Hey, That’s Not Santa! Collectibles in Claus Costumes

santa claus lead

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

One of the greatest, most mysterious super-spies in history is hitting his busy season. He’s been surveying you and everyone in the world ‘round the clock, ‘round the calendar. He’s been compiling notes on everyone’s behavior in order to exact his own special brand of justice. But on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus rolls up his sleeves and really gets down to business.

As Christmas approaches, he has a network of “helpers,” doppelgangers who pop up at malls and shopping centers and street corners all over the world in December to give the illusion that he’s close by. Of course, some of those Alt-Santas have other motives, many of them quite naughty indeed. Here at hobbyDB, we decided to compile a list of Santa’s subterfugers (is that a word?) from the benign to the sinister to the positively evil. And of course, we have our own intel on each one.

yoda darth vader santaHarmless Imitators

There is a long history of fictional characters donning the red suit mostly for good natured hijinks, or simply to sit in the chair at the mall. Generally affable characters such as Yoda, Mickey Mouse, and Freddy Funko have all gone red for non-canonical merchandising reasons. Which really fits the spirit of Christmas if you think about it. Heck, even Darth Vader can be found in Santa garb, but since it’s not in any of the movies, we have to assume he was just goofing around, right? Right?

gizmo gremlinCuddly But Creepy

Anyone who doesn’t think of “Gremlins” as a Christmas movie really needs to have their spirit checked. The Gremlins start out cuddly, but (Spoiler alert for a 35 year old movie) if they get wet, or are fed after midnight, they turn into horrifying little monsters. So it’s tough to say which side of the fence Gizmo, seen here, falls on. Also, is he really impersonating Santa, or just wearing a hat to be festive? Intentions and consequences unclear.

jakc skellington droppoGood Intentions, Bad Ideas

Jack Skellington has to go here, right? Sure, he plotted to take over Christmas, and sure, he usurped the good name and costume of St. Nick, and sure, he actually hijacked the sled (Spoiler Alert for a 25 year old cartoon) and attempted to deliver the goods on his own… but he swears it was all in good fun. Okay, and a bit of jealousy. However you want to judge his intentions, he probably could have done some jail time for his malfeasance if he ever went to court.

funko psycho santaAlso in this category, we have Droppo, the lovable goofball from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, possibly one of the worst holiday movies ever. In any event, Droppo dons the suit to cover for Santa while he… look, I don’t want to spoil this one for you. You really should watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of it, though.

Looks Kind of Scary, but Who Knows?

Psycho Santa’s main motive is… well, that’s hard to say. He’s a crazy goblin-looking creature, with wily eyes, a mischievous grin, and a creepy tongue dangling out of his gap toothed mouth. The Psycho Goblin character is an original Funko creation, so he’s still building his back story.

santa grinchYour heart’s an empty hole, Your brain is full of spiders, You’ve got garlic in your soul

And of course, Santa’s most sinister imposter has to be the Grinch, right? His elaborate scheme to steal the spirit of Christmas by stealing the materialism of the holiday was diabolical. He didn’t just wear the suit, he mimicked the sled, the reindeer, the mannerisms. And of course, (Spoiler alert for a 50-year old cartoon) his diabolical plot could only be derailed by… his own heart. Now for a real mystery… in Who-ville, does the real Santa look human, or Who-man?

robot santaBad Intentions, Bad Ideas

Oh, wait, you thought the Grinch was the best of the worst? In the year 3000, Santa’s duties are relegated to a harmless four-ton robot from Neptune. Well, Futurama’s Robot Santa Claus would be harmless, except he was erroneously programmed to judge the naughty from the nice with extreme prejudice. (Spoiler Alert for a 20 year old cartoon) He deems just about everyone naughty and worthy of a death sentence. 

Speaking of robotic Santas, over the years, “Doctor Who” has ended many of their seasons with a Christmas special, some of them featuring Santa.  It makes sense: He doesn’t hop across dimensions, and he doesn’t travel in time, but Santa does manage to cover a heck of a lot of square miles in an absurdly short amount of time. So it figures he would know Doctor Who to some degree. But he’s the good guy. In most of those specials, anyway. One year did feature a super creepy Santa Robot, the kind who occupied the uncanny valley, so he was the stuff of nightmares.

eric cartman santa suitThe True Meaning of Christmas is Ham… no, Presents!

The very first five-minute South Park cartoon features Santa Claus battling Jesus to settle the true meaning of Christmas. As bad as that Santa might sound, (and in subsequent appearances he’s not the nicest guy) he’s not an imposter, so he doesn’t really count for this list. On the other hand, Eric Cartman has been spotted in a full Santa suit several times over the years. Whatever his specific motive might be at any time, we can assume that Cartman Claus must be the most truly evil imposter of all.

Regardless of intent, it’s clear that the spirit of Christmas lives inside all of us. So merry Christmas to all and to all… make sure you look closely at who actually slides down your chimney this year.

Do you have a favorite undercover Santa Costumed character? Let us know in the comments below!

