July 2017, starring Kenny!

Very happy to report that, unlike last month, some actual buying and selling took place during our July meeting! And it’s mostly thanks to Original Ken!

Also, I’ve updated the photos for our September 2015 post.

Thusly, on to our July photos!

July 2017

Kenny starts off with this beautiful white Rolls Royce. It’s by Zlymex, model D44. Really nice condition for its age. Kenny later advised me this is actually a Rolls Canardly. It easily rolls down one hill…

...And canardly roll up the next.

…And canardly roll up the next.

Kenny tells me that when he posts table photos to our club’s Facebook page, we get lots of hits. So, at his prompting I took the following table photos. This first one is your basic, low-angle table-front shot.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

For this second photo, I wanted to get a sweeping vista of the great variety of items on Big Tractor Mike’s table. I set the camera high on my main tripod, and tilted and rotated it for the shot, knowing I’d have to “un-rotate” it (that is, rotate it in the opposite direction in my photo software) to restore the verticals.

For my fellow photogs, the final image is rotated exactly 26 degrees counter-clockwise.

For my fellow photogs, the final image is rotated exactly 26 degrees counter-clockwise.

The original photo came out as I wanted it; however when I cropped & scaled it down to fit our blog, it was too many items in too small a visual space. Knowing that the Jammer case is the most significant vertical object in the photo,  I used it as the focal point for the site photo. I played with zooms and crops, and finally got an image which fits and still has enough volume of detail to be interesting. You can see the full image here. The white triangles in the corners reveal the rotation I mentioned.

This third and final table photo is experimental. I put the camera on my mini-tripod, and set the tripod actually down into Mike’s display case. I adjusted the legs to put the camera just above the toys, and set the angle so that the far edge of the next case over became the distant horizon line.

Composition!

Composition!

Finally, we have Kenny’s sweet Chevrolet Chevelle SS-396, by Welly. If you look closely at the rear left tire, you’ll see it has a “Whizzwheels”-style ridge. I had a bit of a challenge deciding between this model and the Rolls for FotM. Then I recalled that we have numerous Zylmez models on the site, and few Welly models. So that sealed the deal, as it were. Thus, I declare this Welly SS-396 to be our Find of the Month(*) for July 2017.

Congratulations, Ken!

Congratulations, Ken!

See you at our August 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

Sweet November! (No relation to the movie. Nope.)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day, spending time with your families and not out Black Fridaying with the massing mobs. Suncoast Diecasters‘ November meeting was great, with many great finds, buys and trade.

Speaking of great finds: You know that every month, I designate a Find of the Month. Well, I can say that we had, in a sense, two FotMs in November. I was very greatly surprised to find that dear Marge had returned from her four-year sabbatical. She did bring several trays of cars, of which other members including You Humble Webmaster didst partake, but the main joy was simply that she returned. We don’t know if she’ll continue to attend, but we were all very insistent that she at least make our December meeting.

Recall that the Saturday before our meeting was a K-mart Collector Day event, the last one of 2015. I did pretty well this time. Got a Flames-edition Hudson Hornet and ’41 Willys, the K-Day edition “sandy brown” Subaru Brat, and the literally shiny ‘n new Hi-Roller.

'Tis pretty!

‘Tis pretty!

One more thing: I probably don’t have to do this, but I apologize that I couldn’t get our November update published actually in November. I have a new job, and the darn thing is interfering with my site update time.

And now, on to the photos!

November 2015

Doug picked up this Other Blue Oval NASCAR racer and Meyers Manx, along with a slot-car controller which does not work with either of those cars but, what the heck, it’s the holidays!

There are some jokes here which write themselves, so I won't bother typing them.

There are some jokes here which write themselves, so I won’t bother typing them.

If you’ll recall, back in September Big Tractor Mike bought several Last Action Hero items from me. However, some accessories were absent, oddly not being in the same box. When I went back into my storage unit, one of the boxes I brought out just happened to have those self-same accessories, with which I RAOK’d BTM at our November meeting. As you can see below, one of the items is the Ripper’s hat. Yes, he’s a psychotic murderer; but, he’s a dapper psychotic murderer!

Hmm... That ''dapper'' line would've made a good caption....

Hmm… That ”dapper” line would’ve made a good caption….

