Posted in Workshop

Building a 1/64 scale Garage for Hot Wheels, Matchbox, etc…

Time for a new diorama post. You may notice that in the last post there is a new background for the cars. So it is time to document it here.

A while back I wrote an article for a magazine about community garages, about how changing technology in motor cars meant that small, family run garages couldn’t keep up with the diagnostics equipment needed to repair and MOT them. As such there was a fear that these businesses would not survive into the modern day, and that only a few specialist garages – those that repaired and restored classic cars – could survive. Memories hang in the air of these old garages – they have so much character to them, and I knew I wanted to pay my respects.

I was already planning on making a larger garage diorama, a home for the fictional Jasmine Palustris, her family, and all the quirky characters I have attached to the model cars I collect –  and had been looking at some vintage garages on Google, but none of them really captured what I wanted. Elements here and there fit, but when I discovered this garage in Lincolnshire, run by father and son David and Lee, I knew exactly which garage I was going to imitate. Here it is.


Materials used:

  • Baseboard (wood or MDF)
  • construction card
  • clear plastic (from a blister pack)
  • Nylon material
  • Varying sizes of cardboard
  • Hardboard
  • Battery power string lights
  • grass/gravel textures
  • paints
  • dowel (varying sizes)
  • model cars for dismantling
  • paper clips
  • straw (or other item for chimney)
  • Metcalfe benches
  • String (for washing line)
  • Printer (for signs)
  • Scale trees
  • car ramps
  • 1/64 scale accessories
  • a rainbow of imagination!

 

Oxbys

The garage houses the workshop, a storage room and an office, and sits in a yard with David’s house (he’s the one standing in the door). This was going to be the basis for my design. And so I began drawing some plans.

The first thing I wanted to do was make the garage unique to Mama J (or MJ) who is the character that owns it. Since I draw her as an anthropomorphic crocodile, I wanted to give her home a suitably redneck vibe, so I thought, even though it’s cliché, she could live in a trailer.

Trailerphoto1
Basic design of the trailer. In hindsight I should have made it more trailer-like, it would have made it more realistic.

This was the first diorama which I decided to incorporate some lighting effects. I wasn’t going to do anything complicated since it was my first time doing anything like this.

I made the trailer in Adobe Indesign but you could use MS Word for this. Using construction card I printed the net design. The light does show through the material a little bit but I didn’t want to use anything that would make windows difficult to make in such a small size. In future I will be looking for some way to make it more opaque. After printing off the design, I cut out the black window pane shapes. I also cut around the top, bottom, and left side of the doors, and scored on the rear of the design over the hinge so they would open. I drew tabs on where I needed them by hand and then proceeded to cut out the trailer shape.

Trailer2

After having cut out the entire shape, I scored the lines appropriately so they would fold easily into the desired direction (remember that scoring makes it fold away from the knife mark). I made sure it all fit nicely by giving it a test fit.

Windows

Using pieces of blister-pack plastic (if you are a Hot Wheel collector, you should have plenty of this lying around, providing you don’t keep it mint in the packaging) I cut out squares for the windows, and using clear drying PVA stuck it to the window frames. Cut the sizes nice and big so they have more space to find purchase on the card.

trailer3

The next thing I did was start creating a little patio area for one of the trailer doors. I also stuck a piece of wood-simulating card over a window for a bit of character. Note also that I made a small circle to mark where a chimney will go.

tarp

Using some nylon from an old pair of waterproof trousers, I added a tarpaulin on the top of the trailer, as I would imagine MJ wouldn’t be too worried about roof repairs when that’s the sort of thing that can fix a leak. That was all I was worried about until the rest of the diorama started coming into place.

Lifts

The next step was to start thinking about the garage. I went to an antiques store in my nearby town where I found these two vintage car lifts. They were the perfect size to put inside the garage so this is how I determined the sizes of the rooms in the buildings. It would consist of a workshop, an office and a storage room much like David and Lee’s garage.

garage1

I designed the garage in Indesign just as before, making sure to measure out the doors and windows so that everything fit. The garage consists of four walls which I printed out, which will be stuck to hardboard. I didn’t need tabs since the hardboard will be easy to stick together.

garage2

I cut out the windows again, and left enough of the garage door in place to look interesting. The rest of the material from the garage door went to make some corrugated style sheets. It’s always a good idea to test the sizes at this point and make sure it all fits together, especially if you are moving things in and out (you don’t want to finish the garage then find you can’t squeeze the lifts through the door!) I also started making some signage for the exterior.

garage3

To make the walls, I drew the outlines of the walls onto hardboard, then used a jigsaw to cut out the shapes. I then proceeded to cut the windows out with a stanley knife. Use a file or sandpaper to get rid of any rough edges.

Garage4

Once again, using plastic from blister packs, I made window panes, and glued them first to the cardboard before gluing the cardboard exterior to the hardboard interior.

