2012 News Archive

12/30/12 - Today's Finds!
Yesterday I got a voicemail from a nearby hobby store telling me they had FINALLY received a shipment of Mattel's 1:18 scale van from The A-Team.  This version is half the cost of the Elite version, but looks just as nice on display with my other 1:18 scale TV cars.  I feel a sense of relief that I can finally add this iconic vehicle to my collection.  Now if someone would just give us The Black Beauty in 1:18 scale, I'll be a happy man. 

Also, while out and about, I stopped at a Meijer store that I just happened to be passing.  In the die-cast aisle I noticed the pegs were full of Mattel's 1:50 scale Bat-Vehicles.  I searched them all and to my surprise I found The Bat all the way in the back.  Last week I found the 1:50 scale 1980's Batmobile, so now I'm all caught up.  And finally, as a heads up, the Batmobile from Mattel's DC Universe line has been re-released with new card art, featuring a more angry looking Batman! 

12/28/12 - A Little Gift to Myself!
When Christmas shopping, I can't resist buying one or two things for myself.  I read in the Hot Wheels forums that the website had received a shipment of the first wave of the Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment line.  I headed over there as quickly as I could and managed to place an order for KITT, Ecto-1 and the Batmobile.  Unfortunately, the Mystery Machine was already sold out.  A package arrived at my doorstep today (Friday) and I couldn't wait to tear it open!  These toys are, by far, some of the BEST representations of these particular cars I've ever seen!  They are absolutely stunning and I can't wait to see more from this line.  Hopefully, I'll be able to add the Mystery Machine to my collection soon.  As of today, Milezone is completely sold out, but they promise to get more shipments in.  And reports are coming in saying that Pep Boys stores have gotten the series in before other major retailers.  Good luck in your hunt!

12/28/12 - Holy Stocking Stuffer, Batman!
I had a great Christmas with family.  I got a lot of great Blu-Ray DVDs and the two die-cast cars you see above.  I was pleasantly surprised because I have not seen these in stores near me yet, but somehow my sister found MULTIPLES!  The Flintmobile is a new casting, quite different from the version that Mattel released back in 1994.  The "stone cylinders" don't actually roll.  There are wheels hidden within the car.  The '66 Batmobile is another variation on the same casting we've seen before, except the canopy is clear instead of blue, and there are a few more paint applications.   I'm grateful I can now add these to my collection and update the galleries here on this website. 

12/24/12 - Merry Christmas!
The gifts are wrapped and it's time to head out to spend the next two days with family.  I wanted to take this time to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you find some die-cast surprises under your tree.  When I come back I'll get to work on the Year in Review.  We'll take a look back at 2012 and all the amazing Hollywood car news that took place during the year. 

12/24/12 - Yabba, Dabba, Do!
We've been talking about this over on Facebook, but I've neglected to mention it on this site.  Fred Flinstone's Flintmobile is currently hitting stores as part of the Hot Wheels Imagination line. (Look for the green stripe!)  This is a brand new casting and totally different than the version that Mattel released years ago.  Also look for yet another version of the 1966 Batmobile as part of the same wave.  This one has slightly more detail than the version that came out in 2007.  I haven't seen either one at any stores near me yet, but I'm hoping to find them soon.  Maybe you'll find them in your Christmas stocking!

12/22/12 - "It's Morphin' Time!"
Okay, these aren't exactly my thing, but if you have someone in your household that's a fan of the Power Rangers, then you may want to pick these up.  Mattel has released three vehicles as part of their Hot Wheels line:  Red Ranger Dragon Zord (above, left), Blue Ranger Shark Zord (above, center) and Mega Strike Ranger 20th Anniversary Vehicle (above, right.)  I found these at a nearby Toys R Us store. 

12/21/12 - "Live the Dream"
"Live the Dream" was the slogan used by the DeLorean Motor Company in 1981, and this amazing offering from the Hot Wheels Red Line Club is a dream come true!  This particular model has a metal body and base, chrome finish and Red Line Wheels, but what sends this version over the top is opening gull wing doors!  The Red Line Club solicited orders earlier this year, and they just started hitting mailboxes within the past few days.  Mine arrived on Friday.   I can only hope they'll do a Back to the Future version like this one!

12/9/12 - It's "Muppetational!"
We've been getting so many re-releases and rehashes of cars we've gotten in the past, it's nice to see something that's never been done before.  Showing up on eBay and on the Brazilian website, we get a look at the Electric Mayhem bus from The Muppets, which will be included in the Hot Wheels Retro series.  I keep having to wipe the drool from my chin in anticipation of this line.  When will it hit stores????

12/9/12 - Holy South of the Border, Batman!
I recently learned of these through a Facebook friend.  Apparently, those living in Brazil can put together a set of Batmobiles by visiting their local Shell gas station.  They're not die-cast, but they're pretty cool and feature pull-pack action features.  I don't know what they retail for, but they're selling for quite a bit of money on eBay right now.  Maybe one of my Brazilian friends can help me put together a set. 

12/8/12 - Great Scott!
I somehow missed out on this when Mattel offered it through their Redline Club earlier this year as an online exclusive.  Collectors began reporting that it was showing up in mailboxes a week or so ago.  I rushed to eBay and was able to snag one for a fairly reasonable price, considering it originally cost $19.99 plus shipping.  It arrived in the mail on Friday and it is a thing of beauty.  Mr. Fusion makes this version really stand out and it will display nicely with my previous RLC versions of the '66 Batmobile and Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters

11/30/12 - "Tenho pena do tolo!"
I don't know how he does it, but whoever is behind the Brazilian website is somehow able to get the scoop on the latest Hot Wheels news before everyone else!  He's been posting pics of the new Retro series and my jaw hung open when I saw the pic at left.  Check out this version of The A-Team Van!  Look at that detail!  Look at those rims!  This is hands-down the best 1:64 scale version of this van we've ever gotten!  I can't wait for this to hit stores!

11/29/12 - Sale of the Century!
I never thought I'd see the day, but it has been announced that George Barris will actually auction off the #1 Batmobile at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in January in Scottsdale, AZ.  This is the one, true Batmobile featured on the 1966 TV series and movie.  I got to see it up close and personal in March of 2011 during my last visit to the L.A. area (that's me with the car, above.)  I can't believe this car may end up in the hands of a private collector.  It's difficult to predict what it may sell for, but since it's arguably the most famous car in the world, I'm predicting it may sell for a million or more!  The auction will take place January 13-20, 2013.  Cars of this magnitude usually go across the auction block on Saturday.  Traditionally, the auction is televised live on the SPEED Channel.  For more information visit the Barret-Jackson website.

11/27/12 - It's New to Me!
Although this has been out for a little while, I haven't had any luck finding this in stores in my area.  But thanks to a fellow collector, Patrick, I can now add this to my collection after receiving it in the mail.  Mattel has added a 1:64 scale Bat-Pod to its Hot Wheels Motorcycles line.  The Batman figure is even removable (to make room for Anne Hathaway, perhaps?)  Many thanks Patrick.  This is a great addition to my Batman collection. 

