A bit of forced wordplay, to announce that the 2017 Toys-R-Us (TRU) Collectors’ Event is here, and the Vehicle of Honor is Long Gone, a semi designed by Larry Wood. Get over to our Calendar for the details!
Our 10th Anniversary Christmas Screensaver will be removed by 9:00 pm (EST) tomorrow night (Tue., Jan 31/17). So if you haven’t already, you may still download a copy.
See you at our February meeting!
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, […]
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.
See you at the Concert! And then we’ll see you at our June meeting!
Media are reporting the death of famous car customizer George Barris.
[Corrected 11:45pm 20151007 ~WM]
Suncoast Diecasters‘ Calendar 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!
Okay, what’s the difference between this Tonka garbage truck…
…And this Tonka garbage truck? (Other than the fact that they’re framed slightly differently?)
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).
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.)
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?
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!
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.
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’.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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…
…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.
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.(*)
See you at the July meeting!
It took some time to decide on a model for this year’s club vehicle, and the final choice is truly spectacular. Click on over to our Club Vehicles page and check it out!
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!
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.
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 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]
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).
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.
BTM bought several things from Your Humble Webmaster this month, including this supply of fantasy, phantasmagorical representations of (*snicker*)(*chuckle*) ”flying machines”. (*Snort*)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
See you at the April meeting!
See what I did there? I swapped the “F” in February and the “ph” photos, for a delightfully hilarious effect. Delightfully hilarious, I say! And with that, on to the, uh….
Perhaps you recall this beauty from when I tweeted it. I RAOK’d Big Tractor Mike with it at the start of our February meeting. (Note how I’m using standard spelling again!)
Wonder of wonders! It turns out BTM is not only into trucks and construction equipment; turns out he has a large collection of ALF items as well! I found this guy whilst going through storage, and put him on the table just for the heck of it. I was quite surprised when BTM very happily snapped it up.
Tom got back into VW mode, buying this very nicely detailed Schuco VW Transporter.
Ken gathered a gaggle of garbagers to grow his gallimaufry of other such gumbo. By the way, the one atop the blue truck is Black Beauty, from The Green Hornet.
Hyar be a close-up so’s you could understand what I’m talkin’ about:
Ken nabbed the Eliminator from me, and the 44 from Ed. ‘Nuff said.
Bill brought in some amazing cars. Amazing not only for their rarity but also for their internationality. I had him organize them by country of origin for the photos. The accompanying descriptions are is his:
“1977 Redline T-Totaller was only available in the Classic Machines gift set. 1974 rare red variation Porsche 917 with metal base. 1975 Street Eater. Ferrari 512S from 1972. Geoffrey Super van was exclusive for a special promotion at Toys ‘R’ Us in 1976. Strip Teaser was a Shell promotional in 1973. All were made in Hong Kong.”
“Jet Threat is a Shell Promotional from 1973. Evil Weevil from 1971. Porsche P-917 in chrome from 1976. TNT Bird from 1970. And the very rare yellow Carabo from 1974.”
“Show Hoss II, Greyhound Bus, Turismo, Jaguar XJS, and Dodge D-50. All are from Mexico.”
“Second Wind, Chevy Citation, Ford Escort and the Odd Rod are all from India. Mercedes 380 SEL is from France.”
“Both Sand Drifters,Stutz Blackhawk, Poison Pinto, Minitrek and Chevy Citation are all from France.”
“Upfront 924, Rolls-Royce Phantom II, Ice T, Chevy Citation, and Sand Drifter are all from France.”
“Redlines: 1971 Classic Cord and 1968 Custom Cougar.”
The Classic Cord is, in Your Humble Webmaster’s opinion, one of the most beautiful Hot Wheels models ever designed (no surprise, it’s by Larry Wood). Even without an opening hood, this car is a standout. The fact that they did include it is just beyond thoughtfulness.
This model is so elegant, and so luminous in its green color, that there’s no way I could not declare this to be our February 2014 Find of the Month. (*)
Treat yourself to a high-resolution version of this image. Ga’head, it’s free.
See you at the March meeting!