If 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.”
At 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.”
“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.”
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.)
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.”
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.