December 2017!!!

A holiday family gathering…

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With appropriate musical accompaniment…

So, let us get to the photos!

(Oh, and our Calendar has been updated for 2018.)

December 2017

Our Christmas bonus for 2017 came in the form of a new member. We have Original Ken and Emergency Back-up Ken, and now along with Big Tractor Mike we have a bonus Michael! He’s a friend of BTM, and brought in some handiwork. The green-&-white tractor is BTM’s; Michael fixed the wheels and axles of it for him. The silver tractor is Doug’s, and Michael cut some clear plastic sheeting to make windows for its cab.

By the way, both models are 1/64th-scale.

By the way, both models are 1/64th-scale.

Michael also made the tanks. They were plain cardboard tubes with plastic endcaps. He painted them white, then bent thin steel rods to make the pipes.

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Who’s that handsome fellow hiding in there?

Not it!

Not it!

Clearly that’s Doug’s tractor. But the real point here is not who’s hiding, but where the hiding is happening:

The broad side of a cliché.

The broad side of a cliché.

This is another custom build by Doug for BTM. I don’t recall what specific type of structure it is (I’m still a-waitin’ for an informative e-mail), but even though Doug says it’s not yet finished, I can tell you it’s really quite impressively detailed.

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Heck, I’ll even show you!

All pieces hand-cut and hand-assembled by Doug.

All pieces hand-cut and hand-assembled by Doug.

Those square structures above Doug’s tractor are the bottom ends of these square structures.

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I did say it’s impressively detailed, did I not?

Well, actually I typed it, but still...

Well, actually I typed it, but still…

The holiday spirit was flowing freely, as Tom RAOK’d Ken with two wonderful items. The first is this Dale Earnhardt-themed photo album.

(The pockets inside are empty; it's the cover that makes it collectible.)

(The pockets inside are empty; it’s the cover that makes it collectible.)

The second is this magnificent Brickyard 400 commemorative mug.

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In keeping with the holidays, I merrily declare this genuinely wonderful (and wonderfully generous) dual gift to be Suncoast DiecastersDual Finds of the Month(*) for December 2017. Congratulations, Ken! (And thank you, Tom!)

This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin': it's just an empty cup.

This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin’: it’s just an empty cup.

See you at our January (2018!) meeting!

~WM

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Christmas in Florida

I really have to thank the Lord for this photograph. I was going to post just the photo, no text or commentary, but it all went so well that I have to tell you about it. It was taken out on the Causeway, about mid-day with the sun behind me. I piled up some sand to form a raised surface for the props, rather than shooting “down the slope”. I found a somewhat flattish rock to set the camera on.

There was no way for me to get down and accurately aim using the optical viewfinder. And of course, the sun essentially washed out the camera’s LCD preview screen, so I couldn’t tell if I was centered on the props or where the focus landed. In particular, I had no way of knowing whether the waters of the Sound provided the background I hoped they would. I was going to shoot multiple photos using different flash settings, just to see if one worked better that the others. But once I realized I was, as it were, “shooting blind” because of the sun, I simply went with the one photo, with the flash off and using only natural sunlight. I used the timer for stability, because even my lightest press on the shutter button would’ve jostled the camera on the rock.

After the shutter clicked and the camera finished processing the image, I previewed the photo by cupping the camera right up to my face. I had made no adjustments to the zoom setting, other than changing from Normal to Macro because the camera was so close to the mound, so I was surprised — and concerned — when I realized the props took up only a very small portion of the total image, as if I had shot from farther back. But I knew I could not improve upon the circumstances, and headed home accepting that however the photo came out, that’s all I had to work with.

Imagine my absolute delight and pleasure when, after offloading the image to my PC, finding that not only were the props very near the center, but also that the focus was just about dead-on perfect. There was actually very little I needed to do to the photograph. In fact, the single biggest change was rotating it a few degrees so the horizon was actually horizontal. I was also happy to see that the waters of the Sound fill about the middle third of the background. Otherwise, it was simply cropping it and a few other, very minor edits. Speaking of cropping, even though the props were very little of the images’ full “real estate”, even when cropped they were larger than the size I’ve standardized for our photos, so I actually had some working room for the edits.

So, despite not having anywhere near the control of the set-up that I typically have for our in-meeting photos, the Lord gave me a holiday photograph which required very little hands-on effort on my part. Even that flattish rock was a miraculous provision. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a mediocre Festivus, and a Happy New Year!

