The Grand Gathering of August 2018

I apologize for the lateness of this update. I’ve recently had a cutback in hours at work, so my overriding priority right now is to find a good replacement job. Thus, frivolities such as these club updates take a back seat. (If you happen to know a Tampa Bay area business that’s in need of a hot-rodding creative, please let me know!)

Nonetheless, our August meeting was indeed grand. Good group of people, including a couple o’ members we hadn’t seen in a while. And one stupendous structure.

Hey, get to the photos!

August 2018

Bill does very well for himself by buying this Hot Wheels 20th Anniversary 3-pack. No idea what the CW/CP price tag represents. Circus World, maybe? If you know, share in the Comments!

Twenty years, and only three cars? That's ... not too productive.

Twenty years, and only three cars? That’s … not too productive.

Sorry for the glare and shadows. This is actually the last photo I took, before my camera’s battery went out.

Bill also bought this good-looking Indentor, an entry from the Crack-Ups series. I was hoping to get a really nice photo of it…

*-*-*-*

*-*-*-*

…But unfortunately as I was setting it up, I broke it.

I'm such a bad person.

I’m such a bad person.

A bit of a departure here: Some nose art on a Midnight Otto.

I mean, it's on a door, but still ... nose art.

I mean, it’s on a door, but still … nose art.

Ed was at the meeting. It’s always good to see Ed. He’s a great guy. But I wish he’d bring some stuff to the meetings once in a while. He never brings nothin’!

And I mean -- NUTHIN'!

And I mean — NUTHIN’!

Amongst his nuthin’, Ed had this oddball little fellow.  Threw us all off for a little bit, because we couldn’t ID it. Then we figured out why we had trouble recognizing it…

...Because it usually has a Volkswagen Drag Bus shell wrapped around it.

…Because it usually has a Volkswagen Drag Bus shell wrapped around it.

Mike C. has been absent from the club for the last few months. He made a delightful surprise appearance at our August meeting. Looks good, sounds good. And to make his return complete, he bought some items. A few. You know, three or four.

Some of Ed's nuthin', and some of BTM's nuthin'.

Some of Ed’s nuthin’, and some of BTM’s nuthin’.

Big Tractor Mike bought this set from Ed (leaving him with nuthin’), which features a Batman “action guide”, and three Batman-themed vehicles: one of the over five hundred eighty six variations of the Batmobile; a Joker-themed Evil Twin (a sly choice for comic book aficionados), and a Bane-themed whatever that is.

0201808-004

By day, he’s Big Tractor Mike. By night, he’s the BaTMan! (See what I did there? I hope you see it; it’s very clever.)

Original Ken picked up this lovely Mercedes 350 SL (Majorette, 1/60 scale), which I actually thought he bought at the previous meeting, but no.

Yes, now. Then, no.

Yes, now. Then, no.

Man, I dig those reflections.

Well-appointed interior, and an opening trunk, which is always nice.

Plus a few nicely embossed -- if somewhat overscale -- surface details.

Plus a few nicely embossed — if somewhat overscale — surface details.

And now for the Big Thing of the Meeting: The Grand Barn, a custom hand-built replica of an actual barn, by Doug. I don’t know what scale Doug built it at; nor did I ask him to place his hand in the photo. He was discussing the barn with another member, and just happened to point out a feature right before my camera’s timer fired. A lucky accident, as it gives you some idea of the size of the model.

For additional reference, Doug is 9'12" tall.

For additional reference, Doug is 9’12” tall.

I call it the Grand Barn for several reasons, such as its sheer scale, and its incredible detail.

Click below for sheer scale.

Click below for sheer scale.

Size: 1000 x 486 pixels.

This build is loaded with details.

0201808-010

Details such as the pallet leaning against the wall.

See the small sub-building on the right? It will become important later.

0201808-023

Foreshadowing.

Size: 1000 x 562 pixels.

Note the gleam just off the right of the nose of the contented cow on the left. That’s light reflecting off the artificial water in the trough. Yes, artificial water, a product used to add yet another touch of realism.

The staining around the base of the trough indicates these are some sloppy Santa Gertrudis.

The staining around the base of the trough indicates these are some sloppy Santa Gertrudis.

Note the real metal chain on the post in the above photo. It’s used to shut the open gate in the below photo.

And yes, you *are* seeing an actually lit light.

And yes, you *are* seeing an actually lit light.

Size: 1000 x 536 pixels.

Here’s an interior shot of the upper section, in which you can see some of the amazing detail that Doug put–

Ha! I’m foolin’! This is actually the storage shed in back of the Sports Bar.

