Lego Posts

The Toys of Summer: A Look at Some of the Season’s Best Collectibles

Summer Toys

Nobody on the road. Nobody on the beach. We feel it in the air. The summer’s out of reach.

Don Henley’s words ring true as we enter the last weekend of the summer. Fortunately for us, the Toys of Summer aren’t gone.

Before we shed the last of the season’s sun, we take a quick look back at some of the best new collectibles to emerge since we said goodbye to spring.

Funko

A lack of a physical San Diego Comic-Con because of COVID concerns didn’t slow Funko down from releasing a summer’s worth of new items.

Here’s a look at a handful of the most valuable Pop! Vinyl figures that arrived this summer.

Toucan (Astronaut)(Red)[SDCC]

SDCC Toucan

Corpse Bride Glow in the Dark

Corpse BrideKatsuki Bakugo

Katsuku BakugoMcDonalds 5-pack

McDonaldsBlack Lightning

Black LightningLego

Some collectors chose to spend their time in quarantine this summer making connections. Lego connections.

Both brick and gear heads were treated to a masterpiece when Lego parked its Lamborghini Sian FKP in front of our eyes.

At 3,696 pieces, this hot rod has incredible attention to detail, including an 8-speed working gearbox.

Lego Ferrari

On a smaller, yet galactic, scale, Lego also introduced us to two new Lego Star Wars collections with the intricate Bespin Duel and Death Star Final Duel. Whether you include Darth Vader’s or Luke Skywalker’s hands when you assemble yours is up to you.

Star Wars

Star Wars

Hot Wheels

We head back to the summer of 1971 with one of the most popular Hot Wheels of the year – the ‘71 Datsun 510.

This spectraflame bright yellow design and Real Riders 5-spoke wheels with red stripe tampo lives up to its bumble bee look with a “bzzz” license plate. 

It currently values at $105 on hobbyDB, making it the most valuable 2020 release so far in the hobbyDB database.

Hot WheelsHot Wheels

What says summer better than a VW Bug? Hot Wheels released its Volkswagen “Classic Bug” – Volkswagen Transporter T1 Pickup this season to much fanfare. The bug is part of the 2020 Car Culture – Team Transport series that includes ‘69 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – Retro Rig, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – Euro Hauler and 2016 Ford GT Race – Ford C-800.

Volkswagen

Yu-Gi-Oh

Yu-Gi-Oh cards made their debut in 1999, but remain just as popular today. That was proven this summer with Konami’s Tin of Lost Memories collection. The 249-card set, including three World Premier cards in Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon and Successor Soul, as well as Strength in Unity and Destined Rivals.

Check out the entire Yu-Gi-Oh! database here.

Yu-Gi-Oh!Yu-Gi-Oh!Yu-Gi-Oh!

Yu-Gi-Oh!Others

We round out the summer with a look at the whimsical, cute and perhaps a tongue-in-cheek metaphor regarding the status of the year 2020 with a look at the vinyl toy company 100% Soft and its Dumpster Fire line.

This little guy sold out quickly, but you can pre-order yours now via Entertainment Earth when it comes back around again, likely in September. And keep an eye out for its Light-Up variant arriving in January.Dumpster FireDumpster FireWe’re always looking for volunteers to join our team of curators. If you’d like to share your knowledge of a particular subject with us, message us at zack@hobbydb.com or click the Contact hobbyDB button located on the right hand side of every page.

Enjoy the autumn!

We Built a List of the 14 Coolest Lego Car Kits Ever!

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

The earliest Lego blocks did not lend themselves to building vehicles. In fact, wheels were kind of an afterthought at first. But as different size wheels and tires became available, all you needed to build an awesome car was some imagination and maybe a few special new bricks. There have been many automotive building sets offered over the years, but these are the coolest Lego car kits (and maybe a bus or two).

lego auto chassisTechnic Auto Chassis (Set #853) – Hard to believe this set debuted in 1977. Though the technology is a bit primitive by today’s standards, the first Technic sets were mind blowers and game-changers with their gears and side-locking bricks. This car had moving pistons, a two-speed transmission, working steering, and a few other features. Assembling it gave you the sense of how complicated a real car is. It remains one of the largest car models Lego has ever offered, even if it’s not a complete car.

lego volkswagen bus camperVolkswagen T1 Camper (10220) – The Creator series of Lego models has led to some incredibly detailed brick versions of of iconic vehicles. They’re not cheap, but they are glorious. The Volkswagen Splitty Bus is one of the most recognizable vehicles ever, and Lego captured its simple elegance with some complex engineering. The camper interior with pop top is a sight to behold.

lego mini cooperMini Cooper (10242) – Just about everything said about the VW Bus can be said about this model, except… just look at those plaid seats! Wow!

