Hot Wheels Posts

Redlines to Treasure Hunts: A Labor of Love

hobbyDB Team: We are VERY excited about Dan Hornberger’s documentary film project “Redlines to Treasure Hunts” and are pleased to welcome him to our blog with his latest update. “Redlines to Treasure Hunts” is a full-length documentary on the history and collecting world of Hot Wheels. Dan currently has a GoFundMe to get completion costs for the film and is hoping to have it finished by early 2018.

Dan HornbergerA Guest Blog Post by Dan Hornberger

I’d like to thank the folks at hobbyDB for giving me the opportunity to provide an update on the film.

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First…a little background on the film: After producing the documentary STANDARDIZED, an exposé on the standardized testing industry that plagues public education, I began looking for other documentary projects, especially those with a lighter tone. I initially thought about a project involving toys from the 60s and 70s (i.e., Major Matt Mason, Vertibird, AirDevils, Creepy Crawlers) so I attended a local toy fair/flea market. After seeing dozens of tables of Hot Wheels and spotting cars I had when I was a kid, I knew I had my next project. I observed the vendors’ and collectors’ passion; I saw how excited the kids were as they scanned the wide array of cars.

I started researching and discovered an entire subculture of people who love these toy cars. I also quickly found out that Hot Wheels is not your ordinary fad (such as Beanie Babies, Longaberger Baskets, or Cabbage Patch Kids). These toys have been going strong for almost fifty years. I knew that the origin of these toy cars, the different phases of their development, and the dedicated collectors would make a compelling documentary.

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I wrapped up the interviews a month ago (however, I’ve recently learned of another exciting potential interview, but I don’t want to reveal any more just yet). Sure, we interviewed the giants of the collecting world: Mike Zarnock, Bruce Pascal, Larry Wood, all of whom were friendly, accommodating, and supportive. I’ve been feverishly transcribing all of the interviews. Let me tell you, writing a blog entry beats the tedious transcription process. I’m nearing the end of that stage, but it has been a slow, painstaking phase; however, it’s highly necessary if I want a much smoother editing stage.

I often think about all of the great people we’ve met along the way. We:

Spent time with the SJPD and Charm City Collectors’ Clubs (thank you to all of the members!)

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A Charm City Collectors’ Club (MD) sale

Interviewed dozens of collectors such as Kirk Engle, Roy Friend, Dan Hocker, and Ed Bregitzer

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Kirk Engle amidst his collection

Gained invaluable information from interviews we hadn’t initially planned such as Mark and Jennifer Millhollin, Wayne Heede, Danny Tharp, Mark Starr and Bill Cookerly…thank you VERY much!

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Mark & Jennifer Millhollin, Collectors’ Convention Organizers (and VERY nice people!)

Experienced four days of crazy fun at the National Convention in Indianapolis; we came away from that event with eight hours of footage and the experience of meeting dozens and dozens of very nice people (including hobbyDB’s own Christian Braun and Robert Graves)

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Traveled to SoCal and paid a visit to Mattel, who arranged for us to interview Jimmy Liu, Steve Vandervate, and Brendan Vetuskey

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Jimmy Liu, Associate Marketing Manager at Mattel

And we accomplished so much more. I feel compelled to say that this project has allowed me to:

  • work closely with my son, who will graduate this May with a BFA in Filmmaking from Montclair State
  • have my daughter help me on two shoots
  • work with several close friends: Jim Del Conte, whose work is always top-notch; Glenn Cocco and Peter Fey, my two Temple University SCAT brothers. My friendship with these two guys has lasted 25 years, and having the chance to work with them has made this great experience even greater. By the way, Pete composed and performed all of the awesome music in the film trailers.
  • rekindle my love for this great hobby

So what’s next? Well, I’ll finish the transcriptions by next week, and I’ll immediately dive into cutting the film. The toughest part of editing will be narrowing hours and hours of footage into a 90-minute doc. My rather optimistic goal is to have a rough cut completed by late November. In the meantime, I’m hoping Pete can continue cranking out cool tunes, and I’ll spend more time trying to raise money for the budget. Of course, we want the film shown on the major streaming venues so the Hot Wheels’ community can watch it. But before that can happen, we need to enter a few film festivals and, hopefully, deal with numerous distribution offers. Our official fundraising page is www.gofundme.redlines.

