IN THE MIX - THE LATEST CONCRETE NEWS

PASSION OR OBSESSION? MEN & THEIR (TOY) CONCRETE TRUCKS 10 Sep 2013

Passion or obsession? This was the question on my mind at 3am in the morning following the close of last year’s New Zealand Concrete Conference in Hamilton. I should have been asleep or celebrating the event’s success. Instead, I was revisiting the crushing moment when my name was not drawn from the hat as winner of the First Gear toy concrete truck from Holcim’s trade stand.

Is this normal behaviour? Are there others out there like me?

To answer these questions I embarked on a search to identify collectors as enthusiastic as I am about ready mixed concrete toy trucks. To my pleasure I discovered that I am not alone.

CASE STUDY 1: THE GATHERER

Let’s take a look at Colin Crook, a cement tanker driver for Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd. based in Wellington. Colin is an example of what can be termed a high-end collector, or Gatherer. He is not interested in toys, but rather die-cast collectables, that are in pristine condition, incredibly detailed and American. Although Colin appreciates big haulage trucks and trailers, his true love has always been concrete trucks.

Colin first began collecting following a Holcim work seminar, at which a First Gear Mack mixer toy was on offer as an employee award. Unable to locate this particular make and model Colin had to settle for several 1:50 scale Joal die-cast models of Holcim trucks – specifically the Mercedes tipper and tanker, as well as a Volvo mixer. Thus began Colin’s exhaustive search, centered primarily in Germany, for all the Holcim branded model trucks.

While tracking down the elusive Holcim First Gear Mack mixer over the internet Colin discovered First Gear mixers were available in other ready mixed concrete company colours. From that moment on he was hooked. Colin had become a Gatherer.

Due to restrictions imposed by the Privacy Act the total cost of Colin’s investment cannot be divulged. However, even with over forty six First Gear models in his collection it has still been cheaper than smoking!

CASE STUDY 2: THE HOARDER

Malcolm Jackson is the Plant Manager for Cromwell Certified Concrete, where he has worked for the past 12 years.

When Malcolm first developed an interest in toy concrete trucks his collection consisted of only 3 Matchbox trucks. However, when company director and personal friend Alan McNulty suddenly passed away in 2007, Malcolm decided to put one of his toy mixers on Alan’s casket as a tribute. That was when the collecting bug completely took hold, and now Malcolm has approximately 160 toy concrete trucks of various shapes and sizes.

One of the key characteristics of a Hoarder is that they accumulate a large number of the same item. While this is undoubtedly contributed to by well-meaning friends, who for instance “keep an eye out” on behalf of the Hoarder when away on holiday, it has to be said that any gift is always accepted with relish. The advent of Trade Me has also contributed to the Hoarder’s collection size.

Malcolm acknowledges he has too many concrete trucks to display, and has the balance covered on a pallet at work. Malcolm’s wife, Arlyne, jokes that she has to keep working just so more toys can be added to the collection.

In 2010 Malcolm was the creator and co-ordinator of a fund raising event for the ladies Lions Club in Cromwell. Malcolm rallied his work mates and friends to come together and exhibit their toy collections at the local Memorial Hall over a two day period. The show, affectionately titled Big Boys & Their Toys, was very well received.

CASE STUDY 3: THE HUNTER

From my own perspective, with the odd exception, if it has a mixer unit, is unique and pre 1970’s then it has won me over.

My collecting started with a $5.00 purchase of a 1961 Matchbox 26b Foden from the Napier foreshore markets, which has since been upgraded for a duplicate in better condition.

Similar to Colin, my own treasures exceed forty in total, with my favorite ever changing. They include old and familiar names like Matchbox, Dinky and Tonka, through to lesser known makes such as Tekno, Triang and Hubley.

I liken myself to a sniper with a hit list. My mission is to hunt, secure and document the catch (name, rank and serial number), then into the trophy cabinet it goes. My place of work is starting to look like a toy store, sorry museum, rather than an office.

If like me you have read or watched The Secret, which suggests that every want or need can be satisfied by maintaining a positive attitude to “attract” that outcome, you will understand my approach to collecting.

This perhaps sheds some light on what makes Colin, Malcolm and I tick. Passionate? Definitely! Obsessive? I shall leave that up to you to decide.

Jeff Burgess is the current President of the NZRMCA, General Manager of Supacrete Concrete Ltd and a hunter of
collectable model concrete trucks.

Taken from the July 2013 NZRMCA Newsletter