Didn’t expect this, did you?
Customizers, this pick is for you. Each model I have chosen for this list of 10 is more of a representative of a different aspect of what building Lamley has been the last 10 years, and I cannot ignore customs. In fact, I should be celebrating them.
Customs have always been a part of the 1/64 experience, especially in the Hot Wheels world. But I don’t think it is a stretch to say that it has evolved in a huge way over the last decade, and Lamley has been there as a spectator. That is why I chose this model.
I don’t have a ton of customs in my collection, mainly because I don’t want these special works of art to be buried in storage and not be showcased like they should. When I do add a custom to the collection, there is some very significant meaning behind it. But even though I don’t have a large customs collection, nor have I even once swapped a wheel, or stripped some paint, or even added a decal, customs have been a big part of Lamley.
So this exceptional 510, created by the master customizer Luke Baumstark, which holds a very special place in my collection, makes the list, representing the custom world.
Early in the life of the Lamley Blog, I started the “As is the Custom” post, which I posted every Saturday. I picked the customs that grabbed my attention that week, and shared them on the blog. Some were incredibly elaborate, others simple wheel swaps. But my simple rule was to share whatever I liked. And it was always a lot. As things evolved, the post became harder and harder to compile, but no regular feature I’ve ever done has been requested more to return.
But frankly, it doesn’t need to. The custom world has never been stronger. Say what you want about social media, Instagram and Facebook have changed the custom game. No matter where the talent lies, we can find it via social media. And the output has been extraordinary. The custom community is prolific, competitive, close-knit, supportive, and fierce. It has a similar vibe to some of the art scenes I’ve been a part of. Supportive for sure, but always driven to do better than everyone else. I love that.
Over the last few years we’ve all watched certain works evolve from “customs” to true works of art. And many of these pieces should be treated as such. Like Luke’s Datsun, and all the other pieces he’s done.
I treasure this piece. I marvel at the craftsmanship. The creativity that went into the concept, and the execution that created it. And that is what I marvel at so often when a custom catches my attention.
And for awhile, I was happy to draw attention to artists, whether they be savvy veterans or brand new to the game. But that isn’t needed anymore. Many times by the time I see a custom on Instagram, it has already been roaring along with thousands of likes. It really is true now that if a custom is good, it will be seen, and I think that is really the coolest thing.
But even though customs are a massive part of the hobby, they are sometimes given a bit of a sideshow classification. Not every custom deserves a ton of attention, but there are artists that have risen above the rest, and I think the entire diecast world should treat them like the artists they are.
And Lamley is in a unique spot to help with that. As Lamley enters into its next decade, I am fully embracing my role as a diecast curator. Details soon, but this might be the most exciting evolution of the Lamley brand to date.
One Reply to “The 10 Most Significant Models of the Lamley Era: Luke Baumstark’s Custom Hot Wheels Datsun 510”
The best part is that the love poured out by the customizers is being repaid in kind, from HW Legends tour to even the mere choices of castings that hit the shelves from every brand, and it’s being repaid again, forming a positive feedback loop that only serves to make the whole hobby better as a place for creative expression. It’s a lot like the Gunpla (Gundam model kits and other plastic model kits) space, only the barrier for entry is lower on average because model kits demand a higher upfront investment. For HW, it’s relatively low unless one wants to reach Jakarta Diecast Project’s level, making for quite a difference in skill floor (even a quick detail-up adds to most mainlines) and ceiling (I remember you featuring Rikmun Lim and Ernest Li, who are downright masters).