Model Cars Posts

How Many Errors Can You Find In This Article?

error toys

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We recently introduced you to Nathan Lill, the Master of Mistakes (at least when it comes to Hot Wheels). Lill has a collection of over 12,000 Hot Wheels error cars, all collected since he first spotted one on the pegs in 2000.

But what exactly constitutes an error for something like a diecast car on a blister card? Well, there are all kinds of things that can go wrong, some subtle, some hilariously obvious.  Packaging misadventures, assembly problems, or color and graphics misfires are among the most common. Most errors need to be inside a sealed package to be verifiable, but that’s not always the case. And in a lot of examples, the packaging itself is the actual source of the error.

hot wheels error custom vw beetle

A lot of Hot Wheels come with intentionally mismatched wheels. This Custom VW is not one of them.

Assembly issues such as mis-spun rivets are hard to fake, so packaging might not be as important in those cases. On the other hand, for really early Hot Wheels, there are some very subtle variations in coloring that were probably unintentional, but could also be attributable to fading or other factors, so who can tell? But for the most part, buyers need to be aware of what to look for.

Here’s a check list of common error types that make it past the QC inspectors. Aside from the issues with wheels, most of these errors can apply to other collectibles such as action figures and vinyl art toys. Some error types are common enough that we have special Subjects on hobby DB just for those!

hobbyDB hot wheels error

Misadventures in Packaging

hot wheels error

Pretty sure that’s not a ’57 Thunderbird!

  • Mismatched car and package (On hobbyDB, these should be listed as a variant of the car, not the blister card. If you get that wrong, hey, mistakes happen.)
  • Wrong Shaped Blister (with specific shapes for each car, it’s surprising this doesn’t happen more.)
  • Off-Register/Off Kilter Package Printing
  • Vehicle Facing Wrong Direction In Blister (Upside down doesn’t sometimes count, as it’s easy for some models to do a barrel roll.)

    hot wheels error

    Upside down cars may or may not be considered errors. Depends on how much wiggle room is in the blister.

  • Mis-Cut Packaging (Unpunched holes don’t really count as errors, but are usually considered more valuable on their own merit)
  • Empty Sealed Package (Check carefully in case of the Wonder Woman Invisible Jet.)

Wheel Errors

  • Missing Entire Axle and Wheels
  • Reversed Wheels
  • Unchromed/Unpainted Wheels
  • Mismatched Wheels (Hard to spot these days, as some cars intentionally look like that)
hot wheels error

With so many wheels, you’re bound to have the wrong wheels in the wrong place sometimes.

  • Wrong Size Wheels (Hard to spot sometimes without reference)
  • Wrong Wheel Type

Molding Messes

  • Incomplete Casting (Not enough material to fill the mold.)
  • Excessive Flashing (Too much material in the mold. Not from exposing oneself in the park!)

Assembly Gone Awry

  • Wrong Color Body/Interior/Chassis/Window (Disputable, could be a legit variant. A lot of Redlines came with these kinds of differences and are just about impossible to document.)
  • Mismatched Parts (Such as a Mustang body on a Camaro chassis. That is unnatural and should not be a thing. List this as the variant with which it shares the most parts)
hot wheels error

The baseplate on this K.I.T.T. is backwards. The Hoff must be fuming!

  • Backwards/Upside Down Parts (This mostly happens with the chassis)
  • Missing components (Engines, interiors, windows, etc.)
  • Unspun Rivets
  • Mis-spun Rivets

Graphic In Nature

It’s not that difficult to fake some of color and graphics errors, so most of these probably should be in sealed packages to confirm their validity. Make sure your mistakes are real miscues and not shenanigans!

hot wheels error

The Python is supposed to have a flat black roof. This one doesn’t, and it looks unmodified, but it’s not in the package. Hmmmm…

  • Completely Missing Graphics
  • Graphics Missing On One Side, Top, etc.
  • Misaligned Graphics
hot wheels error

The wheels aren’t the problem here… that’s intentional. But notice how the graphics are “falling off” the car.

