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Die Cast Diaries – Chapter 14 Starring Thomas Ward

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 14

Hello family, friends and followers,

Welcome to chapter 14 of my Die Cast Diaries!

It has been over a month since the last chapter dropped, but I have been supe busy with getting SRQ Diecast Custom Apparel a makeover and more content and products.  The website has a whole new look and feel and I am so happy with the way it looks and functions.  Please be sure to check out http://www.srqdiecastca.com and enjoy the new look.  Onto the important topic.....Chapter 14.

In this chapter, I will be introducing you to a customizer that I don't know or have any personal connections with.  He is a long time collector and customizer and he appreciates my affinity for the hobby.  He reached out to me for a chapter after reading and viewing a few on the website.  It was a pleasant surprise to hear from him and I was so excited to receive a follow from him on Instagram.  I am looking forward to learning more about him and his story along with you, my audience.  After viewing his Instagram page, I got a good look at his customizing skills and let me say that he deserves plenty of praise and admiration for his customs.  They are clean, good quality craftmanship and creative.  He has a great eye for paint, details and creates beautiful builds that any collector would be proud to own.  I have not had the privilege of buying any of his customs to add to my collection, but I hope that I get the chance in the near future.  With that, I would like to introduce you to this chapters star, Thomas Ward of Calibre50Customs.


Me: What is your name and where are you from?

Thomas:  My name is Thomas Ward.  I live in Popular Bluff, MO.

Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels?

Thomas:  I was about 5 when I started playing with Hot Wheels.

Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Thomas:  I started collecting them around the same age.

Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Thomas:  I started customizing in early 2018 on and off.

Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks?

Thomas:  I have always been interested in cars, wanted to get into all kinds of art classes so I could try paint and body work.  So, I thought if I could customize Hot Wheels maybe it would lead to doing it on a larger scale.

Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Thomas:  My dad is a great influence.  He would do the basic model kits and he was really good at it, and when I was really young I wanted to do everything that he did.

Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them?

Thomas:  I have some mechanical skills on cars.  I have went to many car shows when I was a kid and watched a lot of builders on tv.  I'm a pretty good artist.  I get an idea from them just popping in my head.  I can get pretty creative sometimes.

Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Thomas:  I have been working consistently on Hot Wheels for a little over a year and a half.  I do a little bit of everything, from hot rods, one off customs, junkyard builds(where I take prieces from many castings and make one).  I really like to try and challenge myself with each buld so I think my spcialty is doing one off customs.

Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there?

Thomas:  Honestly I don't know what makes my customs stand out.  I just try to do something different with each build.

Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs?

Thomas:  Customizing diecast cars is a full time hobby.  I am an Army combat veteran and suffer from PTSD and some others.  This hobby has helped me mentally, it keeps me focused and I get to be creative.  I had to find something for me to focus on instead of what was going on with me mentally.  Calibre 50 Customs is Instagram and my YouTube pages.  I even have a Facebook page, but I don't use it that often..

Me: How much success have you had selling your customs?

Thomas:  I really don't care about selling my customs, even though I have had a few people tell me I should, but each month I do a giveaway build for someone just because I like to do it.  I don't sell my customs to fund my projects.  I make enough money to not have to worry about it.

Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize?

Thomas:  I love to customize square body trucks.  I have made quite a few things out of them.

Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time?

Thomas:  My top 5 is definitely '68 - '70s Chargers, '67 - '69 Camaro, Humvees, motorcycles, and any square body truck.

Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs.  Also, I want to give you a big thank you for your service.  I appreciate your sacrifices to protect our nation and our freedom.

In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. These customs are incredible works of classic hot rod culture in 1:64 scale and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of Thomas Ward's builds.




















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Die Cast Diaries – Chapter 13 feat. Aaron Tadych of Diekast Kustomz

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 13

Hello family, friends and followers,

Welcome to the luckiest number chapter of my Die Cast Diaries, number 13!

It has been a long time since the last chapter was dropped, but I am starting the new year right and with a new look to the Die Cast Diaries logo.  Just one of my custom designs for my new custom apparel store that I have started to help expand the SRQ Die Cast brand.  I will make sure to bring you another year full of awesome stories from some of the world's best Hot Wheels customizers.

In this chapter, I will be introducing you to a customizer that is well respected in the customizing culture and hobby of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks.  This mans customs are clean, creative and cool.  He has a wide range of types of castings that he likes to customize.  Meaning, he doesn't have a niche or specialty in customizing.  He can do it all and does it all on any kind of casting.  Cars, vans, trucks, muscle cars, classic cars and gassers all get his special touch when it comes to customizing them.  He has a great eye for paint, details and creates beautiful builds that any collector would be proud to own.  I have not had the privilege of buying any of his customs to add to my collection, but I hope that I get the chance in the near future.  With that, I would like to introduce you to this chapters star, Aaron Tadych of Diekast Kustomz.


Me: What is your name and where are you from?

Aaron:  My name is Aaron Tadych.  I live in Fertile, Minnesota, way up north.

Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels?

Aaron:  I started playing with Hot wheels and Matchbox toys as far back as I can remember.  I hav 5 older brothers and one younger.  We didn't have a lot of money growing up so all of our toys were very well played with.

Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Aaron:  I've always had die cast cars around.  I started really collecting around 1996.

Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Aaron:  I started customizing in 1998.  

Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks?

Aaron:  My wife was pregnant and I needed an indoor hobby.  At that time I didn't realize it was an actual thing that people did.

Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Aaron:  I really didn't have anyone that inspeired me.  I was however one of the very first people that started the customizers forum on matterl's website.

Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them?

Aaron:  I do have a mechanical background.  I always have and will continue to work on vehicles myself.  I tend to have a photographic memory when it comes to anyhting automotive.

Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks?

Aaron:  I don't know that I have an actual specialty when it comes to my customs.  I've been doing it since 1998, so I tend to take things for granted that I shouldn't.  I suppose I am best known for what I call "hack jobs".  Using parts and pieces from multiple casts to create something truly one of a kind.  Also, I'm told that my bodywork skills are pretty good.

Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there?

Aaron:  A lot of my work stands out mainly because most people don't have a clue what they are looking at!  I can usually put something together that looks like it came that way.  Making something truly custom with a good amount of bodywork and having people not be able to tell what has been done is challenging!

Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs?

Aaron:  Custom die cast is just a hobby for me.  I hadn't used the internet since around 2000.  My wife talked me into FB about 2 years ago.  Up until then, I hadn't realized just how much this hobby has grown!  I'm currently in about 100 die cast enthusiast groups.  I help run a few and have my own little customs only group.  It is called Diekast Kustomz.  Also, the name I gave myself in this hobby many years ago.

Me: How much success have you had selling your customs?

Aaron:  I don't set out to sell my customs.  I have sold a few dozen in the past few years.  If someone wants to buy something, they usually have to love it as much, if not more than me!  I tend to price my customs a bit higher than average.  When I do sell them, it is mainly to invest back into the hobby.  I could easily sell more if I really wanted to, but some of my stuff takes 40 to 60 hours to create.  So I tend to get attached to them.  I have had good success selling when I actually try to sell them.  But I don't try very often!

Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize?

Aaron:  It's hard to have a favorite casting for me to customize.  I may do a few of one, but I like to expand my horizons and try different castings as much as possible.  The ones I've done the most of are probably '55 - '57 Chevys, '32 Fords and Rodger Dodgers.  I always say my favorite one is the next one!

Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time?

Aaron:  My top 5 favorite castings....boy, that's a tough one.  I'm partial to vintage stuff.  Both collecting and customizing.  There is just an awesome feeling taking a severly beat up cast and giving it new life.  Definitely one of my favorite way to customize is restomods.  Ok, back to my top 5.....they are the OG Blackwall era '57 Chevy, the Rodger Dodger, cliche, but the '55 Chevy Gasser, the '32 Ford Coupe and the '70 Buick GSX.

Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs.

In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. These customs are incredible works of classic hot rod culture in 1:64 scale and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of Aaron Tadych's builds.





















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GH Customs – Chapter 12 of Die Cast Diaries

