Christmas Vacation Custom Wagon Update 2

Christmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsChristmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsChristmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsChristmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsChristmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsChristmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsOne step closer to completing this custom. Finished the wood grain side panels that actually turned out a lot better than I thought they would. These didn’t have to be perfect because they would be partially hidden behind faux snow, but the dry brush technique worked perfectly. I’ve watched at least one video of a very talented custom builder trying to do this same custom and they struggled with the snow and ice on the car. This made me think long and hard about what I was going to use to replicate snow and ice stuck to the car. After looking at numerous glues and paints that I had available, I decided to go a whole different direction. Lenora had recently re-glazed some of the windows in the house and was using a latex based glaze. I remember thinking how much the texture of the glaze reminded me of frozen snow. We had some left over, so I thought I’d give it a try. It was a bit dry to use right out of the tube, but I thinned it a little with water and it brushed on the car exactly how I wanted it to. I kept building up layers until I was satisfied with the look. Once it’s dry, I may add a little more once I address the wheels. Won’t be long and it’ll be time to mount the tree.

Mabel Gets A New Battery

New Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelNew Battery For MabelI noticed a few months ago that if Mabel sat for a week or so without being started, the starter struggled a bit to turn the motor. I installed a hard start relay to see if this made any difference. The battery I was using was a Autocraft Silver 42-1 which is perfect for these cars, it has the protective cap over the positive terminal to keep from accidentally grounding out the battery if somebody is sitting in the back seat. Anyhow, I’d throw the charger on the battery for an hour or so and it’d be fine for a couple of weeks, then after she sat for a few days, I’d have the same issue. Voltage out of the battery without the car running was 10.8 volts, that’s low. Should be around 12.6. With the car running, I was getting right at 14 volts, so I knew the generator was working properly. That battery just wasn’t holding a charge like it should. I also tested for parasitic battery drain and everything checked out ok. The battery is almost 5 years old, time for a new one. This time, I decided to go with a Interstate MT-47. It got good reviews even though it cost a bit more compared to other batteries. It doesn’t have the protective cap over the positive terminal, but the case is built to prevent any accidental grounding. For added protection, you can always throw a piece of rubber, such as an old floor mat, over top of the battery as well. [Read more…]

Christmas Vacation Custom Wagon Continues

Christmas Vacation Custom Hot WheelsClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonClark Griswold Custom WagonA couple of weeks ago I started this project by trying to find a good donor car since Hot Wheels does not make a 1989 Taurus station wagon. Finding something close, then finding something that’s close and available makes this task difficult. I figured that most of the detail would be in the paint and of course the massive tree attached to the top of the car, so I went with something the I could work with and something that was readily available, a Hot Wheels ’70 Chevelle station wagon. Of course a 1970 Chevelle station wagon looks nothing like a 1989 Taurus wagon, but the station wagon in the movie wasn’t stock either. The Taurus wagon never came with faux wood on it. So, for the purists out there, tough! I’d do my best to make them look close. This starts by removing the hood pins and changing the head light configuration to make it look more like the Taurus. A little filing and sanding on the hood pins, some JB Weld to cover the Chevelle head lights, more sanding, then it’s first coat of primer. I’m still kicking around ideas for this, so this won’t be a quick project. As many times as I’ve watched Christmas Vacation, I would’ve sworn that the color of the wagon was light metallic green, not to be confused with the Truckster in the previous Vacation movies. [Read more…]

New Die Cast and Pops

Die Cast and Pop CultureDie Cast and Pop CultureDie Cast and Pop CultureDie Cast and Pop CultureDie Cast and Pop CultureDie Cast and Pop CultureDie Cast and Pop CultureMy family knows all of my vices. Over the past few months, they’ve flooded me with some of my favorite pop culture goodies. As most of you know, we’ve collected die cast cars for many, many years. Mostly Hot Wheels and mostly VW die cast, but if we see anything else that we like, we’ll try to get it. A couple of years ago, I started collecting Funko Pops. Not all of them of course, but just the ones that I really like. Luckily my kids share a similar taste in pop culture. I’m very easy to shop for. 🙂

