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03/04 News Archive


3/31/04 - Well, Here it is!!!  Batman's All-Terrain Vehicle?
I received two different e-mails this morning announcing that the new Batman Begins Batmobile has been revealed!  And, frankly, I don't know what to make of it.  If it was announced tomorrow, I'd say it was an April Fool's joke.  I guess this type of vehicle would make sense if Batman has some rough terrain to overcome, but it seems a bit much for the streets of Gotham City.  These photos were found by using the following link:

http://batmanbegins.warnerbros.com/page.html


3/30/04 - Danbury Mint 1:24 Batmobile
I received a mailing from the Danbury Mint today.  It's a full-color brochure for their 1:24 scale Batmobile.  At one time, the Danbury Mint showed photos of the 1966 Barris Batmobile which drove everyone into a frenzy.  They've sinced announced they would be releasing a 1960's Batmobile based on the car in the comic books.  Well, now they're ready to take your order.  Here is an excerpt from the letter that accompanied the brochure:

"To bring all the excitement and drama of the dynamic duo vividly to life, the Batmobile comes complete with hand-painted figures of Batman and Robin.  You'll be thrilled when you discover the long list of authentic details on this superb model.  There's the Bat face logo molded into the hood, foglights, infrared headlights, photo-etched twin grilles and a bulletproof shield.  The tilt-forward hood opens to reveal the meticulously replicated engine, featuring the racing-inspired forced-air intake system and bat logos on the valve covers.  What's more, stored in the trunk you'll find a portable crime lab behind Batman's seat with numerous Batarangs, a jet turbine afterburner system and spare Batman and Robin outfits.  There are even custom exhaust silencers on the underside and, of course, a dashboard full of high-tech dials, switches, screens and gauges. 

Officially licensed by DC Comics and available exclusively from the Danbury Mint, the Batmobile can be yours for $149, payable in five monthly installments of just $29.80 (plus $7.80 total shipping and service)."


3/29/04 - Unofficial Bruce Almighty Car!
Watched Bruce Almighty for the first time the other night and really enjoyed it.  I guess you can say the movie SPOKE to me.  This is one film I'll definitely be adding to my ever-growing DVD collection.  I especially liked the scene where Bruce transformed his Datsun 280Z into the STUNNING Saleen S7.  As the credits rolled, I logged onto eBay to see if anyone had made the Saleen S7 in 1:64 scale.  Sure enough, I discovered that a company called Golden Wheels made a 1:64 scale car EXACTLY like the one used in the film (shown above).  I bid on three of them, one for my display and extras for anyone else who may be interested.  Just drop me an e-mail.


3/29/04 - Cool Custom
Steve Robson sent me photos of his Minority Report custom project.  Steve took a 1:24 scale car from Maisto and turned it into a convertible.  He used reference from the bonus disk of the Minority Report DVD.  For more info, visit this THREAD at the Hobby Talk BB.  Also, if you are interested in the leftover pieces of the donor car, send me your mailing address and I will forward it to Steve.  There is no charge and he said he'll even pay for postage!


3/25/04 - Shipping from Diamond Distributors
Picked up the latest edition of Previews at my local comic book store.  Here are some entertainment-related die-cast shipping this summer:

- The Flintstones Flintmobile Die-Cast:  Fred, Wilma, Pebbles and the Rubbles are featured inside this 1:18 die-cast replica of the Flintmobile.  Featuring rolling "stone" wheels, the car will ship in September at a suggested retail price of $40.

- Corgi Batman Die-Cast Vehicles:  From Britain's Corgi comes this series of die-cast collectibles based on the many incarnations of Batman's trademark vehicles.  Choose from:  1940 Batmobile, 1960 Batmobile, 2000 Version 1, and 1960 Batmarine.  All in 1:43 scale.  Scheduled to ship in April at a suggested retail price of $8.99 each.

- Space 1999:  Rescue Eagle Transporter Die-Cast.  This version carries the distinctive red-striped livery, detachable pod and more.  Scheduled to ship in September at a suggested retail price of $89.99.

