K-Day Update

I reported back in November the sad news that our local K-mart would close (and it has). I didn’t know if Mattel would continue the K-Day tradition in light of all the store closings, or whether our county’s last K-mart store would be included if it did continue.

I recently received e-mails from Hot Wheels Collectors advising of the next K-Day event. Per the store list, it has in fact been moved to our last Pinellas K-mart, and the details are on our Calendar.

(I won’t be attending. Once again I’m uninspired by the event cars, and that’s too long a drive just to see what else shows up in the boxes.)

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November 2017 Update – now with text & photos!

Been putting in extra hours at work because of the holidays. Nice for my wallet, not so nice for my free time. Particularly, it’s been impacting relatively frivolous things such as club site updates. That’s also why it took so long for me to post my lament on the closing of a K-Mart. So, no silly intro this month. Just get to the photos!

November 2017

Emergency Back-up Ken brought in this fabulous BMW Isetta 250. The Isetta has had a bit of a resurgence in pop culture popularity, thanks in part to TV shows such as Family Matters and American Pickers. Among toy car collectors, it’s probably best known for its super-powered appearance as Hot Wheels’ Whatta Drag. The Isetta is classified as a microcar due to its small size. Just how small is the Isetta?

Well, this is a 1/43-scale model ... and it's *barely* the size of HW's VW Drag Bus.

Well, this is a 1/43-scale model … and it’s *barely* the size of HW’s VW Drag Bus.

What’s this?? (asked William Dozier):

The zippest car collection, indeed.

The zippest car collection, indeed.

That’s the back (or front, same view) of an unopened shipping pack of Inside Stories (“Storys”?), courtesy of Big Tractor Mike. BTM explains that this is how Hot Wheels were shipped way back when: A box, not dissimilar to the boxes one sees at a K-Day event, contained not a well-organized arrangement of ready-for-hanging mixed models but rather the lot of identical models bagged thusly. That this set is still in its original bag is of course super-rare and thus super-special. Upping its specialness (in case you missed it in the above photo) is this neat detail:

Practically a brand unto itself.

Practically a brand unto itself.

Yes, these are from the near-mythical and poorly-documented Leo editions from India. With the exception of a “native language”-edition backer, one usually has to do some research to determine which country a particular Hot Wheels model is manufactured in. The Leo models, in contrast, are always clearly identified.

Now, here’s the hard choice for the serious collector: to open, or not to open? If one opens the pack to better display the models, the value of it being specifically an unopened shipping set is immediately lost. On the other hand, the set as it is … is frankly not much to look at display-wise.

Tom continues his reign as Suncoast Diecasters‘ Viscount of VWs with this purchase from BTM. This is the Volkswagen 1500 Saloon, (No. 15), a limited model in production only from 1968 through 1972. He paired it with a custom re-paint by Jim in the form of a candy-apple red Ice Cream Truck.

Note Jim's rustic hand-hewn lettering.

Note Jim’s rustic hand-hewn lettering.

Original Ken was RAOK’d via BTM using this custom edition of Jaded. This one features an illustration of that incredibly popular and very well-known DC superhero who developed bird-like superpowers after getting bitten by a radioactive raven, and who was advised by an old man, Remember, if you ever get superpowers, you should probably use it to do some good, instead of not doin’ some good.

In this scene, he's battling ... I don't know, Godzilla, I guess.

In this scene, he’s battling … I don’t know, Godzilla, I guess.

(Ahem) It reads: ‘From a time when nearly all businesses depended upon these versatile small commercials to deliver a variety of goods throughout the country.”

Please read along silently, as I type aloud.

Please read along silently, as I type aloud.

And just what is it delivering?

Garbage!

Garbage!

Courtesy Emergency Back-up Ken, this is the Scammell refuse lorry, a 1:76-scale three-wheeler from Oxford Diecast. Of course, it does not deliver garbage. It collects waste material from the residence or office, and carries it to a waste handling and processing center. Which … is … in actuality, delivering something from point A to point B. So, yeah, this thing really does deliver garbage!

