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Hot Wheels "Tooned Up" for Campers

I got the idea from James Bateman in the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare group on Facebook: There’s a Hot Wheels pack called “Tooned Up,” out in at least two color configurations, that consists of a “toony” truck cab that just MIGHT look big enough for a 32mm scale driver, and then a “camper” trailer that looks about big enough as well, and it all has a very retro vibe.

Of course, Hot Wheels is pretty squishy where “scale” is concerned, being a toy line where you might get motorcycles, ambulances, airplanes, helicopters, sedans, buses, food trucks, VW bugs, shopping carts, bumper cars, a toilet on wheels, race cars, big rigs, space shuttles, etc., that are the SAME SIZE – and regardless of size, if they have wheels, those wheels are often the same size, too.

My rule of thumb: a Hot Wheels sedan or pickup truck is close to 20mm scale (too small). A Hot Wheels motorcycle MIGHT be close to 32mm scale (it varies). Hot Wheels “transporter” trucks vary greatly, since they have to be big and wide enough to carry other Hot Wheels cars.

In this case, the “toony” cab makes it look as if a 32mm figure might fit inside … but upon disassembly, the teeny-tiny seats inside make it clear that 20mm was more along what they had in mind. (Although, that driving suit in the back of the camper looks like it could be painted up as a 32mm scale vault suit without much trouble.)

Unlike classic Hot Wheels, many of the body portions and support pegs are plastic rather than die cast metal, so I found it pretty easy to grind out the “rivets” on the support posts and to disassemble the toy with the help of a power drill and a vice. Only the front cab shell is die cast metal – and unfortunately it has a large, thick support pole right in the middle of the cab, which defies my re-imagining of this truck as a one-seater a la the Pick-R-Up (but then, those two tiny seats and steering wheel in the interior defy that idea as well). I spray-primed all the components separately (save for the tinted “windshield,” which I left untouched safe for a bit of dry-brushing of various greys to “grunge” it up a bit). I would have left the windshield out, or replaced it with some “broken” pieces of blister plastic, but given the tiny-scale interior and the central support post I couldn’t easily remove, I opted to put it back in and obscure the interior.

Note: The chrome sections do NOT hold spray primer as well as I’d like. Paint flecks off those sections very easily with normal handling. In retrospect, I think I should have taken some sandpaper to the high points (at least) for the chrome parts, to rough it up a bit for better paint anchoring.

I used some epoxy putty to gap-fill the holes formed by the hinges for the “funny car” opening feature of the camper/trailer. Otherwise, I didn’t have to do much at all other than repaint it. I opted to remove the included wheels and replace them with some scrap bits to give the impression of bare wheel hubs minus any tires (those having long since weathered/worn away). The detailing of the door on the side is a bit subtle, so you may have to outline the door to make it visible again. (I tried gouging out the outlines of the door with a hobby knife to make it show up better, but that was tedious and largely fruitless work, and I’d not recommend it. I wouldn’t risk taking a Dremel to it, for the high chance of skipping outside of the intended working area if I’m not perfectly careful.)

For the rigs/cabs, I toyed with the idea of making their tires “flat,” or replacing them with hubs, but I didn’t have enough bare hubs of the right size to manage that. Instead, I just grunged them up a bit, and hope the players won’t care/notice. On one of the trucks, I didn’t prime the metal shell, instead leaving its basic green, but I took a scrub pad and wore down the painted patterns on the surface to make it as plain-green as possible (and to scuff up some of the shine). For the flatbed, I used a Tehnolog/Robogear/Platformer construction set panel, with some epoxy putty to anchor it and provide more support.

The other I primed grey, then blotched with graphite grey, burnt sienna, and zinc grey to get a rusty look, and then again with some dry-brush-spatter dolphin grey for a look of near-white paint wearing away. I used a pill bottle (cap and neck sawed off and replaced with a plastic round 25mm base, and the back with an added Tehnolog panel for rear doors, with elastic putty for gap-filler) for the cargo area, and did some freehand work on a “U-MUV” made-up logo (with the idea that it’s an alternate-universe equivalent to a certain real-world moving-truck rental company).

Fallout: Wasteland Warfare raider model “Avery” shown for scale reference.

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