Posted in Hot Wheels, M2 Machines, Workshop

Datsun Bluebird Wagon Custom

With the arrival of  Hot Wheels’s Car Culture Japan Historics 2 and the Nissan Hakosuka wagon as part of the Cargo Carriers series, it seems the hype for Japanese cars in the diecast collecting world is as fierce as ever, and the Hot Wheels “dream team” are working hard to meet that demand.

But the Hakosuka Wagon arriving for 2018 is only the second station-wagon (or estate, as we call them) of Japanese origin to come from Hot Wheels, the first being Jun Imai’s Datsun Bluebird wagon which debuted in the Boulevard line (a fabulous series by all accounts) in 2013 – and it’s that wagon that arguably kick-started the Nippon craze.

The iconic “Boulevard” wagon. Imagine from Wikipedia.

Sadly, as I live in the UK, I wasn’t able to grab one of those Datsun wagons when they debuted, and by now the price for them is so high – driven by collector hype and a certain online blogger, no doubt – that it just doesn’t make sense to fork out $80+ for what is essentially a car worth less than the price of a Happy Meal.

In fact, the only Hot Wheels Datsun I’ve ever found in “the wild” would be the yellow racing livery which I picked up in the auto-parts dealer Halford around two years ago.

I wanted to customise one, since there’s been a tremendous amount of them on Instagram (and those who follow me there will have already seen it) so recruited my friend Vava from Serbia (he’s on instagram, @vavasallthingsdiecast – go find him and hit that follow button, he’s a great guy) to send me a 510 wagon with the “JNC Surf Patrol” livery. The clear windows on the model make it a great canvas for your imagination!


The surf Datsun rocked up at Paradise Cove on March 14, and I was already loving the casting. The blue came out so nicely in the sun that I was even a little hesitant to strip it at first. But those red wheels had to go immediately.



I had an M2 ’57 Chevy sitting around with a few bits missing (as is prone to happen with M2 Machines) and was heartbroken to have him just laying there unloved. I decided to take his wheels and put them to good use, and after lowering the suspension on the wagon, it sank onto these beautiful whitewalls. A bit of a left-of-field choice, since most customisers favour some deep-dish spoked rims, but I love the classic whitewall look, and since this technically started as a 60s wagon, I think you can get away with it. Putting surfboards on the roof in this early stage also convinced me that I needed a roof rack.


I always work from life, and so I did some research into existing Datsun wagons and the kinds of colours and mods on them so that my custom would look right. This was probably my favourite, gleaned from a Google image search (apologies as I have since lost the source).


Having fallen in love with that grungy grey/green style, I went for this metallic jade colour that I had already tried out on a Hot Wheels 1957 Plymouth. I feel it definitely works better on the Datsun, and it wasn’t long before I’d stripped the casting of the old paint and given him a new colour.

front detail

Once the paint was dry, adding a few details tastefully is all it takes to make the colour really pop. I loved that dual colour headlamp arrangement so had to emulate it – it’s not something I see often in diecast customs either, so felt it made mine stand out from the crowd.

Found via Turbobricks forum – credit goes to the original owner.

It was at this point I also decided to construct a roof rack. I’d looked at some different designs online again and opted for a retro wooden style roof rack. These are fairly simple to make with some paperclips and crafting dowel and look great when finished. I fixed it together with clear drying superglue, though I’ve heard soldering roof racks is also a good alternative.



Once the detailing is finished and the roof rack fitted, it’s time to seal it all in place with some lacquer. This doesn’t make the paint completely invulnerable mind, and customised cars chip as easily as new Majorettes, so even with plenty of clearcoat be sure to look after your customs!


When the lacquer dries, a license plate finishes off the look, and then it’s safe to seal it up. Of course, you can apply the license plate first and seal it on, but I only apply the plates with a bit of blu-tac, so I can change them if need be.




