April 2017 Update

We’re too close to our May meeting to waste time on a silly intro. Get to the photos!

April 2017

Well, I done it again. Big Tractor Mike had eight of these shiny Holiday hay-haulers, and I arranged them in what I thought would be a good presentation: four across, in two rows. When I offloaded the photos and began editing, I realized that at the size I use here on the site, that 2-by-4 photo would provide only postage-stamp sized tractors (further, several had bad glare). So instead I chose the best-looking one of the bunch to showcase.

Just reload the page seven more times to get what I was going for.

Just reload the page seven more times to get what I was going for.

Similar good concept/poor execution with these loose baubles. The upper portion of the photo is as I intended; however the holiday call-outs on the cab roofs are illegible. So, I zoomed, rotated and cropped them to provide the legible lower labels.

Composition! Plus a wee bit o' alliteration!

Composition! Plus a wee bit o’ alliteration!

All this leads up to this miniature yet massive dealership lot BTM set up. You can almost see teensy people shopping and kickin’ some tires.

Come on down to Big Tractor Mike's. Hot Dogs and free balloons for the kids.

Come on down to Big Tractor Mike’s. Hot Dogs and free balloons for the kids.

And for those of you who are hoping for just such a thing, here is another view of the sweet showroom model which turns a collection of toy tractors into an attractive diorama.

Naming rights available. Contact BTM for details.

Naming rights available. Contact BTM for details.

Surprisingly, one of BTM’s tractors has a pull-back motor. Several of us had fun with the thing, then I got the bright idea to film a demonstration of it. (The demonstration being that filming it this way was as fun and silly as I hoped it would be.)

Tractor Power from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

And yes, I did the “video shuffle” as described in last month’s update.

For the last few years, the Happy Meals Hot Wheels models have been rather hit-n-miss (IMHO). Sometimes they’re quality diecast models worthy of mainline status. Sometimes they’re plastic but still well-designed. And sometimes they’re just cartoonish toys suitable only for children and hard-core completists. In this case, Ken scored well with this model he bought from Ed.

This, as you will see, is a sweet treat.

This, as you will see, is a sweet treat.

Turns out it’s a stylized Studebaker Wagon. Also features some serious firepower poking up through the hood. Yes, it’s all plastic; nonetheless it’s very attractive and would complement any collector’s display. Ed actually had two of these, but someone else got to the second one before I did.

Quoth the Huntsman: "Darn the luck, darn!"

Quoth the Huntsman: “Darn the luck, darn!”

Ken (Original Ken, to be precise) also nabbed this clean reissue of the Mongoose funny car. In beautiful condition, Real Riders, and of course it still does its trick:

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

Now here, we get to some serious, serious metal. Big Tractor Mike bought this Big Metal Model from Ed. This is an MG T-series roadster (minor design inaccuracies prevent me from identifying which specific T-series model). It’s large, about 9″ long. Based on the body lengths stated in the Wikipedia article, that puts it at right around 1/16th-scale, which interestingly enough happens to be a scale associated with Live Steam modelling.

This would look great in a 1/16th train diorama.

This would look great in a 1/16th train diorama.

Aside from paint wear, the car is in good shape, and seems to be complete.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

The model is a product of the Hubley Manufacturing Company. So, this is not only a great model, it’s also a memento of that golden age when American toy companies actually made their toys here in America.

I'm-a pour out a wax bottle of soda for my homies.

I’m-a pour out a wax bottle of soda for my homies.

And speaking of serious metal, how about some terrific tin? This is a USCG “duck” amphibious truck, and is an example of classic Japanese tin lithography toy-making. “Tin litho” has been around for over a century, with manufacturers in several countries, but it wasn’t until after WWII and the “sci-fi” craze of the 1950s that Japanese tins toys — particularly space and sci-fi themed toys — really took off in America.

Poor focus included at no extra cost to you.

Poor focus included at no extra cost to you.

This long-ended eBay listing gives some detail about this model, for example, that it has a friction motor. This is typical of such toys: One or more actions are available via either friction or pull-back, wind-up, or battery power.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

That listing also mentions the box. Here’s a nice photo of it, which you may find pinteresting.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

This model is by Daiya, which I could find precious little information about online. In fact,the one page that says anything significant about the company barely says more than that the company was founded in the ’50s, was active from the ’50s through the ’70s, then disappeared.

Thanks for coming through again, Internet!

Thanks for coming through again, Internet!

Well, okay, YouTube does provide some fun.

So here we are at the end of the update, and it’s time for the declaration I always make at the end. And this time, I have the great privilege of having double the privilege. Yes, for only the third time in Suncoast Diecasters‘ 10-year-plus history, I am very happy to announce Dual Finds of the Month(**): The Hubley MG roadster, and the Daiya USCG “duck” amphibious vehicle. Congratulations, Big Tractor Mike, you’ve done very well! And so did you, Big Tractor Mike!

See you at our May meeting!

~WM

March Update, brought to you by Windows 10

No kidding there. My old laptop was a WinXP model. Support for that OS ended in 2014, and support for the various programs I was running on the laptop naturally dwindled over time. I have finally bought a new Win10 model, and I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks by turns either beating Windows into submission or flailing about helplessly at its ingrained obstinance.

After installing a better browser and security software, uninstalling bundled junk, installing importantly useful software such as my drafting program, uninstalling more bundled junk, installing my camera and printer, uninstalling even more bundled junk, etc.,etc., I finally have the thing in a basically useful configuration.

So, get to the photos!

March 2017

Greetings, Citizen! I am looking forward to your assistance in enjoying this March 2017 update. Let’s begin this rousing adventure!

Batman begins...

Batman begins…

Doug bought this 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi from Big Tractor Mike, as a gift for a very special person.

At 1/64th scale, it's actually a semi demi hemi.

At 1/64th scale, it’s actually a semi demi hemi.

He also bought this Case International planter…

(These are all ERTL models, by the way.)

(These are all ERTL models, by the way.)

…As well as this similar implement.

Which folds out to sleep four comfortably.

Which folds out to sleep four comfortably.

Of course, farm implements to be useful must be attached to a strong, sturdy tractor. Doug has chosen this handsome Allis-Chalmers model.

Nice.

Nice.

BTM added yet again to my collection of DeLoreans with these two offers. First is this sweet Hot Wheels Entertainment-series hover-mode model. I appreciate this one because it’s not only a great variation on the DeLorean theme; it also gives me a MOC model to pair with the one I loosed in September of ’15.

''Hover'' mode, or ''really, REALLY parked'' mode.

”Hover” mode, or ”really, REALLY parked” mode.

The other one is this cartoonishly-proportioned Happy Meal prize. And I mean cartoonish in the literal sense, as it’s based on the 1991 BttF cartoon. Which you forgot all about, didn’t you? (Can’t blame ya.)

Hmm ... Time machine looks good with a Big Block.

Hmm … Time machine looks good with a Big Block.

Actually, that “big block” isn’t merely decorative. It houses a friction motor, the flywheel of which has a layer of flint. Which is also why it’s transparent; give the toy a strong-enough push, and the motor will generate sparks to simulate the “time travel” effect:

1.21 Gigawatts! from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

By the way, this video is raw, unedited and lacking the quirky title and credits typical of our other videos because in designing Windows 10, Microsoft did away with Movie Maker. Just another in MS’s long history of thoughtful and considerate decisions[citation needed]. I still have my old WinXP laptop, so I do still have access to Movie Maker there; it just means shuttling videos to & from on portable storage. If you happen to know a good, safe, simple (and preferably free) video editor & converter for Windows 10, please let me know in the Comments.

And in case you’re wondering what that white object protruding out of the side is (mis-identified by Big Rob as “a wad of gum”), it’s good ol’ Doc Brown himself. Which just proves the adage:

"Some things were not meant to be seen in close-up."

“Some things were not meant to be seen in close-up.”

Speaking of Big Rob: He too also bought some stuff from BTM. Starting with these two Cheetah models by Johnny Lightning. Apparently JL learned well from Mattel that the same model can be re-packaged as a different series to sell it again with otherwise little effort (e.g., my many HW DeLoreans). The red one is “Rebel Rods”, while the green one is “Street Freaks” (cross-referenced with “The Spoilers”).

Toy car collecting: Made for the spreadsheet era.

Toy car collecting: Made for the spreadsheet era.

And finally, Big Rob made the Big Buy from Big Tractor Mike with this Big Scale Batmobile. And I do mean big, as in 1/24th-scale big. It’s by Metals Die Cast, an offshoot of Jada. Sweetly detailed, and elegantly packaged with yon Caped Crusader standing alongside his crime-fighting chariot.

Nana nana nana nana -- Diecast!

Nana nana nana nana — Diecast!

Nicely finished, literally and figuratively, with “trident” exhaust pipes, “batwing” fender flares, and drag ‘chutes on either side of the exhaust nozzle.

Wait, does a turbine engine really need zoomies?

Wait, does a turbine engine really need zoomies?

Even the Boy Wonder is included. He’s in the passenger seat, using the Batphone. He’s probably crank-calling the H.I.V.E. Tower again.

"TRAIN! PAY ATTENTION! MANDATORY MEETING!"

“TRAIN! PAY ATTENTION! MANDATORY MEETING!”

Starring George Reeves as Superman.

Sorry. My mistake. I meant "Starring Ben Affleck as Michael Keaton".

Sorry. My mistake. I meant “Starring Ben Affleck as Michael Keaton”.

Well, there’s no need to recite its thoroughly obvious qualifications. With zero hesitation I happily and readily declare this sweet, super-size Batmobile miniature as Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for March 2017. Congratulations, Big Rob!

The small dark rectangular thing is something BTM threw into the deal. Not sure what it is. Candy bar, maybe.

The small dark rectangular thing is something BTM threw into the deal. Not sure what it is. Candy bar, maybe.

See you at our April meeting!

~WM

January, February, Kdayuary

Happy New Year 2017!

And yes, we’re late. A busier-than-expected (and unexpectedly modified) work schedule, a frustratingly difficult home improvement project, and various other things all added up to a pushed-back January 2017 update.

Also, not a lot of activity in this update, as the post-holiday meeting is usually slow for us.

On the other hand, good news: The February 2017 K-mart in-store event and mail-in promo are now on our Calendar!

Oh, and I finally  activated the “Tag Cloud” widget on the left over thar.

Enough delays already! Let’s get to the photos!

January 2017

Hello; I’m a truck.

-:-:-:-

-:-:-:-

Heh. You older readers may very well recognize that as the opening lyric of Red Simpson’s country-western novelty tune, I’m a Truck. And to you younger readers, yes, there really is a song sung from the point of view of a truck. For context, just think of it as Optimus Prime sings There’s a Gear in my Beer.

Bill bought this model from Big Tractor Mike. By the way, “truck” actually has a name.

''Hello; I'm Back Biter.''

”Hello; I’m Back Biter.”

Back Biter is from Hot Wheels’ interesting concept series, Crack-Ups. Each model in this series is gimmicked with a spring-loaded panel which upon impact would unlatch and spin around to reveal simulated damage. This addressed (or attempted to) the playtime conflict of wanting to crash one’s toys without actually causing damage. When done playing, the child (or Bill) could just rotate the panel back.

If only real vehicle damage were so easy to repair.

If only real vehicle damage were so easy to repair.

Crack-Ups models would have the gimmick panel on the rear, front, side or even on top. A “bonus feature”, as it were, of ol’ Back Biter here is that the camper top would also fly off, enhancing the “damage” effect.

See that plastic tab? That's actually the spring which launches the camper top.

See that plastic tab? That’s actually the spring which launches the camper top.

I’ll be honest: When I first saw that tab, I thought it was one of those battery separators … until I remembered that Crack-Ups came out decades before pre-installed batteries in toys were commonplace.

Bill also bought this snazzy boat-&-trailer combo known as Seafire. Well, the boat is Seafire; the trailer has no name.

How 'bout Bottom Biter?

How ’bout Bottom Biter?

In case you’re wondering whether the boat separat– Uh….

Hello, ladies. I'm Dash Handsomely.

Hello, ladies. I’m Dash Handsomely.

