I am 50 now been car modeling off and on most of my life ! I enjoy building muscle cars , rods some customs and 50 s although they are a pain to paint with all the 2 and 3 tone colors.
I have done lots of mild scratch building mostly race cars for clients who ask to have them done!
Also have scratch build some convertible models like the 67,69 Mustangs from fast backs as they are not available as a kit !
I am not a big high detail guy with wiring and pluming , I figure if a model looks good on the shelf that is good enough the rest is excessive. No offence to those you do it and many very well , I deeply admire that ability !
I have a whole basement pretty much dedicated to my hobby for storage , paint room , building room and a display room ! I am pretty lucky that way !
Most of my work I have sold as I am not much of a collector , I find selling them keeps my building desire more active ! Most of my new projects commissioned projects for clients , although I still like to venture my own creations . I prefer using my own custom mix acrylic paint ,sometimes matching factory colors , mostly a slight improvement on them . Custom color are my favorite as they lend themselfs to creating a more personalized project !
I have enjoyed the hobby for decades , since my nieghbors first introduced me to model kits when I was around 10 years old. It was love at first site . I went through the usual building methods as a kid all the great old kits no longer availble where rush built with blowers cut out rear wheel wells and blowers , usually jacked up the rear end too . I had a desk full of white models then that al looked like that ! I did not have a tuder or a mentor pretty much mess themup on my own!
I could not wait ill I save the $3.20 for my next kit from the drug store on main street .Everyday arfter school I would wonder over there and daydream about owning all those wonderful model kits from the earily to mid 60 s . Then came the car Model science magazine , Wow did that open my eyes to how a model could be built! The magazine was only availble every so often and hit and miss ! I can remember learning about a tack rag to remove al the dam dust that seems to magneticlly attach to plastic models . Do you think I could find one any where , I had to phone all over town to find one accross town then the long bus ride to get it ! At this point I was moving away from the 15 cent testor bottle paint to the spray cans for a better finish on the bodies . I learned about bending a coat hanger to hold the body to spray paint it great Idea I still use today!
Well spray painting was the way to go , but the colors where few , how many red ,black , ansd a few others could you paint . Testors ahd the worst colors then like that purple and pink flesh tone what the hell where they thinking ! Then I learned about a thing called an airbrush from Model Car Science , oh I thought that is what I need now ! I was around 13 had a part time job building houses with my older brothers so I save the $1.00 an hour I was paid till I could afford my first Badger Air brush the most basic one ! It cost $35.00 with with some accesories like the spare tire adapter , so you could fill a tire at the garage attach your air brush and Paint .Wow I thought I was in heaven!
The only thing is the one tire had never seemed to hold enough air for a project , the air cans you could buy where a joke expensive and did not last at all ! Man I can remember pushing that tire down to the gas station 3 blocks away, hoping the compressor would work, if not another 3 blocks to the next one even in winter to refill it ! But it was all worth it I got to buy testor 15 cent paint bottles and thin them and mix them to the colors I liked ! Ihad a great time with all this till about 15 when real cars and girls started to get in my head !
Well like many of you it was around the earily 70 s the end of the great cars, and the model hobby or many of us . It was like it all seem to stop at once ! Then came marriage and family responsiblities , work and so on !
One December I took a trip to Great Falls Montana. My wife was busy looking for bargains at the mall , I was looking over car magazines at the drug store , then in the corner of my eye I spotted a new car model magazine called Scale Auto Enthusiast . I had never heard or scene this magazine before ! With the same enthusiasm as when I was 13 .
I quickly looked it over and rushed to counter to buy it something to read while waiting , for the shopping to end and the fun to begin if you know what I mean!
This magazine I don't remember the issue somewhere around 85 the fall ,featured an front page picture of a gorgeous 63 Ford Galaxie 500 , painted a stunning high gloss and polished burgundy color , with real looking chrome . I thought must be a 1/18 die cast .To my surprise I looked further to see a full article about the build ! Well I thought that's how you do it build a life like model ! It amazed me to see all the products available to model car builders , like chrome foil , something I tried to make as a kid with foil that was too thick and really bad glue !There was custom parts , photo etched parts , resin what ever that was fancy air brushes , polishing kits and on and on !
From time to time I would buy the odd model kit at a garage sale , stick it in the closet
And forget about it .I decided to try the hobby again , so the next day at the mall again I stopped at the hobby store an bought a 66 Mustang 2t2 by Monogram . This would be my reentry to the hobby if I could come close to the job I saw on the Magazine page I would continue . Armed with a can of Testor red spray paint it all began . I cleaned up the body like sand remove flash and tack ragged it , warmed the paint in hot water, like I read and sprayed Away , to my surprise I still had the touch after all those years . It went on smooth and shinny with no runs ! I could hardly wait to start the build , so I did the interior under carriage , engine all the correct colors with spray paint .The body was to dry for 1 week , I knew better with enamel paints from my past builds not to touch till then. I found some foil at the hobby shop and applied it wow it made it look like a real car not a toy . Well over all it wasn't as good as the one in the magazine but was very good the best I had ever done .
