Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 18 Art and History of Maui

Day 18 of the Hawaii trip is a travel day, so we stayed fairly close to the airport for our late afternoon flight. We found a number of interesting artistic and historic sites to visit.

 

First up was the Sacred Gardens. This location seemed to be part gardens, part religious, part cosmic and more.

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They did have a ‘Buddha Garden’, with some nice sculptures.

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Their claim to fame though is their labyrinths.

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Just down the road is the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. Situated on the grounds of a former sugar plantation owner, there are a number of buildings for various uses including a tiny high school.

The grounds are immaculate.

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Makai Glassworks is located in another former sugar plantation. We were able to observe the artist at work.

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In the same area, but off the tourist path, is the Dingking surfboard shop.

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A true find, they make custom surfboards.

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In addition to the surfboards, they do other custom woodwork including this great canoe.

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But their specialty is surfboards.

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Our next stop was the Surfing Goat Dairy, and as our directions had us turn into the road we were amazed that a dairy would have such a fancy entrance – until we realized the entrance was for a neighborhood of multi million dollar houses, and the dairy was off to to the side.

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But they did have goats, and surfboards.

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While most of the employment in Maui now is tourism, they once had thriving businesses in agriculture, primarily the sugar plantations and pineapples. They even once had railroads to bring the goods to the port, as evidenced by this former railroad office.

In my 3 weeks in Hawaii I did not see 1 railroad track (although there are apparently a couple of historic railroads around).

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Sugar cane processing was once a big business, but it is all now gone. This was the last processing plant, and it closed a few years ago.

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The history is celebrated by a museum housed in the former superintendents home.

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The interior has a nice display of the people and lifestyles of the plantation life. Outside they have some of the equipment used in the processing.

This truck and trailer was used to bring in massive amounts of the sugar cane into the factory.

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While these large claws picked up the cane in the fields.

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A quick stop at Target – where they are ready for Christmas Hawaiian style.

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And a great Hawaiian pizza – and it was off for our flights to Kauai.

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New York City – September 2018 – Abandoned Subway Station Tour

According to the New York MTA documentation there are 472 subway stations throughout the city. Over the years a few have been abandoned for various reasons.

Easily the most famous of those abandoned stations is the former City Hall station. Since 1945 it has sat unused in the loop at the end of the 6 train.

On rare occasions the New York Transmit Museum offers tours of this station. Tickets are hard to get and available to members only (I had a good friend who came through for me!)

We went to the current nearest station (also known as City Hall) and boarded a 6 train that went a short distance before stopping to let us off. The crowd was excited.

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The station itself was the masterpiece of the system when it opened on October 27, 1904. It was the first station to open on the first line.

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The station has a single platform that is curved. This curve eventually lead to the closing in 1945 as the newer cars were longer and made the gap between the cars and the station too wide.

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The arched ceilings and tile work make what the Transit Museum refers to as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the entire subway system.

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As with all subway stations the station name is a mosaic. While plain compared to some the tile work around it adds to the overall feel of the station.

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There are numerous skylights in the station. We had a night time visit so the ambient light from outside was minimal, but it too added to the aura of the tour.

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The mezzanine shown here (and the featured image of this posting) is amazing.

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The huge mosaic at the top is also a skylight, although for this tour there was no light from above.

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Back down on the platform the simple, yet elegant chandeliers provided dim lighting that accented the arched ceilings.

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The station is nearly intact, but some of the skylights need some work. Still the view of the ceilings and the curved platform is stunning.

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The primary station sign from the platform to the mezzanine level. Imagine the excitement in 1904 arriving and seeing this entrance to the station.

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There were 40 people on the tour so it was tough not having people in the photo (or getting into other people’s photos).

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A view from the mezzanine to the platform.

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A closeup of the platform ceiling and chandeliers. While we were there the 6 trains kept slowly rolling through their loop, their wheels screeching loudly on the sharp curve.

One not so hidden secret for the non paying tourists is to stay on the 6 train at the end and check out the station as the train makes it’s loop. Supposedly conductors will sometime allow this – the guides say do it on a bright sunny day so there is some light from the skylights.

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There are a few plaques commemorating the opening of the subway system.

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A close up view of the arched ceiling tile work.

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A close up view of the City Hall station sign mosaic and a skylight.

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The view down the platform into the tunnel with an oncoming train.

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Clearly I couldn’t get enough shots of the curved platform and ceiling. The style is known as a Guastavino Vault – the tile arch system using self supported arches and architectural vaults with interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar.

It is named for Rafael Guastavino who immigrated to New York in 1881 from Barcelona. His work, and others in this style grace numerous buildings throughout New York City and beyond, including the Ellis Island Great Hall.

