June 2010
News Archive




6/30/10 - Rubbin' is Racing
Days of Thunder was released 20 years ago this week.  I was living in California when it hit theaters and I remember the NASCAR community was up-in-arms about how their drivers were portrayed in the film.  NASCAR drivers were good sports and didn't intentionally wreck anyone, they claimed.  It's funny how things have changed.  Now, whenever I catch a race on a lazy Sunday afternoon, drivers are tapping, hitting, and spinning other drivers into the wall.  Post-race interviews mention revenge and retaliation.  Announcers yell repeatedly, "It's llike Days of Thunder out there!"  I, for one, couldn't be happier.  It's fun to watch!  There's no doubt the movie has influenced racing, including how the race is covered with in-car cameras to put you in the passenger seat.


In hindsight, Days of Thunder ranks among the most exciting racing movies ever made and features an amazing ensemble cast, including Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle, Robert Duvall, Nicole Kidman, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes and, one of my favorites, John C. Reilly!  Both Matchbox and Racing Champions produced five different racecars from the film, but Matchbox also produced transporters and a Speedway Set.  Click HERE to visit the Days of Thunder gallery and remember, never pass on the outside!




6/28/10 - Spitting Image!
Today, I found three new entries to the Cars Final Lap Series while shopping at Target, and trust me, these are pretty obscure.  First, we have Lightning McQueen with cone (yawn.)  Next up, we have Johnny and Jamie.  Who are Johnny and Jamie you ask?  Look at the still image below.  In the bottom right corner there are two cars spitting over the edge.  Those are Johnny and Jamie.  This release tells me that Mattel's Cars line is, um, running out of gas. 




6/28/10 - The Home of the Brave ... and the Bold.
Finally!  Mattel has unveiled photos of its latest incarnation of the Batmobile.  This time the car is inspired by the animated series The Brave & The Bold which premiered on Cartoon Network in 2008.  It's a really unique design and I'm looking forward to adding it to my Batmobile collection when it hits stores in July.  Click HERE to see pics.




6/27/10 - Mythbusters Spy Car
Mythbusters is currently one of my favorite programs on television and over the past few years they've tackled some fun car myths, including creating a working passenger ejection seat.  Well, the episode I caught tonight instantly ranks among my favorites (it originally aired in April but somehow I missed it.)   Jamie and Adam decided to test some spy car gadgets designed to deter someone in pursuit.  Interestingly, I suggested this topic in the Mythbusters forum several times, most recently in March of 2009.  Now I'm not taking credit for the idea, but it's nice to see they finally got around to it. 



First, they tested the effectiveness of tire spikes.  The spikes did puncture the tires, but didn't deflate them and were ineffective.  Visitors to the Mythbusters Message Board cried foul and suggested they use hollow spikes next time.  Next, they tried a smokescreen.  On the first attempt, the interior of Jamie's car filled with smoke, almost causing him to crash into a wall.  After mounting the smoke canisters differently, the device proved quite effective. Then, the Mazda Miata dumped vegetable oil on the road.  The pursuing car lost traction, but still kept up.  Later in the program, in a Spy VS Spy moment, Jamie and Adam secretly developed his own contraption to outwit his pursuer.  Adam tried to deploy a parachute, which looked great, but was ineffective.  Jamie devised what he called the "tailgater terminator."  Again, the device SHOULD have been effective, but in the end, Jamie was nabbed.  I'd like to see the guys revisit this particular myth and devote an entire episode to developing a working Spy Car!  For more information on Mythbusters click HERE.



6/23/10 - Chasing Cars
I found a new Cars character hanging on the pegs at Toys R Us.  Marlon "Clutches" McKay was all by himself.  No other new characters were hanging on the pegs.  Marlon is the latest character offered as part of the "blinky eyes" series. 




