#Maythe4th be with you!
(P.S.: Tomorrow is #FreeComicBookDay!)
#Maythe4th be with you!
(P.S.: Tomorrow is #FreeComicBookDay!)
No time for a wacky intro; head straight to the photos!
Big Rob brought in boxes and boxes of oodles and oodles of goodies. The colorful boxes, as you can probably tell, are various Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning collections and race sets. The beige bombers in the background are chock-full of many, many, many individual HW and JL models in MoC condition.
While the vastly overwhelming majority of Big Rob’s collection are of course 1/64th-scale, one particular box held these footlong-plus behemoths. These are RC versions of Sweet 16 II and Twin Mill. Yes, he has the controllers also, in case ya wants ta race ’em.
Of course I did. You and Suncoast Diecasters have been seeing each other for about twelve years now. So of course I did a special favor for you. Enjoy.
Next is this Mercedes-Benz Container Truck from 1981. This version also has dark-tinted blue windows.
Not to be outdone (though clearly outmatched) in the “bigger than 1/64” department, Tom bought this gorgeous Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from BTM. This is MebeToys model A-26 from Gran Toros.
This beauty doesn’t just get by on looks alone. It also features an opening bonnet (with some rigging), opening doors and an opening boot.
Well, well, what have we here? Why, it’s a reproduction of Alan Nash & Co.’s patent for Hot Wheels track connectors.
Oh, and look: it’s Larry Wood’s original sketch for Tri Baby.
Whence come this intriguing images? They’re just two of several dozen such illustrations and photos in this wonderful book, Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Power, Performance, and Attitude. This is how our April meeting started, with Big Rob RAOKing this to Big Tractor Mike. For a host of reasons which should be obvious, I easily declare this book to be Suncoast Diecasters‘ Find of the Month(*) for April 2018.
…Aaand with about 15 minutes left, our April update is actually published during April. Let us all cavort!
See you at our May meeting!
The Diecastarama event takes place on Sunday, June 10th in Spring Hill, FL. Details are on the flyer below; a link to a full-size image of the flyer is at the bottom of the page.
I could not be at our March meeting, as I was attending a friend’s engagement party. So I delegated photography duty to Original Ken.
He took several great pics. Not much info on the individual models, however, so let’s get right to the photos!
But, before we get to the photos, we are pleased to announce this year’s Port Richey Diecast Show. It’s on Sunday, April 8th, and the rest of the info is on these images:
I’m still exploring the WordPress gallery options. Although this is a different layout, it functions the same as last month’s version: Select any preview to bring up a larger image, and arrow your way to the left or right.
See you at our April meeting!
Alliteration, boys and girls. It’s known as alliteration.
Thus, with such a delightfully educational intro, let’s get right to the photos!
We start off with this great Baja Breaker variation (courtesy Big Tractor Mike; photo by Original Ken). This is “Motocross Team”, part of the Scene Machines series.
Next is this 1978 Holden Pick-Up (courtesy Big Tractor Mike; photo by Original Ken).
I have to say, I am very impressed by the level of detail on these bikes.
O’Ken goes big-time with this 1/24th-scale John Force funny car by Winner’s Circle from BTM. Unboxing it for these photos was quite a project. I think it took Ken about ten minutes!
The chassis and everything else is plastic; the body shell is surprisingly heavy metal.
And now presenting: Another New Feature! BTM asked me if it was possible to have the post photos (which I’ve standardized to 550 pixels wide) link to larger versions. There are in fact several methods; but the easiest option seems to be to use something WordPress offers: the Gallery.
Now, generally speaking, each of these posts, with its collection of photos, can be considered a gallery. But WordPress’ gallery function is a browser script which provides an interactive display. In fact, the slideshow, which I first used in August of 2017, is a variation in the gallery settings. I created larger photos here, some as wide as 1,000 pixels. I then chose various display settings (in this case, three columns of circular previews), and inserted the gallery.
To view the larger images, simply click on any preview. This will open the gallery to that image. You can then go from one photo to the next using the left and right arrows (screen or keyboard). To exit the gallery, click the X near the upper right corner, or press the Escape key. Enjoy! (And post your opinions on this new feature in the Comments.)
BTM has been having trouble with his e-mail, so I’ll have to wait for him to post info about these models in the comments.
