Q: How does this work ? How do you build your models ?
A: It's really pretty simple -- you tell us what vehicle you're trying to duplicate, and we'll tell you if we can do it, and how much it will cost. Nearly all of our models are based on existing model kits, or finished diecast models modified to look like the client's vehicle. Most people come to us because they've seen a finished model of their car, but it wasn't the right color, or they might know there was a kit produced to replicate their vehicle, but they don't have the skills to build it themselves. Others have no idea if a model was ever made for their car, truck, or motorcycle, and we answer those questions as well. Occasionally, someone asks for something that has NEVER been available in scale, and while it is VERY expensive, we do have the skills to make completely new models from scratch.
Q: Do you guys REALLY know what you're doing ? What are your qualifications ?
A: Simply put, we are a small team of craftsmen (Ok, 2 !) dedicated to the fine art of scale modeling, with nearly 75 years of experience between us. Our models are consistent winners at contests, and our work has appeared in numerous modeling publications. We've built models which were used as the box art for several well known model kits, and we've produced prototype models for the various "Mint" diecast manufacturers. These prototypes have been used as the basis for mass production by these manufacturers, with several pieces selling in record numbers. Please take a look at our portfolio -- we think that's all you'll need to convince yourself that we're the right guys to build YOUR model.
Q: What models are available ? Do you have a list ?
A: We do not sell mass produced models -- all of our models are built one at a time by hand. Virtually any special interest car, truck, or motorcycle can be built, so there's no reason for us to maintain any sort of product list.
Q: Let's cut to the chase - how much does a custom built scale model cost ?
A: No two models are the same, so the simple answer is -- it depends. Because of the nature of custom work, every project will be different. Sometimes it only takes $100 and a few hours of work to change wheels or add graphics, while other projects may consume hundreds of hours, and cost many thousands of dollars. Generally speaking, most of our projects come in between $500 and $1500, but as you might imagine, some are less than that, and some go MUCH higher, depending on what the client's looking for.
Q: You've got to be kidding! I can get a finished diecast model at Walmart for $10, so why are yours so expensive ?
A: The diecast models you find at discount stores are mass-produced overseas to relatively primitive standards of fit, finish, detail, and general quality. Essentially, these are childrens' toys, and are meant to be played with. For some people, these are more than adequate replicas of their favorite cars -- you see them on dashboards at car shows all the time. Please don't misunderstand -- we're not knocking these models (or the folks that collect them) at all. We buy them too, and in many cases, we can use these models as starting points or parts donors for our own projects. By all means, if you find an inexpensive model like this and you're satisfied that it represents the car you want in a reasonably accurate way, then by all means, buy it and enjoy it. However, if you're looking for an EXACT replica of YOUR vehicle, or the machine of your dreams, you simply MUST have a model custom built to your exact specifications. And that's where we can help.
Q: OK, well I've seen some more accurate and highly detailed models sold by BBR, Franklin Mint, Danbury Mint, GMP, Highway 61, CMC, and others, and they sell in the $100 - $450 range. Again, why are yours still so much more expensive ?
A: Although these models are made to a much higher standard of fit and finish, they still don't offer every model in every color, body style, and trim level. And of course, none of them will be customized to look exactly like the car you want. Again, that's where we come in. We actually prefer to use models from these manufacturers as a starting point for our own projects, because they're so well done. Please remember, you're paying for the time it takes to convert their model to look like the one you want. Sometimes that may be 30 - 40 hours, and sometimes it may be 150 - 200 hours. Quality custom work always comes at a significant cost.
Q: How do you determine the price for a particular custom built model ? What factors will influence the price ?
A: We develop project proposals based on a simple time-and-materials formula, and we've been doing this kind of work long enough to know how long a particular project will take. The time it takes to build the model is really what you're paying for. After that, there are two primary factors in determining cost: the availability of donor kits or models, and the level of detail you want represented in the model. For some subject matter, there are plenty of models to choose from as a starting point, like a Camaro, for example. For other vehicles, there's nothing available at all, and the only way to build a model of it is to make one from scratch, which of course, can be a VERY expensive proposition.
