Custom Clinic Photo Contest

Restyle a model, build a Custom, and Win!

If you’ve always had the idea that you could better design a car, here’s your chance to show off your talents in scale! The revived Custom Clinic Contest is presented here so you can show off your best, most thoughtful miniature automotive designs. Chop, channel, section, mold–present your thoughtfully redesigned model car or truck kit of your choice! Don’t enter an essentially factory stock vehicle or truck with trendy graphics or just big wheels, and don’t enter a replica of a famous custom or a factory concept car. You must present a fresh, unique scale custom of your own design. Keep in mind that the model must be finished and painted, and don’t forget that photography can make or break an entry!

You can enter in one of two Classes: Adult (18 and older) or Junior (17 years old and younger). You’ll need a minimum of six (6) high definition digital images (or glossy print photos if you participate by mail). Note that high resolution digital images are strongly preferred. You must also submit a typewritten/computer printed, or e-mailed, brief description (no hand-written descriptions) of why you designed your model as you did, and how you carried out the construction of your entry(ies). This contest is open to modelers anywhere in the world; Adult and Junior-Class women are heartily encouraged to enter!

As in previous Custom Clinic Photo Contests, the feature on the winners that will appear in the September 2015 issue of Model Cars Magazine will include a critique and honest evaluation of the styling of each entry. Its strengths and weaknesses will be candidly discussed, but never unkindly. Winners will be selected and awards presented for First through Tenth Place (Adult) and First through Fifth Place (Junior), along with the prestigious Valley Custom Styling Analysis Award.

Be sure to carefully read the contest rules, and then get busy creating your Custom Clinic Contest entry!

2015 Custom Clinic Photo Contest Rules

1) The aim of  the revived Custom Clinic Photo Contest is to encourage the design and construction of original scale custom vehicles that display moderate-to-significant body modifications. Mere custom painting or adding large wheel/tire set ups does not quality a model for this contest, nor does building a replica of a factory concept car or a famous historical or contemporary custom. The custom design must be your own original work. The model must be finished–no “rat custom” entries will be accepted. No attention will be paid to engine or chassis detail, though the model must have an interior and clear glass to show the interior. Entries will be judged on the basis of the elegance of the scale customizing exhibited on their entry; the feature article on the winners will present both praise and critiques of the designs.

2) Send no less than six (6) gloss-finish color prints or high resolution digital images of your entry (no Polaroids, matte-print images, or low-resolution electronic or print images will be accepted) plus the required written description of your model (printed if you enter by mail–no handwritten text) that describes why you styled your model the way you did, and how you built it. Required photos must include low-angle photos of the left three quarter front and right rear three-quarter, an overhead view, photos of the principal body work of your entry, and anything else you’d like to photograph. Entries must be photographed against a neutral/plain light-colored background and must not be photographed in a diorama setting. Photos may not be digitally manipulated or altered in any way other than basic contrast/color correction. All photos must meet minimum printability requirements (high resolution, good depth of field, contrast, focus); poor photographs will disqualify an entry. Remember, this contest is photo entry only–if we can’t see the model clearly, we can’t judge it effectively.

3) Entry to the Custom Clinic Photo Contest is open to anyone except the editors of Model Car Magazine and its publisher. Winners agree to solely absorb any duty or tax imposed on their winnings; contest sponsors are not responsible for these levies.

4) Entries will be judged in two age categories: “Junior” for entrants up to and including 17 years of age, and “Adult,” for those 18 and older. If age does not appear on entry blank, contestant will automatically be entered in the Adult category. By entering the contest, winners in the Junior category agree to provide proof of age, if requested (no phantom “Adult” entries!). Entrants must provide their email address or phone numbers in case of a problem or question.

5). You may submit up to two entries, total (not per Class). Models entered in any prior Custom Clinic photo contests in Scale Auto or Car Modeler magazines (whether or not they were winners) are not eligible. Commercial truck, motorcycles, boats powered by car engines, or military vehicles are also not eligible.

6). Upon entering PhotoCon.13, you agree to let Model Cars Magazine and the Custom Clinic Web site (www.CustomClinic.com) publish and otherwise use your descriptions and photos for all editorial, advertising, and public relations purposes and in all formats, print and electronic, without compensation, including coverage on my Custom Clinic website. All entries (photos and text) become the property of the International Model Car Builders’ Museum.

7). This Contest is void in states and countries where prohibited.

8). You can enter in one of two ways:

By mail: Mail your high resolution, glossy prints (no borders, no matte finish), descriptive text, and fully filled-out/signed entry form below (photocopy of form is ok if you don’t want to cut up the magazine) to: Mark S. Gustavson, Revived Photo Contest, c/o International Model Car Builders’ Museum, 10271 South 1300 East, PMB #131, Sandy, Utah 84092.

