The process of building a plastic model car can be as time consuming and intensive as building a full-size car. Model builders suffer the same issues as their counterparts do. There is the hunt for parts, the cost of the build, and the task of finding the right combination of paint, chrome, and detail to separate each build from the rest. Ulises Vazquez of Whittier, California has put over 15 years into model car building and has found the formula to separate himself from the rest.
Ulises was introduced to the world of plastic model building back in 1988 by his father, Estevan Vazquez, who is also a plastic model car builder. Estevan also introduced his son to Lowriding by taking him to car shows, a practice that began when Ulises was just six years old. Naturally, Ulises wanted to replicate the cars he had seen at the car shows while he was growing up.
After locating the perfect make and model to start with, Ulises replicated the style of paint, the height of the suspension, the wheels, and the 5.20 tires that he had become so familiar with during his years of attending the events with his father. Besides his years of practice, Ulises’ attention to detail and hunger for aesthetic perfection has given him the perfect success formula for building small-scale replica Lowrider models.
Over the years, Ulises has found ways to replicate the intricate paint jobs and body modifications. Aside from practice, he credits valuable input from fellow model builders like David Anthony Garcia, Armando Flores, Cesar Figueroa, Big Mike, and Roger Chavez for being instrumental in his growth as a builder. He has built models with suicide doors, hoods, and trunks that are fully functional. The paint jobs on his model are done with House of Kolor paints and are done in a similar style of paint scheme that you would see on a car from a club like Lifestyle, who are known for their intricate paint jobs. Ulises has also adapted materials used for other applications to achieve the intricate patterns found in his paint jobs. He even fabricates mounts to hang the car club plaques in the back window of the models! Simply put, the detail on Ulises’ models are unbelievable.
Ulises spends an average of two to four hundred dollars, and sometimes dedicates a year and a half to build one model. That said, it is not uncommon for him to be working on multiple models at one time. That may seem like a lot of time and money for such a small scale but to Ulises, it’s about the end result, which in this case is a small, detailed, and scaled replica of a Lowrider.
As Vice President of Masterpieces Model Car Club, Ulises has to keep raising the bar with his builds, not only to represent his club as best as he can at the shows, but also to motivate his club members to do their best. Ulises and his club members have been featured in Lowrider Magazine, Model Car Magazine, and various online forums dedicated to model building.
I asked Ulises if he had plans on giving up model car building, and his response was an immediate and resounding “no.” He aims to help make model building more accepted by the mainstream and more accessible for the next generation of model builders. Just like Lowrider bicycles and pedal cars, model building is an entry way for the next generation of Lowriders.
One other thing that Ulises plans on doing is building a full-size Lowrider, so that he can properly cruise the streets of Southern California. If he puts as much time, money, and skills into the full-size car, there is no doubt we here at Lowrider Magazine will be featuring that ride in the pages of the magazine.
If you are interested in commissioning Ulises to build a model, or are interested in purchasing one of the many in his collection, you can reach him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.