For goodness’ sake. Anyway, in case you’re wondering whether the boat separates from the trailer, yes it does. Yet Seafire remains mobile, as it has rollers underneath, which I’d be happy to show you except I forgot to photograph the bottom of the thing.

Ironically, Seafire is roadworthy but not seaworthy.

Ironically, Seafire is roadworthy but not seaworthy.

What you’re seeing … is an optical illusion.

The trailer is *not* actually attached to the truck!

The trailer is *not* actually attached to the truck!

Along with loose cars and boxed sets, BTM has several very nice glass-topped display cases. Here, Jason provides some friendly competition with just such a display case of his own.

Classy.

Classy.

Some of its contents are particularly interesting…

A rat rod from the mouse house!

A rat rod from the mouse house!

…Particularly interesting, indeed.

(Sigh) If only I didn't have bills to pay.

(Sigh) If only I didn’t have bills to pay.

And now, a brief word from our Sponsor:

(Our ads are in color now, by the way.)

(Our ads are in color now, by the way.)

Okay, that’s not an ad but the back of this front, another of Hot Wheels’ concept series, California Customs. This series featured mainline models done up in very bright colors, and included a plastic medallion as well as a sticker sheet fo further customize the model. Emergency Back-up Ken bought this from Ed.

AKA 3-Window '34.

AKA 3-Window ’34.

This model’s sheet features licensed automotive supplier brands.

And yes, I'll go ahead and say it:

And yes, I’ll go ahead and say it:

(Ahem) Branding!

While the blister has yellowed a bit with age, and there are a few minor crumples along the card’s edge, this model is otherwise in very good condition, and in that most rare of states, complete on its card. Ergo, I readily declare the Cal Customs-series ’34 Ford to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for January 2017!

Again, AKA 3-Window '34.

Again, AKA 3-Window ’34.

And now a special treat for you, here is Red Simpson’s I’m a Truck:

See you at the February meeting!

~WM

Our Merry Christmas gift to you: a Free Screensaver!

Really, it’s true!

(It's actually bigger than this.)

(It’s actually bigger than this.)

Suncoast Diecasters has been around for ten years. We’ve been online for nine. In that time, through WordPress (fellow bloggers and e-mail subscriptions), Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been blessed with about 380 followers. True, there are social media “superstars” who’ve amassed thousands of followers. But for this little local, humble club to have several hundred people interested in us is simply fantastic.

So, to celebrate a decade of tradin’ and collectin’, as well as to say “thank you” to you, our faithful followers, I’ve put together what I hope you’ll find to be a jolly little holiday screensaver.

Also, I’ve updated our Calendar with Suncoast Diecasters‘ 2017 schedule. I’ve tried several different formats for our Calendar over the years. Thank the Lord, with WordPress’ help I’ve found a new one which is tidy, more easily read and, most importantly, repeatable.

I’ll give you the link for getting our screensaver at the end of this update. So, get your holiday mood going, and start enjoying our photos! (And thank you again!)

December 2016

Of course, our December meeting is also always our Christmas meeting. For proof, here’s a shot of just some of the decorations around the Sports Bar. I assure you, the icicles had richly colored LEDs; they weren’t the glaring white things my camera decided they were.

'Tis all a-twinkle!

‘Tis all a-twinkle!

Last month a conversation between Scott and Original Ken eventually turned to the collecting of marbles as a hobby. Thus, Ken brought in some of his collection this month for Scott to peruse and appraise. Scott provided some interesting details about the marble hobby. For example, he pointed out that while Ken’s stash contains many glass, mass-manufactured marbles, there are also numerous clay, hand-made marbles. The clay ones are opaque, and not quite as shiny as the glass ones. More interestingly, he pointed out the many flat(tish) surfaces of a clay marble, contrasted against the machined and polished roundness of a glass one. Eventually Ken and Scott agreed on a price, and Scott walked away with a bagful.

Because it's Christmas, for your sake I will *not* make the obvious joke here.

Because it’s Christmas, for your sake I will *not* make the obvious joke here.

Very similar to last month, I had to shoot this with my phone’s convenience camera because the meeting was nearly over and my equipment was put away. I wouldn’t have taken the pic at all if I didn’t happen to just notice (thank the Lord) something toy-like in R.D.’s hand as he was saying his good-byes. This is Inside Story, and he bought it from Big Tractor Mike. The Super Kings’ size allowed me to shoot them from a reasonable distance. In contrast, this single, small toy necessitated a close-up which, coupled with the overhead’s glare off the white paint, prevented a better, more clear shot.

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Slightly astigmatic Spider-Man!

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Slightly astigmatic Spider-Man!

The following three (or, maybe four) items were all purchased from BTM by Gary. The JL ShowRods set below was the last shot I took using LiveView, which I’ll explain in a moment.

Wait, isn't this *2* of only 5000?

Wait, isn’t this *2* of only 5000?

Like most digital cameras (I presume), mine has an LED screen on back which lets you see exactly what the lens is seeing. In my camera’s OS, this is called LiveView. This is incredibly convenient for determining both zoom and focal point. And incredibly inconvenient when I get an all-red screen with the warning text, “Battery too low for LiveView”. So, I had to use my camera’s regular optical viewfinder for these next two photos, only guessing at the result. Thank the Lord, they both came out well-focused.

***

***

I would've made funny captions for both these photos, but I'm two-tired.

I would’ve made funny captions for both these photos, but I’m two-tired.

JIm bought the following four (exactly) items from Ed. First is this picayune and puny Purple Passion:

Car's so small, it took two photos to make one good one.

Car’s so small, it took two photos to make one good one.

Next is this Hot Wheels Collectibles-series King ‘Kuda. I’m amused by the claim, “multi-piece car”; it’s my understanding that all Hot Wheels models are multi-piece.

You'd think the mechanic would've remembered to get that rag off the fender.

You’d think the mechanic would’ve remembered to get that rag off the fender.

And lastfully, these two classic Redlines: The Demon (b) and Custom Cougar (t). The Cougar obviously is based on a production vehicle. The Demon (a.k.a. Prowler) is based on the Li’l Coffin custom show rod. Yes, Virginia, there is a Li’l Coffin.

48 years of well-earned paint chipping.

48 years of well-earned paint chipping.

No, this photograph is not backwards. If you’ll read what it says, you should understand why it appears backwards.

Cidemarap is a leading OTC medication.

Cidemarap is a leading OTC medication.

This is a VW “Samba” ambulance by Maisto, from BTM to Ed. Well-appointed, too. Painted tail and fog lights, and that “glass lens” texture on the headlights in the above photo? Two of the most thoughtful tampos I’ve ever seen.

***

***

Ed bought this Matchbox ambulance from Big Tractor Mike. I wonder if perchance it looks familiar…?

***

***

Back in June, Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike a Speed Kings-series Mercedes Benz “Binz” ambulance. Here, Ed has done it again, but at a smaller scale.

One wonders if Ed is planning to start his own two-scale empire.

One wonders if Ed is planning to start his own two-scale empire.

A brilliant entrepreneurial business idea: combination auto mechanic and drive-in theater.

See, 'coz one has its hood up, and the other is facing ... Look, it's Christmas, just go along with the joke.

See, ‘coz one has its hood up, and the other is facing … Look, it’s Christmas, just go along with the joke.

Original Ken bought these from BTM. Both are from the 100% Hot Wheels series.

***

***

Curiously, only one has a working hood.

***

***

Just like egg nog:

Thick. Er, I mean yummy.

Thick. Er, I mean yummy.

Ed displayed several Hot Wheels Christmas diorama/playsets on his table. A few, I already own. One or two, I didn’t particularly care for. But this one … this one really stood out.

Sing along, folks! "It's the Little Saint Nick..."

Sing along, folks! “It’s the Little Saint Nick…”

The action poses, the great coloring on the vehicle, the barely-hanging-on elves — this is happy holiday hilarity for sure. You might be wondering why I haven’t provided any photos of Santa and his sweet ride outside of the box. Very simple: I haven’t opened it yet. That will happen sometime Christmas morning.

Yes, this is my Christmas present to myself.

Yes, this is my Christmas present to myself.

There’s a certain vehicle which has appeared off and on among BTM’s wares for quite some time now. After some research, which I will illustrate later, I decided to by it.

Pictured: *Not* the Yellow Submarine.

Pictured: *Not* the Yellow Submarine.

It’s Hover-Raider, a large-scale Matchbox vehicle. It’s part of MB’s short-lived Battle Kings-series.

# K-107

# K-107

Here’s the research, illustrated as promised. I was fairly certain I had the smaller hovercraft, but I was concerned that it was amongst The Many, Many Items Packed Away For The Move That Never Happened. Thank the Lord, I found it in time for our December meeting. My intent was to create another “Two Scales” photo set — which you can see is not quite as I imagined. As soon as I spotted the 107 on BTM’s table, I realized that, apart from the colors and general shape, the two models are dramatically different.

The smaller hovercraft is 'Superfast'-series # 72 & 2. Yes, "& 2" is actually part of its designation.

The smaller hovercraft is ‘Superfast’-series # 72 & 2. Yes, “& 2” is actually part of its designation.

And, yes, I am aware that our forlorn Two Scales page is sadly underloved and malnourished. Perhaps next year I can set aside time to go through The Many, Many Items Packed Away For The Move That Never Happened and relocate the models with which I can give that page the attention it deserves.

Anyway, I bought the K-107, for four reasons: 1) I really did want it; 2) Mike’s price was very reasonable; 3) I did go through the trouble of finding the 72; and 4) The Discovery.

The Discovery? Oh, that the K-107 has a Rolamatics feature. This is not indicated on the baseplate at all. Quite literally, I discovered it only because I felt something move against my fingers when I tried to straighten the radar housing. As with most Rolamatics models, being decades old, the feature no longer works properly. The radar spins about half-way, then the whole thing locks up. This happens both forward and backward. Still, it gives me the opportunity to give you your Christmas bonus: a new video!

Hover-Raider Rolamatics demo from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

For this truly unexpected feature — not to mention the fact that it’s simply a great large-scale model — I declare the Matchbox Battle Kings-series Hover-Raider to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month for December 2016(*).

Okay, you’ve been Nice and read the whole update down to this point. (Or, maybe you were Naughty and just leaned on the Scroll Down button. Whatever.) First, some details: You’re going to download a compressed (zip) file named SD-10th-Xmas.zip. Inside are the screensaver itself, a Readme file (and please read it; it’s there for a reason (the reason being that you should read it.)), and a Music sub-folder which contains the music MP3s and a license. (The music is already embedded in the screensaver; I included the MP3s in case you wanted to use them elsewhere.)

The screensaver is compatible with Win XP and newer operating systems. (Windows/PC only; sorry, Apple/Mac users!)

Okay, you may now download your free screensaver. Thanks again for being part of Suncoast Diecasters‘ extended family.We wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah. and a Happy New Year 2017! See you at the January meeting!

~WM

May Update: Great, ‘tho Late!

Well, my apologies for the lateness of this update. I’ve started a new job, and of course that tends to mangle one’s otherwise-free time. Plus, there was another medical  issue with my mom (now resolved), which overrode all other concerns. So, I’ll keep this intro brief.

I do want to point out that our Calendar has been updated with some interesting links.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike and Original Ken. As of our May meeting, I was still out of work, and had put together an online portfolio to address that. I asked them for permission to link to it from here, which they gave. As stated, I am now employed again, thank God; nonetheless my portfolio remains, because I have other interests I wish to pursue. So, you may visit it here, Designs by Gus, from which you can also visit my Bible-teaching blog, Zero Faith Saint.

And now, finally finally, on to the photos!

May 2016

She’s a ladyWhoa, whoa, whoa, she’s a lady … And if you say anything different she’ll bust your jaw. This is Pvt. Vasquez from Kenner’s Aliens line, with which I RAOK’d Big Tractor Mike. Not a bad sculpt, less inaccurate than the Ripley figure. If you’ll recall, back in March of 2105, Big Tractor Mike bought half a studio’s worth of Aliens toys from me. One of them was the Corporal Hicks figure, which included a blaster rifle. Except, it turns out that it wasn’t Hicks’ weapon, it’s Vasquez’. After (re-)finding Vasquez in one of my bins, I did a web search to identify her other weapon, as each figure in the line included two. Turns out, it was that rifle.

Sugar and spice and probably some brass knuckles.

Sugar and spice and probably some brass knuckles.

In case you’re wondering what I mean by “other weapon”, perhaps you noticed something around her waist. It’s the clip which holds her backpack rocket launcher. And yes, the launcher is absolutely just like the one Vasquez did not at all have in the movie.

I was genuinely surprised to be able to stand the figure without support.

I was genuinely surprised to be able to stand the figure without support.

Despite its movie-inaccuracy and its cumbersomeness, it has some good engineering. In particular, I like the simplicity of its trigger: it just slides back and forth. After reloading, just slide the trigger in the opposite direction. No resetting! The trigger can be slid quickly for a rapid-fire barrage, or slowly for selecting multiple targets. I conscripted Doug’s young son for an “arms dealer promotional video”:

Rocket_Launch! from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

Original Ken picked up this NMOC 1992-edition Hiway Hauler…

...Because the '80s were *rockin'*, dude!

…Because the ’80s were *rockin’*, dude!

…And (separately) was RAOK’d by Emergency Back-up Ken with this promotional “stress relief” squeeze toy. As you (should) know (by now), both Kens specialize in collecting garbage trucks. I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness — not to mention appropriateness — of this gift that I have decided to declare this a Bonus Find of the Month.

Nope, it doesn't roll, but it's still groovy.

Nope, it doesn’t roll, but it’s still groovy.

EBU Ken nabbed this rare space set. How rare is it? Well, I didn’t even know Mattel made it, so there you go.

''To EBU Ken's Collection, and Beyond!''

”To EBU Ken’s Collection, and Beyond!”

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased this sweet pair of Johnny Lightning Back to the Future DeLorean DMC-12 time machines. BTM asked me to spot the difference between them. There’s a slight difference in the printing of the Universal Studios copyright on the bases, which could literally simply be a printing error. The only genuine manufacturing difference is in the wheels: one has “silver-gray” plastic hubs, while the other’s hubs are chromed.

The time-travel paradox, illustrated.

The time-travel paradox, illustrated.

Grab yourself a larger copy: 1366 x 395

Man, I didn’t even own the cars an hour when Doug goes and breaks one. No, I’m kidding! — he picked it up, and the whole front end just fell out. Several of us looked it over, and the consensus is that the front rivet had been pulled through by a previous owner. Still, it provided this opportunity for an interior shot we’d otherwise never have.

This cost $12,000???

This cost $12,000???

(BTM then wondered if the difference in wheels is because someone did a wheel swap. After looking more closely, I determined that wasn’t possible because the rear of the interior is still riveted over the axle.)

BTM picked up two very special “special edition” models:

A great charity, and some *great* wheels!

A great charity, and some *great* wheels!

Everyone's favorite Hot Wheels collectors' guide!

Everyone’s favorite Hot Wheels collectors’ guide!

Doug acquired this awesome John Deere pencil case / mini tool box / we’re not sure what it is, but it’s awesome.

Nothing awesomes like a Deere.

Nothing awesomes like a Deere.

I tried several locations around the table, but I couldn’t find one in which I could get a nice, straight-on shot without serious glare. So, I took an angle shot, then ran it through my photo editing software to skew the perspective, creating this near-straight replacement. Enjoy!

I know, I know: This looks shopped. You can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in your time.

I know, I know: This looks shopped. You can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in your time.

If you like that, you may also like this larger version which affords you a better look at the lovely Farmer Lady.

Big Rob brought in this classy chromed ’72 Ford Ranchero. A great-looking ride on its own, Rob had a friend swap out the stock 5SPs with “old school” Redlines to further retro-ize the readily retro Ranchero.

Shine-y and Redline-y!

Shine-y and Redline-y!

He had it in a clear display shell. I used the shell as a stand, and after some careful camera alignment and elevation, I got the glamour shot I wanted. I hereby readily declare this our Find of the Month(*) for May 2016.

Hot Wheels' Billionth Editio-- ...Oops, wrong model.

Hot Wheels’ Billionth Editio– …Oops, wrong model.

See you at the June mee– Sorry, my bad. ;D

~WM

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

1500+ pics!; And, Thanks to all our Followers!

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s true! As of this update, Suncoast Diecasters has set a new record: over fifteen hundred photographs!!! One thousand, five hundred seventeen (1,517), to be exact, all for your viewing pleasure. WHOOO!!!

And as if that weren’t enough, we have serious follower numbers as well: Seventeen people follow us via WordPress; thirty-eight folks follow us through Facebook; and we have a whopping two hundred thirteen followers on Twitter, for a grand total of two hundred sixty-eight (268) followers!

Yes, there are celebrities (and, you know, “celebrities”) with followers in the many multiple thousands. That does not impress me. What does impress me is that, even if you subtract all the members on Ken’s mailing list, this humble little local club still has well over two hundred thirty followers, outside its regular membership.

On behalf of Big Tractor Mike, Original Ken and all the Suncoast Diecasters members, I thank you all for helping us achieve this great social media presence!

So let me say to all you “outsiders”: If you’ll be travelling in Pinellas County, whether on business or vacation, be sure to check our Calendar. If one of our meetings coincides with your trip, stop in and see us. As Original Ken says, “The food here is great, and a good time is had by all!”

Now, on … to … the … PHOTOS!*

*(Just, you know, not all fifteen hundred at once.)

March 2016

We start off with past, present and futurantic, courtesy of Doug. The past is beautifully represented by this classy and well-appointed VW Beetle. The present, by the can’t-be-taken-seriously Smart for Two micro-car. And the future by this passenger plane which … um … has its rotors facing the wrong direction??

Up, up and -- uh ... Eh, it might work....

Up, up and — uh … Eh, it might work….

Oh, I get it. It’s a VSTOL configuration. Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing, for those of you with acronymophobia. The manufacturer of this particular miniature was thoughtful enough to provide articulation for the rotors. The tampos say “Everest” and “Climber Transport”; while there’s a lot of info online for Everest excursions, I’ve found nothing that specifically features this plane.

All ahead full! And by ''all'', I mean ''both''.

All ahead full! And by ”all”, I mean ”both”.

Mike C. put in a relatively rare appearance, and took out one of our 2015 Club Vehicles, which he missed the fist time. He intentionally chose number 13, reasoning that since Christine is a haunted car, he’d double-down on the spooky factor.

We haven't heard from Mike since, so....

We haven’t heard from Mike since, so….

Mike also nabbed this sweet Construction Crane, still in its sweet original Workhorses-series packaging. The model has a swiveling cab, and the crane boom actually extends.

From that long-gone era known as ''When Mattel Actually Cared.''

From that long-gone era known as ”When Mattel Actually Cared.”

If you’ve been visiting Suncoast Diecasters online with any regularity, you know I rarely pass up the chance to showcase vintage price tags. This is on the back of Mike’s Crane above. I fondly remember the days when Sears actually had a real live toy department. (I find it interesting that mainline models today are typically around $1.09 each.)

Apparently, Mattel saved $0.20 per toy by eliminating the ''working features!'' feature.

Apparently, Mattel saved $0.20 per toy by eliminating the ”working features!” feature.

Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike this Volvo fire engine by Corgi. No scale is stated, but from the model’s size it’s easily in the 1/40s or 1/50s. The clear plastic band is simply a retainer to keep its ladder from flopping about and getting mangled in the packaging.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

I had a little trouble finding a point at which the ladder would actually balance without support, but eventually I was able to get the shot I wanted.

''It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'': The Home Game.

”It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”: The Home Game.

Yes, Ken again managed to find yet even more garbage trucks. Starting at upper left, the green-on-green is a somewhat generic model by Maisto. The one with the toll-free tampos has no manufacturer’s name, despite the quality of the casting. All of us who’d looked it over at the meeting agree that it must be a promotional give-away item. Finally, the yellow one is a Lotus Europa. More significantly, it’s not a Matchbox; it’s very nice casting by Zylmex.

Which also probably explains why it's a European sports car and not a garbage truck.

Which also probably explains why it’s a European sports car and not a garbage truck.

Well, 1-800-Got-Junk certainly seems to have 1-800-gotten its money’s worth; the brand (Branding!) is all over the miniature. I really enjoy being able to get nice sharp, tight shots like this, even if it is just corporate jetsam.

Hmmm ... I should ask Mike and Ken about franchising Suncoast Diecasters....

Hmmm … I should ask Mike and Ken about franchising Suncoast Diecasters….

Tom bought from Big Tractor Mike this swingin’ double-decker bus. Again, no scale is stated but it’s clearly in the 1/40s or 1/50s. If you look closely at the tampos, you’ll note that this model is not just promotional; it’s self-promotional. Rather self-congratulatory, as well. Curiously, the manufacturer doesn’t quite seem to appreciate its own products. An actual quote from the Shinsei site describes a toy as “a small article of little real value but often prized for some reason.” Well, la-dee-da.

*Not* from the 1970 children's TV show.

*Not* from the 1970 children’s TV show.

Two things about this toy: 1) It is truly a toy. As you can see in this close-up, it’s made of a thick, (relatively) soft plastic; the drooping side mirrors are of a similarly soft material; and the paint on the grill and headlights looks rough. However, 2) overall it’s well-made; it has a surprising gimmick — a pull-back motor; and the manufacturer even thought to include a smart little driver figure. Well-chosen, Tom!

*Not* Cliff Richard from 1963's ''Summer Holiday''. Well, probably not, anyway.

*Not* Cliff Richard from 1963’s ”Summer Holiday”. Well, probably not, anyway.

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased three cool items. First is this Boulevard-series DMC-12. Dressed up a bit more nicely than the mainline DMC-12, and still in its package. By the way, this is the second time you’ve seen my new approach to presenting on-card vehicles; the first was the crane above. Previously I would have a photo of the entire card. With this update, I’ve decided to focus on the vehicle, thus the closely-cropped image. Yet, to demonstrate that there really is a full card, I’ve dropped a postage-stamp sized pic of the whole card onto the car photo.

Let me know in the comments how this works for you.

Let me know in the comments how this works for you.

Next is this way whacked-out DMC-12 Time Machine. Like the bus above, it’s very clearly a toy. But, it’s also unlike any other DeLorean I own. It too has a pull-back motor. I just wish I could source it. Its base states “Universal Studios and U-Drive”; unfortunately, U-Drive returns too many search results, none of which stand out as a source for the toy. And it’s definitely not a Happy Meal prize. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

Its low, drawn-out profile seems to accentuate the rise of the thrusters, so I wanted to see if I could come up with a shot to further enhance that accentuation. For this shot, I set the car on a pool table side rail, and placed the camera below it on the playing surface, with a pad under the front edge to tilt it up. Fortunately, I long ago learned how to use the camera’s timer, so I no longer have to worry about even the slightest deflection from pressing the shutter button. The camera remained balanced on the pad, and I got my shot.

Composition!

Composition!

Finally, the third vehicle I bought from Mike is this exceptionally clean Emergency Van from Kenner’s Fast111s line. This is one of the best-looking examples of the forlorn KF1 series that I’ve ever seen. Aside from a small patch on the license plate blank (and that could a chroming error as much as decal residue), this truck is basically flawless.

*Not* starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth.

*Not* starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth.

Now, here is something special. This Kool Kombi, which BTM bought from Jim, is not riveted. No, I don’t mean it’s not Rivited. I mean the base is not riveted to the body shell. Unofficially called a “line pull”, it also has treasure hunt wheels and whitewall rubber tires. You want it? Too bad; Mike already sold it.

Pictured: Drinkin' wine, explodee-odee.

Pictured: Drinkin’ wine, explodee-odee.

And here we proudly have our Find of the Month. Yes, this garbage truck. No, it’s not a typo. Yes, yes, I know; our FotM model is usually a wild custom, or a very rare model, or a very rare wild custom. But the workmanship and detail on this model are such that it deserves to be showcased. For example, you can clearly see that the rear section is articulated with “working” hydraulic rams. The thing that looks like a handle is a handle, which operates the hopper inside the rear section. And according to Emergency Back-up Ken, the black piece on top is a run for electrical and hydraulic lines. Original Ken and I have seen that on only one other model.

Yes, this is Original Ken's. Seriously, did I really have to tell you that?