6/22/10 - "Wanna see something cool?"
The trailer for new Green Hornet movie has appeared online.  I was curious how Seth Rogen (who often plays a slacker in movies) would step into the role of Britt Reid.  Seeing the trailer, it seems Britt Reid is, well, a slacker.  But when his father is killed, Britt is moved to do something with his life and with the help of Kato (Jay Chou) The Green Hornet is born.  This should be an interesting spin on the superhero genre.  Cameron Diaz has a role, too, and I hope she gets the chance to show off the kick-ass skills she demonstrated in Charlie's Angels (2000.)  The Black Beauty (above) is featured heavily in the trailer and shows off its arsenal of weapons, which is awesome news.  Unfortunately, it appears the release date has been moved back (AGAIN) this time to January 2011.  I'm assuming it's because the movie will be released in 3-D.  Click on the image above to see the trailer at the official website..

Also, rumor has it that Auto Art has the license to produce The Black Beauty in 1:18 scale.  I'll post here when I get official confirmation.




6/21/10 - Go with the Flo
I finally found the jaw-dropping Flo's V8 Cafe' 5-car Gift Pack at a local Toys R Us.  Not only are Flo, Mia & Tia new castings (holding trays) but there is a brand new character, as well:  Hank Hallsum (a repainted Dexter Hoover.)  The best thing about it?  NO BLINKY EYES!  This is a welcomed addition to my Cars collection. Kudos to Mattel for this one!





6/19/10 - Flea Market Finds
While I was out and about today I decided to stop in at the Dixieland Flea Market for the first time in a long time.  I spotted a vendor selling a lot of die-cast cars and decided to take a look.  I came home with a few cool, older pieces.  Pictured above is a complete set of cars from the 1990 movie Dick Tracy.  I've always liked the colorful artwork on this set.  I wish Ertl would've produced more cars from this movie. 


Also, I found this boxed set of vehicles from Batman Returns, also made by Ertl.  The packaging isn't in GREAT shape but the vehicles are pristine.  The grand total for all these cars?  $16.  I'm going to have to hit flea markets more often. It's fun to find old things at a great price. 




6/17/10 - Striped Tomato
When I first started collecting, I ripped open packages to display my die-cast cars loose in a display case.  As the years passed I had some regrets destroying some of the more interesting cardbacks.  In my quest to pick up vintage pieces with unique artwork I was finally able to add the above piece to my collection:  Corgi Jr.'s Ford Torino from Starsky & Hutch.  I've placed quite a few bids over the past year or so, but got consistently outbid until I finally won this on eBay for a decent price.  The above pics have been added to the Starsky & Hutch Gallery.




6/14/10 - "'s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks..."
I'm finally able to add a piece to my collection that I've been trying to get for a long time now.  Ertl produced a 1:64 scale Bluesmobile way back in 1980.  The paint job is horrible and Johnny Lightning did a FAR better job on the car.  But what I love about the Ertl version is the cardback.  Check out the image above featuring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.  This one will definitely stay in its package and display nicely with my 1:18 scale Bluesmobile I recently got from sponsor Movie Car Mania.  "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses." 





6/14/10 - Nice Butte
With all the time I spend in the toy aisles at all the major retailers it's shocking and frustrating when I just can't seem to find a certain piece.  After awhile, I just give up and resort to eBay. Recent examples are Chase Bling Bling McQueen (with Piston Cup), Final Lap Wrecked Mood Springs & Jay Limo, and the piece you see above.  I have never, EVER seen Chase Van with Stickers at any store.  So I caved and bought one on eBay. When it arrived, IT HAD NO STICKER!  Apparently, Mattel shipped out a TON of Vans WITHOUT STICKERS!  ARGH!  So I was told to search auctions that mentioned "Nice Butte."  So I bid again and THIS TIME the correct Van arrived.  You have to look closely at the rear of the van to spot the sticker on the bumper(above, right.)  Sometimes this hobby can be SO frustrating. 