The other three or four of you who’ve seen Last Action Hero know that it’s the story of young Danny who gets a magical movie theater ticket which allows him to enter the in-movie realm of his hero, Jack Slater. Among the accessories, I also found the Danny action figure, officially named Hook Launchin’ Danny, and his shoulder-fired grappling hook. This device is an amazingly detailed and astoundingly accurate replica of the one which Danny did not use in the movie even once ever at all. However, I do have to give props to the toy’s designers. It has an impressively powerful spring, launching the hook over two feet before friction from the line slows it to a fall. Plus, the anchor allows a child (i.e., Big Tractor Mike) to attach both ends as a type of zip-line.

Massive as the launcher is, I'm surprised I was able to get the figure to balance without support.

Massive as the launcher is, I’m surprised I was able to get the figure to balance without support.

Also back in September, BTM bought a model figure kit of Constable Odo from Deep Space Nine. I asked him if he still had it, and he said yes. So, I RAOK’d him with this publicity photo of Odo, advising him to pair it with the model if he ever decided to sell it. I got the photo at a Star Trek convention at which Rene Auberjonois was the headliner, and was shocked when I realized there was not autograph on the photo. I clearly remember standing at the autograph table, complimenting him on his performance as Odo, so I must’ve had something else autographed. By the way, the blue blur in the upper left corner is glare from the overhead lights when I took a shot of this picture.

Yes, kids, you're looking at a photograph of a photograph. ...SCIENCE!

Yes, kids, you’re looking at a photograph of a photograph. …SCIENCE!

Scott was a model guest, buying this AMT Vicki Hardtop from me.

See how I used the word ''model'' there? *That* is how you do comedy.

See how I used the word ”model” there? *That* is how you do comedy.

BTM bought this Rat Fink set from me. You might notice that the plastic blister is quite crumpled. See what happens when you try to store your collectibles, kids? Remember, always rip ’em right out of the package!

Better-focused and somewhat less-glarey close-up included as our free gift to you!

Better-focused and somewhat less-glarey close-up included as our free gift to you!

BTM bought this literary gem from me. It’s filled with interviews, behind-the-scenes photographs and early concept sketches of the ships, costumes and the monster. As well-known as Alien is to the Nerdo-American audience, it’s fascinating to consider what the movie might have been had Scott and O’Bannon made these different choices. For example, the small, train-like line sketch near the lower right corner is what eventually became the Nostromo.

I don't know what the big blue thing in the middle is. It wasn't used in the movie.

I don’t know what the big blue thing in the middle is. It wasn’t used in the movie.

Once again, I brought in a bunch of Star Trek items, and once again Big Tractor Mike took them all away. Why do I bother? Er, um, what I mean is, I’m glad Mike bought these from me! He paid me a good price for them, and I didn’t have to re-pack them and take them back home again.

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER!!??

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER!!??

I beRAOK’d Ken with this comical car(toon) from Nickelodeon’s CatDog. Ken appreciated it because it’s a garbage truck, but he also got a kick out of its pull-string action. Pulling CatDog from the trash pile unwinds a string which winds a spring. The spring then unwinds, causing the wheels to roll and retract CatDog back into the pile. On a clear, smooth floor it can run about six feet. And, yes, I am now complicit in Ken’s mad scheme to own every garbage truck toy ever.

-:-

-:-

The toy is a premium that was available in a Burger King Kids Club meal. It may be hard to see in the shadow, but in the upper left corner it states a copyright of 1999 (see inset in lower left corner for enhanced image). I posted this shot with the copyright for a very specific reason. It’s because…

-:-

-:-

…Of this: the battery still works. Think about it: this is 2015; it’s copyrighted 1999; that means the toy is sixteen years oldand the battery still works! That is impressive. You may notice the mini-wheel below the front bumper. For unknown reasons, the toy’s designers put the spring-power drive to hidden wheels under the toy, and made the “cartoon” wheels merely part of the body casting. And if you’re wondering why there’s an oversize SunRacer occluding the upper right corner of the photo, it’s because your family doesn’t need to see my big ol’ thumbnail, especially not during the holidays.

I advised Ken to change the battery before it gets all explodey.

I advised Ken to change the battery before it gets all explodey.