Yes, this is Original Ken’s. Seriously, did I really have to tell you that?

In this animated GIF, you see both the internal hopper and the rear section operate. Yes, the empty hinges mean that one or more parts are missing, but that does not significantly detract from the model’s design quality.

Note also the full array of lights on the upper and lower rear panels.

Note also the full array of lights on the upper and lower rear panels.

This is by RealToy, and Ken figures it to probably be 1/43-scale. It’s based on an actual MAN vehicle, although I’m not able to ID the specific model. The logo states “The City of New York – Department of Sanitation”. Aside from the “toy-like” be-handled hopper, this has the well-crafted, professional appearance of a serious “adult collector” display model. Therefore I find it very easy to declare this our Find of the Month(*) for March 2016.

If you want to drink in its rich details, download the large image below.

If you want to drink in its rich details, download the large image below.

Original size: 1366 x 768

Oh, there’s one more thing about this truck that helped me make the decision to call it our FotM: it too has a pull-back motor. Yes, the clearly-a-toy bus has a PBM; and the very-clearly-a-toy DeLorean has a PBM. Yet, for all its serious and professional-level design quality, the MAN truck features a feature intended to make it an enjoyable plaything as well. This is briefly demonstrated in our latest (and shortest) (and silliest) video below. Enjoy!:

See you at the April meeting!

~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

October: Spooky and Spectacular!

Okay, while last month’s title was notably overwrought, this time I seem to have gone for the rather obvious. Yet, it’s not at all inaccurate. The photos from our October meeting are indeed spectacular; but first, this intro section, in which I address the spooky:

As often happens in a Small Circle of Friends, a conversation will naturally drift from one subject to another. Some months ago, we got onto the subject of monster movies, and Bill mentioned one that really creeped him out. He couldn’t remember the exact title, but recalled that it had something to do with people turning into mushrooms. I had an idea of what he meant (as I had stumbled onto it while looking online for other such movies), but my memory was unclear, so I didn’t say anything then. Now, for Halloween, I’ve re-done my homework, and can tell you that the move Bill mentioned was in fact Attack of the Mushroom People, which you will find listed under its original Japanese title, Matango. This version is a typical ’60s kaiju-esque affair.

I say “this version” because in reading up on it, I learned that Matango was in effect a remake of an episode of the late-’50s program Suspicion, entitled Voice in the Night, which is much more faithful to the original short story. I say “original short story” because that is in fact the source material: a distinctly disturbing little gem written by William Hope Hodgson. Below you will find an embedded trailer for Matango (the full movie is not available online); a link to the actual episode Voice in the Night (not embedded per account request); and finally, a link to the full text of Hodgson’s original story. You may find the language style to be a bit stiff and stilted, but that isn’t surprising considering the original story is 108 years old. Yes, that is correct; The Voice in the Night was first published in 1907! A bit creepy to think that someone back then thought this way; and having read it myself, I can tell you the story is in fact suitably creepy for Halloween.

Matango trailer, via YouTube:

You will find many of the nighttime scenes of the episode below literally too dark to see anything; but the lit and fog-lit scenes (and creepy mood) make up for it. You will also note that often a scene tilts and waves, as if projected onto a screen — that may in fact be the case; many old programs were recorded onto film, sometimes via Kinescope, before magnetic tape came into widespread use:

*** Voice in the Night (Suspicion episode) via YouTube ***

You’ll be up all night anyway, so make yourself uncomfortable with this clingy little tale:

*** The Voice in the Night (Original 1907 short story by William Hope Hodgson) via ManyBooks ***

Did I lie to you? Did I not address the Spooky? Now let us g– Oh, I’ve also added the next K-Day event to our Calendar. Now let us go on to the Spectacular!

October 2015

And this photo is truly, truly spectacular! Drink in the rich details of these gloriously-photographed vehicles! The color! The vibrancy! The rich, vibrant…

Elmer Fudd: ''I wish I could see it.''

Elmer Fudd: ”I wish I could see it.”

Okay, the above photograph sucks. When Ken asked me to shoot his five new treasures, I thought this arrangement, which I hadn’t really tried before, would be artsy and attractive. Turns out, when I resized the photo to the standard width used in this blog, what I ended up with was five little postage-stamp sized icons which do not in any way reflect the coolness of Ken’s new rides. I did take alternate photos of some of the vehicles, and cropped the rest from the array. This forced me to match them all down to the narrowest alternate photo I had available, but at least each vehicle is showcased more clearly now.

T to B: American Hauler; American Tipper; Heavyweights Dump Truck; Custom Fleetside; Ramblin' Wrecker

T to B: American Hauler; American Tipper; Heavyweights Dump Truck; Custom Fleetside; Ramblin’ Wrecker

By the way, that’s the “Hey, look, Larry Wood foolishly put his own real phone number on the truck!” version of the Wrecker. Ken says the bidding starts at $40,000.

Here, Bill did something unusual: he bought neither a blackwall nor an exceptionally clean Redline. He bought a toy truck. Methinks it was because he wants the figures.

Eh. It figures.

Eh. It figures.

Now Bill gets more typical. Classic Redline-era customs, Silhouette (L) and Bugeye (R). These models exemplify the dreamy, risk-taking designs of first-generation Hot Wheels. Also, this photo has made me realize that composition is the watchword for this month’s update.

...And should be always, anyway.

…And should be always, anyway.

Case in point: here is the first version of the above photograph. Bill got two Silhouettes; the purple one was missing paint from its front right quarter, so I put the green in the foreground, and turned the other to spotlight its often-disregarded custom taillight array. However, similar to the pic of Ken’s trucks, this threesome shot lacks appeal. The spun-around purple makes the shot look clumsy, and the gap between it and Bugeye breaks up the flow of the image. Re-cropped for the two-shot above, the result is much more pleasing; the lines of the bodies flow from left to right with a natural fluidity. Moreover, the popped engine cover on Bugeye follows a subconscious invisible line along the back and rollbar of Silhouette.

Dear Bill: For the sake of the photographs, never buy more than two cars. Thanks!

Dear Bill: For the sake of the photographs, never buy more than two cars. Thanks!