Oh.

Oh.

Fooled you twice! It really is a shot of the upper interior, as you can see in this farther-backly photographed photograph.

0201808-017

And if you still doubt me, compare the light spill between the boards in both pics. You’ll see they match.

Size: 1000 x 882 pixels.

How’s this for detail? Lightning rods!

Not to mention that double-hung window.

Not to mention that double-hung window.

More evidence of Doug’s attention to detail: Each piece of this door is hand-cut, and the hinges work.

0201808-018

It’s also evidence of his patience: That door is *barely* the size of a postage stamp.

Remember that sub-building I mentioned earlier? I wanted a shot of the interior detail, so I set my camera on the table with the lens just outside its door. Didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.

No idea how I got a nicely focused shot of the far fence *and* light smear like someone kicked my camera.

No idea how I got a nicely focused shot of the far fence *and* light smear like someone kicked my camera.

I knew I had to try again while I still had some battery. So I reviewed my camera settings, pushed the camera’s lens into the door, and hit the button…

…Ten seconds later, I got the shot. The modified flash setting lit up the interior details nicely while also creating rich shadows, and you can still see that the lights are lit.

Let me emphasize: This shot was taken with my camera's lens *inside* the doorway.

Let me emphasize: This shot was taken with my camera’s lens *inside* the doorway.

Impress yourself with Doug’s amazing detail by clicking the link below:

Size: 1000 x 750 pixels.

For its  size, its realism and its astounding and near-overwhelming quality of detail, Big Tractor Mike and I declare Doug’ custom hand-built Grand Barn to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for August 2018! Many congratulations, Doug!

See you at our September October meeting!

~WM

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April 2018

No time for a wacky intro; head straight to the photos!

April 2018

Big Rob brought in boxes and boxes of oodles and oodles of goodies. The colorful boxes, as you can probably tell, are various Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning collections and race sets. The beige bombers in the background are chock-full of many, many, many individual HW and JL models in MoC condition.

I see about a dozen reasons you should attend Suncoast Diecasters meetings.

I see about a dozen reasons you should attend Suncoast Diecasters meetings.

While the vastly overwhelming majority of Big Rob’s collection are of course 1/64th-scale, one particular box held these footlong-plus behemoths. These are RC versions of Sweet 16 II and Twin Mill. Yes, he has the controllers also, in case ya wants ta race ’em.

These are actually larger than a Fiat 500.

These are actually larger than a Fiat 500.

Of course I did. You and Suncoast Diecasters have been seeing each other for about twelve years now. So of course I did a special favor for you. Enjoy.

Click below for special favor.

Click below for special favor.

1000 x 414 x 2.3mB

Bill bought two vehicles from Big Tractor Mike. First is this 1983 Fork Lift Truck, which is based on a Lansing Bagnall model.

Buy our fork lift with "Up" feature, and get our exclusive "Down" feature at no extra cost!

Buy our fork lift with “Up” feature, and get our exclusive “Down” feature at no extra cost!

Next is this Mercedes-Benz Container Truck from 1981. This version also has dark-tinted blue windows.

Room for plenty more rubber bands inside!

Room for plenty more rubber bands inside!

Not to be outdone (though clearly outmatched) in the “bigger than 1/64” department, Tom bought this gorgeous Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from BTM. This is MebeToys model A-26 from Gran Toros.

Elegance.

This beauty doesn’t just get by on looks alone. It also features an opening bonnet (with some rigging), opening doors and an opening boot.

If you look closely, you'll even see gauges on the dashboard.

If you look closely, you’ll even see gauges on the dashboard.

Well, well, what have we here? Why, it’s a reproduction of Alan Nash & Co.’s patent for Hot Wheels track connectors.

You didn't know those purple connectors had over four hundred moving parts, did you?

You didn’t know those purple connectors had over four hundred moving parts, did you?

Oh, and look: it’s Larry Wood’s original sketch for Tri Baby.

If this doesn't make a toy car collector drool, I don't know what will. I mean, beside pizza.

If this doesn’t make a toy car collector drool, I don’t know what will. I mean, beside pizza.

Whence come this intriguing images? They’re just two of several dozen such illustrations and photos in this wonderful book, Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Power, Performance, and Attitude. This is how our April meeting started, with Big Rob RAOKing this to Big Tractor Mike. For a host of reasons which should be obvious, I easily declare this book to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for April 2018.

Congratulations, Mike! And thank you, Rob.

Congratulations, Mike! And thank you, Rob.

…Aaand with about 15 minutes left, our April update is actually published during April. Let us all cavort!