There are a lot of other cool collectibles offered in this month's issue of Previews for those of you who collect toys OTHER than die-cast.  I, for one, am going to go broke this summer.  Pick up a copy of Previews at a hobby store near you.


3/25/04 - 1:64 Drag-U-La from Joy Ride!
I received an e-mail from Ernie Renn alerting me to a new release.  Seems RC2 released a 1:64 scale version of The Munsters Drag-U-La on the heels of their fantastic 1:18 scale version.  The car comes with a mini-figure of Grandpa.  Thanks for the heads-up Ernie!

Update:  By sheer coincidence, I found one at Meijer today!  Picked it up, photographed it, and ripped it open so I could compare it to Johnny Lightning's version.  Take a look:

Click on the thumbnail to see the pic full size.  Joy Ride's version (bottom) is considerably smaller than JL's.  Side by side, there are many noticeable differences, including the size of the glass canopy.  I do like the headlights on Joy Ride's version, but Johnny Lightning's version features much more chrome.   It's hard to imagine both companies used the same reference. Joy Ride's version also includes a little skull on the front, indicating that it is based on Dick Dean's replica and not George Barris' original.  The bottom line is, though Joy Ride did an admirable job, Johnny Lightning's version of the Drag-U-La will remain in my display case.


3/24/04 - RC2 Gets Bond License?
I stumbled onto this while browsing online.  Showcase Toys is taking preorders on a line of 1:18 scale James Bond cars offered by RC2.  According to the site:

- Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 (Nov. 2004)
- Die Another Day Jaguar XKR Roadster (Dec. 2004)
- Die Another Day Aston Martin Vanquish (Jan. 2005)

I'll try to get confirmation from my RC2 contact.  If it proves to be true, this is exciting news.

Update:  "Yes, RC2 is releasing James Bond cars.  Aston Martin DB-5, Jaguar XKR Roadster, Aston Martin Vanquish, Mustang Mach 1, Lotus Esprit and Corvette will be released in late 2004 and early 2005."

3/21/04 - Info Trickles Out Re:  Batman Begins
The new Batman Begins logo has been revealed at www.batmanbegins.com and a little info on the new Batmobile was found at www.zap2it.com.  Producer Charles Roven was quoted as saying: 

"The new Batmobile jumps and flies and turns on a dime! It's a fantastic piece of equipment, and there is no CGI [computer generated imagery] for that. It's a cross between Lamborghini and a Humvee -- not like any of the Batmobiles you've seen before."


3/18/04 - RC2 Gears Up for Battlestar Galactica!
BOLINGBROOK, IL—(March 18, 2004)—Under terms of a new licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group, RC2 Corporation (NASDAQ:RCRC) will produce collectible action figures and space-ships based on the original Battlestar Galactica television series.  The first wave of product introductions is planned for Fall 2004, under RC2’s JoyRide Studios® brand.

“We’re really excited to have the chance to work closely with Universal Studios to develop the Battlestar Galactica action figures,” said Scott Corley, Managing Director of the Figures Team for RC2.  “Along with this evergreen property comes a very enthusiastic fan base, and we plan to exceed their expectations with the quality and attention to detail that have become synonymous with JoyRide Studios.” 

Fans of Battlestar Galactica will be star-struck by the level of detail and the points of articulation found in JoyRide’s collection of popular Battlestar Galactica action figures and space-ships.  The action figures and space-ships planned for the collection include: Starbuck, Apollo, Adama, Cylons, Daggit, Colonial Viper, Cylon Raider and Battlestar Galactica.  The suggested retail price for both figures and ships is $12.99. 

Update:  The RC2/Joy Ride website has been updated to include photos of the Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider.  Click HERE to check them out!


3/17/04 - Tom Daniel's Work Added to Gallery
With a little help from my friends at Hobby Talk, I've added cars designed by legendary car designer Tom Daniel to the Hollywood Die-Cast gallery.  It turned out to be a bigger undertaking than I expected, but I'm caught up for now.  For those of you familiar with Mr. Daniel's work, please look over the gallery and let me know if I'm missing anything.  I don't plan on doing ALL the color variations, I'm just trying to include at least one of each car done in 1:64 scale die-cast.  Click HERE to check out what I've done so far.  Also, Tom Daniel has an official website.  You can visit by clicking the following link:

http://www.tomdaniel.com/index.html


3/15/04 - Mach 5 Comparison
I decided to buy the Hot Wheels' Charawheels version of Speed Racer's Mach 5 on eBay.  It arrived today and I decided to compare it side by side to Johnny Lightning's version.  Who came out on top? Well...it's a tough call.

