Tuesday, April 25, 2017

FJ Holden at the Half-Way House

Like most people, Australians like to believe in their legends about themselves, and part of that legend is the Australian-made Holden car. The first of these to roll off the production line in 1948 were modified Buicks, and they were wonderful cars, immediate best-sellers with customers patiently waiting months for delivery. Simple, reliable and very strong, with a straight-six engine, they were a perfect choice for our rough roads, many of which were dirt.

This diorama is just a fantasy based on what one happy family did as soon as they got their FJ Holden — they took it for a long drive in the country. Here, they're a long way from the city, stopping at "The Half-Way House" to fill up on petrol and buy some petrol, food and drink. A few of the locals are quite happy to just look at the shiny new car, something they don't often see out the back of beyond.


The 1/43 scale model car used for this diorama is by AutoArt, and it's one of my favourite models, really nicely made with attention to detail including "steerable" front wheels which can be moved from side to side, to suit the pose you want for it. It even feels like a good quality item in your hands.

Now, for whatever reason the "FJ" name has come to be the one that general folk who aren't car enthusiasts give to this early series of Holdens. The first one was the 48/215, a forgettable name that most people now call the "FX". It was produced from 1948 to 1953. Then came the FJ, produced from 1953 to 1956. 

Finally, to give you some idea of how much the original background photo changes in one of these Photoshopped dioramas, here's the starting point. I've renovated the shed, fixed the windows, added a nicer door frame, lots of ads, a petrol pump, people and more. All in all by the time I had finished altering the original image, I had 28 layers open (each representing an alteration or addition) in Photoshop. 

The one thing I didn't alter was that fantastic roof. It's an Australian classic, just like the FJ Holden itself.