Garage5

Using all-purpose superglue I attached the four walls to each other.

signs

Some more signs for the exterior made using a home printer. I used blu-tac to attach them in the event I wanted to move them around (which I did) and also because it gives them more depth, I think.

Roof

I made a test roof using cardboard to make sure the size was correct, then I made one to the same dimensions using hardboard. At this point I began experimenting how I will position the lights. The lights I am using are string lights bought from Wilkinson’s for about £3. The LEDs on these lights are part of the wire so they are very easy to use for this. At this point I also added the interior walls to the garage. There are two, you will see it in a moment.

Lights2

lights1

Using masking tape I fixed the fairy lights in place to make sure they all covered the spots I wanted. The battery back for the lights would be hidden by the trailer on the edge of the board. The wire then leads into the trailer through a hole in the side, with two lights attached to the ceiling. The wire then leads through the opposite side, near the roof, and goes across the way to the garage. The lights then go around the back of the garage, under the roof trusses, in through the double doors. They loop around the interior of the garage then come back out the same way they came in, to finish off lighting the front of the garage.

moldova

Once I knew how it would all fit together, I made a few more signs for the garage, and added a unique backdrop to the workshop (you could paint it, add tools, or anything you like – I decided to make a backdrop of my home country’s flag, Moldova) and then put the garage and trailer aside for the time being to make the baseboard.

baseboard

Marking out where the garage and trailer would go, I then marked out a path to the patio, and the yard and driveway position. Note also that I have added the interior walls for the garage, and so I have marked out a full floor plan on the baseboard, as I am painting the floors different colours. You will also see in this picture that I have added a cardboard base for the trailer, so it sits above the grass texture, and a small wall on the far side – this is where the battery back will be, and it is intended to wedge it between the trailer, to stop it from sliding off the board.

painting

After having painted the grass area, I painted the brown surface which will hold the gravel of the yard. Then, I painted the blue floor of the office and storage area.

painting2

Finally, I paint a red floor for the trailer, and the black floor of the workshop. grass

Adding some grass texture immediately brightens up the diorama.  If you have read my previous posts you will know how I add this – I use a mixture of PVA and water (around 1 part PVA to 3 parts water) in a tub and a brush to apply the glue to the board, then using a cup filled with the material and a pair of stockings over the top I apply an even coating.

glue

This texture I got from my local hobby shop. I have also added some hedge in the corner to hide a bad cut in the board.

small-details

The little details are everything, and while waiting for things to dry and settle it is a good time to be making some small exterior additions. I made a beware of the dog sign, a washing machine, and added some dowel to the patio to give it a better wood effect.

yard

sand

I used a coarse gravel texture mixed with a soft grey for the yard, and a softer sand texture for the path leading up to the patio. The coarser gravel finds it harder to find purchase on the board.

benches

To complete the patio I used pieces of dowel, of varying size, to create posts and a barrier. I also bought this Metcalfe bench for the garden.

lights3

Very carefully, I use multi-purpose super glue to fix the lights in position where I planned for it. This is probably the trickiest part, as you will need to keep the buildings close together as you move around them and fix the lights in position.

fixed

wire1

wire2

When the lights are in place, I fix everything down. I use the superglue to fix the garage and trailer to the base board.

finishingtouches

I make some finishing touches to the trailer area after this. From dowel I make some wood palettes, a propane tank, a stereo (with part of a paperclip as an antenna), and some gas canisters, and using a piece of string I make a washing line with some clothes attached to it that were printed from a home printer. Using paperclips and a dowel holder I made a roof antenna, and with a straw I attached a chimney (I was not too happy with it, but it is too late to change it now).

clutter

Sometimes, it is just easier to buy something than make it yourself, and a large manufacturer can do a better job than I ever could. These muscle pack accessories from Greenlight are really great and fit well with any diorama.

garagefinish

A diorama wouldn’t be complete without trees. I didn’t want anything too obtrusive so I stuck a few in the background and one or two in the front. I also got this nice background, though I could use a bigger one at some point.

garage6

You can make your own trees, but I prefer to have the ease of buying them online. Plus, you get lots of them, and they really don’t cost very much!

Edsel

I like to mix it up with palm trees, since the diorama is supposed to be in a tropical region.

unclewarren

With this sort of diorama you can go on forever adding new things and more scale pieces, but the final section I decided to add was this trailer by Greenlight. I love the awning and thought it would be a great story to add. I picture an eccentric uncle called Warren living here, who is the on-site mechanical genius who does the serious modification and repair work for the motor cars. He needed a great relaxing area, so I cut up some Zylmex car interiors to make some chairs.

garage-full

And so, there is my rendition of a classic English garage crossed with a classic redneck trailer! I later added some weathering powder to the trailer to give it a rusted effect, which again goes to show how you can keep on modifying your models.

