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About Mike999

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  • Scale I Build 1/25

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  • Location South Carolina
  • Full Name Michael S. Smith

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  1. Mike999 added a topic in Car Kit News & Reviews   

    TONKA #7018 1913 Model T "Four-Alarm Call" 1/24
    In 1974-75, the famous metal toy maker TONKA released a series of "Diorama Kits." The kits were produced in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution.  Each included a plastic kit of a historical subject, along with parts to build a shadow-box for the finished scene.  The Diorama Kits were sold with 2 different kinds of shadow-box:  kits for the general variety-store trade had black plastic boxes and clear plastic viewing panels.  Those for the hobby-shop trade included real wooden boxes and real glass.
    The kits were not a success and disappeared after the initial run. As near as I can tell, these were all the TONKA Diorama Kits produced and their kit numbers:
    7011 Moment of Flight, the Wright Flyer (1/48 scale)
    7013 1913 America, Model T Ford (molded in black, with street scene & figures)
    7014 Landing at Paris, The Spirit of St. Louis (1/48 scale)
    7015 Railroading in 1853, The Pioneer Locomotive (O scale, 1/48)
    7016 First U.S. Auto Crossing: The 1903 Winton (1/24 scale, complete with 2 human figures AND Bud the dog)
    7017 Confederate Attack on Chambersburg  (O scale, 1/48)
    7018 1913 Model T "Four-Alarm Call" (molded in red, with Fire Dept. scene)
    Here's an ad for kit #7013 "1913 America," from the Jan. 1975 issue of Boy's Life magazine:

    #7018 1913 Model T "Four-Alarm Call"
    I found this kit recently at a local flea market, for a very good price.  It's the hobby-shop version, with the real wood and glass shadow-box parts:

    Overall picture of the contents:

    Here's one sprue of red parts, for the 1913 Model T, building stair rails and nifty vintage street-lamp.  5 globes for the lamp are on the clear sprue.  The Model T is pretty basic; the engine only has 3 parts, 2 block halves and the head. Still a pretty nice little kit, and rare in being a pre-1920's kit of the Model T:

    The second sprue of red parts, with wheels and the rest of the Model T:

    Here are the tires, molded in the right color - greyish off-white.  And the brass parts sprue (there are no chrome parts in the kit):

    Clear parts. For the Model T, only 2 windshield halves and the headlight lenses are needed.  The globes are for the street-lamp, with extras - probably because the clear parts came directly from the earlier "America" Model T kit #7013, which had more lamps in its street scene:

      Vintage 1/24 firefighters!  These little guys are not too bad for 1975.  2 sitting, 1 standing, 1 running:

    The instruction sheet is a monster, about the size of a tabloid newspaper.  Along with detailed instructions including part numbers AND names, it includes a history of the Model T; a history of American firefighting; and "How To Drive A Model T," taken from the Ford owner's manual:

    Finally, here's the wooden parts of the shadowbox and some extras, like the nameplate and "Fire Dept." stickers:
    • 4 replies
  2. Mike999 added a post in a topic Hmm, another brass-era Model T I'm going to have to have, I think!   

    Not sure if everybody knows this - but the Model T in the TONKA "Four-Alarm Call" kit isn't really a fire truck and doesn't have any fire equipment.  It's just a basic 1913 Model T Touring Car, molded in red.  It does have an engine, and some other nice details. And 4 firefighter figures.
    I found that kit cheap at a local flea market, with the real wood and glass display case.  Untouched with all inner bags sealed, but in a pretty ratty box.
    Here's Anthony Hazelaar's great build of the TONKA kit:

  3. Mike999 added a post in a topic Awww C'mon!! Really??   

    This story may or may not be true. Well, I read it on the Internetz, so it must be true...
    When Meg Whitman left eBay, her replacement talked about making eBay more like Amazon.  He allegedly said:  "Right now, eBay looks too much like a flea market."
    The story says he got several thousand angry e-mails, most of them saying: "eBay IS a flea market, you idiot!"
  4. Mike999 added a post in a topic What did you get today?   

    Had to go to a dentist today for an oil change and lube (checkup and cleaning).  Fortunately his office is near a Hobby Lobby and one of the very few local hobby shops in this entire area.  So...
    Hobby Lobby, Easley SC: REVELL '67 Nickey Camaro RS/SS 427 with 40% off. 
    Off-topic: ACADEMY 1/48 Hughes 500D Ca. Highway Patrol helicopter, which includes a CHP trooper and his Kawasaki motorcycle. OK, so not completely off-topic.  Neat little kit, and I probably couldn't beat the $12.99 price on eBay, after shipping.
    Real Hobby Shop:  AMT Sunbeam Tiger and "Mod Rod" '29 Ford in the flat Art Box.
    I'm starting to think REVELL is boycotting Upstate S.C. with the '30 Ford Coupe.  Or maybe they're really selling like hotcakes. I know others on here have found them at Hobby Lobby, but this store either didn't get them yet or had sold out.  The hobby shop didn't have any either, and it usually gets new kits pretty quickly.
  5. Mike999 added a post in a topic Awww C'mon!! Really??   