See you at our May meeting!

~WM

August = Late; K-Day = Great!

Hurricane Hermine and other issues delayed this August update, which makes me 0 – 4 now. So, once’d again, no wacky intro.

The dates for the next K-mart Collector Day and the 1-for-20 Mail-in Promo have been posted to our Calendar, so please check them out!

And now … the photos!

August 2016

There is a curious duality to collecting: In gathering what one chooses to collect, one discovers that one must also collect something else. The first object can be anything (such as 1/64th-scale toy cars); the second object is always the same: storage. Here, Gary collects a display case from Big Tractor Mike.

The blue bag contains a collection of mounting hardware. Collecting!

The blue bag contains a collection of mounting hardware. Collecting!

Here, Bill has collected a “Corvette Cenrtal”-edition Split Window ’63; a Hummer; and a HW Main Street-series Dixie Challenger.

Collecting!

Collecting!

Bill acquired this still-great-looking Field Car (#18). This is the ’70-’74 Superfast edition.

Based on the International Scout.

Based on the International Scout.

Later, he got this red one.

So there.

So there.

From Big Tractor Mike, Original Ken purchased these two Jadeds. The white one is from the 2011 HW Performance series, while the other is the 2007 Treasure Hunts edition. More interestingly, Jaded is based on the Henry J, a sedan offered by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation in the early 1950s. The car is named after company chairman, Henry J. Kaiser. (It has nothing to do with Henry Ford.)

(Or Kelsey Grammer)

(Or Kelsey Grammer)

In collecting these three carded Willys models, Ken reveals his secret collecting passion: country music.

Country icon Hank Williams Jr.

Country icon Hank Williams Jr.

Country super-star LeAnn Rimes.

Country super-star LeAnn Rimes.

Country legend Ray Earl Bobby-Joe McScruggs ... Jr.

Country legend Ray Earl Bobby-Joe McScruggs … Jr.

This is a great item, for two reasons. First, it’s a beautifully framed portrait photo of Dale Earnhardt Sr., accompanied by a commemorative postcard and official U.S. postage stamp celebrating stock car racing. Second, it’s a RAOK from Tom to Ken, commemorating their friendship.

Click below for larger version

Click below for larger version

1000 * 1135

I had to leave the meeting early to go see another group of friends. Ergo, my time for taking photographs was abbreviated. These Corvettes purchased by Arde were among the last I shot, and I didn’t have time to take the multiple shots these beauties deserve. These are 1/43-scale modes with exquisite details.

1963 Stingray Convertible

1963 Stingray Convertible

1953 Corvette Convertible

1953 Corvette Convertible

Ed had an assortment of Hot Wheels children’s books, which as you can see below featured a HW model shell-displayed at the end. Ed doesn’t remember where he got them, and the price sticker is utterly generic. Nonetheless, Arde was sufficiently intrigued to purchased this one.

Aaarrgh! We captured the treasure!

Aaarrgh! We captured the treasure!

For the adult collector (and by “adult”, I’m speaking strictly chronologically. I make no reference to intellectual or emotional development), it is easy to forget that Hot Wheels was and is, at its heart, a toy for children. Parents over the last few generations have lamented the effort needed to get kids to put down their playthings and pick up a book. Here, Mattel makes at least some effort toward addressing this with these simple, almost primer-like mini-books. The colored-block text is annoyingly self-serving, in that it needlessly describes features of the model such as wheel type or interior color. The regular text, however, gives a brief yet interesting, and often historical, overview of the actual vehicle. For parents whose kids love Hot Wheels, or cars in general, these books can be a good starting point for parent/child reading time or deeper research into the hobby or the history of the vehicle. For this, I declare the Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt books to be our August Find of the Month.(*)

These pages feature the real Ford vehicle that Shoe Box is based on.

These pages feature the real Ford vehicle that Shoe Box is based on.

Download yourself a little light reading.

See you at the September meeting!

~WM

June … and none too Soon!

As previously explained, various things delayed our May update. Cumulatively, this June update was also delayed. So I shall skip the usual goofy introduction. I do want to mention that we have a great new collector’s site at the top of our 1/64th-scale Links page, so please check it out!

And now, on to the photos!

June 2016

As a long-time, faithful reader of Suncoast Diecasters, you’re tempted to say, “Ah! A garbage truck! Surely this has been acquired by Original Ken!” Reasonable, but incorrect. “Well, then,” you continue, “it certainly must belong to Emergency Back-up Ken!” Nnnnope. This was purchased by Gary — EBU Ken’s wingman — as a gift for his nephew.