I decided it was time to start the hobby again the romance was still there ! The one in the marriage had cooled off so more time to go back to the old love ! Off the hobby shop to see what they have ! The first thing I know I need is an air brush, but a better one than my first .I spotted to Badger 350 it was perfect ! But I still had the same old problem and to save to buy it! My job paid me enough to pay my bills and support my full time volunteer work but that was all. As if by fate I came across some extra work that paid very well. I decided to treat myself and buy the air brush and some accessories, still no compressor . I had a couple old tires and could drive to the gas station now .
Models where hard to come buy mostly the cost ,I had to wait for sales at the few stores that sold them !Most of the time the good ones where gone so I had to settle for what was left . Well they where good for practice with . I found mixing colors so much fun and get challenging trying to match the factory colors of the period , sure you can buy them from the US but the cost was out of my range ! I figured the colors out quickly and the technique I developed for painting was perfect , I used testor bottle paints thinned with lacquer thinner, heated in the micro wave for a minute or 2 . The finishes where perfect shinny and smooth with no polishing . I was painting in the crawl space of an apartment we rented with a make shift spray booth , put it worked and I was happy . Over a few years my collection included most of the mainstream models available and they were as good as the magazine pictures ! I built 3 large display cases with glass and mirrors to display all my work. I soon found myself loosing interest in building since I had build all the cars I wanted including a dozen nascar models . I almost completely stopped building, I had collected about 100 built models and about the same un built models.
I was in the process of building a new home and decided to sell of my collection .
I was just new to the computer , I thought who would want all these models . I heard of ebay I thought want the hell check it out . 5 heard models are only of value when there un opened ! Well to my surprise I found my built models where selling for $50.00 and more some in the hundreds . I couldn't believe it , I sold off my collection of built models except for a few which where special to me over a 2 year period. I sold some of my unbuilt ones to the rare ones went fast and at a crazy price. The funds where used to start a new home business of selling models and die cast cars . I was a 4 year venture which was very profitable .The sales stated to slow down so I cleared out most of my inventory of die cast but kept the models hundreds of them .
Now what do I do with all these kits , many I continued to sell to customers .I thought what the hell for the first time I can build all I want not no worry about a bad paint job or ruined model! I remember all the work of cleaning and caring for the air brush the smelly cleaners and the trips to the gas station . I meant a friend on ebay , the famous Bob Curbside 66 , he liked my work and gave me more tips to improve my building skills.
He sent me hundreds of email pictures of his work it was out standing and he did it with spray cans . Wow I thought that would be great no more air brush mess. I tried his methods with some success but again found the true colors I wanted weren't available or where to expensive to order from US .The spray can collection was getting out of hand and there was a lot of inconsistency with the paints and clear coats not to mention the smell, which my wife complained about and rightly so ! Also the long wait for the paint to cure to handle it !
I heard of acrylic paints water based , I had tried the hobby store ones a few times with no success . Thinning them was a big problem water sure as hell doesn't work the bottle thinners where more expensive than gold , and no shine ! I heard some use methylo Hydrate gas line anti freeze to thin them . I went to Michael's bought some cheep craft paints in metallic colors I always liked put them in the air brush bottle with some mythoi
Sprayed in on and wow a perfect flat paint job . No problem I 'l clear coat it and it's done . It worked great except for the primer needed to protect the model from the clear coat . I heard some use floor wax to finish a model , so I tied Future wax it was terrible , you cant believe all you read about . My Dad was a janitor he had some old commercial grade floor wax around I filtered it put it in the air brush , it took about 10 coats but looked great . I t was dry in minutes and as hard as a rock , I tried the polishing techniques Bob taught me and wow a paint finish the best I have ever seen !
I had finally found the technique that would give me all the things I wanted to paint and build models of professional quality ! Un Limited colors that are cheep and available easily . No smell , easy clean up , and dries hard and in minutes to where you can polish it .
My collection of paint cans went to the recycler . I stocked up on acrylic paint and found a good commercial grade floor wax and I was off building again and loving more than ever. Oh yea one air brush was not enough I now use about 6 they have the paint sitting in the bottle attached to the air brush till I need , very little cleaning now , no smell !! Any color I can imagine a modelers dream come true ! Yes I bought a compressor to 6 air brushes uses a lot of air !
Yes it's been a long modeling journey with lots of disappointments, and challenges .
Each challenge brings the reward of a new method and each one brings the joy of a improved hobby skill and greater accomplishments . The models you see displayed on this web site are the culmination of years of trial and error ,and improvement .Starting with my first model when I was 10 years old to my latest .
Thanks to all of you who share this wonderful hobby and for showing the work of your minds and hands . I hope you continue to love and enjoy this fulfilling and rewarding hobby .
Ernie c Maheden