Shining the Light on Extraordinary Talent in the 1/64 Custom Diecast Community…
It’s that time again – a collective favourite of everyone in the MCH community when we get to shine the spotlight on one exceptional customizer in our ever growing 1:64 world. And today it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you a man who, well a man who probably doesn’t need an introduction since he is an active player on Facebook and Instagram. I am talking of course about Mr Marcus Sansone, aka @Toxic_Kustomz, a customizer who (and I’m paraphrasing Biggie here) if you don’t know, now you know.
I am especially excited about today’s edition because not only has Marcus shared a plethora of his amazing creations with us, he has also been so kind as to share the build pics AND the incredible stories/reasons behind each creation, taking us step by step through each build and giving us somewhat of an insight into the method behind his
madness genius… meh, I was right the first time :p
Let’s get to know our Toxic customising friend a
little lot more and then drool over his amazing 1:64 scale creations…
The Customiser Spotlight Featuring @Toxic_Kustomz
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself so I may introduce your properly?
My name is Marcus Sansone, but friends call me Marc. I’m going to warn you now … a former co-worker of mine Carol has accused me of not being able to tell a story in 10K words or less. But I promise to give it a try …
2. How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels & diecast cars?
I started customizing Hot Wheels in the summer of 2016 with basic wheel swaps and rattle-can paint jobs.
3. How or what got you interested in Hot Wheels in the 1st place?
My Mom & Dad bought them for my brother & I when we were kids, and we played with them all the time. I kept a small box of them from my childhood and have since passed them on to my son. I remember the 1st HW car I bought my son – it was the 4×4 version of the Oldsmobile 442 when he was about 8 months old & he loved it. I started buying them for him and that got ME back into collecting them again – and you can only imagine how HAPPY that has made my wife LOL
4. And how long before you turned from collector to customizer?
It was about 10 years from when I started collecting again in 2006 until I started customizing in the summer of 2016.
Here’s the story of how my customizing journey began – I was out hunting in the fall of 2015 and met a guy by the name of Dave Tanthorey – he asked if I was a collector and I told him yes. He told me about Charm City Collector’s Club (C4), a local diecast collectors group based in Baltimore, Maryland. He told me to check out their Facebook page & consider stopping by one of their meetings. I joined the C4 FB group, and my son & I attended our 1st meeting in late 2015 or early 2016. I had seen custom Hot Wheels on their FB page, but never saw any in person until the 1st meeting we attended. A guy by the name of Wayne Heede had a table with wheel-swapped & painted customs for sale. My son saw a few that he wanted, so I bought them for him. He later told me he thought I could do it and for me to give it a try. I toyed with the idea for a few months and I started doing wheel swaps & rattle-can paint jobs in the summer of 2016.
I recently purchased a 3D printer and hope to have it up and running very soon. This will help me create specific parts that I want or need that no one else does. And I also see an airbrush purchase on the horizon.
5. How old are you and what’s your family status – married? Kids? Serial killer on the run?
I am 52 yrs YOUNG and am married to my beautiful wife Jennifer. I have a 20 yr-old daughter Meagan, and my son Anthony will be 14 in September. I’m not a serial killer, but I AM of Italian descent. With that being said, I ‘may’ or ‘may not’ have ties to the Mafia. The old saying goes – “If I tell you, I’d hafta kill you”. And since I like you, I will save myself a trip Down Under LOL
6. Where in the world do you call home?
We live in the small town of Easton, which is located on the eastern shore of Maryland in the USA.
7. What is your favorite casting from Hot Wheels?
My wife & I both own fox body Mustangs, and a ’66 Chevy II so I am partial to the ’92 Mustang & the ’66 Chevy Nova castings.
8. What sort of customs do you like doing the most?
I love doing hot rods & rat rods. I have a couple of friends (brothers Kenny & Bruce Woolford) who I met back in 1987 who started building cars out of their father’s garage while they were in high school. Once they got out & got their business established, I would work at their shop over the years whenever I could get there. I saw everything you could imagine go through their shop, and I try to incorporate my experiences working in their shop to my customs.
