June swoons in Summer Slowdown

It’s Summer, which means the kids are out of school, and parents have the opportunity/obligation to keep them entertained and busy. Family vacations, summer camp, the great abundance of sci-fi, superhero and CGI cartoon movies out this season, etc., etc.

All of which cost money. Meaning there’s sometimes little or no money left for other activities. Case in point: our June 2017 meeting. Neither one car nor one coin traded hands.

But, that does not mean the meeting wasn’t fun. In fact, this was one of our best meetings for friends just being friends, gabbing and reminiscing. For example, I spent quite a bit of time talking with both Robs Elder and Younger about such topics as Major Matt Mason and ZaAt.

And yes, we do have some photographs for you. Please enjoy:

June 2017

Doug once again gets down on the farm by bringing in two more hay haulers. The left’n is an Ertl model, while the right’n is another 3-D printed production. The “bales” are static grass glued to wood chips.

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This is the undercarriage of the 3-D model. As I was setting up the photo, Doug mentioned that I had set it upside down. I did that intentionally, because I want you to see the impressively complex steering linkage.

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Doug also brought in these true 1/64th-scale concrete masonry units. They’re also 3-D printed. Doug intends — as I understand it — to cover the lower portion of a building model with these. I don’t recall the exact number, but I think the word thousand was in his description somewhere.

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As no buyin’, sellin’ nor tradin’ occurred, I decided to photograph a few choice items from Big Tractor Mike’s table. This is the Indy Eagle. It was produced only in 1969, for the Grand Prix series. Further, it is based on a real racing vehicle.

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This is Mantis. Designed by Ira Gilford, and produced only in 1970. That is, this original version with opening canopy and partially-exposed engine was produced only in 1970. This model went through a couple of redesigns and several name changes over the decades.

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This is Power Pad, also designed by Ira Gilford, and produced only in 1970. There isn’t much information available about this model. It seems to be a stylized Jeep or dune buggy, topped by an equally stylized camper shell. It also features an exposed transverse engine.(Interestingly, the transverse engine was introduced way back in 1899!)

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A change of pace here. Suncoast Diecasters‘ tables feature not just toy vehicles but playsets and media-related items as well. This is the toy set released by Corgi for the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I have to compliment Corgi here. The shuttle-like craft that Rogers piloted was named Ranger 3. Corgi could’ve just renamed their existing shuttle miniature as that, but instead used a proper shuttle name. It perhaps disconnects the set from the show a bit, but they earn a point for honesty.

The movie was released in 1979; Columbia's first launch was in 1981, so it's clearly for the TV show.

The movie was released in 1979; Columbia’s first launch was in 1981, so it’s clearly for the TV show.

Another vintage price tag. I have no idea what CW / CP means; can’t think of any stores with those initials. It could simply be a clearance tag, as clearance tags are often yellow. If you have any info on this, please post it in the Comments.

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Big Tractor Mike set this Matchbox behemoth in front of me, clearly wanting a photograph of it. It’s a King Size-series model, the DAF Car Transporter, model no. K-11. This model was produced from 1969 through 1975. What I particularly like about this model is the inclusion of “working” hydraulic lifts on the deck.

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Here we have the curiously mis-named Shelby Turbine. Another design by Ira Gilford, again for the Grand Prix series as was the Indy Eagle. This model fared a little better, in that it was produced from 1969 through 1971. The flowing body lines, accented by the camera angle, impart a nice fluid feel to the image. This is my favorite photo in this set.

Composition!

Composition!

See you at our July meeting! (…Which is tomorrow!)

~WM

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September transports us into Fall!

Okay, the title is somewhat overwrought, perhaps. But there’s a reason for it, as you will learn as you read on through this update.

However, before getting to the meeting’s photos, I want to share with you the car I got at the most-recent K-mart event. Right, the one car. As has been happening far too often over the last several K-day cycles, the “special” vehicles offered during the September 5th event were completely uninteresting (IMHO). So when it was my turn, I simply dug through the box to see whatever I could find. And, thank you, Lord, what I found was this:

The Brat is used in Bratislava to deliver Bratwurst.

The Brat is used in Bratislava to deliver Bratwurst.

I never found a first-edition Brat, so I was very pleased to find this one. And this one alone made K-day completely satisfactory for me.

Now, on to the photos!