Shelby Mustang (10265) – This is one of the newest entries on the list, and one of the few American cars Lego has made. It captures just enough detail that it can’t be mistaken anything other than a ’67-68 version of the car, which is a really impressive feat.

lego friends party busFriends Pop Up Party Bus (70828)The Lego Movie and its sequel are a couple of ridiculous adventures made even more fun by the presence of models designed or inspired by kids. Among the most bonkers is this crazy party bus. It’s the product the kind of giddy imagination that makes Lego toys so popular in the first place.

lego city carSmall Car (3177) – One criticism of recent Lego vehicles designed for Minifig size is they have gotten really huge, to the point of being way out of scale. This tiny marvel looks a lot like a Smart Car, and at only 4 studs wide and 8 studs in length, it feels perfectly scaled for the Doctor Minifig which is included. Sometimes less is more!

lego cactus canyonCactus Canyon SUV (1720) – This rugged-looking compact off-roader came with all sorts of accessories that could attach to the sides, be tossed inside, or ride along with the included quad-runner. Throw in a kayak that could fit on the roof, and this was truly an adventure in a box.

lego ghostbusters ecto 1Ghostbusters Ecto-1 (21108) – On the other hand, among Lego cars that grew a bit larger in scale, this 1959 Caddy ambulance still shows remarkable restraint size-wise. And it has just enough blockiness to capture that “Lego” feel.

lego harry potter whomping willowHarry Potter Ford Anglia (75953) – The wonkiness of the Anglia’s design is captured perfectly in brick form in the Whomping Willow set. In fact, Lego has offered three slightly different versions of this car in other sets, as well as by itself (not branded as a Harry Potter set).

lego 1989 batmobile1989 Batmobile (76139, 40433) – Y’know what… to heck with proper scale for movie cars. This enormous beast, made of over 3,300 bricks, is huge and impressive. It comes with Minifigs of Batman, Vicki Vale, and the Joker and doesn’t even pretend they’re supposed to be anything more than decorative accessories.

lego burton batmobileSpeaking of accessories, this kit originally came with a bonus set, a smaller Batmobile that actually was properly scaled to those Figs. Where do you get those wonderful toys?

lego city porsche 9111974 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 (75895) – Scaling things back a bit, this small 911 model comes in at just 6 studs wide (and it’s based on a car with fender flares, so it should be kinda thick). There are some really clever design solutions, especially around the headlights, that make this a perfect Lego car. And it comes with tiny orange traffic cones to drive around.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS (42056) – On the other end of the 911 spectrum, some people though this gigantic model looked a bit crude for its large scale, but Porsche is really about the performance. And this model really delivers…

lego technic porsche 911 transmissionHow about a working 6-speed (!!) transmission operated by paddle shifters (!!) behind the steering wheel? Yikes! Hard to believe the humble ’77 Auto Chassis eventually led to this monster.

System I Leg Cars – The very first plastic cars made by Lego weren’t kits, but nicely proportioned HO-scale models. Apparently they didn’t think kids would want to build cars, so they considered them accessories to the houses and other buildings those kids would be creating. They did come in “garage” cases that were compatible with the bricks, however. These models were all based on European prototypes, including such classics as the VW Karmann Ghia. and T1 Bus.

lego wooden busWooden Articulated Bus – The oldest vehicles made by Lego weren’t even plastic. From the 1930s through the early 1960s, Lego made chunky wooden vechicles of all types including this bus. Wooden it be neat to see a modern plastic recreation of this one?

Lego cars span a variety of styles and complexity, providing great fun for builders of all ages. What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Nature Connects, Art With Lego Animals Returning to Denver Zoo

For the first time in five years, giant Lego animals will roam the Denver Zoo. They will be on exhibit From July 17-October 31, 2020

lego snow leopardDenver Zoo is home to nearly 3,000 animals representing 450 species, including many that are vulnerable, threatened, endangered or even extinct in the wild. And soon, a few more awe-inspiring creatures will make a temporary visit to the Zoo, and make an even deeper connection between guests and vanishing wildlife.

The 2015 exhibit welcomed nearly three-dozen Lego brick sculptures of animals and insects. These life-like creations joined the zoo’s real-life animals as a part of the “Nature Connects, Art With Lego Bricks” exhibit. The exhibit is included with regular admission and includes some Lego creations exclusively made for the Denver Zoo.

lego snow whooping craneThese incredible works of art include a 400-pound bumblebee, a life-size lion, and a hummingbird with an eight-foot wingspan. The Lego species range from being native to North America to species found across the globe. The creations even include endangered species, featuring animals like a polar bear, snow leopard, and a whooping crane.

lego beelego rhinoThe Denver Zoo also shared that new pieces will be joining the exhibit. The new creations will be brought in for the Halloween celebration.

Running from August through October, the zoo is offering Lego workshops where children and their families can learn, build, and play. The select dates feature different workshops focused on a specific animal. Details about the workshops and about the exhibit can be found at the Denver Zoo website, denverzoo.org.

A Collection of 10 of the World’s Largest Collections

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

One comment we at hobbyDB hear a lot is “do you get to play with toys all day?” (The answer, sadly is no.) Another is “you must have the world’s largest collections of (Hot Wheels, Funko Pops, video games, etc.)” Also, no, but most of us do have a pretty good collection of something or another. We all geek out about some kind of collectible culture here. It’s sort of a requirement to be part of the hobbyDB project.

Which got us to thinking… who does have the world’s largest collection of bobblehead dolls? Or diecast cars? Or baseball cards? Or Barbie dolls? So, we did a little digging. Most of these figures have been verified by some organization, such as the Guinness Book of World Records, and exact numbers might not be up to the minute, as one trip to the toy store can add several more to the totals.

The hobbyDB database has a pretty good start documenting some of these (and some of the most complete data on the internet on others), but we are always looking for collectors and experts to contribute their knowledge to make it even more complete. If you’re interested in getting involved, let us know! We also are running a WeFunder campaign if you want to really get involved!

bobblehead hall of fameBobbleheads, Nodders, Wobblers – Just over a year ago (February 1, 2019), The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum opened its doors, a project started by friends Phil Sklar and Brad Novak of Milwaukee. They have collected over 10,000 bobbleheads, wobblers, and nodders, dating back to some of the earliest sports models from the 1960s. While most of the collection is on display at their gallery, they often loan out part of the exhibit for special events. If a particular team is visiting the Milwaukee Brewers for a baseball series, figures related to that team might be on display at the ballpark.

As far as individual collectors with a focus, Philip Darling is credited by Guinness as having the largest gathering of sports-related bobbleheads, with over 2,300 of them, with an emphasis on hockey.

largest model car collectionDiecast VehiclesNabil Karam of Beirut, Lebanon, has a documented collection of over 37,000 diecast model cars of all brands and scales (37,777 at most recent count). Many of them are on display in some 400 painstakingly assembled dioramas. He says he has a weakness for Porsches, so it’s likely he has the largest collection of models of just that marque.

As far as single brands go, Mike Zarnock, well known among diecast fans, is said to have the world record for the largest Hot Wheels collection. But at an estimated 20,000, it’s just that… an estimate (a really big one though). He is verified as having the collection of the most models of different cars, at 8,128 (and if he’s been to the store in the last few days, he’s probably picked up a few more). The hobbyDB database shows over 40,000 distinct Hot Wheels variants, so Zarnock is halfway there! And if you have a collection of your own, you can utilize the hobbyDB tools to organize, manage, and track it.

worlds largest hot wheels collection

 

worlds largest funko pop collectionFunko PopsPop! figures have only been around a handful of years, so the largest collection isn’t as massive as some of the older toys. Nonetheless, Paul Scardino of Virginia had amassed a documented 4,475 of them by the end of 2018. Considering how many have been released since, that number has probably expanded.

If you’re really into Pop! figures, check out poppriceguide.com, part of the hobbyDB family. As the name suggests, it’s probably the most complete Pop! reference online, and has current, accurate pricing information.

worlds largest lego collectionLego sets – To be technical, this record also includes some other brands of building toys… Frank Smoes of Melbourne, Australia has 3,837 complete plastic building sets. He started building his collection in 1980 and estimates there are over 1.2 million bricks and at least 8,000 Minifigures in the collection.

The most complete collection of just Lego products is likely the vault at Lego’s headquarters in Denmark. They have preserved at least one copy of virtually every set ever released by the company, locked safely away for preservation (though it would be fun to play with some of those).

Video Games – Antonio Monteiro of Richmond Virginia has 20,139 games in his home. Not just the games, of course, where’s the fun in that? He also has over 100 consoles and computers to actually play the games on. Guinness said the collection was so big it took eight days to count before they verified the record.

world's largest license platesLicense Plates – Peter and Tamas Kenyeres of Hungary have amassed a collection of 11,345 license plates over the years. The oldest plate in their collection is from Austro-Hungarian Empire (1900). They also somehow acquired a plate that just says “B7,” which was a Hungarian minister’s plate from 1945 to 1948. 

But wait… Paul Franke of San Diego has since compiled a collection of over 22,000 plates, twice the size of theirs… but it hasn’t been verified by Guinness yet. It’s possible someone reading this right now have a bigger collection than that. If so, please contact us!

