2016-12-26

Display and Storage

So since today is a holiday, I thought we'd take a look at something a bit different, that being the storage and display of my HotWheels. In the beginning when the collection was small, I would display my favorites on the top of my desk:


...something which continued up until very recently.  The balance of them were displayed on a crude metal shelf that was purchased more or less exclusively for such use:


This system worked for a surprisingly long time. I didn't give up on the shelf as a primary means of storage/display until just a few years ago, when the loose cars finally overwhelmed the available shelves. The main downsides of having the cars open like this was that the cars got quite dusty, since they were exposed to the open air; and secondly, once the kids started visiting the office, the collection slowly moved from my office downstairs into the toybox.

In the early '00s I was at a now-long-gone hobby store in Stittsville, and they had the display case that you see below on the left:


This is a nice perspex display case with a mirror back and a clear door over the front. Holding 115 cars, it cost me about $100 at the time, and that price turns out to be a real steal. I have not seen much in the way of display cases with this kind of build quality for that price even on the internet, and thats even before shipping and currency exchange factors were considered.

Next to the display are two Hot Wheels Showcase display cases, official Mattel products from 2008 (and sadly, not seen since). The build quality of these is much poorer, but they are relatively serviceable.

Both cases hold standard length cars, although the older one can hold marginally longer cars in one of the columns, as seen by the Plymouth Superbirds. There are a few cars that don't even fit in there, but for the most part I don't have any.

One other idea we experimented with was to buy pre-made Ikea minishelves and use those for display:


It actually doesn't work too badly, except for the cost. Mounting them was also a bit on the fiddly side, and the resulting layout isn't really friendly to be made denser. I have a half-dozen or so on the wall over my work table right now.

For non-display storage, I have in my closet the usual collection of cardboard boxes and storage bins, which you can see on the left below. These boxes contain a mixed assortment of carded cars, loose cars that I DLM'd, and what is left of the legendary flea market loose inventory purchase. On the right you can see a couple of "traditional" 48-car storage cases. The blue one is quite old. The black one is modern, bought this year when they were on sale at Toys'R'Us just to see how suitable they would be. It turns out to have some oddly-shaped holes which limit the cars that can be stored, and neither the blue nor the black cases are deep enough to store long cars like the Superbirds or Dodge Daytona Chargers. For $7 it was reasonable, but at full price -- something like $18 -- I'd pass. I would probably pay $10 each for more of the blue ones, though.


In between the cardboard and the traditional covers are a bunch of Creative Options Thread Organizers (Clear). These have 48 spaces, 24 on each side (well, two of the spaces on each side are joined into one, so the actual count is 46 and 23, respectively). I got these on sale so they cost me US$7 each plus shipping, which is reasonable. As you can see below, the cars are stored in individual compartments, and once you pull the product sticker off the case door the contents of the case can be examined without having to open them. It isn't a perfectly clear cover, so to examine one closely you still have to open the case and pull the car out, but frankly you were probably going to do that anyways.


The latest display option was something I saw on You-Tube in November. Walmart sells these Plano Stow'N'Go storage cases. They each have 24 Hot Wheels sized compartments. What's interesting about these is that they come with wall-mounting screw holes already in them, and the lids can be removed. When you do that, they make excellent wall-mounted modular display cases:


That's a 2x2 array of these cases, for almost 100 available wall-mounted slots. (This is just a temporary assortment of cars for display, just to see how they look.)

You can go nuts with these cases -- the YouTube video I saw showed one guy who had put them over practically all of his finished basement's walls, hundreds of cases which would eventually hold thousands of cars.

I don't think I'll go that nuts with them, but I think I may eventually take down the wooden shelving and replace them with a dozen of the Plano cases instead. The cost of doing so isn't prohibitive, and the resulting look is very nice. The only downside perhaps is the lack of a dust cover, so we might be back to having dusty cars again...

So that's where we are now. The Plano cases are cheap, easily obtainable here (important when you live in Canada!) and easily mounted. It is good to have a workable solution available.

