Hot Wheels are 1/64 scale, right? Well, not always. Hot Wheels have always had such iconic models that collectors have often been inspired to scale up these souped up supercars, usually with 1:1 scale re-imaginings. If you’re like me, though, you might not have the shelf-space for 1:1 versions of all your favorite Hot Wheels. What if you could just zoom-in on your favorite Hot Wheels to create a larger, but still scale car so you could appreciate all that fine detail even more clearly?
Enter Chris Walker, a well known customizer and Model Car Hall of Fame Inductee. Chris has been customizing diecast and especially Hot Wheels for a long time as Night Stalker Customs. He was inspired by the same question, eventually using his skills to answer it with some award winning customs.
It actually started with a bit of disappointment. Chris bought a model kit hoping to style it like the Hot Wheels Heavy Chevy, but he was in for a surprise:
“I opened the box to discover the red stripes were not on the tires. I was mad. So I thought maybe I could make my own Hot Wheels Redline tire. Make it look just like the actual tire, just a bit bigger. After that I figured why not make the engine look just like the Hot Wheels version too. And as long as I was headed that direction, I made my own chassis to match.”
Chris got a great response to this scaled up Heavy Chevy, so he made 15 cars using a similar method. He would simplify the outside details to look more small-scale, then match paint and other styling cues to the 1/64 version. Soon, Chris’ super-size Hot Wheels were picking up awards. His Light My Firebird took 2nd place at the 2003 Cincinnati Hot Wheels Nationals.
At this point, Chris was inspired all over again. It made sense to use model kits for transformation of Hot Wheels based on real cars, but some of the most cherished castings have been the wild, totally custom Hot Wheels. In Chris’ case, his favorite was the Mini Truck: That wildly turquoise, graphic covered, 90’s tuner-culture inspired creation with no roof and a giant set of speakers taking up the bed. Clearly, this wasn’t something something you’d find at your local model kit dealer.
It was here Chris went his own way and decided to build the whole thing from the ground up. The only thing he kept from previous techniques was scale: he wanted to keep it around 1/25. So he used a wheel from the 1/25 kit and images of the casting, enlarged until the wheels matched. Then Chris traced, cut, sanded, and added pieces until it was just right.
“The interior and chassis was made to fit into the body in much the same detail and fit that the actual 64th scale car had,” says Chris, “It’s time consuming, but a lot of fun. You really get up close and intimate with your favorite casting.”
Do you now find yourself imagining large scale versions of your favorite casting? Chris says you’re not alone. “People just love seeing anything different in the hobby,” he says, “We all love large scale cars. But these are large scale versions in the same exact detail of their counterparts. It adds to the enjoyment of just looking at it and talking about them. They are a true conversation piece.”
Clearly Chris is a really talented guy! We recently asked him to make a custom honoring a past inductee. His Ed “Big Daddy” Roth custom is now in our store. Click here and check it out!