Since hobbyDB is located in a state with one of the most iconic license plates, this is a topic dear to our hearts!

worlds largest funko james bond collectionJames  Bond MemorabiliaNick Bennett of Leigh, Lancashire, UK, has a collection of all things Bond-related totaling 12,463 gadgets and other goodies at last count. Not just toys and action figures, but actual movie props in some cases. And yes, he keeps them in a secret lair in his basement.

hobbyDB is putting together the world’s largest collection of, well, collectibles, at least the largest online. Even better, because we include everything collectible, we can cross-reference any collectible that’s related to another by even the most obscure strand. The examples above are some areas where we have a pretty good start on documenting everything, but it’s collectors like you who help us complete the set. So, if you see some gaps in the hobbyDB project, please help fill them in for us.

Soon, we’ll look at some other giant collections, in areas where we really could use an expert or several to grace us with their knowledge and jump-start those parts of the database.

If you want to be a bigger part of the hobbyDB family, here’s your chance… Learn more at our Wefunder profile. We thank you!

Christmas Presents of Past Become Toy Collection of Present

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Over the years, I’ve collected a lot of memories of Christmas that have shaped me in ways no one would have ever guessed when I was a little kid. While Santa is to thank for much of that, I should probably also thank my parents who at least took lots of photos along the way. So many fond memories.

Alas, a lot of those toys are only photos and memories, as they went away in the Great Yard Sale of 1974 before we moved from Wisconsin to Tennessee when I was eight. But some of those toys survived in my custody… and I still have a lot of them.

christmas race trackHot Wheels galore – Orange track. Maroon tongue connectors. And those oh so colorful cars. I was only two when these debuted, but had quite a few of the originals by the time I could start remembering those things. The track showed up under the tree a couple years later. I still have an original Rally Case full of my Hot Wheels cars that survived the sandbox well enough to still be recognizable.

Johnny Lightning cars – Speaking of track, one year I got the Cyclone 500 track set. JL made a surprisingly wise calculation on how to add speed to tiny diecast cars. Hot Wheels relied on gravity and motorized boosters, but the folks at Topper put hooks on the bottom of the cars that could be snagged by the drivers and slingshotted around a track and into towering loops with a flick of a lever. Yeah, I had that set. I don’t have it anymore, but a few of the cars are still along for the ride.

christmas tonkaTonka Crater Crawler – Tonka’s large scale construction vehicles are staples of many fond childhood memories. Like a lot of kids, I had several of them. But my favorite vehicle of that scale was a bit less utilitarian… it was the Crater Crawler, a moon buggy molded with gray tires and sparkle blue plastic body panels. Doesn’t sound Tonka tough? I still have it in remarkably good condition despite the fun play heaped upon it.

christmas sspKenner SSP cars – I’ve written about these several times for hobbyDB. I had about six different models of these gyro-wheeled racers, all of which got scraped and bashed on driveways and basement walls. I still have one original, the Sidewinder, from then. About twenty years ago, I worked on completing the collection… right now I have about 85 different models of them. I guess that got out of hand.

christmas tyco trainTyco Spirit of ’76 train set – My father had American Flyer trains since I can remember, and I wanted my own train set for just as long. To celebrate the American Bicentennial, I got this Tyco set with the very patriotic livery that Seaboard Coastline had applied to one of their real locomotives. And yes, I still have every bit of that train, although it hasn’t been set up in decades. Maybe it’s time to fix that.

comic book christmasPeanuts “Speak Softly and Carry a Beagle” – A surprisingly non-transportation related present. When I was a kid, Grandma Ruelle worked for a comics publisher, Gold Key, who did the Disney, WB, Walter Lantz, and Depatie-Freleng comic books. And I relished them, copied them, actually got sort of good at it. So my parents… I mean Santa gave me a copy of the latest “Peanuts” book by Charles Schulz. Mid-1960s to late ’70s Peanuts is about as good as comic strip writing gets. Yeah, I still pull that one out and flip through it every now and then.

christmas legoLego Auto Chassis (Set 853) – Hard to believe the Lego Technic sets have existed since the late 1970s. This was game-changing stuff from Lego, a set with axles, universal joints, pistons, cams, and gears. The car was a huge model of a front-engine, inline 4-cylinder, 4-passenger car. I still have it, but, over the years, the parts got rearranged into this…

christmas lego indy carFive years ago, I brought a few of these toys to an interview for a role on the hobbyDB project. Let’s just say I almost didn’t need a resume after I pulled them out of my 1969 Hot Wheels lunchbox (which was not a Christmas present, so it doesn’t count here).

Those toys were great. Those memories were great. It’s especially great to still have both in some cases.

christmas toysWhat are your favorite toys you got for the holidays as a kid that you still have? Post some vintage pics in the comments if you have them!