When it comes to playin’ around, master modeler Mike Tellez just won’t grow up. On second thought, if Mike did get all grouchy, old and gray, we wouldn’t be able to experience his charming personality… doh! Now Mike here is a bad dude to say the least, and the reason that we tapped his phone, oops, we mean his shoulder, for another mild-to-wild photo spread is because we were looking for some crazy metal models with a way bigger size since everyone’s all turned on to cute and cool SUVs. Well, what do you know, Mike had a shelf in his West Covina, California, garage full of Jada Toy products in the works and a bunch of collectible (still in the package) Hot Wheels cars tacked up on the wall. So now you know where we’re at–two guys, on a weekday, photographing toy cars and action figures.
Big ideas come from smart noodles and Mike came up with some very clever tricks for his orange diecast 2003 1/24-scale Dodge Ram. First, he lowered the truck’s ground clearance by cutting the plastic undercarriage, then hinged the rear bed to rise at a 45-degree angle. He added low-voltage Mag-Lite replacement bulbs to act as light beams in the headlights, while a hood micro-mini light bought at R’s Hobbies in La Mirada, California, brightens up the engine. The rear bed taillights are red LEDs from RadioShack.
We pried open the third door of the Dodge and discovered a speaker box which has its own disco lighting system. Too cool! Nowadays, it’s the trend to be watching in-dash video monitors as you drive and sink your hand down a big bag of hot chili Cheetos. Big Mike prevailed in miniature reality with three backlit monitors, one in the dash and two in each rear headrest.
We gotta keep thinking of some cool ideas besides just shooting big spinning rims so we cell phoned all of the homies to come check out the baddest metal model ever slammed. Heck, they loved the Ram’s bug-scrapin’ big-body look so much that they brought their fast and furious convertible super rides and threw a concert benefiting no one in particular, but we did hear some loud shout-outs from MC Mic Master about Mike’s new website; www.mikesmodelcargarage.com.
All of this junk and jive at Mike’s house took the better part of a day, believe it or not, and what we got out of Mike besides his life story was the next business venture. To anybody building highly unique models with the idea of selling them is a great entrepreneurial spirit and one we love to encourage. After all, who knows, it might turn the economy around in no time.
Mike and his website business are supported by his wife, Lesilee, and his scratch-building brother Santiago Hernandez, who also holds a degree in plastic custom model construction from lowrider university. Santiago can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or albertsgarage.com. Have fun, y’all.