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

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July 2016

Did my best to get our July update posted before running out of July. So, skipping the wacky intro again so you can get right to the photos.

July 2016

Last month, we presented to you a garbage truck purchased by Emergency Back-up Ken’s wingman, Gary. Here, EBU Ken proves to be his own wingman with this Matchbox A-10 Thunderbolt II.

''Welcome ta Oith.'' (Just process that one a little while.)

”Welcome ta Oith.” (Just process that one a little while.)

I RAOK’d Original Ken with this Racing Champs ’41 Willys with neat-o opening hood.

Well, maybe it's Purdue rather than Racing Champs.

Well, maybe it’s Purdue rather than Racing Champs.

Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike this very rare Milton military ambulance. As BTMike and O’Ken explain, Milton is a company in India, which often used Corgi and other UK dies. You can read more about Milton at the Bickford Diecast Research Center, doing a word-search for Milton.

They refused to produce any manual transmission models.

They refused to produce any manual transmission models.

In the top image,you can see the steering wheel clearly. In the bottom image, you can see the smooshed, white globby-looking thing with big black splotches which is presumably the driver.

It's an ambulance, so maybe that's the driver's ghost?

It’s an ambulance, so maybe that’s the driver’s ghost?

This is a 1914 Stutz Bearcat. I know this, because I know such things. More specifically, it’s a Matchbox Models of Yesteryear-series 1/48-scale 1914 Stutz Bearcat. What I can’t explain is that bizarre device ominously installed over the ‘Cat, looking like something Auric Goldfinger might use for nefarious schemes.

''NO, Mr. Bond, I expect you to drive! ...On the right. ...'Coz we're British.''

”NO, Mr. Bond, I expect you to drive! …On the right. …’Coz we’re British.”

Oh, it’s a fuel reservoir. For butane. Because it’s a lighter. Ed found this somewhere, and brought it in to show it off (violating one of the few rules we have). Encased in a Lucite block, this model will stay fresh long past its “use by” date.

Clearly, a creative endeavor.

Clearly, a creative endeavor.

Bill bought some advertising.

Advertising.

Advertising.

I’m kidding! Hopefully you noticed either the triangular peg hole and/or the Leo logo. This is Bill’s, a Leo (India) variation, variations being one of Bill’s specialities. As I’ve said before, there isn’t much info available about Leo online, but this page at Gary’s Cars makes for a interesting if brief read.

Well done, Bill! Very attractive variation.

Well done, Bill! Very attractive variation.

O’Ken bought this rare Red Baron from Bill. Now, obviously Redline-era models are rare to begin with; what makes this version even more rare is the slightly taller and pointier spike on the helmet. This was replaced with a blunter spike beginning in 1974.

Yeah, some bites in the paint, but still gorgeous.

Yeah, some bites in the paint, but still gorgeous.

Big Tractor Mike bought several things from me, starting with that most important of collector accessories, storage.**

192 covered parking spaces!

192 covered parking spaces!

Supposedly, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Which I guess explains Mattel’s various attempts at imitating Galoob’s success in the “micro car” market. BTM collects “micro” models, and was happy to buy this from me. This particular set contains bite-size versions of three of my favorite Hot Wheels models: Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, Sharkruiser and Rigor Motor.

Yes, they link together to form a train or roller-coaster. Yes, it's weird.

Yes, they link together to form a train or roller-coaster. Yes, it’s weird.

And finally, BTM got this ALF hand puppet. BTM has purchased several ALF items from me over the years, so when I (finally) found this guy in storage, I had no doubt he would end up Safely at Home™ with Mike. These puppets were available at Burger King. There were four variations: this hair-band rocker, a Hawaiian shirt-wearing version, and two others I don’t remember.

Pictured: Alf Landon, 26th Governor of Kansas

Pictured: Alf Landon, 26th Governor of Kansas

Guests Terri and Robert bought three vehicles, includi– Huh, part of the photo … seems to be redacted … Strange…

Pictured: Not pictured.

