Say the word “Airfix” and most people would associate it with a wizened old man, in a small, dimly lit room, hunched over a model of a sailing ship.
In reality, that’s well away from the truth. Hobby modelling is made up of all ages (that’s why it thrives) and there are young girls alongside their Dads, wives alongside their husbands, and women alongside their wives, working on a plastic model kit, of a ship, a plane, or a car...
However, there are many that love the diecast metal version of a car, (think Matchbox, or Hot Wheels), a copy of a vehicle that can be bought and displayed either in the box the manufacturer supplies or, in the case of one talented modifier, made to look as if it’s been left under a tree on a farm, exposed to the elements for a couple of decades or run at high speed into another car.
Queensland based Scott Fuller from Custom Wrecks takes diecast scale model cars, and for the most part, they’re Australian cars, and creates a “what if” of a car that’s been unloved and left alone for years or one that has been involved in a crash. Think of the words “barn find” and you’d be on the money as to visualising something Scott builds.
His preferred scale is 1:18, or one inch on the model represents 18 inches of the real car. Scott says his preferred manufacturers are Australian based Biante and Classic Collectables as they present a great range of Australian themed diecast cars.
Using a range of fine tools, Scott “cracks” the model car apart and in the process is visualising what the end result could be. There’s a framework in place mentally of he envisions the final build to be. It’s also in the disassembly process that the story may change; if an axle breaks, or a window cracks, then the original visualisation can be changed to be something wholly new.
It’s important to note that these are creations purely for and by Scott. Yes, he does have some personal and business customisation requests, however he builds for himself as a hobby.
His inspiration originally has ties to dirt; in high school he had an arts teacher, with an automotive inclination, that used diecast cars and clay to create dioramas, with clay the medium for the artistic part of a condensed version of life.
It’s perhaps something many of us of a certain age would have done in the sandpits as kids; building racetracks or highways and tunnels, with our Matchbox cars and happily driving these tiny things to the death in the backyard.
They’d be left out in the sun, the wind, and the rain, and we’d recover them days or weeks later, faded, coated in dirt...this is what Scott does on a larger scale. He also has in mind what a car may look like after hitting a power pole or a wall or another car.
Being metal, the paints are closer to what is found on the real life car and Scott uses wet’n’dry sandpaper to strip back the original colours. He uses aerosol cans to repaint, and it’s a skill honed over the past three decades or so, to create a look of, say an XA Falcon, battered and bruised and dented.
Again it’s here that the end result may change. Using an aerosol (or as some modelers call them, a rattle can) in a fine quality environment requires a judicious use of pressure in order to lay down a thin layer of colour. This allows for layering to create a range of looks of weathering, and occasionally a slip up occurs. Scott says this can create a whole new idea for the end result, with the wet’n’dry employed to rub back a thicker layer or an area of overspray.
Such is Scott’s ability that a car can be built and damaged, with dents or rust, with differing layers of metal visually rusted away, bring a true sense of reality to the final build. With his area of personal choice cars of the 1960s to 1970s, these cars, at the time, weren’t as rust proofed or engineered for drainage, as cars of today.
There are specific cars that have specific area where rust occurs, such as in the wheel arches or at the bases of doors, and he employs some tools to gently chisel away top layers before applying paints.
Scott says yes, he has worked on some American or British metal, but born and raised in Australia, and of an age when classic Aussie muscle was making its presence know, that has been the underlying preference for the love of the build.
Scott has built to a stand-alone end result, as in the car itself. Recently he’s expanded into trialling a diorama look, an example of what a car may look like in a yard, or on the back of a trailer and so on. This adds an extra level of visual appeal and reality.
Scott and Custom Wrecks can be found on social media here: https://www.facebook.com/CustomWrecks
And the final builds are available for sale. Check out his mastercraftsman level of work and let us know what you think of his unique take on many Aussie classics.