I’ll continue to post updates on the official site: www.redlinestotreasurehunts.com, and the film’s FB page. By the way, I’m entertaining another title: The Hottest Wheels. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

With more hard work, more money in the budget, and a little bit of luck, this film will be completed just before the 50th Anniversary. How cool would that be?

Well, so much for a break. It’s time to get back to transcribing. No rest for the weary.
Take care!
Dan Hornberger

Hot Wheels With Hidden Features

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Hot Wheels are usually easy enough to figure out that they don’t require instructions. It goes something like this…

1: Open Package.
2a: Scoot around on the floor or desk or table or sandbox whilst making engine noises.
2b: Or place on orange track for gravity assist.

But if you’re like many collectors, you never get through step 1, so you might not be aware of the not-so-obvious features of some Hot Wheels With Hidden Features. Or in some cases, it might look like the car has an opening/moving/removable feature, but how do you access it? Here are a few examples so you don’t have to rip your blisters open.

hot wheels side kick

Side Kick – This is one of earliest examples of a car with a sort-of hidden feature. It was fairly obvious that the door opened, but how? Eventually kids figured out that by pulling on the tailpipes, the door and driver’s seat slid out to the side.

hot wheels peepin bomb

Peeping Bomb – There was something about those headlights that looked like they should move. Indeed, there was lever was in the cockpit that when slid forward made plastic shields cover the headlights. It was harder to spot on early models because the interior and switch were the same color. On some later models, they were different hues and more obvious.

By the way, both of these cars were available in a special promotion at Shell gas stations in the early 1970s. Were they chosen because of these fun features? Anyone remember getting these?

hot wheels buick grand national

Buick Grand National – At first glance, it’s obvious the hood should open (the entire front clip, in fact.) But if you tried to lift the front edge, it didn’t budge. Unlike the real car, on which the hood was hinged at the cowl, the key here was to flip the assembly forward. Sneaky! Later versions lack this fun feature. If you never opened the blister, you might not have known about this.

hot wheels willys funny car hot wheels willys funny car

Willys dragsters – Hot wheels has made at least FOUR castings representing early ‘40s Willys dragsters: the ’41 Willys Gasser for premium series, the Custom ’41 Willys Coupe for the mainline, the ‘41 Willys funny car, and the super skinny “Torpedoes” version of the funny car. It’s those last two we’re concerned with here… Both cars featured a long wheelie bar in the back, but in the blister, it was temporarily snapped under the chassis to make the car shorter in overall length. On some releases the base of the car and the wheelie bar were the same color and hard to spot.

Cars with removable bodies – Hot Wheels has made a number of cars with removable bodies over the years. Sure, anyone with a drill and a vise and a hammer can disassemble any car, but these were designed to be removable, just not very obviously so. In 2003, Hot Wheels released a series called Pop-Offs. The series name hints at this feature, of course, but if the first time you saw one of these was in a subsequent variant, you might not have ntoiced. The first four cars below originated in that series.

