Keesie25’s Custom Corgi Models Will Make You Look Twice

corgi budget batmobileIf you do a search for “Corgi Batmobile” on hobbyDB, you will find several variants of their model of the 1960s TV car as well as many versions that appeared in comic books. In addition to the Barris car however, you will find an oddity called “Budget Batmobile.”

keesie25 corgiAt first glance, it looks like it could have been a model you somehow never heard of. It looks plausible, and it has a box… but nope, it’s custom. Welcome to the world of Keesie25 (online, he goes only by that nickname). He’s a collector and customizer who lives in a small village in the Netherlands. He takes broken, beat up models, mostly 1/43 scale, and turns them into all kinds of creations.

“I remember going to the toy store with my dad one day, nose flat against the shop window, and I could not decide which one to choose,” he recalls. He chose the 1130 Chipperfields Horse Transporter.

His interest in Custom Corgi Models started with an eye on budget collecting. “I wanted to have the complete collection and did not want to spend too much money on it, so I started to restore,” he said. “Now I don’t need to choose anymore, as I have all I wanted. Every time I restore a model, I compare it to the one in my collection, and sometimes I swap them around. I buy and get worn out and crap models, because everyone knows I’m into old Corgis, 1:43 scale.”

corgi restoration

Many of Keesie’s models are restorations to original specs and colors.

“I want to restore with better materials than original, so I replace plastic with stainless steel. I mainly use throw-away materials, When you open an old VHS videocassette, you’ll be surprised what is in there that you can use. I only buy new rubber tires nowadays.”

He has a knack for fixing and repurposing other things as well. “I am a member of the ‘repaircafe’, where people come in with al sorts of broken things,” he said. “That could be household stuff, but also old toys.”

corgi octopussy set

Spoiler alert! There’s a tiny airplane hidden behind a fake horse’s rear end in that trailer.

Many of Keesie’s models are restorations to original spec. Some of them are modified for different color and wheel combinations, such as his Mercedes-Benz 300SL  models. And then there are wild custom creations such as the afore mentioned Batmobile or the Beatles’ Cadillac ambulance. In addition to the models themselves, he spends a great deal of time creating realistic boxes, some of them including full diorama display panels and instructions. His James Bond Octopussy set includes a horse trailer with a faux equine behind (this will make sense if you seen the movie.)

corgi beatles mobile

The packaging for his Beatles Mobile includes instructions and a sticker!

So what is Keesie’s next project?” There is no real plan,” he admits. “In general, I open models and store all parts. The metal goes into a separate box, and once or twice a year I sandblast 100 or more parts in one go. Then I spray everything in primer, From then on I pick out the ones I want to work on. In between customers come around now and then with their own models they want me to do.”

corgi repro boxes

Keesie designs realistic boxes for his custom models.

That’s right, he takes requests. “When a buyer has a specific wish I will do it. First we talk about what the buyer wants, and I state a price. When I work on the model, I take pictures of the process, so the buyer knows what to expect.” A complicated model there will sometimes require small additions in between, for which there is usually no extra charge.

Check out his Official Archive on hobbyDB, where he’ll be posting new creations including models for sale.

corgi car bodies

Comments (4 Comments)
RoutemasterNL

Great story and everything I read is so true. Keesie is a true master and Corgi specialist. Lucky for me I live relatively close by, so a visit in the near future is for sure

RoutemasterNL -Theo

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Sneak Preview of Redlines to Treasure Hunts

The hobbyDB team is pleased to welcome Dan Hornberger back to our blog with his latest update on his documentary film project “Redlines to Treasure Hunts”. “Redlines to Treasure Hunts” is a full-length documentary on the history and collecting world of Hot Wheels. Dan currently has a GoFundMe to get completion costs for the film and is hoping to have it finished by early 2018.

danA Guest Blog Post by Dan Hornberger

 

It’s May 1st, only a few weeks after the sneak preview of Redlines to Treasure Hunts at the Collectors’ Convention in Pittsburgh. During the convention’s auction, I was thrilled when the winning bid for the film’s poster was $275, which goes directly to the Children’s Miracle Network…tremendous! AND it was purchased by Megan Warneke and Nathaniel Long, two people who appear in the film!

