The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

My wife and son had a break from school for President’s Day, so I took a few days off and we drove up to Kansas City for a couple of days. The highlight of our trip was a visit to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. Housed on the campus of the University of Missouri – Kansas City, the museum first opened in 1982 as the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City featuring the collections of Mary Harris Francis and Barbara Marshall. Over the years, the collection has grown to include over 72,000 objects and the museum has undergone three different expansions, the most recent of which was completed in August of 2015.

With an admission price of only $5 (kids 4 and under are free), the museum is an exceptional value. The collection is beautifully displayed and well-organized. The informative exhibits, which include some interactive and educational elements, kept us entertained for several hours.

The first floor contains the collection of miniatures. I thought we would move through this part fairly quickly, but the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail in the miniatures is so mind-blowing that we found ourselves spending a good amount of time marveling at all of the exhibits here.

IMG_7528 IMG_7546IMG_7532

There are even miniature miniatures!IMG_7531

Though there is a large section of dolls and doll houses, the second floor toy collections are pretty wide-ranging, including some of my favorite classic board games and construction toys.IMG_7585 IMG_7561 IMG_7584

Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are a fairly small part of the exhibit, but there are plenty of other interesting automotive-themed toys.IMG_7560IMG_7567IMG_7572 IMG_7556 IMG_7557 IMG_7558 IMG_7562 IMG_7596IMG_7603IMG_7568 IMG_7601 IMG_7608

There are also plenty of planes, trains and ships.IMG_7599IMG_7593IMG_7598

And there are cowboys, soldiers and spacemen.

IMG_7566IMG_7582IMG_7623

The current temporary exhibit (through August 2016) is Pedal to the Metal, which features a nice collection of pedal cars. My favorite is this Formula One Racecar modeled after Jim Clark’s Indy 500-winning Lotus-Ford from 1965.IMG_7641

Advertisements

2015 Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5

While we were in Arizona during the year-end holidays, my son and I wandered into a Toys R Us. He was determined to find something for himself, and when we came across this Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5, I had a hard time arguing against it. The DB5 is a beautiful car in its own right and James Bond made it even cooler. Packed in a retro-styled box and loaded with great play features, this model is the 50th anniversary reissue of the Goldfinger DB5 that won Corgi the Toy of the Year Award in 1965.

IMG_7525 IMG_75262015 Corgi CC04204S | James Bond’s Aston Martin D.B.5 | silver birch | 1:43

IMG_7518IMG_7519

I came across a website dedicated to Corgi James Bond vehicles, and this page tells a pretty complete story of the DB5.

IMG_7520IMG_7521IMG_7522IMG_7523IMG_7524box_bottom_01

This image (courtesy of the Cool Hard Plastic Toys 1940s 1950s 1960s Facebook page) is a page from the 1968 Corgi catalog showing the character series which includes the original James Bond DB5.

image1

 

Late 70s Star Wars Action Figures

When my son was younger, he was all about Star Wars. He watched the movies repeatedly, amassed a huge pile of action figures, several board games and a few costumes. Then, for whatever reason, he moved on. The last time I brought my old Star Wars action figures up out of the basement, he was barely interested.

But with the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, his interest in the franchise has been reawakened. His latest obsession is an iPad game in which he is collecting and trading Star Wars cards online. (Who remembers when trading cards were a tangible thing?) So when I heard him say his favorite character was Greedo, I reminded him that I have one of the original Greedo action figures.

After that, it was all I heard about from him – “Dad, can we go look for Greedo?” – until I went down into the cold basement, pulled out my boxes of old toys, and dug through them to find my Star Wars action figures.

IMG_7496Luke Skywalker

In those days, they had an interesting design for the lightsabers, which could be extended by pushing them up through the character’s arm.

IMG_7497

Kenner was the toy company that had been licensed to produce toys for Star Wars, which hit theaters on Memorial Day weekend in 1977. Interestingly, Kenner didn’t even have the toys on the shelves until 1978.

IMG_7499Sand People (Tusken Raider)

IMG_7500Death Squad Commander

My Boba Fett was a mail-order figure. I remember it was advertised that his jet pack would fire a rocket, but by the time mine came in the mail, they had decided the firing rocket was a hazard and it was molded permanently into the jet pack. I understand the few that made it to market with the working rocket are fairly valuable.

IMG_7501Boba Fett IMG_7502

These first Star Wars figures are arguably the first modern action figures. By making the figures about 3 3/4″, Kenner was able to also produce ships and playsets to scale.

IMG_7517C-3POIMG_7503Princess Leia

And here’s Greedo.

IMG_7504Greedo

Although I have a nice Star Wars tin that I had offered my son to store the figures, he commented that the box I had them stored in was “cool”. I had to explain to him what a cassette tape was.IMG_7506

 

2016 HW Camouflage 1968 Chevy Nova

My wife gives me a lot of grief about my collection, but I know she still loves me because she looks for cars for me. While out running errands with a friend the other day, she called me from WalMart.

“Hey, I found you a Nova,” she said.

“Great!,” I replied, “Which one?”

“I don’t know,” she answered, “But, it’s really ugly.”

She has an aversion to camouflage, so I knew right away which one she had found. The 2016 Hot Wheels Camouflage Series was released back in October, so I had all but given up on still finding one in the stores. Personally, I think it’s a fun series. And I’m always glad to have another variation of the ’68 Nova.

IMG_7490IMG_7494DFL85 | 2016 HW Camouflage Series | 1968 Chevy Nova | matte dark red with camouflage trim | black MC5

The other models available in the HW Camouflage Series are ’67 Shelby GT-500, ’79 Ford Pickup, ’12 Camaro ZL1 Concept, Rodger Dodger and Tail Dragger.