11/23/12 - Holy Variant, Batman!
I hope you're enjoying your Black Friday.  Reports have been coming in over the past several days from collectors finding a gray variant of the Matchbox Batmobile.  As you may remember, Mattel released a blue version at the end of May as part of their Matchbox line.  The design comes from Mattel's Batman Power Attack line of toys.  I can't help but wonder how many color variations we're going to get over the next year or so. 

11/10/12 - Bats in Your Belfry
Reports are coming in that Mattel has apparently released The Bat from The Dark Knight Rises as part of the Matchbox line.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm going to assume this is the same casting found as part of the Hot Wheels 2012 New Models line.  I don't know if the same casting has ever been released under the Hot Wheels AND Matchbox brand.  Someone drop me a line if you know the answer. 

11/17/12 UPDATE:  I've gotten a bunch of e-mails on the topic and apparently the Matchbox casting is significantly different than previous versions.  I'm told it's slightly smaller than Mattel's 1:50 scale version, and slightly larger than the Hot Wheels version.  Rob, from PA, provided a visual comparison to the 1:50 version:

11/09/12 - Skyfall:  My Review
When Casino Royale hit theaters in 2006, the movie seemed to be sending a message that Daniel Craig's James Bond is NOT your father's Bond.  In a post Jason Bourne world, a James Bond movie had to be grittier, more realistic, more cynical, to seem relevant.  It seemed like those involved with the production deliberately tried to distance this new Bond from the Sean Connery and Roger Moore portrayals.  Shaken or stirred? Who cares?  It worked, and Casino Royale injected new life and energy into the franchise.  In that movie, Daniel Craig's Bond brought new vigor and energy to the role.  Now here we are six years later, and Daniel Craig's third outing as James Bond has hit theaters.  In Skyfall, Bond represents an aging relic, struggling to keep up with the changing world around him.  Bond is starting to feel the effects of a lifetime of bullets and bruises.  He's not as sharp or steady as he once was.  The movie suggests that Bond is, well, human. 

Interestingly, this time around, those involved seemed to be EMBRACING the the most beloved aspects of the 50 year old franchise.  Skyfall starts out with an incredible action sequence, reminding me of the Bond films from the Roger Moore era.  My theater seat was barely warm before I was already squirming at the motorcycle chase sequence and fist fight on top of a moving train.  The sequence ends with what feels like a punch to the gut.  Cue the opening titles!  The title sequence was like a beautiful work of art, punctuated by Adele's beautiful, mournful vocals.  What a way to get this new Bond movie up and going!  This latest installment of the Bond franchise has all the elements a fan could hope for:  riveting action, beautiful women, and laugh-out-loud moments of humor.  The underlying theme of the movie was change.  We're even introduced to a new Q (Ben Wishaw) who is portrayed as a techno-computer-geek who suggests that exploding pens are a thing of the past.  But while the movie emphasizes change, it also suggested that we must embrace our past.  And that point was emphasized when the beloved 1964 Aston Martin DB5 was revealed to the sounds of John Barry's classic James Bond theme.  I swear to you, tears welled up in my eyes. 

And, of course, there's the Bond villain.  Javier Bardem tackles the role of Bond's newest arch enemy, Silva, but unlike previous Bond baddies, Silva isn't out to take over the world or get rich with some convoluted maniacal plot. His goal is simple:  revenge.  His target?  MI6 and more specifically, M (Judi Dench).  One almost has to feel sympathy for this character, a former agent, who feels he was betrayed and abandoned by M many years ago.  What makes this particular Bond story unique is that 007 isn't faced with the task of saving the world, he's merely trying to defend MI6 and protect M, and it gives this movie a more personal feel. 

In summary, this 23rd installment of the Bond movie franchise is one of the best. And it makes important contributions to Bond lore by revealing things about our hero we didn't know.  I place it in my top five favorite Bond movies, behind Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Casino Royale.  It somehow delivers a fresh take on what could easily have become a tired and dated franchise.  It welcomes change, while embracing this franchise's rich history, and sets the stage for more Bond movies to come.  And I, for one, can't wait for the next installment.

11/03/12 - Cars 2: David Hobbscap!
I stopped into my nearby Target store and broke out into a big smile when I spotted a new Target-exclusive Tokyo Race Day 7-pack from Cars 2 on the shelf.  Included in the set for the first time is David Hobbscap, the announcer who joined Brent Mustangburger and Darrell Cartrip in Pixar's Cars 2.  Hobbscap is based on David Hobbs, a British retired race car driver and current commentator with the Speed channel.  I met Hobbs in 2009 when he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Detroit (above, right.)  He has since returned several times to emcee the ceremony.  He's a very charming and very funny guy.  I'm glad Mattel has FINALLY released the toy based on his character in the movie. 

10/24/12 - "Are you telling me that this sucker is NUCLEAR?"
Thanks to a heads-up from a fellow collector, I learned that Mattel has included the Back to the Future Time Machine in its Hot Wheels Light Speeders line.  Using a mini flashlight, you can create patterns on the car that fade in time.  I haven't seen these in stores yet, so I grabbed one on eBay fairly cheaply.  I've added this to the Back to the Future Gallery

10/22/12 - Happy Belated Cars K-Day!
This may be hard to believe, but for the first time since 2008, I actually MISSED a Kmart Cars Collector Event!  I don't feel too bad, however, because I've really lost interest in this line.  I enjoyed Cars 2 when it came out in 2011, but the toys just don't seem to have the same following as the toys from the first film.  Toy aisles seem to be perpetually overflowing with the same characters that have been hanging on the pegs since 2011.  Very rarely do I ever spot a new character, unless it's included in a pricey, exclusive boxed set at one of the major retailers.  On Saturday, October 20th, Kmart hosted yet another Cars Collector Event.  Exclusives included four more racers with metallic finish (yawn) plus two new characters (above):  Alexander Hugo with Party Hat and Mary Esgocar.  Despite missing the event, I wandered into my local Kmart store and found these hanging on the pegs.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this brings the total to 10 racers from Cars 2 with the metallic finish.  To take a look at all the exclusives from previous Kmart events, click HERE

10/14/12 - It's a Mystery to Me!
I probably hit stores far more often than the average collector.  Because of this website, I'm constantly trying to find a sample of that newest die-cast car to photograph and share with my fellow collectors.  On a weekly basis, I hit Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, K-Mart, Meijer, etc.  Therefore, I find it SHOCKING when I just can't find something in stores!  I first posted news of the Hot Wheels Mystery Machine way back in February of 2012. Mattel offered an exclusive Comic Con version in July before the main line version hit stores, but the .99 cents car soon followed.  It's now mid-October and I have yet to see this at any of the stores I listed above.  Why?  Is it hoarding?  Poor distribution?  Are stores waiting for old product to sell through before putting out newer merchandise?  I have no idea.  I thought Mattel is in the business to make money.  So why not make an effort to get these into the hands of every person who wants one?  Why force someone like me to resort to eBay to pay marked up prices?  That's how I got the the Mystery Machines you see above.  When I visit the various collectors forums, I see others complain about the same thing.  Collectors can't find KITT or The Bat.  Personally, I've only found ONE Bat so far, in a Kroger dump bin.  The point of this rant is to BEG Mattel to make more of an effort to get these cars into the hands of collectors who want to pay money to own one!

