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Mini chop shop
Sunday, March 04, 2012 5:53 PM

Mini chop shop

Sometimes no matter how hard you look, you just can’t obtain that one elusive car to complete your collection. Or maybe Mattel just hasn’t release your favourite car in your favourite shade of blue. Well, what are you going to do?

Try emulating Santonie Parson.

The 28-year-old Sabahan customises his Hot Wheels cars to his heart’s content.

Parson started seriously collecting Hot Wheels when he joined HWCM in 2003, starting off with a fascination for classic muscle cars like Mustang, Corvette and Dodge.
Parson is on the lookout for Hot Wheels that come with rubber wheels.

“Before the club was formed, I was just a Lone Ranger - I didn’t even know that other people liked collecting Hot Wheels as well,” he says. “I’ve always loved them ever since I was a kid. I still have a few cars that I had in the 80s!”

These days, Parson still goes out hunting for Hot Wheels, especially those that come with rubber wheels.

“If I buy one car with plastic wheels, I will still go and change it to rubber wheels myself,” he says with a grin. Having produced and sold his own watercolour paintings since he was a kid, Parson has always had a flair for art.

“This (pointing at his customised toys) is all art to me. I used to paint Gundam model kits, but since 2004, I have been fully focusing on customising Hot Wheels only,” he says, adding that he not only repaints the cars but also changes the tyres, engines, and even goes so far as to design and print his own decals.

Parson is so obsessed with the detail on his cars that he can spend an entire day just hunting for a certain set of tyres for a specific project.

“Even if the car costs RM20, I would buy it just for the tyres!” he says.

That’s not to say the rest of the car is wasted - Parson keeps various spare parts around his workshop at home in Putrajaya for future use, like a little miniature chop shop. According to him, customising Hot Wheels cars is a lot more time-consuming than customising other toys, because the cars have very fine details.

“You need a very steady hand to work on them because they are so small. At least with robots, you can get away with making it look dirty by saying it is battle-damaged!” he says with a laugh.

“However, for Hot Wheels, I have to keep the cars clean and smooth. They have to look realistic, because they are based on real cars!”

Parson reckons he can finish customising two or three cars a day, depending on how complicated the design is.

When he is not at his day job as an architectural technician, he is usually in his little workshop.

“I love cars in movies and TV. I am currently working on a truck based on (80s TV show) BJ and The Bear; and also Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T.,” he says, adding that many of his creations are not for sale.

“I am too attached to my creations to sell them! I’ve had many people offering to buy them, but I would rather trade them for other cars than sell them. Somehow to me, once money exchanges hands, I feel as though that piece of art is not mine anymore,” he shrugs.


» Hot Wheels wonder
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