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 12

Hello family, friends and followers, Welcome to another incredible chapter of my Die Cast Diaries. In this chapter, I will be introducing you to a customizer that I have just had the pleasure of meeting via Instagram. I don't know much about him, but he is a great customizer of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks. In my opinion, his customs are pure classics. Classic styles with classic paint and details. This man is incredibly talented when it comes to his builds. They're very clean and innovative. So, after reading this chapter, be sure to go and check this mans social media accounts and check out his customs. If you're a collector of custom Hot Wheels, you need to own some of this mans builds for your collection. Please enjoy this chapter of my Die Cast Diaries starring Greg Hanna of GH Customs! Me: What is your name and where are you from? Greg: My name is Greg Hanna. Born in Michigan, lived in Los Angeles for many, many years, currently reside just outside of Raleigh North Carolina. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Greg: Probably 4 or 5 years old. So around 1970 or 71. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Greg: When I was 4 or 5. But then I stopped collecting when the first plastic base Redline came out. Around 1977 maybe? Then I got back into it when I found out my wife was pregnant in 2014. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Greg: Around 2015. Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks? Greg: I stumbled onto some pics of custom Hot Wheels on Instagram and loved them! Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Greg: The early influences were Luke Baumstark, Dave Tatro, and Rob Wolf. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Greg: I started building model car kits when I was 6. 1:25 scale muscle cars and rods, 1:20 scale and 1:12 scale F1. Some military too. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Greg: I’d say my specialty is to have the final product look like a premium or RLC Hot Wheels car that you’d see on the pegs. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Greg: I’m not sure what makes mine stand out. I just build what I love to build. The subjects I love to build like vintage drag racing cars for example. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Greg: It’s a hobby. But I am fortunate in that people like my customs enough to buy them. So that pays for paint and other supplies. It also helps with the bills too. I can be found on Instagram @gh_customs. Me: How much success have you had selling your customs? Greg: I’ve had a great amount of success with selling my customs! It is very humbling that people enjoy what I do! I am so grateful for that. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize? Greg: My favorite casting to customize is probably the 100% Hot Wheels 1969 Plymouth GTX. But not an easy car to find! Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time? Greg: My top five castings of all time are all Redlines- -Snake funny car -Mongoose funny car -Deora -Custom Fleetside -Sugar Caddy Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs. In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. These customs are incredible works of classic hot rod culture in 1:64 scale and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of GH Customs builds.
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Die Cast Diaries – Chapter 11

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 11

Hello family, friends and followers, I'd like to welcome you to another chapter of Die Cast Diaries! In this chapter, I will be introducing you to one of the most amazing customizers of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks in this amazing hobby culture. This guy is one of first customizers I met online, not because of Hot Wheels, but because of a childhood friend who we both know. That friend and I were talking about music from our area one day, and he brought up this guy and said I needed to listen to his music. So, I did and after listening to his music, I sent him a DM letting him know who I was and that I appreciated his music and thought he was really talented. We had a good back and forth conversation and just got to know each other. It was awesome. One thing we have in common is the love of Hot Wheels. I told him I was a huge collector and he told me that he customized them. I had to see this for myself, so he sent me a few pics of his customs and I was blown away. I had no idea you could or would even consider taking them apart, repainting them and doing all kinds of cool things to them to make them custom. This guy gets all the credit for me getting into the customizing side of Hot Wheels. Once I knew about this, I started doing more and more research about the hobby and culture and got hooked. It was then that I stopped buying regular Hot Wheels and started buying custom ones from any and every customizer I could get in touch with that was willing to sell their incredible customs to me. This guy is one of the best painters in the hobby, especially when it comes to the rusty look, the barn find look and the weathered look. There are other guys in the hobby that paint this way, but this guy was the first I ever saw and was amazed at how his pieces looked so life like. He hand paints them with brushes, no air brushing. He's an incredibly talented artist, not just customizing Hot Wheels, but he's a very talented rapper from Boston, MA. After reading this interview you will get to know this man and hopefully give him the respect he deserves by going to his social media accounts and checking out his work. If you're a collector of Hot Wheels customs, you need to own some of this mans rusty and weathered Hot Wheels for your collection. So, without further ado, please enjoy this chapter of Die Cast Diaries starring Jay Lane! Me: What is your name and where are you from? Jay: Jay Lane of the legendary rusty tetnis rat rods known as "Jay Lane Customs". I'm from Boston's Metro West about 20 minutes outside of the city. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Jay: Honestly, I think I came out of the womb and had a Hot Wheels collection, lol. They've always been there in some way shape or form. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jay: Like most people in the hobby I had a huge collection as a kid. I was all about my cars. Then teenage years and girls became a thing and the cars went in the trash ( I still kick myself in the ass for doing this). I started getting back into the hobby in a serious capacity about 7 or 8 years ago from finding several old Superfast / Lesney Matchbox and Hot Wheels Black Walls at thrift stores. Started back by collecting diecast pre 1980s. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jay: You could say as a kid I always wanted to customize my cars. As a 10yr old you don't have the basic art skills or supplies to make anything halfway decent, so like most, I took the "kid painted" route. Whiteout, permanent markers, nail polish etc. Later, as an adult, in my late 20s I was reintroduced to the hobby and it grew from there. First it was wheel swaps, then it was details then it was full scale custom repaints and builds. Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks? Jay: I've always been a collector of antiques and toys. Basically anything small rare and cool. In my travels and accumulation of old matchbox that I'd come across at thrift stores or yard sales I realized that they were worth more "restored". That was my main goal at first, antiques restoration. I'm also a working musician who plays a lot of events and records a lot of music so I needed some other kind of creative outlet when I entered periods of writers block and extreme droughts of creativity. Also, money. I realized that I could make a decent little side hustle out of it and in return buy older Matchbox / Hot Wheels for my personal collection. Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jay: I love old things. I love freak rods and fantasy rods and the whole kustom kulture movement started by Ed Roth and Rat Fink. I wanted to duplicate the rusty rat rods and mish mashed builds that I loved so much from that movement. There's something really awesome in taking something that's "pristine" and beautiful by societies standards and stripping it down, rusting it up and making it even more appealing as a rusty shit box. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Jay: Was never a car guy as far as physically working on them. I'm pretty terrible when it comes to auto repair lol. What I love about cars is deisgn, form, function and culture. As a fan of old stuff, cars just naturally go hand in hand with Americana, Music and History for me. Me: How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jay: Ive been seriously customizing now for about 6 or 7 years. I paint pretty much everyday. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jay: I'm known for my hand painted rust. It's my "trade secret". All of my cars are hand painted and hand crafted. Nothing that I do is spray painted or airbrushed. It's kind of a personal touch of mine. I don't use powders, I don't use weathering tricks. It's all brush painted by hand. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Jay: Rusty lowriders with pristine tires like the real things. Most of the models of cars I work on are usually pre 1970. I'm also known for my rusty tow trucks that I build from scratch. I also put in as much detail as humanly possible. Trims, interiors, accessories. I like to think that I put as much time and detail into everything I make as possible. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Jay: It's first and foremost a hobby. I love collecting. I love displaying my collection and showing it off, but it also has evolved into a side hustle that has really helped me fund my regular everyday bills and music career. You could call it a full time job based on how many hours a week I work on my pieces. You can find me on Facebook here for my music and Instagram here for my customs. Me: How much success have you had selling your customs? Jay: A surprising ( to me ) amount of success. I'm at the point now where I have a private list of collectors that buy my work before I even get a chance to post them publicly for sale. To date I've easily made and sold thousands of cars. There is a guy in Ohio, who buys so many of my pieces that he has a room in his house dedicated purely to my customs. It's pretty cool that someone has that much of an interest in my work and a belief in my skills that they have become an investment of sorts for him. Makes me happy to be able to recreate or fantasy build someone's favorite cars. Me: Is selling your customs a second income stream or just a way to fund your customizing passion? Jay: It's definitely a second income, but it also funds the passion. When some of these cars are "only a dollar" you justify adding to your collection pretty easily lol. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize? Jay: Oh man! This is like picking my favorite child. There's so many incredible models out there that there's really no "go to" for me. I collect anything VW personally, so I always get excited to make a cool bug or bus for myself. Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time? Jay: My top 5 are as follows: 1. 62 Custom Chevy Pickup with the removable surfboard 2. Redline Beach Bomb 3. Rat Bomb 4. Black wall T-Tottaler 5. Black wall A-Truckn Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs. In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. I am very proud to say that I own quite a few of this mans customs. They are incredible works of painted art and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of Jay Lane Customs. If you have any questions or comments about this interview, please feel free to contact me at SRQ Diecast.  Also check out www.srqdiecast.com for more chapters and more updates on all things die cast.
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Die Cast Diaries – Chapter 10