I daresay you would be able to do much more with a larger baseboard, of course, but you risk making it less portable the bigger you make it, which may limit your options for background and lighting.

IMG_20170816_224856_640

I hope you’ve enjoy going through this build with me, and I hope it can serve you some inspiration if ever you make a garage of your own.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Greenlight, M2 Machines

My first Americana, Part 1: The beautiful die-cast works of Castline and Greenlight

The blog has been quiet but I have been not. I have got so much stuff to get through that I just don’t know how I am going to manage it all before the year is out on top of my other commitments. But I am glad to finally be getting some stuff out.

It can be hard “diversifying” your die-cast collection in the UK. Most shops only stock Hot Wheels and chinese-knock off brands, and even then, distribution means if you’re a dedicated enthusiast you’re likely to be waiting weeks, even months, before any new models hit the shelves.

Matchbox are stocked in a few places, but finding new models is restricted only to Asda, and refer to the first paragraph for reasons why I still don’t have anything new.

American brands like M2 Machines, Greenlight, Auto World, and even most Hot Wheels special series never arrive here, so we have to pay through the nose to get them. I finally decided to take the plunge and spend some money on M2 and Greenlight. I’d read extensively about them and it seems that, despite the odd quality control issue, they’re very popular, and after discussing it with a friend, he encouraged me to go for it. And so I ordered two batches of models, and a third is on the way – and there were some other models trickling in besides.

I will be uploading several posts for these, since it is taking a long time for me to sort through all the photographs, so please be patient, and enjoy!

Batch one

batch1

The first set of models to arrive included the Greenlight Hitch and Tow Dodge Monaco with Airstream Bambi, Shasta Airflyte, Volkswagen T2 bus, and the M2 Machines Ford Fairlane 500, Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, Buick Skylark, and Dodge Royal Lancer D500.

1957 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer D500

Doge2

The Dodge was the first model I opened so it’s the first model I’m going to feature. It’s quite difficult to get non stock images of M2 Machines that aren’t video reviews, so it was hard to judge just how well these cars look out of the box. So here’s my take on them.

Doge3

As a general rule, M2 Machines appear to be very detailed, heavy, but delicate. I have only just opened myself up to them, and some testimony from friends reveals that quality control has, in the past, been an issue, but this is apparently something that Castline has been working on. I did have some issues with my models. With this Dodge, for example, the bonnet (hood) didn’t sit well, so I stuck it down with some tac. There was a misaligned passenger side door, so I had to unscrew it and loosen it off so it sits flush (well, more flush than it did). All in all, not encouraging, but the level of detail on the car made me think it was a very small, niggly issue. Nothing to spit the dummy about.

Doge4

That, and fit and finish issues are usually problems that can be applied to any die-cast brand. I’ve had a few Majorettes where the bonnet didn’t fit perfectly or the door didn’t snap shut cleanly and it never bothered me much, and even paying a little extra for these M2 Machines doesn’t make it much more than a slight distraction for me. But this 1959 Dodge does have one issue, which I will be keen to point out for any who want a judgment of the quality of the casting. Look at the placement of the rear axles.

33994570906_0130c24734_oDoge5

I don’t know if I am the only one who can see this, but there is something not quite right about the placement of the rear wheels on the model. The wheel arch seems all right, but the positioning of the wheel seems a little too far back. From some angles it doesn’t bother me, but from others it does. I’ll let you decide!

Doge6

Like all but one of the M2 Machines that joined the die-cast family, this Dodge is from the Auto-Thentics line. When you first begin to look into M2 Machines it can be a little overwhelming seeing all the different lines they do – Auto-Thentics, Auto-Haulers, Auto-Wheels, Auto-Drivers, Auto-Trucks, Auto-Lift, Auto-Trucks… the list goes on. But Auto-Thentics are seemingly the high-quality line. They have metal bodies, metal bases, opening parts, and separate light pieces, which makes them look phenomenally detailed – and they do.

Doge7

Every angle of the car looks fabulous (excepting the rear wheel, which looks particularly bad for me in the above photo!) with its separate tail lights, chrome bumpers, unreadable decals, and even a separately attached chrome hood ornament. The wheels are fantastically detailed and accurate to the real life vvehicle, and while the colour schemes sometimes may be a bit lacklustre (this two-tone grey is rather business-like – I want my 50s cars to be fabulous blue, pinks and pastels) the quality is generally very high. The photos probably do not do this one justice – the darker, charcoal grey middle is a nice sparkly metallic, offset nicely by the gloss moonstone grey.

1957 Ford Fairlane 500

Ford1

The next car to roll off the M2 Machines delivery truck was this fabulous Ford Fairlane in Berkshire green and Colonial white.

