GRM Bathurst Wildcard

This is GRM’s 2020 Bathurst ‘wild card’ entry. The white car with the Valvoline colour scheme was visually impressive, but despite its good looks, a commercially released collectable was never produced. The car only raced this one event and the drivers were total unknowns to the general public, so demand for a scale model would have been weak. However, once I learned there were aftermarket decals available, the aim was to make my own.

Build Video

The Car

Garry Rogers intended to run 19-year-old Tyler Everingham and 18-year-old Nathan Herne in the ZB Commodore that James Golding used in 2019. Unfortunately for Herne, he was unable to secure the required Superlicence. This opened the way for 21-year-old Jayden Ojeda to join Everingham in what would be the only non-regular series entry in the COVID-affected field that year.

The #40 would qualify 24th of 25 and finished the race 19th, though many laps behind due to repairs after Ojeda hit the fence on lap 103.

Everingham (left) and Ojeda with the car as it was presented at Bathurst for the 1000. Note the white wheels and custom tyre branding that reads “Garry Rogers Motorsport – Wild Card”. (pic – GRM Media)

The Conversion

Armed with a donor model (Biante) and decals (Pattos Place), a decision had to be made on wheel colour. The car was presented with striking white rims, however all the on-track photos I’ve seen the car has either black or aluminium-finish wheels. I reckon it looks tough with the black wheels, but it was easier to just go with the colour of the donor model.

The donor was a Biante Brad Jones Racing ZB Commodore, Nick Percat/Tim Blanchard from the 2019 Sandown 500. It is #100 of a limited edition of just 174 pieces.
First step, disassembly. Most of this one came apart ok, except for the window insert which broke in two – fortunately not through the visible window area.
The metal body is then stripped using regular paint stripper (The Red Bull is a Classic Carlectables model, also being stripped but for a different project).
Within seconds the paint is blistering, ready to scrub and wash off. This product cannot be used on the plastic parts (side skirts, rear wing).
Body cleaned up and lightly sanded, ready for primer. These are both ZB Commodores in 1:43 scale, but the back one is the Biante that’s being used for this conversion.
Painting was straight forward – Tamiya grey primer (1 coat), Tamiya white primer (1 coat) then Tamiya TS-26 Pure White (2 light coats, then 1 heavier coat soon after). For the side skirts and rear wing, the decals were first removed and the parts lightly sanded before getting the same paint treatment.
The interior has a number of sponsor markings that are no longer required. I was able to lift some of them off with tweezers, others I just painted over with semi-gloss black.
The waterslide decal sheet is one large sheet of film that requires each piece to be carefully cut out so it can be applied. Strangely, the decals include all the panel lines…
After scanning and printing a copy of the decals, I started test fitting so I could plan the job. It was quickly apparent these decals were not designed for a Biante ZB casting!
So, with the real decal, things needed to be chopped up to enable better placement.
The big side decals have to cover the door handles, which requires a lot of softener and patience to stretch the material. Unfortunately, I still got wrinkles and started to burn through the ink. Also, there’s supposed to be an event decal above the race number. I only noticed afterwards that the decal had in fact curled under the number! Oh well, too late now.
Lesson learned – for the other side, I sliced a small hole for each door handle that allowed the decal to settle down much more neatly. The exposed parts were then touched-up with paint later in the re-build. Also, the event decal above the race number is incorrect – it’s supposed to be the Supercheap Bathurst 1000 logo.
The bonnet decal has been dipped in water long enough so it can slide on the backing paper and I use a few drops of Mico Set on the model. For these decals I also used Micro Sol where needed. The Mr Mark Softer brand is way too hot for these ones.
Making progress, including the rear wing, but it’s time consuming getting it to all fit and the decals are easily damaged.
Speaking of the rear wing…. the ‘Blue Ribbon Legal’ decals were so long they did not fit! It’s been heavily trimmed (including the gaps between the words) to get it to squeeze in between the end plates. The black on the bottom half was an experiment that failed. I sprayed Tamiya LP5 semi-gloss black onto some clear decal film, then once dry applied to the model. Everything was going great, unit I checked a few hours later and noticed all these cracks opening up.
This was later fixed (well, umm, hidden…) with a piece of carbon fibre decal placed over the top.
Previous driver names and some sponsor logos have been removed from the window inserts. This photo shows how out out of scale the aftermarket decals are – none of these four will fit correctly. In what can only be described as a small miracle, several of the donor’s window decals were able to be saved, including the series logos that are still on the rear window here.
Side windows are one piece. I brush painted the blue on the rear portions because on the real car, vinyl wrapped covered these. The driver names are way too big and spill over the sides of the window meaning I had to omit the decal from the B-pillar. Yes, the height of the names is different on each side.
Before clear coat, time was spent touching-up edges of ill-fitting decals. I hand mixed some paint to match the decal colours and went around areas such as the window openings, door handles etc. I also added black to the bottom edge of the window frame as this is visible once assembled.
Clear coat is Mr Hobby Top Coat Premium Gloss, decanted and run through the airbrush, 0.3mm needle with a little self-levelling thinner. Four coats all up (2 light, then 2 heavier). No sanding or polishing for this one, I’m too afraid of wrecking the decals!
All the parts ready for re-assembly to begin.
Each light is two pieces; backing chrome plus a clear lens. Microscale’s Kristal Klear is used to fix them in place. The rear lenses were already tinted red.
Front and rear windscreens are re-fitted from the inside, again, Kristal Klear doing the job.
All the glassware in place, ready for windscreen banner decals.
The grille is glued back in and decals go over the headlights.
Rolling chassis drops into the body and is held in place by 2 small screws. These are then covered from view by the black plastic front splitter floor and the rear fuel tank cover.
Side skirts, rear wing plus the camera pod and aerial on the rood are all re-attached using Kristal Klear.
Despite the shortcomings with the decals, I’m really happy with the way this has turned out.
A little panel-line wash around the wheel nut adds some depth to the detail.
I almost forgot! This car ran chrome trim in the grille, so this was picket out with a little chrome paint.

2 thoughts on “GRM Bathurst Wildcard”

  1. Nice build.
    I have a set of the Pattos Place decals for a 1/24 Nissan Motorsport Australia project. They appear to be quite thick – it will be interesting to see whether I end up using them or not.
    From memory the decals are specifically designed to fit the slotcar bodies he produces – hence why they don’t fit commercially available cars and why he has the panel lines included.

    • Yes, that was my understanding too, but I’ve been told he also takes the files from racing simulation games and converts the skins into decals, another reason why some have panel lines.


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