September 2015

Thus sayeth our valiant* young Bill: “The Roll Patrol Jeep CJ-7 came out in 1986, from Malaysia. This version with blackwalls was found on three different cards: two different Action Command cards, and a blue card in 1991. The blue card, with the number 12, is very rare to find. The Thunderburner in white came out in 1989 with two other wheels variations besides this one: a blackwall, and one in Ultra Hots wheels from 1990. All three have the same tampos. The version of Thunderburner in black with the The Black Knight tampo on the doors came out in 1987, from Malaysia. There`s also one with Ultra Hots wheels, released in 1989. The yellow Inside Story came out in 1980, from Hong Kong. There are two other version in yellow: one from Malaysia, and one with clear windows, both from the same year.”

*Note: Plymouth Valiant not shown.

*Note: Plymouth Valiant not shown.

Remember last month, when Big Tractor Mike bought all my Star Trek items? Well, he’s done it again! Only this time, he bought all my stuff! He upped the ante! He cleaned me out! He wiped the floor with me! (Okay, those bromides may have been a little over the top.) Here, BTM gets askull — I mean, ahead of the Halloween rush with this Jack Skellington figure from The Nightmare before Christmas. Backer’s a bit rumpled from years in storage, and there’s a slight split in the glue at the lower left. Otherwise in good shape, and complete.

Boo. (Sorry, that's all I could think of.)

Boo. (Sorry, that’s all I could think of.)

Mike then jumps (and skips and frolics) ahead to Christmas with these two embossed foil ornaments. The top one is obviously a traditional depiction of a sleigh, whilst the bottom one shows Santa Claus and Friends in what appears to be a 1900s-era runabout decorated for the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Festive foil is fun!

Festive foil is fun!

BTM then gets Tick-led pink (get it?) with these The Tick and Space Shuttle wind-ups. The Tick’s arms and hands pop forward, as if he’s actually pushing himself along by rolling the Studebaker’s rear tires. The Shuttle’s action is surprisingly complex; in fact there are two actions which happen simultaneously. It rolls forward for several inches, then stops and spins around rapidly several times, then rolls off again in whatever direction it’s pointing. Meanwhile, the doors pop open and the astronaut pops up, then slowly winds back down into the cargo bay as the doors slowly close over him.

Go ahead. Yell ''Spoon!''; it's okay.

Go ahead. Yell ”Spoon!”; it’s okay.

Af if to emphasize the point, Mike also picked up this Odo figure kit. (I mean, the point about buying all my Star Trek stuff last month. That’s the point I was referring to.)

Before ''Deep Space Nine'', he was best known for inventing the Odometer.

Before ”Deep Space Nine”, he was best known for inventing the Odometer.

Yep, just like on the show, if Odo doesn’t spend time regenerating in his bucket, he just goes all to pieces.

An in-context DS9 joke! BOOM!!

An in-context DS9 joke! BOOM!!

Here, Mike goes on a literary bent by picking up these three Godzilla storybooks. I should’ve arranged them differently for the photo. Cleary the top one is titled Godzilla on Monster Island, and the bottom one’s title is Godzilla vs. Gigan and the Smog Monster. The title of the one in the middle can’t be seen, and I have no idea what it was.

Oh wait, I just remembered: ''Godzilla and the No Good, Very Bad Diary of Lemony Hallows''.

Oh wait, I just remembered: ”Godzilla and the No Good, Very Bad Diary of Lemony Hallows”.

BTM continues his literary aspirations with this retro catalog of retro goodies. I was surprised to find this when I opened a storage bin, as I have absolutely no recollection of ever buying it. Perhaps I got it at a Star Trek convention; or perhaps it was included as a “gift” with something else I ordered. Maybe I got it through a catalog of catalogs (yes, Virginia, there are such things). Or, heck, maybe I just ordered it directly from Amazon.

It was first published in 1990, so it's not like it's *that* retro...

It was first published in 1990, so it’s not like it’s *that* retro…

Mike’s literary quest reaches its highest peak, its sun-warmed summit with this rare collection of short stories about the greatest hobby in the world. Most of the stories are wonderfully humorous or thrill-seeking adventure. Its two most poignant tales, however, are I used to have that and My parents never bought me that one.

Correction: The above book does not contain any stories. It just has pictures of toy cars.

Correction: The above book does not contain any stories. It just has pictures of toy cars.