Ha! TOTALLY smoked you on that one!

Ha! TOTALLY smoked you on that one!

For your edification: It’s the Lesney (Matchbox) Refuse Truck, model 15-C, made in England.

Now, here in fact is an Original Ken item: his other passion, Willyses …Willysesees … Willysoi …. Anyway, Ken also collects Willys miniatures. In this case, the ’41 Willys done up as a Hot Rod magazine special edition.

...And it looks just like the illustration.

…And it looks just like the illustration.

Ken got cheezy and nabbed this Chuck E. Cheese’s-edition MX48 Turbo. The MX48 actually comes from the Max Steel toy line — also by Mattel, conveniently.

I've been trying to come up with a funny caption involving ''cheese'' and ''turbo'', but, sorry, I got nothin'.

I’ve been trying to come up with a funny caption involving ”cheese” and ”turbo”, but, sorry, I got nothin’.

Big Tractor Mike goes all literary again with two tomes: First is this Beckett Price Guide, which is actually very dear to all Suncoast Diecasters members, because we is included in it. Yes, as a genuinely published club, we thus officially exist.

''Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book every day!'' - Dialogue from ''The Jerk''

”Page 73 – Johnson, Navin R.! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book every day!” – Dialogue from ”The Jerk”

…And second is this history of Hot Wheels, the amazing story of how a toy company has lasted despite making only one toy.

Yep, just this one toy car, for 40 ... loonnng ... years....

Yep, just this one toy car, for 40 … loonnng … years….

Ed purchased these 1988 Volkswagen Transporter Ambulances

MB182, or MB20 (it depends)

MB182, or MB20 (it depends)

…And then wisely bought this beautiful 1970 Heavyweights-series Dump Truck.

From the brilliant mind of Ira Gilford.

From the brilliant mind of Ira Gilford.

Doug flatbedded this VW pick-up. I mean, Doug picked up this VW flatbed.

By Jada. I mean, by Jada.

By Jada. I mean, by Jada.

From: BTM, this curious item, To: Doug’s li’l boy, is a Stock Car Miniature. That’s actually the brand name. As Ken explained, and is further verified by this ebay article, SCM (as it’s known among fans and collectors) was the first toy company to specifically bring NASCAR and other pro-racing names to the collector market. Poor choice in business location combined with a highly questionable zoning board decision led to the company’s downfall.

...What could've been...

…What could’ve been…

All in all, it makes possible this delightful father-and-son moment:

Evrahbuddeh say ''Aaawwww!!!''

Evrahbuddeh say ”Aaawwww!!!”

This … is the face … of a man in pain.

Or, a man in plastic.

Or, a man in plastic.

Okay, here’s the story: Ed makes the excellent decision to buy from Big Tractor Mike this Matchbox 1/43-scale Speed Kings-series Mercedes Benz Ambulance

Yeah, the cellophane's damaged, but still: ''original box''!

Yeah, the cellophane’s damaged, but still: ”original box”!

…So, naturally I take photos of it, delighted to discover the model also still has the original “man on stretcher”, and in good condition.

I mean, you know, good condition for a guy on a stretcher.

I mean, you know, good condition for a guy on a stretcher.

A few moments later, BTM RAOKs Ed with his other Binzulance, which also still has “Ye Man uponne Stretcher” … Only, not in so good a condition, as the “blanket” fell off instantly (not to mention the stretcher’s handles are broken off).

''Stretcher falls out of ambulance onto ground'' -- Comedy GOLD!

”Stretcher falls out of ambulance onto ground” — Comedy GOLD!

I was intrigued to notice there was significant sculpting of the poor guy’s face, so I propped him up and took a photo, from which I cropped the portrait that started this whole adventure.

Comfy!

Comfy!

I presumed that the guy’s face was all there was to him, that the blanket piece covered basically nothing. Imagine my surprise when, upon looking more closely at the broken stretcher, I realized the patient is a full head-to-foot sculpture, with impressive — indeed, let me say thoughtful — detail. His shirt is open, but he clearly has an undershirt. No shoes, but he’s not barefoot, he’s wearing socks. Most impressively, he has some sort of splint or brace on his left leg.

Uncomfy.

Uncomfy.

You can check out the guy’s vitals here.

For its great physical condition, its original box, its opening doors and hatch, and particularly for its completeness in not only still having its patient, but also because that accessory is itself in great condition, I very easily declare this Matchbox Ambulance to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for June 2016. This is not merely a great model for FotM, it’s one of the coolest FotMs we’ve ever had. Well done, Ed, well done!