  • Off-Register Graphics (One color does not line up with the others)
  • Misspelled Graphics (Technically, this isn’t an error of production, but a failure to proofread. But if it’s caught and fixed, the wrong version might be pretty valuable.)
hot wheels error

Early versions of the Baywatch Rescue Ranger misspelled “First Aid” on the side. It’s a rare “pre-production” error that was eventually fixed. Now The Hoff is really feeling hassled!

Something (But Not Everything) Else

  • Missing Accessories (Buttons, sticker sheets, extra parts, collector cards, etc.)
  • Incorrect Accessories
  • Extra parts

error johnny lightning riviera“Mistakes” That Aren’t Really Errors

alfred e neuman action figure

What me worry? Alfred E. Neuman action figures came in all kinds of messed up alignments.

  • Broken parts… Sad when it happens, but it’s not really an error to collectors.
  • Casting errors that lasted the entire production run. Hey, a Johnny Lightning White Lightning ’71 Buick Riviera with the wrong grill… That’s gotta be rare, right? Well, only as rare as any other White Lightning. JL made castings for the ’71 and ’71 Rivieras, the only difference being the detail in the grill. For the Classic Gold version, they called it a ’71, but used the ’72 casting. They never corrected it, so even though it’s a goof, it’s the only version.
  • Items designed to look incorrectly packaged (Upside down, backwards, etc). This Alfred E. Neuman figure is supposed to be upside down, which matches the spirit of the magazine. Same with the Santa version, who looks like he fell inside the blister. Oh, and Spider-Man, in the image at the top of the page? Yep, that’s on purpose as well!

Do you have any error cars (or action figures) in your collection? Add them to our database as variants of existing items! And if you can think of any other types of errors, hit us up in the comments section!

12 Superhero Toys That Are Super Hard To Explain

 

weird superhero toys

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Superheroes have long been one of the most popular subjects for toys and collectibles, and why not? With a couple of action figures and a lot of imagination, anything is possible. Unfortunately, not everything that’s possible makes sense. Here are some of our, uhhh, favorite head-scratching superhero toys. If you have logical explanations for any of them, let us know in the comments!

Deadpool Duck LegoDeadpool the Duck – Is he a duck who thinks he’s Deadpool, or a Deadpool who thinks he’s a duck? Lego made an exclusive Duckpool (Deadduck?) minifig for the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, and he has since taken on other forms such as Funko Pops figures. Duckpool. This is really confusing, actually. Just accept it and move on.

Rocket Raccoon Mega ManRocket Raccoon vs. Mega Man Figures – Are they friends? Enemies? Frenemies? And what are they doing together since they’re from completely different copyrighted worlds? Well, there’s a new Marvel vs. Capcom video game, which is an extension of the arcade game that dates back to 1996. And the logical reason for that original mashup was, geez… like we said, hard-to-explain. The ‘90s were weirder than you remember.

guardians of the galaxy doritosGuardians of the Galaxy Doritos Bag With Built-in Walkman – Speaking of Rocket and friends, here’s a strange collectible. Few movies use their soundtracks as effectively as the Guardians movies, so it makes sense to offer an old-school cassette player filled with Star-Lord’s greatest hits. It even has lo-fi looking 1980s style headphones attached! Why it comes mounted in a bag of Doritos is anyone’s guess. Still, you know you want one.

spider bugy

sider mobile comic

Everyone hates the Spider-Mobile. Fans, artists, writers, Spidey himself…

Spider-Mobile/Dead Buggy – As we all know, Spider-Man gets around town pretty easily by slinging webs and swinging from building to building. And sometimes he takes the subway if needed. So what’s with the Spider-Mobile? It’s a dune buggy, which is cool, but doesn’t make a lot of sense in a major metropolitan area with no beach. It is canonical, having made several appearances in comic books, but always as the subject of ridicule. The joke came full circle when Hot Wheels made a must-have San Diego Comic Con exclusive model of it. Then things got even more meta when it was discovered that there was a chase version… If you were lucky, you might have opened the box to discover the Dead Buggy, “vandalized” by Deadpool.

