March Update, brought to you by Windows 10

No kidding there. My old laptop was a WinXP model. Support for that OS ended in 2014, and support for the various programs I was running on the laptop naturally dwindled over time. I have finally bought a new Win10 model, and I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks by turns either beating Windows into submission or flailing about helplessly at its ingrained obstinance.

After installing a better browser and security software, uninstalling bundled junk, installing importantly useful software such as my drafting program, uninstalling more bundled junk, installing my camera and printer, uninstalling even more bundled junk, etc.,etc., I finally have the thing in a basically useful configuration.

So, get to the photos!

March 2017

Greetings, Citizen! I am looking forward to your assistance in enjoying this March 2017 update. Let’s begin this rousing adventure!

Batman begins...

Batman begins…

Doug bought this 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi from Big Tractor Mike, as a gift for a very special person.

At 1/64th scale, it's actually a semi demi hemi.

At 1/64th scale, it’s actually a semi demi hemi.

He also bought this Case International planter…

(These are all ERTL models, by the way.)

(These are all ERTL models, by the way.)

…As well as this similar implement.

Which folds out to sleep four comfortably.

Which folds out to sleep four comfortably.

Of course, farm implements to be useful must be attached to a strong, sturdy tractor. Doug has chosen this handsome Allis-Chalmers model.

Nice.

Nice.

BTM added yet again to my collection of DeLoreans with these two offers. First is this sweet Hot Wheels Entertainment-series hover-mode model. I appreciate this one because it’s not only a great variation on the DeLorean theme; it also gives me a MOC model to pair with the one I loosed in September of ’15.

''Hover'' mode, or ''really, REALLY parked'' mode.

”Hover” mode, or ”really, REALLY parked” mode.

The other one is this cartoonishly-proportioned Happy Meal prize. And I mean cartoonish in the literal sense, as it’s based on the 1991 BttF cartoon. Which you forgot all about, didn’t you? (Can’t blame ya.)

Hmm ... Time machine looks good with a Big Block.

Hmm … Time machine looks good with a Big Block.

Actually, that “big block” isn’t merely decorative. It houses a friction motor, the flywheel of which has a layer of flint. Which is also why it’s transparent; give the toy a strong-enough push, and the motor will generate sparks to simulate the “time travel” effect:

1.21 Gigawatts! from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

By the way, this video is raw, unedited and lacking the quirky title and credits typical of our other videos because in designing Windows 10, Microsoft did away with Movie Maker. Just another in MS’s long history of thoughtful and considerate decisions[citation needed]. I still have my old WinXP laptop, so I do still have access to Movie Maker there; it just means shuttling videos to & from on portable storage. If you happen to know a good, safe, simple (and preferably free) video editor & converter for Windows 10, please let me know in the Comments.

And in case you’re wondering what that white object protruding out of the side is (mis-identified by Big Rob as “a wad of gum”), it’s good ol’ Doc Brown himself. Which just proves the adage:

"Some things were not meant to be seen in close-up."

“Some things were not meant to be seen in close-up.”

Speaking of Big Rob: He too also bought some stuff from BTM. Starting with these two Cheetah models by Johnny Lightning. Apparently JL learned well from Mattel that the same model can be re-packaged as a different series to sell it again with otherwise little effort (e.g., my many HW DeLoreans). The red one is “Rebel Rods”, while the green one is “Street Freaks” (cross-referenced with “The Spoilers”).

Toy car collecting: Made for the spreadsheet era.

Toy car collecting: Made for the spreadsheet era.

And finally, Big Rob made the Big Buy from Big Tractor Mike with this Big Scale Batmobile. And I do mean big, as in 1/24th-scale big. It’s by Metals Die Cast, an offshoot of Jada. Sweetly detailed, and elegantly packaged with yon Caped Crusader standing alongside his crime-fighting chariot.

Nana nana nana nana -- Diecast!

Nana nana nana nana — Diecast!

Nicely finished, literally and figuratively, with “trident” exhaust pipes, “batwing” fender flares, and drag ‘chutes on either side of the exhaust nozzle.

Wait, does a turbine engine really need zoomies?

Wait, does a turbine engine really need zoomies?

Even the Boy Wonder is included. He’s in the passenger seat, using the Batphone. He’s probably crank-calling the H.I.V.E. Tower again.

"TRAIN! PAY ATTENTION! MANDATORY MEETING!"

“TRAIN! PAY ATTENTION! MANDATORY MEETING!”

Starring George Reeves as Superman.

Sorry. My mistake. I meant "Starring Ben Affleck as Michael Keaton".

Sorry. My mistake. I meant “Starring Ben Affleck as Michael Keaton”.

Well, there’s no need to recite its thoroughly obvious qualifications. With zero hesitation I happily and readily declare this sweet, super-size Batmobile miniature as Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for March 2017. Congratulations, Big Rob!

The small dark rectangular thing is something BTM threw into the deal. Not sure what it is. Candy bar, maybe.

The small dark rectangular thing is something BTM threw into the deal. Not sure what it is. Candy bar, maybe.

See you at our April meeting!

~WM

July’ke these photos, me promise!

Had a project which ate up most of the last half of July; thus, another delayed update. So, again I shall forgo the wacky intro, and let you get right to the photos.

July 2015

July means Independence Day, and that means freedom! Now, for some folks, freedom means free stuff, and that’s not good for our nation. But, it is good when the free stuff trades hands at a Suncoast Diecasters meeting!

We freely start off with these things I freely gave to Ken. First is this very nice casting of a garbage truck from Maisto’s Fresh Metal line. I don’t know if this is based on a production vehicle or is simply a “generic” garbager; I’ll have to find from Ken later. But it looks good, and of course it’s in authentical garbage truck colors.

