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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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, itsĀ 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.

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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.

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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