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Are You a Model NASCAR Fan?

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Are You a Model NASCAR Fan?

Bill Crittenden
The Crittenden Automotive Library
March 4, 2007

Are NASCAR fans do-it-yourselfers?  Judging by the heavy participation by sponsors such as Craftsman, Home Depot, Lowe's and Menards, you might think so.  But not anymore when it comes to certain NASCAR collectibles.

It used to be that if you wanted a 1:24th scale version of your favorite NASCAR race car on your desk, it involved some work.  You had to buy a model kit and some adhesive.  If you wanted it done well, you also needed some body filler, sandpaper and hobby knife.  Modelers' first efforts usually aren't spectacular, and it took practice to get it right.

Nowadays, Action, Team Caliber, and others make such remarkably detailed products that all it takes for a well-detailed race car replica on your shelf is the willingness to put anywhere from $10 to $100 in someone else's hands and unwrap the car from three layers of protective packaging.

The availablilty of top quality die cast at affordable prices in the late 1990's coincides with the rapid decline of stock car modeling, and many people don't see the timing as a coincidence.

However, NASCAR models should not be overlooked.  Die cast designs are varied, but not unlimited.  There are many model kits and aftermarket decal sets that can be used to make cars that were never produced by the major die cast manufacturers.

You may have seen a handful of model kits in the local Michael's or Hobby Lobby, but that is a mere sampling of what is available.  Go shopping online or to a swap meet and you can find old, out-of-production model kits for dozens of drivers.  Or you can buy the model kit for the car and apply decals from aftermarket producers such as Slixx, Racescale, Fred Cady or Chimneyville Hobbies, to name just a few.

Also, model car designs are limited only by the imagination of the builder.  Ever wondered what Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s paint scheme would look like on 80's Monte Carlo aero coupe?  All it takes is an old Monte Carlo model kit and a sheet of Dale's current decals.  Want to make up a model car with your own name or company's logo on the car?  Blank decal paper is available for use in a home computer printer.

Building a NASCAR model properly is a long and tedious process, with all the engine parts and detailed roll cage adding to the many steps normally involved in building a model.  A tip from master modeler John Walczak is to build several similar cars at a time.  Most model kits from the major manufacturers (AMT and Revell-Monogram) are the same basic car frame with different bodies, so getting parts confused between cars is almost impossible if you're building a set of similar cars.  Making it into an assembly-line process saves preparation time.  Also, many steps require time for glue to dry, and making multiple cars means that available time is not wasted waiting.

In addition to the satisfaction of a job well done, there are model car clubs you can join and contests to enter.  You can create special NASCAR collectibles that no one else has, and then show them off and maybe even win awards for them.

You don't get that in a box from Action.

This article originally appeared on InsidethePitBox.com as "There Is Still Hope For The Model Car Hobbyist"

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