I stopped by Toys”R”Us last week and found a couple of nice Impalas by JADA toys (makers of one of my all-time favorites, the Homie Rollers series). It was good to find both the Fire and Police cars in the Badge City Heat series, Wave 3.
While out running other errands yesterday, I came across a big estate sale and dropped in for a look. I found a box of old Hot Wheels and, though I suspect the early bird got some nicer cars, I was fairly happy to come away with a selection of 80s blackwalls.
I recently rediscovered three cars from my childhood collection. They weren’t kept in my old race case, but were in a different box full of military toys that has gone unopened for several years. I think I bought these late in my childhood and didn’t play with them much, so all three are in pretty great shape.
I even found the two little soldiers and the plastic base that came with the Field Gun. The only thing I’m missing is the plastic ammo that can be fired from the spring-loaded gun.
NASA’s recent success with the Mars Curiosity Rover landing was quite a thrill. While we’re all still cheering, I thought I’d show off some of my NASA-related items.
When the Space Shuttle program was winding down, I decided I wanted to have some souvenirs of its glory days. So I went on eBay and found the Hot Wheels NASA Space Shuttle Ground Support Hiway Hauler and the Matchbox NASA Tracking Vehicle.
The Hot Wheels Hiway Hauler evolved from the cab for the Road King that was made in 1973. The cab was used again on the American Hauler and the American Tipper in 1976. 1980’s Hiway Hauler was very similar to the American Hauler except that it had an extra set of wheels under an extended cargo box. Over the years, the Hiway Hauler’s cargo box has been adorned with many different company logos. This NASA version was released in 1988 as part of the Workhorses series.
The 1982 Matchbox NASA Tracking Vehicle is a modification of the Motor Home from 1980. In addition to NASA tampo, the Tracking Vehicle was fitted with a chrome radar dish on the roof. The Tracking Vehicle also retained the motor home’s plastic opening door on the passenger side.
I have to brag about my personal connection to NASA. One of my brothers is an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Though he was never directly involved with the space shuttle program (he is a control systems expert), over the years he has hooked me up with some pretty cool souvenirs. The first space shuttle flight landed at Edwards, and the long landing strip there was used many times over the years as a back-up landing site when the primary site at Kennedy Space Center couldn’t be used. This button is from the 3rd space shuttle flight and the third mission for Columbia in 1982, which was scheduled to land at Edwards. As it turned out, the dry lake bed at Edwards was flooded, so the landing was diverted to White Sands New Mexico. This was the only time a shuttle landed at White Sands.
Here is another button commemorating the landing of STS-6 at Edwards in 1983. The sixth shuttle mission was the first flight of Challenger, and the first space shuttle mission to include a space walk.
To commemorate the final shuttle flight, I picked up the 2010 Matchbox Sky Busters Space Shuttle Atlantis. By the time Atlantis touched down on July 21, 2011, on its return from the final NASA Space Shuttle mission, it had travelled nearly 126,000,000 miles in space.
I’ve had the good fortune to tour the Dryden Flight Research facility a few times over the years. Though I imagine the security has gotten a little tighter over the years, I’ll never forget sitting in the control room while my brother and his colleagues conducted a test flight of the X-31. One of the coolest projects my brother worked on was the X-29, which was a radical design with forward-swept wings. According to NASA’s webpage on the project, “The concepts and technologies the fighter-size X-29 explored were the use of advanced composites in aircraft construction; variable camber wing surfaces; the unique forward-swept-wing and its thin supercritical airfoil; strake flaps; and a computerized fly-by-wire flight control system that overcomes the aircraft’s instability.” That last part is the stuff my brother worked on. Below are two pictures of me from November of 1985 standing in front of the X-29 in its hangar and flying (crashing) the X-29 flight simulator.
And, finally, here is a little die-cast model of the X-29, followed by a decal of NASA’s classic “meatball” logo.
I picked up a case of cars recently at a thrift store and inside I found this Peterbilt Tanker from the Space Mission 5-Pack that came out in 2000.
I got a nice package in the mail last month for my birthday. I’m the youngest of 10 siblings and the package was from the brother closest to me in age, 3 years older. When we were kids, most of our toys were communal and had been handed down for many years. But when it came to Hot Wheels, we each had our own stash. As my brothers got older, I inherited most of their cars. But not all of them. The package he sent me held some loose cars that he had collected for me, including three that he had kept since our childhood. It was great to seem them again after all these years. His own kids enjoyed playing with them too, so they’ve got an extra generation of play wear on them now. But I’m still glad to have them in my collection.
This Paddy Wagon still had the windshield and top on it the last time I saw it.
Somebody along the way decided it would be easier to get on and off this London bus if it was a convertible. Some versions of the London Bus are worth a decent chunk of money. Not the Berger Paints version, though. Especially not in this condition.