And there it is – a custom Datsun Bluebird wagon. I love how it turned out, and it fits in perfectly with my dioramas. I also think it’ll look great sitting alongside the Hakosuka wagon, when eventually I get one.

Thanks for reading – I hope you have enjoyed today’s post, and good luck in all your own customs and collecting!



Posted in Greenlight, Hot Wheels, M2 Machines, majorette, Matchbox

A matter of perspective

A thread came up on an online forum regarding perspective and photography of diecast cars.

It’s an interesting thing to think about, right? Why do so many people take ugly shots of their cars – just all scattered on a carpet, or in a dark room with grainy light, or on a creepy looking shelf in a basement?

Okay, I’ll stop being mean. A lot of people want to take a quick snapshot to catalogue their collection. But not me – I love my little cars and want to bring them to life in their own little scaled down world. Here’s a few shots from the last year that highlight my style of things.

mr and mrs
Mr and Mrs, visiting the keys!
Godzilla, with some other monsters lurking nearby…
Getting the perspective right gives this little Ferrari a big dose of attitude!
A brick wall can be a great place to host a gathering of old friends!
And to make some new discoveries…
A low level shot can give this tiny camping scene a lot of character.
Placing objects closer together can make the image a lot larger.
A small stream can become a mighty river…
And a small lake within a park can become a mighty sea!
Playing with light to capture the perfect curves.

Hope you enjoyed! And sorry to any of my IG followers who have not had an original photos in this post. Sadly life gets in the way sometimes.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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 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


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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!



Posted in Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Plymouth Fury Wheel Swap/Custom

I customised this a 1957 Plymouth a while back… I fell in love with the colour, and thought it looks stunning and very formal…

But I always felt something was missing…



But now I think I’ve solved it!


I think these wheels look very smart, and complement the formal colour very nicely.

Now it looks like a businessman’s car!

Some before shots:


Posted in Hot Wheels

Muscle Mania

Hot Wheels are always going to catch the eye. They just pop, which is what keeps me coming back. I’m not hard to please, and bright colours have always been my way of finding small joy in the world. I mean, I like the cars too. But the colour adds to it.


It helps when the cars are real though. And the Hot Wheels Muscle Mania 5-pack is one heck of a cool multipack.

However, it did cost me £7.50. Seven fifty! That’s £1.50 per car.

Considering the regular price for an indivudual Hot Wheel at the store I was in is £1.30, charging an extra 20p for buying them in a multipack makes about as much sense as square wheels.

Consider, as well, that when bought together, the Matchboxes from my last discovery cost £1.30 per car. Why do these cost so much, I wonder? Does Mattel not want them to sell fast in the UK?

Either way, I got them, because just look at that Mustang. Look at it POP with that metallic gold paint. Wow, I wish you could see it in person because the photos do not do him justice.


I think the wheels must help.

The pack came with the Mustang (no date, but I’m going to use my American Classic knowledge to hazard 1969) the 1974 Dodge Charger (amazing colour again, but disappointing lack of interior piece and blacked out plastic windows), Chevy Nomad (is that a 1955 grille? I think it is) 1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 in blue, and the classic Black ’64 Impala. Super cool!

Pretty sure that’s a ’55 Chevy, but correct me if I’m wrong. Hot Wheels tend to distort the model a little for hot rodding reasons, so it can be hard to be 100% accurate.

I love it when they throw in a mix of classic castings with new ones.

But let’s address the elephant in the room here – that Chevy Nomad used to have a metal base. And damn if it’s annoying now that it doesn’t. It’s strange, the car almost feels smaller without it. Maybe that’s just me.


So, yes, I may complain about the price. £1.50 is seemingly a lot for a little toy car. But I guess I’d buy them no matter how much they cost, wouldn’t I?

My “coolness” rank for these cars (1 being the coolest, of course)

  1. Mustang
  2. ’64 Impala
  3. ’74 Dodge Charger
  4. Chevy Nomad
  5. ’67 Firebird