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’!
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!
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.
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?!?
Okay, I’ll let you in on the secret: It’s a slot car. Which is Ken’s other, other favorite thing.
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.
Here, you can see how simple geometric alignment can make for an attractive display.
Tom bought this Greenlight “Hitch & Tow”-series from Big Tractor Mike.
From BTM, Big Rob bought this sweet custom Johnny Lightning Cheetah, as well as this classic TootsieToy Cheetah.
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?
Note: Please follow all instructions carefully.
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.
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.
Ah, the natural, unspoiled beauty of a Hot Wheels set in the wild.
Classic Mattel: Soft paperboard buildings topped by hard plastic roofs.
For its completeness, great condition, wonderful conceptual playability, and absolute rarity, I very happily declare this Hot Wheels Steering Rigs playset to be Suncoast Diecasters‘ Find of the Month(*) for September 2016!
See you at the October meeting!
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.
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!
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.
Here, Bill has collected a “Corvette Cenrtal”-edition Split Window ’63; a Hummer; and a HW Main Street-series Dixie Challenger.
Bill acquired this still-great-looking Field Car (#18). This is the ’70-’74 Superfast edition.
Later, he got this red one.
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.)
In collecting these three carded Willys models, Ken reveals his secret collecting passion: country music.
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.
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.
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.
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.(*)
Download yourself a little light reading.
See you at the September meeting!
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
Did my best to get our July update posted before running out of July. So, skipping the wacky intro again so you can get right to the photos.
Last month, we presented to you a garbage truck purchased by Emergency Back-up Ken’s wingman, Gary. Here, EBU Ken proves to be his own wingman with this Matchbox A-10 Thunderbolt II.
I RAOK’d Original Ken with this Racing Champs ’41 Willys with neat-o opening hood.
Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike this very rare Milton military ambulance. As BTMike and O’Ken explain, Milton is a company in India, which often used Corgi and other UK dies. You can read more about Milton at the Bickford Diecast Research Center, doing a word-search for Milton.
In the top image,you can see the steering wheel clearly. In the bottom image, you can see the smooshed, white globby-looking thing with big black splotches which is presumably the driver.
This is a 1914 Stutz Bearcat. I know this, because I know such things. More specifically, it’s a Matchbox Models of Yesteryear-series 1/48-scale 1914 Stutz Bearcat. What I can’t explain is that bizarre device ominously installed over the ‘Cat, looking like something Auric Goldfinger might use for nefarious schemes.
Oh, it’s a fuel reservoir. For butane. Because it’s a lighter. Ed found this somewhere, and brought it in to show it off (violating one of the few rules we have). Encased in a Lucite block, this model will stay fresh long past its “use by” date.
Bill bought some advertising.
I’m kidding! Hopefully you noticed either the triangular peg hole and/or the Leo logo. This is Bill’s, a Leo (India) variation, variations being one of Bill’s specialities. As I’ve said before, there isn’t much info available about Leo online, but this page at Gary’s Cars makes for a interesting if brief read.
O’Ken bought this rare Red Baron from Bill. Now, obviously Redline-era models are rare to begin with; what makes this version even more rare is the slightly taller and pointier spike on the helmet. This was replaced with a blunter spike beginning in 1974.
Big Tractor Mike bought several things from me, starting with that most important of collector accessories, storage.**
Supposedly, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Which I guess explains Mattel’s various attempts at imitating Galoob’s success in the “micro car” market. BTM collects “micro” models, and was happy to buy this from me. This particular set contains bite-size versions of three of my favorite Hot Wheels models: Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, Sharkruiser and Rigor Motor.
And finally, BTM got this ALF hand puppet. BTM has purchased several ALF items from me over the years, so when I (finally) found this guy in storage, I had no doubt he would end up Safely at Home™ with Mike. These puppets were available at Burger King. There were four variations: this hair-band rocker, a Hawaiian shirt-wearing version, and two others I don’t remember.
Guests Terri and Robert bought three vehicles, includi– Huh, part of the photo … seems to be redacted … Strange…
Well, anyway, one of the models they bought is a ’57 Chevy from the 2002 Hot Wheels Racing series (which I should’ve taken more photos of), and this Johnny Lightning ’65 Chevy Chevelle wagon, which I did take another photo of. It’s a very nice casting, with deep lines around the doors, windows and even the fuel filler door. This model is done up in an “unfinished project” motif, which can really add realism to a diorama.
Okay, enough teasing. The “redacted” vehicle is this spectacularly awesome Team Trailer from Ira Gilford’s Heavyweights series.
This was only issued in 1971, making this one of the more exceedingly rare Hot Wheels models. And, had Gilford designed the trailer in a more “traditional” style, that rarity alone would have made this model very cool. But “traditional” does not define a successful Hot Wheels artist. Elements such as the cleft forward side window and “frameless” rear window give the trailer that distinctive Hot Wheels “look and feel”.
