Pops! For Patients and hobbyDB Team Up to Provide Toys to Kids in Hospitals

popsforpatients

Randy Lee and Krysten Barrera founded POPS! for Patients after their own kids had extended stays in hospitals.

Sometimes you need a little fun to pop into your life to brighten your day. Especially if you’re a child spending a lot of time in the hospital.

That’s what Randy Lee, Co-Founder of POPS! For Patients, figured when he and fellow Co-Founder, Krysten Barrera, came up with the idea for their toy donation cause.  Lee and Barrera had the experience of seeing their own children struggle during extended hospital stays. “We both personally know how sad it is to be stuck in the hospital, so we decided to give back and bring joy to kids in the form of POPS!” he said. “I helped my good friend and fellow P4P team member, Dustin Taylor, with a Toys For Tots benefit show in honor of his son several years ago. It was a great success so I felt extremely confident going into this that we could succeed.”

popsforpatientsSince August of 2016, they have donated almost 10,000 Pop! figures. That’s ten… thousand in two years! The two had been donating by themselves for a few months before going public with the idea.

Why Funko Pop! figures, specifically? Kids love them, of course. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out Lee is an avid fan and collector of the toys. He doesn’t accumulate them for himself quite as much lately, however. “I’ve been collecting for three years but recently slowed down significantly to focus on having the necessary funds required to attend all of the shows and events we are being invited to lately,” he said. “It’s a trade-off I’m happy to make!”

The toys currently go to whichever hospital the teams in any specific area collect for. “We have hubs all across the world including ones in San Diego, Colorado, New York, Canada, and Brazil. to name a few. And more coming soon!” The Colorado connection has just been strengthened courtesy of hobbyDB. When Rodney Porter from Appleseed Collectibles talked about P4P (as they sometimes refer to), Christian of hobbyDB felt a kindred spirit. “As collectors, we try to avoid growing up sometimes,” he believes. “But it is important to act grown up. What Randy and his team do is fantastic, and we wanted to help by doing what we do best.” So to that end, the two organizations found a way to be a partner in POPS!

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Kayla Fuller, of WVLT, Knoxville, joined Krysten Barrera  and Randy Lee to distribute Pop! figures at a hospital in Tennessee.

hobbyDB, a website concerning anything and everything collectible, including vinyl art toys, is a natural fit for such an endeavor. It’s an ever-growing database of every variant of any given toy or collectible, as well as a marketplace for folks to buy and sell. And Pop! figures are a huge part of that model.

“We are so excited about the idea of a private seller-fueled Funko Pop! marketplace that will result in POP! donations. It’s a no-brainer partnership” Here’s how it works: If you’re shopping for POP! figures on hobbyDB, you can visit the POPS! For Patients Marketplace, and part of the proceeds from any purchase will go towards buying figures for the P4P program. It won’t cost you anything extra…. just shop for Pops!

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According to Lee, there are other ways to help out as well. You can send them POP! figures in the mail to distribute at two different children’s hospitals in Tennessee. If you want to donate figures directly, they do have a few rules: The characters must be kid-friendly (Sorry, Pennywise, even if you are a clown), and they must be in sealed boxes (for sanitary reasons, not for collector value). Other Funko lines such as Dorbz and Wacky Wobblers are fine as well, as long as they meet these criteria.

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Knoxville’s Tall Man Toys & Comics and Lexington’s Heroes Realm teamed up to support P4P.

You can also form a team in your area to help them spread the cheer. Details of all the ways you can help are available on their website at www.popsforpatients.org. The P4P team also encourages you to get involved and support your own local Children’s Hospital. They can be contacted at PopsForPatients@gmail.com.

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Karl

Great idea - thanks, HobbyDB, for partnering with them!  So should it now be H4P4P?  :-)

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Hot Wheels Goes Postal with U.S. Postage Stamps Set

hot wheels postage stamps

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Through rain or snow or sleet or hail, the United States mail… eventually gets there. But the mail is about to get a bit hotter, with a newly announced series of Hot Wheels postage stamps. That’s right… if you’re one of those collectors who runs to their mailbox every day hoping to find your latest online orders, now there’s a new reason to sit by the window waiting for the postman to arrive.

hot wheels postage stampsMattel recently delivered the good news, yet another part and parcel of the Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary celebration. The combination of the two makes sense in all kinds of ways. Similar to how Hot Wheels counts on a big part of their sales from collectors who will keep them in the package, the Postal Service gets a large chunk of revenue from stamp collectors who will never cash in those stamps for mailing purposes. Honestly, you’re going to buy several sets: one or two to preserve and display, and the rest for sending letters to all your friends and loved ones, right?

