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

November 2016

Heavy holiday workload plus paperwork and other fallout from a major personal event prevented me from getting this November update published in a more timely manner. So, once again, no quirky intro. On directly to the photos!

November 2016

Ken asked if I could take a shot of the massive display of cars on a certain table. Attempting to be fancy, I set my camera to “panorama” mode, and took several photos. Unfortunately, it’s been quite a while since I used that mode, and I’m out of practice. I tried modifying the result in the “stitching” utility, to no avail. See that line of blue-boxed Final Run Hot Wheels on the far left? They’re also that hazy blue blur. Those two Jammer cases towards the right? Same case, different angles.

Still: Massive display.

Still: Massive display.

Very near the end of the meeting, Jason bought several Matchbox Super Kings-series tractors and trailers from Big Tractor Mike (thus maintaining his Big Tractor certification). I specify “very near the end of the meeting” because by then I had packed away my camera and tripods. So, I used the camera on my phone. While not as high a resolution as my digital camera, overall these photos came out nicely.

Super Kings...

Super Kings…

Big tractors...

Big tractors…

Catherine. No, wait...

Catherine. No, wait…

Did it again. Got lazy. After lunch, R.D. bought these ten vehicles from Ed. But because it was after lunch, I didn’t feel like shooting each one individually, nor even in small groups. So, I “stacked” them thusly, and took the shot. Result? Too much glare, and no names are legible.

Bad camera person! Bad, BAD!!

Bad camera person! Bad, BAD!!

The following three models, this Custom ’56 Ford F-100, the Packin’ Pacer and the gold Top Eliminator were purchased by Original Ken from Ed. The F-100 is from the 2013 Heat Fleet series (or HW Showroom series, depending on which side of the virgule you prefer).

Pictured: Pristine Purple Preference.

Pictured: Pristine Purple Preference.

This light-blue (no, honestly!) Packin’ Pacer is rare, per Ken. It’s from the 1983 Speed Machines series. I’m impressed by how well-sculpted the door latch is. It looks like a 1/64th-scale person could really grab it and pop that door open.

Packin' Pacer.

Packin’ Pacer.

Also, the exhaust pipes (which may or may not be zoomies), while not hollow, at least were sculpted with a small lip over the flat interior face. Much better than a plain flat end.

.recaP 'nikcaP

.recaP ‘nikcaP

Ken states that it is very rare to find a Top Eliminator in this color in this condition. I believe him. Other than being somewhat “rough around the edges”, this is in great shape. Its gold chrome finish is still gorgeous.

Truly, a golden oldie.

Truly, a golden oldie.

This gold chrome edition of Top Eliminator was only available in 1977 and 1978. This is the ’78 version; you can tell by the AC (Delco) logo on the rear fender. (That would be the little red dot.)

Look! It still does its trick!

Look! It still does its trick!

Ed bought this rare Mercedes Benz model from Big Tractor Mike.

It's rare because it has opening doors.

It’s rare because it has opening doors.

I’m kidding. What makes it rare is that it’s by a Korean manufacturer, King Star. You may note that it also says “Diamond Toymakers” on the backer. I’m making a wild guess that King Star is the brand, and Diamond Toymakers is the manufacturer (much like Hot Wheels and Mattel). I wish I could tell you more, but BTM has no more info, and the Internet has utterly failed to be helpful.

Even the collector sites which specialize in odd, rare and international brands have nothing on this one.

Even the collector sites which specialize in odd, rare and international brands have nothing on this one.

We will return to Suncoast Diecasters‘ November 2016 Update after this brief commercial message:

Even the collector sites which specialize in odd, rare and international brands have nothing on this one.

And now back to our Update, already in progress.

Actually, that’s the top tampo on this tip-top toy, a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air, done up in Crane Cams 50th Anniversary livery. Original Ken bought this from Big Tractor Mike, and is very wise to have done so.

One sweet little ride.

One sweet little ride.

Yes, me know. You like nice close-ups. You good people. Me give you nice close-ups.

See? Nice.

See? Nice.

Now that looks like power:

To quote Rocket Raccoon: "Oh ... yyyeeaaahh!"

To quote Rocket Raccoon: “Oh … yyyeeaaahh!”