Q: Are smaller models less expensive than larger ones ?
A: Sometimes, but not because of the size. Often, a larger model will be more expensive than a smaller one simply because there's more room to work in, and it's easier to add a lot more detail to it. However, we've done some smaller 1/43 scale models that take a lot longer to build simply because they're so small and intricately detailed. Another example -- when modifying a finished diecast model, it takes just as much time and effort to strip down and repaint a small model as it does a larger model.
Q: Is there anything I can do to reduce the price of my custom model ?
A: Absolutely. The best way to do this is to consider a "curbside" model. A curbside model is one that has no opening doors, trunk, or hood, and has minimal (if any) engine, chassis, or interior detail. In some cases, the windows are blacked out so the interior is not visible at all. The term comes from the fact that the model is built to show the car as it would appear "sitting at the curb". Another way to reduce cost is to scale back on the details a little. For example, there may be a nice model that needs to be repainted to look like your car, but the engine is all wrong. If you don't care about it too much, we can simply leave the engine as is, or glue the hood shut so no one would ever see it. Either of these strategies will reduce the amount of time and effort required to build your model, and therefore reduce the cost.
Q: OK, I get it, but I don't want to spend that kind of money on a model. Do you offer any other options ?
A: In some cases, less costly alternatives are available and, unless you're very specific about what you're looking for, we usually try to present several different options within our project proposals.
Q: I already bought a finished diecast model, but it's the wrong color. Can you repaint it ? How much would that be ?
A: This is the type of work we do most often. We disassemble the model as much as we need to, then strip the old finish, prime, and repaint in your chosen color(s). (Beware of other builders who simply mask off the unpainted parts and shoot the new color right over top of the old -- this will usually yield less than stellar results). Prices vary depending on the model we're working with.
Q: OK, what's the process ? How do we get started ?
A: It's pretty simple. You tell us what you're looking for, and we'll tell you if it can be done. Then, if you want to proceed, we will write a proposal for you describing the project and the cost. We will send that to you along with a contract for your signature. If you approve, you sign the contract, and we add your project to our work schedule. The contract simply holds your place in line - you can back out right up until we actually begin working on your project (see question #15 regarding deposits).
Q: What do you need from me in order to do the price quote ?
A: In order to prepare the project proposal, we need pictures and information. The more pictures and information you can provide, the better. We need to know what year, make, and model of vehicle you're looking for, along with colors, engine, interior, trim levels, etc., along with as many pictures as you can supply. It's always helpful if you know the paint codes for the vehicle. Did we mention that pictures are particularly helpful ? Once we've gathered all the necessary information from you, we'll respond with a written price quote, with no obligation.
Q: How long will it take to build my model ?
A: There are really two questions here. First, how long will it take for us to start on your project, and second, once we've started, how long will it take to finish it ?
- Our project backlog is routinely sitting at 3 - 5 years (yes, really), which means it will take quite a while before we can even start working on your project. In some cases, if a project is very small, we can fit it into our schedule sooner. Most people aren't willing to wait, and that's fine. We prefer to set expectations appropriately. But we must be pretty darn good if there are that many projects lined up with people waiting in our queue !
- Once a project comes up in our building schedule, we can finish some models in as little as 3 weeks, and we've taken as much as 2 years to do others. As you would expect, it all depends on how much work is involved. Our models are often given as gifts and, although we do our best to accommodate deadlines for birthdays and holidays, we WILL NOT sacrifice the quality of our work to meet a specific delivery date. We'll apologize in advance if this sounds rotten, but the bottom line is this -- if you can't afford to wait, then you probably shouldn't sign on for a project with us.
Q: Can I supply my own diecast, kits, parts, or paint for my project ?
A: Yes. In fact, that makes our jobs easier, and you can save some money -- a win-win for everyone. Plus, we usually do not require a deposit on projects where the client has provided the raw materials. And if you have some of the real automotive paint that was used on the real car we're modeling, then we encourage you to send some to us and we'll use it to paint the model. You can't get a better paint match than that !
