Model cars

Model built to scale

The assembling of plastic model kits or the creation of a model from a block of wood can be a fun and fascinating pastime.  The detailing of model cars is one way to display your own creativity.

Radio control car manual : the complete guide to buying, building and maintaining
Matt Benfield.
Sparkford : Haynes, 2008.
Includes index.
Hot wheels : 40 years
Angelo Van Bogart.
Iola, WI : Krause, c2007.
"Hot Wheels: Forty Years," a big, beautiful coffee table book tells the story of these miniature marvels through more than 600 stunning color photos, and historical details including company history, interviews with Mattel designers, major developments and trends. All the attitude and innovation of these revolutionary pocket-sized racers is captured in the pages of this must-have reference.Krause Publications
Warman's Hot Wheels field guide : values and identification
Michael Zarnock and Angelo Van Bogart.
Iola, WI : Krause Publications, c2007.
With one Hot Wheels car sold every six seconds, Mattels reign on pocket-sized racers is at top speed as the company marks 40 years of die cast devotion. This new, expanded edition of the popular portable field guide offers you an extensive collection of Redlines, Blackwalls and Number Pack vehicle details, as well as a Wheel Guide for easy identification, not to mention up-to-date secondary market pricing and more than 500 fantastic color photos of some of the finest and most highly prized Hot Wheels cars ever produced. Just like Hot Wheels, this pint-sized guide is poised for top performance.
The car modeller's handbook
Nick J. Wigman, Daryl Keenan & Alan Bottoms ; editor, Richard Frank.
Ramsbury : Crowood, 2007.
Cars are now more popular subjects for modellers than they have ever been. #38; An ever increasing range of kits allows the modeller to build a wide variety of highly detailed road and racing cars. #38; Of paramount importance to the car modeller is the perfection of finish, but this can be difficult to attain without the necessary experience. #38; #38;
The R/C car bible
Robert Schleicher.
St Paul : Voyageur Press, 2006.
R/C cars are faster than ever, more powerful, more complex-and ever more realistic! In The R/C Car Bible, expert Robert Schleicher offers the latest information on building, tuning, and driving these cool vehicles. Ideal for both new and veteran R/C enthusiasts alike, this fully illustrated guide covers electric and fuel radio- and remote- control vehicles. In addition to selecting the right scale and caring for the power source, tuning the chassis, and choosing gear ratios and tires, Schleicher covers such considerations as nitro power, painting and decals, off-road driving techniques, setting up road-race courses in parking lots, and even building off-road courses. Appendices feature a glossary and information on clubs, publications, and suppliers. Whether screaming across the asphalt or bounding over a dirt course, when it comes to scale-size motorsport thrills, few hobbies can match the thrills of R/C cars! Book jacket.
Pinewood Derby speed secrets
by David Meade ; with illustrations by Troy Thorne.
East Petersburg, PA : Fox Chapel Pub. ; [London ; New York] : DK, c2006.
Whether you are a first-timer or seasoned competitor, Pinewood Derby Speed Secrets has all the advice and tips you and your child need to build the car that brings home the trophy. Featuring fully-illustrated, easy-to-follow instructions covering every step of the process, author David Meade, a research scientist and the father of two undefeated Derby champs, reveals his ultimate speed secrets for crossing the finish line first. You'll discover: How to build three levels of Pinewood Derby car: The Winning Car, The Champion Car, and The Ultimate Car, The fun of building cars side-by-side with your child, The secrets to preparing the wheels and axles, distributing weight, and shaving seconds off your race time, 7 ready-to-cut patterns. By Using the tips and techniques in Pinewood Derby Speed Secrets, you, too, will be sure to build a winning car while building memories that will last a lifetime. Book jacket.
The Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild : an illustrated history
John L. Jacobus.
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2005.
A retired automobile safety engineer and former Guild contestant, Jacobus traces the history of the Guild, which is not an organization, but an automobile design competition sponsored by the Fisher Body Division of General Motors in which teenagers vied for college scholarships by designing scale model dream cars. During its span from 1930 to 1968, he says, it helped identify and nurture a generation of top auto designer and executive talent. It actually comprised two competitions, the Napoleonic Coach Competition from 1930 to 1948, and the Model Car Competition from 1937 to 1968. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
The complete car modeller. 1
Gerald A. Wingrove.
Ramsbury : Crowood, 2003.
The Complete Car Modeller 1 discusses many of the techniques and potential pitfalls of the advancing modeller's skill.

The art of models, either from a plastic kit or a block of wood, involves actions that are both similar and different.  Model kits have the basic form already in place, while the block of wood requires one to design the basic form.  With the basic form in place the ability to detail it into your own creation comes into play.

The ability to take the processes used to customize real cars can apply to models cars. Custom paint jobs, interiors that use materials such as cloth, the creation of “real” vinyl roof add dimensions to your model and they allow you to express your unique insight. 

When the fascination of the 1950's and 1960's was to lower the roof, body shops would purchase a model of the car and use the same techniques to complete the work on the real automobile.

Using automotive paint

Applies thin coats
Dries faster
More colors available
Brighter shine

automotive paint

Create a low-rider or a monster truck by learning how to cut drive shafts, turn axles, and cut suspensions to raise or lower the body to modify both the suspension and the drive train. 

Experiment with axles and tires for maximum speed and straight running.  Alignment, snugness of the wheels, aerodynamics, weight, are some factors that need to be taken into account.

Practicing the techniques will help you to create the model cars you want and provide you with hours of inexpensive enjoyment and personal satisfaction.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff