to enjoy as well!
Pete’s boy picked up three cars from Ken. First we have the White Ice Series Twin Mill II. Ah, yes, the heady days of the “four-car series”, when one would go to the stores over and over and over, trying to find all four bleepin’ cars.
Next up is the ’63 Corvette, from the Dealer’s Choice Series. Like I said, over and over and over.
And finally, this 1968 Mustang Cobra Jet, in Coca-Cola livery, by Matchbox. (To save time, I’ll simply refer to it as the Matchbox Coca-Cola Mustang.) The Matchbox Coca-Cola Mustang comes in special packaging, with a reproduction storage box. The Mustang Coca-Cola Matchbox has attractive “racing” wheels and tires, and looks very sporty in bright yellow. The Mustbox Cola-Coca Matchstang is certainly a nice addition to any young boy’s toy car collection.
You’ve been there. Admit it. You see a toy car model that you think you just may already have, you really can’t quite remember, so you go ahead and buy it anyway, realizing you may in fact be buying it again. And you justify this to yourself because after all, it’s better to have two than none. (Sigh) Such is the case with this 30th Anniversary edition Old Number 5. I know that I bought several models in the “30-A” series, so it’s entirely possible that when I bought this from Ken, I may have in fact been buying a second one. And that’s okay, because Old Number 5 is too cool to pass up (again). It also makes a nice Find of the Month(*), two. Er, too.
See you at the May meeting!