Honestly, I don't know why you were giving me such a hard time about it.

Honestly, I don’t know why you were giving me such a hard time about it.

For its recognition and celebration of mundane workhorse vehicles, its well-sculpted detail, and for simply being a really good-looking model, I declare the Scammell refuse lorry to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for November 2017.

Congratulations, EBU Ken!

Congratulations, EBU Ken!

See you at our December meeting!

~WM

K-Day: A Bittersweet Farewell…

First, the bitter:

As I approached the store, I stopped suddenly, frightened by the presence of printed signs taped inside the doors. I was still too far to read them, but I feared the worst: that another K-Day had been postponed, or even cancelled. I walked up to the doors, and read the signs:

And then he fainted.

And then he fainted.

I had a brief moment of relief, learning that it was about layaways. Then the weight of those last two words started to hit me:

Store closing. Store closing.

Store. Closing.

Damn.

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

I really couldn’t comprehend it. Yes, I know K-Mart and its strange bedfellow Sears have really been struggling for quite some time. Yet, with each new round of store closings, this one remained. And it made sense to me: It’s on a very busy corner, and is easily accessible from several directions. Heck, it can even be approached from its back lot, as long as one drove slowly and minded the pallet debris. There’s as Burger King just to its north — good placement for dining and shopping — and a Toys ‘R’ Us a block to its south. It’s across US 19 from a major mall, and the rather well-designed over/underpasses make it easy to go from one to the other from both the north and the south. I’ve done that crossback myself numerous times. And this store was always busy.

Well, I’ll get back to these lamentations later in this post.

And now, the sweet:

(Again, thanks to the Lord that I even learned of this K-Day event, almost literally at the eleventh hour. I discovered later that the e-mail notification for this event went to my spam folder.) I can honestly say that this was the most enjoyable K-Day I’ve attended in some time. And that includes the post-Irma rescheduled K-Day, which itself was very good. Several long-timers such as Steve and Jayce were there, as well as new attendees such as Joel and Louis. There was joking, talking, complaining, reminiscing and sharing all around, almost literally like a Thanksgiving family reunion. If this was indeed my last K-Day, the Lord certainly made it a good one.

One of the things I picked up was the mini-poster for the very attractive ’56 Chevy Convertible mail-in promo. I usually don’t get these, and in fact the last one I got several years ago I ended up giving to a young nephew. But I wanted to get as much out of this K-Day as possible, so I took one. And that Chevy does look sweet. (No, I won’t be ordering one; I stopped that years ago too.)

Free mini-poster + Dollar Tree frame = Happy!

Free mini-poster + Dollar Tree frame = Happy!

As I have stated numerous times over the last many K-Day cycles, I had not been moved by the Special Colors or First to Market offerings. Yet when I saw the Baja Hauler on the HW site, I thought I just might enjoy getting that one. And I still can’t figure out why. I usually don’t collect trucks; I don’t collect “baja” versions of vehicles; and I’ve never cared for the “art car” variations. This thing is all three of those, and I still bought it. Heck, I really don’t even like its plastic, chintzy-looking, candy-colored cab and stacks; yet I like the model as a whole. Eh, I guess there’s no accounting for taste. Or buying decisions.

Three of these things are not like my others / Three of these things do not belong (in my collection typically)

Three of these things are not like my others / Three of these things do not belong (in my collection typically)

Well, at least it has this super-neato Special Feature:

An opening door on a Hot Wheels model! Will wonders never cease?

An opening door on a Hot Wheels model! Will wonders never cease?

I wonder what’s inside of it…?

"Nuthin'" -- Yukon Cornelius

“Nuthin'” — Yukon Cornelius

Next, I got this cool ’55 Chevy. Jayce, a few others and myself conjectured that this specific variation may be a left-over from a previous K-Day. Regardless, I find it quite attractive and am glad to have it.

Far less expensive than the mail-in promo, and only one year older.