Entries must be post-marked no later than May 1, 2015.


Online: Go to the Custom Clinic website (www.customclinic.com) and click on the “Photo Contest” link. Fill out the entry form there and upload your text and photos. Your text and photos will be automatically e-mailed to me. Entries must be date-coded no later than May 1, 2015. 


9). The feature article on the winners of the Thirteenth Custom Clinic Photo Contest will appear in the September 2015 issue of Model Cars Magazine!

2015 Custom Clinic Photo Contest Awards:

1st Place–Adult: One prize awarded–a hard copy of How To Build Championship Scale Vehicles, Construction Considerations of Building Championship-Caliber Models by Bob Wick and Mark Gustavson, a tin of Evercoat polyester putty with hardener, and a 1st place award certificate. Model will be featured on the Custom Clinic website.

2nd Place–Adult: One prize awarded–a hard copy of How To Build Championship Scale Vehicles, Construction Considerations of Building Championship-Caliber Models and a “Place” certificate. Model will be featured on the Custom Clinic website.

3rd-10th Place–Adult: a CD containing the book How To Build Championship Scale Vehicles, Construction Considerations of Building Championship-Caliber Models, and a “Place” certificate.  Models will be featured on the Custom Clinic website.

First Five Junior Entrants Are Winners! 

1st Place–Junior:  a hard copy of How To Build Championship Scale Vehicles, Construction Considerations of Building Championship-Caliber Models by Bob Wick and Mark Gustavson, a tin of Evercoat polyester putty with hardener, and a 1st prize award certificate. Model will be featured on the Custom Clinic website.

2nd-5th place–Junior:  a hard copy of my Custom Car  Research Bibliography and a Special certificate. All models will be featured on the Custom Clinic website.

Valley Custom Styling Analysis Award will be presented to the best written overview prepared by the entrant of his/her entry. The prize for this award is a hard copy of my Custom Car  Research Bibliography and a Special certificate.

Honorable Mention certificates will be presented to all entrants who don’t place in the classes.


The WINNERS of the Model Cars Magazine & Galaxie Limited Race Car/Trailer Contest

The WINNERS of the Model Cars Magazine & Galaxie Limited Race Car/Trailer Contest!

Congratulations to Chris Newton, for taking home first place in the Model Cars Magazine/Galaxie Limited Race Car Trailer Contest.

Second place went to Dwayne Sucharda, and third place went to Harold Oswald. Check out the article with the photos that is in the August/September issue of Model Cars Magazine!

Congratulations you guys! Thanks for all of the work you put into these great trailer builds.
MCM-Galaxie resultsMCM-Galaxie results2MCM-Galaxie results3

Bill Coulter, writer/builder

At 71, Bill Coulter has witnessed pretty much the whole model car-building phenomenon…from the beginning. He’s been building something for over sixty years. Starting around 1950 with a fascination with anything with four wheels, Coulter cut his teeth on Ace wood kits, Revell Highway Pioneers, the occasional airplane model, and many other obscure kits not deserving of mention here.

Bill was your typical closet model car builder, as it wasn’t a popular activity with the other farm kids he grew up with. It wasn’t something his parents admired most about him back in the day, either. In spite of that, he never stopped working to improve his skills, learning everything the hard way by the old-school, trial and error method. During this period (mid-50’s), the Revell-AMT 1/32nd scale American car series were his favorite, building subjects.

By 1958, AMT released their first 3-n-1 annual kits and for Bill it was a total redefinition of the hobby. Those breakthrough kits were the mainstay of his model building for many years. Also, (along with two close buds), he competed in the Fisher Body Craftsmans Guild, which was an annual contest sponsored by General Motors. It was a life-changing opportunity for him to expand his hands-on model building skill set. Learning to sculpt clay, mold hydro-cal plaster, machine various metals and develop hand-made talents that would prove essential to him in later years.

Bill was able to maintain his connection to model car building while he studied Industrial Design at the University of Cincinnati. After graduation in 1965, and between a marriage, a full-time job, and starting a family, somehow Bill was able to keep active in his chosen pastime.

By the late 1960’s, what really elevated Coulter’s building level was something they call “synergy”. Simply put, it’s where a group’s influence often results in expanding one’s individual awareness, imagination and final output.

Over the years Bill has continued to broaden his building subjects and increase his overall interests in the whole hobby realm.

Since his first published article in Car Model magazine in January 1970, many doors have opened for Coulter. He’s been blessed with the opportunity of writing for just about every model magazine (foreign and domestic) that’s been in print. Bill was never a contest-style builder, choosing instead to build and write more for the “everyman” in our hobby.

