Happy #StarWarsDay!

#Maythe4th be with you!

Original 1978 Kenner "Star Wars" action figure display stand.

Original 1978 Kenner “Star Wars” action figure display stand.

(P.S.: Tomorrow is #FreeComicBookDay!)

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May Update: Great, ‘tho Late!

Well, my apologies for the lateness of this update. I’ve started a new job, and of course that tends to mangle one’s otherwise-free time. Plus, there was another medical  issue with my mom (now resolved), which overrode all other concerns. So, I’ll keep this intro brief.

I do want to point out that our Calendar has been updated with some interesting links.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike and Original Ken. As of our May meeting, I was still out of work, and had put together an online portfolio to address that. I asked them for permission to link to it from here, which they gave. As stated, I am now employed again, thank God; nonetheless my portfolio remains, because I have other interests I wish to pursue. So, you may visit it here, Designs by Gus, from which you can also visit my Bible-teaching blog, Zero Faith Saint.

And now, finally finally, on to the photos!

May 2016

She’s a ladyWhoa, whoa, whoa, she’s a lady … And if you say anything different she’ll bust your jaw. This is Pvt. Vasquez from Kenner’s Aliens line, with which I RAOK’d Big Tractor Mike. Not a bad sculpt, less inaccurate than the Ripley figure. If you’ll recall, back in March of 2105, Big Tractor Mike bought half a studio’s worth of Aliens toys from me. One of them was the Corporal Hicks figure, which included a blaster rifle. Except, it turns out that it wasn’t Hicks’ weapon, it’s Vasquez’. After (re-)finding Vasquez in one of my bins, I did a web search to identify her other weapon, as each figure in the line included two. Turns out, it was that rifle.

Sugar and spice and probably some brass knuckles.

Sugar and spice and probably some brass knuckles.

In case you’re wondering what I mean by “other weapon”, perhaps you noticed something around her waist. It’s the clip which holds her backpack rocket launcher. And yes, the launcher is absolutely just like the one Vasquez did not at all have in the movie.

I was genuinely surprised to be able to stand the figure without support.

I was genuinely surprised to be able to stand the figure without support.

Despite its movie-inaccuracy and its cumbersomeness, it has some good engineering. In particular, I like the simplicity of its trigger: it just slides back and forth. After reloading, just slide the trigger in the opposite direction. No resetting! The trigger can be slid quickly for a rapid-fire barrage, or slowly for selecting multiple targets. I conscripted Doug’s young son for an “arms dealer promotional video”:

Rocket_Launch! from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

Original Ken picked up this NMOC 1992-edition Hiway Hauler…

...Because the '80s were *rockin'*, dude!

…Because the ’80s were *rockin’*, dude!

…And (separately) was RAOK’d by Emergency Back-up Ken with this promotional “stress relief” squeeze toy. As you (should) know (by now), both Kens specialize in collecting garbage trucks. I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness — not to mention appropriateness — of this gift that I have decided to declare this a Bonus Find of the Month.

Nope, it doesn't roll, but it's still groovy.

Nope, it doesn’t roll, but it’s still groovy.

EBU Ken nabbed this rare space set. How rare is it? Well, I didn’t even know Mattel made it, so there you go.

''To EBU Ken's Collection, and Beyond!''

”To EBU Ken’s Collection, and Beyond!”

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased this sweet pair of Johnny Lightning Back to the Future DeLorean DMC-12 time machines. BTM asked me to spot the difference between them. There’s a slight difference in the printing of the Universal Studios copyright on the bases, which could literally simply be a printing error. The only genuine manufacturing difference is in the wheels: one has “silver-gray” plastic hubs, while the other’s hubs are chromed.

The time-travel paradox, illustrated.

The time-travel paradox, illustrated.

Grab yourself a larger copy: 1366 x 395

Man, I didn’t even own the cars an hour when Doug goes and breaks one. No, I’m kidding! — he picked it up, and the whole front end just fell out. Several of us looked it over, and the consensus is that the front rivet had been pulled through by a previous owner. Still, it provided this opportunity for an interior shot we’d otherwise never have.

This cost $12,000???

This cost $12,000???