9. Do you have a favorite?
My all-time favorite custom is the Midnite Otto Rat Rod.
Why? The rat rod was my first FULL custom. I took my time & really enjoyed the build. I posted a pic of the finished rat rod in the Facebook group HOT WHEELS CLUB..””Customs”” on July 2, 2017. This build put me on the Facebook customizing map.
10. Where & how can people see more of your work?
You can find me on Instagram @toxic_kustomz and on Pinterest at Marc Sansone – Custom Hot Wheels. I also belong to and post my work in about 15 different Facebook custom Hot Wheels groups, including My Custom Hotwheels.
In my ‘free’ time I’ve been working on creating a Facebook page called Kustom 1/64 Diecast, and I hope to have it up and running in the very near future.
In no particular order, I give you some of my ‘kustomz’ …
1. Quick D-livery – “No Zombies” diorama
I built this for a C4 custom contest in October or November of 2016. I decided it was time to get away from the cookie-cutter wheel swaps & one-color paint jobs. I used the top machine gun (yes, it swivels) from The Penguin fantasy car from one of the Batman Series a couple of years ago. I cut 6d finishing nails down and glued them all around the truck. I used nylon window screen as the chain-link fencing material over the windows & windshield. I added bloody scratches to the sides & back of the truck, and my wife printed all the decals used. I finished it with a couple of coats of matte clear. I ordered some plastic zombies from Reaper Miniatures, put the diorama together, and the pictures tell the rest of the story. I built my first ‘true’ custom & entered “No Zombies” in the contest and took first place. After that, I never looked back.
My wife asked what I wanted for my 50th birthday, so I told her 3 tickets and a weekend trip to the 2017 Hot Wheels Collectors National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So, my wife, son, & I made the 5½ hour drive to the convention that happened to be held the weekend of my birthday. I heard there was a custom contest held at the convention, so I decided to bring a few to enter. We sat in the conference room to hear the results of the contest and were floored when my “No Zombies” took 1st place in the adult diorama category. This custom gave me national recognition and as one could imagine, that was one helluva rush!
2. Midnite Otto Rat Rod
This was my first FULL custom. I took my time & really enjoyed this build. The only thing I used from the original casting was the body. I built the custom frame rails & cross-braces from styrene & scavenged the wheels & tires from an M2 casting. I found an Altered Ego & stripped the engine to the bare block. I really liked WelderUp!’s D Rod, so I decided to build a turbo-diesel engine. I scavenged the turbo from a HW Mitsubishi Eclipse, I used the wheels from a HW Bread Box as fan belt pulleys, & I used small computer parts for different engine accessories. I installed upper & lower radiator hoses and fabricated & installed exhaust made from aluminum tubing. I also added a seat from a ’32 Ford and a custom shifter to the interior. I stripped the body, primed it, and gave it a basecoat of flat dark red Rustoleum spray paint. I brushed rust effects on the body & chassis with various shades of watered-down brown Citadel acrylic paints. I posted a pic of the finished rat rod in the Facebook group HOT WHEELS CLUB..””Customs”” on July 2, 2017. The rat rod put me on the customizing map.
3. Polished Custom ’62 Chevy Pickup
This is another custom I built based on a real truck called ‘Franken Rod’ built by WelderUp! on an episode of Vegas Rat Rods. I stripped & polished the body, and used a turbo from a HW Mitsubishi Eclipse, and installed the bed-mounted fuel tank from an unknown casting (I don’t remember). I bent and installed an interior roll bar made from aluminum tubing, cut & installed the down bars from aluminum tubing, and made the exhaust stack from a piece of polished aluminum tubing.