Ford2

It wouldn’t be right to ignore the best-selling car in the USA for 1957. Initially I had wanted the two-tone green model, but as the early releases are so hard to find, I settled on the white and green model.

Ford3

Moviegoers should recall that in Hitchcock’s Psycho, Janet Leigh abandoned her 1956 Ford Mainline at a convenient Ford dealer to replace it with a 1957 Ford Custom (there was a nice collection of Edsels in the movie, too).

Ford4

And while this is indeed a 1957 Ford like hers, this isn’t a Custom 300 – this is the highest trim available (of course), the Fairlane 500. The Fairlane had a longer wheelbase, at 118 inches, than the Custom lines.

Ford5

The model is beautiful, and so are all M2 Machines, so I won’t bore you too much by waxing lyrical about how well they have captured the long flanks and tail fins of the cars. But what I will mention is these cars are sometimes victim of poorly fitting doors and bonnets, something one might expect to happen with all the moving parts. Fortunately M2 Machines do fit together with screws so they can easily be taken apart and adjusted.

Ford6

Lastly, I think M2 Machines could have done slightly better execution on the Ford’s “eyebrows” – I think they’re more pronounced than they have managed here – but all in all they’ve captured the car brilliantly. One of the wheels was a little stiff but it does roll when on a grippy surface. And the detailing is just excellent. You can barely see “Fairlane” written on the bonnet – it’s so fine. The wheels appear to be accurate.

1954 Buick Skylark

Buick2

1954 was a bad year for the Buick Roadmaster Skylark. This beautiful big blue Buick has a sad face, and it’s no surprise, since the ’54 was the last year of the Skylark’s existence until it returned under the guise of special trim in 1961.

Buick1

I was especially impressed with the fit and finish on this Buick – the doors and hood sit flush and tight, the chrome is nicely fitted and the tampo application is spot-on. When the Buick Skylark was introduced in 1953 it looked a lot different to the cleaner lines of the 1954 model, yet the shape, which was influenced by the Jaguar XK series introduced the same time, can still be seen, I think. Do you see it too?

Buick3

I think the swoopy fenders give it away. I love the Jaguar, so that might explain why this Buick looks so good too. And I love the signature Buick grille – it’s a fusion of US extravagance and European stylishness.

Buick4

You can see similarities around the back too, I think. This is a 1954 Jaguar XK by Matchbox, and it’s cool to have two cars of the same year side-by-side. The detail on the Matchbox is stunning for a $1 toy, but let’s not get sidetracked.

Buick5

The photographs really speak for themselves with these cars. The lettering is easy to read on the front but probably suffers from being oversized to those who look for extreme accuracy with the design. But you have to love the hood ornament.

Buick6

On the rear of the car we are treated to these fantastic chrome fins, separate pieces to the car, and that is where M2 Machines are so commendable. Each cars comes with 40-50 separate pieces as advertised on the packaging, giving the cars such intricate detail – a feat proudly advertised. See also the chrome bumpers, separate lenses for the tail lights, twin exhausts, and the Skylark branding there on the trunk. From this angle you can also make out some interior detail – it is really something to behold, no pizza-dish steering wheels here.

Buick7

The wheels are beautiful, and the camera does not do the paint job justice. The metalflake blue sparkles brilliantly in the right light. I also love the two-tone blue interior. Truly special to any Buick lovers.

Buick8

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

My favourite car of the first set of M2 Machines I ordered. This model is absolutely wonderful.

Merc1Car historians will know immediately that this is the Turnpike Cruiser, or the high-end Mercury offering, by the anodized strip in the tail fin. The reason this car holds so much attraction for me is that it shares a lot of similarities with the Edsel, which was built late in 1957 for the 1958 model year. The roof line of the Mercury can be seen on the Edsel Corsair and Citation series, while the clean, sharp lines carried over with the lack of tail fins on the Edsel cars.

Merc2

The lines of the mercury are beautifully captured by M2. The rear especially is something to behold. The light lenses, chrome bumpers and ornaments all fit together so beautifully here.

Merc3

Strangely enough, there is a door fitment issue on this model, but it’s with the driver’s side door, which is closed when in the box. The passenger side door, which is open (strangely – I can’t understand why, since you can’t see the car very well on the passenger side due to the cardboard backing) fits very nicely.

Merc4

Here you can see better the door fitment issue. It is not much, and while on display it would never bug you, but on photographs the problem is exacerbated, and I have known collectors to digitally alter images to correct door misalignment. I don’t worry too much about it. I think the car otherwise looks very beautiful, and it very heavy.

Merc5

It’s always worth remembering that these cars have metal bodies, metal bases, and many parts, so they are in fact very heavy, and feel quite delicate, especially with all the extra bits of trim. I have had bumpers fall off, but a little glue and patience fixes everything. Above you can see the hood ornament, which looks quite large in comparison to the car.