''Thanks for the photo. Now could you PLEASE take me to the hospital?!''

”Thanks for the photo. Now could you PLEASE take me to the hospital?!”

Get yourself some free Binz wallpaper.

See you at the July– er, I mean August meeting!

~WM

Start(rek)ing off 2016 Wonderfully!

Hope you’re enjoying the quirky little pun in the title. It’s explained in the update. But first, a little housekeeping duty:

While briefly reviewing some of our site’s pages, I discovered much to my shock that the map graphic had disappeared from our About page. It wasn’t much, basically a line drawing, but I put in on the page as a courtesy to you Faithful Visitors. Don’t know when or why it vanished, but I have redrawn it, and it’s there now for your visual edification.

Now, onto the photos!*

*(Happy New Year, by the way!)

January 2016

Yes, starting 2016 off right means startrekking it off right, as in Star Trekking (you know, across the universe); and it’s all thanks to Tom. As you february recall, at our May 2015 meeting — No, wait, sorry: As you may recall, at our February 2015 meeting, Tom bought several Hamilton plates from me, to decorate his brother’s man-cave. I brought three more in for our December meeting; however, Tom was unable to attend, so I held them over for January. Tom attended, and bought all three. The first plate is the Deep Space Nine space station:

As seen on ''Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"

As seen on ”Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”

Next is the “original series” Klingon battle cruiser:

As seen on ''Star Trek''

As seen on ”Star Trek”

And finally, the Eagle Lunar Module used during the Apollo 11 space flight:

As seen on ''How I Met Your Mother''

As seen on ”How I Met Your Mother”

Unlike the February meeting (when I embarrassingly got it backward), this time I photographed the plates first, and then boxed and taped them up for Tom:

As seen on ''The FedEx Half-Hour Comedy Hour''

As seen on ”The FedEx Half-Hour Comedy Hour”

If you’ll recall from our July ’15 update, I teased this M2 Machines car hauler offered by Big Tractor Mike. It’s a chase version, with an exclusive VW Type 2 tucked inside like a delicious nougatty center (he said metaphorically). Tom, as Suncoast Diecasters‘ Viscount of VWs, finally added it to his own collection.

Pictured: A metaphor

Pictured: A metaphor

What I didn’t notice back in July is this exclusivity call-out on the top of the box. I had already packed away my camera before I spotted this, so I took this shot with the humble little convenience camera built into my phone.

Technical note: ''640 X 480'' is smaller than ''4.1 Megapixels''

Technical note: ”640 X 480” is smaller than ”4.1 Megapixels”

Tom continues VW’ing with this rare, odd gem. It too is a Type 2, commercial panel version, from Lledo’s  “Days Gone” series. What makes it odd is the Nescafé illustration featuring an unidentidied but gallant fellow I have dubbed “Sir Nescafé”.

M'lady's coffee is served!

M’lady’s coffee is served!

In trying to identify our handsome chap, I’ve found a couple of other collectors’ photos of this model with this illustration, but I haven’t found any data on the character himself. The Nescafé home site itself proved useless in this regard; worse, it seems to think it’s Windows 8. However, the Taster’s Choice history page states that Nescafé was developed in Nestlé’s Swiss labs. So, perhaps our bon vivant‘s design — and this is strictly a guess — is loosely based on the uniform of the Swiss Guard.

This is good coffee. You can trust a man in pantaloons.

This is good coffee. You can trust a man in pantaloons.

Good friend Ed put in a rare appearance at our January meeting, and he brought wide array of cars. From him I bought this ’57 Chevy in sweet Hot Wheels livery, and this Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. I have an OMWmobile, loose. I don’t think I have one still on its card, so snagging this one from Ed was an easy decision.

Did I say sweet? I meant sweeeeet!

Did I say sweet? I meant sweeeeet!

There are no circumstances under which this toy is not cool.

There are no circumstances under which this toy is not cool.

From Big Tractor Mike I bought this beautiful Super Coupe from Kenner’s Fast111s line. This model is in near-perfect condition, even to the point of not having any adhesive residue on the license plate blank. While all KF1s are rare, this one is moreso, as this is only the second one I’ve seen. (And yes, I own the other one also.)

Classic hot rod styling: A massive power plant and a vintage body.

Classic hot rod styling: A massive power plant and a vintage body.

Can you believe this?!!? Big Tractor Mike gave me a lump of coal! Da noive!!!

I suppose next year he'll give me a waffle iron.

I suppose next year he’ll give me a waffle iron.

Okay, perhaps this is a clue: The embossed Matchbox logo. In the mid-2000s, Matchbox issued “Coal Cars”, Christmas-themed cars hidden inside “lump of coal” shells. So, which Matchbox car did I find inside this RAOK?