4. Injected ’32 Ford Rat Rod
I built this custom on the stock HW chassis. I cut the metal intake over the stock engine off & filed the firewall smooth. I used an Altered Ego engine & stripped it down to the bare block. I added the intake & fuel injection from an M2 donor car, and the wheels from a Maisto donor car. I made & installed the magneto & plug wires, radiator struts & fuel lines between the injectors, and added a shifter to the interior. I also fabricated & installed exhaust I made from aluminum tubing. I can’t tell you how much tubing I went through to make it! I primed the body & sprayed on a base coat of flat white. I brushed on swatches of green & red here and there and gave it custom, brushed on rust effects using watered down brown paints from Citadel, and several different Vallejo washes. I finished it up with a coat of matte clear.
5. Blown & Injected ’32 Ford Hot Rod
I built this custom by cutting the stock chassis off at the firewall, installing stretched styrene frame rails, and re-installing the stock front end to utilize the stock ride height. I wanted the engine to be the focal point of this build. I used an Altered Ego engine and stripped it down to the bare block. I added the blower & fuel injection from an M2 donor car, and the chrome 5-spoke wheels from a HW Pop Culture ’64 GMC Panel. I fabricated & installed pulleys & a fan belt, a magneto & plug wires, cam-driven fuel pump & fuel system plumbing, radiator struts, throttle cable and added a shifter to the interior. I also fabricated & installed exhaust I made from aluminum tubing. I can’t tell you how much tubing I went through to make it, so be sure you have plenty! I painted the blower silver metallic & washed it with Citadel’s Nuln Oil to give it that ‘dirty’ look. I stripped the body, primed it, and then gave it a 2-tone paint scheme with Testors rattle can Diamond Dust Metallic and Fiery Orange Metallic. I finished it off with a couple of coats of gloss clear.
6. Blown & Carbureted ’32 Ford Hot Rod
I built this custom by cutting the stock chassis off at the firewall, installing stretched styrene frame rails, and re-installing the stock front end to utilize the stock ride height. I wanted the engine to be the focal point of this build. I used an Altered Ego engine and stripped it down to the bare block. I added the blower & carburetors from a HW TOONED Mustang, and the chrome 5-spoke wheels from a HW Pop Culture ’64 GMC Panel. I fabricated & installed pulleys & a fan belt, dual magnetos & plug wires, fuel system plumbing, radiator struts, added a shifter to the interior. I also fabricated & installed exhaust made from aluminum tubing. I can’t tell you how much tubing I went through to make it! I painted the blower silver metallic, washed it with Citadel’s Nuln Oil to give it that ‘dirty’ look, and brushed a couple of coats of Tamiya’s Clear Green on the velocity stacks. I stripped the body, primed it, and then gave it a 2-tone paint scheme with Testors rattle can Diamond Dust Metallic and Mystic Emerald Metallic. I finished it off with a couple of coats of gloss clear.
7. “Ben Dover Plumbing” Dairy Delivery
I built this custom for an Instagram roof rack custom contest hosted by none other than the great Seth “Pepper” Reyes, aka @mrsenctvt. The idea for this build came from a custom truck that frequents local car shows in my area. The main roof rack frame is made from heavy-duty, butterfly-style paper clips, and the rear, movable basket frame from smaller, standard paper clips. The roof rack decking was made of pieces cut from jumbo wood craft sticks. Each were sanded, stained, and finished with a coat of clear gloss. I used nylon window screen for the basket material, and I cut & used styrene tubing as PVC pipe. I went with an old school, 2-tone paint job, added some details, rust effects, and my wife provided all the decals used.
8. “Ol’ Rusty” – Custom ’62 Chevy Pickup Parts Truck
I built this custom pickup with ‘realistic’ rust effects in mind. I stripped the body, primed it, and shot it with a basecoat of flat, baby blue paint. I gave it a very fine dusting of flat white spray paint and brushed on rust effects with various shades of watered-down brown Citadel acrylic paint and Vallejo washes, added details, and finished it off with a couple coats of matte clear. I painted the wheels white, added some rust, and hit the outside edge with a red Sharpie. I weathered parts from various cars I had cut apart including a fender from a ’10 Pro Stock Camaro, a door from a ’67 C-10, a bumper from a ’66 Chevy Nova, and a real rider tire.
