FsdfFebruary 2001    

This article was written for Diecast Illustrated-Alley Guide back in 2001?  Remember them?  When there was no HWC, this was one of the highest traffic site online at the time for info on Hot Wheels and an online price guide. This was a request article written for them on their first "Custom Spotlight!"  I think it was ran by a guy named Ken, then sold to Mobilia.com.  Here is the page from their site back then of my 32-window Micro-Stretch Project.  A first of this kind in innovation!  Making a mold of a Master Build using "white metal" and a "cold pour" process!   Hand built and custom paint!!  Making the master with all those windows took about 80 hrs alone, yikes!

How heavy is this Custom VW Bus? About 4 times the weight of an ordinary Hot Wheels production bus. This bus was created back in April 2000. A process that took well over 100 hours just for the body work and windows alone. This is a metal mold of a "pattern" I created. The metal used on this custom is as heavy as lead. If you customize hot wheels before, this metal is unlike the softer "zamac" and will eat through all your dremel bits in no time!
As you can see in the pictures above and below, the "white primered" bus was first customized by using 2 Hot Wheels bus. All the body lines had to be straight and a new widow line and posts was added on the sides by using polystyrene. Next, the windows were drilled out and evened along both sides by using calipers. This is an important step because if the windows don't line up, it will be flawed. The Hot Wheels zamac metal is a softer metal that
The finished artwork to me is one of the most important part of a custom. All artwork and fades you see is hand done using airbrush, tape, and clear frisket. A custom mixture of PPG automotive pearls and clear was used. Then came the tough part of pinstriping the masked tribal flames on the roof. One slip up and it's ruined, so the lines has to be perfectly straight.
If you wondered, the chassis is one solid piece of metal with the exception of the roll cage. This adds to the weight of the custom. This bus is so heavy, it might have to be registered as a weapon because it's like a rock! The rims and rubber wheels were customized, and different treads were used from different manufacturer such as Racing Champions and Ertl.

The finished product. The stance is another critical part of a custom. If it doesn't sit right, it don't look right. As you can see, the bus is centered and lowered as far as it can go. And?  It rolls!

-Dave Chang      

*As a footnote, this project was an experiment and learning process.  Had a great time learning from a Master Mold Maker and good friend, Lloyd.  Only 2 have been painted up and about 3-4 total cast.  Those hand drilled/cut windows did not cast too well with the "cold pour process." 


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