Q: Do you require a deposit to start on my project ?
A: If you are supplying the donor kit or diecast model(s) we will use for your project, then we will not ask for a deposit. If we are providing these raw materials, then we will ask for a non-refundable deposit. However, we will not ask you to send any money until we are ready to start working on your project. This way, we don't tie up your money, and you can still decide to back out of the project. However, once we collect your deposit and work has begun, we cannot issue a refund. This will be clearly spelled out in your contract.
Q: I want to see the finished model before I pay for it. Can I take delivery of my model first, and then pay the balance afterward ?
A: We will provide photos of your project throughout the build process, and again when the model is complete. Once you have had a chance to review the photos, and everything looks good, we ask for payment at that time. After payment is received, we will ship the model to you. Unfortunately, we cannot ship the model to you before payment is received.
Q: Do you offer a payment plan ?
A: We do not have a formal payment plan, but we can be as flexible as you need us to be. If you want to pay a little bit each week or month once we've started working on yur project, that's perfectly fine with us. The only requirement we have is that the model must be paid for, in full, before we can deliver it to you.
Q: How will my model be shipped ?
A: It's your call. We usually prefer UPS, but Priority Mail through the US Postal Service works well too. We will determine the amount for shipping and get your approval before we ship your finished model. Also, because the models are usually one-of-a-kind, we have to insist that you also pay for insurance.
Q: Can you deliver my model in person ? Can I pick it up myself ?
A: When it's feasible, this is always our preferred method of delivery. We're located in upstate New York, so if you're within a reasonable driving distance, we're more than happy to hand deliver a model, or have you come and pick it up. In fact, some models are simply too delicate for shipping -- big rig trucks, and some Formula 1 models come to mind, with all of the extra pieces hanging off of them. In some cases, we may insist on personal delivery or pickup for a model, and if it can't be arranged then we may take a pass on your project. Also, there will be times when the size or value of a model justifies hand delivery to a far-off destination (for us) that requires air travel. As long as you're willing to pick up the tab, we're willing to do it.
Q: What if I'm not happy with my model ? Can I return it even though it's a custom piece ?
A: We do whatever it takes to make sure you're satisfied with your model. Of course, we send photos of the finished piece to you before we ask for payment, and that helps prevent any surprises. There have been a few rare occasions where something broke during shipping and, in that case, we fix it for you right away. But the quality of our workmanship has NEVER been questioned. This might sound like it would be a sticky issue, but it's never been that way for us. We have never had an unhappy client, and we intend to keep it that way !
Q: I don't know anything about model cars. Where can I learn the basics ?
A: Wikipedia is a good place to start, and there are thousands of other websites out there to look at too. We would also suggest you check out your local hobby shop, and ask plenty of questions. And of course, you can feel free to ask us anything you like. We're in this business because we love to build model cars, and we take pride in always giving our clients straight answers.
Q: How big are the models you build ? What scales are available ?
A: We build models in nearly all scales, from 1/43 to 1/8 (and there's a couple of pieces out there now that are even BIGGER !) By far, we do most of our work in 1/43, 1/25, and 1/18 scales, since these are the most popular, offering the widest range of available subjects. For an explanation of model scales, please view the discussion at Wikipedia.
Q: What's the best way to display my model ?
A: We always recommend that our models should be kept in a dust-free display case, preferably in a climate controlled, indoor setting. We see models on air cleaners and package trays at car shows all the time, but this is the WORST way to show off a scale model if you want it to last. A plastic or resin model will distort or even melt under the hot sun, and many diecast models have plastic parts which will do the same thing.
Q: Speaking of displays, can you build a diorama for my scale model ?
A: Absolutely. For those of you who may not know, a diorama is a realistic setting that showcases a model vehicle in some interesting way. For example, take a look at the Olds Aurora GT1 model we built for a client. Displaying the car alone in a case looks really nice. But add a driver figure, a base that resembles a racing surface, and a piece of guardrail in the corner, and now you have a model that's alive, with a sense of action and speed. Of course, this is just a simple example, but you get the idea. When considering your own model project, think about how you would view the real car, and let your ideas run wild. We can do just about anything you can think of with a diorama setting -- the only limit is your imagination !
