You know an RC car is super-cool when your non-RC friends share it on Facebook. That's how I found out about Danny Huynh. I kept coming across videos of his creations on social media. His vehicles were like nothing else I'd ever seen before. I had to track him down to find out more.
Danny is a former professional photographer based in Sydney, Australia. According to Huynh, his RC projects borrow elements of steampunk, WWII airplanes, and post-apocalyptic themes. Think "Mad Max meets Sky Captain". Labels aside, Danny's cars are truly stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces.
All of Danny's artwork is fun to look at when it's just sitting there. But these are functional machines too. Not only do they drive, many have custom-crafted dynamic features such as moving figures and crazy faux weapons. Enjoy the photos, but you have to watch some of Danny's videos to truly appreciate his particular brand of genius.
Danny was kind enough to answer a few questions about his projects and the processes he uses to make them. Here's what he had to say.
Tested: Tell me a little about your background with RC cars.
Danny: It all started 5 years ago when I decided to buy my first drift chassis. These drift chassis appealed to me because the bodies are 1/10-scale versions of real street cars. I started painting themes in my own style onto these 1/10 scale drift bodies. I've always had a passion for cars, especially the designs of them. So this is how it all began.
How much of what you do is kit-bashing versus creating things from scratch?
I usually start with an existing chassis. But there are also times when I use spare parts to create a complete build. I only hand-make things that I don't have as I go.
Do any of your skills as a photographer also apply to your RC projects?
Not directly. I think the only skill I got from photography that applies to my RC projects is an eye for details. At first, my hobby was photographing RC cars. Then, I taught myself how to use spray cans to paint my RC builds. Now, I do all the creating, building, painting and photography.
Wait a minute…you only use spray cans? No airbrush?
Yes, I only use masking tape and Tamiya spray cans. That's what I taught myself with and I decided to stick with this medium and method. It really suits my style of working. Plus there's a certain look you can achieve with cans that an airbrush can't do, and vice versa.
Your projects typically have one or more animated figures on board. What's the most challenging aspect of incorporating those movements?
The hard part is getting them to look scale and move naturally within the rig. A lot of the better-articulated action figures on the market are 1/6 or 1/12-scale. Those sizes are either a little small or too big for my 1/10-scale projects. So a lot of the time, I have to modify their limbs to make them
look scale. That's the most difficult and time consuming thing.
Do you start a project with a firm idea of the finished product or do you improvise as you go?
I never plan any of my builds. I don't draw plans, sketches, etc. I just make them as I go. For example, the PVC pipe car build all started when I found an old PVC pipe while cleaning up my garage. At that moment, the cylindrical pipe shape reminded me of an airplane fuselage. Then the rest just happens as days go by.
How long does a typical RC project take you to complete?
It usually takes 1 to 2 months. It is time consuming and tedious stuff. But I love being creative and the end results are well worth it.
I see where people on Facebook are always asking how they can purchase your work. Is it ever for sale?
These rigs are for my promotional uses only. So I build these to promote my work via social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc. Plus, they take too much time, parts, and passion for me to sell them. At the moment, I'm working with the design department of Hobbytech RC of France. I have a few designs happening, but it's all confidential for now.
Thanks Danny. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
All images courtesy of Danny Huynh.
Terry is a freelance writer living in Buffalo, NY. Visit his website at TerryDunn.org and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also hear Terry talk about RC hobbies as one of the hosts of the RC Roundtable podcast.