Volkswagen New Beetle Cup – A small lock under the chassis, in front of the rear bumper released the rear of the body, which could then flip off. Later models got rid of the opening feature, unfortunately. The roll cage could flip open as well.

hot wheels vw beetle cup ground fx

Ground FX – This super sleek land speed car was part of the Pop-Offs Series. Again, later variants lacked the removable feature but made up for it with transparent and/or glow in the dark chassis bits.

how wheels mini cooper

Mini Cooper/Morris Mini – We’re talking about the original Cooper, not the BMW Cooper. The mechanism works just like the VW Cup. The roll cage also snaps open, but it’s unclear if that’s a bonus feature or just part of the production design to minimize the number of parts. Either way, the interior came in several colors, so you could mix and match. It actually says “lock” and “unlock” in the base in case you didn’t notice it. Early models had metal bodies, later ones were plastic, and the roll cage disappeared eventually too.

hot wheels hyperliner

Hyperliner  – Reminiscent of the Renault Espace super van, early versions of this model featured a removable body, again with a switch on the bottom of the chassis to unlock it. The power unit is massive to say the least, and you could argue that the chassis looks just as cool without the body. The later variants are sealed and likely don’t have the cool engine details.

hot wheels scion xb

X-Raycers Scion xB – The transparent body on this “Xbox” came off, but no fancy levers were needed… you just sort of pulled on the rear bumper so the body cleared the metal tab that also serves as the license plate.

hot wheels formula solar

Formula Solar – At least we think this one is supposed to come apart. The body just snaps on to pegs front and back, so it can be removed pretty easily.

And as honorable mention, here are some that were really obvious.

hot wheels body swappers

Body Swappers – These were the first Hot Whees with removable bodies, and they proudly displayed this fact on the package. What’s more, all three vehicles shared the same chassis dimensions, so you could mix and match for a total of nine different combinations. The body castings didn’t have names, but the set included a stepside pick up truck, a police car and a fantasy race car. The choice of chassis included a street car set up, a slightly jacked up race car, and a monster truck setup. Assembly and disassembly required a small socket wrench included in the package.

If you know of any other Hot Wheels with hidden features like these, let us know in the comments!

Math, Science, Randomness: The Origins of Model Scales

One of the key attributes of collectible vehicles is the scale in which they are reproduced. Most collectors know about 1/64 scale cars, such as Hot Wheels, as well as other popular sizes such as 1/18 and 1/43. But have you ever thought about HOW and WHY these particular model scales became the standards in their hobbies?

Buick Riviera scale models

1:43 and 1:64 Buick Rivieras

There are many reasons why model companies gravitate towards certain scales. As it turns out, a lot of scales are the result of simple math involving division by 2 or by 10. But several scales are the result of scaling down model trains, or more specifically the track they run on, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

So put on your thinking cap, get out your calculators, and let’s hop into the hobbyDB Shrink-O-Matic to discover the origins of the scales! (All images are approximately to scale.)

1/1 through 1/6 – The scales in this range are simple ratios, easy to calculate. These are of course, large scales, so they’re usually reserved for real items that are not particularly big. Of course, there are some larger objects modeled at full size.

1/8 – Hey, we skipped 1/7! It turns out you don’t get into a lot of prime numbers outside of single digits. Seven is hard to divide by. But 1/8 equals half of a half of a half, so the math is pretty easy. This scale has become popular in recent years for super detailed model car kits. 1/8 scale is often used for replicas of race car driver helmets as well as standalone models of engines.

1/10 – Not that commonly used, but, the math is pretty easy when you multiply and divide by ten. Think metric!

1/12 – Here, one inch equals one foot. This is very common in the world of action figures, as an “average” person of six feet tall scales down to six inches. 

1/16 – Not really used all that often, but it equals half of a half of a half of a half, so the math is pretty easy to convert.

1/18 – This is a widely used scale for model vehicles, but has only been in use since about the mid 1970s. It translates to two thirds of an inch equalling one foot, which is a weird ratio. In this case, its origin likely lies in model cars measuring in at a pleasing size technically known as “big enough for lots of nice detail but not too big to fit on your shelf.”

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Carousel1 Jim Clark Lotus F1 racer in 1:18 scale

1/22.5 – Wait, what? Perhaps you recognize this as “G scale,” popular for large scale outdoor model railroad equipment. It’s based on a measurement of 1.75 inches between the rails, yielding a strange ratio. G scale is often mistakenly referred to as “LGB” or “Lawn-Garden-Basement” scale, which are common locations for such layouts. However, LGB is just a brand name that has nothing to do with those words.