Because you strike matches on coal.

Because you strike matches on coal.

HA! It’s actually a Bertone Runabout Concept, by Corgi, repurposed as the Wonder Woman-mobile. This is an exceptionally cool gift from BTM, in that the Runabout is a very rare model. Although, that may in fact be an inaccurate statement as I now own four of them, including another WW car.

Sleek, futuristic styling!

Sleek, futuristic styling!

Now, those of you who are staring at the near front-on shot in the lower half of the above photo, not quite understanding what you’re seeing, having difficulty with what your eyes are asking your brain to interpret, let me clear things up for you. This is exactly what you’re seeing:

Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Nicolas Cage.

Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Nicolas Cage.

Back in August, Doug brought in a retro-repro Sizzlers track set. Well, for our January meeting he upped his game, and his technology, by bringing in this Anki Overdrive race set. He got it for his son for Christmas, then thought better of it and brought it in for us to play with.

Yes, another post-packing phone photo

Yes, another post-packing phone photo

Before we get to the video (yes, your Humble Webmaster dutifully shot some race footage), I want to point out the one thing I consider a significant drawback in the Anki concept: it requires a smart phone to actually operate it; there is no separate controller device for the vehicles. I know many folks have smart phones these days, but I would suggest to Anki that they develop a stand-alone controller, because I think that would increase their market share.

Okay, needling little rant over; onto the race! In the opening segment, the cars seem to be going very slowly. In fact, they are, because they’re “learning” the track (leading Doug and myself to conjecture that there’s a filament (or something) embedded in the track sections to which the vehicles respond). Once the track is learned, the cars automatically pull up to the starting line, and the race may begin.

Overdrive combines the control of slot cars, the rechargeable ease of Sizzlers and both the interactivity and weapons options of video games. Enjoy the video!

SD in: Overdrive from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

Notice how, near the end, Ken’s car came to a dead stop? It was “disabled” by a (virtual) weapon on Doug’s car. Neat stuff!

Okay, time for a big reveal. We’re at the end of the update, where you know I always place the Find of the Month item. This time, it’s kind of a two-fer, because it’s also the “mystery Christmas gift” I teased back in December. I hope you like it:

It’s the 1969 children’s book, Hot Wheels — The Fast Cars Book. It’s from the Golden Shape Book sub-set of the classic Little Golden Book children’s series. Note how the top and bottom edges of the book are die-cut to more or less follow the shape of the Hot Wheels logo. Yes, you’re seeing that correctly: an original selling price of 29¢; and that’s no sticker, that’s actually printed — by the publisher — right on the cover. (And, no, my book is not for sale.)

Beloved childhood possession

Beloved childhood possession

I’ll be honest, making this our FotM item is probably a bit self-serving, as this is not something one Suncoast Diecasters member bough from another. Rather, I “found” this by finally opening the right box in my storage unit. There are many toys and other things from my childhood which exist now only as memories in muh brain. This is one I’m very happy to still actually have. I thank the Holy Spirit for the brilliant idea of scanning the pages and converting them into a PDF file, which I then gave to each Suncoast Diecasters member on a CD, labeled with a grayscale image of the cover — thus, the December “mystery gift”. And only to SD members; I’m concerned about copyright, so I will not be selling or otherwise making the CDs available. So, the best I can offer you is this fly-by animated GIF:

A ''Fast Cars'' book requires speed-reading!

A ”Fast Cars” book requires speed-reading!

I love the concept of the book. The first half features shots of HW cars on various track sections, while the second half is an “around the town” visual tale using the Parking Garage and Action City playsets.

2015 ended well, and 2016 has started out well. Looking forward to the first ’16 K-Day event (whenever it is). See you at the February meeting!

~WM

(Hey, I got the January update posted while there’s still a little bit of January left! Points for me!)

September transports us into Fall!

Okay, the title is somewhat overwrought, perhaps. But there’s a reason for it, as you will learn as you read on through this update.

However, before getting to the meeting’s photos, I want to share with you the car I got at the most-recent K-mart event. Right, the one car. As has been happening far too often over the last several K-day cycles, the “special” vehicles offered during the September 5th event were completely uninteresting (IMHO). So when it was my turn, I simply dug through the box to see whatever I could find. And, thank you, Lord, what I found was this:

The Brat is used in Bratislava to deliver Bratwurst.

The Brat is used in Bratislava to deliver Bratwurst.

I never found a first-edition Brat, so I was very pleased to find this one. And this one alone made K-day completely satisfactory for me.

Now, on to the photos!

September 2015

Thus sayeth our valiant* young Bill: “The Roll Patrol Jeep CJ-7 came out in 1986, from Malaysia. This version with blackwalls was found on three different cards: two different Action Command cards, and a blue card in 1991. The blue card, with the number 12, is very rare to find. The Thunderburner in white came out in 1989 with two other wheels variations besides this one: a blackwall, and one in Ultra Hots wheels from 1990. All three have the same tampos. The version of Thunderburner in black with the The Black Knight tampo on the doors came out in 1987, from Malaysia. There`s also one with Ultra Hots wheels, released in 1989. The yellow Inside Story came out in 1980, from Hong Kong. There are two other version in yellow: one from Malaysia, and one with clear windows, both from the same year.”

*Note: Plymouth Valiant not shown.

*Note: Plymouth Valiant not shown.

Remember last month, when Big Tractor Mike bought all my Star Trek items? Well, he’s done it again! Only this time, he bought all my stuff! He upped the ante! He cleaned me out! He wiped the floor with me! (Okay, those bromides may have been a little over the top.) Here, BTM gets askull — I mean, ahead of the Halloween rush with this Jack Skellington figure from The Nightmare before Christmas. Backer’s a bit rumpled from years in storage, and there’s a slight split in the glue at the lower left. Otherwise in good shape, and complete.

Boo. (Sorry, that's all I could think of.)

Boo. (Sorry, that’s all I could think of.)

Mike then jumps (and skips and frolics) ahead to Christmas with these two embossed foil ornaments. The top one is obviously a traditional depiction of a sleigh, whilst the bottom one shows Santa Claus and Friends in what appears to be a 1900s-era runabout decorated for the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Festive foil is fun!

Festive foil is fun!

BTM then gets Tick-led pink (get it?) with these The Tick and Space Shuttle wind-ups. The Tick’s arms and hands pop forward, as if he’s actually pushing himself along by rolling the Studebaker’s rear tires. The Shuttle’s action is surprisingly complex; in fact there are two actions which happen simultaneously. It rolls forward for several inches, then stops and spins around rapidly several times, then rolls off again in whatever direction it’s pointing. Meanwhile, the doors pop open and the astronaut pops up, then slowly winds back down into the cargo bay as the doors slowly close over him.

Go ahead. Yell ''Spoon!''; it's okay.

Go ahead. Yell ”Spoon!”; it’s okay.

Af if to emphasize the point, Mike also picked up this Odo figure kit. (I mean, the point about buying all my Star Trek stuff last month. That’s the point I was referring to.)

Before ''Deep Space Nine'', he was best known for inventing the Odometer.

Before ”Deep Space Nine”, he was best known for inventing the Odometer.

Yep, just like on the show, if Odo doesn’t spend time regenerating in his bucket, he just goes all to pieces.

An in-context DS9 joke! BOOM!!

An in-context DS9 joke! BOOM!!

Here, Mike goes on a literary bent by picking up these three Godzilla storybooks. I should’ve arranged them differently for the photo. Cleary the top one is titled Godzilla on Monster Island, and the bottom one’s title is Godzilla vs. Gigan and the Smog Monster. The title of the one in the middle can’t be seen, and I have no idea what it was.

Oh wait, I just remembered: ''Godzilla and the No Good, Very Bad Diary of Lemony Hallows''.

Oh wait, I just remembered: ”Godzilla and the No Good, Very Bad Diary of Lemony Hallows”.

BTM continues his literary aspirations with this retro catalog of retro goodies. I was surprised to find this when I opened a storage bin, as I have absolutely no recollection of ever buying it. Perhaps I got it at a Star Trek convention; or perhaps it was included as a “gift” with something else I ordered. Maybe I got it through a catalog of catalogs (yes, Virginia, there are such things). Or, heck, maybe I just ordered it directly from Amazon.

It was first published in 1990, so it's not like it's *that* retro...

It was first published in 1990, so it’s not like it’s *that* retro…

Mike’s literary quest reaches its highest peak, its sun-warmed summit with this rare collection of short stories about the greatest hobby in the world. Most of the stories are wonderfully humorous or thrill-seeking adventure. Its two most poignant tales, however, are I used to have that and My parents never bought me that one.

Correction: The above book does not contain any stories. It just has pictures of toy cars.

Correction: The above book does not contain any stories. It just has pictures of toy cars.