Far less expensive than the mail-in promo, and only one year older.

And now for the item that made this K-Day an over-the-top experience:

"Behold!" -- Drax.

“Behold!” — Drax.

Yep, the Lord blessed me with a model of the Milano, Quill’s ship from Guardians of the Galaxy. Heck, I forgot that Hot Wheels was even offering it. And on those occasions when I did think of it, I presumed it would be part of an expensive, over-packaged “entertainment” series. To not only get one, but to get it at the mainline 1-dollar price is amazing.

And it was a genuine, if amusing, miracle as to how I found it. By this time all the ticket-holders had gone through their boxes, and so now the boxes were being handed back and forth so everyone could take one more look. I grabbed a box, not even really looking for something, just seeing what I could find. As I sifted through the cars (which are lain on their sides in the box), I saw what I could only described as “spindly things” between two models. I pulled it out, honestly expecting something ridiculous such as Purrfect Speed [Dear Mattel: Please cool it with the silly animal-based Hot Wheels models. Thank you.] This moment is recreated for you here in this totally staged-at-home photograph:

Illustrated: Spindly things.

Illustrated: Spindly things.

Imagine my shock and surprise when I realized what I had discovered. I quickly showed it to Jayce, evoking a wry smile from him. I was and am incredibly happy.

And then the Lord blessed me a second time:

“Oh … yyyeeaaahh!” -- Rocket Raccoon.

“Oh … yyyeeaaahh!” — Rocket Raccoon.

I can honestly say that if finding the first one was a miracle, finding the second was even more so. This was very near the end of the meeting, and most of the toys had been spread out on the table by the participants. This was primarily to empty out the boxes (which hold about twenty-four cars) so they could carry their own cars in them, but also to make it easier for their fellow attendees to further look over the cars. I was about ready to leave when I decided to just glance over the table one more time. And there it was, sitting out in the open, near the corner of the table, yet completely ignored by everyone else, as if it were invisible.

Now, at this point, I know what’s going on; we’ve done this dance before. Some of you are getting dizzy, starting to feel light-headed, and wondering if you need to hit 911 on your speed-dial. And the answer is yes. Yes, because I will be opening one my Milanos to display it freely. But don’t worry, the other one will be staying pristine and secure in its blister. In fact I’ll be looking for a Kar Keeper to further untouchify it.

Final thoughts…

After I got back in my truck, I sat there for some time, thinking things over. I realized that once I started leaving, I would literally be driving away from my last K-Day event ever.

My first K-Day was in 2004, which is the year that the Swoopy Do was introduced, and that’s one of the cars I picked up then. One of my favorite K-Days was in 2006. That’s the event during which this older fellow with a baseball cap and pony-tail handed me a flyer for a new collectors’ club. That guy turned out to be Original Ken, and the club was Suncoast Diecasters. I went to that first meeting and had a great time, returning regularly (for the most part) ever since. Within about a year I became the club’s Webmaster and Photographer. Suncoast Diecasters has become a greatly-appreciated Additional Family for me, and it all happened because I attended an event at K-Mart.

My family moved to Pinellas county in the late ’70s. We’ve shopped at this K-Mart hundreds if not thousands of times. Back then, our store, the Countryside store, had both a sit-down cafeteria at the back of the store, and a deli counter up front. I remember particularly enjoying the chocolate shakes, because after pouring the shake into a cup, the attendant would always put the metal tumbler (holding whatever didn’t fit in the cup) on your tray as well. It was like always getting a second shake free.

I remember one time while lunching there, there was this small paperboard display on our table. I have no recollection of what was promoted on the front, but I recall that it had the names and logos for K-Mart, Kresge and Jupiter on the back. I hadn’t seen those other two names before, but I eventually realized that K-Mart was part of the Kresge family of stores.

My mom almost always got ham at the front deli, as our last stop before exiting the store. She was convinced it was the best. I have no idea what actual brand (Branding!) of ham it was; we just always called it “K-Mart ham”.