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 10

Hello family, friends and followers, I'd like to welcome you to another chapter of Die Cast Diaries! In this chapter, I will be introducing you to one of the most amazing customizers of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks in this amazing hobby culture. This guys customs are truly unique. His designs and craftsmanship are exquisite and flawless. His ability to create trucks and cars that are so awesome are from his background and his passion for this hobby. His pieces are so beautifully painted, especially the hand painted flames, which is what makes his customs so amazing and coveted by collectors. His builds are full of imagination and creativity that you would think he does this on full size vehicles as a career. There are many great customizers out there that stand out due to their awesome paint jobs that they put on their customs, but the star of this chapter is just one of many that I have met during my time exploring this unbelievable hobby community. Not only is his painting skills outstanding, but his metal fabrication and body work is like an artist working with clay or pottery. His story is incredible and so are his customs. I hope that after reading this chapter, that you will go and check out this man's creations and get in touch with him about getting one made for your collection. Please enjoy this chapter of Die Cast Diaries starring Jesse Buck of Buck's Customs. Me: What is your name and where are you from? Jesse: My name is Jesse Buck, I’m from Birdsboro, PA. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Jesse: I’ve been playing with Hot Wheels as long as I can remember. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jesse: I started collecting Hot Wheels around 98-99. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jesse: I started customizing a few months after I started collecting. Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks? Jesse: My Dad and one of my brothers went to a toy show and saw a custom Dairy Delivery, we started customizing as soon as we got home that day. Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jesse: Hot wheels actually got me into real cars. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Jesse: Yes.  I have experience in customizing real cars and trucks. Me: How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jesse: I've been customizing since 1999. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Jesse: I don’t know if I have a specialty in customizing, I just build a car or truck the way it looks best to me. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Jesse: I think my cars and trucks stand out because of the hand painted flames and designs I put on them. Also, my trucks are slammed, and custom fabricated. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Jesse: Just a hobby, I mainly post on Instagram, sometimes Facebook. You can find me @buckscustoms on Instagram. Me: Is selling your customs a second income stream or just a way to fund your customizing passion? Jesse: If it’s a truck, it always sells, cars seem a bit harder to get rid of. I sell them to keep the hobby going. It also helps to not further fill my already overflowing diecast collection. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize? Jesse: I’d have to say 07 Silverado, I’ve done a ton and everyone loves them. Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time? Jesse: Top 5, I could never pick. I like so many cars and trucks, so here’s 5 off the top of my head. 07 Silverado Datsun 620 95 RX7 87 Toyota Pickup 83 Silverado Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs. In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. I don't own any of his customs, but I wish I did. They are incredible works of painted art and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of Buck's Customs. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me here at srqdiecast.com or on my other social media outlets.  You can find my page on Facebook here, you can find me here on Instagram and you can also check out my Pinterest page for even more things die cast.
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JLB Customs – Chapter 9 of Die Cast Diaries

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 9 Hello family, friends and followers, I'd like to welcome you to another chapter of Die Cast Diaries! In this chapter, I will be introducing you to one of the most amazing customizers of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks in this amazing hobby culture. His pieces are so beautifully painted that you would think you are looking at real cars in a showroom. The flowing lines, the fades and shading are just top notch and very professional looking. The different colors of paint he uses and the way her layers it is incredible to look at. There are many great customizers out there that stand out due to their awesome paint jobs that they put on their customs, but the star of this chapter is just one of many that I have met during my time exploring this unbelievable hobby community. His story is incredible and so are his customs. I hope that after reading this chapter, that you will go and check out this man's creations and get in touch with him about getting one made for your collection. Please enjoy this chapter of Die Cast Diaries starring Johnny Brashear of JLB Customs. Me: What is your name and where are you from? Johnny: My name is Johnny Brashear and I'm from New Orleans, LA. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Johnny: I got my first Hot Wheels in 1973 when I was 4 years old. Johnny Lightning case full of new redlines. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Johnny: I started collecting Hot Wheels in 1988 after I found an old redline Side Kick at a flea market for a dollar. I still have it today. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Johnny: I started to repaint Hot Wheels in 1997 when I was a painter at a Mercedes dealership. But only painted a few. Then started restoring redlines in 2016. That business did well and finally I started putting custom paint on new Hot Wheels. Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks? Johnny: I was a custom car painter. I thought it would be interesting to put candy and pearl paints on Hot Wheels. I had seen a few guys doing them on Instagram. Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Johnny: My best friend, Sid, convinced me that I should start painting and selling cars. I started selling on Ebay then made a website. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Johnny: I've been painting real cars since 1994. I started doing metal flake and candy old school paint jobs a few years later. Me: How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Johnny: I was able to showcase my work on History Channels Big Easy Motors for one season in 2016. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Johnny: I've been painting Hot Wheels for a living since 2017. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Johnny: I think my cars stand out because of the colors and techniques I use. I don't share a lot of information about my process. I do tint my candies sometimes, shoot them over various sparkle base coats. I think my experience of painting cars for 20 plus years shows in my work. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Johnny: My business name is JLB Customs. I have a Facebook page and a website: www.jlbcustoms.com Me: Is selling your customs a second income stream or just a way to fund your customizing passion? Johnny: I'm totally addicted to painting Hot Wheels and I sell a few every day. I paint 7 days a week, sometimes 10 hours a day. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize? Johnny: My favorite car to paint in the '55 Bel Air. Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time? Johnny: My top 5 Hot Wheels would be: 1) Secondary Wind 2) Bye Focal 3) Custom Mustang 4) '55 Bel Air Gasser 5) S Cool Bus Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs. In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. I don't own any of his customs, but I wish I did. They are incredible works of painted art and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of JLB Customs.
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Die Cast Diaries – Chapter 8