Hot Wheels Dodge Challenger SRT Custom Complete

2018 Hot Wheels Challenger Custom2018 Hot Wheels Challenger Custom2018 Hot Wheels Challenger Custom2018 Hot Wheels Challenger Custom2018 Hot Wheels Challenger CustomI finished the 1:64 scale Hot Wheels Custom Challenger this afternoon. I wanted it to mimic our 2018 Challenger Scat Pack. I think I got pretty close. I’m no paint expert, but I’m satisfied. The water slide decals really made the similarity stand out. If I had a better ink jet printer, the decals would’ve turned out much better. This was the first time I used the water slide decals, next time, I think I’ll try to use the water slide decals for a laser jet printer. I may revisit this custom again in the future and give it another try, but I like this one and it was a change from the regular VW customs that I do.

Swamp Cooler CompletedRuby Has Been UpgradedRuby Has Been UpgradedRuby Has Been Upgraded

Water Slide Decals and Paint

Ruby Has Been Upgraded20181017_19323920181017_193323Water Slide Decals and Paint20181018_21081120181017_19360420181018_21065320181018_210707Spent some time this evening working on the Hot Wheels 1:64 Challenger that will eventually match our 1:1 scale Challenger SRT Scat Pack. Started on some of the details such as headlights, running lights and tail lights. I still need to pick up some testors red paint to finish the touch up and the tail lights. I also got the Testors water slide decal paper and sealer that I ordered. I mocked up the graphics in PhotoShop, scaled them, then printed them on my ink jet printer. This particular paper will only work on a ink jet, but I think they make the decal paper for laser jet as while. This stuff is not cheap. Nine 8.5×5.5 sheets run around 15 dollars. After the decals are printed, they need to dry over night, then 3 light coats of decal sealant. The sealant runs around 5 dollars. I ordered my supplies through Amazon, but most hobby stores will have these in stock as well. After everything is completed, the paint detail is cleaned up, I’ll give it a good polishing with the dremel, polishing compound and wax. Last step will be to apply the water slide decals.

Installing A Hard Start Relay

Hard Start RelayHard Start RelayHard Start RelayHard Start RelayHard Start RelayHard Start RelayHard Start RelayHard Start RelayThere are numerous reasons why you may want to install a hard start relay on your vintage VW. A hard start relay basically directs the electrical current from the battery, through the relay and to the starter motor instead of routing it through the ignition switch. This eliminates a path of approximately 15′ of wiring and potentially bad connections. Once installed, your ignition key simply activates the relay. You can pick up a 4 post, 12v relay at most automotive stores, Ebay or Amazon for around 5 dollars. I already had some 12 gauge wiring and terminals, so I only have about 5 dollars and 30 minutes invested in to this project. You can buy ready made kits, but they can be pretty expensive, up to 35 dollars. Mabel wasn’t exhibiting any syntoms that would justify the install of the hard start relay, but not knowing what the future may hold, I thought I’d go ahead and install one. You don’t have to be a electrical genius to install the relay, but it does help to have the right tools. It doesn’t require any cutting or splicing of the original wiring. Wiring will vary from year to year, so depending on the age of your VW, your install may differ just a bit, but for the most part, it’ll be the same. If you look at the first pic, you’ll see that I’ve labeled what connector goes where on the relay. Start by disconnecting the battery. Locate the wire that goes from the ignition switch to the starter solenoid. Unless your VW has had previous wiring changes, more than likely, it’ll be a larger red wire with a quick disconnect. This wire will go to pin 87 on the relay. Make up a jumper that will go from pin 85 to the ignition switch (quick disconnect). Next, you need to make up a ground wire that will go from pin 86 on the relay to ground. I grounded mine where I mounted it to the floor pan support. Now you’ll need to make up a cable that’ll go from the positive post on the battery to pin 30 on the relay. You can also run this from the B+ post on the voltage regulator if you don’t want to run it to the battery. Lastly, you’ll need to mount the relay. You can mount it just about anywhere that will ensure a good ground. I chose the floor pan support. Don’t forget to connect your ground wire to the relay.