6/12/10 - CLS Car Show
I drove out to Wayne, Michigan today to check in with my friends at the Community Living Services car show.  Among the Hollywood cars that were on display were Mel's Monkeemobile, Mike's Ghostbusters replica and a beautiful replica of the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch.  Unfortunately, the rains came soon after I arrived and everyone scrambled for cover.  We threw a plastic tarp over the Monkeemobile and waited for the clouds to pass.  Community Living Services is a fantastic organization and my appreciation goes out to my friends who brought their cars out.  Click HERE to find out more about CLS.




6/12/10 - We All Scream for Starscream
When the Transformers RPMs 2-Packs were released by Hasbro in 2009, each set was numbered 01 of 08, 02 of 08 and so on.  Initially, I found 6 of the 8 pairs, but had no luck finding the last two pairs.  I had totally forgotten about them until I walked into an out-of-the-way K-Mart.  As I wandered around the die-cast aisle, I saw some unfamiliar RPMs.  FINALLY, the 2 pairs I've been missing:  07 - Ironhide VS Starscream and 08 - Rollbar VS Sideways.  The new pics have been added to the Transformers Movie Gallery.





6/12/10 - Back from K-Mart
I just got back from K-Mart's Cars Collector's Event and I have to say it was a complete snoozer.  It was the first event of 2010 (the last one taking place in October of 2009) and it was the lightest turnout ever.  There were only three adults and one child waiting for the event to start.  K-Mart staff pulled out a whopping 12 cases so there were plenty to go around, but unfortunately, there was nothing in the cases to get excited about.  Sadly, THREE of the cars are making their SECOND appearance at the event.  Transberry Juice, Sputter Stop and Spare O Mint all made an appearance in 2008.  Fiber Fuel and Vitoline have been previously released as launchers.  Gasprin was offered in a 2-Pack with Towcap a few years ago.  Dale, Jr. and RPM have been hanging on pegs since 2007.  Granted, these all have synthetic rubber tires, but apparently, that's just not enough to bring collectors into the stores.  The reason for the low turnout, in my opinion, is the lack of NEW CHARACTERS!  The K-Mart event used to be exciting because it was a chance to pull new characters and chase cars right out of the case.  But since the last two events have offered nothing but re-releases, I'm afraid the event has lost its appeal.  I hope the people responsible for the event make some major changes for the next event which will probably take place in the fall, if it takes place at all.



6/11/10 - Joining the Bat Family...
I heard the 1:50 scale "Penguin-Mobile" has hit stores, so I popped into Toys R Us today looking for it.  Instead, I found something I didn't know had hit stores yet:  the 1:50 scale Batboat from Batman Returns.  What a nice Bat-Suprise!




6/11/10 - The A-Team:  My Review
I had the privilege of attending a press screening of The A-Team on Tuesday morning.  I can't imagine anyone in that theater was more excited than me to see the big screen adaptation of the beloved TV series.  The movie got to the action as the opening credits were still appearing on the screen, and it barely took a breather the rest of the way.  Much of the action defied the laws of physics but it was all in good fun.  The casting is what saves this movie.  Liam Neeson plays Hannibal Smith with a gleam in his eye and seems to be enjoying every minute of it.  Bradley Cooper brings a likeable ruggedness to the character of Face.  Sharlto Copley (of District 9) puts his own spin on the lunacy of Murdock.  And while Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is no Mr. T, he's likeable in the role of B.A. Baracus, although, I think his character came across as too soft and not bad-ass enough.  The only actor that seemed to be miscast was Jessica Biel, who is just too darned beautiful to be a convincing military Captain.  I liked the quick pacing of the editing (as the scene would jump back and forth from Hannibal's plan to the team actually carrying it out) and there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but the story of stolen currency plates just seemed underwhelming.  I guess money is always a catalyst to make people do bad things, but I wished more was at stake in this movie.  I wanted The A-Team to do battle with a more formidable foe.  I liked the movie, but left wanting more.  Hopefully, a sequel will meet my needs. 


