Today I will be … sitting back and enjoying this awesome How To Guide with you while a creative and talented Hot Wheels Customizer and close (IG) friend of mine shares his tricks of the trade.
Introducing Gram Spina aka @hwc_hwcrazy
The first thing you should know about Gram is he is 14. 14!! Certainly makes me feel old at 37 (38 in a week) but what amazes me is how much talent this kid has already. Seems the sky really is the limit with young Master Spina. The second thing is that Gram loves his Big Red Camaro. Apparently it’s not Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Camaro though. No, just @BigRedCamaro. Sorry Wiggles – you can go now.
I’ve been following Gram (@hwc_hwcrazy) for some time now and have watched his craftsmanship and overall customizing skills come in leaps and bounds, but what stood out for me was his diorama and the slow build up of it over time to a point where it was, well epic is the only way to describe it. The Junk yard with a tree growing out of the bonnet stole the show however and after commenting as such and hinting at maybe sharing the process Gram kindly agreed. The rest as they say is history because here we are…. and I shall hand the mike over to Gram
Before we jump into this most epic of guides I would like to kindly ask you to click Gram’s Instagram handle just here –>@hwc_hwcrazy <– and follow this talented kid. The link will open in a new window so go follow him and then come back. It’s OK – we’ll wait.
How To Make a Hot Wheels Junk Yard Diorama
Tending to Your (Junk) Yard
Today I will be teaching you guys and gals how to make your 1/64 scale junkyard diorama on point to resemble a real 1/1 scale junkyard. There are many tricks you can use to make your junkyard accurate to real life.
One thing I love doing is buying some old Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars that look like they belong in a junkyard. I often find these old, beat up and well worn cars at swap meets and garage sales. Look for vendors selling loose cars in bins — you will be amazed at the treasures within. Also for the customizers in us, there are more creative ways you can make your junkyard stand out from the rest of them. One thing I LOVE doing is creating a rusting effect. There are so many ways to rust a 1/64 scale car. One of my tried and true ways, is to use Testers hand paint. They actually have a color called rust that is perfect for this!
I buy my paint at a craft store called A.C. Moore and I can’t be more pleased with this paint and the way it changes a car from new to old. Keep in mind that you can use any rusting techniques for your junkyard. Alex has an awesome series of videos showing you in detail how to rust Hot Wheels Cars btw 😉
Mother Nature Can Be a Cruel Mistress
We’ve all seen it: trees growing through classic muscle cars. Any good junkyard needs evidence that it’s been around for decades, and this is just one way to show how Mother Nature can take over an abandoned space.
Here is my step by step tutorial on how to create this effect:
- First find a car that has a ram air intake or something similar that is a part of the interior molding.
*If you prefer to simply cut a hole out of an existing casting then follow this guide here –> How To Precisely Cut Hot Wheels Castings
- Next, find a tree that is within scale where the base part can come off from the rest of the tree. You may have luck finding a tree at a local hobby shop or in an online store.
*Trees purchased on eBay come in bulk packs of 20+ and have no bases. They are cheap (around $1 a tree) and your best option IMHO
- Here, I am using a ’71 dodge Challenger. As you can see with the tree, the base is separate. You also probably noticed that the Dodge looks sanded. And that’s because it is! I sand my junkyard cars just to make them look aged. I use common sandpaper to do this. Any grade of sandpaper will work.
To get the tree into the car hood, I used a wire cutter to remove the interior ram air intake and part of the front wheel base components. Always wear safety goggles when working with wire cutters. Then it’s as simple as inserting the tree trunk and reattaching the base on the bottom.
OK now let’s get down to the rusty business of painting the car…
In this example, the first thing I did was to paint the entire car with Testors rust colored paint. This paint dries pretty fast, at least in my mind. To make it more interesting and realistic, I then painted the hood yellow (also using Testors hand paint) to create contrast and to make it look more like a junkyard car.
The amount of paint used is all up to you. I basically covered the entire car in rust for this example, but you can experiment to get other effects.
For example, different size and texture brushes will create unique strokes. You can use a brush to smooth the rust over the body of the car, or a small piece of sponge or a clean cloth to dab the rust in areas. You can also streak the paint in long lines that look like cracks in the body.
Now your newly rusted car with a tree growing out of its hood needs a place to ‘rust in peace’ and so we need to turn our attention to the little things. To build a scene similar to what I have here, it’s all about the details! For example, as you have probably noticed in my Instagram photos, my “grass” looks very realistic, as if there are weeds mixed in with a lawn that’s never been mown.
*Alex definitely agrees that it looks like “grass” – I’m just not sure we are on the same page regarding the type of grass it looks like 😉
But where does one acquire this “grass”?
And How Chronic Is It? And What Is It Anyway?
Quick Tip – Where To Purchase Your Diorama Scenery Needs
I use planting moss — again, you can find this at a craft store like A.C. Moore or Michael’s, or online.
FYI – this is the kind of moss gardeners use to line pots for planting and it comes in sheets (mine are round) and is sold with 2-3 sheets per package. You can also find bushes, trees and other shrubs in scale at the hobby store. A good tip is to look where they sell items for model train set-ups.
*Excellent advice Gram – and your best option is to search OO scale (1:76) although you’ll find A LOT more choice if you also search within HO (1:87 scale) model train scenery categories when shopping online or searching through the local hobby store
I Spy With My Little Eye….
Now that I have given you a few new tips and tricks to try, here is an ariel view of my current diorama. I spy with my little eye something that is a chase… Can you find it?
How freakin’ amazaballs is this Diorama Table! Holy Cow
Now that Gram has kindly shared some of the processes involved to create a Hot Wheels Junkyard Diorama let’s take a stroll through the table diorama and enjoy a diecast world in 1:64 scale….
Hot Wheels Junkyard & Diorama Table by @HWC_HWCrazy
Thanks again for sharing your amazing diorama and custom work with us and divulging some of your secrets Gram! You are welcome back to MyCustomHotWheels.com anytime my young Padawan 😀
that’s actually pretty amazing, I’m 14 as well and just getting started on my diorama!
Where do you get your buildings?
I SEEN A TRICYCLE ON TOP OF ONE OF THE CARS, WHERE CAN I GET ONE FROM?
THESE ARE REALY COOL.
That Trike was custom made! IKR – insane