I was very pleased with how the film was received by the individuals who attended the sneak preview. Initially, I had planned on inviting about 25 people; however, after talking it over with Roy Friend and Mike Barnes, we decided to combine two events and we ended up having 70+ in attendance. With the help of a few other very kind individuals, we pulled off quite an event with pizza, the film and a lot of really cool giveaways.

One of the coolest things that can happen to a filmmaker is to have the audience react in an anticipated way. The Pittsburgh audience laughed when I hoped they would, and they were silent at the touching moments…and that filled me with an incredible amount of happiness. It made the 2+ years of production worth it. Receiving handshakes from people like Larry Wood, Brendon Vetuskey, Jimmy Liu, Mike Zarnock, and Bruce Pascal certainly added to the experience.

Pictured: Dan Hornberger, Mike Barnes, Roy Friend, & Brian Klyn

Pictured: Dan Hornberger, Mike Barnes, Roy Friend, & Brian Klyn

I’ve been hard at work making all of the final adjustments to the film (i.e., font changes, tighter edits, volume levels). This week, I’ll upload the final film to Distribber, the company that will represent the film to Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. Netflix will preview the film and determine if it’s worthy, and then they’ll make me an offer for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years. iTunes and Amazon will, most likely, include the film in their libraries. This whole process will take 6-8 weeks. Therefore, I’m hoping for a July release.

In the meantime, I’ll work on developing the DVD including any additional footage and packaging options (I’m thinking a special custom would be very cool!). They might be available as early as mid-June.

Finally, I plan on having a few theatrical screenings. Of course, I must have one in my hometown (Reading, PA), and that will take place at either The GoogleWorks or the Reading R/C Imax Theater. If a few things fall into place, I’d like to have a screening at The Colonial Theater (Phoenixville, PA), the same theater that hosts the annual BlobFest!

I’d like to thank the folks at hobbyDB for allowing me to post these updates. When I hear back from Distribber, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Dan Hornberger

This is the second in a series of updates from Dan Hornberger. To learn more about this project, read his first guest post – Redlines to Treasure Hunts: A Labor of Love

Comments (2 Comments)
Roy Lee Friend Jr

I was honored with the opportunity to watch this great movie

Excellent job Dan

Make sure you get a copy, when it becomes available

It is well worth it

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Auto-Archives Car of the Month — 1959 MG EX186 Prototype LeMans Car

Like the majority of British automobile producers, the MG Car Company developed experimental models which often, but occasionally not, became production models. The founder of MG Cars, Cecil Kimber, realized at an early time, that properly set up and successful experimental cars could provide a great deal of free advertising, and he was happy to supply factory assistance to any MG speed or endurance record attempt. Between 1929 and 1959 MG established 43 international class speed records with factory-supported EX vehicles, and several EX cars were the precursors of well-known production models.

From the very beginning, the EX designation was used for prototype MG projects and cars, but the first of the EX line to be revealed to the public as a prospective ‘record-breaker’ was EX120. It evolved from a collaboration with Captain George Eyston who attempted to establish the first 100mph speed for Class H cars (750cc) cars, using the diminutive 1929 MG Midget. His MG broke six international records on the way to becoming the first 750cc car to go 100 miles in one hour. Designed with the express purpose of smashing every Class H record, and completed late in 1931, the evolution of EX120 was EX127. In its illustrious career EX127 car set numerous records, and was the first car in its class to surpass 120mph.

 

EX186 is pushed out of the Abingdon factory for a first test run

 

The next car for Captain Eyston was the legendary EX135, based on a K3 chassis with both racing and record breaking bodies and built to assault Class G (1100cc) records. The original streamlined body was painted in cream and chocolate stripes, and earned the nickname “Humbug”. In 1934 it re-wrote the record books for its class, and two years later broke both Class G and F records by becoming the first 1100cc car to exceed 200mph. Following World War II, EX135 re-surfaced in a number of different configurations and took many class records before, in 1951, and sporting a TD engine, the car ran on the Utah salt flats to take more records in Class F. In its long career, and wearing an assortment of bodies and engines, the venerable EX135 broke the world record ten times in eight different classes, a tribute to both the builders and the driver. The next significant creation, EX179 was based on an MGA chassis and closely resembled EX135. With it, Eyston and Ken Miles took seven Class F and 25 American records. Using the Wolseley Twin-cam engine, the car took nine Class G records. The final record breaker from MG was EX181, a mid-engine car nicknamed the “Roaring Raindrop” for its unique streamlined body shape. In 1957, with Stirling Moss at the wheel, this model took the Class F record at 245.6mph. Two years later Phil Hill drove the car to an amazing 254.9mph. This was the end of factory supported MG speed cars except one you may never have heard of before today!