Now here's the part that REALLY irked me.  When we meet B.A. Baracus, we the audience are duped into thinking he's rescuing a damsel in distress.  Instead, when he says, "Whassup girl, did you miss me?"  the camera reveals he's talking to his beloved red-striped GMC van.  Later, B.A. is behind the wheel of the van when he meets Hannibal Smith for the first time.  Hannibal convinces B.A. to help him liberate Face from his captors.   I couldn't help but grin when the van crashes onto the scene, forcing the enemy to scatter.  This was probably my favorite moment in the movie, and I was hoping for more.  But then, shockingly, just minutes into the film, the van is destroyed as Murdock joins the team.  It's "pancaked" by a falling rooftop air conditioning unit.  I kept hoping the van would somehow reappear later in the movie during a pivotal moment, but to my disappointment, we never see the van again in the movie.  I was stunned.  I don't quite understand why the writers felt compelled to destroy so early in the movie what I feel is equivalent to a main character!  The van is the fifth member of this crack commando unit!  I can only hope that B.A. is presented with a new van at the start of the next installment, if there is one. 



6/10/10 - Connect with me on Facebook.
Well, I've finally gotten around to creating a Facebook page for Hollywood Die-Cast. I've had my own personal page for a couple of years now and it's been fun connecting with family and friends.  I figured it's time to network with those of you who share my passion for TV and movie cars.  Click on the link at left and feel free to post your thoughts, opinions, photos and links related to Hollywood cars!



6/10/10 - Follow Me to K-Mart!
Just a reminder that the next K-Mart Cars Collector's Event is scheduled to take place THIS Saturday, June 12th at 11am at participating K-Mart stores.  I've been to every event so far and I'll be there this Saturday, despite the disappointing selection.  People seem to be excited about Dale, Jr. being offered, but everything else has already been released in one form or another, only this time with synthetic rubber tires.  I have a feeling this wave will be hanging on the K-Mart pegs until the next event rolls around and HOPEFULLY next time they will give us one or two cars that haven't been offered already.  See you at K-Mart!




6/9/10 - "I love it when a plan comes together."
While making the toy rounds today I stumbled across The A-Team Van at Target and Toys R Us.  It's not die-cast metal, but it'll have to do for now.  It's made by a company called Jazwares as a vehicle for their line of 3" action figures.  With two double-A batteries (not included) a push of a button plays dialogue and sound effects from the movie and makes the headlights flash.  One interesting note:  When I saw the movie on Tuesday morning I thought the van was all black with a red stripe.  But when I opened the toy, the light hit it just right and I noticed the area above the red stripe is actually a dark gray, just like the van from the original TV series.  This toy will have to hold a place in my collection until someone decides to produce a die-cast metal version of this iconic van.  By the way, check out this article I wrote for the website




6/7/10 - Transformers:  Metal Heroes
Way back in February of 2010 I saw the first reports of Hasbro releasing a die-cast metal line of Transformers RPMs.  Since the initial waves were plastic, I was excited to see Hasbro was releasing a Metal Heroes Series.  I checked the stores on a regular basis looking for this new wave without any luck.  Fast-forward four months and still no sign of them in stores.  On eBay, all the sellers are in countries like Singapore and Taiwan.  I'm beginning to wonder if Hasbro has any intention of selling these cars in the US.  I bid on Optimus Prime and Bumblebee and they arrived in the mail today.  If it wasn't for the Metal Heroes Series text on the packaging these would look no different than their plastic counterparts.  But they're METAL and that's what counts!  I sure hope Hasbro eventually releases these in the good ol' USA.  Until then, you'll have to pick up characters like Jetfire, Soundwave, Ironhide, and Barricade on eBay.



6/7/10 - Sneak Previews!
I picked up the June issue of Previews from Diamond Distributors to see what will be shipping later this year.  There were several things that caught my eye:


The Dark Knight Bat-Pod Die-Cast Replica.  This 11" long die-cast replica features metal parts and rubber tires. Includes display base.  Scheduled to ship in August. 

