Collecting Posts

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!

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

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

Shop Now

 

Today’s Sale – 25% off

Shop Now

Fantastic Finds – 10% off

Shop Now

Jayhow’s Hot Wheels and Collectibles – 10% off

Shop Now

Model Car Hall of Fame – 10% off

model car hall of fame

Shop Now

Toad Hall Motorbooks -10% off

Shop Now

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!

banner 2

Hue Must Be Kidding: More Diecast Cars That Look Odd In Other Colors

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Awhile back, we compiled a list of model cars that looked strange in certain colors.

hot wheels buick grand nationalA few, like the DeLorean DMC, only existed in one color in the real world. Some, like the Red Baron, had obvious color choices in their names. Here are a few more diecast cars that might make you want to adjust your eyeballs.

Buick Grand National
The real ones came in other colors besides black, right? You’re certain you’ve seen them in white and maybe silver? You’re thinking of the Regal T-Type, a slightly less potent but still turbocharged Regal variant. Those could be had in a few other colors. But not the Grand National and certainly not the GNX, the most amped-up version of that car. Diecast companies have played fast and loose with other tones for years anyway.

1938 Phantom Corsair

hot wheels phantom corsairThis sleek concept car was designed by Rust Heinz of the famous ketchup family. Instead of tomato red, the Phantom Corsair was midnight black, and since there was only one produced, it looks odd in any other color. Especially with colorful graphics.

McLaren M6A

hot wheels mclarenIn real life, this CanAm legend could be seen in a few different liveries, but when you hear the name “McLaren” in racing, your mind likely sees a bright, yet pale hue of orange. One of the early Just-Outside-the-Original-16-Redline cars, Hot Wheels offered this model in every SpectraFlame color. And eventually, they did an enamel orange variant that looks pretty close to what you expect.

Chevrolet Mako Sharks

mako shark playart topperThe original Mako Shark concepts cars were designed to show what upcoming C2 and C3 Corvette models would look like if they wore shark costumes. Not really, but there was a definite tiburon theme going on, with exhausts in the places where gills and fins might go, sharp, pointed grill/mouths, and silver/blue paint schemes evoking the colors of a Mako Shark. Playart offered the earlier version in a bunch of non-shark colors. Topper was among several companies that made models of the second Shark concept, in every color except “shark.” Aurora also offered the second car as an early ThunderJet slot car molded in all their standard tones.

Chevrolet StingRays

sitingray hot wheels auto artSpeaking of Corvette concepts, the 1957 Stingray race car, which previewed the C2 styling, and the 2009 Stingray (C7) both only existed in silver. None of that has stopped diecast companies from producing both of them in other, more garish hues. Meanwhile, the 1992 Stingray III concept was a very 1990s purple, but has been produced in several less garish but nonetheless strange colors.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

hot wheels wienermobile“I wish I drove an Oscar Mayer wiener…” There have been numerous generations of the giant tube steak on wheels over the years, but what they all have in common is their general shape their colors. Yellow bun fenders with a, well, meat-colored sausage body. Several companies have made models of the Wienermobile over the years, but only Hot Wheels has dared to get creative with the coloring, including chrome and NASCAR themed versions.

Goodyear Blimp

hot wheels blimpThis one might be a stretch… in 1992, Hot Wheels introduced a casting called “Goodyear Blimp” with revolving signage. It was appropriately colored silverish-gray with the expected logos. The casting has been released in other color schemes, although they solved this by changing the name to just “Blimp.” Also, it’s not a car.

The Batmobile

christmas batmobileWhen George Barris was given three weeks to create a car for the Batman TV series, one of the things he didn’t have to think about was the color. It had to be black with some red pinstripes, no further consideration needed. But Hot Wheels has taken the paint gun to several generations of Batmobiles, such as the dark blue Burton era Treasure Hunt car. The TV car has been done in holiday colors, chrome, and all kinds of hues.

Of course, sometimes a diecast car seems to be an unexpected color, but nope, it actually does have some basis in reality. We’ll look at some of those in an upcoming article.

Can you think of any other diecast cars that look odd in certain colors? Let us know in the comments!

Garbage Time! The Original Garbage Pail Kids Live On At hobbyDB

garbage pail kids completeWe’ve been digging through piles of Garbage at hobbyDB headquarters, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Piles of Garbage Pail Kids collectibles, that is.

At hobbyDB, we want to be the go-to place to research and document anything and everything collectible. So even though we started with an emphasis on diecast vehicles (especially Hot Wheels), we’ve been able to dig deep into other areas. And to that end, we’ve finished documenting the GPK cards through OS15 (That’s Original Series 15). The OS cards go through 1988, but won’t be the end of it.

Matt Oldweiler, who runs the GeePeeKay.com website, is crucial to this project. hobbyDB was able to access his extensive (one could say darn near 100 percent complete) list of anything and everything related to the Kids. He has been collecting the cards since 1985 when they first came out. He’s a recent addition to the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

garbage pail kids allBy adding his archive to ours, collectors can cross reference between all kinds of collectibles that fall out of the range of GeePeeKay’s scope.

Andy Goodman has also been instrumental in the project. If his name sounds familiar in hobby circles, he is a big time collector of all kinds of diecast. Turns out he has a thing for Garbage Pail Kids as well. Like many of us, he collects collections.

Chris Wuensch, Data Team Manager at hobbyDB, leads the effort to get the entire GPK line into the database. As it turns out, he’s been an avid collector since he was a kid, too. “I can still remember sitting in the car in the Grand Union parking lot opening my first GPK packs as a kid,” he said. “We’re talking Original Series 1 in 1985. I still have about 75 to 100 cards from those early series. The appeal was through the roof back then, especially for a nine year old. Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage, so the GPK cards were a nice counter-balance for boys who didn’t want a doll.”

The Garbage Pail Kids began in 1985, as a parody of the enormously popular Cabbage Patch Kids. Despite legal threats from the doll company, Topps was able to continue making the cards, and they have been in and out of production ever since. After a hiatus, the Garbage Pail Kids made a comeback in 2003, and hobbyDB is already at work adding those and the more recent ones to the database as well.

garbage pail kids allOne interesting thing about collecting GPK cards… there are at least two versions of each character card. Topps decided right from the start that there would be a pair of names attached to each illustration, each being an equally terrible pun on the misfortune being shown. So Adam Bomb, who became the brand’s unofficial mascot, is also known as Blasted Billy.  Or sad skateboarder Hurt Curt is also known as Pat Splat.

In most cases, it would seem that one name is no rarer than the other, but there are some unintended exceptions. Double Heather and Schizo Fran were released as part of OS2, a two-headed girl fighting with herself. Advocates for mental health took exception to the term “schizo,” so Topps agreed and changed that one to Fran Fran shortly after. Shizo Fran is one of the rarest of all GPK cards as a result, but since Fran Fran only got a partial print run, she is on the rare side as well.

garbage pail kids list

Even Garbage Pail Kids have reasonable limits on their sense of good taste.

Throw in the fact that some cards were available as glossy or flat, and the number of variants really start to add up. Also, the backs of the cards can differ as well, featuring certificates, puzzle pieces, or other fun bits. Some versions might have a checklist (as a kid, these were boring, but as an adult collector, they are valuable, especially if they haven’t bee unchecked).

garbage pail kids backsThe Garbage Pail Kids are a collectible phenomenon that won’t die. And if it did, they would probably make a card of a character commemorating it.

What are your favorite Garbage Pail Kids collectibles? Let us know in the comments!