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.

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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.

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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

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Happy New Year, New Photos and New Gallery!

Having parked beneath the warm glow of a streetlamp, Santa and Mrs. Claus spend some quiet us-time on a park bench under the stars, while the glow of the Woodland Church’s lights reflect on a frozen pond behind them

Suncoast Diecasters 2013 Christmas panel

Download a larger version of this image by clicking on it.

Long-time members of Suncoast Diecasters may have been wondering if I’d be doing this here on the new blog. For those of you who are new visitors, something I’ve been doing since 2008 on the original site is replacing the main home page between the December and January meetings with a Christmas-themed image. I’m very glad to have been able to come up with one for this year.

And speaking of Christmas images, I can now very happily introduce to you the latest feature of our blog: Galleries! One of the things that made Suncoast Diecasters a great site is the well-organized archive of yearly galleries (plus the individual members’ galleries). I’ve been wanting to recreate the galleries here on the blog, and I realized, what better one to start with than a gallery of all our Christmas panels!

Also, with the upload of this update’s photos, we’ve finally broken 1,000 photos in our PhotoBucket library! In fact, there’s exactly 1,010 photos — woo-hooo!

Also also, the Calendar has been updated to close out the last couple of December items.

So, with that, I wish you a Happy New Year 2014, and may God bless us, everyone! Now, onto the December photos!

December 2013

Krista yust goes nuts batty at Christmas, having stocked up on Gotham gear for stocking stuffers.

Always make sure your sidekicks are hermetically sealed to ensure freshness.

Always make sure your sidekicks are hermetically sealed to ensure freshness.

Bite-size bat-goodies make any holiday a … um … well, still a holiday, I guess.

https://i2.wp.com/i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb168/suncoastdiecasers/0201312002.jpg

Ideal, Galoob, Hot Wheels, ERTL … Okay, fine, *everyone* can have a “micro” line!

Here, clockwise from bottom center, she purchased from Your Humble Webmaster the Batmobile from The Brave and the Bold, the GreenGoblinmobile, the Phantommobile, the Mr. Freezemobile, and the, uh … um … the, um….

What? Why are you looking at me like that? WHAT!?

What? Why are you looking at me like that? WHAT!?

Bill was clearly dreaming of a green Christmas with this verdant gathering. Clockwise from bottom left: Sir Rodney Roadster; Mantis; Sand Drifter; Vega Bomb; Heavy Chevy (’74 Flying Colors); and Sir Rodney Roadster in the incredibly rare “So orange it’s not even green anymore” color variation.

Not to be confused with Stan Freberg's

Not to be confused with Stan Freberg’s “Green Christmas”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5IXlfJSEi4

A personal favorite of mine in the above photo is the Mantis. Today if you buy a new one off a peg, it’ll have only solid louvers (no exposed engine) and a fixed canopy. Mine was an earlier, perhaps transitional model; louvers, but the canopy still opened. Bill here displays the 1970-only release which featured both an opening canopy and the exposed engine.

I still think I could punch holes in mine and add some, er,

I still think I could punch holes in mine and add some, er, “after-market” engine pods….

Bill scores super-big with this dang-near-mint-on-card Dump Truck from the 1970 The Heavyweights series. With the classic stylized Ira Gilford cab, wide card and collector button, this one serious slab of nostalgia.

Boss styling! Working parts! Exaggerated hyperbole!

Boss styling! Working parts! Exaggerated hyperbole!

Ken adds to his Foreign/Oddity collection with these German-edition Happy Meal toys (from Your Humble Webmaster). Not mere mini-models featuring McDonaldland characters (which would be cool enough), these little runners are equipped with pull-back motors, similar to Penny Racers.

...You vanten ze Fries mitten zat?

…You vanten ze Fries mitten zat?

You may be thinking to yourself, This is not a toy car. (You may also find yourself living in a shotgun shack, but whatever.) This is my Christmas RAOK to Ken: a garbage man action figure, from Kenner’s The Real Ghostbusters toyline. As you should know by now, Ken collects garbage trucks. When I found this guy in a box whilst preparing for a garage sale, I knew it had to go to Ken.