    According to posts on eBay Community and the general internet - that was a lot easier before eBay created "Stores."  I remember one sad story from a woman who quit her job and, for a while, supported herself and her elderly mother with eBay.  They mostly found their merchandise at thrift stores, yard sales and especially estate sales. Then marked it up to a Starting Bid that gave them a little profit.  But according to her story, once eBay Stores came about, the professional junk-pickers moved in and pretty much blew away all the amateur junk-pickers. 
    They couldn't compete. The woman and her mother also nearly lost their house, and she went back to work at a regular job.  I'm not really sure how much blame should go to Stores, but her story was interesting.  And a good warning.
  6. Mike999 added a post in a topic What is your Favorite Auto or Truck Program??   

    Wheeler Dealers -  I know parts of it are just as scripted as the rest, but Edd China's an incredible mechanic.  I actually learn useful stuff watching that show. Loved the episode where Mike was trying to low-ball an old lady with a '67 Camaro in Calif. and she wouldn't back down on the price.
    Chasing Classic Cars - I think it's great when Carini is finding old cars in barns and garages. Not so much when he's hobnobbing at the uber-rich auctions and car shows.
    Leno is good. If you're in the Los Angeles area, drop into the AutoBooks store in Burbank (Magnolia Blvd).  Leno sometimes visits. I was there once when he pulled up outside in the 1910 Baker Electric.  He was very gracious, and spent quite a bit of time giving autographs and talking to people.  You'll want to visit that store anyway. It sells nothing but car and aviation books, and has a lot of rare and obscure stuff.  Other famous Car Guys sometimes visit the store too, like Ed Iskenderian and Gene Winfield.
    Worst Car Show Ever - "Desert Car Kings."  I'll never forget those knuckleheads "restoring" a '62 Ford Galaxie.  They pulled the whole interior out of a '64 Galaxie and crammed it into the '62.  Because it "looked better."  They also yanked out the original 292 engine and replaced it with a 352 from their junk pile.
  7. Mike999 added a post in a topic '47 - '48 Fords N' Chevys   

    And if you shrunk a '48 Ford, moved the engine to the back, then taught it to speak French...


  8. Mike999 added a post in a topic What did you see on the road today?   

    Slovakia, going by the "SK" and the plate format.  Which sounds like there's a REALLY good story here.

    The 127 (along with many other FIATs) was also license-built in Egypt by the state-owned Nasr car company.  Egyptians love those cars, whether real FIATs or copies. One of my Egyptian friends had a nearly new Skoda, but his wife mostly drove that car.  He drove his red Fiat 128, which was his first car when he was in college, I think.  He lived in Alexandria, so it was pretty rusty and beat-up.  But he wouldn't have sold that car for any amount of money.
  9. Mike999 added a post in a topic Isuzu Hombre   

    You're right, several models.  I wondered about that too.  Here's a 2015 thread with some interesting info.  I never knew the Revell chopped LUV was based on a real truck:

  10. Mike999 added a post in a topic Rising price of our hobby   

    When visiting Los Angeles, you can also visit Bugsy! And you can still see Virginia Hill's house in Beverly Hills, where he was shot. Along with the nearby house where the shooter stood.  There are old photos of LAPD detectives looking over the crime scene. On the outside, both houses are pretty much the same as they were in 1947. 
    Bugsy's own mansion in Holmby Hills, built in 1938, is also still standing.  In 2013 it sold for $19.5 million (original asking price - $49.5 million!!!)
    You'll find Bugsy at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., in the Hollywood Forever cemetery.  He has lots of famous company there, including Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino and Marion Davies - mistress of William Randolph Hearst, and the model for "Susan Alexander" in Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane." Rosebud...
    Col. Griffith J. Griffith is also buried there.  All that stuff named "Griffith" in L.A. is named for him, including Griffith Park, Observatory, etc. In Sept. 1903, Griffith became convinced his wife and the Pope were plotting to kill him.  He shot his wife thru the right eye, but she lived (to divorce him).  At his trial it came out that Griffith, who publicly claimed to be a teetotaler, was a secret alcoholic with serious mental problems.