Whetted by a three-car entry in the 1955 Le Mans 24-hour race where the brand new MGA EX182, had finished 12th overall and 5th in class, Managing Director of MG John Thornley and Chief Designer Syd Enever laid plans to develop an MGA-based ‘prototype’ for the express purpose of winning the 1961 LeMans 24-hour race outright. They intended to utilize the then-new dual-overhead cam version of BMC B-Series engine, but recognizing that the engine wouldn’t give them a performance edge, (other cars would have more power), they planned to compensate with a specially built, lightweight, and extremely aerodynamic aluminum body. ‘EX186’ is the racecar that resulted from these plans. The car was built and test driven on the road, and by all accounts its performance was impressive, but sadly the Le Mans MG project was cancelled before EX186 was ever raced.

It was normal MG practice to destroy racing prototypes after retiring them, but in 1960 John Thornley managed to dispatch EX186 to US dealer Kjell Qvale, invoiced as “auto parts.” Qvale kept EX186 stored until 1966, after which it was sold and driven on public roads for about a year until its engine required overhaul. At that time, overhaul costs were prohibitive and the car was removed from service, parted from its engine, and stored in a barn on a walnut farm in Red Bluff, CA. Luckily, most of the car including the hand-built aluminum body and unique DeDion rear suspension survived virtually intact and, in 1982, having seen it advertised in Road & Track magazine, MG enthusiasts Joe and Cathy Gunderson and Steve Willis of Denver, Colorado, purchased the car. Since then, they have carefully and painstakingly restored it to the virtually original specification you see here. Tracking down missing original parts such as the gearbox has been one of the special challenges of the unique 30+ year restoration of EX186 which was on display at the Hagerty offices in Golden, Colorado.

 

 

 

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Diecast Hall of Fame Nominations Now Open for the Class of 2017!

As some of you may know, we’ve been working with a bunch of awesome folks in the Diecast community on this year’s Diecast Hall of Fame! We could not be more excited to share that the Diecast Hall of Fame celebration will take place during SEMA on November 2nd in Las Vegas at the House of Blues inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Join for a nightcap at 9:00pm to celebrate the new inductees. You can buy your tickets here.

Screen-Shot-2017-04-11-at-10.47.39-AM-768x994

 

Of course that means that nomination season is starting NOW! Diecast Hall of Fame nominations are open!

To begin the selection process, we’re asking you to nominate your favorite diecast legends. Anyone who you think should be recognized for their outstanding contributions to our community. We are looking for nominations for the following categories –

People – Nominate Here

  • Automotive Legend – Those within the industry who have set the bar so high and achieved such success and accolades as to be considered premier automotive legends through design or deed
  • Customizer – Those who have taken the art of diecast collecting to a new level in their design efforts
  • Diecast Historian – Those who have continued to share their knowledge of the hobby and industry whether in print or on the web digitally with audio, video or static representation
  • Diecast Entrepreneur – Those who have made a successful living while improving the Industry for the collector

Models issued in the last 12 months – Nominate Here

  • Small Scale (up to 1/64 Scale)
  • 1/43 Scale
  • 1/24th Scale
  • Large Scale (1/18th Scale and Larger)

Brands – Nominate Here

  • Novice Model Brand of the Year
  • Automotive Brand of the Year
  • Diecast Dealer of the Year

Feel free to make multiple nominations, but please only submit one vote per person, model, or brand.

Once May rolls around, we’ll close the nomination process, so the newly appointed Diecast Hall of Fame Selection Committee can review all submissions. The selection committee consists of some of the most experienced automotive minds in the industry. Andreas Berse has been the Chief Editor for Modellfahrzeug, the largest German publication on model cars of all scales for the last 22 years. Matt Boyd is the Co-Founder and Editor of DieCast X Magazine. Matthias Braun is the General Secretary of the AvD, the most traditional automobile club in Germany. Carson Lev was a designer for Mattel and past Director of Hot Wheels Licensing. Chis Walker is a high-end customizer and was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame in 2009. And Mike Zarnock has written a number of books on Hot Wheels.