hot wheels postage stampsThere will be 10 vehicles honored in the series, from the earliest Redlines to more recent classics. The set includes the Bone Shaker, Deora II, HW40, Mach Speeder, Purple Passion, Rigor Motor, Rocket-Bye-Baby, Rodger Dodger, Sharkruiser, and of course, the Twin Mill. The sheet will consist of 20 Forever stamps, two of each design. The cars were shot on classic orange track by photographer Len Rizzi.

hot wheels postage stampsCollectors will no doubt quibble over some of the selections, but it’s a first class package overall. Here’s a puzzler though… Why didn’t they go with one of the classic mail-themed Hot Wheels vehicles? Wouldn’t the Redline Special Delivery be the perfect carrier for this project? Or maybe the Rrrumblers Rip Code? Even the fairly pedestrian Letter Getter van would be a good fit.

hot wheels mail cars

Not to sound disgruntled, but couldn’t they have used at least one of these mail-centric rides?

In any event, allow 4-6 weeks for delivery, as the stamps are scheduled to arrive at post offices September 29. If you don’t want to stand in line, there will be a first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at the Goodguys 26th Summit Racing Lone Star Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas on that date. We at hobbyDB can’t wait for this promotion to arrive and be cancelled!

hot wheels postage stamps

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Karl

Can't wait!

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Garbage Collector: Meet Matt Oldweiler, Garbage Pail Kids Connoisseur

garbage pail kids adam bomb

Oldweiler doesn’t care to share photos of himself, so enjoy this image of Adam Bomb instead.

Snark and shock have always been profitable forms of entertainment, from Mad Magazine to “South Park” to fail compilations on Youtube. In the mid 1980s, one particualr brand really stood out for its trashy nature. Garbage Pail Kids hit the scene as a parody of the Cabbage Patch kids and in all honestly had a longer cultural impact than than the subject of their satire.

GeePeeKay.com is the brainchild of Matt Oldweiler, who has been an avid collector of GPK stuff since he was a kid. ‘I was 10 years old when I saw my first Garbage Pail Kids sticker (Dead Ted), and I was instantly hooked,” he said. ‘They were this perfect storm of everything my little brain could handle. GPK were little pieces of artwork that were both funny and gross…they were hated by teachers and despised by parents…and every kid in their right mind was obsessing about them 24/7.”

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Oldweiler’s office is full of all sorts of GPK items.

As one of the foremost experts on a popular collectible, Oldweiler, is now also a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

He began collecting in 1985, the original heyday of the stickers. “Pretty much every waking minute of 1986 was spent looking at my collection, and doing whatever I could to make that collection bigger. I took a little break in the 90s (although I still picked up some items at the occasional card show), but jumped back in with both feet in 2003 and haven’t slowed down since.”

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Binder after binder of valuable garbage!

Time to mention the elephant in the room of this cultural wonder/wasteland… The “Garbage Pail Kids Movie,” which opened to terrible reviews and bad box office. Surprisingly, he doesn’t hate it. “I’ve been a fan of the GPK movie since day one, and still have the collector cards that they handed out at the theater when I saw it way back in 1987,” he said. “And sure, the movie is @#%ing terrible, but that’s part of what makes it so awesome! Unfortunately I think the original movie is SO BAD that it has ruined any chance at a new version.  But if by some miracle it DID happen I think a lot of fun could be had with a ‘Roger Rabbit’ style approach of mixing animation and live-action together. Maybe one day…

garbage pail kids

Just a few of the cards in Oldweilwer’s collection.

His collection is partly on display in his office. “For decades I kept almost my entire collection in boxes. Sure…it was safe and secure, but I found that I wasn’t getting the enjoyment out of it that I wanted, he said. “So a few years ago I made a conscious decision to display more of my collection and began work on redesigning my home-office (GeePeeKay HQ).  Today I have close to 25% of my collection on display, and I am constantly adding something new to the shelves and walls!”

garbage pail kids

Is this a museum in a workspace or the other way around?

An exact count of GPK items would be hard to calculate, but Oldweiler says it’s in the thousands rather than hundreds. “Over the years I’ve managed to assemble a collection that includes every sticker and (almost) every toy from the 80s, foreign albums and stickers, comic books, skateboards, plush and vinyl figures, and much much more. Although it’s nearly complete there is always SOMETHING out there to add!”

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Oldweiler collects a few other things as well, including Star Wars and TMNT.

In addition to GPK items, he has collected a, well, collection of collections. “It would be easier to list the things I have NOT collected over the years. For as long as I can remember I’ve collected Star Wars and Disney memorabilia, but I also have a hard time avoiding the occasional Kidrobot/vinyl toy purchase.”

