The Grand Gathering of August 2018

I apologize for the lateness of this update. I’ve recently had a cutback in hours at work, so my overriding priority right now is to find a good replacement job. Thus, frivolities such as these club updates take a back seat. (If you happen to know a Tampa Bay area business that’s in need of a hot-rodding creative, please let me know!)

Nonetheless, our August meeting was indeed grand. Good group of people, including a couple o’ members we hadn’t seen in a while. And one stupendous structure.

Hey, get to the photos!

August 2018

Bill does very well for himself by buying this Hot Wheels 20th Anniversary 3-pack. No idea what the CW/CP price tag represents. Circus World, maybe? If you know, share in the Comments!

Twenty years, and only three cars? That's ... not too productive.

Twenty years, and only three cars? That’s … not too productive.

Sorry for the glare and shadows. This is actually the last photo I took, before my camera’s battery went out.

Bill also bought this good-looking Indentor, an entry from the Crack-Ups series. I was hoping to get a really nice photo of it…

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…But unfortunately as I was setting it up, I broke it.

I'm such a bad person.

I’m such a bad person.

A bit of a departure here: Some nose art on a Midnight Otto.

I mean, it's on a door, but still ... nose art.

I mean, it’s on a door, but still … nose art.

Ed was at the meeting. It’s always good to see Ed. He’s a great guy. But I wish he’d bring some stuff to the meetings once in a while. He never brings nothin’!

And I mean -- NUTHIN'!

And I mean — NUTHIN’!

Amongst his nuthin’, Ed had this oddball little fellow.  Threw us all off for a little bit, because we couldn’t ID it. Then we figured out why we had trouble recognizing it…

...Because it usually has a Volkswagen Drag Bus shell wrapped around it.

…Because it usually has a Volkswagen Drag Bus shell wrapped around it.

Mike C. has been absent from the club for the last few months. He made a delightful surprise appearance at our August meeting. Looks good, sounds good. And to make his return complete, he bought some items. A few. You know, three or four.

Some of Ed's nuthin', and some of BTM's nuthin'.

Some of Ed’s nuthin’, and some of BTM’s nuthin’.

Big Tractor Mike bought this set from Ed (leaving him with nuthin’), which features a Batman “action guide”, and three Batman-themed vehicles: one of the over five hundred eighty six variations of the Batmobile; a Joker-themed Evil Twin (a sly choice for comic book aficionados), and a Bane-themed whatever that is.

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By day, he’s Big Tractor Mike. By night, he’s the BaTMan! (See what I did there? I hope you see it; it’s very clever.)

Original Ken picked up this lovely Mercedes 350 SL (Majorette, 1/60 scale), which I actually thought he bought at the previous meeting, but no.

Yes, now. Then, no.

Yes, now. Then, no.

Man, I dig those reflections.

Well-appointed interior, and an opening trunk, which is always nice.

Plus a few nicely embossed -- if somewhat overscale -- surface details.

Plus a few nicely embossed — if somewhat overscale — surface details.

And now for the Big Thing of the Meeting: The Grand Barn, a custom hand-built replica of an actual barn, by Doug. I don’t know what scale Doug built it at; nor did I ask him to place his hand in the photo. He was discussing the barn with another member, and just happened to point out a feature right before my camera’s timer fired. A lucky accident, as it gives you some idea of the size of the model.

For additional reference, Doug is 9'12" tall.

For additional reference, Doug is 9’12” tall.

I call it the Grand Barn for several reasons, such as its sheer scale, and its incredible detail.

Click below for sheer scale.

Click below for sheer scale.

Size: 1000 x 486 pixels.

This build is loaded with details.

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Details such as the pallet leaning against the wall.

See the small sub-building on the right? It will become important later.

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Foreshadowing.

Size: 1000 x 562 pixels.

Note the gleam just off the right of the nose of the contented cow on the left. That’s light reflecting off the artificial water in the trough. Yes, artificial water, a product used to add yet another touch of realism.

The staining around the base of the trough indicates these are some sloppy Santa Gertrudis.

The staining around the base of the trough indicates these are some sloppy Santa Gertrudis.

Note the real metal chain on the post in the above photo. It’s used to shut the open gate in the below photo.

And yes, you *are* seeing an actually lit light.

And yes, you *are* seeing an actually lit light.

Size: 1000 x 536 pixels.

Here’s an interior shot of the upper section, in which you can see some of the amazing detail that Doug put–

Ha! I’m foolin’! This is actually the storage shed in back of the Sports Bar.

Oh.

Oh.

Fooled you twice! It really is a shot of the upper interior, as you can see in this farther-backly photographed photograph.

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And if you still doubt me, compare the light spill between the boards in both pics. You’ll see they match.

Size: 1000 x 882 pixels.

How’s this for detail? Lightning rods!

Not to mention that double-hung window.

Not to mention that double-hung window.

More evidence of Doug’s attention to detail: Each piece of this door is hand-cut, and the hinges work.

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It’s also evidence of his patience: That door is *barely* the size of a postage stamp.

Remember that sub-building I mentioned earlier? I wanted a shot of the interior detail, so I set my camera on the table with the lens just outside its door. Didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.

No idea how I got a nicely focused shot of the far fence *and* light smear like someone kicked my camera.

No idea how I got a nicely focused shot of the far fence *and* light smear like someone kicked my camera.

I knew I had to try again while I still had some battery. So I reviewed my camera settings, pushed the camera’s lens into the door, and hit the button…

…Ten seconds later, I got the shot. The modified flash setting lit up the interior details nicely while also creating rich shadows, and you can still see that the lights are lit.

Let me emphasize: This shot was taken with my camera's lens *inside* the doorway.

Let me emphasize: This shot was taken with my camera’s lens *inside* the doorway.

Impress yourself with Doug’s amazing detail by clicking the link below:

Size: 1000 x 750 pixels.

For its  size, its realism and its astounding and near-overwhelming quality of detail, Big Tractor Mike and I declare Doug’ custom hand-built Grand Barn to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for August 2018! Many congratulations, Doug!

See you at our September October meeting!

~WM

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July 2017, starring Kenny!

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

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

Thusly, on to our July photos!

July 2017

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

...And canardly roll up the next.

…And canardly roll up the next.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Composition!

Composition!

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

Congratulations, Ken!

Congratulations, Ken!

See you at our August meeting!

~WM