The last six months have been, well, a thing, haven’t they. 2020 truly, is what we all expected and some had even hoped 2000 would’ve been. A shitty, deadly and utterly unbelievable year led into disarray by first learning that Brexit is for realsies, no honestly this time by the grace of my hair stylist’s non-existent soul, it’s happening, according to Boris Johnson. Essentially, this is going to either count for a massive price hike to accommodate the fun import levies I’ll be dealing with, or the very possible death of the company I use who have admitted several times over that most of their business is with mainland Europe. Then, a haughty case of the ultra sniffles broke out, then it very rapidly degenerated into a world wide full on pandemic that, just about locked the planet down. This of course brought a whole new array of problems with it, namely soul crushing pit-in-your-stomach uncertainty that one can only describe as a depression right from the fiery pits of Satan’s armpit.
Having been stuck working every day mid-pandemic, it killed my creativity and it honestly made me deadly concerned for everything I loved, people and things alike. Every single person on this planet has a problem that is their biggest concern and I have no right to go on claiming having the luxury to continue working during the pandemic was a good or bad thing. I can only say one thing, and its that this year is utterly fucked. And it’s only friggin’ July 1st. Now, depression, family members who I was gravely concerned for being near me would quite literally kill them, having had COVID-19 myself in early March and the fact that it is still ongoing, picking up heat again in China and making the United States a situation that no Wikipedia article is going to be able to describe in less than fifty thousand words. I swore the US was past its worst peak when the daily news from the US stopped using the fun key words like “corpse container trucks” and “mass graves” but it sounds like it might get even worse than that. Like, I know I always have interesting ways of saying things, this is true, but honestly no amount of curious analogies and colorful sentences is going to properly convey how much I hope it’s going to get better there, and soon.
I’m not a praying man, but holy crap I hope y’all get out of this shitstorm quickly and without too many casualties. And that previous paragraph went off into a whole different direction from the first ten words, what I’m trying to say is; this damn mess of a year is killing my creative vibes, I got hundreds of great ideas, half of which are ready to be designed right now, but I just can’t find my brain’s willpower to sit down and actually do them. Neither is actually looking at my damn e-mail anymore, half of the time my inbox doesn’t load or messages get straight deposited in the spam filter as Google seems to have a distinct hatred for all that is not @gmail addresses, so fuck me I guess. What also hasn’t helped, is the fact that the Netherlands’ only postal system decided to punish any trans-continental mail by slapping a extra ten euro on top of every package’s cost, driving the post costs through the ceiling all the while making it deathly slow. US imports are so swamped, I kid you not, that there’s a two week queue just to get into the country.
Despite geo-politics, the painful stupidity of a nation dragging down my hopes for this year ending well as it barely even fuckin’ started and our delightful planet playing a disturbing game of Plague Inc., the designing goes on as usual albeit slow. Bunch of good news in fact, a flip side to the awful Brexit and Coronavirus coin is something I was requested halfway through 2019 by a man called Paul Hettick.
A few weeks ago I got a heads-up that a package arrived for me from the States and inside was a crisply casted ’77 Ford Thunderbird complete aside for the chrome pieces which he’ll send later, but essentially I had all the tools to get started at making the decal sheet for the T-birds he would have casted, and I did! If you’d like to see a finished model, Paul’s finished his own a little while ago sans decals and it looks pretty damn amazing.
New Sets – 1977 & 1990 Ford Thunderbird
So essentially these sheets are a companion purchase to the T-bird itself, a downright breathtakingly well-crafted resin model, down to the pattern of the landau roof. Two sets were designed from the get-go, the 1977 Thunderbird Town Landau, the version to match the casting with and a fairly unique and over the top rare 1978 Diamond Jubilee Edition. I’m making sure the whole model gets as much attention as it can possibly get as well as having all the colors pre-loaded so they can be printed by the click of a button. Paul’s requested all the factory default colors and interior stitchings which I have completed but it’s always a option to have non-factory colors if so desired.
’77 Thunderbird Town Landau & ’77 Thunderbird Seat Patterns
The Diamond Jubilee edition was truly for the sickeningly rich; the stripe on the door would be “monogrammed” with your initials. Which was marketing speech for they’d sticker on your letters in a cursive font on the door in a cut-out between the stripes. It’s neat, but holy crap I can’t help shake the pretentious factor down to a normal level. Worry not, this set will be here soon.
’90 Thunderbird SC 35th Anniversary Edition
For the other end of the Thunderbird spectrum is the set for the 1990 Thunderbird SC 35th Anniversary edition, complete with all the interior stripes, door panel detail, floor mats and of course every emblem and piece of trim that adorns the exterior. The one thing I’m trying to do from now on, especially on sets for modern cars, is to add as much dash detail as I can but transparently. This way, I reckon, you can place the decal on the painted surface, then when its set you can continue going over the decal film with paint, around the letters and words, hiding its glossy nature a little more, kinda giving you fully detailed dash buttons.
The last of the Thunderbirds I got coming up is the ’87 Turbo Coupe, managed to get a brand new kit of the ol’ Monogram version the other day, quite cheap too and it’s got loooots of detail I can make use of.