  11. Mike999 added a post in a topic Stock '41 Ford Woody   

    One thing that's always bugged me about this kit - the lousy fit of the hood on the passenger side.  Did anybody get one with a hood that fits right?
    A few years ago, one of the TAMIYA model magazines ran a built-up of a 41 Woody on the cover, showing the kit from the right front.  The gap between the hood and the fender line was very obvious.  I have a stock version half-built with the same gap.  IIRC, the left side fits OK. Which is weird.
    If you want to do something different with the '41 Woody, take a tip from that TAMIYA magazine guy.  He built his as a Canadian (Right-Hand-Drive) Woody used by the British Army in WWII North Africa. Lots of weird and wonderful things were done to those Woodies.  Some had the roof cut off and a cloth convertible top fitted.  Some of those tops were folding, but others were permanently fixed in the up position.  And still others just had the roof sawed off, with no kind of convertible top.  Hardtops often had a rectangular observation hatch cut above the front seat. There are lots of photos on the Internet. 
  12. Mike999 added a post in a topic Tamiya 1/24 Aston Martin DBS   

    Tamiya's consistent, at least. They do this with their armor kits too.  The Tamiya M-51 Israeli Sherman was the third kit on the market, after Academy and Dragon. Tamiya finally nailed the complex muzzle brake that the other two companies flubbed.  Their suspension units only had a few parts but looked great. As opposed to the Dragon units, which were very fiddly and had about 20 parts each, including a section of brass tube (and there are 6 of them!).  
    Then we get to a very prominent feature, the jerry cans and their racks...which were molded together as one piece. ARRRGHH!  Straight outta the 1970s!  You either paint everything black, then mask off the cans and paint the racks. Or paint everything IDF Sand, then mask the racks and very carefully paint the cans.
    A small gripe overall, I guess, in such a good kit. But Tamiya always seems to do this.  The kit's 90-95% great and they drop the ball on a few things that just drive you crazy.
  13. Mike999 added a post in a topic Awww C'mon!! Really??   

    Well, that's fine. But I consider this a hobby/pastime I love, not a "business opportunity."  And before the Junior Milton Friedmans start yammering about capitalism, I don't mind anybody making a profit off their stuff.  I do it myself on eBay. But there is a limit and that particular seller exceeds it every time, IMO.
    As I've said before, I'd never buy anything from that guy.  Aside from ridiculous prices, his listings are long, ranty whines about how hard he works to find these Very Special Parts and provide them to us.  He also often refers to potential customers as "stupid."  Way to build good-will, dude! 
    People selling at reasonable prices are also "stupid."  Because it takes SO MUCH TIME to hunt down his Very Special Parts.  And he has to take photos!  And write long, ranty listings!  His hard labor just goes on and on!  Oh, the humanity!  IOW, he has to do what every other eBay seller does. His listings often contain something like this:  "If you don't like my prices, go buy from somebody else who works for free."  Thanks, I'll continue to do just that.
  14. Mike999 added a post in a topic Rising price of our hobby   

    Speaking of expensive hobbies...back in the 1990s, a family friend was looking good for retirement. He had about $200,000 in personal savings plus his 401(k) etc.  He was always conservative with his money and locally famous as a tightwad.
    Then the Video Poker craze swept South Carolina. In an incredibly short time, he had vaporized all his savings, borrowed from his 401(k), and ended up filing bankruptcy. I couldn't believe that. But it happened.  The state banned Video Poker in 2000.
    For many years I lived in Los Angeles, a pretty short drive from Vegas. I'd be Trump-rich if I had a dollar for every time somebody told me about a sure-fire scheme to beat the casinos.  Always some can't-fail Blackjack card counting scheme, or doubling down on Roulette, etc. etc. Forgetting that the casino has virtually unlimited time and money, and the gambler does not.
    There's an old story about a woman in a Harrah's casino.  She lost a lot of money, and saw Bill Harrah himself on the casino floor.  She went over and complained to Harrah that his slot machines weren't paying off.  Harrah said something like: "Sure they are!  See that expensive carpet you're standing on?  See those crystal chandeliers up there?  Don't tell me those slots aren't paying off."
  15. Mike999 added a post in a topic What did you get today?   

    No REVELL '30 Ford coupes at my closest HL, either. I was looking for one myself.  So we're probably safe and they just haven't arrived yet.
    Over in the Clearance aisle, this HL still had a couple of the '23 Ford Model T "Nestle" trucks, marked down to $14.39.  Tempting but I already have several. The only other car models in the Clearance aisle were a lonely pair of AMT 1/32 scale Avantis.