As I've pointed out before, there is actually very little metal on a Fresh Metal model, but some of the castings are quite well-sculpted.

As I’ve pointed out before, there is actually very little metal on a Fresh Metal model, but some of the castings are quite well-sculpted.

This one’s a thrift store find. I’m often surprised at some of the high-quality toys I find amongst the genuine junk at a thrift store. The cans on the back flip up on a little rod, although I’m really not sure why. It also has a pull-back motor which still works. What doesn’t work are the batteries that power the lights and sound effects. But, I left two of the three batteries in the truck so’s Ken would have a reference for replacing them. This is the severalth time I’ve donated a truck to Ken’s scheme to Dominate the World via Toy Garbage Truck Army, because that’s just the kind of friend I am.

(I kept the third battery just in case Ken loses the other two.)

(I kept the third battery just in case Ken loses the other two.)

The Tonka reminds me of the short-lived Tiny Mighty Mo line.

Next up on our double twin-spin of free goodies is this Matchbox Ground Grinder, which I beRAOK’d to Big Tractor Mike. Found it during the same thrift store hunt as the Tonka above. While a very realistic sculpt, I can’t prove whether it’s based on a production vehicle. It seems to be the 2013 first-edition model.

A road grader *without* a huge hot-rod engine? I don't understand...

A road grader *without* a huge hot-rod engine? I don’t understand…

And finally, these weapons which go to Kenner Aliens action figures. I gave them to BTM for free … but I also kind of owed them to him. If you’ll recall from our March meeting, Mike bought a bunch of Aliens toys from me. Well, it turned out that these weapons should have been included. The missile launcher and … grabber-thing … go to Hicks, while the … I dunno, atomic Sawzall? … belongs to Ripley.

Yep, nothing enhances the authenticity of movie toys like completely unauthentic accessories!

Yep, nothing enhances the authenticity of movie toys like completely inauthentic accessories!

Tom happily acquired this Pasco Bug Jam custom collectible from BTM. Don’t know if this was a custom deco by a PBJ member, or ordered through Matchbox; regardless, it be mighty sweet-lookin’!

Will Tom go to the 2015 Jam? Only his nail technician knows for sure!

Will Tom go to the 2015 Jam? Only his nail technician knows for sure!

Ain’t sayin’ much about this. Just that Big Tractor Mike has one available. For now.

Some folks go crazy chasin' this sort of thing, is all I'm sayin'.

Some folks go crazy chasin’ this sort of thing, is all I’m sayin’.

You wants a bigger picture? Go grabs you one here.

Doug bought several sealed tractors and a couple o’ sealed accessory packs from BTM, and asked me to photograph ’em. Knowing that there are numerous still-in-package shots throughout the pages of Suncoast Diecasters, Doug asked if I wanted him to leave these sealed. I said they were his now, and to do with ’em as he pleased. He popped them all, specifically because he had the idea to pair each tractor with one of the accessories. I loved it. (All the tractors and accessories are by Ertl.)

John Deere 6400 with pig carrier.

John Deere 6400 with pig carrier.

White American 80 with mounted excavator.

White American 80 with mounted excavator.

White American 80 with square baler.

White American 80 with square baler.

White American 80 with posthole digger.

White American 80 with posthole digger.

(You might notice that the lower image of the red tractor above is hazy and has some artifacting. I must’ve bobbled the shutter button. Whatever the fault, the real mistake is that I didn’t more closely review the photographs. This happens most often when I’m taking a longer series of shots, as with all these White American tractors. Apparently I still haven’t learned that lesson yet.)

White American 80 with bale fork.

White American 80 with bale fork.

All the above tractors are very cool (and Doug was smart to hook up the accessories), but my favorite is this little guy here. No, there’s no accessory, but it doesn’t need one. This is a John Deere Skidsteer (yes, also by Ertl), and I think it looks great with so much detail packed into such a small space. Look at all that articulation! I can only go by these photos, but I think there are about 143 points of articulation on the model.

The lower stance reminds me of Yellowjacket from ''Ant Man''.

The lower stance reminds me of Yellowjacket from ”Ant Man”.

You may notice that this next set of photos seems to be not from the meeting. And you would be right! As I was packing up to leave, Big Tractor Mike came over and RAOK’d me with this European beauty. I joked with him about having to set up the camera again. These photos I of course took at home.

-:-

This is the DeTomaso Mangusta, by Corgi. It’s a larger-scale model, somewhere in the 1/40s or 1/50s. You can see the mid-line engine and spare tire in the inset below.

-:-

I found exactly one page online that specified the scale as 1/43, which makes sense, but I can’t prove it on the toy. The make and model are shown on the base, but no scale is stated.

-:-

In fact, in this full shot of the base, you can see that there’s very little info. There’s no scale, no copyright, no patent number, no chassis, no nothi– … Wait … What … Where’s th– … What happened to the chassis?!!?

-:-

Oh, here it is:

-:-

Yep, for unexplained reasons, when the designers at Corgi designed this model, they designed…

-:-

Hi there. You had to scroll quite a bit to get down here, didn’t you? Anyway, as I was saying, Corgi’s designers decided to make the chassis removable. It’s an interesting gimmick, and certainly adds a quirky extra value to the model. For its large scale, its great detail and its neat gimmick, I hereby declare the Corgi DeTomaso Mangusta to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month (*)for July 2015. Michael, thank you, brother; this is a seriously awesome gift.

I'll let you know if I ever figure out how to put it back together.

I’ll let you know if I ever figure out how to put it back together.

See you at the August meeting!

~WM