Pictured: Not pictured.

Well, anyway, one of the models they bought is a ’57 Chevy from the 2002 Hot Wheels Racing series (which I should’ve taken more photos of), and this Johnny Lightning ’65 Chevy Chevelle wagon, which I did take another photo of. It’s a very nice casting, with deep lines around the doors, windows and even the fuel filler door. This model is done up in an “unfinished project” motif, which can really add realism to a diorama.

A ''555'' phone number? Something tells me this is a bait car.

A ”555” phone number? Something tells me this is a bait car.

Okay, enough teasing. The “redacted” vehicle is this spectacularly awesome Team Trailer from Ira Gilford’s Heavyweights series.

This is how one designs coolness.

This is how one designs coolness.

This was only issued in 1971, making this one of the more exceedingly rare Hot Wheels models. And, had Gilford designed the trailer in a more “traditional” style, that rarity alone would have made this model very cool. But “traditional” does not define a successful Hot Wheels artist. Elements such as the cleft forward side window and “frameless” rear window give the trailer that distinctive Hot Wheels “look and feel”.

...Why am I getting ''Jurassic Park 2'' flashbacks?

…Why am I getting ”Jurassic Park 2” flashbacks?

I have stated previously that when it comes choosing a model to designate as Find of the Month for any given meeting, broadly speaking either one simply jumps out, or there are several contenders. For our July meeting, it was a bit of a combo. Ed’s Milton ambulance, Bill’s exotic GMC Motorhome and Ken’s sharp(-looking) Red Baron were all candidates for FotM. However, from that pack of notable worthies, the Team Trailer very clearly stands out. For all the right reasons, I very happily declare the Ira Gilford-designed Heavyweights Team Trailer to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for July 2016.

Let's start a campaign to have the Team Trailer re-issued in ''Hot Wheels blue'' livery.

Let’s start a campaign to have the Team Trailer re-issued in ”Hot Wheels blue” livery.

See you at the August meeting!

~WM

**An erroneous comment regarding the car cases has been deleted.  ~WM

February’s OK(Day) with Us!

February went quite well for Suncoast Diecasters. Lots of great buys and trades at our meeting; and even K-Day was better than usual. For myself, I came away with three nice new rides. I first picked an “exclusive colors” variant of the Custom ’69 Volkswagen Squareback out of my box. I was kind of iffy on it, when I found a regular, teal(?)-colored one as well. I think they make a nice set, so I kept ’em. Also got the Grass Chomper custom lawn mower. You can tell by the “tumbling guy” logo on the card that it’s part of the “figures” subset, designed to carry Mega Blocks figurines. Most of those vehicles aer IMHO too toy-like, with all the pegs. The Chomper, however, has few such pegs, and they’re well-disguised.

And it has a neat (if unintentional) 1/43 look to it.

And it has a neat (if unintentional) 1/43 look to it.

Before moving on, I have another announcement: you can now search our site via categories! I’ve used categories pretty much from the beginning here at our WordPress site; however, it only just recently occurred to me that I need to put the Categories widget on the site. (And yes, the categories really need to be reorganized; some in fact would work better as tags. That’s a future project.)

Now, on to the photos!

February 2016

Boy, oh boy. All I can figure is that Big Tractor Mike just hates Star Trek. Every time I bring in Star Trek stuff, he makes it all go away! In fact, this month he even made nonStar Trek stuff disappear! Does his wrath know no bounds? Well anyway, he starts off with this Enterprise-E (NCC-1701-E) which first appeared in Star Trek: First Contact. What I’ve always appreciated about the various redesigns of the Enterprise — which I admit is an obvious notion — is how the modellers maintain the established saucer/hull/twin nacelles configuration while making each iteration more streamlined and futuristical. Features working lights and sound.

The toy, some 15'' long, looks sadly puny on its oversized stand.

The toy, some 15” long, looks sadly puny on its oversized stand.

