Final Village Flea Market Finds (via The Race Case)

After 42 years, the Village Flea Market in Wichita has closed. It was reported that the owners had decided to convert the massive building at Pawnee and Meridian to a storage facility for their real estate development company. I’ve made some nice finds at the Village over the years, including this bunch of Hot Wheels […]

via My Final Village Flea Market Hot Wheels Finds — The Race Case

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Hot Wheels art by Alex Toth [via Hot Wheels Race Tracks 68-71]

One of the remarkable features from the early years of Hot Wheels is the artwork. Great car designs came from Harry Bradley, Ira Gilford and Larry Wood. Amazing package art was handled by Otto Kuni. But when it came to classic comic images with story telling, Mattel’s go-to-guy was Alex Toth. Alexander Toth (June 25, […]

via Hot Wheels art by Alex Toth — Hot Wheels Race Tracks 68-71

Parade your Patriotism!

Please join the Dunedin Concert Band for a free concert Sunday, May 22 at 5 pm, at John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park, 420 Main Street. The park is at the northeast corner of Main Street and Douglas Avenue.

Dunedin Concert Band site

Dunedin event site

0522PyP

See you at the Concert! And then we’ll see you at our June meeting!

~WM

2015 Calendar Update

Suncoast DiecastersCalendar page has been updated to close out both the November K-Day event and the November meeting. It has also been updated with a complete listing of all meeting dates throughout 2015.

You’ll also notice a new look. For the 2015 listings, our Calendar features a simpler format which is easier to update and hopefully easier to read.

See you at the December (2014) meeting!

~WM

June is tuned and rollin’!

Aaalllllrighty then. Finally got everything up-to-date here at the site. Calendar‘s updated (what’s that special promo?), splash page is updated, and June is bustin’ out all over with new photos.

June 2014

Okay, what’s the difference between this Tonka garbage truck…

A garbage truck miniature, purchased by a Ken...

A garbage truck miniature, purchased by a Ken…

…And this Tonka garbage truck? (Other than the fact that they’re framed slightly differently?)

...And a garbage truck miniature, purchased by a Ken.

…And a garbage truck miniature, purchased by a Ken.

Well, the first one was purchased by Emergency Back-up Ken by itself. In contrast, the second was purchased by Original Ken along with all this other stuff. Thus, as you can see, they’re completely different (even though they’re completely identical).

Bulk discounting: It did not happen.

Bulk discounting: It did not happen.

What else did Ken get here? Well, counter-clockwise from top left, there’s a Willys …and a Willys …aaaand a Willys, and a Jaguar CBS, and an ABC NBC, and a Super Van.*

*(I’ve just been handed a correction: the fourth and fifth cars respectively are a Jaguar XKE and an AMC AMX. I apologize for any confusion.)

Willys: Ken's other collection passion, after garbage trucks. And rare brands. Oh, and international brands. Can't forget international brands.

Willys: Ken’s other collection passion, after garbage trucks. And rare brands. Oh, and international brands. Can’t forget international brands.

Ah, you’ve noticed that the Super Van in the above photo seems to have a groovy hot rod illustration on its side. As you can see below, the artist thoughtfully and creatively used the van’s own actual rear tire as the rear tire of the illustration. Today, it’s possible to see such artwork on real vans … but I wonder if l’il ol’ Super Van here was the inspiration?

It would've been even more super if the car illustration looked like an actual Hot Wheels model...

It would’ve been even more super if the car illustration looked like an actual Hot Wheels model…

Mr. Kenneth gets a little “artsie-phartsie” here. He reaches beyond mere toy car collecting into the realms of home decor and custom candlecraft. (And I intentionally used the “crop to circular selection” function to enhance and focus on the overall shape.) Bravo, Mr. Kenneth!

I'd like to be/Under the sea/In the Intimidator's garden/In the shade

I’d like to be/Under the sea/In the Intimidator’s garden/In the shade

In this shot, you can see how the “high banking curve” (race term!) of sand creates a multi-level stage, with the 1:43 model and colored aquarium rock low in front, and the shell and beads raised in back. The clear gel fill anchors everything in place whilst not visually interfering with the serene scene.

''Boogity, boogity, boogity, let's go racing, boys and girls!''

”Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing, boys and girls!”

Cleverly disguised as a kid-oriented collector case, Bill bought this car carrier from me. (The car carrier is disguised as a collector case, not Bill.) The plastic sticking out of the top is a baggie holding a car; by the time I took this shot, Bill already had it loaded up & truckin’.

Breaker, breaker, this here's the Rubber Duck, what's your twenty?

”Breaker, breaker, this here’s the Rubber Duck, what’s your twenty?”

The upper and lower decks of the trailer hold between four and six cars each (depending on model length), while the cab holds two to four (again, depending on model length). So, in total the carrier can hold anywhere from ten to fifteen cars (I emphasize again,  that depends on model length).

Optimus gets so embarrassed when he's photographed mid-transition.

Optimus gets so embarrassed when he’s photographed mid-transition.