huld copterHulk Copter – Hulk smash. Hulk throw things. Hulk struggle with socially acceptable motor control. So Hulk not good candidate for piloting helicopter. Or any vehicle, for that matter. But especially a helicopter.

corgi super mobile

Supermobile – If you’re faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, you don’t need a flying rocket car. Even if it has punching fists in side-mounted cannons. Even if it did actually appear in the comic books. In the time it takes to valet park that thing in Metropolis, Superman could be on the scene of any developing situation. And if he does need a ride, Batman probably owes him a favor, so he can call him. Nonetheless, Corgi made a model of it, a few different variants in fact. And there are some other neat toys if you search for “Superman plane” on hobbyDB.

hallmark flash aquaman

Aquaman with Batmobile

Aquaman waits for a ride in the Batmobile in “Justice League.”

Aquaman and Flash Cars – Not to keep harping on vehicles that have no reason to exist, but Aquaman doesn’t drive. At least he never seems to in the comics. Like Superman, he can hitch a ride in the Batmobile as needed. In fact, it appears that he does exactly that in the “Justice League” movie. As for Flash, he’s faster than any car will ever be, so the only time he might need one is if he goes to Costco on the weekend. And if he did shop in bulk, he probably would choose something more practical than a Corvette. They are adorable, though. These are part of the Squeely series of vinyl figures from Hallmark, so you can probably expect to see them in ornament form soon.

thor scooterThor Scooter – It’s The Mighty Thor. Riding a Vespa. A pink Vespa. This is non-canonical. This should not exist. The basis for this scooter is the Skiddo Scooter from Marx Toys, featuring a really scary looking Army soldier. Seriously, the other version is really weird looking!

batman superman squirt gunsBatman and Superman Squirt Guns – These are kind of strange… why would these guys go around spitting water on people? That’s really more of an Aquaman thing. But, hey, whatever. You could design a worse toy. Much, much worse…

Batman squirt gunAnother Batman Squirt Gun – No. NO! A THOUSAND TIMES, NO! This squirt gun is just wrong on so many levels, it’s impossible to count! In case you’re wondering, this does not appear to be an officially licensed toy (Need proof? The miscapitalization of “BatMan” on the label, the fact that he’s flying like Superman on that label, the fact that there is no way someone at DC would be dumb enough to authorize this… would they?) Amazingly enough, there was a similar Popeye version as well.

Got any other oddball superhero toys that we didn’t mention? Hit us up in the comments and add them to our database!

Majorette Moves to Become A Major Player in U.S. Market

majorette blister cardDiecast hunters at Toys R Us may have recently noticed a familiar old brand they haven’t seen in almost two decades. Majorette, which has not been sold in the U.S. since 1999, is making a comeback. “Toys R Us was looking to introduce a diecast line different from what all other mass retailers had,” said Brand Ambassador Andy Goodman. “Knowing the quality and longevity of the brand (it started in 1964) TRU worked with their parent company, Simba-Dickie Group, to strike a partnership to bring the very popular European brand back to U.S. collectors.”

majorette boxster challenger lamborghini

Many new Majorette models include opening doors or engine covers.

During their absence, Majorette made the move from toylike models to more of a collector brand. Their vehicles are in still in the 3-inch range, which is around 1/64. Scales vary for each one, and are still marked on the bottom of each model, a tradition for the brand. But they are now much more accurately proportioned and detailed than what you might remember from your youth.

Majorette Mercedes

Majorette’s diecast cars in the 1970s, such as this Mercedes 450 SE, had more toy-like proportions.

“I really think everything was toy like in the 60’s 70’s – not many people were collecting model cars back then,” said Goodman.  “Collectors were becoming a recognizable group with a presence in  ’80s and ’90s, and they wanted realistic replicas of their favorite and dream vehicles. Majorette noticed and began to deliver the accuracy the community was looking for.”

majorette subaru wrx

Majorette’s newer models, like this Subaru WRX STI, are more accurately scaled and detailed than their early efforts.