9. “Santa’s Hot Rod” – ’29 Ford Pickup
I built this Christmas custom for a silent auction sponsored by C4 for the Kennedy Krieger Institute charity fundraiser in December of 2017. I stripped the body, cut a hole in the hood for the carburetor, removed the front & rear bumpers, & removed the side running boards. I modified the metal base to accommodate the rear tracks and the front skis scavenged from a HW Big Chill. I gave it a 3-tone Christmas paint scheme and my wife provided all the decals used. I finished it off with a couple coats of gloss clear, a Christmas tree in the bed, some cotton balls for snow effects, and Santa Claus himself. I had to use 2 castings for this build because I cut too much off of one of the side running boards.
10. ’56 Flashsider Custom Car Hauler
I built this custom car hauler to carry a custom ’63 Chevy II convertible I had built a couple of weeks before. I used the cab, glass, interior, and front half of the chassis from the original casting for this build. I built the frame rails, cross-members, sides, and deck from styrene. I scavenged the wheels, tires, and rear end from a Greenlight ambulance. I stripped the cab, primed it, and gave it a coat of flat white spray paint. I added rust effects to the cab, body, and wheels with various shades of watered-down brown Citadel acrylic paints and Vallejo washes. I added details to the cab & engine, and finished it with a couple of coats of matte clear. This was another fun build utilizing lots of styrene.
11. “Bonnie & Clyde’s Last Ride” – ’32 Ford Delivery
This was a quick custom. I let my Italian imagination guide me on this one – ahhhhhh … the days of the ‘30s & ‘40s when the gangsters ran the town. Ahem … anyway … I stripped the body, primed it, and sprayed it and a set of wheels flat black. I used a small drill to add the ‘bullet holes’ and gave the body & wheels 2 coats of flat clear. I threw the real riders back on it and called it done.
12. Scratch-built Kustom Styrene Car Trailer
Buying Greenlight Hitch & Tow sets for the trailers was a little pricey, so I decided to build a car trailer of my own. The entire trailer was scratch-built from stryrene. The only pieces that aren’t styrene are the real riders, axle tubes, and the straight pin jack crank handle. This was the 1st custom I built mostly from styrene.
13. TOONED Volkswagen Beetle “Lady Bug”
This was a quick, fun custom I made at my wife’s request for one of her co-workers having the nickname “Lady Bug Lisa’’. I stripped & primed the body & gave it a gloss red & gloss black 2-tone paint scheme to mimic a ladybug. I detailed the engine, added black spots to the body, 5-spoke real riders, and finished it off with a pair of googly eyes.
14. Matchbox Jurassic World Gyrosphere diorama
This custom was me thinking outside the box. I disassembled the Gyrosphere and cut an opening that appeared to have been made by a dinosaur. I detailed the inside with blood spatters and ½ of a woman’s bloody body, and added scratches & blood to the outside of the sphere. I placed it on a large base I customized from Reaper Miniatures by adding scenic effects including earth, grass, stones, a human arm, blood, and a large dinosaur foot and called it done.
15. ’56 Flashsider Custom Flatbed Truck
This is 1 of 2 customs I built for a Halloween custom diorama contest in 2017. I used the cab, glass, interior, and front half of the chassis from the original casting for this build. I built the frame rails & cross-members from styrene, and I built the deck, side boards, and headache rack from balsa wood, and the gantry crane from aluminum tubing & jewelry chain. I scavenged the wheels & tires from an M2 donor truck and gave the wheels a coat of flat white spray paint and brushed on rust effects with various shades of watered-down brown Citadel acrylic paints and Vallejo washes. I stripped the cab, primed it, and gave it a coat of Testors rattle can Flaming Orange Metallic and a couple of coats of gloss clear. I ordered a couple of coffins from Reaper Miniatures, painted them and attached one of them to the chain on the crane.