Here, we go back to the future with the old-school, “Original Series” Romulan Bird-of-Prey. I haven’t been able to verify this, but I’ve often thought that designer Wah Ming Chang created the BoP at least partially as an homge to the classic “flying saucer” designs of 1950s sci-fi. I apologize for not even considering a photo of the toy’s ventral hull which features a great depiction of the “bird of prey” graphic. Features working lights and sound.

Yep, overexposed and washed out. My bad.

Yep, overexposed and washed out. My bad.

And finally we have the Enterprise-D … and then some. This is the “alternate future” D from the episode All Good Things… — except when it’s not. Despite the presence of translucent plastic details, this toy does not feature light and sound. Instead, what it does feature is the ability to transform from the “regular” D configuration to the “alt-future” version (and back). Note in the photo differences between the nacelle surfaces, as well as an enhanced phaser cannon to the left of the bridge. (It also features the massive “Borg Buster” cannon on the saucer’s ventral surface which, again, I neglected to photograph). I arranged it in this half-transformed configuration specifically to highlight the differences.

You remember that Star Trek/Transformers crossover, right?

You remember that Star Trek/Transformers crossover, right?

Those of you who recall the episode may wonder where the Big Missing Cool Part is. It’s hidden inside the necessarily-oversized neck, accessed by popping up the latch at the base…

How do we make it look more futuristic? By adding parts!

How do we make it look more futuristic? By adding parts!

…Lifting up the neck cover and pulling out a bunch of loose, floppy parts…

R2, that stabilizer's broken loose again. See if you can lock it down.

R2, that stabilizer’s broken loose again. See if you can lock it down.

…Then finally aligning those parts and snapping them gently together.

BOOM! Mutant third warp nacelle!

BOOM! Mutant third warp nacelle!

Mike also acquired this Scotty figure which features a really neat gimmick. You’ll note (despite the glare) that the figure’s lower arms and entire lower half are transparent, with glitter flecks embedded. The figure is on a stand molded to look like a transporter pad. A button on the pad activates a digital recording of the “Original Series” transporter sound effect while also ramping up a super-bright LED to full brightness, which then fades out again. The light dances up through the figure’s transparent parts, giving the illusion that Scotty is beaming out.

Och, me poor bairns!

Och, me poor bairns!

Oh, the wonders that show up on QVC. (Or Home Shopping Network, whichever.) Seriously, I bought this from a TV shopping show back in the ’90s. It’s a bump-n-go toy, but what really intrigued me was its secondary action. After a few moments, it would stop, then a pad would extend from the base, lifting the car off the floor. The rear panel labeled “Cosmo Fighter” would raise up to reveal lighted “thrusters”; its wheels would raise in a “hover mode” fashion; and short, Chitty-esque winglets would extend from its sides. Then it would reset and drive around again, repeating this cycle. The overall effect was a sort of combination of the Back to the Future DMC-12 and the Spinner from Blade Runner.

...And a name right out of '60s sci-fi!

…And a name right out of ’60s sci-fi!

Sadly, as is typical of bump-n-go’ers over time, its b-n-g drive no longer works. However, the secondary action still does, and it makes for a neat show. It’s also very large; the car’s a good foot long or so, so it’s also a great rolling toy. BTM got this in the Great Trek Removal as well. I don’t have video or a photo of its “alt-mode” because we would’ve been thrown out of the Sports Bar.

Because it's REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY loud!

Because it’s REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY loud!

Finally, Mike got this Happy Meal(?) toy, which includes a side of gimmick: pressing down on Ron McD winds a spring action, which sends the plane zipping across the floor when you let go. He also got the sculpted foam fireplace (which I should’ve posed better) and calendar from our Santa’s Cycle Shop Christmas panel. Yes, indeed, Big Tractor Mike acquired two pieces of Suncoast Diecasters original artwork.

Very uptown of you, Mike!

Very uptown of you, Mike!