Re-gifting a Web Page

If you’ve spent any time perusing the Suncoast Diecasters website, you know one of our pages is a Christmas Panels gallery. Similarly, if you’ve spent any time perusing our website, you know of our problem with PhotoBucket. I have uploaded copies of our Christmas Panels images to our local WordPress space, and replaced them all on that page, which has also been updated to include Christmas 2016. So, please enjoy our freshly re-worked, re-wrapped and re-gifted Christmas Panels gallery!

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Curiously, only one has a working hood.

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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

December’s Winter Coolness

Santa's Cycle Shop

Santa’s Cycle Shop

Santa seems to have traded his eight (nine?) tiny reindeer for hundreds of high-torque horses. A pair of holiday shoppers stop in, pondering the purchase of a yuletide ride. Don’t know if their son is more excited over the toy cars or over the custom cycles, but I’m sure either way he’s anticipating an awesome sleigh ride.

Our Suncoast Diecasters December 2015 meeting was fantastic. First and foremost, Marge returned and helped us close out the year with her wonderful presents presence. Many great trades took place. And the fellowship and holiday spirits were richly flowing, ending our year on a great high note.

Before getting to the photos, Let me inform you of the updates. First of course, Santa’s Cycle Shop has been added to our Christmas Panels page (which also features an improved video). Next, our Calendar now reflects our complete schedule for 2016. Also, unlike the last few meetings, to which I’ve brought anything but cars, I actually brought cars this time — and I can prove it. And finally, you’ll notice that a few of the items on our menu bar now have double arrows (>>); this is to more clearly indicate that those items have sub-menus which will pop out when you hover your mouse pointer over them.

Now, on to the photos!

December 2015

Our December meeting began with me RAOKing all who attended with a special Christmas gift. Which … I can’t describe to you just yet. Two long-time and cherished members were unable to attend, so I’m holding their gifts for our January (2016!) meeting. Thus, to avoid spoiling the surprise I’m refraining from telling you Faithful Readers what the gift is. So, in the meantime, please accept this silly substitute:

Mystery Gift!

Mystery Gift!

You may have noticed I refer to two Suncoast Diecasters members (not the ones above) as Original Ken and Emergency Back-up Ken. This is not only because they’re both named Ken but also because they both collect garbage trucks. EBU Ken had at our December meeting two new trucks and one he’d mentioned to me and brought in to show me. The first is this massive Jelcz 315, at 1:43 scale. Jelcz is a Polish manufacturer; this model is by IXO.

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Next is this 1:76 scale Shelvoke Dewry by Oxford. The text along the side says “Corporation of London/Cleansing Department”.

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And finally, this little fellow which Ken said is a Transformer which he couldn’t figure out how to transform. I noticed on the side the name FlyTrap, and advised Ken that this is actually a GoBot. I know this because I actually have this one myself. I told him not to worry, I would change it to robot mode after taking this shot of it in vehicle mode. Much to my embarrassment, I couldn’t remember how to change it. I got a few smaller parts loose, but I was afraid I’d break something if I kept trying to work the larger parts. So, I handed FlyTrap back to Ken in defeat. Naturally, the Internet provides plenty of photos to further humiliate me.

FlyTrap is an evil Renegade, so OF COURSE he would embarrass me in front of Ken.

FlyTrap is an evil Renegade, so OF COURSE he would embarrass me in front of Ken.

Jim bought these two well-dressed vehicles from me. These are examples of a curious — and somewhat frustrating — element of collecting: the costly losses. Aside from the fact that the models themselves are of higher quality than mainline dollar-cars, they’re also package with eye-catching backers which make great displays for those collectors who keep the packages, uh, packaged. Yet, here they amongst my for-sales, because I had eventually lost all interest in them. So, Jim gets two sweet cars for a bargain, and I get more empty space in my whatever I’m storing the rest of my cars in.

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Big Tractor Mike bought from me this Mini Cooper, Go-Cart and VW Transporter…

See? Proof.

See? Proof.

…And then later on did me the favor of buying up all my remaining cars so’s I wouldn’t have to pack them all back into my travel bin. In the insert on the left, you see the last two full columns of cars on my table, and on the right, Mike’s big beefy hand swooping in and scooping up the top end of another column.

...Maybe Mike thought my cars were all from a Star Trek episode?

…Maybe Mike thought my cars were all from a Star Trek episode?

As a Big Tractor Holiday Treat, Mike RAOK’d me with this Light Speeders edition of the Back to the Future DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine vehicle car toy (he just kept on typing). LS models have the cute and rather gimmicky gimmick of having a UV-reactive coating which responds to the included flux capacitor mini UV flashlight.

Time travel at the speed of light! ...I guess.