Merc6

My favourite part about the Mercury is the intricate attention to detail and knowledge of the model. Castline have paid attention to all the technological innovations on the car with the addition of the “Twin Jet” fresh air intakes above the windshield and the “Breezeway” rear window to give air-flow through the car – the rear window is open on the model, and it took me a while to notice, too. That’s super cool. I also love that they stuck the second emblem on the car on the trunk, behind the open “Breezeway” window.

Merc7

Isn’t that front “M” below the grille super cool attention to detail? I love it. it’s interesting to note also that the colour scheme is real, seemingly, and I spied one that looks just like it here on the Heacock Classic website.

Photo credit to Bob Dekorne on Heacockclassic.com.

That’s all for part 1 – I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. In the next post I’ll be examining the Greenlight models also purchased from this batch. Until then!

 

Posted in Matchbox

This vintage Matchbox service station completes any collection

If you’ve checked out the section of my blog where I show off my diorama, you’ll deduce that making displays and layouts for my model cars is one of the most fun parts of collecting!

So far all the buildings I have on my diorama have been my own, made using Adobe Indesign, some card, and a home printer. The reason being I want my layout to be unique, not something you could buy from a store and find in any diorama. This has, I think, given it an individual flare and character you don’t find on many dioramas.

There are exceptions to any rule though, and I now have a branded building to add to my diorama – the 1963 MG1-c Matchbox BP Sales and Service Station. This vintage playset was common in many households in the sixties, and replaced a single story garage


“Matchbox” MG-1 Service Station

BPquart

I wanted this building for a long time – I discovered it some time last year and have been keeping an eye on the prices of online auction sites. These items retail very high – many of the sellers ask over £200, while even the poor condition ones go for over £100 (one model went for £100+, even though it was missing parts!)

BPfront

Undeterred, I stayed patient, and eventually came across this example at a total steal. The garage itself is a little bit rough around the edges – the stickers were slightly damaged and there is a piece of the base missing – but the price made it totally worth it, being half of what I expected it to sell for – plus who doesn’t like a bit of character? The sticker issue I soon remedied with a temporary modern “Matchbox” logo, taken from a five-pack.

Pumps

After winning the auction for the garage I decided I needed the pumps to go with it. It should be noted that originally these garages were sold without the pumps or sign. The pumps and sign came as the accessory pack “A1b” sold separately (you could also buy the G1 gift set, I believe, which included the pumps, sign, garage, and a number of vehicles).

The pumps I bought were very cheap at only a few pounds, and the reproduction parts (lamps and gas attendant) are virtually indistinguishable from the original pieces thanks to identical manufacturing methods. If you buy the garage these pumps are an essential. Unfortunately I have yet to find the diecast metal “BP” sign to go on the forecourt in a condition and price I’m happy with.

Pumps2

The pumps are diecast metal, while the gas attendant and two lamp standards are clearly green plastic. The stickers on the front of the pumps show the BP logo and an old-fashioned clock meter gauge. The lamp standards fit nicely into the metal bases while the gas attendant sits on those metal legs, and he comes off quite easily.

Pumps3

The rear of the pumps show only the BP logos. The pumps sit on a rim on the base of the garage, and for some reason I’ve found they stay better when the pumps face towards the garage and not outward – though it could just be my imagination!

Pumps4

These pumps arrived and had me very excited for the arrival of the rest of the garage. The detail for the time is always something to be admired with the old Lesney products, like the nozzle and hose, and the paving design on the base. Sticker application is sometimes a bit wonky, but these were put together by hand, after all! They are 3¾ inches long by ¾ wide. The total height from base to the top of the lamps is around 1¾ inch.

Garage1

The main building comprises four pieces. The base, which also includes the ground floor garage and shop, a doorway, and the staircase to the upper floor. The upper floor comprises showroom, the ramp, and the roof signage. The base is 9¼ inches by 6½ inches. The ramp adds 1¼ inch to the back of the garage, which stands 3¼ inches high. The sign at its peak adds just under 1½ inches to the total height of the garage. The lower floor is 7 inches by 3½ inches and just over 1½ inches high, while the upper floor is 6¾ by 3⅛ inches, 1½ inches high. The roof sign uses two tabs to sit into a pair of slots in the top, the ramp clips onto the base and slots into the rear of the building with two tabs also, and the upper showroom is detachable.

Garage3

These dimensions may come across as small compared to modern day garage playsets. I suppose children were satisfied with more modest toys back in the sixties. The whole thing manages to fit on my mouse pad! But once you get used to the size (this thing, I imagine, will be dwarfed by the Hot Wheels “Ultimate Garage”, but I know which one is more charming and characterful) it’s really a nice display for cars up to 1:64 scale and you can fit a fair number of them on it.

sidebyside

The first thing to note is that, despite the small scale (the garage is listed as OO scale on advertisements) modern Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars do seem to sit quite comfortably on it – two cars, so long as they have quite a narrow track, can fit side-by-side in the forecourt, although it’s a good thing Mattel don’t have opening doors on their cars anymore, since there’s no chance of them opening in this situation…

Court

And if you’re not convinced by that, I managed to fit one of my full loaded Matchbox Majors Guy Warrior car transporters in the forecourt with no problems at all.