Since that time, Bill has penned hundreds of articles and columns, and he’s written nine books to date. Some have said Bill Coulter has probably written well over one million words about this model car-building hobby he loves so much. He was inducted into the International Model Car Writer/Builder Hall of Fame in 2006.

You can believe Bill Coulter will continue doing what he’s been devoted to for sixty plus years, as only God himself knows how many more years folks will have to put up with his blah-blah-blah.




Jairus Watson, SketchPad

Jairus Watson is one of the best automotive artists in the country (yes, we’re biased), and his work has been featured here in Model Cars Magazine since the first issues, and even the old Plastic Fanatic Magazine. He also happens to be one of my bestest friends…

He lives up in Salem, Oregon, and is active in the model car clubs up in the Northwest.

You can check out his personal web site: JairusWatson.net

Issue 187

Inside the July 2014 Issue:




Revell’s ’49 Mercury Woody Wagon

Enter the 2015 Custom Clinic Photo Contest

Kurt Wilson’s T-Bucket replica by John Teresi

Larry Read’s Scratchbuilt King of the Highway tractor/trailer

Curt Raitz’s Italian Stallion: Indy Style!

And much much more!

Issue 185

Inside the April 2014 Issue:


The last installment of the Scorpion!

Tim Boyd’s El Camino Kit History

Six pages of the 2014 NNL West Coverage

Aftermarket Update

Revell ’49 Mercury Wagon

Revell ’49 Mercury Wagon

Revell’s new ’49 Mercury Wagon was just released, and it’s a great one! Check out these photos for a quick look.

Revell 1968 VW Beetle

Revell ’68 Volkswagen Beetle

1/24 Scale

Revell has released their latest VW kit, a “1968” VW Beetle. There are quotes around the year, 1968, for a reason. It’s hard to tell exactly what year it is. For one thing, it’s not a stock US ’68 Bug. It may be stock for the Brazil/Mexico/European versions, of course. The U.S. versions did not have the smooth bumpers in this kit. 1968 was the first year of the fuller/wider bumpers. 1967 was the last year of the good looking bumpers with the over-riders. The rear lights are also the smaller pre-’68 versions. The overall shape and proportions of the body is very good.

The engine is definitely not a 1968 stock motor. 1968 had a single port 1500cc motor. The Revell kit has a dual port motor, with a dog house fan shroud/oil cooler. The dog house cooler did not show up until the ’70s.  The rest of the engine looks pretty good. Stock exhaust and heater boxes looks good.

Chassis/Floor Pan
The floor pan is not as good as the Tamiya one. It’s molded with parts like the front end, wider running boards, and the trans shifter tunnel a little off.

It’s interesting to see a right-and left-hand drive dashboard. That’s a first for any VW kit! The door panels are separate, and so is the complete headliner. The seats have some good frame detailing. I like the small straps that are separate for hanging on or getting in and out of the Bug.

The glass is nice and clear. The side vent windows are engraved into the windows. The rear taillights are the smaller pre-’68 European versions, which are usually painted orange and red (we call them Euro lens, of course!).

The chrome is very nice as well. As stated above, the bumpers are not stock ’68 ones. There are separate wipers, front turn signals, right and left mirrors, head light buckets, door handles, antenna, horn grilles, and four stock style rims/hub caps.

Wrap Up
It’s nice to Revell put so much into an early VW Bug kit. I just wish they would have got it right with the year, or make up their mind as to what year it really is. It’s more of semi-custom Bug, and a cool set of EMPI rims would have been very nice touch!

Tamiya LaFerrari

Tamiya’s New LaFerrari 1/24 Kit 

Tamiya sent their new, and gorgeous, 1/24 scale kit of Ferrari’s newest supercar, the LaFerrari. This kit is incredible. It is on par with their earlier Enzo kit, but with a more beautiful body and shape. There is also available separately a photoetched detail set, and carbon fiber decals, that you can also buy (they are not included). The carbon fiber decals are not the standard template-style, they are already in the shape/pattern that is needed.
The photoetch is the new style, with no frets holding the parts to the trees, which makes it so much easier to use. If you are going to build an all out LaFerrari, I would highly recommend the photoetch set and the carbon fiber decals.

The Kit:

The body is flawless. I couldn’t find any flash on any part, seam, or piece of plastic. The hardest part I think is figuring out what color to paint it. After some quick research on the ‘Net, it looks like there are a few colors to choose from. Of course the standard  Russo Ferrari red is an option, as is black, yellow, and white. I saw some light blue, dark blue, and even the Lambo-style orange that I love so much. After some soul-searching, and roll of the dice, I think I’m going to go wild, with a black and white paint job. Black on most of the body, with white around the lower part of the front, side doors, and back end. I will update this page along the way while it is being built. Thanks for looking!