Finding Nemo … in a Kool Kombi
This is the story of my Hot Wheels Kool Kombi Finding Nemo Custom creation – the build where Nemo was easy to find but time on the other hand was not.
Here’s the story of Building Nemo – a story that includes a guide on how to work with two-part epoxy putty – a guide that I originally thought was quite detailed but after doing some homework and reaching out to a few talented customisers I started compiling a guide on working with epoxy putty that makes the below video guide look like it was put together by 3 year old chimpanzees…using crayons…that are blunt….and intoxicated (the crayons AND the chimps that is)
Needless to say the focus of this article is no longer on the using of the putty but of the building of the fish – the one they affectionately call Nemo (copyright, patent pending – would Pixar lawyers please direct their enquiries elsewhere, aka “just keep swimming”)
*EDIT – I have since decided that the part of this article that covers epoxy should be moved to the next article so that all information on using epoxy putty is contained in one epic guide. So you’re just getting the fish now…. and chips if I’m feeling generous. (chicken salt?)
Putty Schmutty – Let’s Make a Custom!
It started like it usually does, with me staring at a Kool Kombi whilst eating/doing shit that’s bad for me. In this case it was some Pez and as I stared at the Nemo top I could not help but think….oh who am I kidding, that’s a blatant lie because Pez candy tastes like absolute shit IMHO and I would not eat it if you paid me. I would however buy it because as we soon realise when we turn from collectors to customisers, everything’s a part! In fact here’s a meme I prepared earlier …
So if I’m completely honest, what happened was I saw the Pez dispensers in the store and instantly thought how perfect the head of Nemo would slot inside the end of a Kool Kombi – of course this wasn’t my first Pez rodeo, I had already successfully used the head of a storm trooper to make my Star Wars themed VW Cargo/Troop Carrier – which you can find here is you think the force is strong with you
Enough floundering about Alex, let’s go fishing!
Part Hot Wheels Part Pez Dispenser. All Nemo
It all started with one of these …. (the Pez dispenser to the left, not the row of full stops. Ijit!)
I then got one of these…oh wait, you all know what a Kool Kombi looks like – so yeah then I cut out the front of the kombi (using my jewellers hacksaw) and used a knife to cut the head and a file to make it fit into the gap left by my Jewellers hacksaw.
The result was what you see below and as I prepared to make a video guide showing how to work with Milliput brand epoxy putty (my brand of choice) I captured the moment for your reference (and quite beautifully I might add)
That brings me to the first step in working with putty…oh wait, this isn’t the place for that guide now is it?! DOH! – meh whatever, your first step is to file the edges of both sections you are working with and ensuring the existing join is as clean as can possibly be without using the putty to smooth it over. I then take the tiniest drop of superglue and run it around the edges of one section (not both or there is too much glue) and I literally only put the tiniest amount on – just enough to hold the two parts together temporarily – because the epoxy putty is what will do the bulk of the holding – so the glue is purely superficial in this instance.
Want to know what to do next? You’ll have to wait until the end and then follow the link to the next article 😀
Once I am happy with the join I begin the process of adding the 2-part epoxy putty. I prefer to use Milliput but we’ll discuss brands and variances in the upcoming guide.
Start by mixing the 2-part putty together (as instructed on packet) until you are happy with consistency and then shove a huge lump over the area you want the join to be.
The best advice I can give here is to use too much! You can always sand back a lump but you can never add more to a hollow or indent in your join.
I use a combination of 100 – 1200 grit sandpaper. I start with the 200 (very coarse) and work my way down to the 1200 wet&dry sandpaper for that smooth finish.
In the Finding Nemo example here I only used sandpaper but if you were using the putty to make a widebody kit (which is probably the case) then you would also use a few different files to help create hard edges and smooth curves.
But more on that in the upcoming guide. Actually lot’s more on that 🙂
Joins like the fin on the roof can be fiddly and hard to do but again just remember to put too much putty on the join as you can always sand/file it back – and it sands fairly easily
Once you are happy with the join it’s time to prime it. This is also a great step in making sure your join is perfect because while it might look great in the initial join, only once the colour is uniform and light over the whole thing do you notice all the tiny pock marks and imperfections where the join is. You can then sand back the imperfections (and primer) and either add more epoxy putty or sand back the join – whatever is required. And yes you can putty over painted areas no worries
Time to paint and detail 🙂 – Nothing beats Good quality Tamiya paints and fine paint brushes.
Now he’s starting to look like Nemo! Before he just looked like some creepy Zombie fish LOL
I decided that instead of a smaller ‘lucky’ fin I would give Nemo a ‘lucky’ wheel instead. I was using the orange tyres from the Ghostrider Dodge Charger but sadly these tyres were too large to fit on the super small wheel that I had taken off of a Fiat 500 (premium line Gulf version). I tried painting the standard black tyre but because I was using the same acrylic paint that I use to paint metal and wood it did not work at all – in fact I just ended up making a big sticky orange mess everywhere (mind out of the gutter people!) and wondering what I was doing with my life!?!?
I decided the only fix here was to make a wheel out of epoxy putty and so I took some excess milliput and made it into a skinny worm shape and then wrapped it around the wheel. I then dipped my finger in water and used the wet to smooth the wheel and kept turning it in my hand until the ‘tyre’ was even and consistent all the way around. Once dry I then painted it orange and hey, Bob’s your uncle…or Robert, whatever he prefers.
And then I found Him!
Finding Nemo in 1:64 Scale – A My Custom Hotwheels Creation
Of course no creation like this would be complete with a tank, I mean display case!
I’ll include the guide on using epoxy putty below but note that this guide and all instructions will be available in full by visiting this article HERE