Ken asked me to photograph the treasures he bought from Marge. I was trying various arrangements when I realized there was veritable rainbow of toy cars in front of me. Thinking back to last month’s focus on composition, I carefully sought a natural chromatic flow which would involve all the cars. I might’ve been able to invert the black cars with the Mountain Dew cars, tying their green logos to the green truck, but I think this arrangement works better.

I honestly think the colors flow very well here.

I honestly think the colors flow very well here.

When I started sorting through the bag of Ken’s cars, I jokingly told him I hoped he had a Mountain Dew car.

A. One. Singular. Fer cryin’ out loud.

Not sure if this is three cars, or one car doing a spin-out with the camera shutter open.

Not sure if this is three cars, or one car doing a spin-out with the camera shutter open.

One of the three cars I bought from Marge. Yeah, the paint’s chipped along several edges, but the wheels are straight and clean, and the body and tampo are in relatively good shape for a toy that’s probably over thirty years old. Just wish I could I could remember the name of this model…

I'm usually good with car names, General Lee speaking...

I’m usually good with car names, General Lee speaking…

Numbah Two car from Marge: Rock Buster. This is the 1983 Malaysia version. Yeah, it’s missing its roll cage. But, its wheels too are clean and straight, and its paint and tampos are in great condition. So the what if the roll cage is missing? When would I ever again have an opportunity to obtain such a rare model, much less for such an affordable price?

Rock Buster! Oh, no, that's this car. Dang.

Rock Buster! Oh, no, that’s this car. Dang.

And the Third and Final Car I bought from Marge: Camaro Z28. You may suspect by the large blocky section between the rear wheels (lower portion of photo) that this is either a friction or pullback model. (I can’t tell which, as the mechanism doesn’t work.) Now, I generally have no interest in Camaros unless it’s a particularly special model, and I never buy frictions (or pullbacks, whichever). So why did I grab this one? Well, I looked at its base to see if it had any info at all — and I discovered it claims a scale of 1/59. I don’t recall ever seeing a scale on a friction. More importantly, it has the Zee logo. Yes, this is actually a Zylmex, not just some no-name repli-pony. I have a few models in the 1/5x range, and seeing as this is a brand-name model, I had no hesitation in buying it.

Zee produced a Z, as you can zee.

Zee produced a Z, as you can zee.

Aah, now we come to the truly interesting stuff. You may think you’re seeing (clockwise from bottom) Custom Police Cruiser, Lola GT70, Torero, Lola GT70 (with spoiler?!?), and Turbofire, but you would be so very, very wrong. For instance, that’s simply Cruiser.

They're creepy and they're kooky...

They’re creepy and they’re kooky…

These are actually Lola GT and Lamborghini Special.

...Mysterious and spooky...

…Mysterious and spooky…

And these are merely Lola GT (again, with spoiler?!?) and Super Turbo.

...They're all together ooky.

…They’re all together ooky.

Okay, okay. At this point you’re probably thinking I’ve really misunderstood my own off-site links. Cleary, these cars are Hot Wheels models, right? Well, yes and no. What they are, are Muky castings of Mattel models. How did Muky get so precise in copying the look of HW models, you ask? Simple: they were cast using actual Mattel dies. Huh? Muky was a toy manufacturer in Argentina. The company obtained in some manner dies which allowed them to produce Mattel-accurate toy cars. I say “in some manner” because there are several competing theories as to just how Muky got the dies: they were imported directly from Mattel; they were stolen from Mattel; they were reproduced from actual Mattel blueprints; etc. One particular curiosity is that Muky offered a version of the Lola GT70 with a spoiler, a variation never offered by Mattel. Regardless, it’s interesting to note that, unlike many other foreign manufacturers, there is a great amount of information about Muky available online.

Bob had these on his table at our November meeting. This is one the very best things about Suncoast Diecasters membership: discovering rare foreign models which can greatly enhance any collection. These are all now currently enhancing Big Tractor Mike’s collection, in fact. For their rarity, their great condition, their completeness with the original boxes, and especially for their intriguing mystery, I hereby very readily declare this set of Mukys to be our Find of the Month(*) for November 2015.

He likes it! Hey, Muky!

He likes it! Hey, Muky!

See you at the December meeting!

~WM