Friday, June 22, 2012

Making Windows for Marx Future Cars

Marx Cars of The Future are toys that seem as cool today as they did when they were first made in the space-age crazy 1950s. With styling that expanded on the big and burly cars of that era they seem plausible and completely ridiculous at the same time.

Originally cast with wheels on the bottom that don't seem designed to actually roll these cars make great stand ins for hover cars. Just snap the wheels out and they already seem to float on a cushion of air. Artist Ryan Howe used them for inspiration in our comic Yva Starling: Troubleshooter. I'm also planning to use them in my games of the Judge Dredd Miniature Game as Mega-City One transports.

There are reproductions of these that seem to be pretty cheap and available. Many war game hobbyists use them for games set in an alternate history sci-fi setting were design style never really changed much from the 1950s. They look great in this setting but would certainly be improved by the addition of windshields and side windows.

So I broke out another relic from the past, my trusty Mattel Vac-U-Form machine. This little tank has been around longer than I have and still works consistently and well. And for smaller vacuformed parts it can't be beat. It uses pre-drilled plastic sheets which are luckily still pretty easy to find. And in addition to the heat plate that softens the plastic I also use a heat gun to warm the plastic sheet more thoroughly. The sheet is clamped between two holding racks while it heats. This keeps the sheet taut and even. Then the soft plastic sheet is dropped over the form and the air vacuumed out. This draws the soft plastic over the form and cools it to set the shape.

I've made windows for the two closed cabin cars and I'm pretty happy with how they've turned out. Installing them into the cars can be a bit of a pain but just takes a few tricks. After trimming the windows out of the plastic sheet use either hot glue or green stuff putty to attach it to the roof. These are designed to fit very snugly to the roof of the car to pull the windows tightly into place. I used hot glue for mine and found that letting the glue set for  about 20 seconds before placing the windows helps the plastic keep its shape and fit more snugly. The part needs to be held in place until the glue cools.

Please contact me at if you're interested in picking some of these up.


  1. Now that is really cool. I've never seen one of those machines before. It does look really old, with that chrome emblem and heavy-duty metal construction. They don't make them like that anymore. The windows look great too. Really nice touch and a great way to finish off those cool cars.

  2. Those are fantastic. I have been staring at my windowless Marx cars for a couple of years now, trying to work out a reasonably practical way of fixing the window elements (also for my Dredd project as it turns out). You seem to have nailed it :)