January 2018 Update: Great Start to the New Year!

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!

January 2018

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:

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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:

Awwww.

Awwww.

From this forlorn pile of rejectlings several treasures were found. For example, here are the ones Original Ken acquired:

Matchbox ambulance, and High Speed police car.

Matchbox ambulance, and High Speed police car.

Matchbox Mayflower moving truck with opening rear doors (and without rear axle).

Matchbox Mayflower moving truck with opening rear doors (and without rear axle).

Ferrari Testarossa, a transitional Corgi casting issued by Hot Wheels. The blue Malibu with flames is a Jada, from Big Rob's son Robby

Ferrari Testarossa, a transitional Corgi casting issued by Hot Wheels. The blue Malibu with flames is a Jada, from Big Rob’s son Robby

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.

See? The one Milano is safely MOC in the shell, while the other can be displa-- THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD! THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD!

See? The one Milano is safely MOC in the shell, while the other can be displa– THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD! THE DEATH STAR HAS CLEARED THE CARDBOARD!

Ken got this sweet Zee (Zylmex) school bus from BTM. Overall the package is in really nice condition, with beautiful artwork.

I'd give this Zee an "A".

I’d give this Zee an “A”.

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!

Mystery Collector; Are you ready for your Mystery Collector?

Mystery Collector; Are you ready for your Mystery Collector?

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.

Although, to be honest, I'm a Coca-Cola man myself.

Although, to be honest, I’m a Coca-Cola man myself.

From Ed’s pile-o-playthings, I found three cool models. First is this Mercedes convertible by TootsieToy.

This is a really good-looking casting.

This is a really good-looking casting.

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:

Um...

Um…

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!

So, let me make this official: 2018 starts off grandly with Dual Finds of the Month(**): Ken’s classic Zee bus, and my Hot Wheels oddball unknowns. Three cheers and a tiger for us!

…And, our January updated was posted with a tiny little sliver of January left! Celebratory victory dance!

See you at our February meeting!

~WM

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December 2017!!!

A holiday family gathering…

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With appropriate musical accompaniment…

So, let us get to the photos!

(Oh, and our Calendar has been updated for 2018.)

December 2017

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.

By the way, both models are 1/64th-scale.

By the way, both models are 1/64th-scale.

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.

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Who’s that handsome fellow hiding in there?

Not it!

Not it!

Clearly that’s Doug’s tractor. But the real point here is not who’s hiding, but where the hiding is happening:

The broad side of a cliché.

The broad side of a cliché.

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.

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Heck, I’ll even show you!

All pieces hand-cut and hand-assembled by Doug.

All pieces hand-cut and hand-assembled by Doug.

Those square structures above Doug’s tractor are the bottom ends of these square structures.

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I did say it’s impressively detailed, did I not?

Well, actually I typed it, but still...

Well, actually I typed it, but still…

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 pockets inside are empty; it's the cover that makes it collectible.)

(The pockets inside are empty; it’s the cover that makes it collectible.)

The second is this magnificent Brickyard 400 commemorative mug.

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In keeping with the holidays, I merrily declare this genuinely wonderful (and wonderfully generous) dual gift to be Suncoast DiecastersDual Finds of the Month(*) for December 2017. Congratulations, Ken! (And thank you, Tom!)

This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin': it's just an empty cup.

This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin’: it’s just an empty cup.

See you at our January (2018!) meeting!

~WM

April 2017 Update

We’re too close to our May meeting to waste time on a silly intro. Get to the photos!

April 2017

Well, I done it again. Big Tractor Mike had eight of these shiny Holiday hay-haulers, and I arranged them in what I thought would be a good presentation: four across, in two rows. When I offloaded the photos and began editing, I realized that at the size I use here on the site, that 2-by-4 photo would provide only postage-stamp sized tractors (further, several had bad glare). So instead I chose the best-looking one of the bunch to showcase.

Just reload the page seven more times to get what I was going for.

Just reload the page seven more times to get what I was going for.

