29 December 2012

The RLC Special Edition DeLorean

Matching plates
I totally forgot this came out during the holidays.  This is the ultimate DeLorean, at least at the 1/64th scale.  I started working on this over a year ago by working off the 2010 New Model version.  There are some areas of the 2010 model that I just did not get right.  I did not have my car yet, so I was working off pictures, things are a little off.  I took measurements off my own car and reworked it for 2012 version...and, this one has opening doors. After all, this is for Red Line Club, the top of the line Hot Wheels.

Chrome plated ZAMAC body

Neo-Classic wheels with bent axle design

Recognize the plates?
There is no brushed finish, but we had to keep with the look of the line.  So chrome body and Neo-Classis wheels.  Here is the write up from HotWheelsCollectors.com:

After much anticipation in the marketplace, the DeLorean DMC-12 arrived on the scene in the early '80s. Despite a disappointing performance, it became an icon of the era after being used as a time machine in the Back To The Future films. A New Models edition in 2010, the first Hot Wheels casting of this vehicle performed well as a collector favorite. Now we present a new tool -- this time with opening gull-wing doors!
Hot Wheels Designer Manson Cheung took measurements from his own 1:1 DeLorean in order to painstakingly recreate the most accurate Hot Wheels representation possible of the actual car. This casting was engineered with authentic opening gull-wing doors, the interior of which features hand-spray painted detail. With a hand-polished chrome-plated finish and Neo-Classics Redline wheels, this is one release you will appreciate time and time again!
  • Features: Opening gull-wing doors
  • Body Color: Hand-polished chrome-plated finish
  • Body Type: Chrome over ZAMAC
  • Wheels: Neo-Classics Redline wheels w/bent axle suspension
  • Base: Full-metal, matte black chassis
  • Window Color: Light smoke-tinted
  • Interior Color: Black
Hey, I even got my plates on there.  My car is immortalized in die-cast.

The car behind the car, literally and figuratively
There have been quite a few Hot Wheels DeLoreans released in the past two years.  Especially, if you include the Back to the Future Time Machines.  Recently, I was asked on DMCTalk to list all the Hot Wheels DeLoreans. 
2010 New Model - 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 Retail $1

- Silver painted Zamac (metal) body, Black ABS Chassis, Grey ABS Interior, Blue tint K-Resin Window, Black ABS Louver, Multi-spoke Mediums with chrome hot stamp. This is the first release, and all DeLoreans hereafter (unless noted) are the same sculpt, only difference is in paint and molded colour.

- Gold painted Zamac, Black ABS, Tan ABS, Clear K-resin, Black ABS, Multi-spoke Med with Gold There are some mis-coloured interiors due to the mix of plastic. It is not suppose to be 'pink' or 'flesh...just tan.

- Black painted Zamac, Black ABS, Charcoal ABS, Clear K-Resin, Black ABS, Multi-spoke Med with chrome

2011 New Model - Back to the Future Time Machine $1

- Silver painted Zamac Body, Black ABS Chassis, Grey ABS Interior, Blue tint K-Resin Window, Metallic Charcoal painted Zamac Fusion reactor, Multi-spoke Mediums with chrome hot stamp Time Machine built off existing DeLorean car, although no parts are interchangeable.

2011 Faster Than Ever - 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 $1

- Same sculpt as 2010 New Model. Difference is the Clear window, Black Interior, Faster Than Ever Wheels with bronze hot stamp, and wide black side stripes.

2011 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive - Back to the Future Time Machine $35

- Same sculpt as 2011 New Model. This one has way more paint ops, making it look 'better' than the $1 version. Differences from the Basic model (other than paint) are Clear coated Zamac body, Black painted Zamac Chassis, Clear K-Resin Window, Medium Real Riders Turbine wheels with rubber tires. All packed in a pretty display case and beautiful box. Limited to 3000 (I think, maybe 3500) Available only at San Diego Comic Con (now on second market), sold out. 
2012 Hot Wheels Boulevard - Ahead of Its Time - 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 $3

- Same sculpt as 2010 New Model. Differences: Clear coat Zamac Body, Black painted Zamac Chassis, Dark Grey ABS Int, Clear K-Resin Window, Black ABS Lourve (same as rest), Real Rider Turbine Wheels with rubber tires (same as SDCC and RLC BTTF2 cars). This was a limited run due to the Boulevard line being cut short by retailers, so only a percentage of the proposed amount were produced. The Boulevard line being considered a 'Premium' line for adult collectors, it features Direct Ink Jet (DIJ) graphics instead of tampo printing found in the Basic ($1) lines. Most of the higher end lines have DIJ.

2012 Light Speeders - Back to the Future Time Machine $5

- Same sculpt as 2011 New Model. Differences: Grey ABS body, Black painted Zamac Chassis, Dark Gray ABS Interior, Clear K-Resin Window, Plated Zamac Fusion Reactor, Same wheels. This has a special plastic body that turn colour with UV light. Comes with UV 'flashlight' and BTTF themed stencils for decorating.

