As a kid, I built quite a few plastic models and like most kids did some pretty scary paint jobs on them. I even tried oil based house paint in the interior of an “Invaders” TV series flying saucer, an act I now consider criminal. Note to youngsters out there who may be reading this, DO NOT USE HOUSE PAINT on plastic models. Another freaky job I remember was using gold paint to spruce up an Aurora King Kong. Not pretty. While some of my models came out pretty good, I never achieved something that could really be called a display piece.
Go forward a few decades and I still have the itch and now the patience to try to put together a model that I can proud of. I’ve got about a dozen stashed away in my closet that I’ve been sitting on and finally had time to get to one for a try.
One of the main things that I have always wanted to try my hand at was airbrushing. Years ago I picked up one of those really cheap $10-$20 plastic airbrushes that comes with a compressed air can, ready to go. Now I know this was not going to be the best quality wise, but I wanted to give it a try anyhow just to see what I could do with it. In anticipation of getting a REAL airbrush (more on that in another post) I also found a cheap ‘bladder’ type airbrush compressor since I did not even want to bother with cans.
The Weird-Oh “Daddy O.”
So now all I had to do was select a good model to try the ‘economical’ airbrush and see what it could do. When a local hobby shop had a stack of “Weird-Ohs” going for a mere $5, I knew that I had found my trial model. The Weird-Ohs (originally called “Weird-ohs Car-icky-tures”,) are a series of classic goofy looking characters put out by the Hawk modelling company in the sixties, but have since been bought out or licensed by a number of other model companies over the years. The latest incarnation was put out in 1993 by Testors and it is from that set that my Weird-Oh comes from. The store I bought it from had a few Weird-Ohs to chose from, but the one I picked up was the Daddy O.
But the Weird-Ohs legacy grew from it’s model plastic model roots into something of a cult phenomena. The franchise concept was so popular that Weird-Ohs were popping up everywhere and on anything. Toys, games, cards, stickers, you name it. Oscar winning makeup artist Dick Smith even put out a do it yourself makeup book under the Famous Monsters magazine banner that featured instructions on how to turn yourself into a Weird-Oh. There was once even a TV show based on these figures which I believe coincided with the 1993 model set release.
As you can see the Daddy O. is a business attired goofy looking dude in a coffin shaped car. While this came with some paint (and even a glue tube) I decided that as another experiment I was going to be using mostly dollar store acrylic craft paints with the only the use of Testor’s enamel for the gold coffin handles.
The instruction page is nothing but an oversimplified double sided page with figures and arrows that leave a lot to the imagination. But the box art was more than enough to get most of it right but there were a few things that had to be measured out myself and improvised.
Before starting the build I looked at the kit closely for any particulars I would have to pay attention too. I could immediately see that the wheels, both front and back had some lettering that I would have to try to get exposed by painting accordingly. The rear wheels had indented “Badyear” lettering and the front wheels had “firerock” extrusions. There were no decals supplied but the kit had a post with three direction signposts (“This a way”, “That a way”, and “All the way”) that I was going to have to improvise to do the lettering.
Onto the build! I started out with the coffin body that I decided was going to be my first airbrush tryout. I did a bit of research into mix formulas with acrylics and tried a few paint/water ratio mixtures. No matter what I tried it came out much too thick out of the airbrush, or not at all. Luckily these were easy to wipe away quickly so I could try again. I then opted for a 50/50 paint/future solution that barely worked. It was still too splotchy for me, but by this point I just wanted to get on with it. With the coffin body decent enough, all the rest of the painting was going to be by brush.
Putty and alignment marks
Starting to build the character body and arms was simple enough, but I did notice that some areas needed putty. One of the tricky parts was trying to determine the exact positions of the arms. The arm positions on the model does not have any pins or indents so you’ve got a wide range of angles to chose from. But I knew that the left arm must clear the coffin top and would eventually have to hold the steering wheel (which itself has no definitive position), and the right arm will hold a briefcase that has to be above the base. So I had to try to lay these pieces with enough of a clearance that I would not be creating a problem later. I did a few trial measurements (notice the marks in the picture) and hoped that I was OK.
One the puttying was done I started painting the face and body. The only thing I was undecided upon was what kind of eye definition I would paint on. The box art showed just simple ‘dot’ eyes but I wanted to go with the wild, bloody vein eye look that I felt went better with the zany character motif. My first attempt had thick red veins that looked terrible, but a few fresh coats of white gave me a new canvass and I kept my second attempt which was done with a much finer brush.
Painting most other parts was simple enough, adding only black washes to the cloud dust fumes and the engine. The hood ornament is a funnel in which I had to add some black ‘oil’ including a drip. In order to have the recessed ‘badyear’ on the rear tires I first painted the area white making sure it got into the recessed grooves and I then lightly brushed on the black doing my best to keep it out of the recesses. Again, it was not perfect but I was happy with the results after my second try.
With the car and body fully assembled, the last task was to figure out how to get the writing on the signposts. My attempt at just manually lettering the signage with a permanent marker was obviously a failure once I saw that the marker ink flowed freely to a much larger area than that in which the ink was placed. I then decided to just print out a whole sheet of the three slogans I needed in various quirky fonts and font sizes. By holding up the sheet to a light source with the sign behind it I could see which font size fit best with a suitable font. I then just cut out the required slogans and glued them onto the plastic with plain white glue.
After gluing the body to the coffin base the trick part to completing the car was getting the steering wheel in the grasp of the hand while trying to center it on the car body. As there are no reference points to glue it, I did my best to place it using tweezers. After that it was just putting together the wheel frame and other adornments on the car itself. Once that was done the car was glued to the base in the elevated position and then scattering the miscellaneous broken car parts on the base. The final piece was the signpost.
Voila! A decent model if I say so myself.