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Thursday, 20 October 2016

JimBo Powers, Customizing from Full-Size to 1/64

Our friends at hobbyDB have been running a series of articles about diecast customizers on their blog. Some of the names will be familiar to Darthvaderr readers, but it's always nice to check in for an update. 

jimbo powers 1:18 hot wheels drag bus custom
This 1/18 scale Drag Bus has an amazing iridescent finish!
jim powers cgs kustoms logo
Jim Powers (or JimBo, as he perfers to be called) has been customizing diecast models for over 20 years, focusing on trucks, vans, the kinds of vehicles with ample room and smooth sides for big, wraparound graphics.

His first project was a 1/24 scale VW Beetle, which remains his favorite scale to work in. But he has moved up and down from that size over the years. You'll find several of his smaller scale designs on hobbyDB under the name CGS Kustoms & Design (originally known as JP Kustoms). The Hot Wheels 55 Chevy Panel is a favorite to work on.
Just in time for Halloween!
JimBo also works on bigger models such as the1/18 scale VW Drag Bus. In its original form, the model looked sort of toylike, but with his swirled, iridescent paint and extra detail, it becomes a masterpiece in miniature.
He has bigger interests as well. "I collect real VWs, Cadillacs and mini trucks," he says. "I tour the country with a Top Alcohol Dragster Team that I'm a partner with. And I enjoy building vehicles for the annual SEMA Show." In other words, he'll work in just about any scale including full-size.
Depending on the complexity of the model, his projects take anywhere from a week to a year. If you can't wait that long, you can find several of his models for sale on hobbyDB.
Jim Powers Hot Wheels custom Quick D-Livery

We’ve featured a number of customizers who make models of wild hot rods, stretched, chopped, and reassembled into strange new rides. In most cases, the cars start with a familiar model from Hot Wheels or some other company and details are added, subtracted, and mixed in.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Darthvaderr and hobbyDB Want to Show Off Your Customs!

We’re looking for a few good customizers!

Actually, we’re looking for a bunch of you. We’ve been presenting a series of profiles of diecast customizers over the last few years (that’s why you’re here, right?) and we’re always looking for a few more who want the same kind of exposure. 
Custom Kool Kombi tank by Tony Szuta, Brew City Customs
So here’s the deal… our friends at hobbyDB have been building an archive of everything that people collect. There’s a huge focus on diecast vehicles, including just about every Hot Wheels vehicle ever made. And we mean EVERY one… every model, every color, every little difference in wheels, window color, you name it. The site shows almost every authorized Hot Wheels model ever made in their database.
That’s where you come in. hobbyDb and Darthvaderr want to help you share your work. Share your stories. We want to show off your sweet custom rides and even help you sell them if you like. (And if you don’t work in Hot Wheels, that’s cool too… we want to show the possibilities of any and all diecast brands!)

What do we want from you? It’s actually pretty simple. 

First, get in touch with us. Shoot us an email, say hello in the comments below. Take us to your website or your Facebook page, where we can see your work.
Custom Drag Bug by Jon P Wood
From there, it works like this:
• Display some of your customs on hobbyDB.com. We can help you set up an archive on the site that puts all of your models into one place where people can search and cross-reference your every model. Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple once you’ve got the hang of it. Heck, we’ll even help you get started. And, no… it doesn’t cost anything to show off.

• Let’s do an interview. By phone, or by email, whatever works best for you. We just want to learn more about your inspiration, your methods, your plans for the future. 
• And then we’ll write up your profile. We’ll post the finished article here and on hobbyDB. Then you can share it online, in social media, on your own site… It’s good promotion for you and for us!

Custom models and packaging by Jimmy "Boxman" Chavez

As long as your cars are on display, maybe you want to sell them, too. Yep, we can help with that... but we're getting ahead of ourselves. For now, just contact Ron (ron@hobbyDB.com) and we can let you know more. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Get On The Drag Bus With Liberty Promotions

Our friends at hobbyDB have been running a series of articles about diecast customizers on their blog. Some of the names will be familiar to Darthvaderr readers, but it's always nice to check in for an update. 

liberty promotions header
We’ve run several features about die cast customizers over the last few weeks, but this week’s entry is a bit different in several ways. Liberty Promotions might work with small models in limited runs, but nothing about their operation is small scale.

The company is best known for their exquisitely decorated Hot Wheels Drag Buses, ranging from holiday-themed models to special events to company promotions. And even though they are “limited editions,” they are a big time operation. Consider that they have produced almost 300 different variants of just the Drag Bus.

“We’ve purchased over 375,000 buses directly from Mattel,” says Lee Perlman of Liberty Promotions. “These include promotional models for All Tune & Lube, Penske, & Jiffy Lube, as well as some “mistake” models and some CD-ROM packaged ones which were liquidated to us by Mattel. Additionally, we’ve purchased overstock from other sources, leftover quantities from various runs, such as the military and VW club releases (such as the Rhode Island Hot Wheels Club GTO below) , as well as more of the CD-ROM buses.”
Hot wheels 67 gto
liberty promotions cordOne of their best non-Bus models is the Hot Wheels ’36 Cord 810. It was produced to celebrate the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival held at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. "The ’36 Cord was offered to visitors of the ACD Festival on Labor Day weekend, as well as a very limited number on our website."
Most of the customizers we profile make their models one at a time,  a maximum of maybe 50 cars per run. Maybe fewer, Liberty Promotions is in the business of providing efficient short runs for a variety of clients.

In fact, when you visit their website, they first ask you if you want to see their previous offerings or if you’re interested in having your own custom design produced. The process is not cheap, and can take a while (just locating enough donor cars to repaint can take weeks), but consider the past alternatives: If you wanted to get, say, 500 models of a particular vehicle with your company or event logo on it, well, faced had an uphill battle. You had to go directly to the toy manufacturer and order probably a minimum of 10,000 pieces, all identical, and not cheap.

Liberty offers much shorter runs along with the ability to create “chase” vehicles. As a bonus, their Rebel Run vehicles represent anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the overall production of some models.

Some of the chases are easy to spot, such as a big difference in one of the main colors (like these 2013 Christmas buses).
liberty promotions christmas drag bus
Or in the case of the Cuban Series Drag Bus, the Rebel Run version has red trimmed surfboards and red tinted windows. Speaking of those surfboards, on this particular model, they are designed to look like cigars. Now that’s attention to detail!
liberty promotions drag bus cuban
The Civil War chase variants are really hard to spot… if you look at the back of the vehicle. the only difference is a tiny portrait of the General Grant on the Union version or General Lee on the Confederate variant (would that last one be a Rebel Run Rebel Bus?)
liberty promotions civil war drag bus
Liberty Promotions now hosts their historic archives on hobbyDB, with many of their models for sale on the site.