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Finding Miniature Treasures and a Conundrum During Quarantine

When the government placed Metro Manila under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in March 2020 to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, my wife Shawie and I took the opportunity to declutter our home, especially the other part of our duplex that I use as my office – slash – mancave. Since we have been working from home (WFH) since 2018, we didn’t do anything different during quarantine except that we had more time to clean and fix our stuff. However, I never found it easy to throw away or dispose of books, magazines, toys and model cars that I’ve accumulated over the years, much to the dismay of my patient and loving wife.

It was a mess when we began sifting through the boxes that cluttered my home office.

In one of the boxes, Shawie found my acrylic display case with the cars still inside. In other boxes, she found my stash of “collectible” miniature cars still in their blister packs or boxes.

Over at the storage rack, I made sure that my magazine collection was properly arranged by title and by sequence.

Fortunately, I’m handy with tools and equipment, and I was able to mount the acrylic display case on the wall as well as mount a couple of shelves near my work desk. Shawie dusted off my toys, err…  collectible miniatures and arranged them on the shelves. It took some time (and a lot of doing) but we manage to put a semblance of order amid the chaos, and eventually my home office / mancave started to look like a place where I can really get some creative work done.

I mounted my 4×6 acrylic display case on the wall near my desk and filled it with my favorite miniature cars.

The wall-mounted shelves were also filled with miniature Porsches, Vespas, and other die-cast models.

My work area finally bore a semblance of order after we worked on it.

ECQ Turns Into MECQ Then GCQ

As you can recall, during the first ECQ in 2020, people were encouraged to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Since most of the businesses, including car companies, were closed, there were no test drives or car evaluations for motoring journalists, like yours truly, to write about. I decided to keep our Power Wheels Magazine website active by reviewing the miniature cars in my collection. Shawie continued to work on decluttering our home while improving it by installing wall paper, while our kids Vette and Chevy worked on their respective rooms.

The pandemic compelled us to celebrate birthdays and holidays at home in quarantine.

In the absence of actual test drives during ECQ 2020, I reviewed miniature cars and motorcycles…

… while my wife found more boxes of my hoard of “goodies”.

When the government felt that it was safe, the metropolis was placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), which basically meant that some businesses were allowed to reopen but health protocols must be strictly followed. This was later followed by General Community Quarantine (GCQ), where public transport was reinstated and people started going about business under the New Normal. Meanwhile, our family remained mostly at home since our kids were on remote online learning while Shawie and I focused on this website, as well as further improving our home.

Shawie installed new wallpaper in my office-cum-man cave, which required the removal of the wall-mounted shelves…

… while I took the opportunity to rearrange the display and add the “toys” that she found in the other boxes.

I also took the opportunity to rearrange my bookshelf (and get new books, too).

Back TO ECQ 2021 

Towards the end of March 2021, the infection rate of the new Coronavirus strains were going up, so the government decided to place the metropolis under ECQ again. Initially, the plan was just for a weeklong ECQ but health experts say that seven days is too short to prevent COVID-19 from spreading faster. So, while we were under quarantine again, I decided to order a 8×6 acrylic display case to augment the 4×6 case on my wall, in the guise of getting the other miniatures out of the boxes that are still cluttering my office.

I decided to augment the 4×6 acrylic display case on my wall…

… with a new 8×6 display case that I ordered online from Jayson Nonato Morales…

.. taking the count to 72 miniature cars on the wall in front of my work desk, not counting the two I placed on top of the case.

I was planning to put my collection of miniature Camaro models – from the 1st generation (1967-69) to the 2nd generation (1970-81) to some 3rd and 4th generations – in the 4×6 display case and place my collection of Corvette miniatures and other 1/60-1/64 models in the 8×6 case. However, things didn’t go as planned. When I dug into my boxes where the miniature Camaros and Corvettes were stashed, I realized that most of them were still inside their unopened boxes or sealed blister packs. Before tearing the cars from their packs or boxes, I wanted to consult some collectors.

The Johnny Lightning Camaro Collection miniatures – 1967, ’68, ’69, ’72, ’76, and ’85 were quite accurate and nicely finished.

Unlike the Johnny Lighting “Chevy Thunder” 1969 Camaro convertible, GM F-Body miniatures from Hot Wheels and Matchbox deviate from the stock look.

Among the Corvettes, I found a vintage Matchbox #62 (C3), Maisto (C6), and a new 2020 C8.

I now realized that I am in a conundrum: Should I tear open the blister packs so I can display my miniature Camaro and Corvette collection in my acrylic case OR should I just leave them in their blister packs to increase their value as a “collectible toy” in the future? Should I unpack or unbox these cars out to enjoy looking at them or do I keep them packed and enjoy a decent ROI later on in life? What do you think, dear readers? Please help me get out of this conundrum.

Since I own a 1971 Chevy Camaro RS, I am more inclined towards 1970-81 Camaro miniatures…

… like these from Johnny Lightning, Green Light, Hot Wheels and Matchbox.

I feel lucky to have found and kept a 1971 Camaro Coca-Cola “Play Refreshed” Matchbox Collectible (right) among my other stash.