This guy was often the last person to see our old toys....

This guy was often the last person to see our old toys….

It seems odd, though, that a toyline such as The Real Ghostbusters would include such a mundane character as a garbage man. After all, there’s nothing creepy or horrifying about a garbAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

It bears repeating: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

It bears repeating: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased this gleaming goodie: a nicely-detailed ’32 Ford coupe, done up in, I don’t know, some sort of “racing” theme by some “Bill Elliot” guy.

Better than an Oscar statuette. Well, more affordable than an Oscar statuette.

Better than an Oscar statuette. Well, more affordable than an Oscar statuette.

The Ford was not the only thing I got from BTM. I also picked up a DeLorean (not in Back to the Future configuration), and another Curiosity rover. Yep, I gots two of ’em now!

Space travel + Time Travel = retro coupe. Prove me wrong, I dare ya.

Space travel + Time Travel = retro coupe. Prove me wrong, I dare ya.

As we were packing up at the end of the meeting, BTM offered to buy Jim’s entire stock. Jim accepted. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I bought this Hot Wheels-liveried Deora from BTM before he hauled everything out to his truck. I do collect Hot Wheels-liveried vehicles; however I don’t buy every one I find, because either the model itself doesn’t appeal to me, or the livery just doesn’t work well on that model. But this Deora looks really sharp, and I’m glad I own it.

From Jim, to Mike, to me. That's the kind of commerce I like. Especially the

From Jim, to Mike, to me. That’s the kind of commerce I like. Especially the “to me” part.

From me, BTM bought this random assortment of Micro Machines miniature vehicles.

I was going to type "Micro Machines micro machines", but I decided not to.

I was going to type “Micro Machines micro machines”, but I decided not to.

Also from me, Mike also bought this Kenner SSP Time Trial Set. I advised him that one of the hubs for the ends of the catch-arms is missing, and that the bulbs for the “christmas tree” don’t light (the actual interior lighting is basically a pair of glorified penlight flashlights, which should be repairable), but that otherwise it works. In fact it’s possible to “time” a race without seeing the lights, because you can hear them. Yes I actually typed hear them. The lights are not LEDs, nor are the bulbs electromechanically switched by the timer. Rather, they’re mounted in swing-arms mechanically linked to the timer (which winds like a kitchen egg timer). When activated, the timer causes the arms to loudly clunk-clunk-clunk their way down from red to green before activating the seconds dial on front. So, players can actually time a race start by simply waiting for the last “clunk”.

...And it really really works!

…And it really really works!

Aside from that one hub & the light issue, the set is remarkably complete. The plastic baggie prevented me from getting a better focus, but still you can see here the instruction sheet, T-pull, speed calculator, flag, decal sheet, mini-catalog and catch-string.

Do not use if Freshness Seal is broken.

Do not use if Freshness Seal is broken.

Ah, yes; here’s the photo you’ve been waiting (and drooling) to see. The included SSP vehicle, the golden Rail Bird. Aside from being a great racing toy by design, it’s clearly also a great display model. Big Tractor Mike suggests the gold color makes it look like the Drag-u-la. (Click for larger version)

Sweet, sweet speed.

Sweet, sweet speed.

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Whatever do we have here? I tell ya, it pays to clean the garage. We continue the Kenner SSP theme (as well as the bought by BTM from me theme) with this lovely, lovely thing. Kenner combined two great properties, SSPs and Star Wars, to provide us this magnificent thrill machine. And look!: it even has its original box!

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Ooh, it even has its original T-pull! Now, as I said, I found this while cleaning the garage and going through boxes for a garage sale. Still, I had no idea I even still had it (much less in its box). Nonetheless, since Big Tractor Mike was very happy to get this into his hands (and it might even be in someone else’s hand by now), and because this toy is just fully loaded with childhood nostalgia, I’m declaring this item our December 2013 Find of the Month.(*)

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

With our very successful and well-attended December meeting, 2013 ended well. I’m sure our upcoming January meeting will get 2014 off to a good start. See you at the meeting!

~WM