10/08/12 - All I Want for Christmas...
Today I got a call from my local Hallmark store telling me their second wave of 2012 ornaments have come in, and there are some DOOZIES included.  Pictured above, left, is the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Special Edition.  Now, this actually came out way back in July, but it sold out quickly in my area, so I reserved one for myself when they shipped again in October.  It's not officially licensed as the car from Smokey & The Bandit, but come on, we all know recognize this beauty.  A new offering in October is "Outatime", the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future.  Both the Trans Am and the DeLorean are made of die-cast metal and will look great on the tree with some of Hallmark's previous Hollywood cars, such as Herbie the Love Bug, Ecto-1 and the 1966 Batmobile. I also discovered a nice surprise while at the Hallmark store.  I noticed sitting on the counter near the register were samples of this year's LIMITED ornaments.  A sign read, "ONE per customer."  Among the ornaments was The Bat from The Dark Knight Rises.  I had NO IDEA this was being released as an ornament.  It's made of plastic, not die-cast metal, but it is incredibly detailed.  I'm glad to have grabbed one before they sell out!  Head on over to your local Hallmark store TODAY to add these to your Hollywood car collection!

9/30/12 - Holy Imagination, Batman!
A huge thanks goes out to my friend Tim who found the new Hot Wheels Batman Live Batmobile at Walmart on Sunday.  This stylish version of the Batmobile is based on the live arena show that's currently touring the country.  This car is part of the new Imagination line which is designated by the green stripe on the card.  People have mistaken the line for Treasure Hunts, which USED to have a green stripe.  This is a great addition to my Hot Wheels Batman collection.  I've updated the Hot Wheels Batmobiles Timeline to include this latest version. 

9/22/12 - Hooray for Hollywood
While driving from store to store on a lazy, gray, Saturday afternoon, I found 5 of the 6 cars that make up GreenLight's latest release from the Hollywood series.  Pictured above, from left is a 2009 Dodge Challenger from NCIS: Los Angeles (yawn), 2012 Ford Taurus SHO from Men in Black 3 (yawn, again), 1979 Pontiac Firebird T/A from Joe Dirt (kinda cool, lousy movie), '67 Pontiac GTO Convertible from I Dream of Jeannie (obscure car, great packaging), and 2011 Rio Police Charger from Fast Five (the SECOND time this car has been released in this series!)  The only car I didn't find, and I assume it's going to be the most popular of the bunch, is Joe Dirt's '69 Dodge Charger Daytona.  I wish GreenLight would focus on more iconic cars from TV and films.  Many of the obscure cars from the past two series are STILL hanging on the pegs at the stores I visit.  The cars above were found at my local Meijer store. 

9/21/12 - Hot Wheels Retro Series
The website T-Hunted recently revealed that Mattel will be releasing a Retro Series of die-cast cars that will be comprised entirely of entertainment-related vehicles in 2013!  The site says the cars will have rubber tires, detailed paint job and metal base and body.  The list includes:

- Batman: '66 Batmobile
- Ghostbusters: Ecto-1
- American Grafitti: '32 Ford
American Grafitti: '58 Edsel
- Scooby Doo: Mystery Machine

- Knight Rider: KITT

- Knight Rider: KARR

- Smokey and the Bandit: '77 Trans Am

- A-Team: A-Team Van

- Muppets: School Bus

This is incredible news!  I wonder if this also ties in to the announcement that Mattel will also release cars from Magnum P.I., Grease, Miami Vice and The Rockford Files, among others, as part of the Hot Wheels line.  It was also announced that the Nostalgia line will continue with series dedicated to Looney Tunes and The Muppets.  2013 is shaping up to be an amazing year for collectors!

9/30 UPDATE:  The first wave will ship in November.  I'm told there are a planned SEVEN waves of the Retro Series.  That's great news!

9/15/12 - Happy K-Day!
I got up early this morning to head on over to my local K-Mart for Hot Wheels Collectors Day.  At 9am a small crowd gathered as six inner cases were brought into view.  Everyone had their number called...except for me.  I stood there as I watched the others tear through the cases.  At least there were several kids there having a good time.  All the Treasure Hunts were snatched up right away.  The only thing I managed to walk away with was an overlooked Mars Rover Curiosity (pictured above.)  I hope you had better luck than I did. 

9/13/12 - Batman Live!
As Batman Live begins its US tour, reports are surfacing that attendees can buy an exclusive die-cast version of the Batmobile.  It comes in an acrylic case (pictured above, left) and is a unique design.  Several samples have shown up on eBay.  If, for some reason, you're not able to make it to the show, don't fret, old chum.  The exact same Batmobile will be offered as part of the Hot Wheels 2013 Imagination line (pictured above, right.)  I think it's a great-looking Batmobile and I can't wait to add one to my collection.  Click HERE to learn more about Batman Live!

9/13/12 - Strictly Kids Stuff
Over the past week, I noticed Target has been slowly putting out their Halloween stuff.  I stopped in today and found their exclusive Hot Wheels Halloween 5-Pack.  I gotta say I'm not very impressed.  In the past, Target offered repaints of the Halloween cars offered at Walmart.  Even though this year's cars were a Kroger exclusive, I was hoping for variations on Ecto-1 and the Batmobile.  Instead, we got some fairly uninspired cars.  Pictured above, from left, we have Shell Shock, with what appears to be a dinosaur deco or something; Bone Shaker, which is always a good idea for the Halloween set, but the colors are a little too cheerful; Growler, which is a good idea but currently a peg warmer at every store I visit; Skull Crusher, which is sufficiently creepy and my favorite of the bunch; and Vampyre, which is appropriate, but again, a little too cheerful for Halloween.  Personally, my vote goes to the Kroger exclusives as the better and spookier offerings this Halloween season.  The Target exclusives are strictly kids stuff!

9/11/12 - Trick or Treat?
I've been visiting my local Kroger store a LOT lately, hoping they would put out their Halloween stuff.  Today, my heart started racing when I saw palettes of cardboard boxes ready to be opened up.  I snooped around and noticed someone had opened a long box labeled Halloween Hot Wheels.  I peered into the box and spotted some cars.  I reached in and pulled out a Batmobile!  I looked around, hoping some manager wouldn't come over and yell at me.  I reached deeper into the box and pulled out the cars you see above.  From left, we have Fangula, Hyper Mite, W-Oozie, Ecto-1 and the Batmobile with unique Halloween decos.  I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to assemble a set of these.  I predict they're going to sell out quickly!  If you have a Kroger store near you, get to it as quickly as you can.  You haven't a moment to LOSE!!!  And as if things couldn't get any better, I also found my first "The Bat" at retail in the Kroger dump bin.  Below are some loose photos for your scrutiny. 

