I’m sure everyone here is guilty of scrolling aimlessly on Instagram, never quite making it to the end of their feed. The algorithm is created to be infinite, and fortunately there are countless blog posts aiding social media users in breaking that bad habit. What a convenient machine.
While we try to fill our feed with agreeable content, presumably lots of diecast in this instance, there are a few accounts that bring a smile whenever something new is posted. One of them for me is thelawenforcementcollection, expertly curated by Josue (or Joshua), a 32-year-old Puerto Rican collector and customizer currently living in Florida.
“I’ve been customizing since I was a kid,” says Joshua, “painting head and tail lights on my HW’s, gluing accessories and other details. In the ‘90s, McDonald’s released in a Happy Meal some race cars with stickers where I discovered a new talent and started throwing racing decals on my vehicles.”
While many of us went hog wild with a Sharpie and some gold and silver markers (I added so much flash to many of my HWs, including the 1995 Dodge Ram, Lexus SC400 and Mercedes 380 SEL), Josh’s next level treatment took a hiatus when he left the hobby for nearly a decade. “I abandoned the hobby in my teens,” Joshua informs us. “And when I started again in my late 20s (somewhere 2015) the police vehicle market wasn’t too saturated, it was accessible to me and an easily added value within my abilities. I used to clean HWs, Matchboxes, Johnny Lightnings and anything that could work as a blank until I discovered Greenlights.”
And from there you can imagine things got pretty serious. Scrolling through Joshua’s IG (don’t worry, eventually you’ll get to the bottom of his 300+ posts), you’ll find an assortment of departments represented. Anything from local, state to federal have been recreated. Even a few Canadian agencies are there, and of course Puerto Rico is present for roll call. I’m particularly fond of the New Jersey State Police Crown Vic and ghost lettered Pursuit Utility, but we’ll swing back around on them in a bit.
“I don’t have guides or preferences, I’ll do whatever I find eye-catchy,” Josh reveals. “I don’t do the graphics, so I pick whatever looks nice from my graphics guy’s list.” That explains how something as obscure as Blainville, Quebec is on the Floridian transplant’s radar.
Not only does Joshua recreate the liveries, but he also adds 3D-printed push bars, light bars and ALPRs to heighten the realism. And don’t just think he’s slapping stickers on and calling it a day. As we all know, whether or not we want to admit it, Greenlight’s QC can sometimes leave something to be desired.
In addition to celebrating great releases, there are usually micro-celebrations for receiving a piece without any issues. Before the vehicle is suited up in its new uniform, any paint discrepancies are addressed. He also details the underside of the wheel wells and the windshield frame for that additional realistic touch. “All these details helps the finished product,” says Joshua. “After this, I paint the wheels, lay decals and add the 3D printed accessories.”
Joshua was kind enough to send me the two NJSP cruisers mentioned above. It should be noted that I wanted to write this piece long before they arrived in my mailbox – but having them in hand further drives the point home that his work is top notch. Take a look at the photos and see for yourself how they could easily be mistaken for Hobby Exclusives.
So with an Instagram name that is singularly focused, one wonders what his personal collection is made up of. “My collection is very varied,” says Joshua. “I have 1/24 vehicles, 1/12 motorcycles and a bunch of 1/64s that range from HWs and Matchbox to their more fancy neighbors Mini GT, Inno and Tarmac.” And what about favorites from Greenlight’s established Hot Pursuit line? “I do like their NYPD line and a bunch of other agencies they’ve done with complicated paint schemes like Georgia State Patrol, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Vermont State Patrol and others.” And while you’ll mostly find GLs in his feed, his talents extend well beyond the brand. “I do prefer GL for my builds, but I’ll work on anything available.”
And what about personal favorites amongst his own handiwork? “I’ll say my favorites are: the last one I did, and the next one I’m doing.” Clever. “I love them all in different ways. I might like some more than others because of familiarity with the agency or effort into the build, but I do admire differences on my vehicles.” I think my favorite thing is that he’s able to create entire fleets with different vehicles.
Interested in commissioning Joshua in creating your ultimate police cruiser? He was booked through July when I initially made contact back in May, so you’ll have to check with his upcoming schedule. “I do take orders most of the time,” Joshua informs us. “If they’re willing to wait I’ll build for them.”
You can find and follow Joshua at thelawenforcementcollection or shoot him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org And make sure to let him know you found him through this Lamley post. That’s an order!