Backstage Pass: The Build of Scion and HPI Racing’s 1:1 Switch xB


Snaps: P.Dabao, D.Huang
Blurbs: D.Huang

Back in September, Paul Dabao of Toyota approached me with an idea on creating a full-sized Scion xB Switch . The concept behind the initial plan was to create an ultimate support vehicle for the r/c world. The xB would be complete with a pull-out table, battery chargers, storage, tool chest, and entertainment – while replicating the 1:10 r/c model with body pins and antenna.

A quick sketch was drafted, scanned, and emailed using state-of-the-art digital tools – ok I lied, it was with a pen, paper, and a cell phone.

From there, a graphical rendering of the exterior was mocked up with the assumption that it was being based on a stock white xB with minimal vinyl to the body. The idea was presented to the stylish peppered-haired, Korey Tsuno of Scion’s Optomize program.

Realistically I was expecting a laugh of mockery.

5-months later, the green light was given, gears speed up and wrenches were thrown. What started out as a simple vinyl package, turned into a partial vinyl package, and then resulted into a full vinyl wrap. Thus, turning any of the previous ideas, rendering, and thoughts to square one, but for good reasons. Since the project was based on the Five Axis lip kit, which only fits the standard 2008-10 models, Korey-san was only able to locate a Murasaki 2010 RS 7.0 at the time.

As Scion fanatics know, the 2010 RS 7.0 is wrapped with different bumpers and a DAMD kit, which is nothing like the Scion xB Switch . Therefore a full wrap would make the most sense to eliminate having to paint these pieces and the car itself. Which was ok but that meant I was back to moving pixels and a lot of it. The xB was projected to debut at RC Expo in Pomona on the weekend of March 19th so ideas needed to flow quickly and efficiently.

At this time my creativity was distracted by re-runs of Two and a Half Men and amusing tweets from Charlie Sheen. I needed intervention. I needed to reach out. I needed more details and background on this project. That’s when I called Paul and Andrew Hilman, a blonde marketing guru and Sweetee Thai fanatic from HPI Racing, for a meeting. It was no surprise that we met at Sweetee Thai for a late last-minute dinner. One beer down and I was still sitting by myself at a table set for three. 30 minutes later with backpack in stow they arrived like they meant business.

Andy showed me a couple of concepts on his Mac, and I drew a few ideas on a 2×6 napkin with a borrowed pen. We parted.

Back at the studio, ok my dining table, I attempted to put the ideas together. Charlie Sheen wore off on me but YouTube got the best of my attention, Pandora set me straight.

With mine and Andy’s ideas, the collaboration turned out other renderings.

The result was a mixture of the two ideas when Korey-san finally put his stamp of approval.

From there… logo placements, colors, and lines were fine tuned and a printable file was produced for print.

While working on different rendering and emailing ideas back and forth to Paul-aaeehh and Korey-san, Mike Vu from MV Designz had possession of the xB and put the interior in motion. Mike took his creative personality into a different state and transformed an idea to the next level.

The fine work consisted of a hand fabricated motor stand and rim/tire rack in a mini garage – while maintaining the functionality of entertainment and charging station. It seemed dollhouse like.

The motorized garage had cracks airbrushed on the walls and floors. The garage even had an aluminum bay door, a miniature air compressor, and floor jack.

After about 100 emails, my job was done, while Mike and his crew only had 4-weeks to fabricate the ultimate display piece for the 1:1 scale Scion xB Switch.

On the 4th and final week, Spin Imaging of Long Beach took possession of the Bee to translate the approved rendering into reality. And, trouble came at the worst time during the week of the debut. What seemed routine for Spin, they had a few hurdles with the vinyl not sticking to the fresh bumper and the Five Axis lip kit. Even a quick spray of color didn’t help. I have no clue what they used to make it work, but word on the street was they were at MV Designz until 4am one night.

Spin Imaging even took the time to wrap the 1:10 scale Scion xB Switch to match!

While the rest of the wrap was being installed, MV Designz also custom lathed body posts from Delrin stock, fabricated body pins, a receiver antenna, and mounted the Falken Tires on the Five: AD wheels.

During this time OEM Audio Plus was also there installing new speakers and subwoofers that tuck nicely into the stock location and underneath the seats.

The full-sized xB Switch was picked up late Friday afternoon and arrived at Pomona just in time for the RC Expo weekend.

There were some set backs and long nights but overall it was well executed.

I want to thank Scion and HPI Racing for this opportunity and it was a pleasure working with Spin Imaging as well as discussing the project with the guys at OEM Audio Plus, Falken Tires, Five Axis, and MV Designz.

“d!” 2011


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s