2016-12-23

Yellow Terror

Also hailing from the 2011 Ferrari 5-Pack that I opened last week is this yellow Ferrari 575 GTC. Since the wall display has grown, I have room for more cars to get put up and I was sure that I also had the 2007 one that included a blue 575 but I can't find it. That's unfortunate.


The yellow one here is nice -- bright, crisp, cleanly executing. It also has an unpainted metal base which extends out as the chin splitter which adds a nice touch.


No detail on the rear here, but that's not unexpected considering it is "merely" a 5-pack car. Overall, this is probably my second-favorite 575.


And hey, Friday two weeks in a row. What are the odds. (OK so when I realized I had two Ferraris to do I did rig it so they both landed on Fridays, so sue me.)


2016-12-21

Cleanup

And in a similar spirit of cleaning up the desk, here's that BMW 1M I referred to earlier. A decent color, although both the black and red still work better -- but really, so far there isn't a bad example of this casting.

BMW 1M
2016 Matchboxk #12/125



2016-12-19

Amazoom

So this is technically a "fantasy" car since it isn't a licensed replica. According to the HotWheels Wiki, the Amazoom is based on the vehicles popular in Brazilian stock car racing. The description includes the word "unlicensed", but it isn't clear to me if this means the silhouettes of the stock cars are unlicensed in their use in Brazil, or if this is an unlicensed copy of the stock car. English FTW!

Amazoom
2016 Mainline #239

I like it because it looks like a real race car. It is another casting that I have a couple more of kicking around. However since this one was purchased most recently -- and therefore it was on my desk when I was trying to decide which cars to do next -- here it is.



2016-12-16

White GTO Error

Cracked open a Ferrari 5-Pack from 2011 because of the wall display -- more on that later -- and one of the cars I picked out was this white Ferrari 288 GTO. We've looked at the GTO before, and while the criticism about the paint job could be repeated here, for some reason it works better on this car than it does on the yellow.

Ferrari 288 GTO
2011 Ferrari 5-Pack
So again, the little details are nice here -- the GTO and Ferrari logo on the rear of the car.


However, here's something for ya: a wheel error from a 5-Pack. One of the PR5s is a black one, not a chromed one. I know that happens periodically -- either this wheel missed chroming, or they dumped some of these in because the chromed ones were out and unavailable. But it is still interesting to see.


...and its even Friday, how about that.



2016-12-14

Snow Stormers

So brand new five-pack, probably for 2017, featuring these things,

...and these things. Lotta fancy fantasy stuff that I really don't care about. So why buy it?


Because the real point of the 5-pack is this, the Escort Rally, seen here with the 2005 Hot Wheels Racing Team incarnation. This is a retool of the casting, without the upper spoiler and with a more traditional deck spoiler on the rear lid.


The older casting is nice, but clearly wasn't popular with Mattel -- probably for parts-count or manufacturing costs reasons -- and we have not seen it since 2011. The new one is really nice, and the coloring -- described on the wiki as Satin Blue -- really really looks good.



Looking at the rear you can see the details have changed, simplified a bit, but still really nice.


This car is definitely a a winner. This is the first appearance for this re-tool and I hope there are many more.


2016-12-12

V60

So here's something cool -- a Matchbox Volvo V60 Wagon. Wagons are really cool, and this is a pretty good model of one. Also the name is pretty relevant, at work we are still using Sunfire V60x computers that are like 12 years old now.
Volvo V60 Wagon
Matchbox Mainline 2016
The execution of the model could be better -- it is unclear to me if the slightly blobby look is because of problems with the plastic moulding, or if the paint is too thick. Some of the details are washed out. Also the execution of the nose seems wrong, like the headlights are too steeply raked back.


I can't say I'm a fan of the wheel types, but then I almost always say that about Matchbox wheels.


There are a lot of nice details here, but the labelling on the back is the best part.


