1979 Matchbox Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

This 1979 Matchbox Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is another frustrating find from the FBQT collection. I could live with the few chunks of missing paint and one badly scuffed-up wheel, but what I find annoying is the way the firebird sticker on the hood is half peeled off in a really unattractive way. I’ve considered removing it entirely, but for now it will stay as-is.

The #16 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is not to be confused with the #4 Pontiac Firebird from 1975 – of which I have a nice example from my childhood – although they are similar castings. This one replaces the two hood scoops with one and has the restyled 1979 front end and a rear spoiler.

Matchbox | 1979 | 16 | Pontiac Firebird Trans Am | metallic gold | England | Superfast wheels

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1979 Hot Wheels Chrome California Cruisin’ Super Van

I found this Hot Wheels Super Van on my recent visit to the Wichita Flea Market. Super Van was first released in 1975 and I still have the black-with- flames toy from my childhood. This chrome model with California Cruisin’ graphics appeared in both the 1979 Super Streeters series and the 1979 mainlines.

Other variations of the Super Van in my collection include the white flamed-out version from 1980 and a metalflake gray variation from 1982 with the same tampo as this chrome model.

Hot Wheels | 1979 Super Streeters | 9205 | Super Van | chrome with red, black & yellow California Cruisin’ trim | HK | bw

My 1977 Paramedic and 1979 Thor are other Hot Wheels models that used the same casting as Super Van. I also have a few of the retooled vans, including one from 2013 with Old El Paso livery, the Archie Comics Super Van from 2013 and the 2008 Hot Wheels Collectors Convention Super Van.

1979 Hot Wheels The Heroes Incredible Hulk

The Heroes series from the 1979 Hot Wheels got me started collecting blackwall-era cars. I bought a group of these Marvel-themed cars on eBay way back when, and it showed me that there was much more to Hot Wheels than just redlines. The Incredible Hulk is a re-decoration of the Inside Story casting, which was first released in 1977. There are two variations of The Incredible Hulk; one with two narrow horizontally stacked rear windows, and one with a single rear window as you see here.

Click here to see that first group of The Heroes that I bought on eBay, which included The Incredible Hulk with two narrow rear windows as well as Spider-Man and Thor.

Hot Wheels The Heroes | 1979 | 2878 | The Incredible Hulk (Spoiler Sport) | yellow with black, white and green Hulk trim, one large rear window | HK | bw

Here’s a shot of both variations side by side, showing the differences in the rear windows. Also, notice the large window variation has a drag chute tucked just over the rear bumper.

1979 The Incredible Hulk Scene Machines

We had a pretty wet summer, which put a bit of a damper on our garage-saling. One sunny Sunday after a particularly rainy couple of days, I was driving back into the neighborhood after running errands with my wife, son and mother-in-law. We saw a sign advertising a Sunday-only sale and decided to check it out. It was a huge sale, and the nice woman explained to us how she had been thwarted by the rainy weather of the previous few days. There was a table with a few Hot Wheels, and though most of them were uninteresting, there was one that caught my eye. Even my son recognized that it was one of the Scene Machines and both of us began whispering excitedly. The Incredible Hulk was one of the few 1979 Hot Wheels that I had yet to find at a reasonable price.

Meanwhile, my wife had found some books and my mother-in-law had picked out a bunch of clothes. I handed the car to my son, who set it on the table while the nice woman was totaling up our purchase. She glanced at him and said, “Oh, we’ll just throw that in.”

img_9374 img_93751979 | 2850 | The Incredible Hulk (Scene Machines) | white with green, red & black trim | HK | blackwalls

The Scene Machines have a lens in the back of the vehicle which allows you to hold it up to the light and peer inside. In this case, the Hulk seems to be causing some commotion in the back of the van. These scenes are a little tricky to photograph, but the following image gives you some idea of the effect.

img_9384-9385_hulk_scene

Other Scene Machines that I have in my collection include Spider-Man, Motocross Team, S.W.A.T. Van and Space Van.

Corgi

The Corgi brand was created in 1956 by the Mettoy Company of Northhampton, UK, which had been making pressed steel toys since the 1930s. From the beginning, Corgi toys were different than their competition in that they had windows. Later innovations included spring suspension, opening hoods (bonnets) and trunks (boots), and jeweled headlights. After almost a 30-year run, the company went into liquidation and was reformed as Corgi Toys Limited in 1984. In 1989, the Corgi brand was sold to Mattel and in 1995 it was sold again in a management buyout. These days, the company is called Corgi International Limited and is owned by Hornby.

There were a few nice Corgis in the box of cars I got from RR and they all appear to date from before the Mattel era.

img_8140 img_81411970-1972 | Aston Martin DB6 | yellow | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

img_8137 img_8138img_8139Ford 1979 Mustang Cobra | white | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

I rarely come across Corgis in my car hunting, but interestingly, I now have three of the Super Heroes series, including the Joker, Supermobile and this sharp Shazam!

img_8142 img_81431979 | Shazam | yellow with Shazam stickers | metal base | made in Great Britain

img_8134 img_81351980 | Ford Thunderbird | cream | opening hood, chrome plastic base | made in Great Britain

img_8131 img_8132Corgi Juniors | Land Rover 109 wrecker truck | red with Wrecker Truck stickers | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

These two versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are both missing their plastic wings and figures, but they provide an opportunity to show the difference in wheel variations. The first version has rubber tires which fit the model well.

img_9230 img_9231 img_92321970 | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Silver, red and black | missing wings and figures, metal base | rubber tires | made in Great Britain

This second version – a Corgi Junior – has Whiz Wheels, which were introduced in 1969 as a response to the popular and free-rolling Hot Wheels.

img_9234img_9235img_92331970 | Corgi Juniors | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Silver, red and black | missing wings and figures, metal base | Whiz Wheels | made in Great Britain

Here’s an old ad image of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in all its glory. Incidentally, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently in the running for ‘The Ultimate Corgi Top 10’.

corgi_chitty_chitty_bang_bang

img_8147 img_81481984 | Mercedes Benz 240D | red | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

Flea Market Matchbox Finds

These nice late 1970s Matchbox models were part of my recent banner day at the Village Flea Market. At 25 cents apiece, I was happy to take each of these home with me – especially with all of the plastic parts intact and functioning properly.

IMG_8109IMG_8110IMG_81111976 | 29 | Tractor Shovel | dark yellow with red plastic shovel, chrome hubs, black motor, no markings | made in England

This Snorkel Fire Engine seems familiar to me. I think one of my childhood buddies might have had one of these.

IMG_8234IMG_8101IMG_81031977 | 13 | Snorkel Fire Engine (closed cab) | red with blue windows, yellow plastic boom & bucket, unpainted base | made in England

This Sambron Jacklift reminds me of the Fork Lift from my childhood.

IMG_8105IMG_8106IMG_81081977 | 48 | Sambron Jacklift | yellow no markings, black base, silver hubs | made in England

I already had the yellow Diesel Shunter, but this one is in much better shape. The Shunter was originally released in 1978 with metallic green paint.

IMG_8112IMG_81131979 | 24 | Diesel Shunter Locomotive | yellow w/red metal undercarriage, red base | made in England

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