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.