1/24 – This is a popular scale for model car kits, particularly in the U.S. But why? It’s pretty simple if you don’t live in the metric world… one half inch equals one foot at this size. Meanwhile, in other countries…

1/25 – On the other hand, this is a popular scale for model kits everywhere else in the world, as it divides nicely into 100, which is great for the metric system.

1/32 – This size shows up in cars meant as toys as well as some brands of model kits. Its use in toys probably comes from being small enough for little hands but not so small as to be a choking hazard. As with several scales we’ve visited before, the math is easy to calculate, equalling half of a half of a half of a half of a half.

1/36– This size shows up in cars meant as toys as well as some smaller model kits. Corgi popularized it as an alternative to smaller scales because it resulted in larger models without too much extra material, so it felt like a good value to the consumer. It’s also half of 1/18 scale, which may shed light on how that scale came to be.

1/40 – A scale divisible by four and by ten would be ideal for metric and English, perhaps: It never really took off, so who knows? Diapet is one company that used this size.

1/42 – Not familiar with this scale? It’s not really used that often. Tri-Ang, a British toy company settled on this size for their model trains and were consistent when adding model cars and trucks to their line. The standard railroad track measurement of 4-feet, 8.5 inches (don’t get me started on where that oddball measurement came from!) reduced to 33 millimeters, then rounded down slightly equals 1/42. For some reason, other companies settled on a different scale…

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1/43 – Honestly, this one’s a head scratcher. It’s one of the most-used scales for models of all kinds, but the ratio makes very little sense. It does come out to 7 millimeters per foot, but that’s a weird juxtaposition of measuring methods. The standard track measurement reduced to 33 millimeters, rounded UP slightly equals 1/43. Or close to it, anyway. Confusing? You bet. And having to multiply or divide by 43 all day will make your head hurt. Many theories suggest that 1/43 originated as a rounding error that went too far to fix. While popular for cars and trucks, this scale never really caught on for trains soon and was eventually replaced by yet another scale, which is not too much smaller…

lionel o scale catalog

Chewbacca lego minifig1/48 – This is technically the exact definition of “O Scale,” the size popularized by Lionel trains among other brands. It rounds out to 1.25 inches between the rails, which makes some sense. And 1/48 works out to .25 inches per foot, which makes for some easy math. When we get to smaller ratios like this, the difference of a few points is hard to notice, which is why 1/43 cars go along with 1/48 trains and no one seems to complain. This is sometimes called “O27” scale (that’s a letter O, not a zero), meaning an O scale train capable of handing a 27 inch radius curve.

Fun fact: a Lego Minifigure is equal to about a 1/48 six foot tall person, so this scale plays nicely in Legoland, too.

1/55 through 1/63 – You know what? we’ll come back to these seemingly random ratios in a minute. But first…

1/64 – This scale serves so many purposes in the hobby world. In its earliest uses it became known as “S Scale,” or “Standard Scale,” the size of American Flyer brand trains. The distance between the rail is .875 inches, but more importantly, 1/64 is basically half of a half of a half of a half of a half of a half. Whew! 

Of course, this is probably the most popular scale in the diecast world, representing most offerings from Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Johnny Lightning and countless other brands. But hold on a second… Many of these cars aren’t really 1/64. They’re all about 3 inches or 10 centimeters long. Even though the vast majority of them fall well above or below this exact scale, “1/64” it has become a convenient shorthand for vehicles around that size. So what gives? Well…

majorette jaguar xke

1/55 through 1/63 and 1/65 through 1/80 – Back to those larger scales we skipped a moment ago, plus some smaller ones. Many cars called “1/64” size are really smaller or larger than that. The key is that the model companies often use the wheels as the basis for what size the model will actually be. A toy Mini Cooper model might use the same wheels as a Hummer H2 and therefore be about the same length, but their scales will be radically different. Majorette is one brand who puts the proper scale on the bottom of their cars, usually falling in the ranges listed here. Tomica is known for this practice as well. Which brings us to…

