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Stumpy’s Station – “The Junkyard” Part Three

June 3rd, 2013 · No Comments

Okay, let’s makes junkers! Plastic cars are harder to find in 1/64 scale, but are easier to disassemble and mangle. For the most part, we have to use die cast cars. Cheapest are the cars from Big Box stores or Dollar stores, which are often clones of those “Hot Wheels” or other toy cars. I try to avoid mangling the better 1/64 scale cars that are very nice and rather expensive, but occasionally that may be necessary.
The first thing you’ll want to do is play junkyard owner and strip your cars. Die cast cars are usually held together with “rivets” underneath. You can drill these out or grind them off with a Dremel tool. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and the car was assembled with screws! Take the car COMPLETELY apart, and set all the parts aside for later use. If the car has working hood or doors, remove them as well. We’ll be doing most work on the body shell and chassis.
In a real junkyard, you would find FAR more cars that have just died and been towed in, than cars that have been wrecked! We’ll start with the “dead” cars because you’ll do most of the same steps to wrecked cars too.
If the headlights and taillights are cast on, cut them off, leaving holes in the fenders. Remove any cast on bumpers. If you want to depict a car with the “front clip” missing, cut that away carefully, saving everything behind the line of the hood and fenders. If you want a door off, cut it away leaving as much of the body as possible. File all ragged edges.
Remember you want the body shell to LOOK like someone unbolted these parts! The removed parts can be kept for a scrap metal pile. Sometimes you can buy toy cars so cheap that you can buy two the same, cut them apart differently, and have hood, fenders, and doors leaning against the body in the yard. The parts you ruined in cutting them off and the body shell you ruined cutting off the “removed parts” become odd wrecked bits for the scrap metal pile.
Another good trick is to cut doors and hoods off carefully, ruining the shell. Next use layers of aluminum foil bent around the part, trim it, and you have a duplicate foil body part! Handle carefully of course. This foil “body panel” can be bent to depict wreck damage and glued onto a ruined shell, or the panel can be lying nearby. Undamaged body panels could be leaning against the wall of the garage or shed.
Most die cast cars cheap enough to mutilate don’t have an engine, but some do. If you cut away a “front clip” you can use an engine sitting there on the chassis. Just paint the engine black as if coated with oil and grime. Use a piece of paper or clothes dryer sheet painted a dull gray over the top of the engine as if it was a cover to keep rain from going into the motor. Otherwise, there can be a group of engines lined up and similarly protected by a cover beside the garage building or inside but visible to onlookers.
Most of the time you won’t need the interior of the die cast car, and some don’t even have one. Most real junkers might have a dashboard still in them, but seats are generally gone or rotten. You might have a few “later model” cars with the front seat inside just for variety. Interiors were most often a lighter or darker color than the paint job, or were black or gray.
You’ll want to “wreck” some cars too! Most people get out a propane torch and have at it. But it’s very easy to go too far with many of the cheaper die cast toys. Just what kind of crash turns a car into a blob?
To get an idea what cars really look like, start watching TV and taking notes, or better yet, hunt down old crash pictures on the Internet. Most wrecks are frontal impacts with trees, walls, or other vehicles, or roll over accidents. In the old days, Rescue crews didn’t cut roofs off, they pried or cut doors open, so you won’t want any roofless cars in your “old” yard.
Use a small torch carefully to soften the metal just enough to bend the metal with pliers. However, if you don’t want to use or don’t have a torch, “cold bending” is very effective too. The idea here is to work slowly using little force. I have done a bit of bending, then let the car sit for an hour to let the metal somewhat “stabilize,” then bend it a bit more. I repeat until the bend is enough, or the part becomes over stressed and breaks.
Breaking off a part is not the end of the line as you can glue it back on, in the “crash” position, and round the edges with a file and body putty to make it look bent.
More “wrecking” next time!

Stumpy Stone

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