May 2017 Update

Well, I intended to have this update posted by Memorial Day, certainly before the end of the month. I actually had Memorial Day off, as did many Americans. However, that Sunday afternoon a supervisor called me and advised me that the truck schedule had been changed. The truck was in fact coming in on Monday, so I had to be there.

Obviously this necessitated the shuffling of priorities, and some things were de-prioritized, this update in particular.

This update has fewer photos than usual, because I had to leave the meeting early to attend a friend’s graduation. So, with no further ado, let’s get to the photos!

May 2017

We start off this update with a shout-out to Doug, who RAOK’d me with yet another McTimeMachine! With my own original, and the one I got from Big Tractor Mike back in March, that’s three of just this variation alone.

My DeLorean collection is growing by leaps and bounds!

My DeLorean collection is growing by leaps and bounds!

Here we have the Midas Monkey, the Hot Wheels toy based on the car designed by Gas Monkey Garage for Mattel to make into a Hot Wheels toy. (Feel free to diagram that sentence and get back to me on it.) This specific one features some customizations by a guest from the old Hot Nutz Club (the precursor to Suncoast Diecasters), not the least of which are the redline Real Riders in place of the stock FTEs.

And right now you're thinking, "But - but it's still inside the blister!". Yes; yes, it is.

And right now you’re thinking, “But – but it’s still inside the blister!”. Yes; yes, it is.

Back to Doug again. He brought in this hand-crafted hay hauler so’s BTM could fit it with some replacement chains. Did I say hand-crafted? Yes, indeed. The undercarriage is 3D-printed, and the chains are of course metal. But the floor and cage structure are all cut, painted, stained and assembled by Doug.

Young man with a hobby.

Young man with a hobby.

This is a Ferrari 512 M, by Solido, at 1/43-scale, from Bob’s collection.

The spoiler on this model is adjustable.

The spoiler on this model is adjustable.

If you’ll recall, back in May of 2014, Bob brought in a nice selection of Gran Toros vehicles. Gran Toros were a line of 1/43-scale cars sold in Italy by Mebetoys under the brand name Sputofuoco (“Spitfire”). Mattel bought Mebetoys, and re-branded (Branding!) the line as Hot Wheels / Gran Toros. They also introduced Hot Wheels models Twin Mill, Silhouette and Mantis into the line. (Yes, at 1/43-scale.)

This is a Porsche Carrera 10. This is actually a pre-Mattel model. It bears the Mebetoys name and logo on the base.

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…And here we have the piece of resistance, a model that’s actually branded as Mattel. In fact, this one is branded like some people get tattoos: Mattel, Mebetoys, Sputafuoco, Hot Wheels and Heisse Räder.

That's, like, *all* the markets.

That’s, like, *all* the markets.

This is the Chevrolet Astro II. And no, it’s not just a Mebetoys fantasy model. It’s based on the actual Chevy concept vehicle.

Yes, its spare and cover are missing. This does *not* subtract from the model's cool factor.

Yes, its spare and cover are missing. This does *not* subtract from the model’s cool factor.

Oddly enough, considering the few photos in this update, I had a bit of time choosing among them for our FotM. In the end (or, at the end, which is where we are), I decided on the Astro II. Older Hot Wheels models are by definition rare. To have a model which is from a native 1/43-scale import line, with frankly a somewhat misunderstood history, and yet is nonetheless legitimately branded as a Mattel / Hot Wheels product, is to have a model that is truly among the rarest of the rare. Congratulations, Bob!; your Gran Toros Chevy Astro II is Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for May of 2017!

See you at our June meeting!

~WM

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May 2014(!)

May … we impress you with twenty-eight new photos? PLUS two free high-resolution images to download? For FREE?

Oh, and we’re all sold out of 2014 Club Vehicles. Sorry.

(Please read this post for an explanation for the late posting for May. ~WM)

May 2014

May starts off with this humble l’il hauler, the GMC Wrecker, by Matchbox. Recalling that Ken had purchased a couple of other Getty-logoed models, I pointed this one out to him, which was in Bob’s fiddy-cent box. Ken explained that this was the more-rare version, with the phone number. Surprisingly, Ken turned it down. He already has one, in better condition. True, it’s missing its lightbar and other parts; the boom no longer stays up; and the hook is mangled. Nonetheless, for four bits (plus the rare phone number) I adopted this one myself.