A RAOK from Big Tractor Mike to me. This is Stingin’ Thing, from Mattel’s short-lived Revvers line of rubber-band powered cars. No, it doesn’t work, but that’s not surprising: amidst the high-friction rubber treads on the rear tires, the brittle, dried-out winder wheel on back, and the overly-complex gear system crammed into such a small space, something’s bound to become gummed up somewhere. (No, the “stinger”-like object on top doesn’t do anything, either.) Still, none of this decreases my appreciation for it: I recall only ever having one Revvers model when I was a kid; now thanks to Suncoast Diecasters, I have three.

The sting's the thing that ... that ... something-something-ING.

The sting’s the thing that … that … something-something-ING.

Call the police! Call the military! Call my mommy! A huge, gigantic, enormous and very large monster robot (or robot monster) is on the loose! See how he’s busted out of his containment unit!

Me crush! CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH!!!

Me crush! CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH!!!

Oh, the joy of over-adjectivery. Anyway, say hello to Cargantua (“Monster of the Freeways”). Cargantua was produced in 1985 by Matchbox, in what I can only presume was MB’s attempt to draw some of the fans of Transformers, GoBots and Voltron over into the world of miniature car collecting.

An Awesome Mechanical Menace!

An Awesome Mechanical Menace!

And seriously, wouldn’t Cargo (I call him Cargo. We’re on a first name basis) look super-cool displayed on your shelf next to G1 Devastator, Puzzler and the Voltron Lion Force?

Look out! He's PREPARING TO ATTACK!

Look out! He’s PREPARING TO ATTACK!

Sadly, it didn’t work out so well. It’s the classic fail: good concept, poor execution. Cargantua didn’t transform in any way. His designers apparently missed that one little factor in the whole “shape-changing robot” craze. Beyond that, he simply didn’t have that much play value. His joints are almost un-poseably stiff, which leads me to believe younger kids got frustrated with him very quickly…

His ''brain car'' was simply a black Mercedes-Benz Sauber C9 with ''lightning'' stickers.

His ”brain car” was simply a black Mercedes-Benz Sauber C9 with ”lightning” stickers.

…While older kids who collected cars probably weren’t impressed with his mere thirteen-car capacity, and might have considered him too “toy-like” to be a valuable asset in a collection. Still, he looks good on paper, as the saying goes.

And by ''paper'', I mean four-color offset-printed cardboard.

And by ”paper”, I mean four-color offset-printed cardboard.

The only place you can find him these days (other than a K-mart clearance shelf, whence came this one) is on the various auction sites. If you go that route, make sure you verify condition and level of completeness. If you want this one, you’ll have to ask Big Tractor Mike. He bought it from me. For his rarity, his uniqueness as a curiosity, and as a no-doubt sincere attempt by Matchbox to expand its market, I’m easily declaring Cargantua to be June’s Find of the Month.(*)

I've re-cropped these two photos so you can drink in Cargantua's robotic manliness.

I’ve re-cropped these two photos so you can drink in Cargantua’s robotic manliness.

...Or his manly roboticness. Whichever.

…Or his manly roboticness. Whichever.

See you at the July meeting!

~WM

March Toyness!

Madness? Brackets? Round-ball?

Puh-leaze! We’re here to talk about toy cars ‘n such!

By the way, please note that our “Miscellaneous” links page has been re-titled to the more meaningful, more humorous and less miscellaneous “Toys & Etc.”, and be sure to check out the great new top link there!

March 2014

Bookending this month’s post with this magnificent mini-garbager (which, if you’ve been paying attention, is of course Ken’s). Although it’s now owned by Hasbro, only Tonka remains an active company, the other two stamped-metal toy truck companies, Buddy-L and Nylint, having closed years ago.

Tonka: Titan of tiny tin.

Tonka: Titan of tiny tin.

A bunch by Bill. Clockwise from middle left: Chief`s Special with bar on roof (Hong Kong, 1976); Pontiac J-2000, with small sun roof (Mexico, 1985); Ford Escort (1985, Mexico); rare green-over-yellow American Victory (Speed Machines series, Malaysia, 1983); Tricar X8 with rare yellow base (1988, Malaysia).

Bill's ''primary'' interests. Get it? 'Coz they're primary colors! ...I'll just stand over there....

Bill’s ”primary” interests. Get it? ‘Coz they’re primary colors! …I’ll just stand over there….

Bill continues: Phone Truck (1985, Malaysia); Leo Inside Story (1984, India); and the exceptionally rare Rebel Run Purple Passion (1995). This variation was only available at the car show. [My personal fave here is the Leo model on the wild international card. ~WM]

Bill gives a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike for the American Victory and the Leo India Inside Story.

Bill gives a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike for the American Victory and the Leo India Inside Story.

Tom lives up to his VW reputation with this gathering of characters 86 and 87 … which includes what has to be the most boring Drag Bus variation ever (he said colorlessly).

A veritable variety of VWs.

A veritable variety of VWs.

Shoulda bought this when it first appeared on the shelves. I never thought I’d see it again. Turns out, Big Tractor Mike had one with him at this meeting. I found his price very reasonable, and now this’n’s mine all mine. I have the Mars Rover Sojourner Action Pack, as well as several of the Curiosity models. Now, thanks to BTM, I have this commemorative of John Glenn’s participation in the STS-95 mission.