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The biggest model car event of the year

John O'Neil

John O’Neil – MCHOF

The Model Car Hall of Fame 2018 Awards are here! With 24 Inductees, this year marks the biggest ever for the Hall. We have our first ever Inductees in new categories including Slot Cars, Automotive Art, Model Trucks and many more.

The best part? It’s you, the collectors we have to thank. Together with a larger, more talented and more diverse Selection Committee, you cast more than 4000 votes to induct all the best for 2018, another milestone for the Hall of Fame.

Model Truck of the Year

For the first time, you can also watch our awards yourself and dig into a bit of the history of each Inductee. You can find awards videos for each inductee on the new Model Car Hall of Fame Youtube channel.

1/43 Scale Car of the Year

Here’s the full list of awards videos: 

Model Cars

1/8 – 1/12 Scale Amalgam Collection 1/8 Scale McLaren Senna
1/18th Scale CMC Models Bugatti type 57 SC Atlantic
1/24-1/25 Scale Automodello 1965 Buick Riviera GS
1/43 – 1/55th Scale GLM Cadillac Broadmoor
1/64th Scale Autoworld ’64 Galaxie 500
1/87th Scale Oxford Diecast Chevrolet Impala 1961 White Roman Red
Model Kits Tamiya 2CV Fourgonette
Model Trucks CMC Mercedes-Benz Racing Car Transporter LO2750, 1934-37
Farm Equipment Weise Toys 1055 Schlüter Super 1250 V with Cabin
Slot Car Slot classic CJ-47 ALFA ROMEO 2900B 8C “CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE”

Brands

Automotive Brand Porsche
Novice Model Maker Goldvarg
Supplier Brand Gulf
Model Car Dealer Replicarz
Model Brand GreenLight

People

Automotive Legends Ken Block
Model Car Customizers Brian Moffit
Model Car Designers Tom Daniel
Model Car Entrepreneurs Rodney Smith
Model Car Historians Christian Falkensteiner
Collector of the Year Jim Gallegos
Automotive Artist Cris Cross
Model Builder of the Year Wayne Moyer
Slot Car Racer of the Year Mike Swiss

Comments (2 Comments)
Samuel Ace

Congrats to all the winners.👍

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Upscale Muscle: The 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator by Welly

Over the past few years, we’ve contributed articles to Die CastX magazine for publication on their website and in their quarterly print edition. Here’s the story of one of the coolest cars ever from Mercury.

Welly Mercury Cougar Eliminator

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

For many years of its existence, Mercury was a brand in search of the right identity within Ford Motor Company. The late ‘40s finally found a spot as the slightly cooler, tad more performance-oriented, bit more expensive option to base Ford models. But when the Ford Mustang was introduced in 1964, it (and the freshly redesigned Thunderbird) kind of squeezed Mercury out of that spot.

Welly Mercury Cougar Eliminator

So when the Mustang got its first redesign in 1967, Merc got anew  car based on the same platform. Price and image wise, it fit in between the ‘Stang and the ’Bird, and became sort of a flagship for the marque. Designers did a remarkable job disguising its Mustang roots. But as those Mustangs got more powerful with its Mach and Boss models, the Cougar needed an upgrade to make sense.

Welly Mercury Cougar EliminatorEnter the Eliminator package. With a 351 engine (it slotted nicely between the 302 and 428), it was a civilized, worthy alternative to other more brutish muscle cars. Sales numbers never came close to its Ford counterpart, but that was never really the intention. Mercury was cool again.

In the diecast world, the production discrepancy is even greater. There are countless Mustang models in every scale, but very few Cougars, and even fewer Eliminators. Welly made a really sharp 1/18 version of the 1970 Eliminator, a real rarity for that size. 

Welly Mercury Cougar EliminatorThe exterior follows the Cougar’s unique lines faithfully, including the blackout grill split by a third, protruding middle grille. There isn’t a lot of chrome to reproduce, as the original had a very stark, sporty look. The rally stripes from that nose and down the sides are crisp and cleanly done. And if the hood scoop looks kind of plastic-y, well, it actually matches the real thing in texture and material. The wide bank of taillights look sharp with a wash of red over chrome. You can almost see the “Eat At Joe’s” sequence blinking from the turn signals. The side marker lights are well done too, recessed into the fenders with separate chrome and lenses.

The chassis features working steering and suspension. Blackout wheels look plain but aside from needing a dot of paint on the lugnuts and some center caps, they are actually correct. The engine bay has a lot more detail than you might expect from Welly, with more parts in more colors than usual.

Welly Mercury Cougar EliminatorInterior detail includes lots of painted “wood” accents, which brighten up the otherwise solid black surroundings. The rest of the cabin looks appropriately sparse and purposeful.

By 1971, fuel economy needs and other regulations squeezed most of the performance out of American cars. The Cougar left its Mustang roots behind and became more of a bloated cruiser. The new version sold better (go figure) but over time hasn’t captured the hearts of collectors like those first generation models. Welly’s model recreates one of the last gasps of cool from the Mercury nameplate.