Time travel at the speed of light! …I guess.

The Light Speeders series was produced in 2012, so it’s surprising that the battery still works (just like last month). Conveniently, the UV reaction also still works. See the bluish smudge on the roof in the lower half of the photo?

You are looking at SCIENCE, boys and girls!

You are looking at SCIENCE, boys and girls!

So, do I leave it in its package, or bust it loose? Well, knowing I’ll have to change the batteries before they get mushy, I set it free. Besides, I wanted to see how the stencil worked. In the upper part of the photo below you see a scan of the stencil. In the lower part, I’ve used the Mr. Fusion logo on the roof and the Hot Wheels logo on the hood. And the results…

...A solid ''Eh''.

…A solid ”Eh”.

Ken got several holiday treasures. Here, we see (clockwise from bottom left) Racing Champions ’57 Plymouth; two Mustangs made by Fleer; two Majorette Morgans;  and a Revell ’48 Chevy.

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Next, we have (clockwise from bottom left …ish) a Road Champs Ford Model A; a Norev Minijet truck; a Norscot bulldozer; and a no-name Corvette with lights on the base.

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In this pic, Ken has (clockwise from bot– Sorry.) a Barclay car hauler “just like the one I cut my fingers on when I was a kid.” (That’s actual text from Ken.) The Barclay was available in single- and double-deck variations. I’ve found many photos online, but very little info. You are welcome to assist, gentle readers!

And it really does look like Dwight Schultz. (It's a Star Trek reference. Look it up.)

And it really does look like Dwight Schultz. (It’s a Star Trek reference. Look it up.)

And finally (clockwi– Dang! Sorry.), this ’53 Cadillac Eldorado made by High Speed, and a black pickup made to look like a Hot Wheels model but which is really a no-name butane cigarette lighter.

Oh, you don't believe it's a lighter?

Oh, you don’t believe it’s a lighter?

Boom! Butane cigarette lighter.

Now you believe me.

Now you believe me.

Oh, almost forgot: Ken also nabbed this Muky patrol cruiser from Big Tractor Mike.

Clockwise from bottom left.

Clockwise from bottom left.

From Marge, Big Tractor Mike bought this 1968 T-Bird and 1960 Thunderbird Hardtop, both by Johnny Lightning.

Thunderbirds are Go! ...-Ing into BTM's collection.

Thunderbirds are Go! …-Ing into BTM’s collection.

From Marge, I purchased this Ford Zodiac Mk IV (not Ford Prefect). I was looking it over intently, when Jim mentioned something about a “spare”. I lifted the hood, er, bonnet, and thar it is! An actually spare tire, er, tyre! And I don’t mean a tire-shaped portion of a cast engine insert, I mean an actual separately-molded plastic tire! ‘Twas the selling point for me. For its British historical aspect, its rare-enough opening hood, and especially for its thoughtfully-included spare tire, I hereby declare this Ford Zodiac Mk IV to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for December 2015!

As Jim might say, it makes a nice ''transition'' into 2016...

As Jim might say, it makes a nice ”transition” into 2016…

And now, for your (slightly delayed) Christmas Bonuses!

First, what is IMHO the best animated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This one is by Chuck Jones. Yes, that Chuck Jones, the man who brought us Bugs Bunny. This interpretation of Carol is, literally, dramatically different from typical Looney Tunes fare:

Next, another animated version. Not quite as good as Jones’ version, this one nonetheless has what I think is the creepiest interpretation of Marley’s Ghost:

Lighter fare here: Straight No Chaser’s wacky take on The Twelve Days of Christmas:

And finally, a treat to go along with those great Peanuts holiday specials (and the fantastic Peanuts movie, which I hope you’ve seen):

See you at the January (2016!) meeting!

~WM

A Merry Diecast Update to One and All!

Oh, that we could always see/Such spirit through the year...

Oh, that we could always see/Such spirit through the year…

Click here for a larger version

I have to hand it to the Lord, making a Snoopy car available when I already had the Red Baron so I could do a four-wheel version of the classic air battle.

No doubt you recall the song from which the holiday greeting is taken; nonetheless, enjoy this pleasant reminder:

Well, along with a big ol’ stack of new photos, there several other updates: our Calendar has 2014 all closed out; the holiday diorama at the top of the page has been added to our Christmas panels; and — big announcement — all the Members’ Galleries from the original site are now available here. Just mouse over Galleries on the menu bar atop this page, then mouse over Members’ Galleries, then click on the gallery you want to see.