Over thirty years later, the Garbage Pail Kids are still going strong, certainly more successful than the pudgy dolls they satirized back in the ’80s. FunKo has even commemorated some of the trashier entries in the catalog in Pop! form.

hobbyDB hopes to have his entire collection added to our site soon, closing a big gap in our ever-growing database. In case you were wondering, maintaining his vast online library isn’t his actual job. He’s an engineer at a “large telecommunications firm near Denver” when he’s not collecting.  As for his favorite piece in his collection, the answer might surprise you. “My favorite piece in my collection is card #84a JOE Blow,” Oldweiler  said. “Monetarily it’s worth about a buck, but sentimentally it’s priceless.” Spoken like a true collector.

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“Black & Gold” Explores Legend of John Player Special Brand (and more) in Motor Racing

John Player SpecialOf all the auto racing liveries to ever race around a track, one of the most iconic is the John Player Special scheme. Solid black with delicate gold accents and understated script, the cars exuded an unmistakable sense of class. Once the national flag of the host country dropped at the start of a Grand Prix, these Lotus-engineered cars performed in historic fashion as well. 

Black & Gold John Player SpecialJohn Player Team Lotus is the subject of “Black & Gold: The Story of the John Player Specials,” a new book by Johnny Tipler  from Coterie Press. The vivid storytelling and beautiful photos are every bit as elegant and exciting as the cars themselves. Best known for their Formula 1 cars from 1972 to1986, JPS also sponsored Trans Am Mustangs, Formula 3 cars, and even power boat racing. All of these are covered here.

Black & Gold John Player Special“The depth of research and the beautiful photos make this a truly special book,” said William Taylor of Coterie Press. This large format book includes 316 pages of the rich history of John Player Special in motor racing, written by the team’s Press Officer in the 1970s, Johnny Tipler. This is Tipler’s seventh book on Lotus cars. New and vintage images come from Ian Catt, the team’s official photographer. In other words, this is as official as a book like this can possibly get.

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This autographed bookplate will be inside the Emerson Fittipaldi edition of the book.

There is also two different limited, leather-bound “Special” editions of the book, autographed by one of two racing legends. You can get one of 72 copies autographed by Emerson Fittipaldi, who won the Formula 1 title in 1972, the first year of the JPS program. (His version of the car was the Lotus 72.) Or you can order one of 79 copies signed by Mario Andretti, who won the F1 title in the Lotus 79 in 1978. The “Special” Edition comes in a clamshell case with JPS badging on the front.

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This is the autographed bookplate from the Mario Andretti edition.

In addition to Fittipaldi and Andretti, JPS drivers such as Nigel Mansell and Johnny Dumfries were interviewed for the book. Several of the original engineers and mechanics offer up their recollections, as does JPS Project Manager George Hadfield. Paul Rego at Regogo Racing was also indespensable in the creation of this book.

Black & Gold John Player SpecialThe Standard edition will sell for $64.95, and the Special Editions will be $250.00 each. The book will ship in late October, but you can preorder it at the Coterie Press Store on hobbyDB.com. With the very limited quantities, it will sell out quickly.

John Player Special book badges

These badges will be affixed to the Special Edition box covers of “Black & Gold.”

Curiously enough, while John Player had been in the tobacco business for many years, the “John Player Special” name was created as a product to be promoted by this racing effort. The name was chosen partly because it sounded like the name of a racing car, so it was a natural fit when it showed up on the livery. And even though the cars were built and engineered by Lotus, they were specifically called “John Player Specials” so that even in countries that didn’t allow tobacco advertising the name would still be mentioned on air and in print.

Black & Gold John Player Special


Johnny Tipler

“Black & Gold” author Johnny Tipler at the wheel.

With over 40 books published on a variety of motoring topics ranging from racing cars and driver biographies, to motorcycles and commercial vehicles, motoring journalist, historian and author Johnny Tipler is based in Norwich, England. A major contributor to the Lotus Club International magazine, interviewing well-known Lotus personalities, writing drive stories and book reviews, Tipler is also author of seven books on Lotus road and race cars.

He also writes on new model launches, significant historic vehicles, famous drivers, and covers a host of classic racing events such as the Mille Miglia, Spa 6-Hours and Goodwood Revival. His most recent book, on one of his favourite events, La Carrera Panamericana: the World’s Greatest Road Race, was published in October of 2008. Johnny has a degree in Art History, and in the black-and-gold era he co-ran the John Player Team Lotus press office, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson, Jacky Ickx and of course Colin Chapman, trumpeting the fortunes of JPS-Lotus and Player’s sponsored events around the world.

To date Tipler has owned just one Lotus, a 1970 Series 4 Elan SE, though a recent drive for the in-house Lotus Club International magazine from Stuttgart to Marrakech and through the Atlas Mountains, made owning a modern Europa an attractive prospect he still hankers after.