Paint Job:  JL's version is more accurate and more detailed.
Casting:  HW's version is more accurate, especially the wheel wells.
Wheels:  HW's version is more accurate by far.
Extras:  JL's version has a hood that opens.

So which one will find it's way into my display case?  Again, it's a tough call, both cars are great but both have flaws.  If I have to choose one, I guess I'd have to choose the car with the more accurate wheels.  Hot Wheels' Mach 5 wins, but not by much.


3/13/04 - Need Christine for Your 1:64 Collection?
For those of you interested, I visited my local die-cast store today and found a surplus of ERTL's American Muscle/Early Muscle 3-packs.  These 3-packs include a 1:64 red '58 Plymouth Belvedere (pictured above) similar to the car used in the film Christine.  I'm told that Belvederes were used for filming, though the car is described as a Plymouth Fury.  The Fury and Belvedere look identical.  I picked up 3 and left two on the shelf.  One of them has already been claimed.  If you are interested in one send me an e-mail.  Your cost would be $25 ($16 + tax + shipping + PayPal fee).  If there is a huge demand I will go back to the store and pick up the last two.  The set also includes a '57 Chrysler 300 and a '60 Ford Starliner.

Update:  All three sets are now claimed.  If someone needs me to go back to the store for the remaining two sets, send me an e-mail.


3/13/04 - JL 10th Anniversary Ecto-1A on eBay
Apparently, Johnny Lightning's 10th Anniversary Edition Ecto-1A from Ghostbusters has appeared on eBay, meaning they are hitting stores now.  This will be a nice one to pick up if you can find it.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3594769295&category=760


3/12/04 - General Lee Reigns Supreme!
According to a survey conducted by Hagerty Insurance Agency, Inc. the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard was named the #1 Car Star of all time.  A Michigan-based insurance company specializing in collector car insurance surveyed car enthusiasts nationwide.  More than 10,000 responded allowing the company to come up with the following list of most popular TV and movie cars:

1) The General Lee - Dukes of Hazzard
2) '68 Ford Mustang - Bullitt
3) '67 Shelby GT500 - Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
4) '83 Delorean - Back to the Future
5) Batmobile - Batman (1966)
6) Aston Martin DB5 - Goldfinger
7) '77 Pontiac Firebird T/A - Smokey & The Bandit
8) '63 Volkswagen Beetle - The Love Bug
9) '74 Ford Torino - Starsky & Hutch
10) The Black Beauty - The Green Hornet

"We thought the top choice would be the Batmobile, or maybe Tom Selleck's Ferrari from Magnum P.I. We were surprised," says McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance.

For more information on Hagerty Insurance and the Hagerty Protection Network, call 800-922-4050 or visit www.hagerty.com.


3/11/04 - New Batman 2-Pack from Hot Wheels
While browsing eBay I spotted a new Batman 2-pack offered by Hot Wheels.  This set includes a gloss black FE #31/100 Batmobile and a Penguin '64 Lincoln Continental Convertible.  These should be showing up at retail so keep your eyes peeled.


3/9/04 - 1:18 Deathmobile at Toys R Us
Stopped by Toys R Us on the way home from work.  I was surprised to find Joy Ride's 1:18 scale Deathmobile from Animal House.  I have to admit this is one car I NEVER thought I'd see in die-cast form.  I've always wanted to see it, but never expected it.  Thanks to RC2 and Joy Ride for having the guts to do this car.  Now let's hope they follow it up with a 1:64 scale version.  Click HERE to see my entire collection of 1:18 cars.


