Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ebay Mishaps!

My ebay efforts to thin the miniature diecast herd continue, with a break for Xmas. All was going well, or so I thought.

I received an email saying that a paypal payment had been reversed and frozen while a dispute was being looked into. A customer had emailed me a few times saying their item hadnt arrived. I was sure I had emailed it in mid November and emailed the other people who bought items around that date. All had received their miniature cars.

All my auctions offer registered mail as an option. No one to date has requested it. I pointed this out in my response to the Paypal dispute resolution mechanism.

On Monday I went to the box with cars to be sold and looked in it - there on top was the car I thought I had mailed, it its mailing box, addressed but not taped.

Hmmmm - what to do ? My outlook on life is to treat others as you wish to be treated. I emailed the customer.

From: me
To: him
Subject: Re: caz72m has sent a question about: Item not Received for item #200399382843, that ended on 04-Nov-09 20:57:21 AEDST - MATCHBOX YESTERYEAR Y26 LOWENBRAU 1918 CROSSLEY
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 13:08:39 +1100

Hi Steven,

I suppose i could bullshit you, but heres the truth. I went to the box i keep my items to be posted in this morning, and on top was your car. My apologies. I could have sworn it was mailed when i mailed the other cars mid november. I have never had an item go missing in the mail before. 

I have included another YY to make up for the error. Its a Y9 but its not mint, and has no box. 

I will mail it this afternoon (registered post). 

Once again, please accept my apologies. I hope you enjoy your YY cars. 


Damien Haas

Later that day I received the following reply.

On 04/12/2009, at 1:52 PM, steven wrote:
No Worries , Thanks for your honesty.

Regards Steve
I then received an email from Paypal saying the payment had been recredited and the dispute closed. Steve would not have received his item yet, so I'm quite pleased he took me at my word. 

I made sure that the item was posted out 'registered'. I think I will have to update my business processes to make sure a simple error like this doesn't occur again. I was talking to a heavy ebay seller and he says that he makes sure that everything he mails out is registered. In this instance, that would not have resolved the issue as I hadnt mailed it in the first place! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Into the garage - VY SS Ute, Moffat XB GT, Superkings Transporter

After selling a few diecast cars on Ebay, I decided to restock the garage. Two purchases occurred at Fisher Discounts, and one from Ebay.

The first purchase is a Classic Carlectables, 1/43 Holden VY SS Utility - with Canopy (factory). Effectively, a VY SS Panelvan.  I have only seen a handful of these on the road, and was quite taken with the 1/43 version.

The casting is very good, and the fine detail is captured accurately. None of the doors open, but this is rare in 1/43. The interior is very good, with multicoloured and patterned seats, and a nice dash. The body colour is called 'Phantom'.

The wheels are nicely cast, not too 'chromey' and capture the sheen of the real cars rims accurately. You can also see tiny brake calipers on the disc brakes if you squint. Best of all, this car was on special - and cost $25. As one of only 1250 produced, this is quite a scarce model. I am not a big Commodore fan, but this is a nice example of design, and is a little different to your normal Commodore.

The second car was a very attractive Biante/AutoArt 1/43 Ford XB Falcon GT, as raced by Allan Moffat in the 1976 Bathurst 1000.

This is a beautifully rendered version of the XB Coupe. The body shape is accurate, the colour scheme is accurate, and the racing wheels and interior are accurately represented. This was also on special at Fisher Discounts, at $45.

The limits of my photographic skill dont truly capture how well presented the interior of this car is. You can see a racing seat and various racing modifications which are different from the road version. In this scale, its impressive.

The underside is also different. The front wheels actually turn! The suspension and underbody look accurate, and notice the racing pipes. Apart from the fact its clean, and there is a dirty big hole that a screw goes into to hold it on a baseplate, it could be a real car flipped on its side.

This shot nicely shows the beauty of the racing paint scheme. I wish more people would paint  their road cars in more interesting paint schemes than the factory monocolour offerings. After driving a car painted in flames for 20 years, its definitely easier to find your car in a parking garage, among other advantages.