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 8

Hello family, friends and followers, I'd like to welcome you to another chapter of Die Cast Diaries! In this chapter, I will be introducing you to one of the most amazing customizers of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks in this amazing hobby culture. His pieces are incredible works of art with incredible designs and patterns painted on them. I've seen a few of his videos of him taping off the design and patterns for his insane paint jobs. The finished product is so gorgeous and unique. The flowing lines, the fades and shading are just top notch and very professional looking. The different types of paint he uses and the way her layers it is unbelievable. There are many great customizers out there that stand out due to their awesome paint jobs that they put on their customs, but the star of this chapter is just one of many that I have met during my time exploring this unbelievable hobby community. His story is incredible and so are his customs. I hope that after reading this chapter, that you will go and check out this man's creations and get in touch with him about getting one made for your collection. Please enjoy this chapter of Die Cast Diaries starring Timothy Stanley of Wampus Cat Customs. Me: What is your name and where are you from? Tim: I am Timothy Stanley and I am from South Carolina. I grew up in what we call the Lowcountry near the coast. I currently live in the state's capital, Columbia. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Tim: I'm not really sure. I do remember one Christmas, I was around 4 or 5, I got a box full of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. That started it. Still one of my favorite Christmas presents to this day. My brother and I used to play with them and crash them. We even had a game where we would crash one of my cars into his line and whatever I knocked out of line I got to keep. Then he would take a turn. The game was over when one person ended up with all the cars. Sort of like a game of marbles but with Hot Wheels. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Tim: I still don't actively collect a whole lot. I was about 35, Lol. I found some old Lesney Matchbox cars at a flea market. I remembered playing with them as a kid. I scooped them up. That was maybe 5 years ago. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Tim: I started customizing around the same time that I found those old ones at the flea market. Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks? Tim: I wanted to have some of those flea market finds restored. I started looking at prices to have them restored and that lead me to YouTube videos on how to restore them. I thought it looked easy enough. I found one old knock-off brand wagon that my brother had when we were kids and a flea market Talbot Lago and drilled them. I decided to change the color instead of a full restoration. As they say, the rest was history. I still haven't restored those old Lesney's. Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Tim: After I drilled the first couple, I thought that there must be some online groups of people that do this. I found a few groups on Facebook. A few that helped me along the way are minichopshop, ricer_kustoms_, gh_customs and several other guys. My buddy, Johnny Rhodes, @johnnyrhodes95 has helped a lot with the airbrushing skills. Andy Kawaharra, @andyspinstriping has helped with learning to lay the flake. The folks at Tropical Glitz have also been a huge help with products and product advice. Also, all my homies at Pirate Model Car Club on Instagram. A group of us started the club to help, challenge, support and bounce ideas off of each other. Check out our club page, shoot us a message. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Tim: Not really. I can do minor maintenance and repair work. Oil changes, water pump change, alternators, etc. I have my grandads 1969 GMC C1500 Stepside that I am working on. Hopefully, it will be on the road later this year. I post updates on the project on my page. I haven't done much on it lately. For inspiration, I follow a lot of car clubs and model car clubs. I follow Scaleriders on Instagram and YouTube. They also have a great online modeling tools store. Me: How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Tim: It's been about 4 or 5 years I think now. Maybe not quite that long. I started before my daughter was born and she turns 4 this year. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Tim: I don't know that I'm especially good at anything. I feel like I'm still learning all the time. My favorite part of the process is the paint. I like to do old school hot rods and lowriders. With pinstriping and panels and flake. I don't do a lot of chopping and body work. When you have some candy and flake on a car and then you hit it with clear and see that flake and candy start to come alive and dance, that's my favorite part. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Tim: I mentioned doing lowriders and panels and flake. There aren't many people doing flake and lowrider patterns. I would say that's probably what makes mine stand out. That and the great products from Tropical Glitz. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Tim: It is a hobby. I am on several media outlets. I can be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok. My handle on all of them is Wampus Cat Customs. Most of the customs that I do are for sale. If you ever see anything you like, shoot me a message. Me: How much success have you had selling your customs? Tim: It's been a long slow grind. In the beginning I sold a few here and there. As I got better, I seemed to sell more. It also depends on other factors as to whether people are buying or not. I would say I have moderate success to answer your question. Me: Is selling your customs a second income stream or just a way to fund your customizing passion? Tim: I would love for it to be my full time income stream. Haha, who wouldn't?!?! I am lucky enough to be where my hobby basically pays for itself, which is awesome, and I am completely thankful for that. It allows me to maintain my stash of paint, flake and cars to work on. Thank you to everyone who supports me. I truly do appreciate it. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize? Tim: I like things that have a lot of real estate for panels and lines. I'm on a Dairy Delivery kick right now. I just did a green and yellow one patterned out that got a lot of attention. I also like panel trucks, Caddys, Impalas and of course the '55 Gasser. Who doesn't love that one? My favorite castings are the '69 Chevy stepside and the Purple Passion. The '69 truck for obvious reasons. The Purple Passion because it was one of those that I remember getting as a kid. It was one of my favorites for the game my brother and I played and I still have that same one to this day. Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time? Tim: That's a tough one. If we are just going by casting I would say, 1: '69 Chevy Stepside, 2: Purple Passion, 3: '31 Doozie, 4: '64 GMC Panel Truck and 5: '62 Chevy Truck Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs. Tim: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you doing this. Its nice to have someone spread the word about the hobby. I'm always up for things like this that push our hobby to the next level. If you have any questions or if I can help you with anything, hit me up. I would like to say a big thank you to all the folks that have supported me and I really do appreciate it. I love getting the messages where people are happy with something that I created. Thank you again for having me. In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. I don't own any of his customs, but I wish I did. They are incredible works of painted art and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of Wampus Cat Customs.
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Artop Kustom – Chapter 7 of Die Cast Diaries