Similar good concept/poor execution with these loose baubles. The upper portion of the photo is as I intended; however the holiday call-outs on the cab roofs are illegible. So, I zoomed, rotated and cropped them to provide the legible lower labels.

Composition! Plus a wee bit o' alliteration!

Composition! Plus a wee bit o’ alliteration!

All this leads up to this miniature yet massive dealership lot BTM set up. You can almost see teensy people shopping and kickin’ some tires.

Come on down to Big Tractor Mike's. Hot Dogs and free balloons for the kids.

Come on down to Big Tractor Mike’s. Hot Dogs and free balloons for the kids.

And for those of you who are hoping for just such a thing, here is another view of the sweet showroom model which turns a collection of toy tractors into an attractive diorama.

Naming rights available. Contact BTM for details.

Naming rights available. Contact BTM for details.

Surprisingly, one of BTM’s tractors has a pull-back motor. Several of us had fun with the thing, then I got the bright idea to film a demonstration of it. (The demonstration being that filming it this way was as fun and silly as I hoped it would be.)

Tractor Power from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

And yes, I did the “video shuffle” as described in last month’s update.

For the last few years, the Happy Meals Hot Wheels models have been rather hit-n-miss (IMHO). Sometimes they’re quality diecast models worthy of mainline status. Sometimes they’re plastic but still well-designed. And sometimes they’re just cartoonish toys suitable only for children and hard-core completists. In this case, Ken scored well with this model he bought from Ed.

This, as you will see, is a sweet treat.

This, as you will see, is a sweet treat.

Turns out it’s a stylized Studebaker Wagon. Also features some serious firepower poking up through the hood. Yes, it’s all plastic; nonetheless it’s very attractive and would complement any collector’s display. Ed actually had two of these, but someone else got to the second one before I did.

Quoth the Huntsman: "Darn the luck, darn!"

Quoth the Huntsman: “Darn the luck, darn!”

Ken (Original Ken, to be precise) also nabbed this clean reissue of the Mongoose funny car. In beautiful condition, Real Riders, and of course it still does its trick:

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Now here, we get to some serious, serious metal. Big Tractor Mike bought this Big Metal Model from Ed. This is an MG T-series roadster (minor design inaccuracies prevent me from identifying which specific T-series model). It’s large, about 9″ long. Based on the body lengths stated in the Wikipedia article, that puts it at right around 1/16th-scale, which interestingly enough happens to be a scale associated with Live Steam modelling.

This would look great in a 1/16th train diorama.

This would look great in a 1/16th train diorama.

Aside from paint wear, the car is in good shape, and seems to be complete.

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The model is a product of the Hubley Manufacturing Company. So, this is not only a great model, it’s also a memento of that golden age when American toy companies actually made their toys here in America.

I'm-a pour out a wax bottle of soda for my homies.

I’m-a pour out a wax bottle of soda for my homies.

And speaking of serious metal, how about some terrific tin? This is a USCG “duck” amphibious truck, and is an example of classic Japanese tin lithography toy-making. “Tin litho” has been around for over a century, with manufacturers in several countries, but it wasn’t until after WWII and the “sci-fi” craze of the 1950s that Japanese tins toys — particularly space and sci-fi themed toys — really took off in America.

Poor focus included at no extra cost to you.

Poor focus included at no extra cost to you.

This long-ended eBay listing gives some detail about this model, for example, that it has a friction motor. This is typical of such toys: One or more actions are available via either friction or pull-back, wind-up, or battery power.

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That listing also mentions the box. Here’s a nice photo of it, which you may find pinteresting.

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This model is by Daiya, which I could find precious little information about online. In fact,the one page that says anything significant about the company barely says more than that the company was founded in the ’50s, was active from the ’50s through the ’70s, then disappeared.

Thanks for coming through again, Internet!

Thanks for coming through again, Internet!

Well, okay, YouTube does provide some fun.

