Sept. 2010
News Archive

9/30/10 - Transformers Assemble!
Stopping into a Toys R Us, I was surprised to see so many new die-cast Transformers vehicles.  It looks like Hasbro has BIG plans for this line. 

Sideswipe is numbered 07 of 08 of the Metal Heroes Series.
Optimus Prime is numbered 02 of 03 of the N.E.S.T. Global Alliance Series and joins the previously released Bumblebee.
This blue version of Ironhide is numbered 03 of 03 of the N.E.S.T. Global Alliance Series and joins Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.
This interesting version of Bumblebee is numbered 01 of 04 of the Cyber Hunt Series.  Listed on the back are Optimus Prime, Starscream and Bumblebee.
Yet ANOTHER version of Bumblebee is numbered 01 of 03 of the Stunticon Series.  The back of the card also lists Barricade and Lockdown.
This tan version of Starscream is numbered 01 of 04 of the Road Assault Series.  The back of the card also lists Bluestreak and Megatron.
The most interesting of the bunch is this version of Sideswipe I found.  He seems to be in mid-transformation.  Sideswipe is numbered 01 of 03  of the Robot Riders Series and will be joined by Megatron and Bumblebee. 

9/30/10 - I Want Kyandee!
Following the advice of fellow collectors I stopped into a Kohl's store today looking for new Cars product.  And wouldn't you know it... I found a couple of new Toon characters.  Pictured above are Kyandee and Stripped Kabuto from the Tokyo Mater animated short. 

9/30/10 - "Dream as if you'll live forever..."
Today marks the day James Dean took his last ride.  55 years ago today, Dean and his mechanic Rolf Wutherich climbed into his 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder and headed to Salinas, California to compete in a race.  On U.S. Route 466, a 1950 Ford Custom Tudor Coupe driven by Donald Turnupseed turned in front of the Porsche.  The mechanic was thrown from the car and survived.   Turnupseed survived with minor injuries.  Dean was killed in the crash.

The Porsche 550 Spyder was customized by George Barris, who told me he saw Dean earlier that day.  He suggested Dean take the car to Salinas on a trailer, but he insisted on driving it.  Dean Jeffries added "Little Bastard" on the rear of the car.
After the crash the car went on tour to promote safe driving.  I'm told that while in transit in a semi truck, the wrecked Porsche 550 Spyder mysteriously disappeared.
James Dean's car was never officially created in 1:64 scale, but Mattel did produce a Porsche 550 Spyder in a boxed set of Porsches.  I sent mine to Chris D'Alessandro who did an AMAZING job of turning it into "Little Bastard."
Chris painted the steering wheel, added numbers, racing stripes, and even the correct California license plate.  It's still one of my all-time favorite pieces in my collection and I would never part with it.
In 2005, Revell produced a beautiful 1:32 scale slot car with James Dean sitting behind the wheel of his car.  Only 5,550 pieces were produced.
In 2003, Racing Champions produced the '49 Mercury Coupe as seen in the movie Rebel Without a Cause in 1:64 scale.  Only East of Eden had been released before James Dean's death.  Rebel and Giant were released posthumously.

James Dean grew up in Fairmount, Indiana.  If you get a chance to visit, there is a lot to see.  Pictured above, left, is Dean's childhood home.  Next is Dean's high school, which stood abandoned when I visited in 2003.  During a personal tour, I was able to sit inside the car James Dean took to prom. And finally, you can visit James Dean's final resting place in Park Cemetery. 

9/28/10 - Does it come in Black?
I stopped into WalMart today and found the black DeLorean from the Hot Wheels line.  This is the third color variation released by Mattel.  Did it really come in black or is Mattel taking creative liberties?  We're all familiar with the stainless steel version that was featured in Back to the Future and was the first version released in the Hot Wheels line.  The second version Mattel released was gold, and yes, three 24-karat gold plated versions of the car were produced in real life.  Here's what Wikipedia says about the black DeLorean:

"Painted DeLoreans do exist, although these were all painted after the cars were purchased from the factory. Several hundred DMCs were produced without stainless steel panels, for training workers, and are referred to as "black cars" or "mules", in reference to their black fiberglass panels instead of stainless steel, though these were never marketed."

So there you have it.  Black DeLoreans DID INDEED exist.  They look cool, but I'll always be partial to the stainless steel version.