Seen in Batman Begins & The Dark Knight, Mattel offers collectors the ultimate reproduction with this limited-edition 1:18 scale die-cast Elite Tumbler.  Scheduled to ship in October.  SRP: $99.99

Batman Movie Collectible Prop.  This replica was taken from the molds of the original movie models.  Features LED headlights, rear LED taillights and simulated fire effect in the rear.  Only 500 will be made.  Scheduled to ship in August.

Batman Movie Batwing Collectible Prop.  Taken from the molds of the original movie models.  Comes equipped with an electronic LED cockpit, headlights and landing lights.  Limited to 500 pieces.  Will ship in August.

Auto World: Batman Slot Car Track Set.  Based on the 1966 TV series, this track set includes the Batmobile and Joker's '59 Cadillac Goon Car.  Scheduled to ship in November.

Auto World: Dukes of Hazzard Slot Car Track Set.  With 38 feet of track this set includes 2 X-Traction Ultra/G electric racers (General Lee and Rosco's Patrol Car.)  Scheduled to ship in September.

This 6" tall bobblehead depicts the Caped Crusader behind the wheel of the Batmobile. 
SRP: $16.99

James Bond:  Cars & Vehicles HC.  This book features Bond cars such as the world-famous Aston Martin DB5 as well as boats and aircraft.  Complete with spectacular movie images.  SRP: $15.00




6/3/10 - Cool Custom!
When I came home from work today I found a package in my mailbox containing a pretty amazing gift.  A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from Chris D'Alessandro of Florida.  (He's the one who customized my James Dean Porsche Spyder 550 a few years ago.)  He offered to customize another car of my choosing.  The first one that came to mind was the Hot Wheels Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4 that was included in the Valentine's Day series.  The Daytona Spyder is the same make and model that was used in the early seasons of Miami Vice.  I mailed it to Chris and after a couple of weeks it arrived at my doorstep.  Check out the pics above (the pic on the right shows the car next to Matchbox's Ferrari Testarossa.)  The work is just amazing.  Here is what Chris said in an e-mail:


"The one thing that's been bothering me about the Daytona that you sent me is the red colored windshield. It would drive me nuts to get the car done and it has red glass. I tore the entire car apart and also some other Hot Wheels of mine and am building an entirely new windshield.....complete with side view mirrors. I will even have the correct license plate on the car. The wire wheels are even being created by me. There's no way we can keep those stock rims."


I'm speechless, Chris.  Your work is amazing.  I'm not sure how to thank you other than to say, "Thank you."  Here's a great Wikipedia Article about the cars of Miami Vice.




6/3/10 - Feeling a quart low?
While at Toys R Us today, I found this cool 3-car set featuring Flo (with tray) and Waitress Mia & Tia.  This particular set has blinky-eyes cars.  I saw in the Cars the Toys Forum that Toys R Us is currently getting a FIVE-CAR gift set that also includes Mater and Hank Hallsum WITHOUT blinky-eyes (below.)  I'll have to keep my eyes open for this gift pack and if I find it, I'll probably return the blinky-eyes set. 




6/1/10 - Going Once.  Going Twice.... SOLD!
There are a couple of amazing movie cars going up on the auction block and they could be yours ... IF the price is right!  First up, we have an Aston Martin DB5 actually driven by Sean Connery in the movies Goldfinger and Thunderball.  It has been in a private collection for 40 years but will be up for sale in October of 2010.  Estimates say the car may go for $5,000,000!  There was another Aston Martin DB5 used in Goldfinger, but I was told it mysteriously disappeared from a locked and guarded airplane hangar.  Click HERE to read more.


Also, my dream car is currently up for sale on eBay.  An incredibly detailed replica of the DeLorean Time Machine seen in Back to the Future can be yours for the Buy It Now price of $60,000.  Believe me, if I had the money, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this baby.  It has the time circuits, Flux Capacitor, and even Mr. Fusion.  Check out the AUCTION.  You won't believe your eyes.