Dear beloved DNA Collectibles’ fan and collectors, we are wondering if you still do not know CastHeads Magazine and its wonderful Team. Do you? If not, we are happy to introduce to you Lance and Nigel, from the beautiful Sri Lanka Island, and co-founders of this highly qualitative magazine. Please give them a warm welcome and learn a bit more about their passion for scale model cars and how they handle all the work to make the CastHeads Magazine.
Lance, Nigel, first how are you in mid-2021?
Answer Lance: Hey thanks for having us here. Halfway through 2021 and we are like So Far So Good. Contented on where we are and grateful to a lot of people to getting us there.
Answer Nigel: Actually, quite thankful. I am very aware of the struggles many people have at this time, and I do not take my comforts for granted. I Help where I can and enjoy the quiet times.
Can you please tell us your very first memory of getting into the scale model car hobby and turning it into a passion?
Answer Lance: My father used to travel overseas a lot and one of the things he usually would bring back are either Tintin/Asterix (which were HTF in Sri Lanka in the late 70s or early 80s) or diecast cars. But I seriously reconnected with the hobby again when I started handling over 10 automotive brands for an ad agency around 2009. It’s been great so far
Answer Nigel: My childhood was flooded with toy cars; my father was a petrol head and encouraged my love of cars with Corgi’s and Dinky’s. However, it was about 4 years ago where I reconnected with the hobby thinking I would start small and simple. I really did not guess how deep this was going to go!
What was your first scale model and how/where did you get it?
Answer Lance: The first truly exciting model I got was a black 1:64ish Lesney 57 Chevy Bel Air with red and yellow flames that had an opening hood. It’s still etched in my mind. I used to carry that and go vroom vroom everywhere.
Answer Nigel: After moving to Sri Lanka most of my childhood toys were gone including a massive collection of 70’s and 80’s Hot Wheels and Matchbox’s. Then around 1998 in my third job starting my career in design I was able to save up and buy my first 1/18 Purple Lamborghini Diablo. It was sold at one point to buy my girlfriend at the time a birthday present and purchases were intermittent and rare until 4 years ago.
How big is your collection and if you can name one, which one is your favorite model in your collection?
Answer Lance: My collection has gotten to a point that I have stopped counting, to save me a little piece of mind. But the absolute favorite model I have is a 1/43 Kyosho Ferrari 250 GTO that my wife got me on my birthday. I love the 250 GTO as I think it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever designed.
Answer Nigel: I have very close to a thousand models in all scales from 1/12 to 1/100 or maybe a little over a 1000. I should do a count. Impossible to say which singular model is my favorite. But the Subaru Baja by DNA is the only 1/18 scale that has a shelf of its own and has its own acrylic case. It is, favored quite heavily. True story.
Discussing about model cars, what are the points that you think are the most important on a model?
Answer Lance: In my humble opinion, only one thing “what the model means to the person getting it”. Does it inspire passion, a bit of nostalgia or even just to pass on a memory of a life lived. I know it sounds like I attach a lot to a model, but isn’t that what it is at the end of the day, most of us collect for far more personal reasons than anything. But from a manufacturer point, attention to detail and authenticity should be key.
Answer Nigel: The happiness it brings the owner. We see too many arguments online about detail and high-end models vs. budget models. Labels get thrown around and sometimes there is an elitist opinion that puts collectors on a budget off from commenting and being a part of the community. I don’t even compare; I try to look at all the positives and talk about those. All collectors should have a chance to own the cars they like.
What was the trigger that made you create the magazine? And how did you decide on the name ‘CastHeads’?
Answer Lance: I think that whole story can be better explained by Nigel as he was the spark that ignited the whole thing. When Nigel shared the idea of the magazine, I immediately went looking and found out, first, there was no true Pan-Asian, or global diecast magazine with most of them being market specific. We both come from design background and have done printed magazines from end-to-end. So we brought that same aesthetic to a free digital magazine designed and created like a printed magazine. Now I’ll let Nigel fill up the rest of this saga…
Answer Nigel: Lance and I met through a social media group connected to the Hot Wheels community in Sri Lanka and formed our friendship based on integrity. We believe everyone has the right to collect the cars they want. We had an idea to create a company that made display cases for model cars which sadly bombed due to lack of market locally. But we had a cool brand name. Then I took my annual trip to Malaysia and fortunately in time for a Diecast Expo there. I was awestruck by the community and the diverse brands and scales. I came back armed with a suitcase filled with Tarmac Works cars, ideas, and told Lance let’s leverage our decades of experience in design and advertising and create a FREE magazine for collectors.
The name comes from the community term PetrolHeads. We were in the same league of car loving culture except with smaller scale cars cast in metal, resin or plastic. CastHeads Unite!
We see that you are growing quite fast, can you tell us what are the most important milestones since the birth of CastHeads?