I thought back to the last couple of years of my Mom’s life before she got too sick to remain at home. She had developed this somewhat amusing shopping habit. I’d take her to K-Mart, and she’d buy several shirts and slacks, never trying them on in the store; she’d always do that at home. And a few days to a week later, she’d have me take some or even all of them back because they didn’t fit right. This happened several times a year, and after the first few times I came to expect it.

I mentioned near the top of this post the various local details which to me had kept this particular K-Mart going in the face of numerous store closings. I’ve now realized the irony that very similar conditions did not prevent the prior closings of two other stores. There were at least five K-Marts in Pinellas county. There may have been more; I just know the five: this one at Clearwater/Countryside; one south near central Clearwater; one up in Tarpon Springs; one down in Largo; and one way down in St. Petersburg.

The one in Clearwater closed first. It was on Gulf-to-Bay boulevard, a major traffic channel. Its plaza was between two major intersections. Yet these and other factors did not prevent its closing. It was replaced with a Sears Home Goods or Sears Outlet or some such variation; that, too, is now closed.

(This has reminded me of another Sears closing. In Largo, across from Sunshine Mall [also gone] was a Searstown shopping plaza. I never shopped at that Sears, but I always liked the plaza’s classic main sign with its retro, cursive font.)

The Tarpon Springs K-Mart went next. Again, located at a major intersection, lots of traffic, easy to get to … and still not enough. Over the last few years I found Hot Wheels cars there that I wasn’t finding elsewhere. Pure happenstance, certainly, but I found it worth the trip.

The Largo store was the third to go. Sadly, I have to admit it wasn’t so unexpected. That store was always dirty and messy. On top of that, a shiny new Wal-mart moved in across the street several years ago. Ironically, it caused me to visit that K-Mart more often. My only efficient option for leaving the Wal-mart plaza was to turn right out of its north exit. Since I was facing east anyway, rather than turning north at the intersection to go home, I would often just “naturally” roll on through and stop over to that K-Mart.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been having memories of spending a lot of time at the Largo K-Mart, maybe fifteen years ago (the time frame is strictly a guess), shopping in a certain pattern within the store over and over; memories so clear I could almost redraw the store layout for you. The only thing I couldn’t recall was why. The Holy Spirit just brought it back to me: Garden borders. My Mom always kept our yard decorated with trees and gardens. At some point she began buying (and I began hauling) a particular style of scalloped garden border from K-Mart to surround the gardens and trees. But then we couldn’t find them. After several trips in a row with no borders, we asked a cashier in the Garden Center about this. We were told that, for reasons I do not recall, this K-Mart, “our” K-Mart, was no longer stocking them. But, then we learned that the Largo K-Mart was still getting them. So, several times a year, for a couple of years, I would drive down to the Largo store; park by the Garden Center; see how many borders they had so I could see how many I could get on that trip; go inside and visit my favorite departments (Toys, Electronics, Hardware, etc.); make my purchases; and go back out to the Garden Center to get the borders. Honestly, it’s strange how clearly I see myself retracing my steps in that store.

Curiously, shortly after the Largo K-Mart closed, Wal-mart closed its new store there, tore down the old K-shell and built a shinier, newier store across the street from its former self. This basically killed the old plaza. Among other stores, there was a Dollar Tree, a relatively new Aldi, and a barber shop which had been there for decades. But when Wal-mart skedaddled across the street, most of the old plaza’s customers went with it. There’s an Old Time Pottery in there now, but most of the smaller spaces are still empty.

The plaza the Countryside K-Mart is in used be almost twice its current size. It was L-shaped, with a big paved gap between the sections so you could use the southwest exit without having to drive all the way around the “foot” of the L. There were probably twelve to fifteen stores there. Beside K-Mart, one of the larger tenants was a Michaels craft store. There’s also a YaYa’s Chicken. (There used to be a Long John Silver’s in a stand-alone building out on the eastern portion of the lot; it closed and the YaYa’s moved in there.) I seem to recall a dry cleaner at the west end of the L-foot. I have no recollection what took up the main part of the foot, but something, perhaps a Jewel Osco, moved in about eight years later. Some time in the ’90s (I think), the foot was torn down, and everything but K-Mart was gutted out of the other section, and a Lowe’s went in there.

By the end of January 2018, it will just be the Lowe’s and the empty K-Mart shell. I don’t know if Lowe’s will expand into it, or tear it down, or if some other store will move in there. I hope a new tenant moves in.

Some people point to K-Mart’s relationship with Martha Stewart as the start of the chain’s troubles. Others fault its purchase of Sears. Neither K-Mart nor Sears seemed to effectively capitalize on online sales. Self-promotional giants Amazon and Wal-mart are harsh competition. Many business writers fault Sears CEO Eddie Lampert. Perhaps it’s a combination of all these things.

And yes, I know, nothing lasts forever. All good things must come to an end. It just bothers me that so many pieces of the fabric of Americana have disappeared. Jackson Byrons (later J Byrons, then just Byrons), gone. Not much for toys, but I remember our family shopping there very often. (That’s another lament for Sears; they had a really nice toy department, at least through the ’80s.) J C Penney is and has been struggling for years. Woolworth’s, Woolco, McCrory’s, Zayre, all gone. The Sears at Countryside Mall (now Westfield Countryside, officially) gave up half its first floor for a Whole Foods Market.

Soon, only the St. Pete K-Mart will be left. I’ve never been there, but I recently found out via their website’s store locator that it’s not tooo far from the Sports Bar & Grill. So, after our December meeting I’ll drive over there and check it out.

I don’t see myself actually attending a K-Day event there, however. As Jacye pointed out at this last K-Day, if the Countryside regulars attend a St. Pete K-Day along with the St. Pete regulars, that seriously reduces one’s odds of getting an early-round draw in the ticket raffle. Plus, that’s an awfully long drive south for that hour of a Saturday morning.

Of course, I say that now. We’ll see what happens when the next K-Day rolls around.

As I said, I’ve been attending K-Day events regularly (with a few misses) since 2004. I don’t know when K-Day started, or when they began doing three a year. But from ’04 through ’17, I’ve had approximately forty opportunities to not only get my hands on the freshest Hot Wheels models, but to also just enjoy the company of fellow collectors.

K-Mart, thank you. I wish things were going better for you, and I hope you get things fixed; but thank you for all those wonderful opportunities. Mattel, thank you. I don’t know if you’ll go in with another store chain if K-Mart finally folds (I hope you will); but thank you for having these little parties for your collectors. Thanks to Jayce, Adam, Steve and all the other Countryside regulars for years of laughs, jokes, complaints, photos (and the associated bragging rights) and the great camaraderie. And thank you, Abba-Father, for arranging to have Original Ken show up with a stack of flyers at that wonderful 2006 K-Day.

To you collectors who’ve never attended a K-Mart Collector Day, if you have a K-mart near you (or reasonably not too far from you), I recommend that you attempt to attend one if you get the opportunity. You’ll meet fellow collectors, and be part of something that’s becoming more and more rare.

And finally … See you at our December meeting!

~WM

K-Day, post-Irma, post-factum

The best part of today’s K-Day de Delay was Joel. He and his family moved here from (Chicago?) several months ago. He’s been a collector for years, but today was his first K-Day. He really had a good time. There was also great camaraderie, with K-Day regulars such Adam and Jayce.There was only one case this time (I don’t know if that had something to do with Irma or not), but everyone was gabbing and joking and sharing photos. Personally, I think this was the best K-Day we’ve had in a long time.

As I mentioned in our last post, I just went to see what I could find (once again, unmoved by the Special Colors or First-to-Market offers). I came away from the table with three cars, two of which I ended up putting on the pegs in the HW section of the toy department for some lucky kid to find. I got home with, yep, just one car again. But, ’tis a very sweet one:

New! For 2017! Which is nearly over!

New! For 2017! Which is nearly over!

This Firebird, with its hoodless engine, is cool enough as it stands. But that it’s also based on Brendon Vetuskey’s own vehicle makes it that much cooler.

I presume Mr. Vetuskey's vehicle is, you know, full-size.

I presume Mr. Vetuskey’s vehicle is, you know, full-size.

I hope your K-Day experience went well. See you at our October meeting!

~WM

K-Day / #Irma update

I tweeted a K-Day summary last Friday. Nothing has changed, but for those interested here are more details.

On Sep. 8th, a Mattel e-mail advised collectors of the 20-for-1 ’76 Ford Gran Torino mail-in promo … but curiously did not mention the associated K-Day event. I had noted back in February 2016 that the dates for K-Day and the first day of the mail-in promo no longer coincided, but this is the first time K-Day wasn’t even mentioned.

On Sep. 15th, a Mattel e-mail advised collectors of the K-Day event. In reading over the web page, I noticed that two separate dates were listed: September 16th for most of the U.S., and October 7th for the southeast region. Clearly, Mattel had thoughtfully taken Hurricane Irma into account. The statement included this link to a list of the affected locations.

So, for us collectors in the southeast, the major story is that Irma has passed and we have begun recovery. The minor story is that we still have a K-Day to look forward to in a few weeks. Happy Hunting!

~~~~~

Even though I knew the 16th event was cancelled, I went to my local K-mart anyway, you know, “just in case”. I also went there just to get out of the house, and to see if the place had reopened yet. Much to my very pleasant surprise, I met one of the K-Day regulars there. He and I chatted about Irma, the damage, its effect on the schedule, our general disappointment with the cars offered over the last few cycles, etc. Sounds low, I know, but actually we had a good time, and I was glad to see a fellow collector out-and-about.

Sign o' the times.

Sign o’ the times.

See you at our  November  October meeting!

~WM

Monkeyin’ around on K-Day!

Huzzah! I am very pleased with the results of yesterday’s K-Day outing: Not one, not two but three Gas Monkey Corvettes!

I found the one in my box, as did everyone (I suppose). While we were still in the first phase of the event, the Box Raffle, another collector who somehow managed to already have several Monkeys handed me one of his. Then, during the second phase, the Feeding Frenzy, another collector handed me another Monkey! Three Gas Monkey customs with almost zero effort on my part? Sure, I’ll go home happy with that!

See no Rawlings, hear no Rawlings, speak no Rawlings.

See no Rawlings, hear no Rawlings, speak no Rawlings.

Now, I understand — Some of you are clutching your chests, writhing on the floor in agony, gasping for someone to call 911, all the while a cry of anguish is screaming in your head: “Why why WHYYYYY did you open the package?!!?” The answer is simple, Mr. Anderson

Because I chose to.

Because I chose to.

Let us all please remember that despite Mattel’s labeling, the original vehicle actually has a real name:

''The Midas Monkey''

”The Midas Monkey”

Chatted with some good folks, and got three awesome cars (or three copies of one awesome car). All in all, a very good day.

*This* is how Hot Wheels cars are supposed to look.

*This* is how Hot Wheels cars are supposed to look.

See you at our March meeting!

~WM

January, February, Kdayuary

Happy New Year 2017!

And yes, we’re late. A busier-than-expected (and unexpectedly modified) work schedule, a frustratingly difficult home improvement project, and various other things all added up to a pushed-back January 2017 update.

Also, not a lot of activity in this update, as the post-holiday meeting is usually slow for us.

On the other hand, good news: The February 2017 K-mart in-store event and mail-in promo are now on our Calendar!

Oh, and I finally  activated the “Tag Cloud” widget on the left over thar.

Enough delays already! Let’s get to the photos!

January 2017

Hello; I’m a truck.

-:-:-:-

-:-:-:-

Heh. You older readers may very well recognize that as the opening lyric of Red Simpson’s country-western novelty tune, I’m a Truck. And to you younger readers, yes, there really is a song sung from the point of view of a truck. For context, just think of it as Optimus Prime sings There’s a Gear in my Beer.

