Welcome to the first, expanded version of Mini Muscle. It’s great to be here! And just for starters, this time we get to ride along with the cover story and look at models of the legendary A9X Torana. I was a skinny, awkward teenager when this car broke cover and it’s stayed with me ever since as just about the ultimate dream to own one.
As you’d both hope and expect, the A9X has been made in model form and continues to be. Indeed, Classic Carlectables has announced a 1:18 model of the Brock/Richards Bathurst winner from 1978. And if they’re making one… well, it costs a bloody fortune to tool up for a 1:18 model, so you have to get plenty of use out of it; we can expect more A9Xs to come. Unfortunately, they don’t have pictures of a prototype yet. Patience, grasshoppers…
Biante made plenty of A9X models too, over the years. They made Brock, Morris, Grice, Moffat and Janson cars in hatchbacks and Morris and Brabham cars in four-door form. There are also several road-going versions out there. But, you’ll need to do some on-line shopping. All of the above were available on eBay at the time of writing, but Biante themselves have no stock.
There are also some in 1:43 and 1:64. Again, there are none in stock at the makers, but you’ll find them on eBay or at retailers. Here’s a tip, go to the Supercars meetings, as lots of models are on sale in the merchandise areas.
Biante and Classics are not the only sources of A9X fabulousness. Trax made a few, including a twin-set box of the 1977 cars of Brock/Brock (this issue’s cover car) and Johnny Rutherford/ Janet Guthrie. The twin-set came out ages ago, in 1999; I bought mine at the time, as there were virtually no A9X models around then.
Speaking of Bathurst 1977, it’s also the 40th anniversary of the Moffat Ford Dealers Team’s crushing 1-2 victory. And again, there are models out there commemorating this feat, but nothing currently in stock by the makers. Trax were first cab off the rank, modeling the twin-set of these cars in 1993. I’ve also got this twinset and they’re a great example of the state-of-the-art at that time.
The models have no roll-cages, they have skinny wheels and some of the tampo printing is a bit skew-whiff. But, at that time, that was all there was; if you weren’t prepared to compromise, you did without.
Mind you, later versions corrected this, with Biante doing a 1-2 twin-set in 1:64 scale, the box including a Stonie cartoon. There’s also a Biante 1:18 scale XC Falcon, the Moffat ATCC winner.
Classic Carlectables did the 1-2 set in 1:18 scale in 2009, their set is also in a display box with a photo from the race as a backdrop.
But what if you want your own twin-set and aren’t prepared to pay hundreds of dollars? Well, gentle reader, I can suggest at least one option: do it yourself. Not being stupidly rich, I opted to use a pair of Hot Wheels’ 2009 XB Falcon coupes as a starting point. At the time they were released, there was a feeding frenzy among collectors. I managed to grab a few for myself and they’d sat in boxes since. Well, now it was time for two of them to realise their destiny.
First, I dismantled them. I used an electric drill to drill out the rivets (there are two) holding the cars together. Best to use a drill with variable speed, as the zinc alloy the models are cast from is pretty soft, and too high a drill speed will see you possibly wrecking them. I left a bit of a
lip of the rivet still there, as this will help later
Once you’d drilled the rivets out, pop the floor off. I use a small screwdriver to lift up the remaining lip of rivet. If you have to force it apart, you need to do a bit more drilling. Once the bottom is off, put that, the interior assembly and the windows somewhere safe.
The bodies now went into a jar of acetone. Not nail polish remover, acetone. Get it at the hardware shop. An hour or so on there, then pull them out, on some old newspaper, and get scrubbing with a toothbrush. Get all the paint off the outside.
Meanwhile, find some stickers. I got mine from Patto’s Place, a bloke in Sydney that prints sheets of stickers for people like me. He’s really, really good. Find him here: http://members.optushome. com.au/pattosplace/home.html
There are hundreds of sticker sets to choose from, enough for many years of model projects.
Painting the cars is pretty straightforward. I have an airbrush set, but there’s no need to stump up for that for a one-off. Hobby shops (Hobbyco f’rinstance) will sell you modeling aerosols. Don’t just use a hardware shop can, as the particles of paint are too big and your model will look terrible. Oh, and use an etch-primer too, also from the hobby shop. Use that first, let it dry, then apply a few very light coats of the white paint. Then apply the black for the bonnet, then the stickers. Just like being a kid again.