Now, I have to tell you something about the look of these galleries. The old site was web-based, thus all the pages were coded in HTML. For the sake of speed and simplicity, rather than completely rebuild all the galleries here, I just dropped whole coded pages into blank WordPress templates. This process works … mostly. As WordPress does not recognize all HTML tags, much of the formatting has been either lost or oddly interpreted. Over time I’ll strip out the unneeded code, but meanwhile the pages look a bit, um, off. For example, I’m already halfway through Big Tractor Mike’s page. The first half of his gallery has the same clean appearance as the other WordPress pages here, while the second half appears rather clunky and ungainly – much like Big Tractor Mike himself.

And a special thanks to GoodStockPhotos for the “snow-covered pines” backdrop. Now on to the photos!

December 2014

Our December 2014 meeting starts with a RAOK from me to Big Tractor Mike. Below are just two of about forty or more vehicles and accessories from Kenner’s Mega Force line. No, no, this has nothing to do with the 1982 movie. This is a “futuristic” battle between the Triax and V-ROCS nations, which loosely represent Euro-socialists and NATO respectively.

The series came in two lines. One was a blister-pack of three basically realistic vehicles with a military-esque accessory (such as the radar tower below). The other was individual command vehicles which, being on the same unspecified scale as the blister trios, were so large as be cartoonish. No, no, there are no TAC-COMs; this is not from the movie. One example is the TAR-TRAKS carrier. It’s a land vehicle which can deliver up to four tanks to the battlefield. If a Mega Force tank is comparable to a modern real-world tank, the TAR-TRAKS machine would be about the size of a small office building.

For the last time, this has nothing to do with the movie!

For the last time, this has nothing to do with the movie!

Interesting marketing gimmick for the blister trios: one vehicle was always a command vehicle. You could tell because it was physically different. For example, the “command chopper” version of the one above has five blades.

Mike delicately tip-toes back into the world of Transformers, with this purchase from me of Blaster and several mini-cassette characters. Starting on the upper left and going left-right, left-right, they are Rewind, Eject, Slugfest, Overkill, Rain Dance, Grand Slam, Beastbox, Squawktalk and Ramhorn.

In the age of the iPod, would these guys even bother transforming back from robot form?

In the age of the iPod, would these guys even bother transforming back from robot form?

Mike C. made a (comparatively) rare appearance, and RAOK’d members (plural) with these sweet T-Hunt Custom ’62 Chevejo, packaged nicefully in ProTech protector shells.

Shell removed because, you know, glare.

Shell removed because, you know, glare.

Bill ROAK’d me with this sweet maroon Saturn Seeker from Kenner’s Fast111s line, and Ken ROAK’d me with this tasty green Dynamo from Kenner’s Fast111s line. Life … is good.

From the license plates, it's clear Bill is the more conscientious gift-giver...

From the license plates, it’s clear Bill is the more conscientious gift-giver…

Bob had this awesome (awwwe-SOMMMME!) “Show Team” boxed set, still shrink-wrapped and mostly still with original rubber bands holding the cars in place. This set is so rare, I can’t any info on it online. Feel free to submit data!

As stated previously: Complimentary drool cups are available in the lobby.

As stated previously: Complimentary drool cups are available in the lobby.

Bob also had this Dinky fork lift. Which, to use the vernacular, isn’t so dinky. The toy is nearly the size of a 6-volt lantern battery. No scale is stated, but I’m guessing it’s in the 1/32 range.

Didn't Miller use this recently on the O'Reilly Factor?

Didn’t Miller use this recently on the O’Reilly Factor?

Tom gets into the “holiday spirits” (Comedy!) with this triple serving of Lager lorries (More comedy!). They’re all from a subset of Matchbox’s Models of Yesteryear series named, quite inexplicably, Great Beers of the World.

Not the 50th Anniversary Hess Truck, but they'll do.

Not the 50th Anniversary Hess Truck, but they’ll do.

Tom grooves on in his holiday shopping with this krazy-kolored Kool Kombi, an original-edition Sunagon from BTM, and this beautiful Mercedes 300 SE from Matchbox. No, your eyes are not lying; yes, the 300 SE has operating partses.

Yes, kids, working doors, trunks and other such finery were *standard* on toy cars way back when!

Yes, kids, working doors, trunks and other such finery were *standard* on toy cars way back when!

Clockwise from left: Green Matchbox Superfast VW Golf (1976, no. 7); magenta Matchbox Superfast Ford Capri (1970, no. 54); yellow Hot Wheels Peterbilt Dump Truck (Extras series); and yellow Matchbox Superfast Mod Rod (1971, no. 1). By the way, 1971 was the year Bill was born. Awwwwww!