''To boldly go where no ma--'' Sorry, wrong movie.

”To boldly go where no ma–” Sorry, wrong movie.

BTM bought several things from Your Humble Webmaster this month, including this supply of fantasy, phantasmagorical representations of (*snicker*)(*chuckle*) ”flying machines”. (*Snort*)

I mean, seriously,

I mean, seriously, “flying” — Ha!

RoboCop? Why, no, no, it isn’t. What causes you to ask whether this is RoboCop? Okay, perhaps you remember the little dust-up that happened when Radio Shack put this stalwart defender on the shelves: Orion Pictures Corp. got all medieval on Tandy Corp., and made TC remove “Galactic Man” from duty. There are plenty of knock-off toys at which to mockingly laugh, but they 1) usually stay overseas and 2) usually aren’t this dang accurate. The G-Man here got both wrong. And now, Big Tractor Mike has to deal with the Copyright Police a-knockin’ on his door.

Copyright infringement? But your Honor, I have a sword -- clearly, I'm an Etruscan warrior!

Copyright infringement? But your Honor, I have a sword — clearly, I’m an Etruscan warrior!

Here, BTM took the MacGyver approach to collecting (a.k.a. the kitchen sink approach). Counterclockwise from top left: Shogun Warriors Great Mazinga; ERTL Collectors Club cloth patch; cast metal soldier from Germany (yes, I actually bought it in Germany); and the 8″ tall, semi-poseable version of Vehicle-Force Voltron.

If variety is the spice of life, Big Tractor Mike must be feeling pret-tee spicy right now.

If variety is the spice of life, Big Tractor Mike must be feeling pret-tee spicy right now.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Vehicle-Force Voltron, here’s a larger image showing the manly vehicles that comprise his vehicular manliness.

Since Voltron is made of twice as many vehicles, I'm guessing he could defeat Devastator rather easily.

Since Voltron is made of twice as many vehicles, I’m guessing he could defeat Devastator rather easily.

Again, the joy of cleaning out one’s garage: Found a bunch o’ track partses I didn’t even know I still had. I divided ’em up equally into groups,each having track sections with connectors, spare connectors (baggies), uprights and a C-clamp. Kept some for m’self; these two sets were purchased by BTM.

Amazing that something as simple as a sheet of orange plastic has become imbued with such awesome nostalgic coolness.

Amazing that something as simple as a sheet of orange plastic has become imbued with such awesome nostalgic coolness.

My nephew got a first-edition Starbird about the time I was taking Basic Electronics in high school. After we played with it for some time, with his permission I opened it up to examine what was making the “power-up/power-down” effect. Among the more typical electronic components was a plastic shell containing a ball bearing. There were also a few thin wires on the interior surface of the shell. When the ship was tilted nose-up, the ball rolled to the back of the shell, triggering the “power-up” sound; tilting the ship nose-down similarly caused the “power-down” sound.

Now, being comparatively young then, and blessed/cursed with an imagination which (still) slips too easily into high gear, I conjectured to my nephew that the “power-up” sound was caused by “a massive static charge, which builds up on the metal ball. The longer the ship is tilted nose-up, the greater the charge and thus the higher the tone. When tilted nose-down, the charge dissipates and the tone lowers.”

Your Humble Webmaster: Super Genius. I have since realized that the shell with wires and ball was a very, very simple attitude sensor. “Attitude”, as in flight dynamics. The ball hitting the wires was simply the completion of one of two circuits (or of one circuit with two inputs). No exotic (and potentially weaponizeable) static charges involved.

Below is the even-more rare German edition, the Supervogel, which just like the metal soldier above, I actually purchased in actual Germany. Aside from the cool foreign-edition packaging, this model is unique in that, while the original Starbird and the Starbird (Space) Avenger have illustrations on the boxfront, Supervogel uses a photograph of a child with the toy. Big Tractor Mike now owns it, so if a static-induction wormhole opens in your neighborhood, it’s his fault, not mine! [H/T to Bug-Eyed Monster for the link! ~WM]

Ja, it hast der Elektronischer fur die ''Vrrrmmen'' und die ''Bleeeerpen'' und die geschtuff like dat dere.

Ja, it hast der Elektronischer fur die ”Vrrrmmen” und die ”Bleeeerpen” und die geschtuff like dat dere.

You may have wondered what I meant by “bookending” at the top of the post. This is what I meant: Tonka trucks at both ends. (Not to be confused with Tonka Trucks at Twenty Paces, which is no longer available for the Commodore 64.) When Big Tractor Mike set this car-carrier on the table, it was like a dream. The model is in exceptionally good shape, raising the bar for “near mint condition” to stratospheric heights. Bathed in what I can only describe as the palest of pale mint greens, I very happily declare this model to be our March 2014 Find of the Month.

Beautiful thing has a sort of ''Streamline Moderne'' look to it...

Beautiful thing has a sort of ”Streamline Moderne” look to it…

See you at the April meeting!

~WM