3/7/04 - Starsky & Hutch . . . "Do it!"
Just got back from seeing Starsky & Hutch and I loved it.  Forget everything you know about the original TV show.  The film has about as much in common with the TV show as Charlie's Angels 2000 did with the original TV series.  I was relieved to find out not ALL of the best scenes were revealed in the trailers.  I laughed so hard at times I had tears in my eyes.  Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson put their own spin on the main characters and Snoop Dogg is perfectly cast as Huggy Bear.  He was fantastic.  Will Ferrell has a cameo in the film and he hardly has to make an effort to be hysterical.  The car had some neat moments, too, including a short chase scene near the end of the film.  Outtakes during the credits make you wonder how many Gran Torinos were damaged during the course of filming. 

I read criticisms about the film saying it should've been more serious like the original TV series.  C'mon.  You just can't take anything too seriously that came from the 70's.  I was watching an episode on TV Land the other day and Starsky & Hutch needed help from a psychic to solve a kidnapping.  How can you take that seriously?  Go see this movie and expect to have a good time and enjoy some moments with one of the coolest Hollywood cars ever created.

http://starskyandhutchmovie.warnerbros.com/


3/7/04 - Cool Custom!
I don't normally cover slot cars on this site but I thought this was an exception.  Rick posted photos of his custom Two-Lane Blacktop slot cars on the Hobby Talk Bulletin Board.  Surprisingly, despite the fact that ERTL did a line of 1:64 cars from that film, they never produced the '55 Chevy.  You can only find it in 1:18 scale.  But since the car was reused as Bob Falfa's car in American Graffiti, it would be fairly easy to customize using a '55 Chevy from Johnny Lightning or Revell.  For good reference check out the following website:

http://groups.msn.com/TwoLaneBlackt.../_whatsnew.msnw


3/6/04 - Talking Cars in March
It's that time of the month to share some e-mails I've received over the past few weeks.  This month's topics include:  Johnny Lightning's Speed Racer line; acrylic display cases; Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.; Dirty Mary, Crazy LarryConvoyThe Green Hornet's Black Beauty and unproduced prototypes from Matchbox.  This month's Q&A also features the strangest e-mail I've ever received.  But before we get to our first e-mail, I'd like to thank my readers for submitting photos that have allowed me to expand the Hollywood Die-Cast gallery.  Thanks to readers' submissions, I've added new photos to the following galleries:  The Van, Police Academy:  The Series, Buck Rogers, Batman, Cannonball Run, and Grease

Now, Click HERE and enjoy this month's Q&A.


3/3/04 - RC2 Extends License with Universal
I've received a press release from RC2 announcing the following:

RC2 Corporation Extends Licensing Agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group For The Fast and The Furious and Begins Shipping Fury World™ Product Line

Reflecting the popularity of The Fast and The Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious die-cast collectibles, race sets, apparel, plastic model kits and toys, RC2 Corporation (NASDAQ: RCRC) announced today that it has extended its licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.  This agreement includes the rights for a third film, should the studio decide to produce one.

As part of this multi-year agreement, RC2 is now shipping Fury World™, a new line of highly stylized die-cast tuner cars and playsets fueling a whole new level of speed and fun, to retailers nationwide.  This addition to RC2’s highly successful The Fast and The Furious line brings the fun and action of the tuner car market to younger enthusiasts.

 RC2 has been the master toy and collectibles licensee for The Fast and The Furious brand since the agreement was first announced in August 2002.  RC2’s line-up incorporates all the excitement of the high-performance property in a variety of products designed to appeal to serious adult collectors, teen movie fans and street racing aficionados, alike.


Racing Champions Ertl

3/2/04 - RC2 Responds to Questions!
As you know, ERTL (RC2) has been one of the best sources for entertainment-related die-cast over the last few years.  Many 1:64 scale cars from their Racing Champions line have found their way into my collection, and my 1:18 scale collection wouldn't have been possible without their American Muscle line of cars.

A little over a month ago I sent a list of questions to RC2 regarding their TV & movie licenses.  The New York Toy Fair delayed their response, but it finally arrived in my inbox today.  Though there isn't any Earth-shattering news, there are a few interesting tidbits.  Thanks to RC2's Kari Johannsen for taking the time to respond.  Click HERE to read the interview.