A completely unique photograph, entirely unlike any other photograph in this update.

A completely unique photograph, entirely unlike any other photograph in this update.

Clockwise from left: Matchbox Beach Hopper, from the Rolamatics series (1973, no. 47); yellow Hot wheels Dump Truck with CAT Diesel Power tampo on doors (1998) [Note: Came originally in a baggie]; blue Hot Wheels Ford Dump Truck (1982); and light green Matchbox Superfast Dodge Charger III concept (1970). Hey, did you know that Bill was born in 1971? Awwwwww!

A photograph strikingly similar to the photograph shown above.

A photograph strikingly similar to the photograph shown above.

AW carried in this cool, crazy collection of colorful cranes. The cranes carefully and cautiously carry cargo, while the catalina-colored cutter in the corner cuts and cuts and cuts and never hits. (…You older readers will get that one eventually.)

They slice! They dice! They fold, spindle and mutilate! They even make Julienne fries! Now how much would you pay?

They slice! They dice! They fold, spindle and mutilate! They even make Julienne fries! Now how much would you pay?

I purchased this Corgi NBC garbager from Ken. Now, you know for a certainty that Ken collects garbage trucks; it’s quite unheard of for him to part with one. However, this’n’s a duplicate (he’s culling his collection), so he put it on the table, whence I purchased it. I think it’ll look good next to my other TV news trucks. Not that I’m editorializing on a certain network’s journalistic quality or anything!

I watch the Fox News Channel, is what I'm sayin'...

I watch the Fox News Channel, is what I’m sayin’…

I also bought this Corgi racer from Ken. I’ll tell you more about it when I find it!

Seriously, I've misplaced it!

Seriously, I’ve misplaced it!

I remarked to Ken that it was odd that he’d buy a truck with such damage. He said he has a “minty” one at home, but it’s missing its camper top.

…I don’t get it.

That'll buff right out, mack. Five minutes, tops.

That’ll buff right out, mack. Five minutes, tops.

Proving that Mike C. did in fact RAOK members (plural) with these sweet T-Hunt Custom ’62 Chevejo, packaged nicefully in ProTech protector shells, here’s Ken’s. Along with the desktop trash can with which I RAOK’d him, and that blue tractor for which he owes me an explanation.

One man's trash is another man's tractor.

One man’s trash is another man’s tractor.

Okay, you’re wondering why I posted a photo so badly out of focus. It’s not out of focus; the PowerAde box in the background is sharp and clear! Heh. Okay, here’s what happened: Big Tractor Mike RAOK’d me beyond all RAOKedness with both this original Sunagon and this outrageously rare Swingin’ Wing from the outrageous imagination of Ira Gilford. I was attempting an artsy low-angle shot, when my camera’s battery went too low for the “live view” on the screen to be possible. So, knowing this would be the last shot of the day, I pointed the camera towards the cars and pressed the button. This is what I got.

I posted this photo anyway to prove that these models actually came from our December meeting, and weren’t acquired separately.

Proof: This happened.

Proof: This happened.

But since you deserve better, here it is: A nice, clear, well-focused shot of Swingin’ Wing. By the way, you see before you double the rarity: Not just a rare model, but one with its air brake still intact.

Its color reminds me of RazzleBerry Dressing!

Its color reminds me of RazzleBerry Dressing!

Since it’s quite likely that some of you have never seen Swingin’ Wing before, in the spirit of the holiday I offer you this Christmas Bonus photo of the model’s base as well. You have to admit, it even looks sleek and fast from underneath!

Oh no! Its engine fell out!!

Oh no! Its engine fell out!!

Ha! Holiday humor. No, the engine didn’t fall out. This just verifies that Ira Gilford indeed has an outrageous imagination. A sleek custom rod with a groovy spoiler? Cool enough. A functioning air brake built into the spoiler? Super cool. But a detailed engine that slides out on an Extend-O-Shelf gimmick? That’s wildly cool!

It'd be nice if *real* car engines were this easy to access...

It’d be nice if *real* car engines were this easy to access…

With thanks again to the Lord and to Big Tractor Mike, I hereby very readily declare this model to be our Find of the Month(*) for December 2014! (Even if it is partly stuck in a snow drift.)

Gives a whole new meaning to ''dashing through the snow''!

Gives a whole new meaning to ”dashing through the snow”!

Well, that wraps it up for 2014. We here at Suncoast Diecasters wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a very happy Happy New Year!

See you at the January (2015!) meeting!

~WM

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