By David Roots
Editor: David recently posted an introduction to his range, The Essence of the Car, on our Facebook page. Interested in this different approach to capturing the visual character of cars we suggested that he introduce his series in more detail here on the website. The article and all photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.
The Essence of the Car is a different concept in the presentation of scale model vehicles. Instead of the high level of detail usually found in the die cast ranges, these models present the vehicles in their basic form. All are made to the standard collector’s scale of 1:43 and each model carries a serial number and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
The idea started because I wanted a model of a special (full size) supercar that I was working on. Having gathered together models of comparable supercars, it became apparent that the scale of my model needed to conform to that of the models of comparative subjects. It quickly became apparent that to try to achieve die cast levels of detail within the limitations of domestic model making would be too time consuming. Therefore the idea of capturing just the raw shape of the car was born.
As the body started to take shape, the wheels were the next problem. Proprietary wheels would not fit with the simplistic approach of the body. So, the wheels and tyres had to follow the same approach. The wheels and tyres should be made as separate parts, the wheel centres being simplified to the swept shape of the wheel while the tyres were reduced to simple rings of an appropriate section.
The Essence Of The Car is basically a hobby. All of the master models are made in house by hand. When those are complete, the necessary moulds are made, again in house, and duplicate copies can be made. All of the models are then finished by hand. A typical mould is an open block into which the resin moulding compound is poured.
Whilst the process has its limitations, it is being continually developed to widen the scope of subjects that can be modelled. Examples developed earlier included thin sections such as tail fins, open pickup truck bodies and separate chassis and axle detail where these are an important part of ‘The Essence Of The Car’. More recent developments have been the inclusion of separate cycle type mudguards made as part of the tyre and the manufacture of full sweep mudguards and running boards which involves laying up fibreglass tissue into a mould. I have now developed a method of producing the basic interior of open top cars and have also developed the system of using wire armatures for slender elements of the cars.
From that modest beginning, I now have a range of 87 models, the latest being Volvo P1900, MG EX127, MG EX135 and Lotus Esprit Turbo. The number of new subjects per year depends on ideas for new ones, but currently, there are more subjects in the pipeline even though most models only get to 2 or 3 off, but I have fun doing them and it is mainly a hobby after all. My range caters for individual one off buyers, private collections and specialist collecting groups. In addition, because of the simplicity of the process, I am able to accept private commissions. I find subjects in various ways. Via the internet, in books and periodicals. When I discover a likely subject, I first try to match it with any of my current client base. I have been known to float the idea on the appropriate Facebook pages. Another way forward is to complete the master and photograph it mocked up with its wheels etc. And offer it that way. I also accept the occasional commission. Classic car clubs tend not to be interested. I do have a quite extensive range of experimental cars.
A recent model, MG EX135, came about because of an e-mail with a client who is interested in such cars. Research for this also found me one of the next models, also an MG.
The main challenge is trying to find suitable 3 View drawings. When this proves to be fruitless, I then have to work with a combination of a good side view photograph, a set of principal dimensions and more photographs taken from as many angles as I can find. The shapes of older cars are not usually a great challenge compared to more modern ones.
The big question is, how long does it take to create the master model. It can take relatively few hours spread over varying time periods. I have never made a record of how long it takes to make the master model. Once I have the mould, the copies can be cast in a few hours with the finishing taking a few hours spread over, sometimes, several days
A recent development has been my collaboration with the German publisher of a yearbook devoted to 1/43 scale vehicles. My models have featured in two editions, the first which was 2016/2017 and the latest 2017/2018. It is titled: Modellauto-Jahrbuch (ModelCar-Yearbook) published by TIM Verlag (www.tim-verlag.de)
Pictures of some models from the range are shown below.
Apollo Race Car
Saab Formula Junior
Voisin Aerosport v2
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