When I suggested a certain price for the whole lot, I could tell from the look on Big Tractor Mike’s face that he was undulating, calculating and formulating a counter-offer. He later approached me with a car-n-cash offer. The car offered as the “car” in the “car-n-cash” offer is this … which at first I didn’t recognize, because its proportions are off. It is in fact a DMC-12. Not sure if its roofline is too high, or if its body is too narrow. In either case, its windshield is too square as a result; it should be clearly rectangular.

Totally for squares, dad.

Totally for squares, dad.

I checked its base to verify that it is indeed a DMC-12. More significantly, I discovered the Zee logo. Yes, this is a Zylmex model! I’ve done many foolish things in my life, but I’m not fool enough to turn down a Zylmex DeLorean. And imagine my further delight when I found it also does this neat trick:

Hey, Mattel! Notice anything? Gettin' any ideas?

Hey, Mattel! Notice anything? Gettin’ any ideas?

Tom, ever vigilant for VWs, picked up this Hot Wheels pack which features two beetle variations and two van variations.

Hippie commune not included.

Hippie commune not included.

Here they be, for your enjoyment:

There. Now you are enjoyed.

There. Now you are enjoyed.

Tom also went a bit loose with the definition of “beetle” by bagging this groovy Corgi retro-commemorative.

You know Tom loves these, yeah, yeah , yeah...

You know Tom loves these, yeah, yeah , yeah…

The box top (face?) flips up to reveal a nicely-displayed van, er, lorry, as well as a sculpt of the two groovy groupies.

...And with a van like that, you know Tom should be glad.

…And with a van like that, you know Tom should be glad.

The “45” in the corner reveals itself as an informative fold-out, with a mail-in card for further info on the Corgi Classics series tucked inside.

Being for the benefit of Mr. Tom.

Being for the benefit of Mr. Tom.

Now, you didn’t really think I’d leave without showing you a sweet close-up of the van, did you? (I’m not leaving, that’s just how the cliché flows.) Here ya go, along with a nice shot of the gals.

Or ''birds'', as they're called in the land of the Mersey Beat.

Or ”birds”, as they’re called in the land of the Mersey Beat.

Bill bagged this awesome 20th Anniversary set. These sets each feature a special variant Anniversary model, such as the Monster Vette here. Available in either gold or chrome, these models also have a custom 20th Anniversary logo stamped into the body shell. Price on the Toys ‘R’ Us sticker?: $1.99 (in 1988 dollars).

Ironically, this set is now 28 years older than the anniversary it's celebrating.

Ironically, this set is now 28 years older than the anniversary it’s celebrating.

Doug bought this massive Tonka bulldozer from BTM. This is from the days when toys were really meant to be played with. You’d go out to your sandbox (or, anywhere in the yard, really) and do some serious digging. At least until your mom caught you. Lovin’ that well-worn, much-played-with pitted surface on the blade. Don’t know if this is designed to a particular scale, but it’s huge.

I'd peg it at about ''1/2-half toaster oven''.

I’d peg it at about ”1/2-toaster oven”.

Recall that Doug  brought in a Sizzlers set, then more recently brought in an Anki Overdrive set. Well, for February Doug has gone full-circle– er, more accurately, he has gone full-trioval with the slot car set he brought in. A video is thoughtfully provided below for your viewing pleasure.

(Note on the video: What you’re seeing, or not seeing, really, is a whole lot of nothin’. The cars were overpowered, and kept flying off the track. Fully two-thirds of the total footage was of empty track, waiting for the cars to be reset. That was all edited out, to create the illusion of an actual race happening. I do think the result looks pretty good nonetheless.)

The ker-klak you hear at the end? Car flying off the track. (If the video doesn’t play properly, you can watch it in a separate window/tab.)

Ken cornered this quaint, kaleidoscopic quintet of colorful Colectomatics to corral into his cultured (if cumbersome) collection, capering and cavorting continuously.

That, children, is an example of alliteration.

That, children, is an example of alliteration.

More directly: Here Ken has a 1966 Dodge A100 pickup (Matchbox), a Jaguar E-Type 2+2 (yellow, Corgi), and a Jaguar E-Type (chrome, Faller).

Well, ''chrome-ish''.

Well, ”chrome-ish”.

Who, or what, is Faller, you ask? Faller is a German toy company which made a variety of toy lines over the years, including diecast miniatures and slot cars. Now the company focuses mainly on train sets and accessories. I’m just concerned about their possible ties to the German mafia.

Because it says ''hit car''. That's the joke.

Because it says ”hit car”. That’s the joke.

We interrupt this update for this brief Public Service Announcement:

From the Toy Safety Council of Hingna, India.

From the Toy Safety Council of Hingna, India.

Sharp-eyed readers (and anyone who can read) will spot the name Leo by the Mattel logo. This is a very rare variation, by Leo of India. There’s really no info regarding Leo online. Whereas most other foreign-made HW models simply say “Made in [country name]”, I can only presume that Mattel’s contract with Leo required (or at least allowed) the co-branding. This one is even more rare, in still having its original box.

A toy car in a matchbook-sized box? Ridiculous!

A toy car in a matchbook-sized box? Ridiculous!

Mike bought this from Ed, which was dang smart of him. For its unique foreign (dare I say exotic?) pedigree and richly-colored packaging which itself makes a nice display, I very happily declare this Leo Second Wind to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for February 2016.

That is one classy-lookin' photo, if I do caption so myself.

That is one classy-lookin’ photo, if I do caption so myself.

See you at the March meeting!

~WM

Happy St. Valvoline’s Day!

(Note: Please read this article regarding blocked photographs.)

Branding! That’s what it’s all about! I mentioned last month that Ken and his daughter set up a Suncoast Diecasters Facebook page. They use a cropped version of our Fifth Anniversary Club Vehicle ”family photo” as the wallpaper (or banner, or header). It looks so good that I decided to do the same thing for our WordPress blog and our Twitter feed! So now we have a consistent look on all three sites. Or, in BrandingSpeak, “We’ve implemented a unified synergystic visual strategy across multiple social platforms.” It all works so smoothly that you probably didn’t notice the subtle and nuanced joke in the title of this post. Go back and look at the title again. I bet you didn’t even see it.

And now, on to the photos!

Branding!

February 2015

And now, a belated Christmas ditty, just for you:

Four Star Trek plates
A Three Stooges plate
Two Simpsons plates
And a box nabbed from Big Tractor Mike

'Cause I didn't feel like unboxing & untaping them after Tom bought 'em from me.

‘Cause I didn’t feel like unboxing & untaping them after Tom bought ’em from me.

Seriously, the above plates are from my collection of Hamilton Collection plates. And yes, they are from our February meeting, not from Christmas. Tom got them for his brother’s ”man-cave”. Had them taped and boxed a good half-hour before I realized I should’ve photographed them.

Along with various assorted sundry cars, Big Tractor Mike also bought these items from me: Alien poster puzzle (3′ from top to bottom when completed); 8” Gizmo and 12” Stripe figures from Gremlins; and the V alien visitor action figure.

Explain to me again how LJN went out of business?

Explain to me again how LJN went out of business?

When I pulled this out of storage, I was surprised to see that the human mask was still in its little bubble. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t even once try the “pop the mask on/pop the mask off” gimmick. So I slid the inner cardboard  “tray” out of the box, and discovered a slit paralleling the rear border of the bubble. Clearly, I had in fact taken an X-acto knife to the bubble specifically so’s I could test-fit the mask. Takes away from collector value, of course, but least it’s less damage (and less obvious damage) than simply ripping the bubble off the tray.

And it makes a better presentation than having the mask flopping around loose inside the box.

And it makes a better presentation than having the mask flopping around loose inside the box.

