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

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1500+ pics!; And, Thanks to all our Followers!

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s true! As of this update, Suncoast Diecasters has set a new record: over fifteen hundred photographs!!! One thousand, five hundred seventeen (1,517), to be exact, all for your viewing pleasure. WHOOO!!!

And as if that weren’t enough, we have serious follower numbers as well: Seventeen people follow us via WordPress; thirty-eight folks follow us through Facebook; and we have a whopping two hundred thirteen followers on Twitter, for a grand total of two hundred sixty-eight (268) followers!

Yes, there are celebrities (and, you know, “celebrities”) with followers in the many multiple thousands. That does not impress me. What does impress me is that, even if you subtract all the members on Ken’s mailing list, this humble little local club still has well over two hundred thirty followers, outside its regular membership.

On behalf of Big Tractor Mike, Original Ken and all the Suncoast Diecasters members, I thank you all for helping us achieve this great social media presence!

So let me say to all you “outsiders”: If you’ll be travelling in Pinellas County, whether on business or vacation, be sure to check our Calendar. If one of our meetings coincides with your trip, stop in and see us. As Original Ken says, “The food here is great, and a good time is had by all!”

Now, on … to … the … PHOTOS!*

*(Just, you know, not all fifteen hundred at once.)

March 2016

We start off with past, present and futurantic, courtesy of Doug. The past is beautifully represented by this classy and well-appointed VW Beetle. The present, by the can’t-be-taken-seriously Smart for Two micro-car. And the future by this passenger plane which … um … has its rotors facing the wrong direction??

Up, up and -- uh ... Eh, it might work....

Up, up and — uh … Eh, it might work….

Oh, I get it. It’s a VSTOL configuration. Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing, for those of you with acronymophobia. The manufacturer of this particular miniature was thoughtful enough to provide articulation for the rotors. The tampos say “Everest” and “Climber Transport”; while there’s a lot of info online for Everest excursions, I’ve found nothing that specifically features this plane.

All ahead full! And by ''all'', I mean ''both''.

All ahead full! And by ”all”, I mean ”both”.

Mike C. put in a relatively rare appearance, and took out one of our 2015 Club Vehicles, which he missed the fist time. He intentionally chose number 13, reasoning that since Christine is a haunted car, he’d double-down on the spooky factor.

We haven't heard from Mike since, so....

We haven’t heard from Mike since, so….

Mike also nabbed this sweet Construction Crane, still in its sweet original Workhorses-series packaging. The model has a swiveling cab, and the crane boom actually extends.

From that long-gone era known as ''When Mattel Actually Cared.''

From that long-gone era known as ”When Mattel Actually Cared.”

If you’ve been visiting Suncoast Diecasters online with any regularity, you know I rarely pass up the chance to showcase vintage price tags. This is on the back of Mike’s Crane above. I fondly remember the days when Sears actually had a real live toy department. (I find it interesting that mainline models today are typically around $1.09 each.)

Apparently, Mattel saved $0.20 per toy by eliminating the ''working features!'' feature.

Apparently, Mattel saved $0.20 per toy by eliminating the ”working features!” feature.

Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike this Volvo fire engine by Corgi. No scale is stated, but from the model’s size it’s easily in the 1/40s or 1/50s. The clear plastic band is simply a retainer to keep its ladder from flopping about and getting mangled in the packaging.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

I had a little trouble finding a point at which the ladder would actually balance without support, but eventually I was able to get the shot I wanted.

''It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'': The Home Game.

”It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”: The Home Game.

Yes, Ken again managed to find yet even more garbage trucks. Starting at upper left, the green-on-green is a somewhat generic model by Maisto. The one with the toll-free tampos has no manufacturer’s name, despite the quality of the casting. All of us who’d looked it over at the meeting agree that it must be a promotional give-away item. Finally, the yellow one is a Lotus Europa. More significantly, it’s not a Matchbox; it’s very nice casting by Zylmex.

Which also probably explains why it's a European sports car and not a garbage truck.

Which also probably explains why it’s a European sports car and not a garbage truck.