My final photo. Those are tiny clip on plastic covers over the headlights. On the real car, there were little angled curves on the inner edges, directing air into the radiator. Its the only inaccuracy I can find. Dont XB Coupes look good from the front ? Rhetorical question.

Final purchase, from Ebay, was this Matchbox Superkings K7 Racing Car Transporter. I already own one of these, but it was in 'much played with' condition, and I lost the racing car when I was a child. Box ? Also gone. I have no idea what the scale of this vehicle is. It could be 1/87.

A total fantasy design, not based on any real car, this was a childhood favourite. I saw this on ebay and even though it was without its box, i decided to bid anyway. It is in excellent condition with only a few very small chips, and the plastic car cover is unmarked. There was also a white version of this model produced. I've never seen it though.

This model came with the No 24 'Team Matchbox' 1:75 F1 Racing Car. Also in excellent condition. The stickers are in excellent condition. As a toy and not a model, like the other cars reviewed in this post, the paint quality is different, and it has thick stickers, not tampo printed or decals for detail. The paint colour screams 'Shell' to me. but it has 'Firestone', 'STP' and 'Team Matchbox'.

I like the gullwing doors. The rear door lowers, and the tray that the racing car rides in also pulls out to form a ramp. The design itself dates from 1972. Im not sure when this actual model was produced. By entering the garage it replaces the much played with version. I plan to update my Superking collection piece by piece. Id prefer boxed versions, but an unboxed version in this condition is fine by me.


Classic Carlectables 1/43 VY SS Ute with Canopy

Quality   8
Design    8
Colours   8
X-factor  6

Rating: 30/40

Biante/AutoArt 1/43 Ford Falcon XB GT Moffatt-Schuppan 1976 Bathurst

Quality   9
Design    8
Colours   9
X-factor  9

Rating: 35/40

Matchbox Superkings K7 Racing Car Transporter
Quality   7
Design    9
Colours   6
X-factor  9

Rating: 31/40

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Buying Diecast Cars in Canberra

Yesterday I wandered over to Belconnen Westfield Shopping Centre to see a movie (Surrogates, excellent - Bladerunner lite for the 00's). As I was early, I decided to take advantage of the cluster of toy departments (K-Mart, Toys-r-Us, Coles, Woolies) and see if there were any Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars that caught my eye.

I thought about it later, that the other cluster of diecast suppliers is Fyshwick. I have visited all three, but prefer one over the others. The three are - Super Toyworld, Fisher Discounts and Monaro Models and Hobbies.

Super Toyworld        5 Barrier St, Fyshwick

An enormous toyshop, with dedicated R/C and diecast sections. The range is good, and they have an excellent display of 1/18's and a good range of Hotwheels and Matchbox (strangely in the toy section NOT in the diecast section). Prices are not outrageous, but limited 'specials' on diecasts. 1/43 is not a prime focus of this store. Staff are friendly and helpful.

Fisher Discounts        68 Barrier St, Fyshwick

A strange store. Downstairs is a large old style hardware store, specialising n power tools for tradies. Upstairs is a model car/train/plane area. It is jam packed and there is a strong focus on diecast cars. There is an enormous range of diecast cars in 1/43. They have good specials and very reasonable prices. Staff are very friendly and helpful.

Monaro Models and Hobbies        80 Newcastle St, Fyshwick

A large store, nice and open and not as jam packed as Fisher Discounts, but the focus here is very much on R/C. Diecast cars have a small dedicated room in the corner, which i always feel odd entering. Although I have been there several times looking for particular cars, I've never bought anything. The range is small, and doesn't have a real focus. The staff are friendly and helpful but I think they are more focussed on R/C.

Where I shop

The store with the greatest range in 1/43 is Fisher Discounts.  I prefer to shop there due to the range, the ever changing specials and the friendly staff. I was once overcharged $10 (didn't realise until i got home) but apart from that all my experiences there have been good. I still visit the other stores, especially Toyworld as it shares a street with Fisher Discounts, but reviewing my purchase spreadsheet its clear that Fisher Discounts are ahead on parting my money from me in exchange for miniature cars.