(BTM then wondered if the difference in wheels is because someone did a wheel swap. After looking more closely, I determined that wasn’t possible because the rear of the interior is still riveted over the axle.)

BTM picked up two very special “special edition” models:

A great charity, and some *great* wheels!

A great charity, and some *great* wheels!

Everyone's favorite Hot Wheels collectors' guide!

Everyone’s favorite Hot Wheels collectors’ guide!

Doug acquired this awesome John Deere pencil case / mini tool box / we’re not sure what it is, but it’s awesome.

Nothing awesomes like a Deere.

Nothing awesomes like a Deere.

I tried several locations around the table, but I couldn’t find one in which I could get a nice, straight-on shot without serious glare. So, I took an angle shot, then ran it through my photo editing software to skew the perspective, creating this near-straight replacement. Enjoy!

I know, I know: This looks shopped. You can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in your time.

I know, I know: This looks shopped. You can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in your time.

If you like that, you may also like this larger version which affords you a better look at the lovely Farmer Lady.

Big Rob brought in this classy chromed ’72 Ford Ranchero. A great-looking ride on its own, Rob had a friend swap out the stock 5SPs with “old school” Redlines to further retro-ize the readily retro Ranchero.

Shine-y and Redline-y!

Shine-y and Redline-y!

He had it in a clear display shell. I used the shell as a stand, and after some careful camera alignment and elevation, I got the glamour shot I wanted. I hereby readily declare this our Find of the Month(*) for May 2016.

Hot Wheels' Billionth Editio-- ...Oops, wrong model.

Hot Wheels’ Billionth Editio– …Oops, wrong model.

See you at the June mee– Sorry, my bad. ;D

~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

March 2015 (needs a better title!)

Yes, it’s true: I couldn’t come up with a whimsical title for this post. I was gonna do a play of some sort on “March Madness”, but in looking over the Suncoast Diecasters archives, I discovered I had already done such a thing. So instead, we’ll just get right to the update with twenty-eight super new photos for your enjoyment:

March 2015

Big Tractor Mike hauls in nearly a whole movie set’s worth of goodies with this bunch of Kenner Aliens toys he bought from me. Starting with this awesome Power Loader, which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) used to battle the Alien Queen. What I like about this toy is how, at only about 10” tall, it nonetheless gives one a sense of mechanical massiveness. Not to mention the fact that the pincers actually work (via push-buttons atop the shoulders).

Dexter used this to play dodgeball.

Dexter used this to play dodgeball.

Now, as you drink in the image of the Power Loader, you may eventually notice several design inaccuracies, not the least of which are the (non-working) treads which somehow have replaced the machine’s ambulatory legs as seen in the movie. However, Kenner makes up for this by offering an astoundingly realistic sculpt of Ripley (he typed mockingly).

That is *definitely* Sigourney Weaver. Or Audrey Hepburn. Or Bjork.

That is *definitely* Sigourney Weaver. Or Audrey Hepburn. Or Bjork.

Next is this disturbingly accurate playset of the Alien Queen with giant ovipositor. Just like in the movie, the Queen can be detached from the nest to rumble with Ripley. And, just like not at all in the movie at all, glow-in-the-dark slime was included to pour into the top of the eggarator, which would then drip onto whichever action figure was standing or lying in the pit beneath the goopositor’s, uh … faucet?

''Does this ovipositor make my butt look big?''

”Does this ovipositor make my butt look big?”

''Make sure you get my beast side.''

”Make sure you get my beast side.”

Yes, I know, you’re clamoring for a nice, creepy Queen cuddle. Here ya go. Don’t e-mail me later about your nightmares.

''All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.''

”All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Occasionally there are controversies when toys are seen as depicting frightening or disturbing concepts. (In)famous ones include the Al Snow figure with “Head” accessory, and the talking Venom figure which said (among other phrases) “I want to eat your brain!”. No such concern with the Alien Queen playset! There’s nothing here that could possibly upset small childr — — Oh, gack … That’s disgusting….

Eeeeewwww!!!

Eeeeewwww!!!

Anyways, BTM also got this Alien Warrior with seethroughishable carapace, along with Hicks with super-duper Space Marines rifle blaster gun.