Well, 1-800-Got-Junk certainly seems to have 1-800-gotten its money’s worth; the brand (Branding!) is all over the miniature. I really enjoy being able to get nice sharp, tight shots like this, even if it is just corporate jetsam.

Hmmm ... I should ask Mike and Ken about franchising Suncoast Diecasters....

Hmmm … I should ask Mike and Ken about franchising Suncoast Diecasters….

Tom bought from Big Tractor Mike this swingin’ double-decker bus. Again, no scale is stated but it’s clearly in the 1/40s or 1/50s. If you look closely at the tampos, you’ll note that this model is not just promotional; it’s self-promotional. Rather self-congratulatory, as well. Curiously, the manufacturer doesn’t quite seem to appreciate its own products. An actual quote from the Shinsei site describes a toy as “a small article of little real value but often prized for some reason.” Well, la-dee-da.

*Not* from the 1970 children's TV show.

*Not* from the 1970 children’s TV show.

Two things about this toy: 1) It is truly a toy. As you can see in this close-up, it’s made of a thick, (relatively) soft plastic; the drooping side mirrors are of a similarly soft material; and the paint on the grill and headlights looks rough. However, 2) overall it’s well-made; it has a surprising gimmick — a pull-back motor; and the manufacturer even thought to include a smart little driver figure. Well-chosen, Tom!

*Not* Cliff Richard from 1963's ''Summer Holiday''. Well, probably not, anyway.

*Not* Cliff Richard from 1963’s ”Summer Holiday”. Well, probably not, anyway.

From Big Tractor Mike I purchased three cool items. First is this Boulevard-series DMC-12. Dressed up a bit more nicely than the mainline DMC-12, and still in its package. By the way, this is the second time you’ve seen my new approach to presenting on-card vehicles; the first was the crane above. Previously I would have a photo of the entire card. With this update, I’ve decided to focus on the vehicle, thus the closely-cropped image. Yet, to demonstrate that there really is a full card, I’ve dropped a postage-stamp sized pic of the whole card onto the car photo.

Let me know in the comments how this works for you.

Let me know in the comments how this works for you.

Next is this way whacked-out DMC-12 Time Machine. Like the bus above, it’s very clearly a toy. But, it’s also unlike any other DeLorean I own. It too has a pull-back motor. I just wish I could source it. Its base states “Universal Studios and U-Drive”; unfortunately, U-Drive returns too many search results, none of which stand out as a source for the toy. And it’s definitely not a Happy Meal prize. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.

~:~:~:~

~:~:~:~

Its low, drawn-out profile seems to accentuate the rise of the thrusters, so I wanted to see if I could come up with a shot to further enhance that accentuation. For this shot, I set the car on a pool table side rail, and placed the camera below it on the playing surface, with a pad under the front edge to tilt it up. Fortunately, I long ago learned how to use the camera’s timer, so I no longer have to worry about even the slightest deflection from pressing the shutter button. The camera remained balanced on the pad, and I got my shot.

Composition!

Composition!

Finally, the third vehicle I bought from Mike is this exceptionally clean Emergency Van from Kenner’s Fast111s line. This is one of the best-looking examples of the forlorn KF1 series that I’ve ever seen. Aside from a small patch on the license plate blank (and that could a chroming error as much as decal residue), this truck is basically flawless.

*Not* starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth.

*Not* starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth.

Now, here is something special. This Kool Kombi, which BTM bought from Jim, is not riveted. No, I don’t mean it’s not Rivited. I mean the base is not riveted to the body shell. Unofficially called a “line pull”, it also has treasure hunt wheels and whitewall rubber tires. You want it? Too bad; Mike already sold it.

Pictured: Drinkin' wine, explodee-odee.

Pictured: Drinkin’ wine, explodee-odee.

And here we proudly have our Find of the Month. Yes, this garbage truck. No, it’s not a typo. Yes, yes, I know; our FotM model is usually a wild custom, or a very rare model, or a very rare wild custom. But the workmanship and detail on this model are such that it deserves to be showcased. For example, you can clearly see that the rear section is articulated with “working” hydraulic rams. The thing that looks like a handle is a handle, which operates the hopper inside the rear section. And according to Emergency Back-up Ken, the black piece on top is a run for electrical and hydraulic lines. Original Ken and I have seen that on only one other model.