3-Inch Scale – The wide range of 1/64-ish vehicles we just discussed ultimately fall under this umbrella, all about three inches long. This could include anything from a 1/30 scooter to a 1/2,000 model of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

1/72 –  Popular for many military kits such as planes, tanks and helicopters where the more standard kit scales produce very large models. They don’t look too out of scale when placed on an HO scale model railroad. The ratio itself is kind of a mystery, but Tri-Ang used it for many trains and accessories, similar to the way they used the “almost but not quite” 1:42 scale.

1/76 – Also known as OO, EM or P4 scales, this is a popular size in Europe. The exact origin of this number doesn’t relate to any particular ratio that makes sense mathematically. OO rails are 16.5 mm apart, which isn’t accurate to that ratio. Truth is, it’s a mishmash of a one scale of rail (the equivalent of HO, which you’ll see in a moment) and a slightly larger body. According to many sources, the larger body was to accommodate wind up clock mechanisms that were just a tad to big for smaller bodies back when this scale started. Got all that?

1/87 – You probably recognize this as the most common scale for model trains in the world. 1/87 is better known as “HO scale,” an abbreviation for “Half of O scale.” But it’s not precisely half, it’s just sort of close. HO represents .625 inches between the rails. Technically, the ratio is 1/87.0857142, rounded to 1/87.1 if you want to be a tiny bit less precise. The names “HO” and “OO” are often used interchangeably or as “HO/OO” since their appearance is close and they use the same track.

ho and n scale locomotives

Athearn HO scale and LifeLike N scale locomotives

1/120 – Also known as TT Scale, this is popular in Russia.  The ratio would be easy to divide by 12 or by 10, so it’s handy for English or Metric scales. TT stands for “Table Top,” by the way.

1/148 – 1/160 – 1/160 is known as “N Scale,” or more accurately “N Gauge,” which sets the distance between the rails for a standard train at .375 inches. Confused? In model railroading, “gauge” refers only to the rails, while “scale” refers to the size of everything else. There’s some wiggle room in that some models might be built to slightly larger sizes (all the way up to 1/148), but regardless of the discrepancy, the rails and the wheels that run on them must be exactly 1/160.

While we’re on the subject of “N Gauge,” this track is sometimes used on HO scale railroads. See, in many steep, mountainous locations around the world, railroads were built with rails much closer together than the standard width. If you were to create a narrow gauge railroad in HO scale, it would conveniently use N-Gauge track but with the height of the rails in HO and HO scale bodies.

1/220 – Also known as “Z Scale.” In this case, the track is .25 inches between the rails, which is tiny, about as tiny as a working electric train can be without needing a nanotechnolgy. As with the other train sizes, only the rail gauge is perfectly accurate, while many objects and details are slightly larger, especially the couplers that connect the rolling stock.

Gemini Jets Boeing 757

This Gemini Jets Boeing 757 doesn’t look so huge at 1:400 scale

1/400 and beyond- We’re getting into some really tiny scales now, best used to make manageable models of enormous objects like airplanes, ships and buildings. These scales simply take nice round numbers in multiples of 100.

1/1,200 and 1/1,250 – Somewhere in the vast range of tiny scales we should mention these two. Both are used for models of large warships, the first being a traditionally British model scale, and the latter being German.

There are many more scales of course, some of which are rarely used. If you know how any other scales came to be, let us know in the comments.

Random Acts of Kindness – Special Treatment on Special Events

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience.