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Another view of a train rolling through with the arches and skylights (darkened). With no passengers they looked like ghost trains.

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One last look at the mezzanine level.

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And it was time to leave. Even this was amusing as our tour was holding up the entire 6 line as they stopped, set out a ramp to cover the gap and herded us on as fast as possible, with the people not wanting to leave.

Eventually we relented, and we left this fabulous place.

I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity – thanks to a good friend and the Transit Museum.

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New York City – September 2018 – Faces at the Met

An afternoon at the Met gave me a subject – The Faces at the Met (real and art).

They speak for themselves.

 

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Cassopolis, Michigan – September 2018 – Restored Gas Station Tour Continued

Cassopolis, Michigan – A Restored Sinclair Station

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Previous trips:

Two stations in the same small Ohio town of Bucyrus. First up is a Sinclair Station.

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This station is next door to a repair shop owned by Carl. We stopped by at 7 AM on a Saturday morning and Carl was just opening his business up for the morning, and invited us in. Carl has a large collection of auto related items – so much in fact that the TV show American Pickers once paid him a visit.

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Just outside of town is a small restored Marathon station called ‘Mom and Pops’. We saw someone walking out of the driveway as we drove up and asked him it if the station was his. He replied no – but yelled at ‘Bob’ who was outside the house next door if it was ok if we took some photos. Bob yelled back ‘ yep thats what it is there for’.

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In the early days the stations were tiny little buildings, unless they did service.

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This station was well restored.

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As our weekend continued we found ourselves back in Plymouth, Indiana for a stop for dinner. We have previously visited this Mobil station, but in the rain. This gave us a chance to get some photos in better weather.

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And the time warp gas station travel continued.

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On our way home from Pittsburgh we stopped in Steubenville at a auto repair shop that is actually a fully restored Sohio station.

When John Rockefeller had grown Standard Oil to be a monopoly the government forced them to break up – as a result there were a number of Standard Oil companies in different states (not a full list):

Standard Oil of New Jersey – Esso, which became Exxon

Standard Oil of New York – Socony, which became Mobil

Standard Oil of California – Socal, which became Chevron

Standard Oil of Indiana – Stanolind, which became Amoco

Standard Oil of Ohio – Sohio. In the 1980s BP bought Sohio and converted all the stations to BP.

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There are many people who are collectors of ‘petroliana’, old gas station items. Barry Robb must have been one of those people. According to their website Barry was an assistant manager of a former owner, and he took over the station in 1986, operating it as a BP station.

In 2011 their agreement with BP ran out. They restored the look of the original Sohio station, and continued in business as a repair shop only (as well as a museum).

As a side note Sunset and Wilshire looks nothing like the one in California, but still a nice neighborhood.

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Out front is a collection of pumps from various eras.

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While inside (it was closed this day – photos taken through the glass) is a collection of smaller items.

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Interestingly next door is a modern gas station/mini mart.

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After checking out my photos I realized that we have recently came across 3 fully restored stations, and all 3 times we had the same car with us.

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This spectacular Shell station is in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

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Today it serves as a tourist information center.

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Shaped like a giant scallop shell, it is the last of a handful that a local oil company owner had built in the 1930s.

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Another restored gas station – another shot with the GTI in it. This one is a Mobil station in Plymouth, Indiana.

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To add to their atmosphere they have a restored police car in the parking lot.

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Much like the Sohio station in Steubenville their interior has a collection of smalls for Mobil.

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They also have a restored tow truck.

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Hickory Corners, Michigan – September 2018 – Gilmore Car Museum

I have had the opportunity to visit most of America’s great transportation museums. Having that background I can state that in my opinion the Gilmore Car Museum is the best in the country.

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I had read about the Gilmore for some time now, and had always looked forward to going. With the long Labor Day weekend and the emphasis on cars, now was the time.

When we arrived one of the staff said ‘see you in 4 hours’. He was wrong, we spent 4 1/2 hours 🙂

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Gilmore is more than just a single building with some cars. It is a campus of buildings and barns, each featuring a genre of cars or car companies.

Each building is immaculate, clean and well light with great presentations. They also take pride in that there aren’t barriers for most cars, just notes to remind you not to touch. This makes photography much easier.

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Among the buildings is a 1940s diner that was moved from Connecticut. It serves as the restaurant for the museum. We had a basic lunch there, with great milkshakes and friendly staff.

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An example of one of the barns. This one was moved from a nearby farm, with 2 levels for cars.

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A complete 1930s Shell Station.