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Odd, Obscure, Out-of-the-Ordinary: 10 More Unusual Model Car Brands

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Over the past couple of years, we’ve shared some brands of diecast vehicles that are off the beaten path, obscure, or just plain odd. Some of them are offshoots of famous brands, some of from other countries and never widely distributed worldwide, and some disappeared quickly for various reasons. Some of these unusual model car brands have strange histories, some occupy weird niches, and some of them make really exquisite models. What they have in common is that you haven’t heard of most of them… until now.aurora vibrators

Aurora Vibrators

The original early 1960s Aurora slot cars were slow, and not really ideal for racing. And they emitted a loud buzzing noise, resulting in the name “Vibrators.” Yikes! In the mid 1960s, the company upgraded the chassis for performance with faster engines and wider tires (which sometimes required cutting a bigger fender opening on older castings. And despite the loud name, the new ThunderJet chassis was also much quieter.

AJ’s Race Savers

aj's race saversSpeaking of slot cars, AJ’s was best known for their accessories and “hop-up” kits to make your cars perform better. They created their own segment of slot vehicle, however, with the Oscar Track Cleaner. These were futuristic street cleaner designs that actually functioned to clean the metal electrical rails in the tracks. The design was expanded to add ambulances and other trackside vehicles. Neat and clean!

Maxwell Toys

maxwell toysVehicles from this Calcutta brand fell into two categories: crude knockoffs of other diecast brands like Matchbox and Tootsietoy, or crude original models inspired by other diecast brands. There is something sadly funny about the ill-fitting, weirdly proportioned parts that makes you want to give them a home. Also, the box art is pretty great across the board.

Fine model

This was a curious brand from Japan… Every modestly detailed 1/43 car they made appears to be a sedan shape. No fastbacks, convertibles, wagons, trucks. Just sensible, Japanese sedans. Nothing fancy. Just, well, Fine.

Kawabata Kikaku

Kawabata Kikaku mazda cosmoLike Fine Models, this company made only models of 1/43 JDM vehicles. Unlike Fine, they were a bit better detailed and had a lot more variety, including sports cars, wagons, ragtops, and even a nice miniature of the legendarily strange and wonderful Mazda Cosmo.

Nakajima Dreamcar

Nakajima DreamcarAnother obscure Japanese brand, this company thought outside the box. Their niche was fantastic concept cars like the Ferrari Modulo or the Fiat Abarth Coupe 2000. These are cars that largely don’t exist from other diecast companies, so they are rather unusual.

Amaze-A-Matics

hasbro amaze a maticsIn the late ’60s, Hasbro produced “The Fantastic Car with a Brain.” These models were propelled by a drive system similar to an old computer punch card that dictated when the car would turn, stop or back up. The first batch included an early GT-40 and three very rare American concept cars. In fact, this might be the only model of the Buick Century Cruiser show car ever made. Later models (a Dune Buggy and a VW Beetle) were designed for customization including larger rear wheels and other features. These were released as Computacars by Mettoys in the U.K.

Wiz-z-zers Spin Buggys

This was a spin-off from another toy… literally. In the early ‘70s, Mattel created a line of gyroscopic spinning tops called Wiz-z-zers. Instead of the old method of pulling a string to spin the top, these had a built in friction motor with intense gearing that would let them spin for a really long time when revved up on that delicate hardwood floor. (Sorry Mom and Dad!) As cool as that was, the company also made the Spin Buggys (sic), a pair of vehicles that were motivated by firing up the top and dropping it into a hole in the roof so it engaged the rear axle for instant acceleration. You could choose from a blue funny car-esque model or an orange C-Cab delivery van. Both were made of thin, lightweight, flexible plastic, so while they moved quickly, they were also very delicate and few examples have likely survived.

The Essence Of The Car

essence of the carThis is a case where odd is beautiful. Imagine illustrating the most iconic features of a unique classic car in a few brush strokes… The Essence of The Car basically does that in 3 dimensions. These models are really abstract sculptures that use minimal shapes to unmistakably capture, well, the essence of a particular design.

Avon

avon mail jeepSure, you could give your 1970s man aftershave for Fathers Day or his birthday… but if that scented, burning liquid came in a car-shaped bottle, even better. Avon offered their wares in all kinds of shapes (including a mail box for the “First Class Male.”) But the most collectible were the vehicle based ones such as a Ferrari, Jaguar XKE, Corvette, and a U.S. Mail Jeep for that “Extra Special Male.”

Did you have any of these when they were new? Do you collect them now? Let us know in the comments!

Comments (2 Comments)
Gregg Doerfler

I collect  race and customize both the Aurora Vibrators and Thunder Jets, I've been collecting for many years and love the hobby and my passion.

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