Bill bought this model from Big Tractor Mike. By the way, “truck” actually has a name.

''Hello; I'm Back Biter.''

”Hello; I’m Back Biter.”

Back Biter is from Hot Wheels’ interesting concept series, Crack-Ups. Each model in this series is gimmicked with a spring-loaded panel which upon impact would unlatch and spin around to reveal simulated damage. This addressed (or attempted to) the playtime conflict of wanting to crash one’s toys without actually causing damage. When done playing, the child (or Bill) could just rotate the panel back.

If only real vehicle damage were so easy to repair.

If only real vehicle damage were so easy to repair.

Crack-Ups models would have the gimmick panel on the rear, front, side or even on top. A “bonus feature”, as it were, of ol’ Back Biter here is that the camper top would also fly off, enhancing the “damage” effect.

See that plastic tab? That's actually the spring which launches the camper top.

See that plastic tab? That’s actually the spring which launches the camper top.

I’ll be honest: When I first saw that tab, I thought it was one of those battery separators … until I remembered that Crack-Ups came out decades before pre-installed batteries in toys were commonplace.

Bill also bought this snazzy boat-&-trailer combo known as Seafire. Well, the boat is Seafire; the trailer has no name.

How 'bout Bottom Biter?

How ’bout Bottom Biter?

In case you’re wondering whether the boat separat– Uh….

Hello, ladies. I'm Dash Handsomely.

Hello, ladies. I’m Dash Handsomely.

For goodness’ sake. Anyway, in case you’re wondering whether the boat separates from the trailer, yes it does. Yet Seafire remains mobile, as it has rollers underneath, which I’d be happy to show you except I forgot to photograph the bottom of the thing.

Ironically, Seafire is roadworthy but not seaworthy.

Ironically, Seafire is roadworthy but not seaworthy.

What you’re seeing … is an optical illusion.

The trailer is *not* actually attached to the truck!

The trailer is *not* actually attached to the truck!

Along with loose cars and boxed sets, BTM has several very nice glass-topped display cases. Here, Jason provides some friendly competition with just such a display case of his own.

Classy.

Classy.

Some of its contents are particularly interesting…

A rat rod from the mouse house!

A rat rod from the mouse house!

…Particularly interesting, indeed.

(Sigh) If only I didn't have bills to pay.

(Sigh) If only I didn’t have bills to pay.

And now, a brief word from our Sponsor:

(Our ads are in color now, by the way.)

(Our ads are in color now, by the way.)

Okay, that’s not an ad but the back of this front, another of Hot Wheels’ concept series, California Customs. This series featured mainline models done up in very bright colors, and included a plastic medallion as well as a sticker sheet fo further customize the model. Emergency Back-up Ken bought this from Ed.

AKA 3-Window '34.

AKA 3-Window ’34.

This model’s sheet features licensed automotive supplier brands.

And yes, I'll go ahead and say it:

And yes, I’ll go ahead and say it:

(Ahem) Branding!

While the blister has yellowed a bit with age, and there are a few minor crumples along the card’s edge, this model is otherwise in very good condition, and in that most rare of states, complete on its card. Ergo, I readily declare the Cal Customs-series ’34 Ford to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for January 2017!

Again, AKA 3-Window '34.

Again, AKA 3-Window ’34.

And now a special treat for you, here is Red Simpson’s I’m a Truck:

See you at the February meeting!

~WM

The Call of Fall: Final K-Day & Promo for 2016

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s that time: the leaves are turning color; the clocks are turning back; and K-mart turns into the place to be for Hot Wheels. Our Calendar is updated with links to the final 2016 mail-in promo (which features a sweet piece o’ eye-candy!), as well as the final 2016 K-Day in-store event. So click on over, and get ready to do some a-wheelin’ and a-dealin’!

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