16. Matchbox ’43 Jeep Willys
I built this custom for Matchbox’s matchboxcustomcontest2018 on Instagram. I got the idea for the build from Roadkill’s Jeep Rat Rod Death-Wish Trip episode. The only parts of the original casting I used were the body (minus the fenders & hood), the front grill, the rear spare tire, and the windshield. I built a custom stretched tube chassis and cross-braces from styrene and attached the body directly to it. I set the ride height lower than the original casting and added rear wheels from a Maisto donor car & front skinnies from an M2 donor car. I wanted to go a little crazy with the engine, so I used an Altered Ego engine and stripped it down to the bare block. I added the blower & carburetors from a HW TOONED Mustang, fabricated and added radiator struts, a cam-driven magneto, plug wires & coil, pulleys & blower belt, carburetor linkage, and fuel system plumbing. I also fabricated & installed the exhaust made from aluminum tubing (I wasted a quite a bit of tubing trying to get the bends right, so make sure you have plenty!). I painted the chassis flat black and brushed the body, grill, front tires, and rear spare tire with Tamiya Dark Green paint. I added rust effects with various shades of watered-down brown Citadel acrylic paints & Vallejo washes. I sprayed the body & chassis with 2 coats of matte clear, glued the body to the chassis, installed the wheels & tires, and installed the engine to finish it up.
17. Datsun 620 Drag Truck
I did a quick custom Gasser for a Facebook page and got called out by someone for doing ‘mediocre’ work. A 1 vs 1 build-off challenge was announced, so I decided to call the guy out. This was an “anything goes” build using the casting of your choice. I chose the Datsun 620 because the other builder customized JDM castings, and I figured I’d give him a go at his own game. And to some members’ dismay, I chose the ZAMAC casting. I decided on a lowered drag truck, so I built a custom, full-tube chassis, and added a funny car cage to the interior. I removed the tailgate and added hinges to the hood to allow it to move up & down. I drilled the fenders and made a set of bullhorns for the exhaust. I stripped the body, primed it, and sprayed it with Testors Diamond Dust Metallic paint. I painted the chassis with Createx Wicked Pearl Lime Green paint, installed the decals (provided by my wife), and gave everything a couple of coats of clear gloss. I installed a blown & injected engine, fabricated and installed a magneto & plug wires, fuel system plumbing, and a throttle cable. I also fabricated and installed dual batteries & battery cables, a fuel pump & fuel lines, and a fuel cell in the back. I installed the wheels & tires, the bullhorn exhaust, a parachute, and a set of wheelie bars to finish it off. Total build time was 11 days.
18. Midnite Otto Hot Rod
I built this custom for a Facebook build-off in March of 2019. I had a couple of Midnite Otto castings sitting on the bench, so I decided to do an upscale hot rod. The only thing I used from the original casting was the body. I built a custom tube frame, cross-braces, and front suspension from styrene. I scavenged the rear wheels & tires from a HW Haulin’ Gas and the front wheels & tires from a HW ’64 GMC Panel. I stripped the body and cut out the roof section. I actually cut outside of my marks, so I had to use another body (I always make sure I have at least 2 castings I’m working on in case something gets messed up beyond repair). I then cut 3 pieces of balsa wood to fit in the roof opening. I fabricated and installed a firewall to clean up where the engine met the body. I primed the body & shot it and the chassis with Testors Star Spangled Blue Metallic paint, added details and gave them a couple of coats of clear gloss. Since the Midnite Otto is cast without an interior, I fabricated my own. I used a precast engine with a transmission, so I had to fabricate the floor around it. I added a bench seat from a ’32 Ford and a custom shifter. In the back section of the car I added carpeting, a huge speaker under the rear window, 2 floor-mounted amplifiers behind the seat and all the wiring. I installed 3 rear custom windows made from HW 5-pack plastic and stained & installed the 3 pieces of balsa wood in the roof opening. I painted the 5-spokes & centers flat black & brushed on a couple of coats of Model Master matte clear. I cut, polished, & installed 2 pieces of aluminum tubing for the exhaust & tailpipes and fabricated & installed a canister fuel pump & plumbing. Since I used a precast engine, I fabricated & installed a cam-driven magneto & plug wires, fuel system plumbing, a throttle cable, and radiator hoses. I painted the injector flat black, and the blower silver metallic. I finished the blower with a wash of Citadel’s Nuln Oil to dirty it up a little and detailed the rest of the engine. I wanted to slam the car, so I raised the rear axle to the wheel opening and adjusted the custom front suspension to give it a sweet rake. I color-matched and added a radiator from a ’32 Ford and topped it off with a bronze radiator cap.
