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June '04 News Archive


6/29/04 - 1:24 Kennedy Limo
I received an e-mail from CollectorsNetUSA promoting their latest offerings.  One thing that caught my eye is this beautiful 1:24 replica of 1961 Lincoln X-100, better known as the Kennedy Presidential Limousine.  Made by Yat Ming, this car includes all the features found on this historic car.  Curiously, the limo was modified and continued to be used as the Presidential limo after Kennedy's assassination in 1963.  It was retired after serving Jimmy Carter.  Today it is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan (below).


6/29/04 - RC2 Sneak Peeks
Upon visiting RC2's website, I stumbled across a new feature called Sneak Peeks.  Among the products featured are The Flintstones 1:18 Flintmobile (above) and James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 (below).  The image of the Flintmobile is the first time I've seen it in full color.  The DB5 is a tooling model. 

Visit RC2's website for more info:
http://www.ertltoys.com/brand/sneak_peeks/index.shtml


6/29/04 - Die-Cast Sites Reviewed
For reviews of other die-cast websites, click on the following link:

  Full website reviews


6/25/04 - Konami Aliens APC Arrived Today!
I won an eBay auction for Konami's Aliens APC and it arrived in the mail today.  I paid $7.99 plus $5 shipping from Hong Kong.  I'm really happy with it.  I was surprised that it arrived needing some assembly (photo 2 above).  Once I added the wheels and turret, I was a little disappointed to discover the wheels don't spin freely, but since I'll only display it, it doesn't really matter.  As you can see, though it's not to scale, it displays nicely alongside my other 1:64 scale cars (photo 4 above).


This Month's Visits by Day

6/23/04 - Wow, Website Traffic Shatters Record!
I've only been keeping track of the numbers for a month, but I was blown away on Tuesday.  The number of visitors who came to my site in one day broke the 1,000 mark for the first time, surpassing the previous record by more than a hundred!  I'm glad so many people have found Hollywood Die-Cast to be a valuable resource.  Please e-mail me and let me know what you think of the site.  If there is anything I can do to improve it, let me know.  Thanks for visiting.


6/22/04 - New Poll
Many of you have probably looked at my Top 10 Wish List.  The list is comprised of cars that haven't yet been officially rendered in 1:64 scale die-cast, but would make excellent additions to my TV and movie car collection.  Well, now I'd like to know what you think.  I've put together a poll asking which cars you would like to see in 1:64 scale die-cast.  You can only vote once, so pick your favorite.  I didn't include the 1966 Batmobile because we all know that's high on everyone's list.  If the car you would like to see most doesn't appear on the list, please send me an e-mail.  I'll call it a write-in vote.  Click HERE and cast your vote.


6/21/04 - Fireball 500 in Stores Now
Found this at a local hobby store.  Johnny Lightning has re-released the Fireball 500 as part of Hot Rod Magazine - Release 6.  For those of you who missed out when it was released as part of the Show Rods line in 1999, here is your chance to pick it up at retail.  George Barris created the car from a '66 Plymouth Barracuda and it was used in the 1966 film Fireball 500, starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.


6/19/04 - Tomorrow's Car Today!
According to a source at the Hobby Talk Bulletin Board, a brown Tucker may be included in Johnny Lightning's Classic Gold, Series 25.  If you're looking for another movie car for your collection, this would be one to pick up.  A brown Tucker was featured in the 1988 film Tucker:  A Man and His Dream.  The image above was found at:

 http://www.norcalmovies.com/TuckerTheManAndHisDream/


Update:
  Sneak Peek!!!!


6/18/04 - Holy Hot Wheels!
I found the Batman 2X Turbo Power yesterday at K-Mart for $5.99 plus tax.  I was pleasantly surprised, because the exclusive Batmobile that is included recently sold for $13.51 LOOSE on eBay.  I've added the photographs to the Original Bat Vehicles section of the Hollywood Die-Cast gallery.  I'm still looking for the Killer Croc 2-Pack and the Crooze Batmobile.


6/17/04 - Cool Customs
I received an e-mail from Shane Barrett who wanted to share a couple of interesting custom jobs.  The red pickup truck (above left) is from the 1998 film Black Dog starring Patrick Swayze.  Shane explains how he made it:

"I used 2 Matchbox Ford F-150 4x4 to make the custom.  Made the brush guard from the Johnny Lightning Walker Texas Dodge plus a paper clip.  I also used paper clips to make the side step.  I added lights to the roll bar from a Zylmex bronco."

The blue pickup (above right) is based on the truck used on the first season of The Simple Life.

"I used 2 Hot Wheels Broncos.  I cut and pasted the beds from both Broncos to make one long bed.  Added a tool box from a Hot Wheels Sam Walton pick-up."