Yes, this is Original Ken's. Seriously, did I really have to tell you that?

Yes, this is Original Ken’s. Seriously, did I really have to tell you that?

In this animated GIF, you see both the internal hopper and the rear section operate. Yes, the empty hinges mean that one or more parts are missing, but that does not significantly detract from the model’s design quality.

Note also the full array of lights on the upper and lower rear panels.

Note also the full array of lights on the upper and lower rear panels.

This is by RealToy, and Ken figures it to probably be 1/43-scale. It’s based on an actual MAN vehicle, although I’m not able to ID the specific model. The logo states “The City of New York – Department of Sanitation”. Aside from the “toy-like” be-handled hopper, this has the well-crafted, professional appearance of a serious “adult collector” display model. Therefore I find it very easy to declare this our Find of the Month(*) for March 2016.

If you want to drink in its rich details, download the large image below.

If you want to drink in its rich details, download the large image below.

Original size: 1366 x 768

Oh, there’s one more thing about this truck that helped me make the decision to call it our FotM: it too has a pull-back motor. Yes, the clearly-a-toy bus has a PBM; and the very-clearly-a-toy DeLorean has a PBM. Yet, for all its serious and professional-level design quality, the MAN truck features a feature intended to make it an enjoyable plaything as well. This is briefly demonstrated in our latest (and shortest) (and silliest) video below. Enjoy!:

See you at the April meeting!

~WM

March 2015 (needs a better title!)

Yes, it’s true: I couldn’t come up with a whimsical title for this post. I was gonna do a play of some sort on “March Madness”, but in looking over the Suncoast Diecasters archives, I discovered I had already done such a thing. So instead, we’ll just get right to the update with twenty-eight super new photos for your enjoyment:

March 2015

Big Tractor Mike hauls in nearly a whole movie set’s worth of goodies with this bunch of Kenner Aliens toys he bought from me. Starting with this awesome Power Loader, which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) used to battle the Alien Queen. What I like about this toy is how, at only about 10” tall, it nonetheless gives one a sense of mechanical massiveness. Not to mention the fact that the pincers actually work (via push-buttons atop the shoulders).

Dexter used this to play dodgeball.

Dexter used this to play dodgeball.

Now, as you drink in the image of the Power Loader, you may eventually notice several design inaccuracies, not the least of which are the (non-working) treads which somehow have replaced the machine’s ambulatory legs as seen in the movie. However, Kenner makes up for this by offering an astoundingly realistic sculpt of Ripley (he typed mockingly).

That is *definitely* Sigourney Weaver. Or Audrey Hepburn. Or Bjork.

That is *definitely* Sigourney Weaver. Or Audrey Hepburn. Or Bjork.

Next is this disturbingly accurate playset of the Alien Queen with giant ovipositor. Just like in the movie, the Queen can be detached from the nest to rumble with Ripley. And, just like not at all in the movie at all, glow-in-the-dark slime was included to pour into the top of the eggarator, which would then drip onto whichever action figure was standing or lying in the pit beneath the goopositor’s, uh … faucet?

''Does this ovipositor make my butt look big?''

”Does this ovipositor make my butt look big?”

''Make sure you get my beast side.''

”Make sure you get my beast side.”

Yes, I know, you’re clamoring for a nice, creepy Queen cuddle. Here ya go. Don’t e-mail me later about your nightmares.

''All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.''

”All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Occasionally there are controversies when toys are seen as depicting frightening or disturbing concepts. (In)famous ones include the Al Snow figure with “Head” accessory, and the talking Venom figure which said (among other phrases) “I want to eat your brain!”. No such concern with the Alien Queen playset! There’s nothing here that could possibly upset small childr — — Oh, gack … That’s disgusting….

Eeeeewwww!!!

Eeeeewwww!!!

Anyways, BTM also got this Alien Warrior with seethroughishable carapace, along with Hicks with super-duper Space Marines rifle blaster gun.

''I'm gonna cocoon you to a wall so a facehugger can implant an egg in your esophagus. No offense.'' -- ''None taken.''

”I’m gonna cocoon you to a wall so a facehugger can implant an egg in your esophagus. No offense.” — ”None taken.”

Someone at Kenner very thoughtfully made the interior of the pit removable for easy cleaning. Other accessories include a flexible facehugger, the missile for the Power Loader (see, it wasn’t missing), Ripley’s flamethrower, and an Alien Queen spawn. The brownish thing which looks like someone tried to carve an Alien out of a Tootsie Roll is the spawn accessory that “launches”, facehugger-like, from a gimmicked egg on the playset base.

Kids! Start your own ''Aliens'' franchise at home!

Kids! Start your own ”Aliens” franchise at home!

I’m fairly certain the darker spawn item is supposed to be a Queen. If you look at its head, you can see ridges which to me suggest the crest of the Queen’s adult skull structure.

Wave your queens in the air like you just don't care!

Wave your queens in the air like you just don’t care!

Oh, dear.

Rrrmf hrrmf mrrmf frrmf hrrmf. Mrrmf.

BTM also bought from me this 75th Anniversary Publix tractor/trailer set. Started in 1930, Publix’s 75th year was 2005, thus making this toy now ten years old. So, will BTM bust it loose for play and display, or will he keep it sealed on its card for further collector valuation? I do not know.

And we keep our pleasure in the southeasternmost states where it belongs.

And we keep our pleasure in the southeasternmost states where it belongs.

Somewhat ironically, Big Tractor Mike not only collects big tractors but also teensy little vehicles as well. Such an example is this very cool Lunar Landing Collection, courtesy Your Humble Webmaster. Personally, I’ve always found most Micro Machines models to be slightly cartoonish in their proportions. In contrast, the vehicles in this set seem much more accurately scaled. See for yourself.

How could the moon landing be a hoax when it has given us such cool toys?

How could the moon landing be a hoax when it has given us such cool toys?

Honorable BTM-san also relieved me of the burden of this kool kaiju kollection. Methinks I got it at a Star Trek konven- er, convention, due to its kanji/kana text. Yes, the box is dented, but that’s okay, because so is BTM. Starting at lower left and going clockwise, the figures are: MechaGodzilla; Rodan; Mothra; King Caesar; Gigan; King Ghidorah; and Godzilla himself. Little baby larva Mothra is effectively invisible in the glare and shadow bewixt Mothra and Caesar. See for yourself.

Click link below for Best. Godzilla. Movie. Ever.

Click link below for Best. Godzilla. Movie. Ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s3UogfAGg0

Tom deftly defends his position as Suncoast Diecasters‘ Viscount of VWs with the following purchases. The”L’il BUGger” is a custom repaint by Jim. Having been stationed in Germany, I can tell you that Polizei is in fact the German word for Police.

So, what's the German word for Volkswagen?

So, what’s the German word for Volkswagen?

Another repaint by Jim. The “Flower Power” van spreads love and harmony with songs of the brotherhood of man and thoughts of communing with Nature and, you know, other crap like that.

''Those were the days, my friend/We thought they'd never end/'' -- Fortunately they did end, and we're all better off for it.

”Those were the days, my friend/We thought they’d never end/” — Fortunately they did end, and we’re all better off for it.

In this next photo, Tom is — — Um…

''Pinkie swear?''

”Pinkie swear?”

''Pinkie swear!''

”Pinkie swear!”

Oh, for crying out loud. Anyway, in this next photo, Tom is all about branding. I’m not sure what brand, however, or what make or model or product line or … Well, look, let’s all just enjoy the branding!

''Gimme the branding!'' - Evil Kirk (approximately)

”Gimme the branding!” – Evil Kirk (approximately)

Well, looky here! There’s a cute little figurine of the Michelin Man atop the van! How adorable! …By the way, did you know that the Michelin Man’s real name is Bibendum?

Le cute!

Le cute!

Bill sez this: “The pearl  white GT Racer [upper left] is from the Dash `n Crash set from 1991. There`s one other version of this car in pearl white that I know of. The tampo is different; it has an orange, pink,and magenta design on top and sides. Mine has dark blue replacing the magenta. The Nissan 300ZX [lower right] is from the Park `n Plates series. There are two other variations of this car, so three in all. Mine is from Malaysia with white-painted base. The others are from Hong Kong, one with an unpainted base, the other with a painted base. All have the same tampo. And the last car is the 80`s Camaro from the 1996 Track System Starter Set.”

Opening doors!?! Truly, it must be ''The Toy of Tomorrow''!

Opening doors!?! Truly, it must be ”The Toy of Tomorrow”!

And then Bill sez this: “These were originally cast under the name Gun Bucket, but later recast in under the name Tank Gunner,  with 5 different tampo variations. Both the tan and the olive versions are from the Action Command series from 1985.”

If you cross your eyes, the photo is in 2-D.

If you cross your eyes, the photo is in 2-D.

Towards the end of the meeting, Ken and I were trying to figure something out on my laptop. It took longer than I’d wanted, thus I didn’t have time to photograph his treasures, so I told him to just shoot his own and e-mail ’em to me when he got the chance. Later that day at home, Ken was apparently rolling around on the carpet like a child, playing with his toy cars, when suddenly he remembered that he owed me some photos. That, I guess, is the explanation for these two pics.

Clockwise from bottom left: 3-Window '34; Front Runnin' Fairmont from the ''Gas Station'' Sto & Go playset; Vega Bomb in green w' blackwalls, from the '83 ''Speed Machines'' series; and American Hauler

Clockwise from bottom left: 3-Window ’34; Front Runnin’ Fairmont from the ”Gas Station” Sto & Go playset; Vega Bomb in green w’ blackwalls, from the ’83 ”Speed Machines” series; and American Hauler

Clockwise from left: Gremlin Grinder ('76 Super Chromes); Sand Drifter ('75 Flying Colors); and Redline-era Classic '32 Ford Vicky

Clockwise from left: Gremlin Grinder (’76 Super Chromes); Sand Drifter (’75 Flying Colors); and Redline-era Classic ’32 Ford Vicky

I’ve been carded! Heh. Okay, so why do I have this card which seems to be wrapped in plastic (which it is, by the way)? Because it’s underneath the super-neato thing with which Big Tractor Mike RAOK’d me at the end of the March meeting. Additional by the way: You can no longer “join the club!”. Playing Mantis disappeared into RC2, which later became Learning Curve Inc., and then was absorbed into Takara Tomy.

'Tis no more, me lads!

‘Tis no more, me lads!

''Man, let's ditch the chicks and go get us some serious brewskis.'' -- ''Dude, I am totally with you, bro.''

”Man, let’s ditch the chicks and go get us some serious brewskis.” — ”Dude, I am totally with you, bro.”

What the — ??? Okay, all you Kenner Aliens franchise toys! Knock it off! (Ahem) Anyway, back to the baggie containing the card (and the brew that is true): Well, let’s see here … It’s white, with the Johnny Lightning Tour ’96 logo…

Get it? Johnny Lightning, taking the country by storm? ''Lightning''? ''Storm''? GET IT???

Get it? Johnny Lightning, taking the country by storm? ”Lightning”? ”Storm”? GET IT???

…It has an opening hood* with detailed engine… *(Actually, an opening hood is a sweet treat anytime in the world of toy car collecting.) (And, yes, I apologize that the baggie blurs the bodacious big-block.)

Just ... LOOK ... at that detail!

Just … LOOK … at that detail!

Why, it’s the special, limited “Club Member” edition Custom Toronado! Now here I face a challenge: to free, or not to free? Like the Publix truck above, this has been in its original, sealed container for quite some time – nineteen years, to be exact! It seems that the longer a collectible stays in its original package, the longer one has to let it stay in its original package, so as to allow the item’s collector value to increase. I’d readily bust it loose, but after nearly two decades, it that wise? Well, that’s my burden, not yours. You may simply drink in the fact that this item is our Suncoast Diecasters Find of the Month(*) for March 2015!

''Lightning storm''! Don'tcha get it??

”Lightning storm”! Don’tcha get it??

See you at the April meeting!

~WM