19. Lamborghini Countach Pace Car Drag Car
I built this custom for @chasillac_hotwheels’ Custom Countach Challenge 2018 on Instagram. Charlie is a Lambo freak, and we all used the same Countach Pace Car casting. I decided to go with a drag car themed build, so I lowered it and cut the hood opening for the intake. I stripped the body, grooved the rear deck for the wing struts, attached the struts to the wing from another HW Countach casting and epoxied the wing to the body. I primed it and shot it with a coat of Testors Flaming Orange Metallic Lacquer paint and 2 coats of gloss clear. I scavenged the tunnel ram & dual carbs from a HW ’41 Ford Pickup from the Ford Truck Series and detailed them & added a fuel block & fuel lines. I added a parachute, a set of real riders and custom wheelie bars to finish it off.
20. ’67 Jeepster Commando
This was a fun custom I built as a tribute to those who want to get away from the daily grind and hit the beach to do some surf fishing. I gave the stock white casting a shot of Krylon Stained Glass Cranberry Red spray paint and details, gave it a suspension lift, and planned to use the new wheels & tires from the Unimog in the HW Pop Culture X-Men Series. I ditched the motorcycle & tailgate and added custom rear bed supports and tailgate net, a roll bar and a front push bar. I fabricated a front-mounted basket made from aluminum tubing, added nylon screen to the bottom, and 4 fishing rod holders. I put nylon screen in the bottom of the roof rack and added a tackle box and beach ball. I gave the wheels a few coats of Tamiya’s Clear Red paint and permanently mounted them. I added a bait bucket made from styrene tubing, and 2 fishing rods to finish it off.
A few extras (as if you need or WANT anything else from me LOL)
First and foremost, I want to say thank you for this AWESOME opportunity to share my story and some of my customs with you and the customizing world, my friend. After my son (Anthony) told me I could customize HWs like Wayne Heede & Dave Baumgardner in C4, I went to Google and typed Custom Hot Wheels and the first customs that popped up were ones at mycustomhotwheels.com. This site became my go-to place for surfing through pics of custom HWs. I thought about how cool it would be to have some of my customs on your website or to be featured in the Customizer Spotlight. Well, fast forward 3 years and here I am I’m being interviewed by the one-and-only Alex Whalley himself!
A few things to remember about this hobby …
– As you know, customizing is a very fun, ever-evolving hobby. It’s also time consuming and can become VERY expensive
– Unfortunately, you must have thick skin and be able to take criticism. Some people are quick to pass judgement on others’ work. Don’t be “that guy”. Be courteous and treat others as you would want to be treated.
– The customizing community is a great group of people whom I consider family. There is a LOT of knowledge out there that most are more than willing to share – so don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer to answer someone else’s questions. Information sharing helps this hobby grow.
– Your custom builds are exactly that – they’re YOURS. They’re what YOU envisioned and how YOU built them.
– Always challenge yourself. Stepping out of your comfort zone helps you grow
– And most of all … HAVE FUN!
I would now like to take this moment to thank Marcus for taking his time to share and teach us so much in the process. Be sure to give @Toxic_Kustomz a follow to see more of his amazing work