Master Model Builder and Collector Mike Garrett’s Top-10 Builds


Mike Garrett, aka Mike2345, is a master builder and collector of model cars and lots more. Today he take us through 10 of his favorites from more than six decades of pursuing his passion.

 


 

Hi! I am Michael (Mike) Garrett. While I assembled plastic models growing up in the 50s, I got busy with college and work and didn’t get back into the hobby until the late 80s. I started with the 1/43 Franklin Mint “Cars From the 50s,” started building some plastic and diecast models but mostly collecting diecast and white metal models, repairing damaged models, modifying models, and building dioramas.

I also took up furniture building and built all of my display cases. Trying to pick out my favorite 10 models was quite a challenge and I argued with myself over quite a few. Finally decided on 10, some for quality and detail, some for uniqueness, and some for what they remind me of. In no particular order, here are my 10 (and I am still arguing with myself.)

The picture is a panorama of me in my “man cave” showing both my models and the display cases I built for them and the work desk where I work on them.

 

Mike Garrett Top-10

 

10. 1940 LeTourneau Super C Tournapull Scraper in 1/50 scale by SpecCast

And now for a really off the wall choice.  I worked my way through college working in the LeTourneau Steel Mill full time. We made parts for LeTourneau earth moving equipment like this one as well as parts for their Jack-up offshore rigs. After graduating from college I ended up designing drilling equipment for these same rigs. I started off as a torch cutter trainee but when I dropped a piece of steel on my foot and cut two toes off, they figured I didn’t have enough toes for that job and made me a template maker. Lots of good memories, especially with the people I worked with!

 

9. 1957 Ford Thunderbird ROD 016 in 1/43 by Brooklin

I have always viewed the 1957 Thunderbird as the best design of all Thunderbirds. This model has excellent lines, super gun metal gray metallic paint and exceptional taillights. I love the “rod” design they chose. I can see myself driving this car.

 

8. 1982 Camaro Z/28 in 1/18 scale by Sun Star

I know this one is a strange choice, but I owned a 1984 Camaro Z/28, and it is one of my favorite cars I owned. I took Sunstar’s Z/28 and modified it as much as I could into a duplicate of the one I owned. I repainted it in the actual color it was, Dark Briar Brown Metallic.  I even put duplicates of the same license plate on it. It was a fun car to drive and the one I was driving when I met my wife.  While it is not high quality or detail, it has good memories.

 

7. 1956 Buick Centurion (Concept car) Great American Dream Mach #12 in 1/43 scale by SMTS

Love the concept cars of the 50s. SMTS Great American Dream Machine collection of concept cars is outstanding, and I have been trying to collect all of them and have 11 so far. I enjoy looking for design elements that found their way into later production models. Of the ones I have so far, the Buick Centurion stands out and was a fabulous design. Some of the elements which found their way into production models, the “sweep-spear” chrome is similar to the 1957 Buicks, the rear fins are like those on the 1959 Buicks. One that doesn’t show up on the model is the rear-view camera which is just now becoming common place. The see through top allows a great view of the interior.

 

6. 1966 Mustang GT-350-H (Hertz Rental) in 1/43 scale by Brooklin

You have to love the early Mustangs and the Brooklin collection of them in 1/43 scale is outstanding. I never rented one of the actual GT-350 Hertz cars, but I do have Brooklins complete collection of 5 and the red one just stands out visually. On all the gold striping is exceptional and the wheels are great.

 

5. 1950 Frazer Standard in 1/43 scale by Conquest & 1951 Frazer Manhattan in 1/43 scale by Highway Travelers

A bit unusual but I have always liked the “orphan” cars and the Frazers in particular. It took me a while, but I finally found these two at reasonable prices. Both were actually made by SMTS for the respective companies. They have excellent fit, detail, and quality. Their paint is outstanding. I like the little added touches like fog and spotlights.

 

4. 1947 Chrysler Windsor Town & Country Woody in 1/43 scale by Brooklin

This model is part of Brooklin’s NBC collection. The detail and quality are unbelievable! Love the roof rack, the mirrors, and spotlights detail.  Simulated wood is done very well. It has extensive chrome window trim and other chrome elements. Inside the chrome window cranks, door handles and arm rests stand out. Just a really outstanding model and I think the best 1/43 in my collection.

 

3. 1955 Studebaker President Speedster in 1/24 scale by Danbury Mint

The early 50s Studebakers were stunning, and this model shows one of them in an exceptional manner. The choice of colors in the two-tone paint is fabulous as well as the actual paint job itself. The lines are exceptional as well as the quality.  From a visual standpoint, this one stands out among the models in my 1/24 scale collection. The engine has great paint, detail and wiring. When you open the trunk, the simulated weather seal looks very realistic. The underside has more detail than normal.  Overall it is a beautiful model that really stands out.

 

2. 1940 Lincoln Zephyr coupe, 1/43 scale by Brooklin & 1937 Lincoln Zephyr coupe, 1/18 scale by Ertl

This was a tough one and I cheated by including two versions. I have always thought the late 30s and early 40s Zephyr 3 window coupes were some of the most beautiful American coupes ever made. And these two models showcase them excellently from two ends of the scale range. The Ertl is part of their Percision 100 series and has great fit and detail though I did have to remove some paint rash from the roof. The Brooklin is a beautiful model with great lines and detail and a super paint job. It has quite a bit of exterior chrome parts and I thought the taillights were exceptional.

 

1. 1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, won 1965 Monza 1000km, driven by Bondurant/Grant, 1/18 scale by Exoto

This Cobra is a beautiful model of an automobile I have always admired, and it has the highest level of detail of any in my collection with the exception of two Pocher models I assembled. It is always a challenge to find new detail elements you had missed before. The engine detail with wiring and plumbing is exceptional. The interior rocks with realistic gauges, seat belt detail, fire extinguisher and pedals.

 

Mike was curious which one is your favorite of these (or add yours!)?

 

 

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Karl
Karl
8 months ago

I see why you had a hard time with picking ten! These are all great! I do love 1/43 so y fav in this bunch has to be the Hertz Mustang! Then again that Lincoln is so ice in that red color! 🙂

Jerry Liudahl
Jerry Liudahl
8 months ago

Very nice selections! With a large eclectic collection,, I can fully appreciate the dilemma of trying to narrow down a top ten in my collection. I would probably have to make a list of favorites by scale, type (race cars, production, trucks, etc.), sentimental value and try to narrow down from there. My top “which would I grab first” as of today is this Alfa Romeo truck by GILA Modelli in 1/43, but have a number of close seconds!

I envy you making your own cabinets. Learning cabinet making is a skill I wish I had picked up. Enjoyed your top ten! What is your top five of models you don’t have?

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Michael Garrett
Michael Garrett
8 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Liudahl

Interesting question! I would have to say a couple from the Brooklin NBC Collection. I would love to have the Lincoln Zephyr and Hudson in the detail the NBC collection has. And maybe one of the SMTS Mustangs. And the 1957 Birdnest Thunderbird from Brooklin.

Thrasher
Thrasher
8 months ago

For me the Town & Country! But all very nice. How good is the workmanship on the SMTS? I do not have models, neither did I ever see one.

Michael Garrett
Michael Garrett
8 months ago
Reply to  Thrasher

The STMS models were made some time ago but have excellent workmanship and detail.

Michael Garrett
Michael Garrett
8 months ago
Reply to  Thrasher

Interesting question! I would have to say a couple from the Brooklin NBC Collection. I would love to have the Lincoln Zephyr and Hudson in the detail the NBC collection has. And maybe one of the SMTS Mustangs. And the 1957 Birdnest Thunderbird from Brooklin.

John Kuvakas
John Kuvakas
7 months ago

They’re all excellent. But that Zephyr steals my heart. Great article, Mike!

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