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Hello from Yorktown, VA

Started by grafixrj, February 16, 2021, 07:30:12 AM

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61 yr old Hot Wheel lover, drummer and former NASA contract Graphic Designer Sr. (1981-2011) finally checking in to say hellurre and thank yerr! My wife & I like "Madea"!

Dave Winfield


Vermin King

There are no strangers in this world ...
Only people I haven't embarrassed ... yet


Thanks gentlemen, I probably should have done that sooner, now if I could just get my printer working (or replaced) soon! I do have a question while I'm here...I saw where you had a contest awhile ago that mentioned "repaints" either old skool (markers, pencils, airbrush, etc) or digital "for those who could". Dave, are we actually allowed to modify your free Kool Wheelz files for our own "personal" use (of course)? If so, these are vector files (Corel Draw or Illustrator) and not done with Photo Shop, right? Thanks

Dave Winfield

Have you ever built a plastic kit...and painted it the way you want it? Or swapped out some parts? or bashed it with another kit?
Nobody can stop you from doing anything to any kit, paid or free, as long as its for your own personal use and enjoyment.
And that includes paper kits.

But you don't have permissions to reshare the kit, even with your mods or edits.
You can't redistribute other peoples artwork, in any form, free or not.

But feel free to share photos and reports of your builds, mods, bashes and dioramas on this, and any forum.


Thanks Dave, that's what I thought, but I ran across something I recently read here from years earlier confusing me where it said you cannot modify the original file in any form even though it was talking about remods & repaints and no permission to modify was necessary. Maybe I've missed it so far, but is there an actual technical article you have created on here explaining your "concept to design steps" and how you create your final art work for your incredible Kool Wheelz publications including actual software used? If not I think it would make for a very interesting read, especially for those who might want to make modifications like changing the color, adding graphics, etc. Thanks

Dave Winfield

I add the "do not modify the model sheet" to my kits.
But that is mainly for the people who may be printing and distributing the printed model sheet.

I had this one guy who wanted to give out the Koolwheelz Snot Rod (Cuda) model sheet at his Mopar events.
But he wanted to make changes to the model first.

I told him no...but that I would create a special model and model sheet just for him.
And I also added "do not modify" to the new model.
This is just me wanting to control how my artwork goes out into the world.


I have talked about my design process before.
Those interested are usually just looking for the shortcuts, or the programs that do all the work for you.
With no real clue how to scratch design a model.
And most have no clue about "art" or "design".

I'm an old school artist...painter, sketcher, drawer, airbrusher, etc...I use those skills on the computer.

I don't use 3D design software...I design in my head and then extrapolate in my head, and then imagine the unfolded parts (which I then draw on the computer)
I use a lot of math...I have my own design style...and I am never consistent.
Every design is like a first time design for its difficult to lay out one step-by-step example.

But I put a lot of work into research, which is another thing most designers don't seem interested in.
I am so sick of hearing the requests for "three view plans", and free fonts from those designing aircraft and military vehicles.

Even my Koolwheelz models...I researched the history of Mattel and Snake and Mongoose to nail down the proper cars to use as my reference.
I found photos of the correct cars...logged all the sponsor decals and their postions
...then hunted down the proper period decals for reference...then handmade every decal design for the cars, creating my own vector files.
Most of the decals are too small to print or see, but I know they are there, and I know they're accurate.
Or at least, as accurate as I could come up with.

and to be honest, I don't want to give out a full tutorial on my design method...since it took me 20 years to learn all the software I use.
I don't want to teach people how to modify my artwork, that I worked so hard to create.
Let them figure out how to do it on their own, and then maybe they won't bother modding my stuff, they can create their own!


Dave, I can realize and DO appreciate all your effort to figure out complex angles (my math sucks), and your extensive decal research and redesign (for accuracy) placement. IT SHOWS! I also admire and highly appreciate the fact you don't use pepa-kura or other folding programs or 3D to figure that all out....just your brain!


I am actually amazed you could find so much of the "Snake and Mongoose" sponsor "decals" and headlight/taillight references and then recreate them from scratch as vectors with Corel Draw or Illustrator. You being a custom painter are probably familiar with the fact (a lot of people aren't aware of) that almost all of the old skool funny cars from the 1970's era (until wraps ruined it for custom paint shops) were hand painted either with lettering and scroll brushes with One Shot enamel or airbrushed mostly by custom painters like (you might even know) Glen Weisgerber (Glen Designs in NJ) who specialized in chrome rendering and was a great inspiration to me as an artist myself. Also Philip Castle, etc. True some sponsors actually had vinyl decals made and were available mostly for gas station and auto part stores giveaways, but the NHRA funny cars, pro stocks, etc "decals" were almost always painted on whereas I think NASCAR always used stickers on painted it's almost all "wrapped"!


I went to a few "quarter mile concrete style" NHRA races at Suffolk VA before they closed it down and would get a pit pass so I could get up close to the paint jobs. When I realized the headlights were actually a flat fiberglass panel and 3D airbushed I was amazed...upon closer examination I could see brush strokes in the sponsor "decals" and then realized it was ALL paint...again ah-mazed! Guess who's signature was on most of them? Yupp, "Glen Designs" I think I sent you a picture of my chrome fish emblem on my trunk of my old 1969 Barracuda...inspiration by Glen.

I'm an "old skool" designer too and a lot like you in some designing techniques...also NEVER consistent! I remember when I re-did my murals and added new ones I changed the detailing technique, so I felt I had to go back and re-do the others to keep it somewhat matching! Man I wish I had some better pictures...arghhh!


At NASA every time I would make a change I liked better, I would go back to the previous A.I. or PS files and do a "save as" to make the newest modifications which drove my old boss crazy! Lol!


In the mid to late '80's when I was making those little "MacFish" Hot Wheels cars I told you about in a previous email (facebook article) where I took the 64 pixel x 64 pixel
2-frame program made for modifying AfterDark screensaver "fish" and created from scratch quite a few very accurate 16-color (2D) 2 frame animation Hot Wheel cars that would drag race across my Mac's desktop at NASA...they were so kool! The program created the actual "horizontal movement" and I'd draw 1 frame with one mag wheel facing "up" and the other facing "down" and I could "copy" the entire 1st frame to the 2nd frame and then just redraw the mags by flipping them to create a rolling wheel "effect" worked too! I made the lights "flash" on the Heavy Weights Ambulance the same way. I spent many a lunchbreak "perfecting" these little cars always making sure I had 4-5 shades of paint colors to recreate the shiny curved Spectraflame body color effect while keeping the "chrome" trim and Red Line tire colors intact. These were drawn pixel by pixel with a MOUSE and the Mac version had NO drawing "tools" (except the frame copy) where as the original PC version (I read) did.

I said all that to preface this point. Like your vector decals sometimes not being legible but as accurate as you could get the tiny decal to appear, I knew what mine "read" or looked like it said what I intended. F'rinstance, I made a Bye-Focal (long car) and even though it didn't actually say "Bye-Focal" I managed to "fool the eye" into thinking it did, same with the lettering on "Police 3" on the Paddy Wagon, Mutt Mobile, U.S. Mail, Ice "T" and a few others...I had at least 50 different Hot Wheels (and variations) before it came to a screeching halt from System 7 - 9...and then the brakes slammed when OSX came out and they replaced my computer. AfterDark no longer functioned and the creation process had to come to a screeching halt!


The guys that designed this incredible yet simple "Bogus Software" were Tom Saxon and Ed Fries and they had a PC version with drawing tools, and I found a floppy disk on eBay and gave to a PC (Air Force IT guy) friend of mine named Dave and he said it had a virus and infected his home PC...gee my Mac II didn't have a virus...and that's what an IT guy gets for not checking his own stuff...sorry Dave!


I do remember seeing the pink Snot Rod mod and I understand and appreciate control of your artwork which is why I asked for clarification in the first place. I would buy a few 25th anniversary cars and hand paint my own style of flames on them or completely change the color with a repaint, but it was for me only...these too were lost in the storage incident, as well as all the floppy disks from my old Mac II. I own 2 (fried PMU's) PowerMac (OSX) G4's which have the ability to run System 9 separately where at least I could keep a few versions of the Macfish (my own AfterDark module collection) so I could at least (Thank God) make screenshots of what I had done but the Hot Wheels, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars and other original art "fish" no longer animated since AfterDark modules don't function either.

Maybe I'll figure out which thumb drive (I have hundreds) has it and grab a few select car screenshots and attach at some time. It's funny too, I had contacted Berkley Software (AfterDark) and asked if they were interested in any of my highly detailed "fish" for any future programs and they promptly declined stating they had their own artists and that too many trademark permissions would be necessary to pursue and warned me about selling any copyrighted "art"...especially Mattel and Paramount and even tried to convince me to remove it from my computer...and wouldn't ya know it, later they came out with their own new "Star Trek Next Generation" screensaver that didn't utilize the simple 2 frame "fish" animation. I also contacted Tom and Ed to let them know about the virus my friend got and I guess I really pissed them off because someone promptly removed the MacFish files and related information on their website...oooops!

Thanks again Dave for all you do and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's "16" car.

PS   If I do manage to send some "fish" pics, do I attach it here or at another part of the forum? Thanks

Dave Winfield

Just post stuff here...or in the Off Topic area.

some custom painted Hot Wheels below
(yes, you can sell custom painted cars because they are original art. however, the use of Mattel logos on the packages could get me in trouble! lol)