2012 Red Line Club/Hot Wheels Collector Exclusive - Back to the Future Time Machine 2 $20

- Mostly the same as the SDCC Exclusive with the only real difference being the Fusion Reactor piece is replaced by Mr. Fusion, as seen at the end of Part I and all of Part II. Packed in standard RLC packaging with window on card so you can see both sides of car while in package. Limited to 3300. Available only through HotWheelsCollectors.com, made to order.

2012 RLC/HWC Exclusive - DeLorean DMC-12 (with opening doors) $20

- Polished and plated Zamac Body, Painted Zamac Chassis, Black PP Interior, Clear K-Resin Window, Polished and plated doors, Medium Neo-Classic Wheels with bent axel design. Totally new sculpt. I reworked the car to better match the real car. I did not have my car when I made the first one for 2010 line. I took measurements off my car to make this one the best (as it may be the last) DeLorean that Hot Wheels can make. Although, some sacrifices were made (wheel size, graphic application, opening feature) because of production limitations. Also, this one is an Automatic, all others were Manual. Packed with doors open in same blister as RLC BTTF2. Limited to 4000. Available only through HotWheelsCollectors.com, and soon at delorean.com.

Soon to be released

Hot Wheels Elite - Cult Classics - 1/43 Back to the Future Time Machine $60 +/-
- You can still pre-order these from BTTF.com I just got the FEP's about two weeks ago, so it should be ready to ship about in about a month...hopefully. I talked about it briefly at DCS and in a few posts in this thread. This is all new, comes in a standard case. There are some minor 'production issues' and 'communication problems with our vendors', but overall, I think you guys will like it...at least I hope you like it.
Wings up

I will have more information on the Hot Wheels Elite 1/43 Time Machine, later.

22 December 2012

Visiting DMC Florida

Jumping for joy in front of Gulf Coast Motorworks
Back in June, I was in Orlando for the DeLorean Car Show.  Since I was out there, I wanted to visit DMC-Florida in Bonita Springs.  Because there was so much going on at the event, I figured that Tony Ierardi and his crew were going to be way to busy to take time to entertain any 'visitors'.  The visit to DMC-Florida would have to wait.

Luckily, we would return to Florida for our annual vacation.  We usually go on a cruise for our big trip, this  one happened to leave from Fort Lauderdale.  I figured that since we were in the same state, why not head over and visit Tony.  Sure, it would cost a few hundred dollars more with hotel, car rental, and food fees...but this is a journey that DeLorean fanatics need to make.  We traveled by plane, boat, and car to get there.

The showroom featuring many DeLoreans and other exotic cars
DeLorean Motor Company Florida is the first franchise under the New DeLorean Motor Company, and is under Tony's parent company Gulf Coast Motorworks.  This place is state of the art and spot less.  I have seen hospitals that are dirtier than DMC-Florida.

Air conditioned shop and spotless
Some of the neat features of the shop include air conditioned work area.  The hot Florida sun is not a problem in this shop. The mechanics are comfortable and have one less thing to worry about, so they can concentrate on your car.  It really is like an operating room, although not as cold.

Restoration work on a Countach
The shop works on all types of cars, specializing in DeLoreans, of course, Italian sports cars, classic sports cars, and vintage race cars.  In addition to regular maintenance and restoration, Gulf Coast Motorworks also acts an official dealer/distributor of exotic cars.

Oh look, a flying DeLorean
Like I said, clean. They even have exhaust ports built into the ground that suck out the exhaust fumes to the outside. A hose can be connected to the exhaust so the shop is still air conditioned. Genius!

Tony and his wife Liz gave us a tour of the facilities
Lots of customer cars just waiting to be worked on, these are not for sale
Trouble makers
Tony gave us the grand tour and the history of his time with the franchise.  His is the second largest DeLorean shop, behind DMC in Texas, and the only one that works on other cars.

In my quest to have my car put together with parts from all the DMC franchises, what better time than now to acquire a 'missing' part.  I do have the new Fuel Pump/Sender Unit from DMC-Florida, but that should be installed by someone more qualified.  One thing I should be able to install myself, windshield wipers.  I kinda need new windshield wipers...since mine are just over thirty years old.  Not that I use them that much in Southern California weather...or lack of weather.  Still, nice to have wipers that work properly when the marine layer comes in.

Quick lesson in windshield wiper removal and installation
Tony gave me a quick tutorial on how to removal and install windshield wipers.  I will admit that I did not know exactly how to do this, now I do.  The original wipers I have are slightly different than the current ones being offered by DMC.  More on this in a later post.

But first, more pictures...less words.

Adjustable 2WD/4WD dynometer

Original Lamborghini Countach wheels made by Campolongo, yes the same Campolongo that makes high end bike parts.

Tony's Ferrari 308

Replica and original Shelby's
They have a lot of cool stuff at Gulf Coast Motorworks. 

