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"Die Cast X", October 1, 2012

Die Cast X COLLECTORS EXPO

DCX Invades Long Beach!

BY ANDY GOODMAN

This year’s RCX show was held at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA.

This year’s Die Cast X Collectors Expo was one for the books. Attendance at the Long Beach Convention Center on April 28 and 29 was record-setting, with more than 11,000 spectators finding their way through the gates, and onto the massive show floor. RC fans and diecast collectors alike were entertained at every turn by outrageous (and outrageously well handled) radio control planes, boats, cars, helicopters and crawlers, and were offered opportunities to try their hand at RC as they found their way to the diecast portion of the show. Once they arrived in the land of little cars, diecast fans were entertained by vendors, manufacturers, and personalities - and got to share their passion with the DCX staff, some of whom were on hand to meet, greet, and talk to showgoers and subscribers at the Die Cast X booth.

SO MUCH TO SEE!

A major player in this year’s event was DiecastSpace. com. Known as the keepers of the Diecast Hall of Fame (Joe Kelly Jr. and Mike Zarnock are members), and for its family-oriented national conventions, the DCS group, headed by C.J. Cramer, featured an area packed with customizers and small-scale aficionados, as well as amazing displays that ran the gamut from full-scale custom cars, to the finest in hand-crafted diecast and extremely limited-edition custom designs. Some of these, including one-off or low production “event” pieces made for the show, were incredible; so were the customizers themselves. In attendance were master builders Chris “Nightstalker” Walker, Dino Laspada, Tony “Ess Dee” Monzon, Albert Avila, and Cullen Lee; across the floor in the Die Hard Diecast booth, Greg Roque and his merry men - Jimmy “The Box Man” Chavez and David Chang among them - were offering more of the best in artisan-crafted diecast. Whether based on older, repurposed castings or all-new molds created by the craftsmen themselves, when it comes to custom work, these guys are kings — and they were all too happy to share their techniques.

Right alongside the scale cars, models of another kind — the DiecastSpace Girls — signed autographs, and kept the troops smiling. Autographs and pretty things to see are always a big part of these events, and signature seekers were lined up to the door for good reason. Next to the Die Cast X booth, pioneering drag racer and Hall of Famer Shirley Muldowney, Jimmy Shine from Car Warriors, Mad Mike from Pimp My Ride, and the ever-beautiful Catherine Bach — “Daisy Duke” from The Dukes of Hazzard - signed autograph sheets and merchandise alongside current and former Hot Wheels heroes Mike Zarnock, Eric Tscherne of Spin Master, Chris “Silly String” Parker, Larry “Elwood” Wood, Brandon Vetuskey, and Carson Lev; stopping by the booth to say hello were Barris Industries’ Tony Wood, George Barris, Jarrod and Brandi from Storage Wars, and motorcycle mad man Jason Britton of Super Bikes. George promised to be back next year - along with the original Batmobile. We’ll keep you posted.

AN EVENT TO REMEMBER

They may not be caped crime fighters, but the folks manning both the Muscle Machines and M2 Machines displays were happily working the crowds on both days. Maisto recently bought the Muscle Machines line, and the full catalog — some of which is planned for release as of this printing — was on display, alongside Rohan Day’s illustrations, a giant, 1/6 scale model of a blown Willys Pro Stocker, and the ever-smiling “Miss Muscle Machine.” It was guys-only at the M2 Machines booth, but the display cases were packed with preview items that will be in stores later this year. A lot of collectors took the opportunity to shake designer/product developer Sean Taylor’s hand, and pick up a few choice pieces (including M2’s DCX Expo event car - a ‘69 Camaro in standard and “chase” versions), while previewing the special DCX truck that will be on retail store pegs any day now. Collectors who like their models to move on a track had the chance to wrap their hands around a controller and hammer some of Auto World’s latest 1:64 slot racers around on three different layouts; the “Scooby Doo,” “John Force,” and “100 Years of Chevrolet” tracks offered fun for everyone from little collectors to their grown-up (chronologically) counterparts. The cars were fast — and kept on running, despite some pretty hard falls.

It’s for reasons like that that nobody got a shot at driving Hot Wheels legend Larry Wood’s outrageous full scale 1932 Nash Ambassador, or his show-stopping (literally) 1938 Ford COE, but they were allowed to get close; Bruce Schultz also arrived in style with his supercharged bare steel, rear-engined 1957 Chevy 2-door wagon, while Carson Lev rolled onto the show floor in “RedPhin” — his slick red 1959 Chevrolet — a realization of a Hot Wheels car of the same name. Sean Taylor’s dad brought in his beautifully painted Chevy pickup (featured in the Spring 2012 issue of DCX), and outside, showgoers got a chance to see cars from Back to the Future, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Knight Rider. Vendors were happy, and so were collectors: Mike the Diecast Guy, Big Lou’s Toys and Collectibles, 1 Stop Diecast, and others offered loads of diecast for sale, and were restocking their cases and tables all weekend; the show specials were plentiful.

Overall, this year’s event was one to remember — and we want you to remember to be there next year to join us. Keep an eye on the Die Cast X and RCX websites for more info, as it becomes available.

Special thanks to C.J. Cramer, Carson Lev and Greg Rogue for all they did to support the show.

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