9/10/12 - All I need is a red turtle shell!
I spotted these die-cast vehicles at a nearby Target and thought they would be fun to add to my collection.  Mario Kart is one of my all-time favorite video games and I've spent countless hours eliminating my competition with red shells, green shells, mushrooms and banana peels.  Pictured above, from left, are Mario, Luigi, Toad, Donkey Kong and (my personal favorite) Yoshi. 

9/5/12 - Be on the Lookout!
Browsing eBay, I noticed that the latest releases from Mattel's 1:50 Batman line seems to be hitting stores.  Be on the lookout for the 1980's Batmobile and the much-anticipated The Bat from The Dark Knight Rises.  If you find them, let me know where. 

8/25/12 - Hit & Run: My Review
Hit & Run stars Dax Shepard, who plays Charles Bronson (not his real name) a former getaway driver who is now in the witness protection program.  His girlfriend of one year, Annie (played by real life girlfriend Kristen Bell,) has to get to L.A. for a job interview.  Throughout the 500 mile road trip, the couple is pursued by Annie's ex-boyfriend, Charlie's former bank-robbing partners, and Tom Arnold, among others.  Along the way, Annie continues to learn things about Charlie's sordid past, such as his real name: Yul Perkins.  The question posed is: Can you continue to love someone despite finding out everything you know about them is a lie? 

Although there were some funny moments, and some genuine chemistry between the two leads, the story seemed like an excuse to shoot some really cool car chases.  The pacing of the movie seemed uneven and choppy, and there were some uncomfortable moments that I wish I could erase from my brain a'la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  You've probably seen the trailers that show senior citizens in a motel room wearing nothing but underwear.  Brace yourself.  They're not wearing ANYTHING in the movie, and they show EVERYTHING.  And it's not pretty. 

The only reason I'd recommend this movie is to see the three car chases, arguably the best of which involves the '67 Lincoln Continental (pictured above) as Charlie tries to evade Annie's former boyfriend.  Otherwise, wait until it comes to DVD so you can skip past the naked senior citizens. 

8/20/12 - I Finally Netted a "Bat"
Well, as usual, I've had ZERO luck finding this in stores in my area, so I had to go the eBay route.  Luckily for me prices have come WAY down on The Bat from the Hot Wheels line.  When this thing first started appearing on eBay, people were shelling out $30 a pop for a .99 cents toy.  I paid about $5 plus shipping.  I'm confident these will start appearing in my area, but so far, nothing.  But I'm glad I'm finally able to add this to my Batman collection. 

8/19/12 - Ya gotta be freakin' kidding me, right?
Look at that cast.  Anyone who grew up loving 80's action flicks have only dreamed of a day when most of those names would be seen fighting side by side (or against each other) together on screen.  Well, that dream has come true. The first movie was pretty great, but I felt slightly cheated.  Expendables 2 improves on its predecessor by giving the audience what they wanted to see in the first film:  Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Norris, Willis, Schwarzenegger side by side, punching, kicking, stabbing, and shooting the bad guys.   And throw in Van Damme as the bad guy, and you have what amounts to the near-perfect action flick.  Within a minute or two into the movie the goosebumps surfaced as three armored military vehicles storm into a heavily fortified camp, guns ablazing, and carrying all of the heroes from the first film.  Within the first few minutes, there's more bullets and blood than most action flicks show in 90 minutes.  From that point on, the story is simple:  Stallone and his squad have to keep four tons of Plutonium from falling into enemy hands.  That's it.  And that's a good thing.  Expendables 2 doesn't pretend to be something it's not.  There's no message.  No complicated twists and turns.  Basically, the movie is a series of moments, vignettes, that are strung together to showcase the talents and charisma of its individual stars, including newcomer Nan Yu as Maggie.  There are plenty of moments, and bullets and blood and cheesy one-liners that, when strung together, make the near-perfect action flick.  I would rank this movie among my favorite action flicks of all time.  I just hope I didn't dream the whole thing.

8/18/12 - 2012 Woodward Dream Cruise
There are several holidays celebrated here in the Metro Detroit area.  Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, of course, Dream Cruise.  Although people have been cruising all week, today was the OFFICIAL 2012 Woodward Dream Cruise.  I had a great time hanging out with friends, talking about cars, and checking out all the amazing vehicles that passed by.  Of course, there was the annual gathering of Star Cars, including the Monkeemobile (that's me behind the wheel, top, left), General Lee, KITT, Herbie and the Bandit Trans-Am, among others.  I also heard reports of a '66 Batmobile and '89 Batmobile being spotted.  If you've never been, makes plans to get here next year.  It's a spectacle you have to experience to believe. 

8/18/12 - More DC Heroes & Villains
Thanks to Phil Santo for sending me the image you see at left.  Apparently there's a new wave of DC Universe vehicles to search for.  Included in the photo are Supergirl, Riddler, Batgirl, Darkseid, Plastic Man and Aquaman.  I, for one, can't wait to add Batgirl to my Hot Wheels Batman collection. 


8/18/12 - Comic Con Loot
By now the 2012 San Diego Comic Con is a faint, fond memory for those who were lucky enough to attend.  Sadly, I wasn't able to attend, although it's on my Bucket List of things to do before I die.  But, thanks to a friend in California, Nate Truman, I was able to add some Comic Con loot to my collection.  Pictured above is the remarkable Comic Con edition of KITT from Knight Rider.  Made by Mattel as an exclusive, not only is it spot-on accurate, but it comes in the most amazing packaging I've ever seen.  As you open the box, you'll hear the voice of William Daniels speak two lines as KITT.  You'll also hear the distinctive scanner sound as the base actually LIGHTS UP!  This piece is so amazing, it cracked my Top 10 Best List! (There's also an extremely limited variant version of this piece with the voice of KARR.) 

Also, thanks to Nate, I'm able to add the Comic Con exclusive Mystery Machine to my collection.  Premiering at Comic Con before actually hitting stores, this version of the Mystery Machine comes in this awesome Scooby Snacks packaging.  You can even hear the Scooby Snacks as you shake the box.  I can't thank Nate enough for scoring these two exclusives for me.  Who knows, maybe next year I'll be at Comic Con to pick up the 2013 exclusives in person!  Look for the regular mainline version of the Mystery Machine to hit stores any day now.

8/16/12 - "Elvis has left the building."
August 16th marked the 35th anniversary of Elvis' passing.  I remember that day as if it were yesterday.  I was 10 years old.  I grew up loving Elvis' music and movies.  Many Elvis-related die-cast cars have been released over the years, mostly from Matchbox. My favorite is pictured above:  Elvis' pink Caddy parked in front of Graceland.  In 2005, I took a road trip to Memphis, TN, to visit Graceland and Sun Studios.  Click HERE to view photos from that trip.  Click HERE to see the Elvis die-cast gallery.

8/6/12 - "'s dark and we're wearing sunglasses."
I haven't had any luck finding this in stores so I resorted to eBay to add this to my collection.  Luckily, I didn't pay much more than what I would've paid at retail.  What we have here is Greenlight's awesome diorama from the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers.  The diorama includes the Bluesmobile sporting a loudspeaker, along with an Illinois State Police trooper.  I tip my hat to Greenlight.  This ranks among my favorites in my personal collection.  Click HERE to see all the 1:64 scale die-cast cars from The Blues Brothers.