''I'm gonna cocoon you to a wall so a facehugger can implant an egg in your esophagus. No offense.'' -- ''None taken.''

”I’m gonna cocoon you to a wall so a facehugger can implant an egg in your esophagus. No offense.” — ”None taken.”

Someone at Kenner very thoughtfully made the interior of the pit removable for easy cleaning. Other accessories include a flexible facehugger, the missile for the Power Loader (see, it wasn’t missing), Ripley’s flamethrower, and an Alien Queen spawn. The brownish thing which looks like someone tried to carve an Alien out of a Tootsie Roll is the spawn accessory that “launches”, facehugger-like, from a gimmicked egg on the playset base.

Kids! Start your own ''Aliens'' franchise at home!

Kids! Start your own ”Aliens” franchise at home!

I’m fairly certain the darker spawn item is supposed to be a Queen. If you look at its head, you can see ridges which to me suggest the crest of the Queen’s adult skull structure.

Wave your queens in the air like you just don't care!

Wave your queens in the air like you just don’t care!

Oh, dear.

Rrrmf hrrmf mrrmf frrmf hrrmf. Mrrmf.

BTM also bought from me this 75th Anniversary Publix tractor/trailer set. Started in 1930, Publix’s 75th year was 2005, thus making this toy now ten years old. So, will BTM bust it loose for play and display, or will he keep it sealed on its card for further collector valuation? I do not know.

And we keep our pleasure in the southeasternmost states where it belongs.

And we keep our pleasure in the southeasternmost states where it belongs.

Somewhat ironically, Big Tractor Mike not only collects big tractors but also teensy little vehicles as well. Such an example is this very cool Lunar Landing Collection, courtesy Your Humble Webmaster. Personally, I’ve always found most Micro Machines models to be slightly cartoonish in their proportions. In contrast, the vehicles in this set seem much more accurately scaled. See for yourself.

How could the moon landing be a hoax when it has given us such cool toys?

How could the moon landing be a hoax when it has given us such cool toys?

Honorable BTM-san also relieved me of the burden of this kool kaiju kollection. Methinks I got it at a Star Trek konven- er, convention, due to its kanji/kana text. Yes, the box is dented, but that’s okay, because so is BTM. Starting at lower left and going clockwise, the figures are: MechaGodzilla; Rodan; Mothra; King Caesar; Gigan; King Ghidorah; and Godzilla himself. Little baby larva Mothra is effectively invisible in the glare and shadow bewixt Mothra and Caesar. See for yourself.

Click link below for Best. Godzilla. Movie. Ever.

Click link below for Best. Godzilla. Movie. Ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s3UogfAGg0

Tom deftly defends his position as Suncoast Diecasters‘ Viscount of VWs with the following purchases. The”L’il BUGger” is a custom repaint by Jim. Having been stationed in Germany, I can tell you that Polizei is in fact the German word for Police.

So, what's the German word for Volkswagen?

So, what’s the German word for Volkswagen?

Another repaint by Jim. The “Flower Power” van spreads love and harmony with songs of the brotherhood of man and thoughts of communing with Nature and, you know, other crap like that.

''Those were the days, my friend/We thought they'd never end/'' -- Fortunately they did end, and we're all better off for it.

”Those were the days, my friend/We thought they’d never end/” — Fortunately they did end, and we’re all better off for it.

In this next photo, Tom is — — Um…

''Pinkie swear?''

”Pinkie swear?”

''Pinkie swear!''

”Pinkie swear!”

Oh, for crying out loud. Anyway, in this next photo, Tom is all about branding. I’m not sure what brand, however, or what make or model or product line or … Well, look, let’s all just enjoy the branding!

''Gimme the branding!'' - Evil Kirk (approximately)

”Gimme the branding!” – Evil Kirk (approximately)

Well, looky here! There’s a cute little figurine of the Michelin Man atop the van! How adorable! …By the way, did you know that the Michelin Man’s real name is Bibendum?

Le cute!

Le cute!