The Committee will select the top five nominations per category, and then, the voting will begin! You’ll be able to vote on your favorite brands and models later on this Spring!

To read more about the Selection Committee, click here.

You’ll have until the end of May to vote for your favorites in the 2017 class of Diecast Hall of Fame Inductees. The winners will not be revealed until the night of the event, so be sure to get your tickets here!

Don’t forget that you can check out all the past inductees detailed profiles in the Diecast Hall of Fame Official Archive.

Diecast Hall of Fame Logo

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What Do Millennials Collect? Experience, Retro, Irony

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

There have been a lot of articles claiming that millennials don’t spend their money on “things,” so we thought it would be good to take a look at their collectibles market. Millennials tend to be more mobile than previous generations, so instead of buying a house (and things to fill it with), they tend to live lighter, putting that money towards experiences and travel.

So What Do Millennials Collect?

lego star wars destroyer

funko pop c-3poExperience, irony and retro are key ingredients. So going to to a Comic Con (experience) and snapping up the latest “Star Wars” items (retro) would fit the bill. The “Star Wars” franchise shows no signs of slowing down, given the number of movies, TV shows, and especially collectibles released in the last few years. And when those items have an inherent oddness (irony) to them like FunKo Pop figures, Lego building sets, or Hot Wheels character cars, you’ve hit the trifecta.

Each of those brands goes well beyond the “Star Wars” theme, so the potential for collectors to diversify is a huge market. Lego is now a $2+ billion brand  (there is a huge market for old and new kits!), Hot Wheels is grossing more than a billion dollars, and FunKo, despite only being founded in the late 1990s, is on its way there.

nintendo nesVideo games are a huge part of the Millennial experience too. but modern systems increasingly lack physical games to purchase in favor of downloads and online multiplayer action. However, older gaming systems have a certain appeal and have become a big collectible business. And it’s not just late 1990s/early 2000s games these people played while young, but even systems their parents might have owned, including Nintendo and Atari systems from the 1980s.

minus 5 dungeon of horrorsModern music doesn’t usually have a tangible form anymore either. It’s mostly downloaded and streamed, not really “owned” like it used to be. The huge exception: vinyl records are increasingly collectible. In fact vinyl records are projected to sell 40 million units in 2017, with sales nearing the $1 billion benchmark for the first time this millennium!

Some artists like Jack White (White Stripes, Dead Weather, Raconteurs, etc.) treat a new record as an additional level of performance art beyond the music itself. It’s one thing to record a record live in one take… it’s another to record it direct to vinyl, instantly making a very limited number of pressings available for only one day. Consider that White recently released a record that secretly had to be played from the middle of the record outward, and the odd presentation becomes almost as important as the music.

Speaking of “records,” they used to be widely sold in places called “stores.” To celebrate the continued existence of such shops, Record Store Day (April 22, 2017) has become a huge annual nationwide event. It’s fun to stand in the very long line in front of the store and explain it to those not in the know.

“Record Store Day? Are they giving away free stuff?”

“Nope. In fact, they’re charging even more today.”

death cab for cutie cassetteIt’s true. Many artists release special recordings just for this event, often very limited editions in premium packaging, and none of them at all cheap. A few years ago, a band called The Minus Five created just 750 copies of a five record set of new material, including about 100 copies with each record in a different color (Yours truly was able to snag one of the regular copies that day, but not the multi-hued version.) In another instance, Death Cab For Cutie decided to release a new album only on cassette only (which led to Cassette Store Day becoming a thing!). In most cases, these come with a digital download in case you don’t have the right listening equipment.

Speaking of which, stereo equipment is a big deal with Millennials as well. For all the convenience of a tiny device that can put 10,000 songs in your pocket, there is still great appeal to a big honking multi component vintage stereo system. They sound amazing but are anything else than cheap. The market is there and it’s growing.

star wars record player star wars record player
Which brings us to this Star Wars portable suitcase turntable, another Record Store Day exclusive for 2017. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original movie, this retro record player will be on sale in a store near you. Experiential, Ironic, Retro… this might be the ultimate collectible for millennials yet.

If you’re a Millennial, let us know what you collect in the comments selection!

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