8/6/12 - Cars 2 News
It's not often I get to report new finds from Cars 2. Mattel hasn't really flooded the market with new product since the initial releases that came out in 2011.  That's why Mel Dorado (pictured above) jumped out at me when I spotted it.  Mel just may be the only character in the Cars universe sporting glasses.  On the back of Mel's card is another new character, Carlo Maserati, but I haven't seen that one in stores yet.

8/5/12 - 50 Years ago we lost a legend.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the date Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home.  Arguably, the most famous and most beautiful woman that ever lived has grown even more popular after her death, and has since been recognized as a gifted actress and entertainer, with a flair for comedy.  I've been a huge fan of MM for many years and whenever I visit the LA area I make sure to visit some key locations, seen above, including her final home, her star on the Walk of Fame, her hand and foot prints at Grauman's and, of course, her final resting place.  In 2002, Johnny Lightning released three die-cast cars depicted artwork from some of her films.  There was supposed to be a total of six cars, but as far as I know, only three have been released, seen below. 

7/28/12 - Recent Bat-Finds
I popped into a nearby Walmart while running errands on Friday and was pleasantly surprised to find out they had freshly restocked the pegs with new Hot Wheels Batmobiles.  There are 8 vehicles that make up the series, but I only picked up my favorites.  I just love the fact that Mattel re-released these Batmobiles in packaging that features artwork from their respective source material.  Above, left, we have two animated Batmobiles with colorful artwork.  My favorite (above, center) is a re-release of the '66 Batmobile in packaging that features the logo from the TV series.  That is a must-have.  Next, we have Batmobile Affinity, which is Mattel's unique Batmobile featuring a red canopy.  This particular version had only been offered previously in the Batman Blaster track set, released in January of 2004.  And finally, the Arkham Asylum Batmobile looks great in packaging featuring artwork from the videogame.  I passed on the Batcopter, Crooze Batmobile and the Hardnoze Batmobile.  I wish Mattel would've stuck to the movie versions of the car.  Why not give us the Tumbler from Batman Begins, instead of the cheesy Batcopter, which never appeared in the film?  Why did Mattel include the silly Hardnoze Batmobile, instead of Tim Burton's Batmobile, in packaging from the 1989 Batman movie?  Strange decisions, but I'll probably end up buying the missing three just to complete the set. 

Also, pictured below, is the Bat Cycle from the Speed Cycles line.  I normally don't go for this kind of thing.  It's made of plastic and is approximately 1:43 scale.  But c'mon, how cool is the Batman figure riding it? 

7/20/12 - The Darkest "Knight"
As I write this review, it's nearing 4am, having just seen the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. The movie picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight.  All the major characters, as well as recluse Bruce Wayne, contemplate and question the need for The Batman, since all seems right in Gotham City.  But then along comes Bane (Tom Hardy,) a terrorist whose motives are revealed late in the film.  An aging and battered Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) finds the motivation to suit up once again to come to the defense of Gotham City, only to discover it's not so easy this time around.  As a secondary storyline, Bruce Wayne crosses paths with Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway,) a talented cat burglar, who is never actually referred to as Catwoman in the movie.  Whenever Anne Hathaway appeared on the screen, especially in her sexy skin tight catsuit, the movie really crackled.  The chemistry between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, playing a game of cat and mouse (cat & bat?) really drew me in.  Unfortunately, I was more interested in the secondary storyline than the primary storyline in which Bane threatens to destroy Gotham City with a nuclear device.  It seemed so James-Bond-like, to have a villain threaten to detonate a nuclear bomb.  I was hoping, and expecting, something a little more unique and shocking.  It felt all too familiar, and not quite what I expected from a trilogy that gave us two of the greatest comic book movies ever made.    And I was underwhelmed by Bane, who was difficult to understand at times and occasionally sounded like Dark Helmet from Spaceballs.  As the credits rolled, I found myself satisfied, appreciating the threads of betrayal and sacrifice, and all the twists and turns along the way, but when compared to the previous two Bat-movies, this third and final entry was my least favorite of the trilogy.  Of all three movies, this one was the most somber and darkest, and as a result, the least fun.

Familiar vehicles returned for this installment, and one incredible new vehicle referred to as "The Bat" (pictured above) allowed Batman to take flight.  Although a fleet of Tumblers were featured prominently in the film, none of them were ever driven by Batman, and that was a little disappointing.  The Bat-Pod was used in several thrilling scenes, but it was The Bat that stole the show, with its hovering capabilities and arsenal of firepower.  Toy collectors (myself included) will be scrambling to add it to their fleet of Bat-Vehicles. 

7/20/12 - A Bat, A Cat, and Bane
I'm sure it's no coincidence that Mattel's latest wave of DC Universe Hot Wheels vehicles include the three main characters from The Dark Knight Rises.  Batman includes a unique Batmobile never seen in die-cast form before.  Catwoman and Bane sport features based on their respective characters.  These are a welcome addition to my Hot Wheels Batman collection.

7/18/12 - "Welcome to Fright Night...for real."
Johnny Lightning just keeps on making me smile.  Inserted into Forever 64 - Series 22 are two hidden Hollywood cars.  Pictured above, left, is JL's Project in Progress 1965 Ford Mustang.  Most people wouldn't give it a second glance, unless you're a fan of the 1985 horror film Fright Night (which happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies.)  Compare the die-cast Mustang to a still image from the movie (above, right.)  The Bondo areas on the cars match up exactly.  This is such a cool hidden gem for fans of the movie.  Now, pictured below, right, is JL's new "Galactic Cruiser."  When placed next to Rachael's Spinner from the 1982 film Blade Runner, you'll notice that it's the exact same casting!  Somebody must've been digging through Ertl's basement and found some old dies.  Will JL give us more vehicles from Blade Runner?  Only time will tell.  For now, just enjoy the fact the JL continues to give us more Hollywood on Wheels.  Thanks to my friend Tim who found these at an out-of-the-way Walmart store.

7/15/12 - New Bat-Find
While shopping at a nearby Meijer store, I found the new 1940's Batmobile in 1:50 scale. It's based on the Batmobile as it appeared in the pages of Detective Comics.  They also had two versions of the Tumbler and the Batmobile from Batman Forever

7/14/12 - Comic Con 2012
The San Diego Comic Con is taking place this weekend (I wish I could be there) and among the many toy exclusives are two fantastic die-cast cars from Mattel.  Pictured above, left, is the debut of the Hot Wheels Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.  This may be the first time Mattel has premiered a new entertainment vehicle at Comic Con BEFORE it hits stores.  Pictured above, right, is a beautiful version of KITT from Knight Rider, with accurate wheels, and displayed  as if its airborne.  The base also plays phrases from the TV series.  I sure hope I can get this one for a reasonable price.  If anyone out there can help me out, please send me an e-mail at .  Thanks.