The brand has always been popular in Europe but never made the same impact in the States. Part of the reason was a lack of models based on American marques, which they have addressed lately. For the past several years, the Camaro, Ford F-150 and Mustang have been among their most popular cars. Their stable still includes less common models as the Audi A1, Mercedes G Wagon, and Jaguar F Type as a way to differentiate them from other diecast companies.

majorette f150 camaro

The relaunch includes more American marques such as the Ford F-150 and Chevy Camaro.

Collectors should appreciate the value of these models as well. They are designed to retail for around $3.49, but can often be found for even less in some stores. Not bad for models of this kind of quality.

As for upcoming plans, Majorette has signed on as a sponsor for the upcoming Diecast Hall of Fame awards, so attendees can experience their offerings up close. “Majorette also has a great partnership planned for 2018 with Toys R Us,” said Goodman. “You’ll see the launch of the internationally popular Dubai Police Line, their Vintage collection and a special raw collection that’s to debut in the U.S. market first.” Those are some welcome and major developments in the world of diecast.

Did you have a favorite Majorette model when you were a kid? Let us know in the comments!

These ’65 Chevies Are Better Than The Real Thing!

Over the past few years, we’ve contributed articles to Die CastX magazine for publication on their website and in their quarterly print edition. We hope you enjoy our comparison of two Chevelle-based cars from 1965.

diecastx chevelle and el camino

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

The 1964 Chevelle was a pleasant and sporty mid-sized car, but fell just a bit short of being an exciting ride. Chevrolet quickly fixed that for ’65 with a more aggressive front end and some beefier engine options. For some reason, scale models of both years have been scarce compared to other years.

It only took about 40 years until Lane Exact Detail Replicas came out with a ’65 El Camino …  No one had offered a model of this year Chevelle, Malibu or El Camino before, and Lane offered versions of all of them. They retailed for over $100, a price that brought not only amazing detail, but limited availability of only 1500 copies.

Lane 1965 El CaminoAround the same time, American Muscle released a 1/18 scale Malibu SS model from their Authentics line. This car retailed for around $65, for which the buyer also got some incredible detail.

ertl 1965 Mailbu ssThe exteriors of both cars show excellent fit and finish, including different levels of shine on the grill as needed. Details like the headlights, marker lamps, and door handles are separate bits, carefully installed for extra realism. The El Camino features separately molded chrome trim on the sides and around the bed and windows. Each car also features a radio antenna that can be raised or lowered. As nice as these look so far, you really have to open them up to appreciate the quality of these models. By the way, the doors a realistically hinged, and the Malibu even has a tiny sprung button that holds them shut.

Lane 1965 El CaminoThe interior of the El Camino is astonishing. The vinyl seats have a realistic sheen and feature separate seatbelts with detailed buckles. The passenger seat flips forward to reveal the spare tire. Every texture from the metal dash to the roof liner (a detail found on both cars) is well done. You can even see the texture and logos on the “Body by Fisher” kick plates. American Muscle’s interior is also of much higher quality than their regular, particularly the simulated wood steering wheel, flocked carpets, and readable gauges.

Lane 1965 El CaminoThe Elco’s engine detail is full of surprises, with some very finely detailed and fragile parts throughout. The radiator cap, which is multicolored, has a small hose running back to the plastic reservoir, which is painted to look like it’s half full of fluid. There’s even a plate where the hood pin latches to the body. Best bit of all might be the tiny replica of the glass GM washer fluid bottle, complete with labels.

ertl a925 Mailbu ssThe Malibu isn’t too far behind under the hood, with far more separately molded and colored components than you usually find in a model. One detail that really stands out when the hood is up is the photo etched metal grill insert, which lends an incredibly deep bit of detail to the front end. Another thing you might not have noticed: The hood hinges work like the real car, complete with springs.

ertl a925 Mailbu ssSpeaking of hinges, the hood hinges on the El Camino are the type you usually find on a 1/18 scale model, but the tailgate is another matter. When you lower the gate, there are very thin folding metal straps that drop into place like a real pickup. The Malibu counters that with a trunk complete with houndstooth floormat, spare tire and printed jack instructions.

