Cars engagement ring box

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This is engagement ring box based on Lighting McQueen, a character from Disney/Pixar Cars. I made this little model for Derek a few months ago. Cars 3 sequel is coming to cinemas in 2017 so now is the perfect moment to show you few pictures of finished built.
I was tasked with the challenge to make this ring box, based on the photo with the look from Cars 2. I could model it in 3d software, 3d print, sand, fill and paint. The whole thing would take lots of time and make it too expensive. I went to my local toy shops to find the right model. There is lots of Disney licensed toys to choose from, all shapes and sizes. Static toys, plastic, metal, remote controlled. The choice will be even bigger few months before the release of the movie, you can now order them from Amazon.comCars 1
I found the right size toy at my local Disney store. It did not look exactly as the finished model, but I had an idea how to fix it. It was a diecast metal model, hard to cut and modify. I made a simple 2 parts block mold to make a soft plastic copy. I need a roof to be separated and hollow the body to create the ring compartment.
I achieved it in 2 steps. First I poured few layers of a small amount of resin just to cover the roof section of the mold. I removed it and trimmed the edges to create the finished roof part. I put it back to mold and covered with plasticine and shaped it to look like a box in the shape and size which fits inside the car. I closed the mold and filled with resin. I let it set for few hours and opened the mold. The plastic replica of the model was inside. Using the knife, I separated the roof from the body. It was possible because I earlier put a layer of petroleum oil on the edge to avoid resin bonding. I removed and cleaned the plasticine from the inside. I finished with 2 separate parts which fit each other perfectly with big enough void for the ring compartment.
I drilled 2 grooves and glued the brass hinge, now it starts to look like a box.
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The reference photo showed Lighting with rear wing and different wheel design. I made the wing with pieces of styrene and sculpted new wheel design with greenstuff. I made a small mold and cast 4 pieces to have exactly the same tires.
The paint job was simple. I sprayed it few times with red and painted the bottom of the car gray. I ordered decal paper from Ebay and prepared the files in GIMP. I used few photos to cut, separate,  stretch and modify the graphics so they lay flat and on a transparent background. You can buy decal paper with the white or transparent background. I tested both and realized, transparent did not produce sharp details because the strong red background was seen through. I used white paper but then had to trim it close to the graphic, in places, it was too difficult, I used a brush and painted it red. At the end, I sprayed it with few layers of high gloss lacquer to protect the decals and give it even shine.

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After serving as engagement ring box, it will fit perfectly with the diecast Cars collection. It is almost impossible to recognize which one is customized so I was happy with the results.
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This model was not my first custom Car.  A few years ago while waiting for the premiere of Disney Pixar Cars 2 ( In 2011) I decided to customize Mater one of the characters from the movie. He is a cheerful, honest and loyal friend of Lighting McQueen in the film, so I made him just the opposite, pure evil. My version features Joker with little tricycle girl at the gunpoint, waiting for Batman to rescue her. Original Mater’s smile inspired me to do that.
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I started with Mattel die-cast toy, re-sculpted its teeth, added hands on springs like a clown in the box toy. The tricycle is made of a paper clip, pieces of styrene and few spare parts from broken toys. The base is made of cut tire from the radio controlled car.

I saw many versions of this car sold by Mattel and one amazing custom Darth Vader from Star Wars created by a team of professional model makers which inspired me to this build.

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