7/14/12 - Shields Up!
If you're wondering whether or not you should pick up the new 1:50 scale Armored Batmobile from Batman Returns, well it is slightly different than the version released in 2010.  The newer version has an open canopy (above, left) versus the closed canopy (above, right.)  Also, if you're wondering what's in store for the future of Mattel's 1:50 scale Batman line, some new vehicles were on display at Comic Con 2012.  A "comic book Batmobile" has been unveiled, as well as "The Bat" from the new The Dark Knight Rises movie.  Click HERE to see some photos.

UPDATE:  Apparently, the canopy opens on the first release, as well, so it's not truly a variant. 

7/14/12 - Cars Take Flight!
It's always nice to see new Cars product in the stores.  It seems that ever since the release of the initial wave of Cars 2 product, Mattel hasn't really introduced many new characters into its Cars line.  So I was a little suprised to walk into a local Toys R Us and see some new stuff.  Pictured above are Lightning McQueen and Mater as seen in the animated short Moon Mater.  You can also find Stu Bop the Jet and Rescue Chopper. 

7/7/12 - Monumental Hot Wheels News!
Better late than never.  I only recently discovered this bit of news, although it was announced a month or so ago.  This has got to be the most exciting news in a long time for collectors of Hollywood cars!  Mattel recently announced their plans for their entertainment line.  During a presentation, they showed THIS slide (pictured above.)  It looks like we can expect die-cast vehicles from The Rockford Files, Grease, classic Battlestar Galactica, Miame Vice, Magnum P.I. and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Now, Mattel has already given us cars from Miami Vice, Magnum P.I. and Ferris Bueller in 1:18 scale.  Does the recent announcement mean we can expect them as part of the main line?  We can only hope.  The Pontiac Esprit from The Rockford Files has been on my Wish List for quite some time.  I'm excited to get this car in ANY scale.  And I can hardly contain my enthusiasm at the though of die-cast cars from Grease (one of my all-time favorite movies as a kid.)  If these all come to fruition, 2013 is going to be an AMAZING year for collectors!

7/7/12 - The Latest Bat-News
Be on the lookout for two new Bat-vehicles from Mattel.  Reports are coming in that a 1940's Batmobile has been found in stores as part of the Hot Wheels 1:50 scale Batman line.  This vehicle is very similar to the Corgi version that was released years ago.  Also, and this is exciting news, collectors have been finding "The Bat" from the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises film.  If you've seen the trailers, it seems to be some sort of hover jet vehicle.  Look for it on a Hot Wheels main line card numbered #27/50.  

6/23/12 - Hollywood Series 4
If you haven't joined the Hollywood Die-Cast community on Facebook, what are you waiting for???  The gang over there have really been helpful, announcing all sorts of new finds and news.  For example, Stan Lunn posted the first look at Greenlight's next Hollywood series, which will include, from top left:  I Dream of Jeannie '67 Pontiac GTO, Joe Dirt '69 Daytona, Rocky 2 '79 Firebird, NCIS Los Angeles '09 Challenger, Fast Five Rio Police Charger and Men in Black 3 Ford Taurus SHO.  Okay, so most of these cars aren't exactly ICONIC, but I know people are going to snatch up that Joe Dirt Daytona. 

Also, James Simpsons posted pics of the GL Blues Brothers diorama he found at Toys R Us.  This version of the Bluesmobile sports a loudspeaker on top.  Very cool!  Can't wait to find this one.

6/18/12 - Batmobiles Galore!
While sitting around bored, browsing on eBay, I was shocked to stumble across an auction featuring the collection of Batmobiles pictured above, left.  Apparently, Mattel has decided to re-release numerous Batmobiles offered previously, but in new dramatic packaging!  Wow!  I haven't seen these in my area yet, but I'm hoping to pick up at least a few to display in the packaging.  And Mattel is also continuing its DC Universe line, which includes a new, unique Batmobile pictured above, right.  Let the hunt begin!

6/16/12 - Happy Cars K-Day!
On Saturday, June 16th, K-Mart hosted yet another Cars Collector Event.  There  really wasn't much to get excited about.  Six World Grand Prix racers were released in a special silver metallic finish.  You can see an example above in the form of Lightning McQueen.  Other racers included: Francesco, Raoul CaRoule, Jeff Gorvette, Carla Valoso and Shu Todoroki.    Also available in the cases were two more characters.   Acer with Torch (below, left)  and Celine Dephare (Chase) who is seen in Cars 2 with eyes on her HEADLIGHTS! 

6/15/12 - "Hand down the shark-repellant Bat Spray!"
Well, this is a dream come true.  Mattel's 1:50 scale Bat-Vehicles have been awesome, but I never thought I'd see the day when I would be able to hold the 1966 Batcopter in my hands!  The Batcopter was prominently featured in the 1966 Batman movie and now joins the Batmobile, Batboat, and Batcycle in die-cast form. I found the latest wave at my nearby Target store on the end cap.  I also found The Penguin Duck from Batman Returns.   I don't know what the future holds for this line, but I have seen a "1940's Batmobile" included in a future assortment.  This line just keeps getting better and better. 

6/7/12 - Get Along Little Doggie
While picking up a few things at an out-of-the-way drugstore, I was surprised to stumble upon two new entries to the Hot Wheels Toy Story line.  Pictured above are Dasch N Dog and Bulls Eye MHP.  This brings the total to 16 different characters!  Click HERE to see all of them.

6/5/12 - Batman is Climbing the Walls!
On June 5th, I spotted this at a local Toys R Us.  It's the first Hot Wheels product I've seen sporting the title The Dark Knight Rises.  Although it's pretty cool, it was a little pricey and not worth picking up since I already have the Batmobile included.  The Dark Knight Rises will be in theaters on July 20, 2012.

5/31/12 - Holy Matchbox, Batman!
On May 31st, the first carded samples of the new Matchbox Batmobile began appearing on eBay.  Since both Matchbox and Hot Wheels are owned by Mattel, it's no surprise a Batmobile would enter the Matchbox world eventually.  The car is striking with its blue exterior and red wheels.  I haven't seen them in stores yet, so I bought a couple on eBay, one to keep in package and one to display with my other Hot Wheels Batmobiles (above, right.)

5/21/12 - "It's a good looking vehicle, ain't it?"
On May 21st, I sold my Hallmark Christmas Vacation RV ornament on eBay for $240.  It's one of, if not THE, most valuable Hallmark ornaments out there.  I hated to part with it, but I needed the cash. 

5/1/12 - "You're a wonder, Wonder Woman"
On May 1st, my buddy Tim posted on Facebook that he found some new Hot Wheels vehicles from the DC Universe line, including this Wonder Woman vehicle.  For some strange reason, I have NOT been able to find this in stores.  I've seen all the others.  I'm not sure if this is short-packed or not, but I'm getting frustrated.  Word on the street is a Wonder Woman movie is going into pre-production and will lead into the long-awaited Justice League movie.

4/21/12 - Hooray for Hollywood!
While visiting Toys R Us, I found GreenLight's 3rd release from their Hollywood Series.  Nothing to get TOO excited about here, since most are re-releases, but I have to admit I LOVE the single carded vehicles from Bullitt.