If you know of any other stores in the Canberra region that specialise in Diecast cars, please email me or leave a comment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Badge engineering in 1/64 Hot Wheels and Happy Wheels


I have always been a Hot Wheels and Matchbox fan. If you ran a meal detector over my mums backyard and dam walls at the farm, you would find dozens of these little cars. Hot Wheels and Matchbox collectors are slightly different breeds though, a bit like the cars themselves.

Crooze Ooze Coupe

Hot Wheels always had a more 'hot rod' and 'custom' approach to their cars. Moreso than Matchbox where the oddities such as Mini Ha Ha stood out because they were unlike the other Matchbox 1/75 cars. The majority of Hotwheels cars these days are of this custom variety, indeed they market outrageous impractical car designs, and hire noted full size car designers to design whacked out cars for them.

Hot Wheels collecting is popular, and several years ago was frantic. I believe the bottom has dropped out of the collectible and valuable aspect, but the collectors are still keen and seek out different variants of cars. As most of these cars can be picked up for a few dollars at Safeway and toyshops, it is easy to assemble a collection over a few months that is significant in size but not in money.

Occasionally a scarce variant will appear, and those 40 year old blokes you see fossicking through the Hot Wheels racks in Safeway at ten o'clock on a Thursday night, are the collectors looking for the scarce or new variants of cars.

So imagine my surprise to discover that Hot Wheels or their parent company, licensed some Hot Wheels designs to be produced specifically for McDonalds Happy Meals. These cars are in unique colour schemes (which attracted me to them, already having some of these in regular Hot Wheels carded variants)  and there are no real records kept on what Hot Wheels car appears as a Happy Meal car.

2Cool Hardnoze - stickers peeled off 

Unlike most badge engineering exercises, where a person knows that the Lexcen is in fact a Commodore, these 1/64 badge engineered cars are a mystery. My favourite Hot Wheels reference site makes no reference to them at all. They are collectible though - to both Happy Meal Toy collectors (yep, they exist) and Hot Wheels collectors.

As far as I can tell, the differences are these:
  • stickers used instead of tampo printing
  • mono paint schemes
  • plastic bases (see picture below)
  • no hotwheels reference on base plates (see picture below)

Every other aspect of them screams 'I am a Hot Wheels car' and so, I have a few in my collection. However, as I am redefining my collection I have gone through and selected six that must leave the garage and find new homes. On the Ebay listings I have used the Hot Wheels names (see the photos here for the real Hot Wheels names) but I have no idea how they come out of the Happy Meal box. The plastic base plates say nothing of any real use, apart from a year, Mattel and McDonalds.

On a Hot Wheels car, this sticker would be tampo printed

One is a complete mystery. It looks like a Hot Wheels car, and is constructed in that way, but I cant find any references to it. It even has a small Hotwheels sticker on it. It is a little go kart with a rider. The Hotwheels range does have a go kart, but this one is different to the Hot Wheels go kart, in design and also in having a small person driving it - the Hot Wheels go kart does not have a rider. It doesn't fit in my collection, so it is leaving the garage as well, hopefully to fill a gap in someone elses collection.

If you know more about these Happy Meals Hot Wheels, or anything about the mystery go kart, please leave a message in the comments. All these cars are leaving the Capital Diecast Garage via my Ebay store of the same name. I will ask the purchasers whether they are Hotwheels or Happy Meal Collectors.


Update 28/10/09 - Some of these little cars sold, I was curious about the go kart so i asked the buyer what he knew about it, and why he bought it. His reply: hi damien its a toy from maccas i collect anything different from all types of cars to motorbikes i have a large collection and just keep adding thanks.

So there you go - it went to happy Happy Meal Collector!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Code 3 - A short guide to diecast car 'codes'

Every subculture has its own jargon, or shorthand. It occurred to me that some people may not know what a 'Code 3' diecast model is. A brief rundown on terminology follows.

The 'codes' relate to the condition and modifications on a particular model.

Code 1 : A standard model as it comes from the manufacturer. Only ever called a Code 1 in a guide like this.