As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to our Find of the Month item, often one model just stands out; yet sometimes I have to choose between two. I have in fact done dual FotMs. But this meeting was unique, in that I honestly was equally impressed with all the models.I have chosen to forego “multiple” FotMs, because I think that’s a bad precedent. So I carefully reviewed the photos, and one finally began to draw me in. So, for its working gate, its real metal chains, and its beautiful hand-cut wood siding, this custom by Doug for BTM is Suncoast Diecasters‘ Find of the Month(*) for February 2018.
See you at our March meeting!
I reported back in November the sad news that our local K-mart would close (and it has). I didn’t know if Mattel would continue the K-Day tradition in light of all the store closings, or whether our county’s last K-mart store would be included if it did continue.
I recently received e-mails from Hot Wheels Collectors advising of the next K-Day event. Per the store list, it has in fact been moved to our last Pinellas K-mart, and the details are on our Calendar.
(I won’t be attending. Once again I’m uninspired by the event cars, and that’s too long a drive just to see what else shows up in the boxes.)
You may recall that previous years’ January updates were lightweight affairs. Post-holiday wind-down, attendance was low, and few if any trades took place. This year, our January meeting was radically, wonderfully different — a good crowd, and some serious treasure-tradin’ and car-findin’!. So get to the photos!
You’ve seen various farm dioramas from Big Tractor Mike before. Well, sir, I walked into our January meeting and hardly got situated, when I looked over and saw the biggest display BTM had yet brought in. BTM asked for several photos; I took ten photos overall, including a few focusing on a certain special black truck. Later I’ll update this update with info from BTM on what you’re seeing here. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful slideshow:
Ed was in attendance, and brought in a wonderful variety of models: Treasure Hunts, almost all in Kar Keepers; quality loose models in Jammers; packaged sets; and … the cardboard box.
It was about a foot square, and loaded with loosies priced at “priced to move” prices. A few guys began cautiously picking through the box. Then Ed, to ease their hunting, unceremoniously dumped the whole thing out onto the table:
From this forlorn pile of rejectlings several treasures were found. For example, here are the ones Original Ken acquired:
Speaking of Kar Keepers: I told you I would, and I did. I asked around at the meeting if anyone had a Kar Keeper or Protecto Pak. Big Tractor Mike demonstrated some left-over holiday spirit and RAOK’d me with a P’Pak! Later, I secured my Milano as promised.
Ken got this sweet Zee (Zylmex) school bus from BTM. Overall the package is in really nice condition, with beautiful artwork.
By the way, I was originally going to not point out the vintage price tag, as Wal-mart is quite contemporary. But then I thought about the fact that Zylmex has been gone for a while. In fact, according to the Zylmex Tribute Page, the company went out of business in 1996. As of this writing, that’s twenty-two years ago — in other words, nearly a quarter of a century. I guess that’s pretty darn close to vintage.
(I haven’t included a separate photo of the price tag because this image is very close to the original’s size, and is quite clear.)
Big Rob had a nice assortment of Johnny Lighting Lost in Space miniatures, and sold this Robot B-9 to … somebody. Seriously, neither Rob nor Ken nor myself can remember who bought this. Even so: Enjoy your recent purchase, Unknown Suncoast Diecasters Member!
As club photographer, I’m always taking photos of people’s treasures. But at this meeting, something unique and wonderful happened: Ken took photos of my treasures! Ken was impressed by the cars I found, and snapped photos for our club’s Facebook page. For example, from Robby, Big Rob’s son, I bought this NASCAR Stocker. Very good condition. This is the version which says “Racing Stocker” on the base. While not the exceedingly rare “Mountain Dew Stocker” version, I am nonetheless very happy with this model.
From Ed’s pile-o-playthings, I found three cool models. First is this Mercedes convertible by TootsieToy.
Then I got these two unusual Hot Wheels models:
Okay, that … that photograph might be a little misleading. Actually, I posted it to proved these are Hot Wheels-branded. Further, they’re copyrighted 1985. And that’s all we know about them. Here are the actual models:
As you can see, they’re somewhat cartoonishly proportioned. Both have the same base, and the same construction: The one-piece engine/interior simply snaps into the body shell. Both have friction motors. The blue is gummy, and goes neither far nor fast. The red on the other hand still performs relatively well.