An original Futaba PCM FP-T8SGA-P, sitting on Tony's desk

Legends Industry Twin Turbo

One of the brushing tools from the factory
Tony has even cooler stuff in his office.

My 'travel DeLorean' parked next to about ten real DeLoreans

Customer cars waiting to be worked on

One of many DeLoreans parked in the lot
So, three down...three to go.  I have visited DMC-California, DMC-Texas, and now, DMC-Florida.  Still need to make it up to DMC-Northwest, DMC-Midwest, and across to DMC-Europe.  Some day.

Hanging out with Tony at DMC-Florida
Special thanks to the people at Gulf Coast Motorworks and very special thanks to Tony and Liz for taking the time to show us around and hooking me up with windshield wipers and some magazines as a parting gift.

05 December 2012

Bring Back the Black Bars

Back in the mid to late 1990's there was an argument between widescreen/letterbox format and pan-scan format.  Well, it is not really an argument...letterbox was the only way to watch movies.  Quick recap.  See, back then, televisions were formatted at 4:3, while movies were presented at 1.78:1, 2.35:1, or similar 'widescreen format.  
How Pan-Scan works
In order for movies to be shown on television, they would cut the sides of the image, and pan and scan to where most of the action was. Hence, pan-scan.  In the image above, you can see how the background crew members are cut out of the picture.

Letterbox with black bars

Along game letterboxing, this gave you the full image of the movie. Since it was wider than the 4:3 format, black bars graced the tops and bottom of the screen.  This lead to the misinformed that they were missing what was 'behind the black bars'.  This was a clean solution to getting the entire frame on to the screen.   Now, we have wide screen televisions.  These new sets are formatted at 16:9, broadcast has gone digital and high definition.  Depending on the format of the original movie, you may still see black bars, though not as thick.  While television programs have adapted the wider format.  Heck, some of you are fancy enough to have one of those new 3D screens to experience 3D movies and even 3D broadcasts.   So, yeah...you know this already.  What is the problem you ask?  The black bars are the perfect solution and the standard to cropping different formatted films/programs to adapt to different formatted screens.  The problem is when studios show older 4:3 programs or footage on a 16:9 screen.  There is no set standard to this, and there should be.  I say bring back the black bars.

Stretching - not bad, but not good
An early remedy to fitting the 4:3 image into a 16:9 screen, was to stretch it.  This made the image about 20-25% wider.  People on screen gained another ten pounds, in addition the ten  the camera adds.  Although this was not ideal, it is better that what most television studios are doing with older footage, the blurry background.

Feel free to get angry at this
See the image above?  That is annoying, just looking at it makes me want to mount some black illustration boards to my television screen.  I will admit, I used to do that on an older TV set to create the "letterbox" look.  Anyway, I know you have seen this blurry border, it is used a lot in news casts when they need to show archival footage or amateur video.  What makes this horrific is, this is video...there is movement.  The movement in the blurred area is annoying and very distracting.  It totally takes away from the action.  These blurred bars are far more a distraction than the letterbox black bars ever were.   Back to the widescreen arguments, the argument was that pan-scan reformatted the movie and did not represent what the film makers wanted the audience to see.  Well, these stupid blurred bars are far worse.  Not only is it a misrepresentation of original work, it creates movement, distractions, where there is/was never any movement.  I hate this, it is down right stupid.  Combine this crap with the shakey cam and you have yourself a seizure waiting to happen.   What I do not understand is, why not just put up vertical black bars?  Now, some studios have created logos to adorn the sides, and this is fine, as long as they do not have any movement.  ESPN does this well, or did this well.  I do not have cable, so I know not of their current format.  Anyway, they used to have their logo on the sides.  I have seen some with scores and other information on the sides, much like the scrolling scores on a typical ESPN broadcast...all good.
Once you go black, you never go back
The black bars was and is the only solution studios should use.  Seriously, how hard can it be to add black bars?  I would argue that it takes much more effort to widen footage, blur footage, place blurred footage behind existing footage.  Write to the studios, write to your congressmen, and help stop this madness.  I have done my part to in writing this and bring this to your attention.  I bet this did not even bug you until I brought it up.  See, you have been brainwashed by the man.  Fight the system....free your mind.

Update:  I forgot to add this to my rant.

Screen size for iPhones
This problem is compounded when studios show footage of amateur video, especially one shot on smart phones.  I have already covered the inability to hold the camera still.  The way phones are held in the hand, photos and videos are usually shot in portrait (vertical), rather than landscape (horizontal).

iPhone images fitted on 16:9 screen with blurred bars
There, see?  Do you see how distracting that is?  Again, imagine if this was video.  You have two blurred moving images on the sides, while you are trying to see what is really happening with the image in the middle.

iPhone images fitted to 16:9 screen with black bars
Note the clean and non-distracting images when black bars are used.  Yes, you still have two thirds of the screen blacked out, but at least it is not taking away from the action.