Small Talk Issue 18

with Mike Renaut

Get ‘em off

Strippers; which is your favourite? I’m talking about paint stripping. Brake fluid, Dettol, oven cleaner – which works best for you? Let me know and I’ll publish the best results so we can all benefit from the healthy sight of good, clean naked bodies.

I Can Drive ‘55

Eagle-eyed readers (whatever that means) will have spotted last month’s Frenching how-to was conducted on a Tri-Chevy; in fact, the AMT 1955 Chevy two-door post Bel Air sedan. I’ve been pestering Round 2 via their website and Facebook page for ages to reissue it, and finally heard rumours earlier this year that they might. Then the ex-MPC flip nose ‘57 came out and I thought that was it. But as I write this, in early November, the ‘55 should be out any day…

I don’t have one yet, but it appears to be virtually a straight reissue of the first version kit #6771 that builds stock or as a mild custom, with the narrow and wide Centreline Auto Drag wheels and a few mild custom parts. It doesn’t appear the gasser parts from the Nomad are included, but we can no doubt expect an improved decal sheet.

Why should we be excited when it’s something like the fifth time this kit’s been out? Well, it’s always been one of my favourites (in spite of that annoying moulded-in exhaust pipe – resin chassis with it removed are available) because it just has so much possibility. I’ve built two and currently have at least four more on the go; two gassers, a mild kustom and a replica of the Two Lane Blacktop car that was started way back in 1991, when all I had for reference was the VHS version I recorded off Moviedrome sometime in the Eighties.

I also have that ‘55 from last month, which I’ve been debating introducing as a Small Talk Project Car, so perhaps the timing is perfect. It’s coming together as a Sixties gasser with a Pro-street influence. The finished result should have a vibe like one of the better quality Hot Wheels. I won’t be showing it as a detailed step-by-step – we don’t have time or space – so it’ll be more just looking at some of the methods I use to widen wheels, create wheel-tubs, make engine mounts and so on. If you have questions then get in touch and I’ll be happy to go into more detail. Fingers crossed there’ll be an interesting paint job too. I have one in mind…

Speaking of diecasts, I also collect 1:64 cars and might well do a quick custom conversion on a Hot Wheels car sometime soon. We’re not purely restricted to plastic here you know, I’ve plans to do some resin builds too. If any of it turns out successfully, you’ll see it here in 2019.

Tall Arm Of The Law

I bought this American Diorama figure online some time ago and was unable to find out more about it, until a friend in America showed me there are a few more figures in the range, including an American Graffiti-style waitress on roller skates and two mechanic figures; one reaching upward as if working on a car on a lift, the other slightly hunched and presumably pushing a car.

The soft plastic figures come ready painted and, being naturally posed, generally look realistic. This police detective figure is a large 1:24 measuring 80mm tall. Which, by my reckoning (and an online conversion website), means he’s 6’3″. There’s now a website at that has various accessories available, from tools to complete garage buildings and hundreds of figures in various scales up to 1:12. I’m not sure how expensive they’ll be to import, so if anyone finds them in the UK please let me know.