Aaand speaking of Hot Wheels, there’s one right here somewhere. BTM also acquired from me these “higher end” models which are better-detailed than mainline cars, and come in special packaging. Of the four, the Camaromad is the strangest, and I could never figure it out. Was it a Camaro stylized as a Nomad wagon, or a Nomad wagon stylized as a Camaro? Well, the “always reliable” Internet has turned up exactly one page that provides any kind of information on the design. It’s sparse, and you have to scroll almost to the bottom (or, you know, just do a word search on the page for “Camaromad”), but at least it’s something.

Like I said back in April: Earl’s Live Bait ‘n Diecast.

Like I said back in April: Earl’s Live Bait ‘n Diecast.

I never saw Last Action Hero at a theater, because I listened to the critics who panned it. Then I saw it on TV, and was quite entertained by it. Hm – Learned that lesson. Anyhoo, by then the LAH toys were being clearanced out, so I done snagged me a few. And now, Big Tractor Mike has de-snagged them from me. Here we have Jack Slater and Evil Eye Benedict. And his Evil Briefcase. I didn’t realize until I started editing the photos that I should’ve set the ‘case in front of EEB instead of to his left. Fortunately, the photo was of high-enough resolution that I could crop out the ‘case separately. Along with stickers, it includes weapons and a tray of eyeballs. Yep, that white strip with the round things is a magazine of weaponized false eyeballs.

'Cause nothin' sez ''Fun for the kids!'' like murderous prosthetics.

‘Cause nothin’ sez ”Fun for the kids!” like murderous prosthetics.

This is bad guy The Ripper, with axe but without hat (which oddly was not in the bin he was in), and — I will quote from the package here — “Skull Attack Jack.” It’s Slater as a Shakespearean character, who launches a skull via Spring-Powered Action! Oh, and he has a dagger and a sword.

''I vant to zing und dantz, I vant to zing und dantz...''

”I vant to zing und dantz, I vant to zing und dantz…”

Of course, one can’t have an action movie without action vehicles. And here they be! It’s Evil Eye Benedict’s Evil Eye Roadster, with original box, and Slater’s convertible with no box. Note however that Slater’s ride does have seatbelts, because who ever heard of an action hero who doesn’t obey all safety regulations?

The Goofus and Gallant of the automotive world.

The Goofus and Gallant of the automotive world.

And here we have the action vehicles in action: Benedict’s roadster is just bristling with gadgety weapons, including a pop-up missile launcher, while Slater’s ‘vert does a classic side-wheelie the old-fashioned way…

I-4/I-275 Interchange: The Home Game.

I-4/I-275 Interchange: The Home Game.

…With a hidden trike wheel, just like Hal Needham taught him!

Oh, sorry: (Ahem) ''Spoiler alert!''

Oh, sorry: (Ahem) ”Spoiler alert!”

It seems that Big Tractor Mike is determined to eradicate my Star Trek collection. For here he has acquired yet another such item, the NexGen Transporter* playset. Well, at least it gave me an opportunity for an overwrought title for this update. (Yes, this is exactly and specifically the reason for that title. So there.)

*(Jason Statham not included.)

*(Jason Statham not included.)

For your entertainment and edification, here’s a video of the Transporter in operation at our September meeting — And it really really works! And by “really works”, I don’t mean sub-atomic disassembly and matter conversion. I mean, the “magic trick” of an object placed in the chamber disappearing and reappearing actually functions as advertised. Enjoy!

(If the video doesn’t play properly, you can view it in a separate window.)

At some point during the meeting, Mike comes over to me, holding a Hot Wheels DeLorean which he offered to me. At first I thought this was odd, as he had already given me three other DeLoreans. Then I noticed something very … peculiar about this model….

Aw, man! Four flats and no spare!

Aw, man! Four flats and no spare!

Yep, it’s not merely a DeLorean. In fact, it’s not even merely yet another Back to the Future time machine. It’s the wheels-down “hover mode” variation, which I didn’t even know Mattel produced. Upon realizing this, I gladly accepted Mike’s RAOK, upping my DeLorean collection to five (three Hot Wheels, a Johnny Lightning and a Tomica).

So, you may be wondering how it rolls. Duh! On its wheels, of course! Seriously, has there ever been a Hot Wheels vehicle which didn’t roll well?

*Cough*greenaliencrosser*Cough*

*Cough*greenaliencrosser*Cough*

So, for its rarity and its choice variation (not to mention some fine detailing), I declare the “hover mode” DeLorean to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for September 2015.

Hey, dig this cool diorama I built!*

Hey, dig this cool diorama I built!*

*(Actually, the background photo comes to us courtesy GoodStockPhotos.)

See you at the October 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