4/12/12 - Hot Wheels Gets Animated
Mattel's latest assortment from the Hot Wheels Nostalgia line is a set of six vehicles representing popular Hanna-Barbera cartoons.  I've seen them in stores, but not really interested in picking them up.  I'll wait until Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine arrives in stores. 

4/7/12 - KITT X3
Well, I FINALLY found KITT at Toys R Us (3 actually, pictured above.)  These have not been easy to find in my area.  It's a great-looking car, but I wish the wheels were more accurate. 

Davy Jones signing the Monkeemobile in January 2010

2/29/12 - R.I.P. Davy Jones: 1945 - 2012
My heart sunk when I heard  the news today that Davy Jones passed away today at the age of 66.  Although I was just a newborn when The Monkees originally aired on TV, I grew up watching the show in reruns.  And who can forget Davy's memorable appearance on The Brady Bunch as Marcia's prom date?  I saw Davy perform twice in person, once on August 5, 1986 during the 20th Anniversary World Tour, and a second time when he performed solo as part of the Teen Idols tour.  I was pretty excited when the Monkeemobile arrived here in Michigan, but I was disappointed when I missed a chance to see Davy autograph the car in 2010 (above.)  I was stunned and saddened to learn of his death, but we will always have his music and TV episodes to remember him by.  My condolences go out to his friends and family.  He will be missed. 

2/29/12 - Hollywood - Pt. 3
Where would Hollywood be without sequels?  Pictured above are the cars that will make up the third wave of GreenLight's Hollywood series.  From left we have the '68 Ford Mustang and '68 Dodge Charger R/T from the 1968 film Bullitt.  GreenLight has already released them in dioramas, but now you can have them individually packaged.  Next, we have Dom's 1970 Charger from The Fast and The Furious, followed by the 1959 Corvette from Animal House, this time with its top down.  And finally, a gold 1970 Corvette from Apollo 13 rounds out this wave.  Looks for Series 3 to hit stores within the next few weeks.  Two new dioramas will be hitting store shelves, as well.  Pictured below, left, are the Bluesmobile and Illinois State Police car from The Blues Brothers.  Below right are two cars from the TV series NCIS.  Thanks to "Fresno Bob" for providing the pics you see. 

2/28/12 - Zoiks, Scoob!
A low-res image of the 2012 Hot Wheels poster has surfaced online.  Quickly scanning it for Hollywood cars, I made an interesting discovery.  Apparently, the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo will appear in the 2012 New Models line!  Very cool!

2/2712 - The Envelope Please!
The votes have been cast.  The public has spoken.  It's time to announce the winners of the 2012 Bandit Awards!  There were a couple of blow-outs, and there were a few very tight races.  And for the first time, I decided NOT to have a TV car category because I felt there weren't enough worthy candidates.  We've come a long way since the days of Knight Rider, The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard and Magnum P.I.  I sure hope we see a few cool cars on television in 2012.  Now, on to the results.  The envelopes please...

The Bandit Award for Best Car Movie of 2011 goes to...

Fast Five - With the exception of Tokyo Drift, the Fast & Furious movies seem to get more and more popular with the movie-going audience.    Dwayne Johnson joined the cast of actors from all four previous films to make the fifth entry the highest grossing installment of the franchise. With 30% of the vote, Fast Five was named Best Movie of 2011.  Cars 2 did surprisingly well, coming in second with 22% of the vote. 

The Bandit Award for Best Actor goes to...

Vin Diesel - After stepping away from the franchise for two movies (sort of) Vin Diesel has come to embrace his role in the Fast & Furious franchise (lucky for us.)  He's a big part of the reason these movies do as well as they do.  As usual, he was terrific in Fast Five and his fight with Dwayne Johnson was a great movie moment.  Voters named Vin Diesel the Best Actor of 2011 with 22% of the vote.  Jay Chou came in second with 18%.

The Bandit Award for Best Movie Car in 2011 goes to...

The Black Beauty - Ah, car lovers appreciate the classics, and there was no car more classic and iconic than The Black Beauty in The Green Hornet.  Although the movie was largely forgettable, it was a thrill to see The Black Beauty deploy its arsenal of weaponry on the big screen.  In a landslide, voters named The Black Beauty the Best Movie Car of 2011 with 36% of the vote. 

The Bandit Award for Best Car Chase in 2011 goes to...

Fast Five - The sixth-highest grossing movie of 2011 continues its domination of the Bandit Awards by giving us the Best Car Chase of 2011, as determined by a whopping 40% of the vote.  Instead of a high speed adrenaline rush, Fast Five opted for utter mayhem and destruction as two modern Dodge Chargers drag a bank vault down the streets of Rio!

The Bandit Award for Best Die-Cast Line in 2011 goes to...

GreenLight - Hollywood - In the closest race of the awards, GreenLight's Hollywood line edged out Mattel's Hot Wheels 2011 New Models line by one measly vote!  The Hollywood line premiered in 2011 and gave us two series of popular and obscure cars.  The Hot Wheels New Models line gave us the Back to the Future Time Machine and The A-Team van.  It was close, but GreenLight came away with 26% of the vote, versus 25% for the Hot Wheels line to be named the best die-cast line of 2011.  Wow.

And the Bandit Award for Single Best Die-Cast Car in 2011 goes to...

Hot Wheels Ecto-1 - And finally, voters named Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters the single best die-cast car of 2011.  This is the version that was offered through the Hot Wheels Collectors website early in 2011, and arrived in mailboxes right around Christmastime.  With its retro-style packaging, detailed paint scheme, and Redline wheels, this was a thing of beauty.  With 26% of the vote, it barely eked out a win over The A-Team Van (23%)

Thanks to all of you who voted in the 2012 Bandit Awards!

2/24/12 - 2012 Detroit Autorama
I spent some time at the Detroit Autorama today and had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Dean Jeffries for the first time.  Jeffries brought along with him the award-winning Manta Ray (pictured above,) but he is also the man who created the Monkeemobile and The Black Beauty, among other cars.  We talked for a good fifteen minutes about his career and the origins of his most famous creations.  Our conversation was recorded and I'll post the video in a few days.  He also signed a Johnny Lightning Monkeemobile for me.  His signature is the latest addition to my "Auto-Graph" collection (above, right.) The Autorama continues through the weekend.

2/20/12 - Just Monkee-ing Around
While out and about today, I stopped into one of the last hobby stores in my area that sells die-cast cars and was surprised to find their shelves stocked with new die-cast goodness.  One of the things that caught my eye was the newly-released 1:18 scale Monkeemobile by AutoWorld.  This one is based on Monkeemobile #2 (which resides here in Michigan) as you can see by the door graphics.  Unfortunately, it's slightly inaccurate.  The interior and roof on the actual car are more beige in color instead of white, but hey, I'm nitpicking.  At $65 I wasn't able to buy it today, but I'll eventually add it to my collection.  The store had also opened up a brand new case of 1:18 scale Ecto-1s from Ghostbusters, but again, at $100 a pop, I had to pass for now. 

