A few months ago, Hot Wheels geeks like me were a little shocked when one of our favorite websites, South Texas Diecast, seemed to vanish. South Texas had always been my go-to Hot Wheels database. It was thorough and very easy to navigate. No matter what the model, it could be found on South Texas.
But now it seemed to be gone. Or as it said on the site, it had moved, to a place called HobbyDB. You may not know it now, but that is a very good thing. It is a logical home for South Texas, and it is now part of an ongoing effort to document as many toy cars as have ever been made. That seems like a far-fetched idea, but if anyone is going to do it...
It seems that a hobby like ours should be loaded with good databases. And there are definitely some. But keeping them up-to-date is a near impossible task. I know, as I kept a Matchbox database for awhile before I started Lamley, and keeping up-to-date with new releases while trying to fill thousands of gaps in previous lines proved too difficult. Since then I have bookmarked numerous databases, some which still exist now, others that have gone to great big internet heaven in the sky.
That era might finally be over. There are some tech-savvy folks that are taking on the task of compiling all, through efforts of their own and with help of collectors like you and me. Gemr is one, and we will profile them soon, HobbyDB is another.
I first learned about HobbyDB last summer at the Matchbox Gathering, when I met founder and CEO Christian Braun. Christian showed me the site, and surprised me a bit when he said his goal was document every diecast release. Since I have learned more, and followed the site for awhile, and I have seen that if anyone can do it, Christian can.
Christian is working to compile all the databases already created, and then fill in all the rest of the gaps. Don't ask me how, as I am not that tech-savvy, but he and his staff are progressing every day.
The HobbyDB team consists of a full-time team and several advisors (including me, as I joined to help give guidance on Mattel-era Matchbox). But its most important team is the growing group of collectors who contribute their knowledge, photos, and information. It is the information from collectors all over the world that will help compile all this database. Just imagine going to one site, typing in "Alfa Romeo", and seeing all the diecast Alfa Romeos ever made. Cool, eh?
HobbyDB asked us if we would help get the word out, and invite all of you collectors to join. Here, in their own words, is how you can take advantage of the site:
Cool, eh? I am always looking for a good place to both search for diecast, as well as catalog what I have. HobbyDB seems to share that goal. You can just bookmark the site as a reference, or get a little deeper by signing up as a Curator.How can someone get started?The best way to get started on hobbyDB is to come to our site, enter whatever you’re interested in in the search box and hit go! The site now has almost 65,000 model vehicles listed and everything is interlinked. As well as having listings for individual models, we also have pages on things like brands and series where you can see everything that’s related to your favorite models.You don’t need to be a member to search and browse to your heart’s content, but if you want to take advantage of our powerful collection management tools, then quickly sign up for a free account and you can start documenting and showcasing your collection, or keeping track of a wish list, within seconds.What do you need from collectors?Join the hobbyDB Curation Nation!hobbyDB is a database that is powered by collectors. One of the best ways you can get involved with the hobbyDB project is by becoming a Curator. Curators are members with special privileges who contribute to the project by keeping information clean, accurate, and up to date on their favorite page/casting of collectibles. Becoming a Curator is easy, all you have to is come up with your favorite subject and ask us! We will place a special badge on your profile page and your picture will be featured on the page(s) you Curate, so everybody knows you’re in charge. A single subject can have multiple Curators, so team up with your buddies on a busy page to form a misinformation fighting task force. If you’re feeling zealous you can Curate as many pages as you want!What is its value to collectors?hobbyDB gives collectors a place to quickly and easily research, catalog, showcase, buy, or sell their collectibles. For those looking to research or browse, hobbyDB will eventually offer a seemingly limitless library of collectibles along with detailed data points to provide as much accurate information on every item as possible. The hobbyDB project is designed to be as seamless as possible when it comes to uploading items to your collection, while also providing the luxury of viewing all of your collectibles in a single, organized location. Believe it or not, hobbyDB is also powered by collectors: encouraging you, a member of the hobbyDB project, to upload your own photos, record data about your collectibles, and even contribute to the catalog by uploading your collectibles that aren’t already in the system. Finally, hobbyDB even supplies a marketplace for collectors whether they choose to add to their collection, make some extra money off of their unused collectibles, or both! By connecting hobbyists from all kinds of collecting backgrounds, hobbyDB is building a hub for collectors to share their passion with the world.
If anything, go to the top of the page, type in a favorite car, and see how deep you can go. The site is ALWAYS evolving. For example, customizer Chris Stangler just added an archive of all his customs.
I love this project, and think this will be a very valuable resource. Hopefully we can all participate...