Thanks for sharing Shane.  Very nice work.  If anyone else would like to share their custom TV and movie cars, please send digital photos via e-mail:  joe@hollywood-diecast.com


6/16/04 - Hollywood Die-Cast Poll
In an effort to gather information about those who visit this site, I'm inviting you to take part in occasional polls.  In the future, look for polls asking which cars you would like to see made, your favorite car TV shows and movies, and what you would like to see on this website.  Let's begin with a poll to find out how often you visit Hollywood Die-Cast.com.  Click HERE to cast your vote.  Thank you for taking the time to take part in the poll.


6/13/04 - Check THESE Out!
I was excited to find out that the Armored Personnel Carrier is included in Volume 2 of Konami's Alien PVC figures.  It's not die-cast, but it'll make a great addition to your movie car collection.  It's not quite to scale, but should display nicely alongside your other cars.  The series also includes the Drop Ship and the "rare" USS Sulaco:

 


6/11/04 - Batmobile News
I recently discovered there is yet another variation on the HW #1/100 FE Batmobile.  Included in the Hot Wheels 2X Turbo Power assortment is a flat black version with black wheels (above).  This brings the total number of variations on this particular casting to 7 (not counting cardback variations):

1) 2004 #1 of 100 First Edition (purple, black or chrome base).
2) HW 3-Pack (gloss black).
3) Toys R Us Zamac Version (unpainted bare metal).
4) Riddler 2-Pack (gloss plum color).
5) Batman Blaster Exclusive (gloss black with red canopy).
6) Killer Croc 2-Pack (blue with black wheels).
7) 2X Turbo Power (flat black with black wheels).

In other Batmobile news, I popped into a local hobby shop and found all four versions of the Johnny Lightning Thunderjet Batmobile.  It seems the gold and silver versions aren't as scarce as I thought.  The store had all four versions (black, blue, silver, gold) in equal numbers.  I decided to pick up the blue version (below):

 


This Month's Visits by Day

6/11/04 - Sponsors Wanted
Hollywood Die-Cast is looking for sponsors and advertisers to help support this website.  On May 27, I installed a device provided by www.sitemeter.com to monitor the traffic at my site.  I discovered this website averages almost 900 visitors per day, over 6,000 per week, and is predicted to average close to 30,000 visitors per month from all over the world.

I'm also hoping to turn Hollywood Die-Cast into an annual resource/price guide magazine.  I am looking for advertisers who could help cover the cost of printing 40,000 copies.  If you own a business that would benefit from the exposure generated by Hollywood Die-Cast, please send me an e-mail at joe@hollywood-diecast.com 


Racing Champions Ertl

6/8/04 - RC2 Acquires Playing Mantis
Following a period of rumors and speculation, it's been officially announced that RC2 has acquired Playing Mantis (including Johnny Lightning).  Here are some excerpts from a press release sent to me by RC2:

RC2 Acquiring The First Years and Playing Mantis;
The First Years Solidifies RC2's Presence in the Infant Market;
Playing Mantis Adds Depth to RC2's Collectibles Segment

Oak Brook, IL - June 7, 2004 - RC2 Corporation, a leading producer and marketer of innovative adult collectibles and children's and infant's toys, today announced it has signed definitive purchase agreements to acquire two independent companies -- The First Years, Inc. and privately-held Playing Mantis, Inc.

Playing Mantis, based in Mishawaka, Indiana, designs and markets collectible vehicle replicas under the Johnny Lightning and Polar Lights brands and collectible figures under the Memory Lane brand.  In 2003, Playing Mantis' net sales were $28.5 million.  Tom Lowe, founder, President and sole shareholder of Playing Mantis, will remain as an executive officer with RC2 and will receive all of the stock consideration.

Curt Stoelting, CEO of RC2, said, "Playing Mantis' Johnny Lightning and other collectible brands are very complementary to RC2's existing collectible vehicle and figure product lines and should allow us to further leverage and cross-utilize our combined licensing portfolio, tooling library, product sourcing capabilities and multiple channels of distribution.  Tom Lowe and his team at Playing Mantis have developed a strong reputation with collectors and with retailers as subject matter experts who consistently deliver high-quality, authentic products."

"We are extremely please that key management and personnel from both The First Years and Playing Mantis will be joining our team, bringing tremendous industry experience and an entrepreneurial spirit consistent with RC2's culture."


6/8/04 - Let's Compare, Shall We?
After receiving the HW Batmobile 2-Pack, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison.  How did the cars measure up?  Let's take a look:

Batman/Batman Returns Batmobile
HW (Shields Up 2-Pack):  Great casting.  Fits in a standard display case.  Color skews toward the blue, though, with silver highlights. Cockpit canopy tends to fall off. 
ERTL:  Great casting.  Quite a bit larger than the HW version, which makes its scale more accurate, but more difficult to include in an acrylic display case.  All black, NICE.  Cheesy Bat-Logo on the canopy. 
WINNER: 
This is a close one, but I think ERTL's version has a slight edge with its movie accuracy and gloss black finish.