I just returned from the 30th Hot Wheels Annual Collectors Convention and started to unpack. Besides a lot of Hot Wheels models, some other cars (some Matchbox and 4 Majorettes) I also ended up with 3 RAOKs.

raoks-from-the-hot-wheels-convention

Collectors prepare these and then give it to others – some make them for children that are running around in the hotel and other produce them in the middle of an interesting conversation. It’s one of the things that make a difference to European events which are much more focused on the business of buying and selling stuff.

The first one I got from Kirk at KMJ Diecast who maintains a well stocked store on hobbyDB. He probably produces the most of these RAOKs as every child in the hotel had at least one! Kirk gets his dyed by a friend, Karl Klouzer and they are all one-offs.

kirks-raok
The next one I received was from Scot Orloff, a member of hobbyDB who goes under the name of Loaf and has made Teslas.  They are nicely decaled with (what else would you expect) Loaf decals.

loafs-raok
The last one I was given was during a conversation with Albert who makes some amazing customs under the Kool51 insignia.  I just had commented on how I liked his Hawaiian themed VW Kombi custom when he said “here is your RAOK”.  I have of course added the Kool Tiki Kombi to hobbyDB.

kool51s-tiki-kombi

Now I have to brush up my customizing skills before going to the next convention!

Please add any RAOKs you received in the comments!

From Critic to Curator: A Hot Wheels Collector’s Tale

For all the growing popularity of hobbyDB as a research place for collectors, we still run into folks who aren’t initially impressed with our site. We’ve been working hard to make the site more flexible, easier to use, and more powerful in its capabilities (and we know there are still issues!) But the most important resource we have to make hobbyDB the best it can be is you, the User.

We ran into “Jay C.”, a Hot Wheels Collector from Canada, in the comments section on another website, and he was critical about what he perceived as a lack of certain information about Hot Wheels cars. Sure, we have over 40,000 entries for Hot Wheels on hobbyDB, but he had a great idea for additional characteristics that could be used to identify and  differentiate models.

Jay thought we could include baseplate identification information in our database, which we thought was a great idea. It’s a huge undertaking, but worth the effort.

Which brings us back to the point about our Users. YOU are the ones who can help fix shortcomings like these. Of the over 200,000 items on our site, over half of them have been added by Users one at a time. Useful features like our Wheel Types identification guide were built by Users.

Jay joined us for an interview since beginning the project. Here it is, edited for length.


When we first heard from you in a forum on another website, you weren’t very keen on hobbyDB. What was your frustration?

Hot Wheels Collector

It’s true, I wasn’t very pleased to have to move from a Hot Wheels centric database (South Texas Diecast) to an all encompassing website with features that I initially found difficult to navigate and interpret.

So as anyone does these days, I vented out my utter frustration in a comments section, describing in great detail how, in my opinion, hobbyDB was missing the target on some aspects of Hot Wheels collecting. I knew that the old database we were all using before had been imported in its entirety on hobbyDB, but I just couldn’t seem to find a way to search it efficiently.

Turns out, people at hobbyDB read these things, so after some back and forth with Christian (whose patience is the stuff of legends, and whose thickness of skin defies our current understanding of human biology), we exchanged e-mails and phone numbers and had a good chat.

What changed your mind?

I wrote a long e-mail with examples, ideas, and other ramblings that I thought would help get Hot Wheelers on board with hobbyDB and then chatted over the phone with Christian in response. He schooled me on many aspects of the site that I did not know, and I told him about some quirks of Hot Wheels collecting that hobbyDB would benefit from knowing, in order to make searching and cataloguing more efficient and more fun.

I was also aware that the current hobbyDB design and layout might work perfectly for other types of collecting that are thriving on the site, so I tried to think about ways to enhance hobbyDB’s Hot Wheels game without ruining it for everyone else.

What made me change my mind was the immediate attention and response of the hobbyDB team. They were fully in tune with the community, actually made the transition a lot easier, not to mention the fact that they actually care about user feedback, which makes a huge difference to me.

You’ve started adding detailed information about Hot Wheels baseplates. Do you collect based on these differences?

hot wheels baseplate

Indeed, one of the things we discussed over the phone was the baseplate copyright year of the cars. As you might know, the year under a Hot Wheels car is not the year this particular car was released by Mattel, but rather the year Mattel acquired the rights to make the car from the manufacturer. So even brand new cars that you buy at Wal-Mart today might have a baseplate year from the 1970’s, but you’re just buying the 2016 release of that casting. If you have a car with a baseplate year of 1981, you can be pretty confident its first release was 1982 or 1983.

Personally, I don’t collect based on this, but it’s a crucial part of my collecting habits because I mostly buy old loose cars, and the actual name of the car is not always stamped on the base (like the Peugeot 405, among many, many others), and all you have to identify it is the year on the base of the car.

Since the fields in every collectible profile on HobbyDB allow for a lot of freedom, Christian offered me the chance to set up and curate some baseplate years on the site, which I gladly agreed to do.

The goal is to list every first edition of Hot Wheels casting by baseplate year. So you’ll be able to scroll through a list of cars that have a given year on the baseplate, locate your casting, and then click the variants button to locate your exact car.

hot wheels baseplate

Now, I don’t have encyclopedic knowledge of Hot Wheels castings, which is why I still need pictures to put a name on some cars, so I encourage other Users to chime in when they see a missing casting for a given year. Ideally, only the first editions of every casting will be listed for each baseplate year, so if you have a car with a baseplate year of 1981, it might not be the first edition of that car, so the car you see under the 1981 baseplate year list might be the same casting, but of a different color than the one you are trying to ID. But you’ll be able to click on it anyways, and then hit the variants button to identify your exact release of that casting.

What other information do you think would be useful to collectors in our database?

Again, speaking from my own loose car collector perspective, I think being able to quickly find the “Made in” field in search results or variant lists would speed things up even more. Sometimes, this is the only difference there is between identical cars. Was it made in Hong Kong? Malaysia? France?

Actually, the quantity of information available for each car on HobbyDB is amazing, it’s just a matter of tweaking how it’s organized. For example, after clicking the variants button, you see a list of folders that represent the series through which this casting was released: Flying colors, First Editions, Mainline, Workhorses. However, when you have a loose car, you don’t always know which series it came from, so you have to browse back and forth until you find your exact release.

One solution would be an “ALL” button that will list every variation of a given casting in one place regardless of the series it came from, similar to the arrangement on South Texas Diecast.

To me, the main fields we need to ID and differentiate loose cars are the color of the car, the wheels (color and type), the tampos, the color of the windows, the color of the interior, the color, year and material of the base and where it’s been made. We can sort through 99% of loose oldies with those alone.

What is your favorite casting or series of Hot Wheels?

I absolutely love the Nascar type racers from the 80’s. Cars like the Mirada stocker, the Front Runnin’ Fairmont, Mountain Dew Stocker, Flatout 442! The tampos are great on these and they look awesome when you have them all together in a display­. As far as more modern releases go, I was a big fan of the Classics (that antifreeze green could end wars) and Drag Strip Demons series.

How many Hot Wheels do you have, and how long have you collected them?

Last time I checked my list, I had around 2000 carded cars from 2005 to 2016, and around 300 loose ones, mostly blackwall era cars from the ’80s. The carded cars I have are mostly classic old cars like muscle cars. I’ve been collecting Hot Wheels since 2006. I started keeping carded cars when I ran out of space to open them and display the loose ones, and over the years I started focusing more on loose oldies.

What else do you collect?

I have a bunch of old video game consoles and games, but I wouldn’t call myself a collector. I guess that’s the disease… You don’t think you’re a collector until your friends and family come over and start freaking out over how much crap you got.

As we mentioned, the baseplate project is a huge undertaking, which Jay has graciously started on his own. The next step is to link every vehicle to the correct baseplate year. If you have some knowledge of this particular detail and want to help, let us know and we can arrange to have you join in!