I have stated previously that when it comes choosing a model to designate as Find of the Month for any given meeting, broadly speaking either one simply jumps out, or there are several contenders. For our July meeting, it was a bit of a combo. Ed’s Milton ambulance, Bill’s exotic GMC Motorhome and Ken’s sharp(-looking) Red Baron were all candidates for FotM. However, from that pack of notable worthies, the Team Trailer very clearly stands out. For all the right reasons, I very happily declare the Ira Gilford-designed Heavyweights Team Trailer to be Suncoast Diecasters‘ Find of the Month(*) for July 2016.
See you at the August meeting!
**An erroneous comment regarding the car cases has been deleted. ~WM
As previously explained, various things delayed our May update. Cumulatively, this June update was also delayed. So I shall skip the usual goofy introduction. I do want to mention that we have a great new collector’s site at the top of our 1/64th-scale Links page, so please check it out!
And now, on to the photos!
As a long-time, faithful reader of Suncoast Diecasters, you’re tempted to say, “Ah! A garbage truck! Surely this has been acquired by Original Ken!” Reasonable, but incorrect. “Well, then,” you continue, “it certainly must belong to Emergency Back-up Ken!” Nnnnope. This was purchased by Gary — EBU Ken’s wingman — as a gift for his nephew.
For your edification: It’s the Lesney (Matchbox) Refuse Truck, model 15-C, made in England.
Now, here in fact is an Original Ken item: his other passion, Willyses …Willysesees … Willysoi …. Anyway, Ken also collects Willys miniatures. In this case, the ’41 Willys done up as a Hot Rod magazine special edition.
Big Tractor Mike goes all literary again with two tomes: First is this Beckett Price Guide, which is actually very dear to all Suncoast Diecasters members, because we is included in it. Yes, as a genuinely published club, we thus officially exist.
…And second is this history of Hot Wheels, the amazing story of how a toy company has lasted despite making only one toy.
Ed purchased these 1988 Volkswagen Transporter Ambulances…
…And then wisely bought this beautiful 1970 Heavyweights-series Dump Truck.
Doug flatbedded this VW pick-up. I mean, Doug picked up this VW flatbed.
From: BTM, this curious item, To: Doug’s li’l boy, is a Stock Car Miniature. That’s actually the brand name. As Ken explained, and is further verified by this ebay article, SCM (as it’s known among fans and collectors) was the first toy company to specifically bring NASCAR and other pro-racing names to the collector market. Poor choice in business location combined with a highly questionable zoning board decision led to the company’s downfall.
All in all, it makes possible this delightful father-and-son moment:
This … is the face … of a man in pain.
Okay, here’s the story: Ed makes the excellent decision to buy from Big Tractor Mike this Matchbox 1/43-scale Speed Kings-series Mercedes Benz Ambulance…
…So, naturally I take photos of it, delighted to discover the model also still has the original “man on stretcher”, and in good condition.
A few moments later, BTM RAOKs Ed with his other Binzulance, which also still has “Ye Man uponne Stretcher” … Only, not in so good a condition, as the “blanket” fell off instantly (not to mention the stretcher’s handles are broken off).
I was intrigued to notice there was significant sculpting of the poor guy’s face, so I propped him up and took a photo, from which I cropped the portrait that started this whole adventure.
I presumed that the guy’s face was all there was to him, that the blanket piece covered basically nothing. Imagine my surprise when, upon looking more closely at the broken stretcher, I realized the patient is a full head-to-foot sculpture, with impressive — indeed, let me say thoughtful — detail. His shirt is open, but he clearly has an undershirt. No shoes, but he’s not barefoot, he’s wearing socks. Most impressively, he has some sort of splint or brace on his left leg.
You can check out the guy’s vitals here.
For its great physical condition, its original box, its opening doors and hatch, and particularly for its completeness in not only still having its patient, but also because that accessory is itself in great condition, I very easily declare this Matchbox Ambulance to be Suncoast Diecasters‘ Find of the Month(*) for June 2016. This is not merely a great model for FotM, it’s one of the coolest FotMs we’ve ever had. Well done, Ed, well done!
Get yourself some free Binz wallpaper.
See you at the July– er, I mean August meeting!
It’s the 11th of July — In other words, it’s 7-11! And, it’s the Slurpee’s 50th Birthday! Today from 11 am to 7 pm, you can get a free small Slurpee at, um … aw, heck, what’s the name of that store again?
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!
She’s a lady … Whoa, 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.
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.
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”:
Original Ken picked up this NMOC 1992-edition Hiway Hauler…
…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.
EBU Ken nabbed this rare space set. How rare is it? Well, I didn’t even know Mattel made it, so there you go.
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.
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.
(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:
Doug acquired this awesome John Deere pencil case / mini tool box / we’re not sure what it is, but it’s awesome.
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!
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.
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.
See you at the June mee– Sorry, my bad. ;D
One of the remarkable features from the early years of Hot Wheels is the artwork. Great car designs came from Harry Bradley, Ira Gilford and Larry Wood. Amazing package art was handled by Otto Kuni. But when it came to classic comic images with story telling, Mattel’s go-to-guy was Alex Toth. Alexander Toth (June 25, […]