Garage2

Garage5

Hot Wheels seem to fit in quite nicely with the playset too. I think the bright colours work well with the garage, and since Matchbox and Hot Wheels are pretty much the same size, it probably comes as no surprise that Hot Wheels causes little offence – so long as the designs of the cars aren’t too wacky.

Garage4

I stuck some Majorette models onto the garage, and they do look incredibly attractive. However Majorettes, old and young, are very bloated in size, so they do begin to make the garage look quite small. Perspective matters a lot here.

Shop

Garage6

Moving on to the different sections of the main building, the first section to observe is the workshop. In here you’ll find space for two vehicles, one of which will be parked on the ramp to the right. Don’t bother trying to get any of your newer cars on here unless they’re Oxford diecast or similar scale… this ramp was designed for early 60s Lesneys. The rest of the workshop can accomodate almost any vehicle, however, and I tend to enjoy parking my Dunlop van in there!

BP

Oh, and don’t forget to grab your BP Dodge wrecker – that’s an essential for this garage.

Showroom1

The little staircase that leads up to the first floor is a nice touch of realism, but the garage starts getting cool next door – 3/4 of the building is dedicated to showing off your awesome cars through showroom floors and those big art-deco windows. The curved plastic means there’s lots of visibility into the showrooms. The first one is on the ground floor and isn’t as great as the upper floors due to the green base; some colours don’t show up well here, and the light doesn’t get in as easily thanks to the ramp at the back giving more shadows. Nonetheless it’s a cosy little place for a couple of cars to sit side-by-side. I don’t know whether this is a dedicated showroom or is meant to be part of the workshop – the garage is a ’30s design and I’m not too familiar with how it would work.

Showroom2

Much more awesome is the upstairs showroom, where you have a bit more creative freedom when it comes to arranging your cars. Bear in mind that there’s a hole in the floor where the staircase comes up! Two cars works really well up here for the minimalist, luxury car look, or if you want to put more on display, you can fit two cars side-by-side on each side of the showroom quite easily.

Ramp

At this point it’s worth demonstrating how the rear of the showroom looks, with the ramp providing access. It’s a nice layout! But good luck getting anything other than a vintage lesney or a very narrow car up that ramp – it’s only an inch or so wide.

Showroom3

When you fill all three showrooms with vintage Lesneys, they sit comfortably side-by-side without any issue. The garage was designed after them, of course, so it’s to be expected that they’re accommodated with no problem. This makes it a perfect way to display the models.

Showroom4

Having said that, placing your modern Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars in there looks equally as good. The garage feels a little more crowded, but the fact is you can still fit eight cars in this display quite comfortably (nine if you’re not worried about one being hidden behind that central wall) and it makes just as good a display for modern cars as it does for vintage, since the model is so timeless, and the vintage look is so cool.


Verdict

If you hadn’t already guessed, this garage gets a 10/10 from me. Even in its slightly ratty condition, it doesn’t disappoint, and I think a perfect example would just make me more reluctant to play with it. It’s a fantastic way to display your cars and the vintage factor is beyond cool. It’s also a relic of many childhoods, so you feel an immediate attachment to it for that reason. It’s a must for any serious Matchbox collector, and a great display for any diecast brand that fits. The Art-Deco design is more attractive than nearly every other model garage that comes to mind, too.

I also would imagine it’s totally fun to customise, and I have plans already for how this garage will sit on my diorama. In a few months time I hope it will have a place in the Dinorama, surrounded by palm trees and highways and with some signs outside – I will preserve the garage as it is, of course, making no permanent cosmetic changes, but make it unique and fit in with the rest of my diorama in a way that I can really make it my own. Oh, and I need to get that BP sign!

Final

 

Posted in Hot Wheels

The 2017 Hot Wheels Lamborghini Series deserves your attention

This has been a long time coming. If you are in the UK, you have already probably been and gotten this set by now. If you are in the US, I would be surprised if you haven’t found it either, but there’s a chance for you to trade since it’s been here for some time now!

It has been a while since my last post but that is what happens when you are bogged down with other projects (especially when those other projects are what make you money, rather than a hobby blog!) and since I have been inundated with fantastic items recently, including Matchbox old and new, I have found it difficult to keep up with cataloguing everything. But worry not, there is a lot to come. I have also come up with some storage solutions and my Matchbox dealer has just gotten me into Matchbox Majors.