Answer Lance: We love the fact the most of our most memorable points have been with some awesome people and brands. First was having an amazing brand like DNA Collectibles in our second issue and the SAAB Aero gracing our cover, being a massive part of the Asian diecast expo scene since our inception, not once but more than a few times, and of course, every time we make a connection with a brand that wants to make us a part of their reach, I consider that a highlight.
Answer Nigel: Some of the biggest milestones have been partnering with many brands who by way of their support in media spend and media samples have helped keep the magazine ‘free’ online for our global readers which is wonderful. However, the biggest to-date has been the first printed issue, distributed in Europe and available to buy online. The June 2021 Issue is our 3rd Anniversary issue and the first to be available in print.
You recently took over the famous Model Car Hall of Fame website, do you have any plans and news you would like to share with us about it? (Any secret?)
Answer Lance: Yes, it was a long thought-out process and we agreed that it would make a great fit. While The magazine highlights the stories and the people, the MCHOF gives an opportunity for both collectors and fans to celebrate them and show they are loved. We plan to bring a more global and colorful tinge to the MCHOF over time. And of course, leverage the existing inductees to share their stories and passions with the wider Castheads across the planet. We also look forward to your support in making it bigger than ever.
Answer Nigel: There will be new categories that celebrate people in the diecast community. We also plan to make the Hall of Fame bigger globally introducing more global brands and exposing more brands to the event. We are quite excited, however we are proceeding as usual for the 2021 Awards and will be implementing the newer exciting stuff for 2022.
Do you have a funny memory that you would share with all our readers?
Answer Lance: Oh, it’s been a laugh riot with Nigel though out the years. Especially when we travel overseas and go to location on photoshoots. So, every time we go to an expo, we end up splurging on models that are usually sold there and can’t even wait to get back to the room to check them out. One of the funniest was of course coming back to the room and seeing Nigel spread out on the bed with all the models lying around, the look of contented bliss on his face.
Answer Nigel: There are many. But my favorite was our first trip to KL Malaysia as CastHeads Magazine together for the Minicar Festival. It was Lance’s first time in Malaysia whereas I visited Malaysia yearly for F1 and as a yearly vacation plan. We were in cab on our way to a mall and after about 10 minutes of driving around in the same service area we realized the cab driver was lost. Much to my amazement the first timer in Malaysia Lance, proceeds to start to give the lost Malaysian cab driver directions. At the time I was not very happy but now I laugh.
How did you know about DNA Collectibles?
Answer Lance: The act of putting DNA Collectibles on the CastHeads Magazine radar solely belongs to Nigel. He was looking for an amazing brand or model to feature in our second outing and zoomed on you guys. And I love the fact that the story has continued.
Answer Nigel: I saw the SAAB Aero being featured in an article. I was smitten by the quality of detail. After doing further research I got to know the backstory of how the brand began and immediately felt a comradeship because like CastHeads Magazine, the brand began with friends.
Knowing us since our beginning, can you tell us what you like about DNA Collectibles models and maybe about our philosophy as well?
Answer Lance: Honestly, it’s the amount of love you pour into your models. Breaking away from doing the usual or not following the same as every other brand out there, bringing to life models that people want, but don’t usually get because of various factors. The finesse that goes into each model is out of this world.
Answer Nigel: Personally, as a collector I love the detail and care that has gone into the development of a great relationship DNA Collectibles has with their producer. This brilliant relationship has resulted in some great products at stunning detail and quality. From a business standpoint you guys have been wonderful, partners and the care and detail you guys put in permeates everything you do.
Which one is your favorite DNA Collectibles model so far? Do you expect one specific model which is still not on the market?
Answer Lance: Oh that’s a loaded question. Out of all the DNA Collectibles models I have, the one that leads by a little is the Subaru Impreza GT Turbo. I have a soft spot for plucky little Japanese cars, and this was a highlight model for me. And if given the chance, I would love for you to make some rally or modern race cars like the Audi R18, or that SAAB Sonett from the 50s. Your level of quality and detail would make for some otherworldly models.
Answer Nigel: As I mentioned earlier the Subaru BAJA is one of my all-time favorites and does receive very special treatment. I’m excited to get my hands on the Subaru XT. Would love to see a beautiful 1962 VW Karmann Ghia Type 14, orange body, white roof and white wall tires.
If you had one (or more) advice how could DNA Collectibles improve in the future?
Answer Lance: You guys are doing wonderfully well so far. All I can say is, stay on your chosen off-the-usual path. Be that one brand that is not afraid to be different and collectors will love you more for it. I know I do for that exact reason.
Answer Nigel: Honestly, I don’t think DNA Collectibles needs improvement. Consistent quality, attention to detail and DNA’s clever selection of models will definitely keep collectors hungering for more from DNA.
Thank you very much guys for all your sincere and very nice replies. It is a lot of fun hearing all your stories and we really feel the passion and hard work going through your veins.
We truly hope that everyone enjoyed learning more about you, CastHeads’ journey and that many will now follow you digitally but also by buying your magazine.
We wish you all the best in the future and are thrilled to see what nice events / milestones you will surprise us with.