Musings By Joschik Posts

Gary Hirst – I did not meet him and now never will, but he will not be forgotten

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and this post is about saying Good-Bye to a friend and valued contributor.

Today I got an email from Gary’s partner informing me that he passed away a week ago.  About ten years ago, I reached out to Gary to get his advice on how we document model cars in our database. I admire him as he was always willing to help and share his incredible knowledge.  Over the last three years, he added more than 4,000 models to the hobbyDB database and had plans to add 1,000s more.  In fact many diecast collectors will be familiar with Gary’s kitchen table – as his photos have a very distinctive background  –

He also helped built hobbyDB with other subjects that he was interested in such as his home-town Preston or the local bus company Ribble Motor Services.  Beyond that Gary always had great comments on how to improve the way we document model cars and other type of collectibles.

I had on many occasions invited Gary to come see our office in Boulder or meet at one of the conventions like the Matchbox Gathering of Friends in Albuquerque and hoped that we could meet in person. However, as he was fighting an illness that was unfortunately not an option.  I do not even have a photo of him, so I will always remember him by his chosen Avatar on hobbyDB, a Ribble bus  –

For somebody I never met, I do miss Gary and the news of his untimely demise today hit me hard.  The diecast world lost somebody very special yesterday.


Please share an episode or add another comment below if you knew Gary

Bringing Marketplaces to your favorite Website

GarysCars, for more than a decade the best source for Lego 1:87, Lonestar, Playart, Triang MINIX, Zylmex and other obscure diecast brands

We all have our favorite collectible websites – mine, for example, is GarysCars. The wonderful people who create these sites put huge amounts of time and effort into them, so we wanted to figure out a way that hobbyDB could help them in their mission. Enter the PopUp Marketplace – a new way for site owners to get revenue from their creations quickly and easily.

The hobbyDB PopUp Marketplaces are tailored specifically to the site they PopUp on! They only show items relevant to that site’s audience and they have a simple and convenient guest checkout, so there’s no need to register and buyers can just pay with PayPal or credit card. All the site owner has to do is link to the PopUp Marketplace from wherever they want to, and the fees we earn from the marketplace is shared with them.

Sellers can also offer discount coupons to specific PopUp Marketplaces and buyers can buy from as many sellers as they like at any one time. Lots more features are in the pipeline, but in the meantime why not check it out for yourselves. Here are our first two PopUp Marketplaces:

We’ve launched five so far, with four more coming next week (you find a complete list of them here).

PopUp Marketplaces are totally personalizable – this one is only showing Superman related items

PopUp Marketplace can be built so that they only show:

  • Items from one or more brands only
  • Items related to one or more characters or movies
  • Items of a certain type such as decoys or posters
  • Items of a certain type with additional restrictions (say only Model Cars in 1:18 Scale)

If you know a site that should have one of these PopUp Marketplaces please contact us!

Only in Boulder…

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience.

I have now been living for almost 3 years in Boulder and find it a fascinating place.  Not only is it the place where Subaru Outbacks come to die.


A nice Outback in 1/64

There is also all kind of bizarre niceness.  For example stopping at a local thrift store the day before yesterday I was first greeted by a car that had a Keep Boulder nice sticker and then proceeded to do so by sporting a crochet spare tire “protection”.

Inside I then found this Green Army Man in a Tree Position

The assistant offered me the rest of his platoon, they were doing other Yoga positions…

Only in Boulder…

Farewell to Martin Hills, a Friend and Fellow Toy Collector

Musings By Joschik.  Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience, here unfortunately sad news.

martin-hillsYesterday Ian Carrick, an old friend got in touch with the sad news that Martin is not with us anymore.  I knew Martin since 2006 when we started working together for 2 years.

He was always in the best mood possible, always willing to share and always more than happy to help.  Martin was just an amazing person to spend time with.  Maybe it is because he has been collecting toys all of his life and became a full-time toy person 22 years ago (it is telling that he died on the way to a toyfair).

Martin Hills showing some of his toys

Everybody at Auctioning4u enjoyed Martin’s “Show & Tell” lunches

When we went to the UK we always tried to make sure we could meet up, even my wife and kids (who generally try to stay away from visiting collectors) loved going. Martin and Julia’s house was always full of fun things, nice stories and lots of biscuits!


One of Martin’s favorite items, the Dan Dare Rocket Gun

Martin sold what was probably the best Dan Dare collection to one of our other supporters, to Chang Yang Fa who now displays it at his Mint Museum in Singapore.


We always had fun sharing names and other features of some of the early Chinese stuff, like here the Photoing on Car model

He then became an expert in vintage Chinese tinplate and was probably the most important vendor of it (sending lots of it back to China!).  He was going to share his wealth of knowledge and photos with collectors via hobbyDB, it’s a shame that we all miss out on this.  Martin, rest in peace (hopefully you have internet up there so you can check in from time to time).

Meeting Sean and Steph (and their awesome Lego Builds)

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience.

We just had our regular COWLUG meeting (short for the Colorado & Wyoming Lego User Group) at Tatooine, our office and I was in awe of one of the builds on display.

SS Helios

S.S. Helios

The S.S. Helios was built by Sean and Steph and they explained that it is (will be?) a Phoenix class starship capable of charging great amounts of energy from nearby stars. Also capable of starcore harvest, it is one of the most enduring types of smaller vessels in the galaxy.  I demanded to see more and they showed me their FlickR Photostream – wow!

Now I like Dragons and such things and they have lots!

Tzarach Wyvern

Tzarach Wyvern

The Tzarach Wyvren is apparently a breed of beast that is almost a dragon, but lacking some of the more endearing and tame traits. It is a fearsome opponent with a venomous bite and lean muscles able to rip the arms off of most mechs.

And here a dragon (even if only very small):


Loch Ness Monster “Diorama”

And while not a dragon I had wanted to show this Sentinel from the Matrix as well!



For more head over to their ultra cool FlickR Photostream.