Bill sez this: “The pearl  white GT Racer [upper left] is from the Dash `n Crash set from 1991. There`s one other version of this car in pearl white that I know of. The tampo is different; it has an orange, pink,and magenta design on top and sides. Mine has dark blue replacing the magenta. The Nissan 300ZX [lower right] is from the Park `n Plates series. There are two other variations of this car, so three in all. Mine is from Malaysia with white-painted base. The others are from Hong Kong, one with an unpainted base, the other with a painted base. All have the same tampo. And the last car is the 80`s Camaro from the 1996 Track System Starter Set.”

Opening doors!?! Truly, it must be ''The Toy of Tomorrow''!

Opening doors!?! Truly, it must be ”The Toy of Tomorrow”!

And then Bill sez this: “These were originally cast under the name Gun Bucket, but later recast in under the name Tank Gunner,  with 5 different tampo variations. Both the tan and the olive versions are from the Action Command series from 1985.”

If you cross your eyes, the photo is in 2-D.

If you cross your eyes, the photo is in 2-D.

Towards the end of the meeting, Ken and I were trying to figure something out on my laptop. It took longer than I’d wanted, thus I didn’t have time to photograph his treasures, so I told him to just shoot his own and e-mail ’em to me when he got the chance. Later that day at home, Ken was apparently rolling around on the carpet like a child, playing with his toy cars, when suddenly he remembered that he owed me some photos. That, I guess, is the explanation for these two pics.

Clockwise from bottom left: 3-Window '34; Front Runnin' Fairmont from the ''Gas Station'' Sto & Go playset; Vega Bomb in green w' blackwalls, from the '83 ''Speed Machines'' series; and American Hauler

Clockwise from bottom left: 3-Window ’34; Front Runnin’ Fairmont from the ”Gas Station” Sto & Go playset; Vega Bomb in green w’ blackwalls, from the ’83 ”Speed Machines” series; and American Hauler

Clockwise from left: Gremlin Grinder ('76 Super Chromes); Sand Drifter ('75 Flying Colors); and Redline-era Classic '32 Ford Vicky

Clockwise from left: Gremlin Grinder (’76 Super Chromes); Sand Drifter (’75 Flying Colors); and Redline-era Classic ’32 Ford Vicky

I’ve been carded! Heh. Okay, so why do I have this card which seems to be wrapped in plastic (which it is, by the way)? Because it’s underneath the super-neato thing with which Big Tractor Mike RAOK’d me at the end of the March meeting. Additional by the way: You can no longer “join the club!”. Playing Mantis disappeared into RC2, which later became Learning Curve Inc., and then was absorbed into Takara Tomy.

'Tis no more, me lads!

‘Tis no more, me lads!

''Man, let's ditch the chicks and go get us some serious brewskis.'' -- ''Dude, I am totally with you, bro.''

”Man, let’s ditch the chicks and go get us some serious brewskis.” — ”Dude, I am totally with you, bro.”

What the — ??? Okay, all you Kenner Aliens franchise toys! Knock it off! (Ahem) Anyway, back to the baggie containing the card (and the brew that is true): Well, let’s see here … It’s white, with the Johnny Lightning Tour ’96 logo…

Get it? Johnny Lightning, taking the country by storm? ''Lightning''? ''Storm''? GET IT???

Get it? Johnny Lightning, taking the country by storm? ”Lightning”? ”Storm”? GET IT???

…It has an opening hood* with detailed engine… *(Actually, an opening hood is a sweet treat anytime in the world of toy car collecting.) (And, yes, I apologize that the baggie blurs the bodacious big-block.)

Just ... LOOK ... at that detail!

Just … LOOK … at that detail!

Why, it’s the special, limited “Club Member” edition Custom Toronado! Now here I face a challenge: to free, or not to free? Like the Publix truck above, this has been in its original, sealed container for quite some time – nineteen years, to be exact! It seems that the longer a collectible stays in its original package, the longer one has to let it stay in its original package, so as to allow the item’s collector value to increase. I’d readily bust it loose, but after nearly two decades, it that wise? Well, that’s my burden, not yours. You may simply drink in the fact that this item is our Suncoast Diecasters Find of the Month(*) for March 2015!

''Lightning storm''! Don'tcha get it??

”Lightning storm”! Don’tcha get it??

See you at the April meeting!

~WM