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Scale Hobby, Massive Talent: 8 Awesome Model Car Builds from NNL West

Chances are you've probably tried to put together a plastic model car or truck at some point in your life. Some people are naturally talented at it, with ultra steady hands and an incredible sense of creativity and attention to detail. Others like myself usually end up with spilled paint and sticky glue all over our hands, but it if anything that just allows even more appreciation for the model-building masters, like the ones who gathered at NNL West in Santa Clara last month. So after setting the scene with a gallery from the event, it's time to go in for a closer look at eight of our favorite builds.

1. '69 Ford F100

NNL West Ford Pickup Model

While rust and multi-colored body panels are usually shied away from on real cars, weathering can really make a scale model build come alive. Take a look at this beat up '69 Ford F-100 pickup for example.

NNL West Ford Pickup Engine Model

In addition to the well-executed weathering, it's also been fitted with the supecharged V8 from an SVT Ford Lightning, along with lightning wheels and even the side-exit exhaust system.

NNL West Ford Pickup Model Side

2. Honda S2000 Rat Rod

nnl west lead 2019 43

If someone said "rat rod roadster with supercharged V8" you'd probably think '32 Ford and not Honda S2000, but that's exactly what makes scale building so cool. There are really no limitations on what you can build.

NNL West Honda S2000 Rat Rod Model Interior

A closer look reveals even more details, from the digi-camo engine bay and door panel inserts to the Takata racing harnesses complete with shoulder pads and clips.

NNL West Honda S2000 Rat Rod Model Front

 3. Hyper-Detailed Toyota 2000GT

NNL West Toyota 2000GT Model

Next up, we have a kit that actually isn't your typical 1:24 scale plastic model but a 1:10 scale Toyota 2000GT made by a DeAgostini and built by Bruce Tanaka. In Japan kits like this are usually sold piece by piece each month with the idea that you eventually wind up with a full car with insane detail.

NNL West Toyota 2000GT Model Engine

Not only did Bruce go through the painstaking process of building the model itself, he also repainted the entire car from its original white color to a metallic turquoise, and it looks positively stunning.

NNL West Toyota 2000GT Model Interior

4. Widebody Chevy Monte Carlo

NNL West Widebody Chevy Monte Carlo Model

As another example of just how extreme you can go with a plastic model, check out this '70 Chevy Monte Carlo built by Mario Gonzalez featuring some crazy one-off widebody work and GT car style aerodynamics.

NNL West Widebody Chevy Monte Carlo Model Hood

The details are nuts, including the big intercooler in the grille area, the carbon fiber hood and screamer pipe popping through. Now we just need to see someone build this car in real life and blow some minds.

NNL West Widebody Chevy Monte Carlo Model Side

5. Widebody Toyota Hilux

NNL West Widebody Toyota Hilux Model

Next up we've got another widebody creation from Mario, this one a Toyota Hilux minitruck that's become nearly unrecognizable with all of the custom work that's been put into it.

NNL West Widebody Toyota Hilux Model Door

While the overall shape of the truck is radical, the small details on the build are just as impressive. From the massive brake rotors and calipers, to the steering column, bucket seats and exposed chassis and air suspension components in the bed, everything looks perfect.

NNL West Widebody Toyota Hilux Model Bed

6. HKS R32 Skyline GT-R

NNL West R32 Skyline GT-R Model

Getting the theme now? Here's one more of Mario's builds that caught our eye. It's an R32 Skyline GT-R sporting the iconic HKS racing livery of the 1990s while having a slightly contemporary style to it.

NNL West R32 Skyline GT-R Model Engine

As expected, the detail level is through the roof, particularly in the engine bay where the single turbo RB26 is modeled right down to the oil lines and oil filler cap.

NNL West R32 Skyline GT-R Model Front

7. Muddy IH Scout II

NNL West IH Scout II Model

In the world of building military models, the art of making the airplanes, tanks and other vehicles look worn and used is very important, and the same techniques can be applied to regular vehicles like this International Harvester Scout II.

NNL West IH Scout II Model Engine

Not only is the body banged up and oxidized, but the entire truck is caked in mud. The tires, differentials, engine bay and windshield are all filthy, and it's overall one of the most realistic 4x4 models we've ever seen.

NNL West IH Scout II Model Front

8. Lowrider Paradise

NNL West Lowrider Paradise Model

Finally, we get to one the most popular displays in the whole building: an ultra detailed diorama called "Boogie Nights." Lowrider models are always a big part of the NNL West show, but this takes things even further.

NNL West Lowrider Paradise Model Front

Not only does it feature some cool cars, but an entire scene complete with a showroom, LED lights in the cars, fully operating hydraulics and even custom minitrucks with spinning beds.

NNL West Lowrider Paradise Model Hydraulics

Where else can you see something like this? All in all it's just one more reason why the scale model hobby is not to be overlooked. Even if you aren't a builder yourself, go to an event like NNL West and we guarantee you'll have a newfound appreciation for the art of model cars.

Want more awesome models? Flip through our full gallery of NNL West!

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