Now, at this point you’re probably wondering which item is the Find of the Month. And you may have reasonably guessed it’s the ’57 Bel-Air. If so … you’re half-right. Yes, the Chevy, for its sheer beauty and great value as an anniversary premium, certainly deserves the designation. However, for being so incredibly rare that even the entire Internet can’t find it, I’m also awarding the designation to Ed’s King Star Benz 450. So, for only the second time (rather appropriately) in Suncoast Diecasters‘ history, we have Dual Finds of the Month!(*)

See you at the December meeting!

~WM

October 2016

A major family event prevented me from attending Suncoast Diecasters‘ October meeting. So, Original Ken dutifully stepped in to provide photos for the update.

October 2016

It’s been a while since we posted any photographs of members’ table collections — the overwhelming majority of our pics are after-purchase or after-trade. Ken has provided a few shots of Big Tractor Mike’s collection. These images illustrate only a small portion of his items, which usually take up an entire pool table (not to mention side-stacks).

From Big Tractor Mike's collection.

From Big Tractor Mike’s collection.

From the collection of Big Tractor Mike.

From the collection of Big Tractor Mike.

From the big tractor of Collection Mike.

From the big tractor of Collection Mike.

And another photo.

And another photo.

Just to prove my point about the after-purchase photos, here’s a photo of the Hot Wheels ’70s Van, which Ken took after purchasing said van from BTM.

I just realized, those aren't flames, it's the syrup. Cute (I guess).

I just realized, those aren’t flames, it’s the syrup. Cute (I guess).

Ken took this photo of a collector case full of bins which in turn are themselves full of classic Redlines, after (note the pattern) Mike got them from Jim in a trade.

This is how one super-increases the value of one's collection in a single move.

This is how one super-increases the value of one’s collection in a single move.

Matchbox Dodge A100 and Ford F-150 Raptor, from Jim to O’Ken.

Apparently, the A100 is the world's first reverse wheel-stander.

Apparently, the A100 is the world’s first reverse wheel-stander.

O’Ken then purchased this Corgi garbage truck (yes!) and three Kenner Fast111s from Jim. The KF1s are (L to R) Cyclone 3, Sporty Shifter and Cam Rammer.

Wait, *I'm* supposed to get the Fast111s. Something is VERY wrong here...

Wait, *I’m* supposed to get the Fast111s. Something is VERY wrong here…

Exactly three photographs ago, I mentioned that Mike got from Jim a bushel of Redlines in a trade. So, what did Jim get? These five Corgi Jr / Husky jeeps, two Playart cabin cruisers, and a blue Corgi Martin Walter Ford Transit Caravan.

Variety is the spice of collecting.

Variety is the spice of collecting.

I was intrigued by the stunningly long and surprisingly specific name, “Martin Walter Ford Transit Caravan”, so I did some research. Martin Walter was a coachbuilder; the company would take the Ford Transit and customize it with extra sleeping space and other amenities. This converted model would then be called the Dormobile. So, this Corgi is not simply a rare toy, it’s doubly rare because it’s based on a specific real-world customization not seen from other toymakers. Thus, this miniature easily earns its place as Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for October 2016.

The site below, written in Hungarian, features many great Dormobile advertising images.

The site below, written in Hungarian, features many great Dormobile advertising images.

Husky Ford Transit Caravan (Martin Walter Dormobile)

See you at K-Day, then at our November meeting!

~WM

The Call of Fall: Final K-Day & Promo for 2016

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s that time: the leaves are turning color; the clocks are turning back; and K-mart turns into the place to be for Hot Wheels. Our Calendar is updated with links to the final 2016 mail-in promo (which features a sweet piece o’ eye-candy!), as well as the final 2016 K-Day in-store event. So click on over, and get ready to do some a-wheelin’ and a-dealin’!

September 2016

Hey! I got our September update done while there’s still one whole day of September left! Sweet, sweeet Victory!

Now go enjoy the photos!

September 2016

We start off our September update with Original Ken’s Most Favoritest Thing in the Word: a Willys model. He purchased it from Big Tractor Mike.

...Most favorite, except for garbage trucks, that is.

…Most favorite, except for garbage trucks, that is.

This nicely-sculpted model with its white-to-pink washed flames and bright yellow– Hold it… What the heck is going on under the front end of this thing? Is it buck-toothed? Are those fangs?!?

All I want for Chwifmaf if my two fwont teef...

All I want for Chwifmaf if my two fwont teef…

Okay, I’ll let you in on the secret: It’s a slot car. Which is Ken’s other, other favorite thing.

Ridin' the rails, boys!

Ridin’ the rails, boys!

BTM explains that this slot car is an Autoworld model. But, not the old Autoworld, rather the modern one. Yet, Ken says it’s an HO Johnny Lightning, Thunderjet series, which was previously known as Aurora and/or Cigar Box. So, which is it?

Turns out it’s both. The Internet was actually useful this one time, in providing this well-written article which explains that, long before the ‘Net, Autoworld was a mail-order catalog supplying the slot car market. AW closed eventually, but was re-opened by Playing Mantis. The new AW re-issued new productions of the old models. Because everything old is new again.

O’Ken also bought these Willys models from BTM. All four are Johnny Lightning; the display cases are from a Lexmark promo. Ken put in his own background cards.

Ken wikes Willys models.

Ken wikes Willys models.

He weally, weally does.

He weally, weally does.

Willyshoemaker.

Willyshoemaker.

Ha! ''Willyshoemaker''. I'm hilarious!

Ha! ”Willyshoemaker”. I’m hilarious!

Here, you can see how simple geometric alignment can make for an attractive display.

Creative background cards may create the illusion of a showroom, raceway or other diorama-like appearance.

Creative background cards may create the illusion of a showroom, raceway or other diorama-like appearance.

Tom bought this Greenlight “Hitch & Tow”-series from Big Tractor Mike.

The Ram 1500 looks good, but that Dodge II sure is clunky...

The Ram 1500 looks good, but that Dodge II sure is clunky…

From BTM, Big Rob bought this sweet custom Johnny Lightning Cheetah, as well as this classic TootsieToy Cheetah.

Toot, Toot, Tootsie -- Good buy!

Toot, Toot, Tootsie — Good buy!

And now, because you’re “good people”, here is a better view of the two vehicles. C’mon, you didn’t think I’d cheetyah out of a nice close-up, did you?

See what I did there? ''Cheetah'', ''cheetyah''? This is good stuff!

See what I did there? ”Cheetah”, ”cheetyah”? This is good stuff!

Note: Please follow all instructions carefully.

Remember to run safely with safety scissors.

Remember to run safely with safety scissors.

So what’s with the paper guidance? Well, it goes along with this here fellow here. This is the Peterbilt Hauler. More specifically, this is from the Steering Rigs series. Can you see that large, clear plastic steering wheel on the back of the trailer? No, you can’t, not in this shot. Anyway, that was connected by a linkage to the tractor, thus allowing the child (or Bill) to “steer” the toy.

And yes, I am totally regretting not photographing the loose, unbagged one.

And yes, I am totally regretting not photographing the loose, unbagged one.

Per Big Tractor Mike, only two Steering Rigs sets were produced: An oil refinery, and this Sand & Gravel set, which was purchased from him by Terri and Robert. This set is complete, and its inner bags of this set are all sealed, making this a doubly very rare find.

Heck, the previous owner hadn't even colored it in!

Heck, the previous owner hadn’t even colored it in!

Ah, the natural, unspoiled beauty of a Hot Wheels set in the wild.

Mike engages the wild Set while I stay safe up here in the helicopter.

Mike engages the wild Set while I stay safe up here in the helicopter.

Classic Mattel: Soft paperboard buildings topped by hard plastic roofs.

Or, maybe they're by Ikea...

Or, maybe they’re by Ikea…

For its completeness, great condition, wonderful conceptual playability, and absolute rarity, I very happily declare this Hot Wheels Steering Rigs playset to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for September 2016!

'Tis a rare thing of beauty.

‘Tis a rare thing of beauty.

See you at the October meeting!

~WM

9/11: My own humble story

On September 11, 2002, I posted the following article to a newsgroup I was then frequenting.  I did some minor editing to the article for the 10th Anniversary post, and have done a little more for this 15th Anniversary, but it’s fundamentally the same as the original.

And to those who may consider it “inappropriate” to post such an article to a hobby site, I make absolutely no apologies whatsoever.

