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Redefining the Leading Edge:
Refocusing on Advanced Model Car Building
Techniques and Features

Do you remember when almost every issue of your favorite model car magazines carried cutting-edge, aspirational, how-to articles? Those articles that not only inspired better building, but also told – and showed – what those great builders had done? It's well established, if not frequently remembered, that the great early work by Shuklis, Hiscano, Johnson, the Yonts brothers, Dunn, Svitek, Gibilterra, Auffinger, Bryant, Carroll, Emmons, Jones, Estlow, Yamashita, Keeler, and Conti and Sans, and others, demonstrated to the general model car hobby what could be achieved in scale vehicle construction and sophistication – and how to do it.  These great builders, and those whom they influenced, demonstrated how much could be done to create more convincing miniature scale automobiles.

It seems to us (the Museum Trustees and staff) that commitment by the magazines to actively seek out and print cutting-edge articles are too infrequent these days. It is the viewpoint of the Museum that advances in model car technology, building systems and techniques are key to the future of our hobby, and it is one of the prime directives of the Museum is to encourage higher-caliber building and scale realism in our modeling efforts. 

We realized we have the ideal venues to bring back these types of articles and the enthusiasm they inspired: This newsletter and the Museum's soon-to-be established free, permanent online library of downloadable articles. As a result, the Museum will begin a new phase of its services to the hobby. In January, we'll present the first handful of many future articles written by some of the hobby's leading builders that will present how-to articles on high-end models. We'll lead off with an article by two-time GSL Best of Show (1992 and 2009) winner Randy Derr, who writes about his current project – a remarkable 1/12 scale sprint car that was on the display table at GSL-XXII (2009). Also, 2005 GSL Best of Show winner Dave Cummins will explain the scratchbuilding techniques he employed to build his phantom Bugatti concept cars. Tom Kirn, whose magnificent Duesenberg won GSL Best of Show in 2001, will also present some photos of his great work. Finally, I'll survey my Dream Truck2 project (that I've had underway since 1996), including a brief piece about cutting and installing real glass in this project, with regular installments after that. E of the articles we publish on line will be available as a free, downloadable PDF on the Museum site.

kirn dusie2

Tom Kirn built this utterly amazing large scale Duesenberg that earned him the Best of Show award at GSL-XVIII. Scratchbuilt entirely from brass, copper and other materials, this great work set a new standard in the hobby. We'll take a close look at this great work!


We'll be featuring a series of detailed how-to articles, authored by Randy Derr, on his 1/12-scale replica of McCluskey's 1966 USAC -winning sprint car. Randy has developed unique techniques for laser etching tire tread, resin casting, photoetching, resin-casting and other leading-edge features.


A retired stylist for Chrysler, Dave Cummins has a fascination with exotic European cars from the Thirties, particularly Bugattis. He's designed and constructed a series of large-scale speculative, faux-design Bugatti-themed models that have recast the landscape in our hobby. We'll take a close look at his work.


We'll also be covering my continuing redesign and updating of my long-standing DreamTruck2 project – underway since 1966! – by showing additional photoetched and machined parts, as well as the fabrication of door hinges, working door latches, and operating lights throughout. 


My DreamTruck2 is radically different from Murray's Truck. Here, single headlights punctuate each front fender, a deeply slopping hood reduces the bulk of the front clip, and the top isn't chopped (though the body is deeply channeled over a scratchbuilt frame).


The fins on the bed (integrated with the cab, like the '60 Ford) angle forward and a twin-panel bed folds upward to reveal a fully finished bed. Twin rocker panel-mounted exhaust pipes handle the gasses from a supercharged GMC 12 port.

By late January 2011, we'll start to send letters to leading builders in our hobby requesting articles that will be featured on the site, as well as posting a general invitation to all modelers for high-end articles on several hobby discussion boards. Ultimately, we might gather all of these articles and publish a "how-to" magazine containing these articles. 

We hope that you like this new section that will be dedicated to "high-end" building articles. We are convinced these are vital to the future of our hobby, and that we hope they will inspire and stimulate advances in scale building.

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