2/20/12 - The Dark Knight Returns!
I had the day off today so I decided to drive around from store to store looking for new things.  I didn't find much, but I did find this awesome Hot Wheels 5-Pack from The Dark Knight at K-Mart.  What really makes this set stand out is the special Joker edition of Bone Shaker (above, second from left.)  If you look closely, you'll see the chrome skull has been replaced by the Joker's smiling mug.  The set also includes the Batcopter, Batmobile, Ford Fusion Patrol Car and Armored Truck.  I'm sure we can expect more Bat-Stuff in stores with The Dark Knight Rises slated to hit theaters on July 20, 2012. 

2/11/12 - Holy 4-Pack, Batman!
My thanks goes out to "Skinnybird" Steve, who e-mailed me with a tip a couple of weeks ago.  He told me that if I visited, I could buy the elusive DC Comics boxed set for $10 and have it shipped to a nearby Walmart for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE!  So I did just that and I picked it up today.  Unfortunately, it looks like it's sold out online.  It's a great-looking set and will stay in its packaging.  The only thing that has me scratching my head is why Mattel would go with a pickup truck to represent Batman.  I would think a pickup truck would be the LAST thing Bruce Wayne would be seen in driving around Gotham City!

2/10/12 - Cool New Find!
I stopped into a Toys R Us today and found a cool little item hanging on a peg.  Apparently, Mattel has produced a nicely detailed 1:64 scale replica of the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car as part of its Hot Wheels Boulevard line. (Johnny Lightning released the Futura way back in 2003.)  As you may or may not know, the one-of-a-kind Lincoln Futura is the car George Barris used to create the Batmobile for the 1966 TV series and movie.  I thought you Batmobile fans may want to add this one to your collection.  I know I did!

2/7/12 - A New 1:18 Scale Era?
For those of you who collect 1:18 scale Hollywood cars, 2008 was the end of an era.  After producing some awesome cars over the course of several years, RC2 ended its 1:18 scale entertainment line in 2008, with the Authentics version of the General Lee being the last to hit stores in early 2008.  Mattel's 1:18 scale '66 Batmobile also arrived in stores in early 2008.  Since then, there really hasn't been a lot to report on in the world of 1:18 scale.  But that all seems to be changing.  Mattel is ushering in a new era of amazing 1:18 scale cars.  Over the past few months, collectors have been able to add some iconic cars to their collection.  Mattel has released The A-Team van in 1:18 scale for the first time EVER.  And those who have Ecto-1 in their hands say it's a vast improvement over the version that RC2 released in 2004.  (Ecto-1A from Ghostbusters 2 is also in the works.) A prototype of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider was unveiled recently, and rumor has it a Back to the Future Time Machine will hit stores soon. 

In addition to all this goodness from Mattel, I'm told by Gregg Lacarte of Canada, that a new, incredibly detailed version of General Lee will be released soon by a company called Auto World (using RC2's Authentics casting) and will use the same casting to create the '69 Charger from the 1974 movie Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.  It's slated to be released in late 2012 or early 2013. 

The only downside to all of this is the price.  Mattel's Elite version of these vehicles retail well over $100 and I'm sure Auto World will follow suit.  But if you're willing to pay the price, 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for collectors to build up their 1:18 scale collection.

My thanks goes out to Gregg Lacarte for providing the info and the photos you see above.  Click HERE to see my collection of 1:18 scale Hollywood cars.  I'm hoping to add The A-Team van in the very near future.

2/6/12 - Mission Impossible:  Ghost Protocol
Thanks to a tip from a fellow collector, I discovered that BMW has released a 1:64 scale die-cast version of their futuristic Vision Efficient Dynamics concept vehicle i8.  This car is an amazing work of art.  The car was featured in the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise:  Ghost Protocol (pictured above, right.)  I snagged mine on eBay.

2/4/12 - Holy Boneshaker, Batman!
This just in!  Keep an eye out for a new Hot Wheels Batman 5-pack.  What makes this particular set special is the unique Boneshaker casting, pictured above, right.  The skull grill has been replaced by the Joker's smiling mug.  That is pretty awesome!  I hit three different Toys R Us stores with no luck.  But since these are so new, I don't expect them in my area for another week or two.  If you find one, let me know where you found it.

1/25/12 - JL is at it again!
I saw a post on Facebook from Johnny Lightning announcing its JL 2.0 Release 13 wave (above, left.)  One particular casting caught my eye.  Look at the '69 Dodge Daytona pictured in the bottom, left corner of the image above.  Does it look familiar?  It sure looks like the Dodge Daytona from the 2001 movie Joe Dirt (above, right.)  This one is going to be VERY popular with collectors.  I've gotten plenty of e-mails in the past regarding this particular car and I know it was on a lot of wish lists.  This is great news for Hollywood car collectors!

1/25/12 - Super, Man!
I haven't had much luck finding Mattel's line of DC Comics cars that are part of the Hot Wheels Nostalgia line.  While shopping at a Meijer store, I thought I found some, only to realize these are different.  The cardbacks are different, the castings are different, and there are only three of them (so far):  Superman, Joker and Green Lantern.  My favorite is the Joker car.  Check out that grill.  Have you ever seen a more appropriate grill to represent the Joker's sinister smile?  Although these are a cool find, the hunt continues for the Nostalgia DC Comics cars in my area.

1/22/12 - Barrett-Jackson 2012
Barrett-Jackson's 2012 auction in Scottsdale, AZ took place over the weekend (Jan.20-22).  For me, the highlight of the weekend was seeing the very first General Lee (named Lee1) go up for auction.  This is the car that can be seen jumping (82 feet) over Rosco's police cruiser in the opening credits of every episode of The Dukes of Hazzard.  As the story goes, when the car landed (above, right) it was totaled and never used again.  It sat in a junkyard for 23 years before it was rescued and restored (above, left.)  It even has its original windshield, which was cracked in the jump.  Shockingly, when the hammer fell, the car sold for only $120,000, which is a STEAL.   Apparently, golfer Bubba Watson came away with the car. 

The only other significant Hollywood car that went up on the auction block was this beautiful replica of The Monkeemobile.  It sold for a shockingly low price of $40,000.  It's a bargain considering one of the original Monkeemobiles sold for $360,000 in 2008.  That car currently resides in Southeastern Michigan.

1/9/12 - Holy Moly!
This has to be one of my all-time favorite offerings from Mattel's Cars line.  As part of the Deluxe Cars 2 line, Mattel has produced Pope Pinion IV, along with his Popemobile, which I think is awesome!  Maybe I'm partial to this one because I actually DID see Pope John Paul II as he drove past me in his Popemobile in 1987!  Check out the photo at right.

1/9/12 - Who ya gonna call?
Kevin Clark got his hands on the new 1:18 & 1:43 scale Hot Wheels Ecto-1 and sent me the pic at left comparing several different versions of the famous ride from Ghostbusters.  Starting at the bottom left and going clockwise we have the 1:50 scale Hallmark ornament, the 1:25 Polar Lights model, 1:18 scale Hot Wheels Ecto-1, 1:21 Joy Ride Ecto-1 and, finally, the 1:43 scale version from Hot Wheels.  Thanks for the pic, Kevin.