This is a bittersweet thing for me. I’m glad BTM bought it; I know for certain in my possession it would’ve only spent more years buried in storage. But in rediscovering the V figure, I also rediscovered yet another long-gone, classic element of the American fabric: Zayre. Along with such names as K-mart, McCrory, and Woolworth/Woolco, Zayre meant a wide variety of products and brand lines at very attractive prices. Zayre was sold to Ames in 1988, which at the time I found amusing, in that they literally “went from Z to A” in rebranding (Branding!) the chain. Ironically, Ames itself went out of business in 2002. Ah, well; before moving on, perhaps you could take another look at Zayre.

*--Sigh--*

*–Sigh–*

If you’ll recall, the day of our February meeting was also the same da— What? Oh. Yes, yes, I hear you. Fine. Here you go. Enjoy:

Well, that's just adorable.

Well, that’s just adorable.

Anyway. If you’ll recall, the day of our February meeting was also the same day as the K-day event. Again not impressed with the “special colors” models, I went through my case merely to see what caught my eye. I very happily came away with the Treasure Hunt version of Jet Threat 4.0; the new green version of Speed Dozer (I think this green is much more aggressive than the original “construction” yellow); Speed Slayer, a new, “salt flat racer“-style model; and my favorite of the four, the Mooneyes-branded (Branding!) Custom ’77 Dodge Van. Yep, much as I dig wild customs, my fave this time ironically is the mundane corporate roller.

Yet I still can't find ''Moongaloonie'' on the 'Net.

Yet I still can’t find ”Moongaloonie” on the ‘Net.

Ken purchased this RLC ’64 Ford Falcon Sprint from me, and was embarrassed about it because his “make offer” price was less than what I originally paid for it. I told him he should be happy, because 1) he got an RLC model at a discount, and 2) he alleviated me of one more thing to have to re-pack at the end of the day.

Well, Ken bought the upper one; I kept the lower one. Huh?

Well, Ken bought the upper one; I kept the lower one. Huh?

Speaking of Ken (see previous paragraph): What’s in the box, Ken?

Spoiler alert!

Spoiler alert!

Oh, here’s what’s in the box: a Chevrolet van, by El Junioro de Corgi. A little spanish lingo for you there, because this is actually a Brazilian import. Industria Brasiliera, by KIKO. You can find out more about KIKO by visiting Gary’s Cars.

It's a Varig nice miniature! (AND THE COMEDY NEVER STOPS!)

It’s a Varig nice miniature! (AND THE COMEDY NEVER STOPS!)

So who or what is Voe Varig? Well, after extensive research (at Wikipedia), I learned that Varig was Brazil’s primary international airline. And it still is … sort of. After reorganization, the company was split into two separate companies known informally as “old” Varig (which has since folded) and “new” Varig which is fully integrated into GOL Intelligent Airlines. Considering the logo, and the toy’s age, this seems to refer to the “old” Varig. (“Voe” is the Spanish imperative for “go”, as in “Go Greyhound!”)

An oldie but a goodie. No, not Hot Wheels' ''Oldies But Goodies'' series; look, you know what I mean.

An oldie but a goodie. No, not Hot Wheels’ ”Oldies But Goodies” series; look, you know what I mean.

It’s extremely rare to find a Hot Wheels backer that’s been autographed by the designer. For example, this is not one of those. I don’t know whose signature that is, but it didn’t stop Bill from buying it. (I find it quaint that three examples of the “fastest cars on the roads” are lumbering construction vehicles.)

Collect them all! All six of 'em!

Collect them all! All six of ’em!

Okay, here’s the real scoop: it’s actually a double-rare find by Bill. Rare once in that it’s a Leo production (from India), and rare the second time in that it’s still on the card. I’ve seen Leos loose, and I’ve even seen one in a box (like the Corgi above); this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Leo on a traditional-style backer card. Oh, and unpunched, thank you kindly. Can’t even find any definitive info on Leo online. Very happy to declare this our Find of the Month for February.(*)

Yes, I'd say ''limited edition'' is quite accurate.

Yes, I’d say ”limited edition” is quite accurate.

See you at the March meeting!

~WM