I was working at a small telephone company at the time. Actually, I don’t remember when I first heard about a plane hitting the building.  What I do recall is, while I was going over some details in a customer’s file, in my headset I overheard her discussing this with a visitor.  I think I recall them discussing the second plane, but I’m not sure.  I do remember taking the news of a plane hitting the building in stride, so to speak.  After all, airliners had crashed into buildings before.  In fact I had just a few days prior seen a documentary on one of the “educational” cable channels, telling the story of such a crash in the ’30s or ’40s (I think), which featured survivors and witness describe how the plane had hit the Empire State Building, and how it just hung there.  So this new crash was, as it were, nothing new.  Sad, of course; and upsetting to think that even with a cockpit full of modern technology, a pilot could make that poor a mistake.  But these things happen.

But then the talk and murmur of the second plane began to grow; slowly I began to realize the seriousness of it.  I don’t really recall when I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon, or when I heard about the one that went down in Pennsylvania.  What I recall is the First Rumor, and the First Rumor was that Eight Planes Were Unaccounted For.  Our government had determined this was a genuine attack and had grounded all flights, yet still there were Eight Planes Unaccounted For.

During a break I was able to get to a phone and call my Mom to see how she was. I was also able find some privacy and reaffirm my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my personal savior (I think by then I had realized we were effectively at war, and I wanted to make sure I was straight on that issue).

Later I heard the Second Rumor, that The Towers Had Collapsed.  I knew that was ridiculous; the towers had stood for several decades, and certainly were built using what was then the highest architectural technology of the time.  And as I mentioned above, the Empire State Building remained standing when it was struck, so certainly such modern towers would survive.

(The next day or so, I remember a co-worker making a comment, something on the order of “nuking those bastards.”  I agreed but I advised him that first we needed to figure out which bastards; I was a little surprised when he agreed with me on that point.  I reflected silently on how we had grown as country.  For example, when the Imperial Japanese fleet struck Pearl Harbor, we immediately rounded up any- and everyone of  Japanese descent.  But when the van blew up in the WTC parking garage, there was talk of Arab terrorists, but we did not round up any Arabic people then.  When the bomb went off at the Murrah building, again Arabs were suspected, but almost immediately I saw the attitude change to “Well, no, let’s try to find out who actually did this.”  We had grown from having a knee-jerk reaction regarding whom we considered the “obvious suspects” to stepping back to gather information so we could take the best corrective action.)

About mid-afternoon, the bosses had decided to let us go home early.  I went to my Mom’s place to see how she was doing; she was about 20 during Pearl Harbor, and I wanted to make sure she was all right.  When I got home, I realized I needed to keep up, so I turned on the news.  I saw different videos, shot from different angles, of the planes going into the towers, and my stomach turned.  It was hard to believe that someone had actually chosen to do this to people.  And the videos kept running …

…And then there was the footage of the towers going down.  Dear God.  The towers had actually collapsed.

Several days later, I received an e-mail containing the photograph of a tourist on top of the WTC that was allegedly taken just before a plane struck, the plane itself clearly visible in the background just off from the building.  I was able to laugh at this, because it was so ridiculous.  And I was able to laugh at it being so ridiculous because by then, The Lie was over, for me at least.  Almost immediately we heard political and media figures talking sanctimoniously about how the attacks had unified America.  “There are no Democrats and Republicans here, today we’re only Americans.”  I knew this was lie, and within about a week exactly the people I knew would do so were saying exactly the divisive things I expected them to say.  And so, for me, The Lie was over and I could go back to living my own life, including my very partisan support of those who to me had long been unified before the attacks.*

*[Over the intervening years, sadly I have seen those who back then had my “very partisan support” degenerate into their own finger-pointing circular firing squad. I have since officially registered as “independent” and no longer offer support to any ideological group. ~WM]

I had received an e-mail from an Air Force buddy of mine.  A close friend of his (whom I did not know) was in the Pentagon when the plane hit, in or near that section; he was okay.  I also got an e-mail from my sister: my nephew, who had served in the Gulf War and was now a trucker, was making a delivery into New York that morning, and was only a couple of miles away when the planes hit; he, too, was okay.

As  you watch the commemorative programming on TV during this tenth fifteenth anniversary, obviously the most common question asked by reporters will be, “…And where were YOU on this day?”