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 7

Hello family, friends and followers, I'd like to welcome you to another chapter of Die Cast Diaries! In this chapter, I will be introducing you to one of the most unique and creative customizers of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks in this amazing hobby culture. His pieces are amazing, full of unique details and realistic looking components. Some of his pieces are so unique and bizarre, but that's what makes them a true custom. He is one of the many talented customizers from this country where Hot Wheels is a huge part of their lives. Indonesia is home to some of the most incredible custom Hot Wheels and customizers. In the future, there needs to be a build off or battle between the nations of customizers, like the olympics, but it's all about customizing Hot Wheels. That would be such a great TV show. The star of this chapter is just one of many that I have met during my time exploring this unbelievable hobby community. His story is incredible and so are his customs. I hope that after reading this chapter, that you will go and check out this man's creations and get in touch with him about getting one made for your collection. Please enjoy this chapter of Die Cast Diaries starring Arie Topan. Me: What is your name and where are you from? Arie: Hi there, my name is Arie Topan. I'm from Indonesia. I live in Bali, Indonesia. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Arie: I'm not sure, I don't remember exactly. I just remember I got some diecast when I was a kid, but I'm not sure it's Hot Wheels or another brand. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Arie: I start to collect diecast when I was 27 and I starting with cheaper diecast and not really serious and then I start to collect Jada Toys 1:24 scale and another brand in 1:24/1:18 scale. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Arie: I start to customize in 2014, it just for fun and I enjoy it. I start customizing in big scale 1:24 or 1:18 and I got so many friend from these hobbies and some friend challenge me to customize a Hot Wheels or small scale and I never did it before. I accepted and trying to customize Hot Wheels I got it and I start to do commission work and it's become my second job and my full time job for now because I leave my job before. Me: What got you interested in customizing diecast cars and trucks? Arie: I'm not satisfied with the detail from the factory and I try to make my imagination to custom it as detail as in my imagination. Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Arie: I don't have a inspirator or influencer for customizing my diecast. I just build that I like but I really interest in kustom culture especially hot rod car culture. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Arie: No, basically I learning by myself. Trial and error and always learning until now. Me: How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Arie: I start to customize diecast in 2014, it means it was 7 years. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks? Arie: My customs is specialty in hot rod culture. Wild custom and hand painting. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Arie: I really interest in hot rod kustom kulture. It makes almost my work is hot rod custom culture and I like to drawing, design, hand painting and also scratch build in my diecast so you can find my work is almost make by hand. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Arie: Custom diecast is my full time job since 2016 because I leave my previous job. You can find me on Instagram @arie_topan or Facebook as @arie topan so you can check, buy or make a commission order there. Me: How much success have you had selling your customs? Arie: I selling my custom world wide. I have a customer from US, Mexico, Brazil, UK and more. So far they are very satisfied with my work. It makes me very happy. Me: Is selling your customs a second income stream or just a way to fund your customizing passion? Arie: Both. I get income and my passion too because I build what I want and some people like it and they want to buy it. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize? Arie: My favorite is Bone Shaker, Drag Bus, '55 Chevy Panel, Mini Cooper, '55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser, Midnite Otto and etc. Me: Finally, what are your top 5 Hot Wheels of all time? Arie: Bone Shaker, Datsun 510 Wagon, Drag Bus, '67 Austin Mini Van and '55 Chevy Panel. Me: Thank you for participating in my blog and helping spread the world of customizing Hot Wheels and other diecast cars and trucks to the general public. I appreciate you, your time and your customs. Arie: Thank you for the opportunity that you given to me my friend. I really appreciate it. Stay safe and healthy. In closing, I just want to say that what you're about to see is going to prove that customizing die cast cars and trucks is an art and it takes talent, skill, imagination, passion and creativity to make these little cars and trucks look so cool. I don't own any of his customs, but I wish I did. They are truly unique and would be awesome additions towards the ultimate collection. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pics of Arie Topan's customs.
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Mini Chop Shop – Chapter 6 of Die Cast Diaries

