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

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April 2016: Our Car Club!

“Well, of course”, one might be tempted to say, “Of course it’s your car club. It’s certainly not — as Sammy Davis Jr. would point out — Irving’s car club.” Well, here’s the thing: Recently on Pandora radio, a song popped up which just seems exactly what Suncoast Diecasters needs as its (totally unofficial) official theme music:

If Suncoast Diecasters were a WWE tag-team, this would be our entrance theme — and Ya can’t. Teach. That.

And, since you can’t teach that, on to the photos!

April 2016

We start off with this quartet by Mike C. (See how I kept the music theme goin’ there? …It probably won’t last.)

1970 Plymouth Barracuda; Ferrari Testarossa; 1971 Plymouth GTX (Treasure Hunt); '71 Dodge Challenger

1970 Plymouth Barracuda; Ferrari Testarossa; 1971 Plymouth GTX (Treasure Hunt); ’71 Dodge Challenger

(By the way, you may notice that this photo of Mike’s cars is slightly narrower than the other photos. Turns out I bobbled the dimension settings when I scaled the photo down for posting. That is, the actual JPG file itself is scaled wrong on my C-drive. ‘Tis my own fault, and not WordPress’s.)

Ken nabbed this groovy Sooo Fast done up in custom livery for the Early Times Car Club. Everything about this is great to look at, but my favorite element is the retro MotoMeter illustration.

And yes, I only learned about MotoMeters from ''American Pickers''

And yes, I only learned about MotoMeters from ”American Pickers”

From Big Tractor Mike I bought this awesome large(r)-scale DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine. Can’t tell whether its motor is pull-back or friction, as it doesn’t work anymore. But that honestly is quite irrelevant, as this big(ger) beast looks great just sitting on the shelf.

Based on the length of an actual DMC-12, and doing a little math, this model is about 1/43-scale.

Based on the length of an actual DMC-12, and doing a little math, this model is about 1/43-scale.

Now, here’s a curious thing: I don’t know the toy’s maker. I’ve seen any number of regular production vehicles, both modern and classic, reproduced as friction/pull-back toys. But this is not a regular production vehicle; this is a licensed design owned by a major studio. You’d think the toy’s manufacturer would proudly want its name or logo on the base; but it only states Back to the Future and Made in China. This is simultaneously one of the most readily recognizable toys and a no-namer.

Yeah, I really, *really* need to update our ''Two Scales'' page...

Yeah, I really, *really* need to update our ”Two Scales” page…

Big Tractor Mike picked up a bunch of MOC cars. As I was stacking them for photos, I realized that I could also more or less group them. But I was unsure of getting good lighting on all the models in a stack, so I photographed them individually, deciding to “stack” them in my photo editing software. Took longer, but it guaranteed well-lit cars, as well as preventing me from having to load all these as separate photos. (Did the same this with Mike C.’s cars above.) This first group is the Groupless Group, the models that didn’t really fit the other groups, or each other for that matter. (I hereby dub this phenomenon as Big Tractor Mike’s Conundrum, which I offer to you as a corollary of Russell’s Paradox.)

London Taxi; Dodge D-50 (Real Riders); Trailbuster

London Taxi; Dodge D-50 (Real Riders); Trailbuster

Next is the “Delivery Vans” group. And, yes, the blister over the first Dairy Delivery really is that yellow.

Dairy Delivery; Dairy Delivery; Land Rover MkII; '32 Ford Delivery (Malt-O-Meal Ltd. Ed.); Delivery Van (Bob's Toy Show)

Dairy Delivery; Dairy Delivery; Land Rover MkII; ’32 Ford Delivery (Malt-O-Meal Ltd. Ed.); Delivery Van (Bob’s Toy Show)

Third is this trio of Mustangs. (See how I have a numerical theme goin’ there? …That probably won’t last either.)

'96 Mustang Convertible; '65 Mustang Convertible; '65 Mustang

’96 Mustang Convertible; ’65 Mustang Convertible; ’65 Mustang

Mike also picked up two Early Times-edition rides. And, no, I didn’t cheap out and just copy the photo of Ken’s Sooo Fast. Look closely, and you’ll see they’re two separate cars.

Sooo Fast; Classic '32 Ford Vicky

Sooo Fast; Classic ’32 Ford Vicky

Ah, now we’re gettin’ to the good stuff: This sweet ’55 Chevy, and three ’57s … Magnum. (No, no, I assure you, that one definitely won’t last.)

'55 Chevy (Hot Ones); '57 Chevy; '57 Chevy; '57 Chevy (Yep, typed 'em all, because I care)

’55 Chevy (Hot Ones); ’57 Chevy; ’57 Chevy; ’57 Chevy (Yep, typed ’em all, because I care)

And finally, the Best of the Best: A nice tall, refreshing stack of Treasure Hunts, including a ’67 Camaro with an opening hood (which itself is a refreshing treasure).

'32 Ford Delivery; '71 Plymouth GTX; 1967 Camaro; Go Kart; Mini Cooper (Treasure Hunts all)

’32 Ford Delivery; ’71 Plymouth GTX; 1967 Camaro; Go Kart; Mini Cooper (Treasure Hunts all)

Ed, a retired fireman, acquired his own trio of flamey greatness. First is this VW done up in German (!) fireservice livery. As you can see, it’s by a company named Vitesse. The back states the toy was manufactured in Portugal (and Vitesse was based there), which piqued Ed’s curiosity as the primary langauge on the packaging is French. I suggested (quite incorrectly, it turns out) that French might be the official language there. By the way, Vitesse has an office here in Florida.

Despite the French packaging, the end label gives the German description, ''Feuerwehr Tubingen''

Despite the French packaging, the end label gives the German description, ”Feuerwehr Tubingen”

Next, Ed got what has to be the most adorable li’l fire engine I ever did see. No, it’s not a Micro Machines product. It’s by a Hong Kong-based company named Soma, from their Micro Racers line. I was able to ID it on their “sell sheet”, which is a huge (1600+ x 2300+) JPG.

'Tis picayune...

‘Tis picayune…

...Yet it doth perform!

…Yet it doth perform!

Finally, Ed got this cool retro TV toy. This is a variation of the Police Launch. After Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980, Code Red was Lorne Green’s next series. It ran for two seasons, as did BG, and obviously garnered some licensed toys, as did BG, so technically I guess the two shows were equally successful. (Yet, there was no much-hyped Code Red reboot on SyFy. Strange.) The vintage price tag reads “The Clover Leaf”; I couldn’t any info on that store, so feel free to inform us in the Comments. For its retro TV-ness, its LorneGreenness and vintage priceyness, I gladly dub this our Find of the Month(*) for April 2016.

Awww, it's the cutest photobomb ever!

Awww, it’s the cutest photobomb ever!

Bonus Image: The back of the Code Red card is basic, unbleached gray cardboard, illustrated with simple line drawings of the eight vehicles in the set. I was able to color-reduce it to black-&-white without too much loss or artifacting. By clicking the small image below, you can download the full-size image for your child to color.

Full size: 800 x 995

Full size: 800 x 995

Hey, I got the April update updated while there’s still some April left! Victoryyyy!

See you at the May 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