9/27/10 - Stroker Ace was Born to Race
I got an e-mail alerting me to a very interesting eBay auction.  Pictured above is something I've never seen or even heard of before.  The Thunderbird, Cadillac Convertible and Semi-Truck are part of a 3-piece set made by Ertl from the 1983 movie Stroker Ace (known in some parts of the world as Stand On It.)  I contacted the seller for more information and here's what he had to say:


The cars are 1:64 scale.  The truck is 1:87 scale.  Unfortunately, the asking price is a little out of my range.  Click on the image above to check out the auction.

9/25/10 - Magnum PI Ferrari is HERE
A package arrived in the mail on Friday from sponsor Movie Car Mania.  It was the limited-edition Hot Wheels 1:18 scale Ferrari 308 GTS from Magnum P.I.  It's such a great addition to my collection.  I've been hoping to add this car for such a long time since it's one of the most iconic cars in TV history.  As you can see in the pic above, right, it displays nicely with other TV cars in my collection.  I read some interesting facts online about the car:

* The series aired on CBS from 1980 to 1988.  A new Ferrari was purchased at the beginning of each new season. The car from each previous season was sold at auction.  Throughout the series' run, Thomas Magnum drove a 1978 Ferrari GTS 308, a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTSi and a 1984 GTSi Quattrovole. 

* The car had to be modified to accommodate actor Tom Selleck, who stands 6' 4".  You never saw Magnum driving the car with its roof attached because Selleck's head rose above the roofline. 

* The car belonged to Magnum's employer Robin Masters.  In the pilot episode, the car sported the license plate number 56E-478.  After that, the license plate read ROBIN 1 until the end of the series.

9/21/10 - Magnum PI Ferrari
Forgive me as I wipe the drool from my keyboard.  I got an e-mail from sponsor Movie Car Mania alerting me to the fact he has received a shipment of 1:18 scale Magnum P.I. Ferraris from Mattel.  Wow, what a thing of beauty.  I CANNOT wait to add this to my collection.  Click on the image above and order yours from Movie Car Mania TODAY!

9/19/10 - Final Wave of RPMs
Popping into a Toys R Us Express at the mall on Saturday night, I finally found the elusive fourth and final wave of Transformers RPMs from Hasbro.  After this wave (and the Metal Heroes wave that was only released overseas), Hasbro dropped the RPM name and started releasing them as part of the Speed Stars line.  The above pics have been added to the Transformers Movie Gallery.

9/16/10 - Unidentified Flying Mater
New Toon stuff just keeps on coming at Toys R Us.  It seems like every time I visit TRU I find new Toon characters hanging on the pegs.  I grinned like an idiot when I spotted "Mator" the UFO featured in the short Toon Unidentified Flying Mater.  Then I found Mater in disguise from the same short.  As I searched the pegs, I found two more releases from the short Tokyo Mater:  Drift Party Mater and Dragon Lightning McQueen (without oil stains.)  The cardback (left) shows more characters on the way from Tokyo Mater.

9/15/10 - No Admittance!
Keep your Cars collection secure with this new three-car gift pack I found at WalMart.  The set includes Richard Clayton Kensington, Fred and, for the first time, Marco Axelbender.  The only way to tell the two security guards apart is by the expression on their faces. 

9/14/10 - "Shields Up!"
Arriving in the mail from sponsor Movie Car Mania are two new releases from Mattel's line of 1:50 scale Bat-Vehicles.  Pictured above, left, is the "Armored" Batmobile from Batman Returns.  Pictured above, right, is the "Batblade" from Batman & Robin.  Although B&R ranks as one of the worst movies I've ever seen, the Batblade is pretty cool.  This brings the total number of 1:50 scale Bat-Vehicles to 19.

Introduced in 2008, this line has been a Bat-Fan's dream come true, giving us die-cast vehicles from film, television and comics.  So far, from the 1966 TV series, we have the classic Batmobile (with and without trailer hitch), the Batcycle with sidecar, Batgirl's cycle (a Comic-Con exclusive), the Batboat and the Penguin Batmobile.  From the 1989 Batman movie we have the Batmobile and Batwing.  From Batman Returns we have the Batmissile, Batboat and now the Armored Batmobile.  From Batman Begins we have the Camo Batmobile.  From The Dark Knight we have the Batmobile and Bat-Pod.  From the Super Friends cartoon we have the Batmobile.  From Batman: The Animated Series we have the Batmobile with and without bullet holes.  And finally, we have the Comic Book Batmobile.  Soon, the Batblade will be joined by the Batmobile from Batman & Robin.  And Mattel has also announced the Batmobile from Batman Forever.   Beyond that, we can only speculate what Mattel will be adding to the Bat-Collection.