Well, that’s where I was.

~WM

August = Late; K-Day = Great!

Hurricane Hermine and other issues delayed this August update, which makes me 0 – 4 now. So, once’d again, no wacky intro.

The dates for the next K-mart Collector Day and the 1-for-20 Mail-in Promo have been posted to our Calendar, so please check them out!

And now … the photos!

August 2016

There is a curious duality to collecting: In gathering what one chooses to collect, one discovers that one must also collect something else. The first object can be anything (such as 1/64th-scale toy cars); the second object is always the same: storage. Here, Gary collects a display case from Big Tractor Mike.

The blue bag contains a collection of mounting hardware. Collecting!

The blue bag contains a collection of mounting hardware. Collecting!

Here, Bill has collected a “Corvette Cenrtal”-edition Split Window ’63; a Hummer; and a HW Main Street-series Dixie Challenger.

Collecting!

Collecting!

Bill acquired this still-great-looking Field Car (#18). This is the ’70-’74 Superfast edition.

Based on the International Scout.

Based on the International Scout.

Later, he got this red one.

So there.

So there.

From Big Tractor Mike, Original Ken purchased these two Jadeds. The white one is from the 2011 HW Performance series, while the other is the 2007 Treasure Hunts edition. More interestingly, Jaded is based on the Henry J, a sedan offered by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation in the early 1950s. The car is named after company chairman, Henry J. Kaiser. (It has nothing to do with Henry Ford.)

(Or Kelsey Grammer)

(Or Kelsey Grammer)

In collecting these three carded Willys models, Ken reveals his secret collecting passion: country music.

Country icon Hank Williams Jr.

Country icon Hank Williams Jr.

Country super-star LeAnn Rimes.

Country super-star LeAnn Rimes.

Country legend Ray Earl Bobby-Joe McScruggs ... Jr.

Country legend Ray Earl Bobby-Joe McScruggs … Jr.

This is a great item, for two reasons. First, it’s a beautifully framed portrait photo of Dale Earnhardt Sr., accompanied by a commemorative postcard and official U.S. postage stamp celebrating stock car racing. Second, it’s a RAOK from Tom to Ken, commemorating their friendship.

Click below for larger version

Click below for larger version

1000 * 1135

I had to leave the meeting early to go see another group of friends. Ergo, my time for taking photographs was abbreviated. These Corvettes purchased by Arde were among the last I shot, and I didn’t have time to take the multiple shots these beauties deserve. These are 1/43-scale modes with exquisite details.

1963 Stingray Convertible

1963 Stingray Convertible

1953 Corvette Convertible

1953 Corvette Convertible

Ed had an assortment of Hot Wheels children’s books, which as you can see below featured a HW model shell-displayed at the end. Ed doesn’t remember where he got them, and the price sticker is utterly generic. Nonetheless, Arde was sufficiently intrigued to purchased this one.

Aaarrgh! We captured the treasure!

Aaarrgh! We captured the treasure!

For the adult collector (and by “adult”, I’m speaking strictly chronologically. I make no reference to intellectual or emotional development), it is easy to forget that Hot Wheels was and is, at its heart, a toy for children. Parents over the last few generations have lamented the effort needed to get kids to put down their playthings and pick up a book. Here, Mattel makes at least some effort toward addressing this with these simple, almost primer-like mini-books. The colored-block text is annoyingly self-serving, in that it needlessly describes features of the model such as wheel type or interior color. The regular text, however, gives a brief yet interesting, and often historical, overview of the actual vehicle. For parents whose kids love Hot Wheels, or cars in general, these books can be a good starting point for parent/child reading time or deeper research into the hobby or the history of the vehicle. For this, I declare the Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt books to be our August Find of the Month.(*)

These pages feature the real Ford vehicle that Shoe Box is based on.

These pages feature the real Ford vehicle that Shoe Box is based on.

Download yourself a little light reading.

See you at the September meeting!

~WM

Super-Simple Easy-Peasy Diorama

A special final-weekend-of-Summer treat, shared from Jasmine’s Garage:

It’s been quite a long hiatus. But I’m happy to finally be able to show you the results yielded from my extended absence! In this entry, prepare yourself for a long journey through maki…

Source: Super-Simple Easy-Peasy Diorama