Code 2 : A standard model from the manufacturer but with differences in packaging or badging. An example could be a promotional model of a Trabant made for say Capital Diecast Garage by the manufacturer, and I decide to rebox it or apply an extra sticker to it. Another example is the application of aftermarket decals to models such as Brock HDT Commodores that are produced without tobacco company signage in accordance with legislation.

Many people collecting Brock cars are unwittingly becoming Code 2 artists, when they purchase decals from places such as Pattos Place to ensure that the model they have is accurate and not inaccurate.

Code 3 : Massive changes made to the appearance of the model without the permission of the manufacturer. This can include new or different decals, changing the paint scheme, different wheels, swapping components, or a massive redesign using a base model and turning it into something different. Some Code 3's are good quality, and others atrocious.

Code 3 from 'Santers Workshop' note poor painting of detail, inaccurate paint around upper doors and sloppily applied decals. Even the wheels are wrong, I doubt a taxi ever used Targa Florio mags! It looked OK in the Ebay ad. Caveat Emptor. 

If you are offered or buy a Code 3, you should be advised that it is a Code 3 and not represented as a factory original version of a particular model. That is fraud.

Some people like collecting Code 3's and others frown upon it. My opinion is that as long as its not represented as something it is not, then enjoy the Code 3. You can find interesting examples of cars which you might never see if someone hadnt attempted to Code 3 a car.

  Original Trax P76 at top, Code 3 at bottom of photo. Correct colour paint for Yellow Cab, but sloppy detail work has ruined this model.

Y22 Ford Model 'A' van 'OXO'

Exiting the Garage is an old friend, the Y22 Ford Model 'A' Van in 'OXO' livery from the venerable Matchbox Models of Yesteryear range. A stunning red and black livery complements the OXO printing on the body, and a nice black roof adds to the vintage touch.

Matchbox churned this model out in several different variants and colour schemes during the 80's, but this was the first of the Y22's. It would have been purchased in the early 80's from Wayside Hobbies in Ringwood, Victoria.

This particular Y22 is in the first livery offered and is an early 'Made in England' Y22, before production shifted to Hong Kong. Oddly, it is in a box that mainly appeared with the Hong Kong cars, in brown and maroon with gold lettering, but it is the box the model arrived in.

If someone knows when different types of boxes were produced and used, please let me know in the comments field.

This model spent some time on display back in the 80's, with a fleet of other Yesteryear companions, then went back into his box for the last 15 or so years. Now the time has come to let him find a new home - so I have listed him in Ebay at my Ebay shop 'Capital Diecast Garage '.

The detail on this model is not stunning, but it is an early 1980's model and compared to the Caldecott 1/43 XY Falcon Utility I bought three weeks ago (reviewed on my other blog ) it is pretty good. I would have paid 12 or 13 dollars for it, but am selling him at half that price.

It is a hard thing to let go of old friends like this, but I am redefining my diecast collection and focussing on different areas, and I would never display him again. Better to set him free.

Quality   7
Design    7
Colours   8
X-factor  8

Rating: 30/40

Listed on Ebay and in my Ebay Store 'Capital Diecast Garage' .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcome to Capital Diecast Garage


If you are reading this then you have an interest in diecast cars. On this blog I will post items relating to my collection of diecst cars, cars I am buying or selling, and other snippets of interest related to diecast cars. Occasionally I will also veer into resin models as well!

I have been collecting diecast cars since I was a small child, and stopped smashing my Matchbox cars with a hammer when I was about twelve. By 18 I had a display case with Matchbox Models of Yesteryear, Brumm, Lledo and others. I then lived like a gypsy and although the collecting continued, they went into boxes as I flitted from state to state and house to house.

Over time, my collecting became far more focussed and I now concentrate on 1/43 diecast cars, mainly of Australian vehicles. I do have a few 1/18 and other sizes, but I prefer 1/43 cars. I have bought a few Code 3's from Ebay and after my last purchase, have decided to modify some of my cars to Code 3 and try and make them a little more accurate.

So welcome to the Capital Diecast Garage. I would offer you a tiny 1/43rd scale beer, but I am yet to see a 1/43 scale Esky!