O F F - T H E - S H E L F

The following editorial reflects the personal thoughts of Doug Breithaupt relating to our common hobby of miniature cars. It is intended to generate discussion relating to 'Tales of Toy Cars'. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via e-mail.

Diecast Forums

The following are excerpts from a recent Matchbox Collector's Community Hall forum discussion on 'Fantasy Five Packs'.

"Fantasy Five-Packs"

The recent theme on favorite five-packs reminded me of something we've done from time to time on TofTC. While there have been some wonderful five-packs from toy car makers. most of us think we could do better. All they have to do is ask us and we could assemble themed five-packs that would jump off the shelves, right?

Pick a diecast manufacturer, pick five cars in a theme, it's that simple. Maybe we can tempt Mac to pick his favorite and offer a prize to the winner (an autographed copy of his new Johnny Lightning book would be nice, hint, hint). I'm sure between Mac, Mark and myself, we can work something out.

I'll start things off with a theme I call 'Mighty Micros' by Hot Wheels. here are five current castings that really share several themes. They are all vintage micro cars, they are all in non-stock, competition form and they were represent cars built in Europe or the U.K.

The five are the Metrorail (Metropolitan), M.G. Rover (Morris), Whatta Drag (BMW Isetta), Mini Cooper and Fiat 500C. Anyone else want to play?

Doug Breithaupt

"RE: Fantasy Five-Packs"

It would be great if the Matchbox sports cars of the 1960s were re-released:

Ferrari 250 GTL
Iso Rivolta Grifo
Lamborghini Miura
Jaguar E Type
Ford Mustang Fastback

P.S. I wish they would consider issuing something like this - with new color schemes, Premiere wheels and detailed trim tampos - for the REAL 50th anniversary of Matchbox in 2003. Just wishful thinking I fear...


"RE: Fantasy Five-Packs"

Another fantasy 5 pack could be an early 70s Concept Car Pack, with the Lamborghini Marzal, Alfa Carabo, BMC 1800 Pininfarina, Mazda RX 500 and, and, and... what would be the best?

Possibly the Freeman Intercity, if it could be proved that it was a real car.

Well, sure, otherwise it has to be the Dodge Charger Mk. III.


Do you belong to a diecast forum online? For the past several years, I avoided membership in a forum, preferring to drop in and visit several different electronic discussion groups. Two things changed my mind.

Readers and contributors to TofTC kept telling me about forums that were discussing our Webzine. After three years of monthly issues and hundreds of diecast topics addresses, it was not a surprise that we were the subject of diecast enthusiasts. Contributors like Remco Natrop and Dave Weber are experts in the diecast hobby and they recommended that I take a closer look.

The time it takes to prepare each issue of TofTC left little time for me to become involved in other hobby-related activities. I had joined the local Matchbox Club and I attend 3-4 toy shows each year. Participation in a forum would make it harder to get my TofTC issues ready.

After repeated recommendations, I visited The Matchbox Collector's Community Hall and began participating as a guest on the 1:64 scale diecast forum moderated by Mac Ragan. Mac's name may sound familiar as he has authored diecast books on Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning and diecast cars of the 1960's. I like his books and I found I liked his forum. Mac likes all kinds of small-scale cars so don't be confused by the 'Matchbox' name. Some sample conversations are to the right and left.

Sure, It does take a bit of my time to follow the different conversations but it's a great way to keep in touch with what's happening in the world of small-scale diecast. In addition, I've been able to get help with story ideas and take advantage of the many experts who are part of this forum. Best of all, it's fun to be part of a community that shares my hobby.

Since partnering with whaticollect.com, Tales of Toy Cars has offered a forum feature. To say that the forum has been a bust would be too kind. Solution? Simple, dump the TofTC forum and replace it with a link to the The Matchbox Collector's Community Hall. I ran the idea by Mac Ragan's forum members and the response was 100% positive. The folks at whaticollect.com said fine and the link went active.

Forums aren't for everyone. If your willing to take a look, I think you will be pleased. The Matchbox Collector's Community Hall offers many discussion groups and you should be able to find one you like. I've already done that and you are welcome to join Mac, Remco, Dave and me at the 1:64 scale forum. Come join the fun.