9/13/10 - Cool Customs!
Chris Walker, who tipped me off to the MFP Pursuit Vehicle below, also sent me pics of his amazing work with the Hot Wheels '73 Ford Falcon XB.  Check out the pics above.  It looks like he has a nice little assembly line going.  Chris must have access to some amazing tools to be able to get the precision details shown above.  Incredible work Chris!  With any luck, maybe Mattel will follow suit and release something similar someday.

9/10/10 - "A Crack Interceptor on the Highways of Tomorrow."
Thanks to a tip from fellow collector Chris Walker of Wisconsin, I've learned that Johnny Lightning has released yet ANOTHER secret movie car into their mainline.  Do you recognize the car above?  Although no AMC AMXs appeared in the movie, the car above has been painted to resemble one of the MFP Pursuit vehicles from the movie Mad Max (above, right.)  In the movie the cars were actually Ford Falcons.  Johnny Lightning just continues to blow me away.

09/11 UPDATE:  That figures.  When I found about these I panicked and bought one on eBay.  Then I walked into WalMart today and found 3 of them for $2 apiece.  Oh well, these are VERY cool.  Although Max's Pursuit Special has never been produced in 1:64 scale (yet) I've decided to create a Mad Max page.

9/7/10 - A Little Help from My Friends.
I've been able to add the four Final Lap cars I'm missing from my collection thanks to the kindness of Rick Pagett of Pennsylvania.  He sent me a message last week saying he had the Cars characters I'm missing and they arrived in the mail today.  Pictured above, from left to right, are Lightning McQueen with Shovel, Flo with Tray, Bert and Artie. Thanks again Rick!  I believe this gets me caught up for now, with the exception of Bessie, who has been IMPOSSIBLE to find in my area.  If anyone has an extra Bessie out there, I'll be happy to take her off your hands. 

9/5/10 - Labor Day Weekend... and you know what that means...
... IT'S HALLOWEEN!  Well, according to the retail stores the Halloween season has begun.  Over the past few days I've seen several different Target stores setting up their Halloween area with candy and goodies.  What's become an annual tradition for me is nabbing Hot Wheels Scary Cars.  On Saturday I found the Target-Exclusive 5-Pack.  I'm curious to see the variations that show up at WalMart.

Starting with my favorite of the bunch, we have the '59 Caddy Wagon Funny Car.  It resembles a hearse and its black with orange flames deco makes it a classic Halloween treat.  With its opening canopy, this may rank among the best ever.

Next we have the orange Gov'ner with its cool skulls-with-flames deco  It's okay, but a little too loud for my taste.  Black windows may have toned it down a bit.

Returning to the line is the fan-favorite Phastasm, but instead of being clear, this year it has a cool ectoplasm greenish hue to it.  (Okay, I had a little Photoshop fun with it.)

Next, we have Torpedo Jones.  At first glance, it doesn't have a very Halloween-ish look to it, but upon closer inspection you'll find the spectre of a figure sitting behind the wheel.  It's a nice touch, but I would've preferred a more spooky color scheme. 

And finally we have Rodzilla, which seems to be thrown into the set as an afterthought.  I'm not very impressed, but oh well, the kids will probably like this one.

9/4/10 - The Bat Cave
As some of you probably know I recently moved into a new apartment.  I deliberately got a 2-bedroom to have some extra space for my collectibles.  Unpacking has been a bit slow-going, but the Bat-Corner of the room is coming along.  It's still a work-in-progress, but I thought some of you Bat-Fans might get a kick out of it. 

9/3/10 - Dynamic Duo
I've gotten several reports that two new vehicles have hit stores from Mattel's 1:50 scale Batman line.  Pictured above, left, is the Batmobile from Batman Returns with its shields up.  Pictured above, right, is the Batblade from Batman & Robin.  I found both images on eBay and haven't seen them in stores yet.  So far I've only seen vehicles from this line at Toys R Us, Meijer and local comic book stores.  Let the hunt begin!

9/2/10 - A Yen for Cars
I stopped into Toys R Us today and  found two more Cars characters from the Tokyo Mater animated short.  This time I found Kabuto Ninja and Cho (2 for $6.99.)  With these two that brings the total to six characters released so far from Tokyo Mater with more on the way (seven if you count the Dragon McQueen that was released with the collectors guide.)  The pics above have been added to the Story Tellers/Toons Gallery.


9/1/10 - 2010 Dream Cruise
I was on vacation last week so I'm a little behind, but here is the video I put together on the 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise.  The video covers the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday evening and the Berkley Cruisefest, which featured many cars from TV and film.  George Barris was the Grand Marshal.