Scale Model Supplies Vintage Plastic Duncan Batmobile

Whenever I travel, I try to seek out any hobby stores that might carry die-cast cars. This usually means dragging my family to some out-of-the-way location and making them wait patiently while I inspect displays of cars. But on our June trip to my family reunion in Minnesota, everyone was impressed with the unique place I took them to.

Scale Model Supplies is located in a former bowling alley in St. Paul. The place is huge and has such an enormous and varied inventory that it kind of boggles the mind. My cousin, Tom, who was along for the trip, was particularly amazed by the population of HO scale figures in the train section. My son spent some time looking in the die-cast section for another James Bond vehicle to go with the one we found him in Phoenix. There is a huge section of plastic models with every kind of vehicle. One aisle has stamp and coin collecting supplies. There is also a large room with three different slot car tracks. Even my wife was impressed.

I did find a few die-cast cars, but my favorite section was a room in the back that looked like a flea market, with bins full of used train and slot car parts and lots of old toys. When my cousin saw me marveling at this old plastic Batmobile, he bought it for me as a Father’s Day present.

The car, which is about 8″ long, is missing the steering wheel, the two front wheel covers, most of the red painted details, and the three yellow and black batman stickers that used to be affixed to the doors and top. But it still has both front and rear clear plastic windshields and the Batman and Robin figures in their seats. The bottom is stamped with the words “COPYRIGHT DC COMICS, INC,” a Duncan logo and “Toronto, Ont., Canada” and “Baraboo, WI, USA”.


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.

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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.


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

Hot Wheels 2016 Batman Series

I couldn’t resist the Hot Wheels 2016 Batman Series. When I found a bin full of them at a Walmart, I picked up one of each.

My favorite Batmobile is the 1960s TV series version, which was designed by the recently departed George Barris. I have the Hot Wheels first release from 2007 and another variation from 2009, as well as a Playart version that I’ve had since childhood. I especially like the comic-book inspired illustration on the package of this latest model.

IMG_6644IMG_6636DFK71 | Batman: Classic TV Series Batmobile | 2016 Batman Series 1/6 | Matte Black, with red & silver trim, clear windows, black Thailand base | 5SP

The next Batmobile in the series first came out in 2004 as the Hardnoze Batmobile.

IMG_6643IMG_6637DFK70 | Batmobile | 2016 Batman Series 2/6 | Black with yellow tint windows, chrome Thailand base | 5SP

Next, we have the Batman Begins Batmobile, otherwise known as the Tumbler, which made its Hot Wheels debut as a 2005 Comic-Con exclusive.

IMG_6646IMG_6634DFK73 | Batman Begins Batmobile | 2016 Batman Series 3/6 | Black with blue tint windows, matte black Thailand base | Chrome/BlackOR6SP / chrome/blackMC5’s

This is only the fourth variation of the Hot Wheels Bat-Pod (so far), the first being released in 2008.

IMG_6642IMG_6638DFK75 | Bat-Pod | 2016 Batman Series 4/6 | anodized silver with anodized silver Thailand base | wideMC’s

The Bat has only been around since 2012 and this third variation wears metalflake black paint.

IMG_6641IMG_6640DFK74 | The Bat | 2016 Batman Series 5/6 | metalflake black with blue tint windows, black Thailand base

And finally, we round out the series with the second Hot Wheels variation of the Arkham Knight Batmobile, which just came out in 2015.

IMG_6645IMG_6635DFK72 | Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile | 2016 Batman Series 6/6 | metalflake midnight blue with chrome windows, black Thailand base | grey/blackOR6SP’s


This one is for my friend and fellow-blogger, Joel, who has a nice collection of Batmobiles too.

My favorite Batmobile is the one from 1966, and I’ve had a Playart version of it since I was a kid. I was pretty excited when Hot Wheels released their version as a New Model in 2007.

img_3334img_3340K6147 | 2007 New Models 1966 TV Series Batmobile 15/36 | black w Batman logo| 5SP

There now about 11 variations of this casting, and the only other one I have is this Faster Than Ever release from 2009.

img_3333img_3341P2453 |  2009 Faster Than Ever 1966 Batmobile 7/10 | black w Batman logo | FTE

For me, another important Batmobile is the one created for the 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie. This first came out as a Hot Wheels First Editions model in 2004. There are about 8 variations, including this HW Imagination release from 2013.

img_3332img_3339X1709 | 2013 HW Imagination 61/250 | Batmobile | black | gray PR5

Hot Wheels now has about 10 different Batmobiles inspired by many of the different movie and cartoon creations over the years, and there are multiple variations of each. This doesn’t include the Batcopters, Batcycles and Batpods, not to mention Batmobiles produced by other brands. So, if someone wanted to get serious about collecting Batmobiles, (I admit, it is tempting) they could keep at if for a long time!

I’ll leave you with another 1989 Batmobile from my collection, this one made by Ertl Diecast.  I’ve had this one long enough that I don’t remember much about it, but I’m pretty sure I picked it up about the same time that the movie first came out.

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Playart Cars

For me, there is only one Batmobile, and it’s the 1966 version that was built by George Barris based on the Lincoln Futura concept car. This one from Playart used to have little red figures inside, but they’re long gone from mine.

IMG_6908.JPG IMG_6909.JPG7100 | Batman Batmobile | black

The Playart fire truck is kind of a sad rip-off of the Hot Wheels Heavyweight series of trucks. I think the back of mine is held on by a generous application of Elmer’s glue, which you can even see in the photos.

IMG_7012.JPGIMG_7013.JPG7130 | Fire Truck | red with white ladder, chrome hoses

I need a couple of “hubcaps” for my Toyota 2000 GT.

IMG_7008.JPG IMG_7009.JPG7117 | Toyota 2000 GT | metallic green

IMG_7010.JPG IMG_7011.JPG1965 Ford Mustang convertible | orange with black convertible top