Aaand speaking of Hot Wheels, there’s one right here somewhere. BTM also acquired from me these “higher end” models which are better-detailed than mainline cars, and come in special packaging. Of the four, the Camaromad is the strangest, and I could never figure it out. Was it a Camaro stylized as a Nomad wagon, or a Nomad wagon stylized as a Camaro? Well, the “always reliable” Internet has turned up exactly one page that provides any kind of information on the design. It’s sparse, and you have to scroll almost to the bottom (or, you know, just do a word search on the page for “Camaromad”), but at least it’s something.

Like I said back in April: Earl’s Live Bait ‘n Diecast.

Like I said back in April: Earl’s Live Bait ‘n Diecast.

I never saw Last Action Hero at a theater, because I listened to the critics who panned it. Then I saw it on TV, and was quite entertained by it. Hm – Learned that lesson. Anyhoo, by then the LAH toys were being clearanced out, so I done snagged me a few. And now, Big Tractor Mike has de-snagged them from me. Here we have Jack Slater and Evil Eye Benedict. And his Evil Briefcase. I didn’t realize until I started editing the photos that I should’ve set the ‘case in front of EEB instead of to his left. Fortunately, the photo was of high-enough resolution that I could crop out the ‘case separately. Along with stickers, it includes weapons and a tray of eyeballs. Yep, that white strip with the round things is a magazine of weaponized false eyeballs.

'Cause nothin' sez ''Fun for the kids!'' like murderous prosthetics.

‘Cause nothin’ sez ”Fun for the kids!” like murderous prosthetics.

This is bad guy The Ripper, with axe but without hat (which oddly was not in the bin he was in), and — I will quote from the package here — “Skull Attack Jack.” It’s Slater as a Shakespearean character, who launches a skull via Spring-Powered Action! Oh, and he has a dagger and a sword.

''I vant to zing und dantz, I vant to zing und dantz...''

”I vant to zing und dantz, I vant to zing und dantz…”

Of course, one can’t have an action movie without action vehicles. And here they be! It’s Evil Eye Benedict’s Evil Eye Roadster, with original box, and Slater’s convertible with no box. Note however that Slater’s ride does have seatbelts, because who ever heard of an action hero who doesn’t obey all safety regulations?

The Goofus and Gallant of the automotive world.

The Goofus and Gallant of the automotive world.

And here we have the action vehicles in action: Benedict’s roadster is just bristling with gadgety weapons, including a pop-up missile launcher, while Slater’s ‘vert does a classic side-wheelie the old-fashioned way…

I-4/I-275 Interchange: The Home Game.

I-4/I-275 Interchange: The Home Game.

…With a hidden trike wheel, just like Hal Needham taught him!

Oh, sorry: (Ahem) ''Spoiler alert!''

Oh, sorry: (Ahem) ”Spoiler alert!”

It seems that Big Tractor Mike is determined to eradicate my Star Trek collection. For here he has acquired yet another such item, the NexGen Transporter* playset. Well, at least it gave me an opportunity for an overwrought title for this update. (Yes, this is exactly and specifically the reason for that title. So there.)

*(Jason Statham not included.)

*(Jason Statham not included.)

For your entertainment and edification, here’s a video of the Transporter in operation at our September meeting — And it really really works! And by “really works”, I don’t mean sub-atomic disassembly and matter conversion. I mean, the “magic trick” of an object placed in the chamber disappearing and reappearing actually functions as advertised. Enjoy!

(If the video doesn’t play properly, you can view it in a separate window.)

At some point during the meeting, Mike comes over to me, holding a Hot Wheels DeLorean which he offered to me. At first I thought this was odd, as he had already given me three other DeLoreans. Then I noticed something very … peculiar about this model….

Aw, man! Four flats and no spare!

Aw, man! Four flats and no spare!

Yep, it’s not merely a DeLorean. In fact, it’s not even merely yet another Back to the Future time machine. It’s the wheels-down “hover mode” variation, which I didn’t even know Mattel produced. Upon realizing this, I gladly accepted Mike’s RAOK, upping my DeLorean collection to five (three Hot Wheels, a Johnny Lightning and a Tomica).

So, you may be wondering how it rolls. Duh! On its wheels, of course! Seriously, has there ever been a Hot Wheels vehicle which didn’t roll well?

*Cough*greenaliencrosser*Cough*

*Cough*greenaliencrosser*Cough*

So, for its rarity and its choice variation (not to mention some fine detailing), I declare the “hover mode” DeLorean to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for September 2015.

Hey, dig this cool diorama I built!*

Hey, dig this cool diorama I built!*

*(Actually, the background photo comes to us courtesy GoodStockPhotos.)

See you at the October meeting!

~WM