by Sean

Die Cast Diaries - Chapter 6

Hello family, friends and followers, I'd like to welcome you to another chapter of Die Cast Diaries! In this chapter, I will be introducing you to one of the best customizers of Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks in this amazing hobby culture. His pieces are classically done and have an old school feel to them as far as the paint goes. When I see his logo and his customs, I immediately think about life size cars and custom shops. The name is so fitting and the cars are throwbacks to those days and to the career that some people have in the automotive industry today. His story is incredible and so are his customs. I hope that after reading this chapter, that you will go and check out this man's creations and get in touch with him about getting one made for your collection. Please enjoy this chapter of Die Cast Diaries starring Dylan Seal, owner of Mini Chop Shop.

Me: What is your name and where are you from? Dylan: I'm Dylan Seal, born and raised in good ole East Tennessee. Me: How old were you when you started playing with Hot Wheels? Dylan: I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't play with Hot Wheels. My brother and I used to go crazy making roads in the dirt, building cardboard garages and even playing "crusher" with a hammer, LOL. Me: How old were you when you started collecting Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks? Dylan: It would be really hard to put a number on the age because I've been buying Hot Wheels for as long as I can remember. If I had to guess, I was probably 10 or 11 when I finally started hanging them on my wall. Me: When did you start customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks? Dylan: Somewhere around 2013-2014 is when I first put the drill to one. Me: What got you interested in customizing die cast cars and trucks? Dylan: I thought it would be cool to make a Hot Wheel match my mom's Mustang for a gift. So, I broke out the drill and some paint and went to town. It turned out pretty well and needed up making a couple to match some friends cars. That was pretty much as far as it went with customization for a few years. Me: Who was your inspiration or influence that got you into customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks? Dylan: I first did the Mustang for my mom because I thought it would be cool for her to have a mini me of her car. I had no idea there was a strong hobby community for customs at the time. A couple of years later, I discovered Salt City Diecast on Instagram and that led to a deep dive into the worm hole.  After seeing pages like Spoolin Street and 22nd Ave Customs, I was hooked. Me: Do you have a background in working on cars and trucks which helps make customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks easier and helps with your creativity on them? Dylan: I've done paint and body work since I was old enough to walk into the garage. I helped restore and paint old cars until I graduated high school. Then off to tech school for auto body I went. I worked for a while at one shop as a painter and then at another shop for auto body before leaving the industry after a couple of years. Me: How long have you been customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks? Dylan: After the first one around 2013-14, I didn't drill anything until I started my Instagram in late 2018. Me: What is your specialty in customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks? Dylan: I'm not sure that I could say I have a specialty. If the question was, "What do you do the most?", it would definitely be weathered matte paint jobs. I also like to get everything as close to the ground as possible. Me: What makes your customs stand out from most of the other customs out there? Dylan: Honestly, I don't have an answer for this one. I don't like to think my work has any qualities that stand out or above any others. Me: Is customizing Hot Wheels and other die cast cars and trucks a hobby or a full time job for you? If it's a full time job for you, what is the name of your business? If it's a hobby, what are your social media outlets where people can view and possibly buy your customs? Dylan: Mini Chop Shop most definitely started as a way to share my customs. Now, I have been blessed that it has turned into a way to fund the hobby itself. As most customizers could tell you, it's not a cheap hobby. Most of what comes from the customs I sell goes right back into Mini Chop Shop. From parts and materials to hats and stickers. Me: How much success have you had selling your customs? Dylan: I have been blessed with collectors from all over the world purchasing my builds. It has allowed me to push myself further on my bigger builds than I could have possible, and for that I will forever be beyond grateful. Me: Is selling your customs a second income stream or just a way to fund your customizing passion? Dylan: Primarily, selling customs funds Mini Chop Shop. It doesn't sound like much when you say $6 for a set of wheels, but when you say $60 for 10 sets it sounds a little different. When you start to add $140 for an airbrush, $200 for a compressor, $7 for each 4oz bottle of paint, etc., it definitely adds up. That's just customs alone. The ability to offer hats that cost $200 to get started, stickers that are $70 for 50, etc. The totals seriously starts to increase. Me: Which casting is your favorite to customize?