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The pumps represent different eras.

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The motorcycle building.

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Inside are a number of bikes from the early 1900s to current day.

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A vintage Cleveland and 1919 Johnson.

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As the sign notes – a 1928 Indian. Check out that rear seat.

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Outside near one of the storage barns is an un-restored London double decker bus.

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Another building – another collection. This one has a peddle car collection.

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As with the motorcycles, the collection was vast and pristine.

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Even some peddle airplanes – how cool.

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In the 1960s Mr Gilmore built a replica of the train depot for the little town of Hickory Corners. Inside is a hood ornament display.

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I am always enthralled by the old hood ornaments.

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Almost too nice for the hood of a car.

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At the Gilmore they have over 1300 of them.

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While the photography was tricky with the display cases and the light and shadows, many came out very nice.

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Also called mascots, it was a common occurrence in the 1930s to personalize your car with a different ornament.

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Our next building was called ‘The Classics’. Higher end cars from the 1930s.

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A Cadillac for a movie star.

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The large two level barn shown earlier from the outside had 1950s cars on the lower level.

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And the impressive upper level had earlier models.

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Hudson Motor Car Company made automobiles from 1909 through 1954. This one is from the 1940s.

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So many great cars.

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In the same barn is a Ford display.

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One interesting feature of the the Gilmore campus is that car clubs build their museums there. In this example the Cadillac club built essentially a Cadillac dealership on the outside.

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Inside are Cadillacs over the years.

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Without a doubt the older Cadillacs are much nicer looking than the 1970s and 1980s.

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The Ford Museum has a complete, authentic 1930s parts counter.

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The Ford museum is dedicated to Model A’s.

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A 1930s school bus.

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As with Cadillac, from the outside it appears to be a vintage Ford dealership.

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Across the driveway in the main building is the Lincoln building, whom have some of the nicest cars of all.

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Another earlier Lincoln model.

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A collection of 1950s and 1960s sports cars.

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As with Cadillac, Lincoln and Ford, there is a Franklin dealership.

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But back to the Lincolns.

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Also in the main building is an exhibit for A J Foyt.

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The main building seemed to have more of a mix of cars.

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One of the last of the Packards.

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A stylish 1934 DeSoto Airflow

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If you are into cars the Gilmore Car Museum is a must to visit.

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Hickory Corners, Michigan – September 2018 – Midwest Miniatures

Just northeast of the city of Kalamzoo, Michigan is Midwest Miniatures. Located on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum (more on this later), Midwest Miniatures features numerous miniature houses, roomboxes and vinettes, most in 1:12 scale.

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The details are amazing. The display below is the size of a small doll house.

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But when you zoom in you see the detail of the individual quilts – in this case tiny pieces of paper towels printed to look like quilts.

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Each vignette has a scene from a house or business. The dog in this display is about 1/8″.

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In keeping with the car museum theme, they have a garage. Notice the very tiny cans of oil on the shelves.

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There is a series of antique health care settings.

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An obstetrician.

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A florists truck with bundles of flowers.

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By panning back you can see the size compared to the table and windows of the room.

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The Kellogg Manor House – miniature

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Nearby is the real thing.

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Working on a quilt.

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A final stop at the nursery.

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Elkhart, Indiana – September 2018 – Hall of Heroes

In a residential neighborhood in Elkhart, Indiana a backyard of a house has a building built to look like the Hall of Heroes from comic book fame. Inside is a collection of over 60,000 comic books, 10,000 toys, figure and props and over 100 pieces of original comic art pages, at the Hall of Heroes Museum.

We parked in the yard and entered, where we were greeted by Allen Stewart, the primary collector and current Director of the Museum.

Among the treasures are a Batman suit used by Adam West in the 1960s as he toured the country (above as the Featured Image) and the Captain America Shield used in the movie The First Avenger. The shield has been signed by many of the actors in the movie.

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After an introduction we set off to check out the collection. Among the thousands of collectibles are Wolverine and friends.

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Not being a huge action hero fan I can’t identify many of them, but the artwork is great.

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There were numerous Captain America’s throughout – small, and large.

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The display cases are nicely done. Allan has many rare comic books displayed throughout.

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More figures – Hulk and Captain America.

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A Wonder Woman.

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There were some life size masks.

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Not sure how Mighty Mouse made it in, but he looks good.

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The approach to females in action heroes has always been a bit sketchy.

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Another of the full size items.

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They had a small collection of lunch boxes.

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A full size Spiderman outfit.

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William Katt’s Greatest American Hero costume from a 1980s TV show.

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And finally the Cobra that Robert Downey landed on as Iron Man.

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