New Sets – 1990 Mercury Cougar
To coincide with the similarity of the Thunderbird, I thought it’s high about time to have the ’90 Cougar XR7 covered too. Similar treatment as the ’90 Thunderbird, just less stripes as it, well, hadn’t had any. It happens. On the other hand, I got all the basic ready for all the respective versions of the 1969 and 1970 Cougar, once again try and get as much detail put through on the inside as on the outside. Taking the engine bay detail up was important too since I already got so many Ford Motor Company under hood decals done, I shouldn’t leave any out. This includes the quality control check decals, the radiator hose lettering, so forth.
’90 Cougar XR-7
New & Updated Sets – 1992-1994 Ford F-150
Long, long ago I did the F-150 Nite set and it turned out to be a pretty damn popular one, given the gradient is nightmarishly difficult to paint by hand and the printer seems to do a reasonable job of it. Though when I looked back at it, especially with the level of detail I try to reach these days, it was bare, bare little set. So as I was doing the F-150 SVT Lightning for the recently re-released AMT kit, I thought I’d go at it with all the detail I could muster. Similar to the Thunderbird, I did the opaque background interior dashboard details, once again spent a lot of time making the correct underhood decals and some lifelike license plates of the era. So not only is the Nite set updated to match the rest, there’s now also a ’94 F150 SVT Lightning set and a ’94 SVT Lightning Indy Pace Truck set to join it.
Top: ’92 F-150 “Nite” Edition
Bottom: ”94 F-150 SVT Lightning Indy 500 Pace Truck & ’94 F-150 SVT Lightning
New Sets – 1984-1988 Ford Sierra
Holy shit I am a happy camper, not only did I get my hands on a brand new Tamiya kit from 1984 – it’s the damn Sierra kit to boot. I’ve got big plans for this one down the line, but first it gets to be abused for decal creating purposes. My father’s owned a Sierra XR4i and a Scorpio Cosworth, a close relative to the Sierra RS Cosworth so I’ve got a close love for these types of cars. I figured I’d get the whole fleet done from the get-go, the bog-standard XR4i, the rather unique looking XR4i Turbo, the British/South African exclusive XR6 and XR8 editions and of course the RS Cosworth and RS500 Cosworth sets. These mid to late eighties Tamiya kits are legendarily detailed and build up as good as any modern Tamiya kit, the only shortcoming they have is that the decal sheet is depressingly limited of course. Two logos, six license plates, two window decals and a dash gauge – that’s it.
Top: ’85 Sierra XR6
Bottom: ’84 Sierra XR4i Turbo & ’84 Sierra XR4i
These should make it a whole lot more complete! I did the three available dashboards for ’84 through ’88 with the left hand km/h gauges, the Merkur weirdly visually limited 85MPH gauges and the right hand UK gauges. Also did the two versions of the console check panel, one with the digital center clock and one with the analog clock with the digital alarm set-up. And a proper Ford ECU-1 Dolby Surround radio tape-deck decal, accurate and all! Also accurate(as far as I can figure out) British eighties plates and a spare EU plate here and there.
Where are the RS Cozzies and the XR8, as well as the Merkurs? Well worry not, they’re here soon!
New Sets – 1978 Dodge D-Series
First two in what I can only describe as a “list of D-series sets”, of which I got twelve more planned. The Dude II was a very briefly advertised truck influenced by the ’71 Dude truck and boy that one took a bunch of creative license and handy work, the other is the ’78 Power Wagon with the curved stripes. The straight stripes version is a little more work to do and trust me when I say that it will arrive sooner or later, it’s just stuck with around 200 other sets that are planned.
’78 Adventurer 150 “Dude II” & ’78 Power Wagon Macho(Curved Stripes)
New Sets – 1975 Dodge Dart Sport “Hang Ten”
The Dodge Dart of 1975 and 1976 holds a special place in my heart, and the ’75 Hang Ten edition especially was a bonkers one. It had the loudest interior I’ve seen made by a manufacturer themselves and the outside was weirdly plain, yet obvious. It was targeted at such a small group of people that it wasn’t quite the hit it was meant to be, given surfers kind of only live around sea-connected places, unlike three quarters of the US states. But still, I love it and I tried to give it everything I could give it, all the emblems, all the stripes, every piece of loud-as-balls interiors and so forth. It’s a huge set and sooner or later the 1976 follow up, the “Spirit of ’76” edition too will join the decal line-up.
’75 Dart Sport Hang Ten
New Sets – 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport(and the Ranchero)
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Around a year ago I got a JoHan Gran Torino kit and it’s been boxed up since, even though I’ve been prepping it for design work since late November last year. Since then I think I’ve been asked around forty times if and when I’d do the 1972 Gran Torino, especially the laser stripes for that matter. Well, here they are at last! Coinciding with the 1971 Torino Cobra I built a little while ago, it reignited my passion for the Torinos and well, even though the ’72 Gran Torino kit doens’t have a engine compartment, I did still add all the needed decals for those who are nutty enough to crack open a fifty year old kit without pulling their hair out in panic. Other than that there’s the obvious contenders like the exterior badges, emblems and striping and of course the interior has the required amount of love given to it as well.