Q: What other services do you offer ?
A: We also act as a broker for clients who want to sell their scale models on eBay. In fact, we can even set up a plan that allows you to pay for a Bosco's Garage custom built model with the proceeds from eBay sales of other modeling items. If you're interested in an arrangement like this, please just let us know.
Q: I'm a diecast collector. Do you offer any limited edition pieces ?
A: Please stay tuned, as this is an area we intend to pursue in the near future. With the growth of our business, we hope to start offering small runs of custom models, with some based on existing tooling from other manufacturers, and others based on our own prototypes. On occasion, we do offer our own one-off custom models on eBay.
Q: I have a model that's broken. Can you repair it ? How much will it cost ?
A: We repair broken models all the time, and you can be sure we'll want you to send it to us for an estimate -- it's impossible to say how much time and effort will be required from a photo. Cost is based strictly on the hourly shop rate, plus the materials needed to make the repairs. In some cases, we may have whatever parts you need on hand. Other times, we may need to obtain other kits or models and raid them for parts to do the repairs, with your approval, of course. We will always pursue the most cost effective way to make the repairs without sacrificing the quality of the finished product. I will say this though -- more often than not, it's less expensive to simply replace the model.
Q: I build models too, but I hate to paint. Can you paint a model for me and then let me finish it myself ?
A: Sure. Basically, we will do as much or as little as you want on any given project. Need us to paint a model for you ? No problem. Need a body or parts customized ? Have a model that someone else worked on but you just need it finished off ? We can handle that too. We do have one stipulation though -- if you plan to enter a scale modeling contest, please do not pass off our work as your own. For example, it's one thing to have us make a hood for a particular car, and then you build the entire model with that hood. In that case, we're serving as an aftermarket supplier. That's cool. But it's another thing altogether if we custom paint a model body for you and then you enter the built model as your own work. One of the most obvious aspects of the model builder's skill and artistry is the paint job, so how can you with take all the credit for a model when you didn't paint it yourself ?
Q: I received spam email from someone at Bosco's Garage. What's up with that ?
A: That is impossible, since we have never sent unsolicited email for marketing purposes. Quite frankly, we're already overbooked with projects, so there's no need for us to actively pursue new clients through an email campaign. If you receive SPAM email and it says it's from us, what you're seeing is a practice known as "spoofing", where unscrupulous people will disguise SPAM to look like it came from anyone else besides them. So please, do not get angry with us -- we are the victims of SPAM just like you !
Q: What if there's no model or kit available to replicate the vehicle I want ? Can you make something from scratch ?
A: We always try to work with a model kit or diecast that's already available, but there are plenty of subjects that have never been available in any miniature form whatsoever. As a result, we're asked to do complete scratchbuilt models all the time. We are certainly capable of doing this kind of work, but it takes a LONG time, and most people are not prepared for the wait, or the cost. As you can imagine, building a model from scratch, that has never been offered in any form before, is a VERY expensive proposition. As long as you're OK with all of that, we're more than happy to build almost anything you like.
Q: "Level of detail" -- "Super-detailed" vs. "curbside" models -- what do these terms mean ? What's the difference ?
A: "Level of detail" can be difficult to explain, but in general, it's best to think of it by describing two opposite extremes, and then tell you that most models end up somewhere in the middle. For example, at the HIGH end of the detail (and price) spectrum, we would build a model that has opening doors, trunk, and hood, with every nut, bolt, knob, wire, hose, clamp, etc represented in the model. It would have an accurate chassis and interior, and it might even have working lights. The model would look like the real thing in almost every way, whether you're looking at the exterior, interior, under the hood, or under the entire car. It's difficult to see in the photos, but "super-detailed" models, at the HIGH end would include these:
As long as you're good with all of this, please send us an email here and tell us a little about your project. The more info you can provide, the better our response will be, and please include photos.