Batman Forever Batmobile
HW:  Flawless casting. So much detail.  Exterior is cut away revealing the chrome beneath.  Clear windshield.  Chrome rims.
Hasbro:  It was a great casting for its time, but doesn't match up to the Hot Wheels version.  The "ribs" are painted on instead of cut away.  Even the windshield and rims are painted.
WINNER:  HW Batmobile by FAR. 

Batman & Robin Batmobile
HW:  Again, flawless casting.  Detail is amazing.  Black & chrome design looks great.
Hasbro:  Enormous compared to the HW version.  I like the red highlights.  It adds color to my Batmobile display, but I don't think the design is movie-accurate. 
WINNER:  Both cars lose points for representing such a crappy movie.  But for accuracy and sheer coolness, HW Batmobile takes the prize. 

 


6/7/04 - New HW Batmobile 2-Pack Arrived Today!
Okay, I caved and bought the new HW Batmobile 2-pack on eBay.  It arrived in the mail today and, may I say, I'm blown away.  Included in the 2-pack are the Batmobiles from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  In my opinion, Hot Wheels getting the Batman license is one of the best things that could've happened to entertainment die-cast collectors.  Click on the thumbnails above or visit the Batman galleries to see pics of the new 2-pack.  Within a day or two, I'll do side-by-side comparisons of HW Batmobiles VS. ERTL/Kenner Batmobiles.


6/5/04 - Cool Custom!
TonyMoe sent me pics of one of the most amazing customs I've ever seen.  Check out the 1:64 scale version of Mad Max's Interceptor!  What a great job!  Tony told me it was made by Gunn, a member of the HobbyTalk Bulletin Board.  It was completed after about 80 hours of work.  Wow!   Thanks for sharing!  I'm told The Road Warrior version is next on the to-do list.


6/4/04 - Talking Cars in June
It's time, once again, for another exciting edition of Talking Cars.  I just posted my Top 10 Car Tunes list yesterday, and I've already gotten mail about it.  Also, it seems another unofficial die-cast version of Blue Thunder has surfaced.  Other topics include Corvette Summer, The A-Team, Dukes of Hazzard, Rain Man, and the possibility of a Hollywood Die-Cast Membership Club.  Click HERE to read more.


6/3/04 - Car Tunes
It's summertime and it's time to burn some mix CDs for the beach.  Yesterday, I decided to create a CD I called Car Tunes.  I was able to squeeze 36 songs from TV shows and movies featuring cars.  I decided to add a feature to Hollywood Die-Cast called  Top 10 Car Tunes, a list of songs no car-themed mix CD should be without.  Just click on the new link in the left column to view, and as always, your input is welcome.  Feel free to e-mail me with your suggestions for the list.


6/1/04 - Crooze Batmobile FINALLY Shipping
Hot Wheels First Edition #69 of 100, better known as the Crooze Batmobile, has started appearing on eBay, meaning they are finally hitting the pegs.  As you can see, it's different than the artist rendition (left), but it's still pretty cool.  I'll be out hitting toy stores in search of this one to add to my growing Batmobile collection, which includes Hot Wheels' Monster Jam Batmobile:


6/1/04 - Shipping this Fall from Diamond
I picked up the most recent issue of Previews, the catalog that tells you what will be shipping from Diamond Distributors.  Quite a bit of entertainment-related die-cast is shown in its pages this month:

Batman 1:43 Jokermobile 1950 - This was the ride used by the Clown Prince of Crime way back in the 50's.  Scheduled to ship in October at an SRP of $.99

Johnny Lightning Monster Movies Die-Cast - New JL die-casts with monster themes based on classic retro horror movies.  60's Cadillac Hearse (Dracula), '90 Mustang (Revenge of the Creature), Frankenstude (Frankenstein), '57 Studebaker Hawk (Bride of Frankenstein), WC 54 Ambulance (King Kong), Haulin' Hearse (The Mummy), '40 Ford Pickup (War of the Worlds), '65 VW Beetle (The Invisible Man), '49 Barris Mercury (Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde), '00 Honda Accord (Godzilla), and more.  Scheduled to ship in September at an SRP of $4.99 ea.

Speed Racer 35th Anniversary Die-Casts - The Mach 5 ($37.99) and Racer X Edition Mach 5 ($37.99) are 1:18 scale and the Mini Shooting Star R/C is 1:64 scale ($12.99).  Scheduled to ship in September. 

Battlestar Galactica Series 1 Action Figures - Starbuck, Cylon Raider,  and Colonial Fighter are scheduled to ship from RC2 in October at a SRP of $13.99 ea.

Pick up a copy of Previews at your local comic book store or hobby shop.