I also did the ’72 Ranchero at last, though I totally lazied through it because I was in all honesty frustrated to death by my PC dying on me twice mid-design, corrupting the file twice as a result. So I might’ve scraped most the Torino decals into this design to make up for lost time, but it still is a complete Ranchero set, just with a whole lot of Torino goodies I suppose!
’72 Gran Torino Sport(Laser stripes) & ’72 Gran Torino Sport(chrome trim)
New Sets – 1967 Plymouth GTX
For a long, long time I’ve held onto a ’68 and ’69 GTX kit by AMT and always wanted to do the decal sets for it though I always held off on it to do the full series and I’ve finally, finally gotten around to it. Now I chucked some money at a Revell ’67 GTX, it’s time to do the series proper, starting with the 1967 GTX set and soon to come the ’68 and ’69 GTX and Road Runner respectively, followed by the 1971 and 1972 when the new release of Revell’s GTX drops and sometime after that the 1970 GTX and Road Runners. Don’t worry, the odd 440 Super Commando air cleaner has been fixed up to look better by now.
’67 Plymouth GTX
New Sets – 1979 Subaru Brumby Mk.I 1.8L
Quick addition to the Subaru BRAT is the Australian version of the BRAT 4×4 GL, the Brumby. Which for 1979 came with delicious bright-as-hell yellow and orange stripes and interior plaid. And running horse decals set to a sunset with bold outlined Brumby call-outs. Quite literally as late 1970s as it could get. Some New South Wales license plates and Yokohama Radial 357’s as an Aussie bonus.
’79 Subaru Brumby Mk.I 1.8L
Reminder – 1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO
I had the good fortune of being ‘featured’ in a video by the Muscle Car Modeler who did a video review on Missing Link’s ’74 Ventura GTO resin kit. Long, long ago he bought a set of red/white/blue GTO stripes from me and it looks like he’s gonna finally be able to put ’em to good use on a really, really good looking kit. He didn’t get around to showing the stripes on camera or a preview of it so I figured I’d remind people(just like in the video) that I’ve got the three factory colors designed and ready:
Orange/red and verdant green/dark green are the other two choices, though just like usual any color combination is available.
Whats coming up next?
I figured this would be a good addition to the end here, I’ve always got around 40 good ideas floating around with a fifth of the work invested done already but I finally pulled on the ol’ bootstraps and made a little list of those that will absolutely, no fucking around, come first before anything:
1976 Skyhawk “Free Spirit”
1976 Skyhawk “Hawk Accent”(DL1 Package)
1976 Skyhawk Nighthawk
1977 Skyhawk “Free Spirit”
1979 Skyhawk Road Hawk
1981 Regal Turbo Indy 500 Pace Car
1987 Regal GNX
1977 Adventurer “Warlock II”
1977 Power Wagon 150 “War Horse”
1978 Adventurer “True Spirit”(Sweptline)
1978 Adventurer 150 “Jean Machine
1978 Adventurer “Top Hand Truck”
1979 Macho Power Wagon 150(Straight Stripes)
1979 Power Wagon 150 “Pick-M-Up”
1979 Power Wagon 150 “Palomino”
1970 Chevelle SS
1971 Chevelle “Heavy Chevy”
1973 Chevelle SS
1973 Chevelle SS Baldwin Motion Phase III
1975 Chevelle Laguna S-3
1976 Dart Lite “Spirit of ’76”
1998 F-150 “NASCAR Edition”
1999 F-150 SVT Lightning
1985 Merkur XR4Ti
1985 Sierra XR8
1986 Merkur XR4Ti Detroit Grand Prix IV Pace Car
1986 Sierra RS Cosworth
1987 Sierra RS500 Cosworth
1968 Cougar XR-7
1969 Cougar Eliminator
1969 Cougar Eliminator CJ-428
1969 Cougar XR-7
1970 Cougar Eliminator
1972 Cougar XR-7
1972 Road Runner GTX
1970 Cyclone Spoiler
1970 Cyclone Spoiler II
1971 Cyclone Spoiler
1977 Thunderbird “Accent Stripe Package”
1978 Thunderbird Diamond Jubilee Edition
1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
1971 Challenger R/T
1971 Challenger R/T(Side Stripe)
1978 Colt Challenger R/T
1978 Bobcat GT
1979 Bobcat Pincat
1989 Mustang LX CFD-25
1992 Mustang Shelby AAC Mk1
1993 Mustang SVT Cobra R
1999 Mustang SVT Cobra
2010 Shelby Mustang GT500
2012 Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake
2013 Shelby Mustang GT500
2017 Mustang GT4 #59 KOHR Motorsports
Those are on my to-do list, at the top and they will be seen to first. Other than that, I’m still open for business, just at a snail pace. And shipping is ungodly expensive too now, which I truly am sorry about but that’s just how it is for the foreseeable future it seems.