I really do try to compose interesting photos for this site, most of the time anyway. Sometimes, I get a clunker like the “gang of five” at the top of this update. But sometimes, I get a real glamour shot.

Big Tractor Mike bought a bunch of items from Jim. We start with this tanker trailer by MotorMax. See how nice and clear the text is on the green diamond label? Now, consider that the actual toy is about two-thirds the size of this graphic. Impressive micro-font, wouldn’t you say?

(No caption. Too stinky.)

(No caption. Too stinky.)

Next is this tractor/trailer combo by Matchbox. I suspect it’s a “mix n’ match(box)” set, though. The hubs on the trailer seem similar to those on the tractor’s twins, yet the one is chromed while the twins match the front roller’s red. Still, incredibly clean graphics and body paint.

Sinclair did better with petroleum than with computers.

Sinclair did better with petroleum than with computers.

Thoughtful design elements including a fold-down (though non-rolling) “landing gear”  wheelset and caged spare.

I don't have a spare comment, however.

I don’t have a spare comment, however.

BTM also got this beautiful Ferrari 512 S. It’s large, a 1/43-scale model by Auto Pilen out of  Spain. It’s missing the canopy, but that doesn’t detract from its gorgeous European lines. Note that the grill vanes in the engine cover are white, so as not to get lost in all the gold. Note also, in the central, “flaps-up” frame, that you can actually see through the vanes. AP could’ve gone with vanes as a simple “texture”, but instead machined them out for a better model. The lights pop up as well, but the mechanism (arrow, bottom frame) is too worn; I tried several times for a photo with them up, but they always fell back in.

Customers preferred having the light switch *inside* the car, anyway.

Customers preferred having the light switch *inside* the car, anyway.

Mike acquired this Classic Riders Real Cobra — sorry, this Real Riders Classic Cobra as well. The model is well-lit and clearly focused (minus some rippling by the blister), but it may seem that the lettering on the backer is ready to slide off into oblivion. See that white edge in the upper right corner? This is a cut card. No, not a “short card”; the top of the backer has been scissored off. I usually balance an on-card vehicle against something both to get a nice, level shot of the car and to minimize glare on the blister. But with very little card left, I had to come up with a really odd angle to get a clear, minimal-glare shot, knowing I would have to greatly rotate it later to level-out the model.

At least my explanation is on the level.

At least my explanation is on the level.

Mike also go this Custom Volkswagen, one of the Original 16 Hot Wheels models. Along with the blown luggage compartment engine, this model is well-known for its signature transparent sunroof. I originally had it open, but then it occurred to me that it’s probably open in every photograph, so I decided it would be pleasantly different to photograph the car with its sunroof closed.

You do understand the engine is in the wrong end of the car, right?

You do understand the engine is in the wrong end of the car, right?

Now we get to some really spectacular items. BTM bought nearly a half-dozen Rrrumblers from Jim (all without rider figures). True, Mattel does currently offer some Hot Wheels-branded motorcycles, but they pale flatly in comparison to these iron horses. (Okay, zamac horses.)

One of nearly a half-dozen…

High-Tailer (missing center stand, leaning against Ferrari)

High-Tailer (missing center stand, leaning against Ferrari)

Two of nearly a half-dozen…

Mean Machine

Mean Machine

Three of nearly a half-dozen…

Revolution (missing canopy)

Revolution (missing canopy)

Four of nearly a half-dozen…

Choppin' Chariot

Choppin’ Chariot

Five of nearly a half-dozen…

Torque Chop

Torque Chop

Six of — Hey, wait a minute…

Bruiser Cruiser (missing tailplane)

Bruiser Cruiser (missing tailplane)

So, why have I seemingly emphasized “nearly a half-dozen” when there are clearly six Rrrumblers? Because there are only five Rrrumblers! This last one, Bruiser Cruiser, is actually a Chopcycle. So, what is a Chopcycle? Well, it’s Halloween, so here’s something truly horrifying: a logic equation–

“Chopcycles” is to “Rrrumblers” as “Sizzlers” is to “Hot Wheels”. Yes, the same rechargeable motor technology that makes Sizzlers run was installed into Chopcycles. Why Mattel stopped producing them remains a mystery.

This model is what made our October meeting spectacular for me: The Bertone Runabout concept. I bought this from Jim for a real treat of a price. This model is in 1/43-scale. I have two Runabouts in 1/64-scale, as well as the Fiat X1/9, which is the production vehicle derived from the Runabout. Guess I’ll have to update our Two-Scale Shots page…

Has that ''Speeding even when parked'' look.

Has that ”Speeding even when parked” look.

This large-scale model features a nicely-detailed engine with an opening cover. The cover is one of the few design elements that made it into the production Fiat relatively unchanged.

Dramatic angle! Composition!

Dramatic angle! Composition!

This low-angle shot showcases the sleek, slice-through-the-air body design. It also gives you another view of the headlamps mounted to the stylized C-pillar. Though not included on this model, the real car also had more traditional headlamps mounted into the underside of the prow.

''Prow'', because that's what the front end of a motorboat is called.

”Prow”, because that’s what the front end of a motorboat is called.

Wait, did I just type “the real car”? Well, it seems I did just that.

For collectors interested in the details, this is from Matchbox’s Speed Kings series, model number K-31. While today’s Mattel-owned MB models are made in Malaysia or China, this one was made in England, back in 1971 when Matchbox was still owned by Lesney. How do I know all these facts? A little birdie told me.

An eyeball-incinerating, citrus-green birdie.

An eyeball-incinerating, citrus-green birdie.

And now we get to the most spectacular treat of all for October. This is Jim’s Custom Corvette, still mounted to its wide card which also includes a Collector Button. Most impressive of all, it’s a German-edition card. All the text you typically see on a wide card, translated into German. Not just regular callouts such as “the fastest metal cars in the world”; Mattel even translated the brand name! Yes, “Heisse Raeder” is literally “hot wheels” auf Deutsch! For its awesome international coolness, I declare this to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for October 2015.

Yeah, someone gouged a hole in the backer. You know what? I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome this thing is.

Yeah, someone gouged a hole in the backer. You know what? I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome this thing is.

Treat yourself to a super-size version of this photo.

See you at the November meeting!

~WM

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