I was in TRU recently not expecting to find anything interesting (they have reduced their Majorette stock rather drastically, so now it takes around twenty seconds to check out the pegs)

However I did discover to my surprise a box in the aisle labelled “HW Lamborghini”. Naturally my curiosity was piqued so I took a look… and wow! What a fantastic find! A box just full of Lambos. It was an 8-car series, but I only picked up four, since £20 seemed a bit steep to grab all of them at once. Oh, and I haven’t been collecting Hot Wheels of late. I’ve just gone off them for some reason.

The series includes:

  • Lamborghini Countach (Red)
  • Lamborghini Murcielago (Yellow)
  • Lamborghini Estoque (White)
  • Lamborghini Reventón (White)
  • Lamborghini Reventón Roadster (Silver)
  • Lamborghini Urus (Dark red)
  • Lamborghini Sesto Elemento (Black)
  • Lamborghini Aventador (Black)

These vanished off the pegs almost instantly, so I was lucky to grab the four I did when I had the opportunity. Anyway, enjoy these photos of the ones I bought, and a brief review of each model.

I did not pick up the Urus because I hate it as a car; it’s ugly and a bandwagon mobile. I didn’t get the Reventón because the Roadster looks cooler; the Sesto Elemento was too black, and I already have a more attractive colour, and I don’t care enough about the Aventador to buy another one.

Lamborghini Countach LP500

Countach1

I can’t think of a more legendary shape for a car. Certainly the Countach is well known amongst petrol heads for being the pioneer of the wedge shaped era. The Countach has been covered by most diecast brands; however, for such a legendary car, it’s hard to find one which captures the looks of the Countach right – the lowness and the unnatural angles have to be spot-on, and the wheels can make or break the looks. This latest Hot Wheels Countach isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the best I’ve seen.

Countach2

I don’t think Hot Wheels quite managed to capture the lowness of the Countach (there are some really big gaps in the wheel arches – I think having the “Hot Wheels treatment” on the wheels here doesn’t work as well as a set of matching wheels would have done. The headlight tampos work really nicely and, as a pleasant surprise, are nice and accurate. The indicator light is also a nice touch on the front fenders, and the black stripe is retro cool.

Countach4

This Countach is the LP500 model, easily distinguished from the earlier models by the aggressive air scoops and wheel arches that look a bit like afterthoughts on Gandini’s original design.

Countach3

The spoiler adds to the aggressive styling, and distracts from the fact the back end of the car sits way too high thanks to those oversized wheels; the lack of tail lights is a bit frustrating with the thick paints, but one can’t be too critical; after all, this is a Hot Wheel. Oh, and did I mention it has a metal base? This is one heavy model. It’s awesome to pick up a full metal casting these days.

countach5

Would you argue this is still one of the best looking Lambos in small scale? I certainly would. I hope Hot Wheels make extra use of this casting in the near future; I’d love to see white, gold, and black for this car.

Lamborghini Murciélago

Murci1

I am not a massive fan of modern Lamborghinis, but the Murciélago is about as Lamborghini as a modern Lamborghini can get, with its angular styling, scissor doors, and cliché naming conventions.

Murci3

I only picked up four Hot Wheels Lamborghini models, and it was actually a tough decision, since it was such a desirable series; the Murciélago was one which had to hop in my basket, since the design and colour was so attractive. This model is a great example of why Hot Wheels don’t need big, silly wheels at the back and tiny ones at the front; it looks super by just sitting nice and flat against the ground. This is especially true for Lamborghinis and the Murciélago, since it has such a low-slung look and dramatic styling.

Murci4

Another reason this one popped out was the attractive and wonderfully accurate tampo arrangement. Hot Wheels are approaching premium prices with this line here in the UK and it’s good to see they’re making the effort to have nice looking designs on their cars. Yellow paint is sometimes an issue for coverage and comes out quite thick; this one has not been the victim of hidden body lines, and the smooth shape comes out nicely.

Murci5

It was also clever of them to integrate the plastic base plate into the rear light/vent cluster arrangement, even if it does look to be a bit all over the place. I love the rear light cluster. This is the earlier design from around 2002, later models had much cleaner styling.

Murci2

The front tampo design is also very pretty, though I think it could have done without the stripes and instead had some black-out on the lower intake (strange that they didn’t use the base plate there, as they did on the back!) I also think some door mirror would have been nice, but perhaps it was thought they’d distract from the slippery profile.

Lamborghini Reventón Roadster

Rev6

Even if you are unfamiliar with or even dislike Lamborghinis, there are some names you will recognise, simply because you get them repeated all the time on car shows and celebrities love them. Others cause a stir because only a small number are made. Murciélago is one, as is, I would say, Aventador, and to a lesser extent, Reventón.

