Category Archives: Customized

Custom Hot Wheels Datsun 240Z Rally Car

Original on the left, and custom on the right.

This was SO fun to build. I have had the Datsun cleaned of paint and drilled apart for a few years. I knew I wanted to do something with a Datsun 240Z, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then a few weeks ago, I started to get an image of a rally car I wanted to make. I pulled out this car, ready to be modified, and got to work.

For the wheels, I knew that the low-profile Hot Wheels wheels would not do the trick of making a rally car. So I was on the lookout for some off-road wheels. They could not be too extreme. Rally cars are made to drive fast in the dirt, so big ol’ truck tires would not cut it. I had a set of Brush Fire truck tires from a Matchbox truck that looked just about right. The problem was, they were about a millimeter too big around. And when you are working in 1:64 scale, 1 tiny millimeter can be WAY off. The tires were impossible to stuff under the front wheel openings, and definitely wouldn’t look right if the car was jacked up to a height that would accommodate the bigger tires.

I finally found my tires in the form of a Matchbox off-road vehicle called the Four by Force. It has the treaded off-road tires that we find on a lot of Matchbox cars, but they were slightly smaller around. They were perfect. They fit great in the backs, and in the front, I had to do only a little modification at the front edges of the wheel arches.

 

I used brass tube to hold the axles. I cut a groove in the chassis to get the tube up higher. It allowed a bit too much ground clearance with the tube glued right to the chassis. In the end, the axles were dropped about two millimeters, and I added a bigger tire, and that gave the higher ground clearance.

Then it was time for lights and bars. The classic Rally cars of old had racks on the roof, where they mounted lights, a spare tire, and tool boxes. I knew with this classic car, that was the way I wanted to go. I used styrene tube for the front brush guard as well as the edges of the roof rack. I used a smaller diameter styrene bar to make the lights. The interior of the roof rack is thin sheet styrene cut to fit. Straight rows across the roof, and a bit of more styling design on the back to attach the spare tire as well as make it look a bit stronger.

I also went ahead and made a snorkel, since I think they are awesome looking, and it gives the Datsun and even more off-road look.

It was time for paint. I didn’t want anything fancy this time around. I wanted something a bit more utilitarian. So I went with the matte grey. It is Tamiya Airplane Grey out of a shaker can. I felt that a race car needed a touch of color, so I went with gloss red for the bar work. When I added mud flaps, I carried the red down to the underside of the car too. There is also a touch of red around the front headlights.

A race car team needs sponsors. The decals are leftovers from a 1:24 scale car build from many years ago. I hung onto the decals in hopes of being able to use them some day. For 1:24 scale, these decals are minor sponsors around the wheel arches. On the 1:64 scale, they are major sponsors.

With the car painted, decaled and cleared with matte clear, it was time for assembly. I glued the bars in place, as well as the snorkel. I added the spare tire, a white box, and a roll of fabric.

In all I am very happy with this car. It has really got my creative juices flowing for this small-scale building, and I am looking forward to more projects like this in the future.

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2017 Ranger Rescue 5-Pack (Matchbox)

This 5-Pack called Ranger Rescue is a new set for Matchbox. This is a team sent in on rescue missions on behalf of the National Parks services.

The first model is the 4 Wheeler. This is only the 7th time it has been released since it’s introduction in 1999. The first 5 version all had a rider. The rider was removed for the 2013 version and has remained off. This is a solid casting with a metal body and plastic top. Much like the 1:1 version would be.

Next up is the Water Hauler. This one has also seen limited release, but it is a much newer casting, coming out for the first time in 2012.

The 4×4 Chevy Blazer has been a fan favorite since the initial release back in 1984. The mold still holds up so well. The lines are so nice and crisp. You can’t beat the big wheels tucked under this guy. This is the non-aerial antenna version. I do love the giant antenna that we have seen in many versions of this truck.

When the time comes for a water rescue, call on the Rapids Rescue. This is only the fourth time we have seen this truck in it’s short few years of existence. I don’t know why they decided to go with a different color on this truck. It does not fit in with the rest of the team, though it does have all of the correct markings.

The Pony Trailer is an updated version of the original that saw life back in 1968. It only showed up a few times over the years. Matchbox has had a long history of great trailers, but we don’t get to see them all that often. This new version does not have an opening back, but the details are fantastic.

The big excitement for this wave is getting a trailer for the Blazer. Well, as you can see, the Blazer’s trailer hitch sits WAY too high for the trailer. So some modifications have to be made for this all to work together.

I decided I wanted to make a trailer hitch that would be able to be added to the model without having to make it a permanent part of the truck. I want to be able to move the hitch to another Blazer if need be. I used about 20 different pieces of styrene plastic cut to shape and glued.

I test fit the pieces many times as I worked through the process. I needed the hitch to sit straight, look fairly realistic, and be able to actually work, as in allow the trailer to be towed by the truck when driving it around.

When all of the work was done, I painted the hitch a matte black and added some trailer chains. Now the Rangers are ready to grab the horses and head out on their mission.

This was a fun build to do. It only took a few hours, but really upped the function of both vehicles. Now this set really makes me happy.


Matchbox – Ford F-100 Panel Delivery (1955)

This 1955 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery by Matchbox is a car well loved at my wife’s library. After storytime on Fridays, the kids get to bring out the toys. Diecast cars are always a favorite, and she says the more unique cars get the most love.

This truck showed up a few years back, went into the lost and found for a time, and then went into the box with the rest of the diecast for the kids to play with.

Yesterday a kid brought it up with the back axle split in two. My wife said, “I think my husband can fix that.” I have become known as Uncle Toy Doctor after fixing my nephew’s powered toy truck.

I have played around with diecast in the past, and I have a list of projects I want to do. Most of what I have done did not require work on the chassis. Well, this one was going to require something special.

Not only had the axle broken in half, but the wheels were fused to the axle, so if I glued them in place, the wheels would not spin, and that is a no-go when this is meant to be played with.

I had bought some brass tube to allow for new axles, but had not tried it yet. I had only read about it. Well, this was the perfect opportunity. I cut out the other axle, and drilled out the hole for the axle to accept the bigger size brass tube. I glued it into place, cut it to size, and I was half way home.

I thought it would be fun to use a pair of wheels off of a Brush Fire Truck. Unfortunately, with about a millimeter of size difference, that was all that the wheel needed to not be able to fit. Boo! Okay, on to plan 2. Find any set of wheels that fits. All of the donor cars I had laying around, I have plans for and need the wheels in tact, or they were just too big. Then I found wheels to the Hot Wheels Back Slider. This thing has a big set of dual back wheels that were smaller than usual. And that smaller size was perfect to fit in the wheel wells of this truck. And being red, it made this truck look more like a sleeper anyway. It must be a hot rod under the patina.

All glued into place, and ready to go back into service. I would love to have added it to my collection, with the perfect patina to the paint, but it is important for the kids to have the wide variety of cars to play with. Really, this project wet my appetite to really get going on one of my own projects and see what I can come up with soon.


Custom Hot Wheels: ’70 Chevelle GT Wagon

What is that you say, “There never was a GT Chevelle?”  You might be right, but there is now:

I finished my custom car for the Custom Challenge 3 on the Hot Wheels Customs web site.  The challenge was to take a ’70 Chevelle SS Wagon, and do something with it.   There have been a lot of good cars finished, and the deadline is tomorrow (the 14th).

I started with the current run of the yellow Chevelle as they were very prevalent in the stores a few weeks back.   I noticed that the ’13 Mustang GT had the same wheelbase.  I was thinking I could use the interior from the GT in the Wagon.  As this was my first custom, I did not think to look at the width of the cars, which was terribly different.  The Mustang is way wider, as you would expect from a dragster.

In case you want to know EVERYTHING I did to the car:

1.  I stripped the paint off of the body of the Chevelle.
2.  I cut a hole in the hood of the Chevelle and buffed the body.
3.  I cut the front end off of the interior piece where the engine would go.
3.1 I had to trim the leading edge of the window glass that goes under the hood.  It interfered with the new engine.
4.  I cut the engine off of the ’13 Mustang GT interior.
4.1 I had to shave off the front part of the engine to allow it to fit into the engine bay with the front body post there as well.
4.2 I had to cut down the height of the engine so it would fit into the allowed height of the engine bay.
5.  The rear interior of the Chevelle had to be removed to make way for the larger Mustang wheels.
5.1 When the rear interior was removed, it left the interior very weak and with very little left.  A cover was added to the back of the car for         strength.
6.  The body was painted Tamiya Blue.
6.1 Decals from a model kit were cut thin to create the double rally stripes.
7.  The car was put back together and fits pretty well.  There is a little bit of a gap in the front end.

What started out pretty hot looking… for a wagon, was dropped slightly in the back.  I was really happy with the addition of the white stripes to give it a little racier feel.  Let me know what you think, and I will update when the challenge is over and the ballot is cast.   On to the next build.  And more new toys to show.


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