Lane 1965 El CaminoUnderneath, both cars show some innovative detail. The El Camino has quite a few separately colored components instead of the usual single-piece chassis molded in black. The Malibu has some great working features including separately sprung suspension on each wheel and a driveshaft that turns when rolled. Both cars were pioneers in packaging that didn’t require ugly mounting tabs and screw holes, so they deserve a lot of credit here.

ertl a925 Mailbu ssLane 1965 El CaminoThe attention to detail makes it hard to choose one of these ’65 Chevies over the other. Maybe get the Malibu for the lower price and grab the Elco because you can’t get one elsewhere. Then marvel at both.

Unusual, Unique, Even Nonexistent… The AutoCult Official Archive Has Them All

Autocult leadAutoCult is the latest diecast company to host their Official Archive on hobbyDB. If you’re not familiar with them, that’s okay… you’re probably just as unfamiliar with the cars they model. But once you see what AutoCult does, you’ll be hooked.

Most model car companies play it relatively safe when they decide what automobiles to reproduce in miniature. It’s not a giant leap of faith to recreate a mid 1960s Corvette or a cup winning Formula 1 car and hope collectors will buy a copy. Sure, there’s great risk for the company, but the odds of reward are pretty good.

AutoCult does things pretty much the opposite way. Focusing not just on nearly forgotten, but in some cases, almost never-known cars have been their specialty. One-off prototypes, cars with production numbers limited by odd circumstances, legendary but fictional cars… you name it, AutoCult is interested in reproducing it.

Autocult Saab 92H camperTake their Saab 92H model. Not the Saab 92, a car which you’ve probably at least heard of… the 92H was a special one-off camper bodied version of the car, immortalized in 1/43.

Autocult VW Beetle MinihomeSpeaking of campers, how about AutoCult’s 1977 Volkswagen Beetle Minihome concept, a vehicle previously only remembered in the pages of Mechanix Illustrated. Autocult’s releases are organized into numbered series such as Campers (09000), Prototypes (06000), Delivery Vehicles (08000)… you can see the complete list of series on the Archive.

autoculttour vehicleOr speaking of really odd Volkswagens, this VW Kåfer “Wolfsberger Båhnle, a beloved tourist hauler used for sightseeing in Wolfsburg, Germany. Seriously, the question isn’t who would collect these models, it’s who would honestly take a chance on making them? It’s the AutoCult way.

Autocult Brandpowder_911_DSHeck, AutoCult even made a model of a concept so bizarre it only existed as a viral marketing campaign for a creative marketing firm… The Brandpower “911 DS” consisted of the front end of a Porsche 911 and the back of a Citroen DS, presented to the world as if someone had actually built it. Never mind the complications of where the engine would go, some publications were fooled into printing stories about it. Of course AutoCult had to build it.

Autocult VW curry busAnd seriously, what is this thing? Why, it’s a tribute to the ever lovable Volkswagen Bus and the ever popular but not too slimming delicaty of currywurst. And yes, it’s based on a real vehicle!

Autocult Mercedes-Benz SL-XNot to say their models are all oddballs… AutoCult’s new 1965 Mercedes-Benz SL-X answers the question of how one could possibly improve the legendarily perfect design of the Gull-wing SL… well, just look at the concept MB cooked up. And you can own it in 1/18 scale.

Models are released on the AutoCult website on a monthly schedule like a magazine. Each one is resin cast and limited to only 333 copies, so everything they do is rare. Consider their annual yearbooks, and other ephemera like the playing cards they offered in 2016, and it’s hard to resist what AutoCult is doing.

Autocult Ganz VolkswagenCustomer involvement comes at a unique level in projects such as their model of the original “people’s car,” or “volkswagen” by German engineer Josef Ganz. In a nutshell, this innovative rear engine concept was shown at the 1933 Berlin Motor Show, but forgotten to history to another similar, more famous Volkswagen. Autocult is actually running an Indiegogo fundraiser to recreate it – not in miniature, but to restore one of the actual 250 or so Ganz cars to its original glory. Neat, huh?

They’re the kind of diecast company we love at hobbyDB, and the kind you’ll love learning about.