Here is the latest in our ongoing series following the creation of a new die-cast car. Check the older posts for our beginning steps of gathering research material and photos of the upcoming 1:24 scale 2009 Nissan GT-R for the Maisto Special Edition line.
Here are photos of the tooling model made by our talented staff. We received pictures of the actual car from Nissan on April 9; sent them to our model makers a week or so later and supplemented them with more sent on May 23. So, in about two months, they created the sculpture that you see here. Keep in mind that we were not permitted to use computer design files so all of this was hand-made following photos and measurements.
The tooling model is 50% larger than the finished model will be (this makes it 1:18 scale). The reasons for this is that it is easier to work in a larger size and that when it is reduced by 2/3 to make the steel molds (called “tools” in the trade) any little variations will be even less visible.
Every part, including hidden mounting tabs, is made just as the finished model will be. It is assembled without glue. You say you get the body being in primer but the windows, too? Well, at this stage we are only interested in the shapes of the parts, not the finish.
You might have noticed the tiny little blocks around the edges of some parts. Those are the ones, like doors and windows, that need to have a precise fit. Those little nubs are only used on the tooling model and they represent the tolerance for the permissible gap surrounding the part. They won’t be included on the finished model.
The cylinders that pose as wheels and tires have the correct outside dimensions but have no detail. The wheels and tires will be drawn in a computer-aided-design program and then milled directly to the tool without going through the model stage.
When I saw these photos, I pointed out four corrections that the model needed before the model makers send it to the U.S. to be reviewed by Nissan: 1) add a slight crease midway up the C pillar (the body panel between the rear window and the rear-side window); 2) make the hood bulges blend into the hood more gradually; 3) and 4) show the correct number of buttons on the center stack (the panel between the dash and the console). Can you see anything that needs improving? Keep in mind that this will retail for about US$10 so don’t go asking for separate engine and chassis parts — we’ve got to keep the cost down.