I decided to get-ty this one after all.

I decided to get-ty this one after all.

Big Tractor Mike goes Big Camaro with this 1:18 monster. The “service bay” display isn’t just “for display”, by the way. The lift arms swing and extend, and the frame actually cranks up and down.

The oil catch adds an extra touch of realism.

The oil catch adds an extra touch of realism.

The oil catch can also be used as an ashtry for the front passenger.

The oil catch can also be used as an ashtray for the front passenger.

Irony of ironies. When I Bing’d “marx toys miami”, the listings (all company profile-type on business sites; no actual web presence) which I read show the company as inactive. One might not be able to keep a good man down, but apparently neither can one keep a Marx company up: the original Marx toy company went bankrupt and closed in1980. Sigh.

Marx made its mark but in the end it was unremarkable.

Marx made its mark but in the end it was unremarkable.

Still, BTM did get hisself a nice, retro fuel truck … which only adds to the irony, as Eastern Air Lines is also defunct.

Excuse me, I have to go cry.

Excuse me, I have to go cry.

I’m not sure, I think Tom bought this. Regardless, it sure is pretty!

This is the only kind of ''green'' vehicle I'd be interested in.

This is the only kind of ”green” vehicle I’d be interested in.

I know for a fact Tom did not buy this one … because it’s a RAOK from me to him. Picked one up for myself at Dollar Tree and, after drinking in how nicely rendered the model is, I said to myself, I have to get one for Tom!

Rich orange-copper color, and a really nice casting.

Rich orange-copper color, and a really nice casting.

Tom definitely picked this up: very accurate VW Bus model, with rare White Lightening tires.

$4 for the model, $550 for the Cragar rims.

$4 for the model, $550 for the Cragar rims.

From BTM, Tom acquired this VW/Kombi combo by Jada. It’d be impressive even if the bed didn’t operate.

*Real* VWs have that tape around the doors too, right? Right?

*Real* VWs have that tape around the doors too, right? Right?

I wanna say it's 1:24, but the bug seems a bit, um, ''upscale'' compared to the truck, no?

I wanna say it’s 1:24, but the bug seems a bit, um, ”upscale” compared to the truck, no?

I know, I know: you’re aching for a close-up of that sweet engine. Well, here ’tis.

''If the fan belt breaks, we use a rubber band!'' - Bill Cosby

”If the fan belt breaks, we use a rubber band!” – Bill Cosby

This is Tom’s Big Amazing Purchase for May. An outstanding tribute the Earnhardt racing family and legacy. The whole thing stands nearly twenty-four inches tall, and from its heft it has some serious, high-quality wood in its structure. I say “structure” rather than merely “frame” because those aren’t photos of cars — they’re actually 1:24-scale miniatures in a display-within-a-display arrangement.

In other words, there's a 4-inch deep case behind that frame.

In other words, there’s a 4-inch deep case behind that frame.

Ken bought a variety of various different things, the most interesting and curious of which is that Eastern 757. (Eastern Air Lines again!) It’s by a company called Schabak, which has some interesting history behind it.

757 - 200 = 557. Just sayin'.

757 – 200 = 557. Just sayin’.

Ken continues to vary in the varying things he buys. Here, he has a Treasure Hunts ’55 Chevy; two Garbage Gulpers which are festively decked out in holiday green and red; and the rare Formula 5000 and Soopa Coopa.

At least, I *think* that's a Formula 5000; I'm not really sure....

At least, I *think* that’s a Formula 5000; I’m not really sure….

Whilst cleaning up my garage and going through the many boxes therein, I set aside each Batman-related item into a group, knowing that Krista is Suncoast Diecasters‘ Official Bat-Collector®. I brought the box to the May meeting, and offered her the choice of any item, any several items or the whole thing. She choosed the whole kit & Bat-boodle. (Yes, including Happy Meal “Super Bugs” there.)

Bat-Toys...

Bat-Toys…

More Happy Meal Bat-prizes: Penguinmobile with spinning radiator grill/Umbrella of Doom; two Catmobiles (the ones with the waggley tails); and two Batmobiles which launch/convert into Batpedoes.

Bat-Things...

Bat-Things…

Krista found the (Corgi) Penguinmobile and Jokermobile Bat-buried in Bob’s budget Bat-box.

