Japan Booster

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Super Finds 2015: 3 out of 5 so far, and my non-collector friend strikes again...

Don't call it an experiment.

That is what it was last year.  Could I find all 15 Supers during random daytime store visits?  I ended up 13 of 15, which was better than I thought I would do.

The problem with an experiment, is that the idea of "random visits" lost its definition over time.  My visits were still in the daytime, and only when I had time while working, but they were probably a little more frequent than I would like.

So this year is not an experiment.  All it is in 2015 is a documentation of any finds I have throughout the year.  But I promise to document them.

2015 got off to a good start, as I found two of each of the first two Supers.  2 Kool Kombis on successive days, and then 2 Rrroadsters on successive Walmart stops while driving home from an out of town trip.  Funny how those happened in bunches.

Afterwards I went on a typical dry spell.  They happen a lot.  I was really hoping to find the AE86 Corolla (for obvious JDMerrific reasons), and I would not have complained about finding a Ferrari 599XX.  But to this point I have had no luck.  There is still a decent chance I might find one or both.  My luck in small rural stores that stock old batches has been well documented.

But so far it has been about finding recently released Supers in 2015.  And that trend continued today.

I had a few minutes before I had to be on a conference call, and it was not enough time to visit a client.  So I decided to use the extra time to hit a nearby Walmart.  The first thing I noticed was the front endcap full of Hot Wheels.  It appears this has been mandated by several stores, as most that I have visited in the last couple of weeks have had this endcap.  Basics on the front, and Monster Jam/Star Wars on either side.

The pegs were full, but that wasn't alarming, since it seems most of the endcaps I have seen have been filled with old dump bin models.  What was alarming, however, was obvious Batch E models.  I noticed the blue E36 BMW down below, and quickly saw a McLaren P1 a few cars back on the top peg.  I had heard some had found Batch E models, including a friend, Ace, who had found the batch a few towns away.

I was happy to be able to grab some extra E Case models, but because it was almost 10 am, I figured these pegs had already been hit.  This particular store is well scoped out by some very nice, but very diligent collectors.  So I thought I would pick up a couple of 302 Mustangs that I needed, and then go on my very way.

That was until I saw the multicolored Beetle.  The Batch E Regular TH is bound to be popular among collectors, mainly because it is a VW.  There is no way the diligent collectors around here would leave it, especially on a batch that just came out.  So my interest was suddenly piqued.

And it paid off when I got the second row.  There, one model back, was what I consider the best Super of 2015 so far:

It was a complete shocker.  The collectors here are very good about knowing when new bins hit, but this small batch must have flown under the radar.  My thinking is that the main large bins have yet to ship, and my guess is they will contain zamacs.  Nonetheless, I happily grabbed the 302 Super, along with a few other regular 302's, looked for anything else (another Beetle, which I left), and went on my merry way.

The Mustang was definitely on my want list, and it was cool to find it so early.  From what I learned later from other collectors, only a couple of stores around here got a small bin.  My friend Ace found one of them (2 regs, no Super), and I apparently found the other, which was pegged instead of kept in the bin.

So where am I in 2015?

A. Kool Kombi - found twice in Walmart dump bins two days in a row mid-morning.
B. Rrrroadster - found 2 at successive out-of-town Walmarts, mid-morning.
C. Toyota AE86 Corolla - no luck
D. Ferrari 599XX - no luck
E. '69 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - found on the pegs at a nearby Walmart, mid-morning.

So we sit at 3 out of 5.  Not a bad start, but I hope to find the Corolla and 599XX to fill in the list.

One bonus note:

From what a fellow collector told me, only two stores in the area got the mini dump bin.  Well there was apparently a third.

Remember my work partner, we called him "Chad" for anonymity's sake, who found the Impala Super in a rural market dump bin just before Christmas?  He doesn't collect, but has what you could call a curiosity about finding Supers, and wanted to find a Super just to say he had.  After a few months of a stop here and there, he lucked out while we were on a business trip down in Moab.  I was great to be there when he finally found one.

Well, his luck continues.  While getting some groceries with his son at another nearby Walmart sometime after 5 pm today, he texted me this photo:

Bingo!  He had seen the Mustang Super on a Lamley post earlier this week, and when he saw the mini dump bin, he decided to dig a bit.  At the very bottom was the 302 Super.  Hot crazy is that?  He doesn't even collect and now he has more Supers than a lot of collectors I know.  We will see how long his beginner's luck continues.  A very cool find, especially since he found it himself.  I was definitely more happy about his find than mine.

So, in a roundabout way, another set of two was found today, just like the Kombi and Rrroadster.  We will have to see if that streak continues...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just Unveiled: 2015 Hot Wheels Corvette C7.R...

This is a model that will interest a few of you.

In the vein of the recently released SRT Viper GTS-R comes the brand new Hot Wheels Corvette C7.R.  The new Corvette endurance racer is menacing machine, and that looks to translate into its mini form.

