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Matchbox Super Convoys - Part One

I'm a huge fan of semi-trailers, also known as tractor trailers, big rigs, and 18 wheelers. But most of the supposedly 1:64 scale die-cast ones are too small to be displayed with my cars.  For example, long ago Matchbox came out with their Convoy and Super Rigs series.  They had some really nice tractor trailers, but their scale was probably better suited to 1:87 scale cars.

In 2008, Matchbox came out with a line of tractor trailers called Super Convoys, which scaled a lot better.   There were several cab variants and different trailers also, which could be interchanged with each other.  The cabs, for the most part were die-cast and the trailers were plastic.  At the time, they were quite pricey at around $10 USD  and about $12.99 CDN.  I couldn't see myself paying those kind of prices, even though these trucks were really appealing to me.  Toys R Us and Canadian discount department store Zellers used to carry them, but they never sold and just sat on the shelves.

Then, in 2011, Zellers announced that they were going out of business.  A lot of their merchandise got discounted during it's final days, and it was during this time, that I managed to acquire my collection of Matchbox Super Convoys at about half of their retail price.  I picked up ten different tractor trailer sets, but I think Matchbox must have produced at least twenty different sets.  I think some newer ones came out in 2012.

Part one of my Super Convoys post will focus on the sets with the Kenworth K100 sleeper cab.  It's casting has lots of nice details.  Let's take a look at one in particular.  All the others are just colour variations.

The chassis, front bumper, grille, step, fuel tank, tail lights, mud flaps and fifth wheel are all chrome.  Details like windshield wipers, mirrors, marker lights, headlights and grab handles are all molded into the cab.  The large wind deflector is also molded into the body.

A closer look at the rear of the cab reveals cabling and two exhaust stacks.  Now if the cab could actually flip over, to expose the engine, that would be awesome.  But then the price would have been even more expensive I'm sure.  The biggest letdown would be the fact that the rear wheels are not duallies.  They aren't duallies on the trailers either.

Pictured above is the blue colour variation.  It has the UT logo on the cab doors which also matches the trailer.  The Kenworth badging is clearly marked as is the US Department of Transportation (DOT) number. Fire Extinguisher Inside label is a nice touch too. 

As mentioned previously, the trailers are all plastic, but will hook up to any of the other Super Convoy cabs.  This particular trailer is your typical cargo container. 

It has some nice detailing on the container walls emblazoned with the UT Universal Transportation logo.  Black mudflaps are molded into the trailer frame. What's cool is that this trailer has landing struts that fold down when the trailer is detached from the cab.  You can fold them up and out of the way when attaching to the cab.  For extra play value, you can open the rear door. It even drops down for easy access.

This next K100 cabover is the green variant.  This one features a company logo called Sekandari (sounds like secondary?) Transportation and ST.  There is other wording on the cab but it is hard to make out because the silver is hard to see against the green body.

The matching trailer also features the company logo and name.  The trailer is a open top dumper.  The landing gear folds away for haulage and part of the front frame will also angle away from the dumpster so that it can be tilted backwards.  The rear door swings up and out of the way.

The orange version Kenworth K100 cab uses the same UT Universal Transportation logo that we saw earlier on the blue model.  Badging, DOT and Fire extinguisher labelling is present, but the location of the DOT and fire extinguisher wording is reversed from the blue model.

The trailer featured with this model is a water tank which is removable from it's supporting frame.  Otherwise there are no logos or markings on the side of the water tank.  The trailer mudflaps and taillights are molded into the frame.  Foldaway landing struts on this trailer also.

The next two Kenworth models seem to garner the most attention.  They are both car transporters. The silver one here displays MBX Transportation.  Kenworth badging and Fire extinguisher are present but DOT number is missing.

The car transporter can carry up to five vehicles.  One feature that has been present in all of the other trailers has been the landing struts, but of all the models that need it the most, it is missing here.  Why?  Makes no sense.  Anyways, the transporter is nicely detailed with ladders on each side and rear ramp lowers for entry.  Further, the top level will angle downwards so that cars can be driven onto the second level.  Not crazy about the turquoise blue colour.  Would have preferred silver or gray instead.

 The final version of the K100 cabover comes in black and the company logo is called Cantral Express (not Central Express - trademark issues maybe?).  Kenworth badging, fire extinguisher wording is present, with extra DOT info.

The car transporter is black to match the cab and is otherwise identical to the earlier turquoise one.  It should be noted that the overhang of the second level just clears the wind deflector, but in doing so, makes the transporter look quite blocky.

In my next post, I'll look at the other Matchbox Super Convoys in my collection.

Targa Taccar Honda T360

Back in 2013, I visited Osaka, Japan.  I wandered into a toy store and there was this table piled high with boxes of these cars.  I had never heard of the Taccar brand and wasn't sure what to make of it. 

All of the boxes looked the same, so I wasn't sure if they were all the same model or not.  On the outside of the box, there were several other colour variations of the same model, in this case it's a Honda T360 delivery vehicle.

I paid 380 yen for it (approx $4 USD).  I had planned to open it that night and if it looked nice, I would return to the store the next day to pick up some more.  Alas, the schedule changed and I never did get back to the toy store.

As you can see, it's a sweet little truck, not much bigger than the Tomica Tentmushi camper.

Don't see how it can be 1/52 scale as per the box.

Slightly narrower than the Tomica.

And just a smidge shorter too.

The tires seem to be rubber.

The silver plastic canopy lifts off easily.

Of course, I'm kicking myself for never having bought more the first time and not going back afterwards.

I love the printing on the sides of the  truck, but don't know what it says.  Can someone translate for me?

I was mildly upset to discover that the front license plate was chipped.  

In hindsight, I should have bought four or five of the boxes that day in the store.  Even if the model was the same, I could have a cool fleet of little delivery vehicles.

I googled Taccar and apparently there are nine different versions of the Honda T360 but they are all discontinued.

Blue w/green canopy: Catalog model

White w/blue canopy: Glass shop

Red w/red canopy: Post Office

Yellow w/yellow canopy: Morinaga 

Green w/ no canopy: Takeya

Silver w/yellow canopy: Kincho

White w/tan canopy: Used Paper Recycle shop

Brown w/white canopy: Kamuriya Bread

Yellow w/green canopy: Nittsu
* Note: my model has a silver canopy not green.

Greenlight 1958 Corvette - Photo Shoot

Hello.  Today I'm going to show you how I took the picture of the Greenlight 58 Corvette.   What you are seeing is the car in an underground garage, with a pool of water in front of it.   The underground garage is a picture that I found on the web.   The pool of water is actually a piece of black acrylic plastic.   I placed the car on the black plastic to get a nice reflection in the foreground.

I have put this scene into a lightbox and raised it up to clear the rim of the lightbox.  The scene is lit from left, right and above.  I've positioned my tripod mounted camera about a foot away from the car.

This is how the shot looks behind the camera.  The camera settings are as follows:
Aperture mode at F8, Auto White Balance, ISO speed of 100,  Flash is off,  shutter speed is determined by camera.

After taking the shot I use Picasa (free photo editing software from Google) to enhance the picture as follows:
1.  Straighten the picture if required
2.  Crop the picture at 5x8.
3.  Slightly saturate the colours.

There you have it.  That's how we take the picture.  Now you can re-use the backdrop like in the picture below.

Or change the backdrop and ground cover for a different look, but the camera settings and positions are exactly the same.