Official Archive Posts

Dave Chang of KustomCity Adds Official Archive to hobbyDB

kustomcity dave changThe latest Official Archive on hobbyDB is as much about a diecast model  company as it is about a designer and customizer. Dave Chang has added KustomCity as well as his extensive history to our database, and we couldn’t be more excited!

hot wheels scrape modifiedHe’s worked for Hot Wheels and Muscle Machines over the years, creating wild graphics for a wide range of models. For Hot Wheels, he is best known for the Scrape Modified, a heavily customized 1939 Lincoln coupe, and smaller scale models like the the 2003 Redline Club Drag Bus.

kustomcity evo drag busMore recently, Dave is best known as the mastermind behind the KustomCity Evo Drag Bus series. If you aren’t familiar with these models, imagine if the Hot Wheels Drag bus were crossed with a streamlined steam locomotive. These 1/64 models were designed from the ground up, a totally original take on the modest Volkswagen Bus. The long, sleek, aggressively tapered body work suggests an fiercely fast vehicle designed to do one thing: Go very fast in a straight line.

kustomcity firewagenHowever, on closer inspection, the Evo Dragster is designed for more than that. Besides, the Bus variant, there is a pickup version that has been further tricked out for all kinds of uses. There’s a tow truck model, from the “Big Tow” series. And a fire engine (the “Firewagen”). Actually, there are several versions with built in cargo, such as motorcycles or surf boards (the “Surfwagen”). But who are we kidding here… these things are anything but utilitarian.

kustomcity surfenwagenDave has created an enormous number of different paint schemes including candy chrome hues (aptly named “Over-Chrome”), drab military schemes that defy the word “drab”, and wild murals of crazy graphics. Depsite the limited production numbers, there are even rarer “chase” versions. With their large areas of relatively flat surfaces, the Evo vehicles have been popular with other customizers as well.

david chang diecast hall of fame

Dave Chang (lower left) and the rest of the original 2009 Diecast Hall of Fame class.

Dave is also a member of the inaugural class of honorees in the Diecast Hall of Fame from 2009, which should come as no surprise. In the almost decade since that honor he hasn’t slowed his roll one bit.

kustomcity evo drag bus

Brumm Becomes Latest Archive Added to hobbyDB

brumm ferarri transporterBrumm, a longtime Italian model vehicle manufacturer, is the latest company to host its archives at hobbyDB.

Brumm has been in the model car business since the early 1970s, making nicely detailed, affordable models in 1:43 scale. As an Italian based company, they’ve understandably placed quite a bit of emphasis on Ferraris, Fiats and Alfa Romeos. However, they’ve also paid a lot of attention to other European marques such as Lotus and Mercedes-Benz.

brumm horse carriage

They started out offering not cars, but horse drawn carriages and steam engines at first. In fact, the name “Brumm” comes from a loose pronunciation of “brougham,” a type of carriage.

brumm ferrari f1

After a few years, they expanded into cars, mostly contemporary, famous race cars from Formula 1 and LeMans. Later offerings would include models of vintage racers, dating back to the 1930s, while they continued to make current cars from the ’70s and 80s. The range also grew to include street vehicles, often quirky ones such as the Fiat 600 Multipla van.

brumm multipla

Instead of mass assembly line production, Brumm models have always been built by hand at their factory. Over the last 25 years or so, Brumm cut back on the number of new releases in favor of more detailed, limited edition offerings. They’ve also focused on creating dioramas that use vintage photographs and artwork to show off their models. The dioramas have in turn spawned a line of figures pit crew and other track personnel, which can be used to enhance any brand of models.

brumm porsche

Brumm’s own website focuses on their later models, but they generously provided hobbyDB with a complete history of their production to put on display here. With their long history versus the current production, it’s safe to say that the Brumm archive on hobbyDB is by far the most complete information you will find about these models anywhere online.

brumm fiat assembly line

Model Auto Review Archives Up and Running at hobbyDB

MAR Model Auto ReviewThe publishers of Model Auto Review magazine are adding their Official Archive to the hobbyDB database. The magazine was published for 31 years as a print edition, and we are working with the current editors to make sure every issue is documented in the database.