What we can't tell is if, like so many Hot Wheels racers lately, the Corvette suffers from an up-sloped chin.  Yeah, it makes it great for the orange track, but not for a display case.  We will save our whining for later if in fact the model has a fat lip.  (It looks like it might.)

But for now, here is what to expect...

The Nissan R34 Skyline joins the brand new Hot Wheels International Road Trippin' series...

Who collects the Road Trippin' Series from Hot Wheels?

The Walmart exclusive series appears to be selling well.  Not all models fly off the shelves, but for the most part it seems that this series has struck a chord.  I myself am a fan, partly because I consider myself a bit of a road enthusiast, but I don't collect them all.  I assume many of you do the same thing.

Well it seems the Road Trippin' series has been a success, as Hot Wheels is continuing it in 2015, but with a broader scope.  Instead of just roads in the US, the series now features famous roads from all over the world.  And the first release that we know of will be what Hot Wheels is calling the "Mt Fuji Touge Road", and will feature the R34 Skyline in a "Drift" livery.

We are always happy to see the R34, although this version doesn't get us too excited.  But we will take it.  The cool thing?  Hot Wheels will use the same roads for future releases, so that could mean more Japanese cars in the series.  What they will be, we don't know (although we have heard rumors of a Kaido Racer Hako.)

Nonetheless, Skyline collectors rejoice.  You have another to hunt down...

Monday, January 26, 2015

A mess of Mustangs: The brand new Cool Classics, Super TH, mainline, and modified castings of the HW Mustang Boss 302...

The Boss 302 is the coolest Mustang ever, right?

There is no debate whatsoever, correct?  Of course not.  Everyone has their favorite, and the 302 is mine.  Not that it makes me unique.  If you asked all Mustang lovers to rank their Top 5 Mustangs ever, the 302 most certainly would be in there.

I have learned to appreciate the geekiness of the Mustang II, the underrated design of the Foxbody Mustang, and I am quite fond of the latest incarnation.  (Still can't get behind the fourth generation though.  Ewwwww.)  And that is a lot, considering growing up I was much more interested in any Japanese, Italian, or German than American.

But we all grow up, and hopefully we start appreciating more.  The Mustang is definitely something I appreciate more.  In fact, after learning more and more about the Trans Am series of yesteryear, I gained a FULL appreciation for the cars of that era.

So take that Trans Am circle, and cross it with the Mustang circle.  What's overlapping?  The Ford Mustang Boss 302.  Easily our vote for coolest Mustang ever, and one of the coolest looking cars...uh...ever.

And Hot Wheels nailed that casting for the Racing Series.  They released the Jones and Follmer Mustangs together, and after snagging them at the store, the '70 302 instantly became my favorite Hot Wheels Mustang casting.

Then it vanished.  It popped up in the Hot Wheels racing series, or so I thought.  It was not the '70 302, but the '69, and it was a slightly different casting.  (We didn't figure that out until last year.)  It seemed it was only a matter of time that the 302, in it's '69 or '70 incarnations would appear in the mainline, and that time has come.

We have obviously known the 302 was coming, and that it would be a Super TH, but along the way a little surprise happened.  The last two batches of Cool Classics, which we thought were cancelled, emerged this last week, with a '69 302.

So that means we are in 302 frenzy.  Batch E will be hitting stores, and collectors will be flaunting their Super 302 finds.  The Cool Classics may or may not hit stores, but everyone will be looking.  It will be fun.

And considering how good looking this casting is, we anticipate seeing it quite a bit in the future.

Considering we got all the 302's from Wheel Collectors late last week, we decided to bring out the Racing versions and give them all a few shots in the studio.  And there is where we discovered that there is a third version of this casting.

Let's review:

The casting debuted as a '70 Boss 302:

It then reemerged as a '69 Boss 302 in HW Racing and now Cool Classics (note the headlights):

The headlight and grill change:

And now it remains a '69 302, but with some additional changes:

Obviously the spoiler is the first thing you would notice.  Hot Wheels is moving to metal spoilers, so that is not a surprise.  We would have noted the change, but not focused on it.

Let's look at things from a different angle:

Another grill change, right?  And the chin spoiler is a bit more rounded on the Super.

Let's look at the back:

There you go.  Tail lights are totally different, and the Super has the middle emblem.  And of course the spoiler is metal.

You might be able to see the differences a little better on the mainline:

That is definitely an updated casting.  So we have three 302's.

Yeah, that is nitpicky.  The fact is this model is really good-looking, no matter what subtle differences might exist in the castings.

So let's work through these, starting with the Super and mainline, and then through the Cool Classics version.  Nothing will beat the two Trans Am Racers in yellow, but there is no denying that Super is pretty cool.  Great wheels, great deco.

(Find the Cool Classics 302 along with the rest of Batch K at Wheel Collectors...)

Hot Wheels '69 Ford Mustang Boss 302

(2015 Super TH & Mainline):

2015 Cool Classics: