Thursday, December 22, 2011

Successful young man and his Valiant AP6

It's the mid 1960s, a smart young Australian man, already making a success of himself in business, has just bought his first status symbol, a brand new AP6 Valiant Regal , the top of the line model back then. On his arm is his gorgeous girlfriend, while out on the street the other boys are either watching jealously, or pretending not to notice.

As soon as I saw this photo of a 1960s milk bar in Australia I knew it was almost perfect for
my Valiant Regal diorama. If you want to be picky, you can see that the news posters are
of the moon mission of 1969, not 1965, but fortunately I'm not that picky. The model used
here is a 1:43 Trax model of the AP6, and it's very nicely made indeed.

I have a soft spot for Valiants, not because I've ever owned one, but because there's a nickname for these cars which involves the suburb where I live in Sydney. Valiants in Sydney have earned the extra name of 'Marrickville Mercedes', because these were the status symbol cars bought and driven by migrants who had made a success of themselves in their new home, Australia. Marrickville is the migrant suburb par excellence in Sydney. Even though it is slowly gentrifying now, alas, it's still home to lots and lots of Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Africans, Turks, Lebanese, Indians and Sri Lankans, Indonesians and many many other cultures. Everyone seems to get along with each other pretty peacefully and happily too.

There are still plenty of Marrickville Mercs getting around, being driven very slowly by Old Greek men. Their grandsons are waiting patiently for Pop to drop off the peg, so they can get their hands on that mint condition Valiant. Can't blame them really.

So a diecast collection for this Marrickville boy just wouldn't be complete without a couple of Marrickville Mercs in the garage.


  1. Well done Oz. One of your better dioramas but I am biased because its a Val. Love the atention to the detail. Don't sweat the moon landing date being before the fact. Redgum did the same thing with the song 'Only 19'. It didn't detract from it at all. Would you mind sharing how long this one took to do?

  2. Thanks for the kind comments, Doogie.

    Luck plays a big part in the time it takes to do a diorama, because half the trick is finding a cool background photo. This time I got lucky (in Google images) and found this milk bar in 5 minutes and the young couple in just 10 minutes (they're Carey Mulligan and Peter Saarsgaard from a great movie, 'An Education'). Other times it can take an hour or more to find all the right elements.

    As for the rest of the job, let's see..
    Photographing the car - 30 minutes
    Deep-etching the car and young couple – 40 minutes
    Layering and fiddling in Photoshop - 30 minutes
    More fiddling and finessing and touching up rough edges in Photoshop – 20 minutes

    So that's about 2 hours. That's quick by my standards. Most dios are done in snatches here and there at the end of the working day, or on weekends.

  3. Thanks for sharing the info. I think I told you I am on the first rung of deep etching. I am glad to see photography takes you some time too as I seem to spend hours photographing a few cars. At the end of that I only get a few half decent shots.

    On another note, I picked that as Saarsgaard but I couldn't place the lady. Excellent work on placing them on the other side of the car. Quite authentic.

    I like your maroon AP6. I hope I don't regret not grabbing both colours while I could, but as you know in this hobby you could keep on spending until the bank came and took the plastic away from you.

    Well back to fiddling with the Corolla and stuffing that up.

    Cheers, Doogie.