2016-12-09

Return Of The Peg Warmers

When it comes to corporate exclusives, Walmart seems to be cursed with drawing/getting either peg-warmers, or having an overly-optimistic sense of what will actually be popular. Right now the terminal peg warmer is the Ford Anniversary series which seems to litter the Hot Wheels pegs; in the early winter it was the Hot Wheels Truck Series (not to be confused with the Trucks series from 2016's Car Culture collection).

For me, the Truck Series had a whole lot of "no thanks" with one or two "meh" vehicles thrown in. One of those "meh" cars made a return to the pegs at a Walmart I dropped in at, and I decided what the hell, why not.

Datsun 620
2016 Hot Wheels Trucks Series #4/8
 Mostly this purchase was driven by the previous Datsun 620 I'd picked up -- I held it, looked at it, and decided what the hell. For the most part I'm not a truck fan, but even though I think I won't like this casting, I keep ending up liking it in spite of myself. The last one is still on my desk at work where I can see it every day, I guess that tells you what my subconscious really thinks...

I'm not sure about the styling, really. There is nice detail in the face of the truck, but because it is molded in black that's lost even when you hold it. The tampoing on the side is a bit haphazard. But the chrome front and back are nice, and the red-on-white styling is attractive, even if it isn't applied very well (maybe count that up as another hard-to-finish white car?)


Further, this one has some damage on the top of the cab, even freshly out of the blister.


Even with all this going against it, this was the only model from this series which I would even begin to consider buying. And the Ford series? Zero interest from me. And not that much more from the wider collector community either, judging by those cars left hanging all summer.

Mattel needs to be careful. The Car Culture series has been a hit by almost any measure. Personally I've been picking and choosing from them as they come up, as I don't feel any need to be a completionist. The next batch, the Redliners, don't appeal to me (except maybe -- maybe! -- the Cougar, we'll have to see when I actually find one). I think a big part of the success is that Mattel is picking real cars, none of this fantasy stuff, is (for the most part) not being ridiculous when it comes to decorating them, and -- perhaps most importantly -- executing them well. This could go off the rails pretty easily if Mattel takes their eyes off the ball here.

2016-12-07

The Night, It Burnerzez

So there's a new Night Burnerz 5-Pack out these days, and the highlight of it is obvious. We'll get to that, but first let's look at the rest of the pack.

First there is the Volkswagen New Beetle Cup:


...which is interesting for two reasons, firstly because it doesn't separate the body shell from the rest of the car the way previous incarnations of this casting did; and secondly because of the non-standard spelling of the car's country of origin:

"Tailand"
Secondly is this Audacious, which seems to be a play on the word "Audi" -- even though the resulting car doesn't look anything like any Audi I've seen:


Then, the why-did-they-invent-this called the Pony-Up:


And last, but not least -- thanks to the Pony-Up being in the same set -- is the Chrysler 300C Hemi, a car which embodies "meh" to me but is interesting in that it is the only car in this set with a metal, rather than a plastic, base:


...but the highlight, the one that's got everyone talking, the one that will make this 5-Pack a hot seller (and a hot accidentally-returned-to-the-store) is this Nissan Skyline.


Unusually for a car in such a 5-Pack, this car has tampos on the side and rear, in three colors, including detail on the brake lights. With the metal spoiler and tinted windows, this is a must-have. And now I have it.


I referred to this car causing this 5-Pack to get returned to stores in greater numbers -- I've already seen discussion on the internet regarding 5-Packs on the pegs which had a car different from the Skyline. The speculation is that people are buying the 5-Packs, replacing the Skylines with something else, then returning the 5-Packs to the store of purchase for a refund. Presto, free Skyline! Seems like a dirty trick to me, and I can't really see it being worth while doing. If you can't eat $6 for a car you'll want to turn for $10 or $20, you are in the wrong business. On the other hand, since the numbers involved for each physical car are so low, maximising profit on any car you can sell like this helps the overall bottom line. It still seems like a low-down dirty trick to me.


One interesting thing is that the base of the car identifies it as a Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) instead of the original Nissan Skyline.