Rev1

It strikes me that the Reventón had cult status destined for itself simply for its low production numbers and out-of-this-world price tag. It was Lamborghini’s most expensive model before the arrival of the Sesto Elemento (you can get the HW version of that one too – I’ve got the blue one) and it sold out in a snap. As far as I can tell, the Roadster is yet a concept. If anyone has any news on the Reventón Roadster I will gladly receive it.

Rev2

Hot Wheels sure did a number on this car. It’s low, the wheels are mean, and the details are intense. I love the metalflake silver and the headlight tampos. Once again, it’s a shame the lower intakes aren’t blacked out. The model looks surprisingly true to the original concept, however they’ve stuck a rather unnecessary black stripe on the bonnet. The real thing is totally dramatic with that low profile and scissor doors, and Hot Wheels were the right ones to capture it.

Rev3

Once can’t expect Hot Wheels to capture the wheel design and paint scheme perfectly, but I think these ten-spokes look just as good on the model as a more true-to-the-original design would have done. The body of the car is fantastically low, very impressive.

Rev4

Things look even more dramatic at the rear. There’s plenty of detail on the rear deck, a nice black Lamborghini logo, and those big moody tail lights and vents work super well as part of the base plate.

Rev5

The interior is pretty well detailed too; you can make out details on the seats and dash, and the steering wheel isn’t a mere blob, which makes you appreciate it more, even if it’s all black and hard to make out. I love the Reventón Roadster, and so it had to come with me!

Lamborghini Estoque

Esto1

From one concept to another, the Estoque is a bit of a departure from what we might expect from Lamborghini. Here is a concept for a four door sedan that only the 1% can afford. With no current plans to produce it, the Hot Wheels looks like it might be the one to develop this car fame.

It is an interesting model, and I picked it up for curiosity’s sake, since I had never heard of the Estoque. It is not an ugly car but neither is it beautiful, and Hot Wheels have opted for a minimalist approach on its design – white, with headlight tampos and nothing at the rear give it a half-finished look. The grey pinstripes end in a Hot Wheels logo on the boot lid, and the wheels are incredibly bling.

Esto2

For a Lamborghini, the design might be considered somewhat underwhelming – a four door sedan? “Estoque” refers to the sword that kills the bull in Spain’s iconic heritage – let’s hope that’s not a gloomy omen for this company.

Esto3Esto4

This car reminds me a little of the Lamborghini Marzal, the true four-seater that gained more fame as a scale model than as a real car. I wonder if this might be true of the Estoque.

Thanks for reading, and keep collecting!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Workshop

Bus Stop

Even I wouldn’t mind waiting for a bus here! All these photos will soon be entered in a new page, Jasmine’s World, where my diorama will be catalogued properly. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this brief escape!

Bus StopBus-Stop-2Bus-Stop-3Snorkelling

 

Posted in Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Hot Hatch: 2016 Ford Focus RS

The third generation Ford Focus RS was hotly anticipated to continue its namesake’s chart-topping success in the UK, but also marked the debut of the model in the US market – so no wonder Hot Wheels chose to make it. I was lucky enough to find it today, and doesn’t it just look fabulous in its signature colour – “Nitrous Blue”!

Hot Wheels ’16 Ford Focus RS

RS1

I was collecting Hot Wheels almost exclusively until recently, when Matchbox and Majorette were suddenly in the stores again. I had bought plenty of vintage Lesneys in the meantime, but with the return of Matchbox to the stores (well, store) I’ve fallen more in love with the licensed Matchboxes with their superior detail and stock look.

RS2
A family car with styling that can scare them away!

But occasionally there is a Hot Wheels that I just fall in love with! And this Ford Focus is one. It is right that Hot Wheels did this one, too – the “I’m going to eat your children” attitude of this family hatchback makes it a little too extreme for a modern Matchbox.

RS3

While I love the chrome 5-spokes that have been on Hot Wheels for a long time, I’m confused as to why they did not do a more accurate black design on this car. Still, no complaints about the wheel choice.

RS4

There are no tail light tampos, which is a shame, because that would have turned this casting from terrific to brilliant. A license plate and tail lights? I might have to add some of my own, because that will break up the blue at the rear very nicely.

RS5

The blue colour pops, and it just leaped out at me on the pegs. A nice little touch on the back is the RS lettering. Also, check out that rear skid plate and exhaust pipes – nicely captured details.

RS6

It reminds me a lot of the recent Matchbox Volvo V60 in Polestar Blue. In fact…

RS7
Nitrous blue or Polestar blue? 

Yes! I thought they’d look great side-by-side. The cheeky Volvo and the grumpy Ford. A good pair!

The interior can’t really be seen because the glass is tinted quite dark, but there looks to be a nice level of detail on the interior dash. The body moulding is nice however the paint is thick in some places. This is however a fun looking casting with lots of personality that has captured the little Ford well.

My verdict? Looks like I can’t restrict myself to just buying Matchboxes, when Hot Wheels are this good!

RS8