However, quite seriously, no-one in the club has any idea where these models are from. Not even Ed, who had them in his cardboard box. So if any of you fellow collectors out there can shed any light on these mystery mobiles, please let us know in the Comments. Thanks!
…And, our January updated was posted with a tiny little sliver of January left! Celebratory victory dance!
See you at our February meeting!
A holiday family gathering…
With appropriate musical accompaniment…
So, let us get to the photos!
(Oh, and our Calendar has been updated for 2018.)
Our Christmas bonus for 2017 came in the form of a new member. We have Original Ken and Emergency Back-up Ken, and now along with Big Tractor Mike we have a bonus Michael! He’s a friend of BTM, and brought in some handiwork. The green-&-white tractor is BTM’s; Michael fixed the wheels and axles of it for him. The silver tractor is Doug’s, and Michael cut some clear plastic sheeting to make windows for its cab.
Michael also made the tanks. They were plain cardboard tubes with plastic endcaps. He painted them white, then bent thin steel rods to make the pipes.
Who’s that handsome fellow hiding in there?
Clearly that’s Doug’s tractor. But the real point here is not who’s hiding, but where the hiding is happening:
This is another custom build by Doug for BTM. I don’t recall what specific type of structure it is (I’m still a-waitin’ for an informative e-mail), but even though Doug says it’s not yet finished, I can tell you it’s really quite impressively detailed.
Heck, I’ll even show you!
Those square structures above Doug’s tractor are the bottom ends of these square structures.
I did say it’s impressively detailed, did I not?
The holiday spirit was flowing freely, as Tom RAOK’d Ken with two wonderful items. The first is this Dale Earnhardt-themed photo album.
The second is this magnificent Brickyard 400 commemorative mug.
In keeping with the holidays, I merrily declare this genuinely wonderful (and wonderfully generous) dual gift to be Suncoast Diecasters‘ Dual Finds of the Month(*) for December 2017. Congratulations, Ken! (And thank you, Tom!)
See you at our January (2018!) meeting!
I really have to thank the Lord for this photograph. I was going to post just the photo, no text or commentary, but it all went so well that I have to tell you about it. It was taken out on the Causeway, about mid-day with the sun behind me. I piled up some sand to form a raised surface for the props, rather than shooting “down the slope”. I found a somewhat flattish rock to set the camera on.
There was no way for me to get down and accurately aim using the optical viewfinder. And of course, the sun essentially washed out the camera’s LCD preview screen, so I couldn’t tell if I was centered on the props or where the focus landed. In particular, I had no way of knowing whether the waters of the Sound provided the background I hoped they would. I was going to shoot multiple photos using different flash settings, just to see if one worked better that the others. But once I realized I was, as it were, “shooting blind” because of the sun, I simply went with the one photo, with the flash off and using only natural sunlight. I used the timer for stability, because even my lightest press on the shutter button would’ve jostled the camera on the rock.
After the shutter clicked and the camera finished processing the image, I previewed the photo by cupping the camera right up to my face. I had made no adjustments to the zoom setting, other than changing from Normal to Macro because the camera was so close to the mound, so I was surprised — and concerned — when I realized the props took up only a very small portion of the total image, as if I had shot from farther back. But I knew I could not improve upon the circumstances, and headed home accepting that however the photo came out, that’s all I had to work with.
Imagine my absolute delight and pleasure when, after offloading the image to my PC, finding that not only were the props very near the center, but also that the focus was just about dead-on perfect. There was actually very little I needed to do to the photograph. In fact, the single biggest change was rotating it a few degrees so the horizon was actually horizontal. I was also happy to see that the waters of the Sound fill about the middle third of the background. Otherwise, it was simply cropping it and a few other, very minor edits. Speaking of cropping, even though the props were very little of the images’ full “real estate”, even when cropped they were larger than the size I’ve standardized for our photos, so I actually had some working room for the edits.
So, despite not having anywhere near the control of the set-up that I typically have for our in-meeting photos, the Lord gave me a holiday photograph which required very little hands-on effort on my part. Even that flattish rock was a miraculous provision. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a mediocre Festivus, and a Happy New Year!