Bat-Stuff...

Bat-Stuff…

No, that’s not just a Batman action figure. That’s actually Bruce Wayne as Batman. The boots, gloves, and cowl/cape are removable, revealing a rather smartly-sculpted Michael Keaton. (Which I suspect is the real reason Krista took it — she just wanted her very Micheal Keaton action figure.) Yes, that’s Hardnoze Batmobile there, along with a Bat-signal ring which was a decoration on a Publix cupcake.

Nana-nana Nana-nana Nana-NA -- Bat-Produuuucts!

Nana-nana Nana-nana Nana-NA — Bat-Produuuucts!

Much to my surprise, Krista also decided to b*snarrgl* *warrful* *BUUURP* *growwwl* *snarrfl*

OK, I admit I have *no idea* what Rat Fink actually sounds like.

OK, I admit I have *no idea* what Rat Fink actually sounds like.

You can download a larger version of the above image (ya’know, if you’re into that sort of thing).

Bob brought some amazing rarities to our May meeting. Here we have two Rrrumblers. No, I did not misspell that. All Rrrumblers are rare, but some are more rare than others. These two are among the rarest. This first one is Bone Shaker. No, I did not mis-type that. Yes, the li’l Bone Shaker rat rod you’ve bought so lovingly (and no doubt in several variations) has indeed taken its name from this retro — and, as it were, somewhat more literal — rolling rider.

''Hong Kong'' is Chinese for ''Bone Shaker''.

”Hong Kong” is Chinese for ”Bone Shaker”.

Difficult to pull off the ''Bad Biker Dude'' look when your ride has FOUR TRAINING WHEELS.

Difficult to pull off the ”Bad Biker Dude” look when your ride has FOUR TRAINING WHEELS.

Something I never thought about, and indeed never noticed until I was prepping these photos, is how well the faces on the Rrrumblers’ riders are sculpted. The two-shot below is made from the same original full-size photos from which the above two pics were made.

James Spader: '70s Biker Dude.

James Spader: ’70s Biker Dude.

Here is what is probably the most rarest of the rare: Ghost. Yes, straightforward and simple, just Ghost. Note the bony hands which form the hub for the front wheel. Also, have you realized the handle bars and fork are actually a sword?

Hey, it's just Bone Shaker with a sheet draped over it! C'mon, Mattel!

Hey, it’s just Bone Shaker with a sheet draped over it! C’mon, Mattel!

So, what happens if the ghost's sheet gets caught in the spokes?

So, what happens if the ghost’s sheet gets caught in the spokes?

Yes, yes, I’ll be nice this time, and offer you a close-up of the Ghost’s ghost.

Ghosty McGhostface.

Ghosty McGhostface.


Now these … these are simply outstanding. These are beyond ultra-cool. These … are Gran Toros. Gran Toros are 1:43-scale Hot Wheels models which were sold mainly in Italy. I don’t recall how I discovered them (probably I was looking for other Hot Wheels sites to add to our Links). And yes, some Gran Toros were replicas of more “recognizable” Hot Wheels models, such Twin Mill. Gran Toros are that type of exceptionally rare item that one usually sees only in catalogs or in someone else’s collection. To have had real Gran Toros show up at a Suncoast Diecasters meeting, and to have actually held them in my own hands, is a wonderful experience for this humble collector.

Almost indescribably rare and wonderful.

Almost indescribably rare and wonderful.

It’d be one thing to borrow some other collector’s Gran Toros photos for the site just to illustrate the text. But, for one of our own club members to have brought in his own models, so I could provide our own photos here on the Suncoast Diecasters website, I cannot begin to describe to you how proud I am of that.

No, I did *not* open the package just to get the ''bonnet-up'' shot. (I just shook it violently, is all.)

No, I did *not* open the package just to get the ”bonnet-up” shot. (I just shook it violently, is all.)

Outstanding. I’ve actually had the opportunity to hold genuine Gran Toros models in my own hands. There can be no doubt that these outrageously rare Mattel giants are our May 2014 Find of the Month.

The 1:64 Rocket Bye Baby in front is for scale comparison.

The 1:64 Rocket Bye Baby in front is for scale comparison.

Feel free download this larger version of the above image.

See you at the June meeting!

~WM