As a kid I used to love taking things apart. Whenever my parents would give me a battery-operated toy, it would not last a week. Trying to find out how things worked always fascinated me. I had the usual collection of diecast Matchbox cars enabling me to name most cars on the road. But it was when I was introduced to plastic scale models that brought everything to a whole new level. Plastic models depict a certain subject in miniature, in a specific scale. The most common scale is 1:24 or 1:25. The beauty here is when you assemble the subject and the parts that make up the full-sized subject, it is also present in miniature. I remember the old Revell and Monogram kits of American muscle cars. You would have to assemble the engine, the interior and the drive train. There were some kits that were motorized. It would have a small electric motor to drive the rear wheels and two AA-sized batteries as a power source. You could paint the cars as a factory offered car or one depicting a famous racecar.
Now these are not fancy plastic toys. Models have an important role to play when it comes to the development of a real car. For a stylist or designer, a rendering on paper would be done first. Then a scale model would be made to visualize how the car would look and determine its proportions. If the big bosses like what they see, a full-sized clay model is commissioned to give the designers a better feel of how the rendering would look full size. If the full-sized model is approved, a full-sized mock up is commissioned to determine manufacturing issues, with engineers and designers locking horns. What will work, what won’t. Although nowadays computers have taken up most of the work. Computer aided design software is used to render a concept and they could even do simulations before even one part is ever produced. But somewhere in the process, a scale model will still be needed. A 3D (three-dimensional) rendering can’t fully give the feel of proportioning.
For some who build and collect plastic scale model cars, they do because of the love or fascination for the marque. Like there are those who just collect Porsches… anything about Porsche. Or those who grew up with American muscle in the 1960s and 1970s. Or a dream car beyond his means. There are those who go all out in adding detail to a subject that can rival a full-sized car. One aspect that I enjoy with this hobby is knowing the history behind the car. If it’s not the production history, it would be the drivers that made the car into a legend. Racing is a subject that can take a couple of collectors occupied for hours when they start sharing info they came across during their research on a particular car.
There are those who as teenagers would be fiddling with model cars and would progress in fiddling with the real ones; whether as a hobby or as profession. I would have to say the craftsmanship of these little gems is way beyond words. I did get my hands into scale cars years ago but not up to this skill level. The photos do not do justice. While taking photos, I spent sometime admiring the details on these cars. It was like being at a car show. These cars were supplied by a good friend Natalie Kaw, owner of JMN Hobby Shop, at the 3rd floor at the Fisher Mall in Quezon City. Now if you are going to say another hobby for the little boys… guess again. Natalie is also an accomplished model builder with a few trophies to her name, a rose among the thorns.
Now if you want indulge yourself in this hobby… go right ahead. By all means do it. The best excuse is it eats up less space than having full-sized cars in your garage and overflowing to the street in various stages of disassembly. Think about it. Some logic to it huh… its also a good excuse to keep buying books and magazines about cars as these can be reference for that future build. I personally have a stash of kits still with me. Considering I sold some last year, I still have a lot somehow. That’s not counting the stash I still have in my mom’s house. It’s in a cabinet in one of the bedrooms. She has no knowledge about it. All she knows is the stuff she sees under the staircase. Car parts! And she’s been nagging me to take it out of her house… and my friends call me a little boy with his toys. A mama’s boy. Damn right I am! And proud of it. So when I visit my mom, I have something to keep me busy. Isn’t that just sick?