Rod and Val Ward published the premiere issue of the magazine in Summer 1982. It started quarterly, with the season and year as the date, and then expanded to a fifth Christmas issue for the next few years. Rod and Val were the owners of Modelauto, a model car shop in Leeds, England. He is also known for his series of books about models and cars. “Rod, the first Editor, set the tone of the magazine in the first issue,” said, Maz Woolley, current MAR Online Editor and Website Manager. “All scales, materials, and eras of model vehicles are covered: model and toy cars, trucks, buses, etc.

In addition to Rod Ward and Maz Woolley, the staff of MAR Online includes Karl Schnelle, US Editor and Website Contributor and Hans-Georg Schmitt, Consultant Editor for Germany. Schenelle has also contributed to hobbyDB as a Curator and Champion.

MAR Model Auto Review

Even though much of the information about each issue can be found on MAR’s own website, by putting it on hobbyDB, content can be linked to information about relevant models, brands, and people. These additional connections make the archive on hobbyDB extra useful.

As a British publication, it makes sense that their biggest readership came from the U.K. “Most readers were from the UK naturally, followed by the American, German, French, Dutch, and Scandinavian readers. Some readers were also from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and Russia.” Exact subscription data isn’t easily available from the early years, but their very active Letters to the Editor section reflects these data.

MAR Model Auto Review

The magazine changed in ways that improved the quality of printing (especially the photography) and frequency reaching 10 issues a year in 1990. The name on the cover became “MAR Model Auto Review for the next decade or so.” Despite these changes, the focus remained the same as in that first issue. “We have followed this guidance through all the iterations of the publication.’ said Maz. “Our purpose has always been to provide information for collectors.”

In the mid 2000s, the most radical change occurred with a new, smaller page size. “Circulation was down to 25% of the 1982 numbers and printing costs were up.  The advantage of the smaller format was easier portability, better color reproductions, and better B&W photos.”

Issue 276, December 2013 marked the final print edition of MAR. From that point, content was released online, still in a monthly format for 2014. Since then, the “MAR Online,” as it is now called, has released articles in a blog format, publishing news as it happens rather than as a monthly collection. The 2014 issues are no longer online in their original form, but most of the content has been compiled in the new format.

MAR Model Auto Review

As for the print edition, the content is gradually being digitized and added to this website. Meanwhile, we have begun adding them to the hobbyDB archives. So far, there are only few early ones missing that images are not available for. If you happen to have any very early issues, MAR and hobbyDB would be thrilled if you could let us know.

Sergio Goldvarg, Collector and Manufacturer, Hosts Archive at hobbyDB

goldvarg collection

The Goldvarg Collection of model cars is the latest addition to the official archives at hobbyDB. If that name sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you know Sergio Goldvarg as the world record holder for the biggest collection of large scale model cars. Or that he has a collection of George Barris TV Batmobiles in every scale (including a real, drivable one). Or that he is a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Board.

sergio goldvarg collection

Besides all that, however, he was the founder of a company best known for producing models of American cars from the 1940s and 50s, The Goldvarg Collection.

goldvarg collection kaiser henry j

Sergio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and fell in love with Matchbox cars at an early age. His very first one was the Matchbox Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine, which he still owns today with its original box, and in perfect shape. But when he was six years old, he received a 1/43 scale Solido Jaguar D-Type, and his fever for collecting took off. While he is best known for his large scale collection, he has countless 1/43 scale cars, and his own products favored that scale as well. By the age of ten, he was buying damaged, even nearly destroyed model cars and restoring them. “I came up with an interesting idea,” he said. “I began placing ads in the local newspapers offering to buy used miniature collections. I would restore each of the models and offer them to the shops in my neighborhood. Soon I had enough money to buy my own toys and collectibles.”

sergio goldvarg collection

Sergio with just a tiny fraction of his large scale diecast collection.

His next jobs, as an auto racing journalist (he would also later be involved in the organization of the Argentine Grand Prix), and an architect, related to his passion for cars and design as well. “I was the first journalist in South America to write weekly about diecast cars,” he said. His model car column ran in Corsa and Parabrisas, (two well-known South American motor racing magazines) and later Classic Wheels magazine. He still writes today.

goldvarg collection factory

Goldvarg Collection models required quite a bit of hand assembly.

As his collection grew, he also served as an Advisor for Buby, an Argentine diecast manufacturer.

So all that passion and experience eventually led him to start his own model manufacturing company, Miniturbo, in the 1980s and it featured all sorts of vehicles, trucks, vans, pick-ups and buses, which he designed himself.  These were created primarily as toys for younger kids, but he decided to try his hand at something geared more for collectors.

goldvarg collection 1957 oldsmobile

Thus was born the Goldvarg Collection, the first 1/43 diecast cars produced in South America. “Back in those days I was blown away by the beauty and conceptual design of 1950s -’60s American cars,” he said. “To me the British white metal models were the best, but their line lacked some of the items I treasured the most, such as the 1957 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe. I loved its sexy lines. So the time had come to create my own scale line of models. That Starfire was the basis the first offering in his new line, one year after he set out to start the company.

goldvarg collection packard wagon

His mission was to produce models of cars that he loved, but that had never been manufactured in any scale. In fact, the slogan for his company became, ”From a Collector, to the Collectors.” Some of his models, such as the Kaiser Henry J, and the Packard Woodie Station Wagon 1948 (with real mahogany wood in the sides!), were best sellers when compared with other well-established brands, so his hunch was correct.

He took that first model to Autofanatics, a store in Sherman Oaks, California.  The owner immediately ordered 100 units, and collectors that were in the store at that moment wanted to buy it regardless of price.

In the early 2000s, he moved to the U.S., where among his other tasks, he opened the first “scale model cars related restaurant.” Waffleworks, in Hollywood, Florida, has a permanent exhibit of nearly 900 of his model cars. His idea was to share part of his diecast collection in a place with a unique atmosphere. And serve great breakfast all day!

sergio goldvarg collection

Since 2004, Sergio Goldvarg has been the New Product Development Advisor for Sun Star, working mostly in 1/18 scale. He has helped develop such models as the 1952 Nash Ambassador, 1958 Ford Fairlane 500, 1960 Plymouth Fury, 1956 Mercury Montclair, 1955 Pontiac Star Chief, 1959 Pontiac Bonneville, 1951 Kaiser Henry J, 1959 Mercury Park Lane and 1959 Oldsmobile. Over the last decade or so, Sergio has worked with several model car companies such Sunstar.  In 2011, he wrote a history of Carlos Pairetti, a famous Argentine motor racing driver.

With all that on his plate, we’re glad and very fortunate that Sergio has the time to be on our Advisory Board as well.  While he was never able to put a complete archive of Miniturbo vehicles online before some of them were lost to history, he jumped at the opportunity to document the Goldvarg Collection. You can see the complete archive here.

Replicarz Adds Their Growing Archive to hobbyDB

replicarz marmon wasp

The ranks of diecast companies hosting their archives at hobbyDB keeps growing with the addition of Replicarz to the fold.

Replicarz should be a familiar name to diecast collectors, as they have been one of the premier online retailers for model vehicles for over 20 years. Over the last couple of years, however, they have jumped into producing their own exclusive models as well.

replicarz johnny lightning special

Their offerings span a wide range of famous race cars from Indy to Can Am to land speed record cars, produced in 1:43 and 1:18 scales. Bodies are cast in either resin or diecast metal depending on model, with hundreds of delicate detail parts.

replicarz march sullivan

From Indy, you might recognize Al Unser’s Indy 500 winning 1971 PJ Colt, better known as the Johnny Lightning Special. Or maybe Danny Sullivan’s 1985 March Miller car better known as the “Spin & Win,” since he did an unintentional, complete 360 degree donut during the race and still drove to victory. And then there’s the Smokey Yunick Offset Roadster, truly one of the most bizarre designs to ever compete on any track ever. Just look at that thing! Each model is limited to 333 pieces in 1/43 scale, so they are almost as rare as the real cars.

replicarz yunick

replicarz challenger 1

The land speed cars include Mickey Thompson’s 1959 Challenger 1 with detailed interior visible through those tiny windows. The Can Am series honors the short-lived but amazing series with cars such as the 1974 Shadow DN4, one of the most iconic liveries in racing.

replicarz shadow can am

replicarz stp

Replicarz also offers some diorama accessories such as the “Mr. STP” figure in his red blazer, extra wheel and tire sets with very specific applications, and a 1/18 display case with brick pavement for that extra touch of Indy.

Many of the designs are listed as “future releases,” so not only is our list complete, but it even predicts the future. One of the advantages of following Replicarz on hobbyDB is that you can add these cars to your Wishlist, and when they become available, you’ll be first to know.