Welly Mercury Cougar Eliminator

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Save Big During hobbyDB’s Thanksgiving Diecast Garage Sale!

 

Rather than fight the millions of travelers taking to the highways this holiday week, why not leave the car in the driveway and fill up your diecast collection with great deals via hobbyDB’s Thanksgiving Garage Sale!

We’ve teamed up with several of our favorite trusted sellers to offer deals of up to 75 percent off diecast models. The sale runs through Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), so is the perfect opportunity to fill up the stockings of friends and family, or hunt down that coveted gift for under the tree.

SHOP NOW!

Check out the savings from these trusted sellers.

KMJ – 60% off plus more!

If you spend $300 or more, get an additional 30% off

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Today’s Sale – 25% off

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Fantastic Finds – 10% off

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Jayhow’s Hot Wheels and Collectibles – 10% off

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Model Car Hall of Fame – 10% off

model car hall of fame

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Toad Hall Motorbooks -10% off

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And don’t forget all the other Stores on hobbyDB who are having sales! The savings are on through Cyber Monday, and a lot of items are one of a kind!

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Cartoonist, Writer, Collaborator: What I Learned From Stan Lee

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

The world of comics and pop culture in general lost a titan this week when Stan Lee, the biggest driving force behind Marvel Comics died at the age of 95. His impact on comic book fans can’t be measured. Neither can his impact on comics creators.

Lee started with a company called Timely Comics in 1939, working mostly with largely forgotten kids fare. The publisher struck gold with their Captain America stories, but didn’t do much to expand the concept. By the early 1960s, however, Timely rebranded as Marvel Comics and Lee was tapped to began crafting a new world of allies for Cap, as well as competitors for DC’s superheroes who had been off and running (and flying and teleporting) for a couple of decades.

stan lee spideyHis first creation was The Fantastic Four, which was an immediate hit with readers. Within a few years, Hulk, Iron Man, and of course, his biggest success, Spider-Man were spinning tales of adventure of their own.

As a cartoonist myself, (insert shameless plug here), Stan Lee surprisingly wasn’t an early influence on me. See, my Grandmother worked for Western Publishing, whose Gold Key comic books included titles from Disney, Looney Tunes, DePatie-Freleng, and Walter Lantz. So that’s what I grew up on. They weren’t Marvel or DC comics, and aside from Super Goof, they didn’t include any superheroes. So I started drawing in the vein of those Gold Key titles. All by myself.

And there was Charles Schulz, whose “Peanuts” comic strip was in its creative heyday. Schulz famously said “If I were a better artist, I’d be a painter, and if I were a better writer, I’d write books — but I’m not, so I draw cartoons!” Made total sense to me. If I was ever going to make it in this business, I would probably have to go it alone. I gravitated towards becoming a newspaper comic strip artist, writing and drawing short, snappy jokes, often in the framework of a longer tale. But still a solo venture.

As I got a bit older and MAD magazine seemed less inappropriate (is MAD ever really appropriate at any age?), the idea of separate writers and artists began to appeal to me. But could someone really be a “cartoonist” if they only did one part of that equation? Did it matter if the end result was enjoyable to the reader?

stan lee marvel coversSo in a similar vein, I finally started to appreciate Stan Lee a bit later, in college, as I began collaborating with other creative types on class projects. Lee was primarily the writer of the ideas, but was still considered still a “cartoonist” in the fullest sense. Would Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko have ever drawn those dynamic action panels of The Thing if Lee didn’t feed them the idea, the character, the inspiration? Would those ideas sear such vivid memories without their action-packed art?

stan lee hulk thingSuddenly, for me, the Charles Schulz approach had some competition as a way to do comics. If a solo cartoonist could crank out 7 pages a week, a writer and artist could crank out 14 together. Same amount of work for each, just divvied up differently. And a lot less lonely.

Stan Lee was supposed to be the keynote guest at the 2013 Denver Comic Con, but had to withdraw at the last minute. Fans were disappointed, but for many, this felt kind of urgent. It seemed like he was getting up there in years and might not be able to make it to a future con, due to the inevitability of declining health or worse. We all wondered if we would ever get the chance to meet him.

But he came to Denver in 2016, and all was right with the world of superhero fandom.

I was at that Con, but didn’t get to meet him. As a cartoonist with a table full of books to sell, I couldn’t afford to step away for a few hours to stand in line for a photo, an autograph, and a brief word. As a cartoonist who was inspired by Lee, I regret missing the opportunity.

stan lee dccThese days, it almost feels like actual comic books are a by-product of the Marvel Entertainment machine. And yet comic book stores are full of fans and readers hotly debating the latest developments in new artists or writers being assigned to a particular title and whether a certain pairing worked well. Stan Lee probably would enjoy being there, watching comics being debated as such important fare.

Comments (2 Comments)
Jerry Lewis

Both of my nephews credit Stan Lee, not their schools, with teaching them how to read and certainly inspiring them to do more creative work such as videos and films.

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