So here we are at the end of the update, and it’s time for the declaration I always make at the end. And this time, I have the great privilege of having double the privilege. Yes, for only the third time in Suncoast Diecasters‘ 10-year-plus history, I am very happy to announce Dual Finds of the Month(**): The Hubley MG roadster, and the Daiya USCG “duck” amphibious vehicle. Congratulations, Big Tractor Mike, you’ve done very well! And so did you, Big Tractor Mike!

See you at our May 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

April brings Showers of great new Photos!

(Note: Please read this article regarding blocked photographs.)

…And by “showers”, I mean seventeen photos. True, there are eighteen photos in this post, but … um … Well, you’ll figure it out when you get there. Now, on to the photos!

(Please read this post for an explanation for the late posting for April. ~WM)

April 2014

Zylmex!

Yes, we start out with a Zylmex model! I assure you, the “Rad Bird” shown below (a.k.a. Firebird Funny Car) is indeed from Zylmex. Why am I making much ado about this being a product of Zyll Enterprise Ltd. (Zylmex’s really real name)? As an act of beneficence, I have at least one very good reason for making sure it’s known that this is a Zylmex.

Because when it's Zylmex, it has to be stated clearly!

Because when it’s Zylmex, it has to be stated clearly!

Further proof that this is a Zylmex — also known as “Zee” to its hipster friends.

Zylmex: When your Need for Speed is Fed by Zed

Zylmex: When your Need for Speed is Fed by Zed

I’m still processing the idea of popping the package. On one hand, I have at least one other on-card Zee, in better condition as well (go back and look at the first photo; this’n has a water stain). On t’other hand, I would have one more on-card Zee, and I do have plenty of funny cars.

...Wait -- This seems kinda famillar...

…Wait — This seems kinda famillar…

Well, here’s why it seems famillar — er, familiar: Ken found one a few months ago. And, with his being free of its plastic defense shield, it can show off its trick in its very ’80s way.

ZYLMEX!!!

ZYLMEX!!!

Ken nabs some nifty treasures. Clockwise from center: 1970 Ford Mustang (Welly); Colectomatic (MBX); Little Johnny No-Name; 2014 Suncoast Diecasters Club Vehicle; Colectomatic (MBX); ’57 Corvette (Zylmex(!)); and 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air (High Speed).

I swear, there must be some factory which produces garbage trucks just for Ken to find.

I swear, there must be some factory which produces garbage trucks just for Ken to find.

Bill has some awesome finds – particularly that rare yellow dumper, which I’ll tell you about last. Clockwise from right: ’65 Mustang (1990 Color Racers); Sir Rodney Roadster (France, 1983); Top Eliminator (gold chrome, BW, no “A/C” logo); and finally, last but big ol’ definitely not least, the very rare Road King Truck from the Mountain Mining Set from 1974.

The mining truck's rarity is rated as "Super Duper Awesome".

The mining truck’s rarity is rated as “Super Duper Awesome”.

Well, here’s why it seems famillar — er, familiar: Ken found one a few months— oops, wrong photo, my bad. This is actually Bill’s Top Eliminator. I could say here that all funny cars look alike to me, but I don’t want to be accused of being  … a race-ist. (Ka-powww!)

MATTEL .... MEX!!!

MATTEL …. MEX!!!

Showing complete disrespect and utter contempt for poor (and ZAMAC-naked) Sir Rodney, here Road King is using him as a stage prop.

No respect, I tells ya, no respect!

No respect, I tells ya, no respect!

Actually, the purpose of the completely not-a-typical-truck-part handle is for the child (or Bill) to be able to dump the bed’s contents more easily.

Worst. Parking Brake. Ever.

Worst. Parking Brake. Ever.

No batteries needed, the Mountain Mining Set was all hand-operated. You know, just like Facebook used to be back then.

For parties of 12 or more, Bill will rent out the truck as a picnic shelter.

For parties of 12 or more, Bill will rent out the truck as a picnic shelter.

Oh no! It crashed and broked! Actually, I intended to take a pic of its underside when I noticed that unusual block on the base of the cab. It’s about 1/8″ thick, and as Bill explains, it’s a conveyor linkage. The truck follows along a  grooved track as the child (or Bill) turns a crank to cycle the truck through the mining operation.

Hey! There's one of them illegal government GPS thingies under there!

Hey! There’s one of them illegal government GPS thingies under there!

I’ll let Big Tractor Mike give you goods on this next item: “This is a VERY hard to find set!! You can find the models packaged separately on blister cards or in window boxes. The crane alone, loose, is worth from $30 to $40; carded or boxed, from $50 to $60. There are a few promos for the crane, but are rather pricey. The pic of the crane on the back of  this box is of the prototype crane. Notice the all-black wheels and other difference from the packaged model.

The crane is sold singly and is part of the MB Convoy line; you don’t see a lot of these cranes around. Can also be found blister carded with two other models.

The other models can also be found either blister-carded or window-boxed. $3 to $5 loose, around $6 to $10 packaged.

VERY VERY COOL SET!! Worth maybe from $80 to $100.”

Mike should wrap this up and give it to himself as a Christmas present!

Mike should wrap this up and give it to himself as a Christmas present!

The

The “construction” & “fire” sets look pretty-well stocked. The other two sets seem kinda lackin’….

The Lord continues to amaze me with the variety of Kenner Fast111s items that show up at Suncoast Diecasters meetings. Big Tractor Mike gets an odd gleam in his eye, and says to me, he says, “Got somethin’ for ya.” He shows me this box full of The Most Awesome Fast111s Find Ever. As I’d explained before, I had completely forgotten about KF1s until I mis-ID’d one on Ken’s table. I had no clue whatsoever that they’d been licensed to a model maker!

The normal-size diecast version in light blue is from Bill. Note lack of bed-dumping handle.

The normal-size diecast version in light blue is from Bill. Note lack of bed-dumping handle.

No scale is stated on the box. However, in comparing the “ASoM” photo to the diecast – and relating it in me brain to other such dual-scale items in me collection – I’m guessing it’s probably around 1:43 or 1:48, which would be about right.

Kinda makes one wonder what's in the rest of the box...

Kinda makes one wonder what’s in the rest of the box…

Oh, here’s what’s in the rest of the box: 85% air, plus your Daily Minimum Requirement of styrene plastic (Now with free decal sheet! Collect them all, kids!). By the way, for your edification, MPC is now owned by Round2LLC.

I'm torn as to whether to build it, or just put the whole box in my display cabinet and stare at it dreamingly....

I’m torn as to whether to build it, or just put the whole box in my display cabinet and stare at it dreamingly….

In keeping with the whole KF1 theme, the model even offers its own take on the Certificate of Ownership:

A child (or Bill) could put this on the fridge next to his "outlined fingers" turkey drawing and glued-macaroni sculpture.

A child (or Bill) could put this on the fridge next to his “outlined fingers” turkey drawing and glued-macaroni sculpture.

Well, we’re at the end of the post, and if you’ve noticed the pattern over the last several monthly meeting posts, you know that this is where I make a certain declaration. And yes, I’ll be doing that … but just a bit differently this time. I’m talking specifically about our Find of the Month. Now, sometimes it’s easy, in that one particular item really stands out. Other times there are several such items, and I have to do some arguin’ and figurin’ in my head to pick just one. However, with our April meeting I am faced with a real conundrum: there are two items, each of which is simply overwhelming in the areas of Rarity, Uniqueness, and the all-important (but nebulously-defined) Awesomeness. So, I’ve done the only thing I could which seems both fair, and likely to prevent me from over-frying my brain: I’ve chosen both of them. So, without further ado, let me introduce to you the MPC Evil Eye model kit, and the Hot Wheels Road King Truck: Suncoast Diecasters‘ first-ever Dual Finds of the Month!

Introducing the 2014 Pushme-Pullyou!

Introducing the 2014 Pushme-Pullyou!

See you at the May meeting!

~WM