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Hidden talents of Universal

You built a time machine…out of a DeLorean?

Roads? Where this car’s going, it doesn’t need roads. Whether it’s the electric forklifts at work or the intricate models he works on from home, vehicles of all shapes and sizes have always been a lifelong passion for one Universal team member.

Our Warehouse and Logistics expert Brae Rusling is a man of many parts. As a child, he was given his first model kit by his aunt, and his passion (and collection) has grown from there. He now has upwards of 40 completed scale replica vehicles and two large display cabinets, with over 200 kits waiting in the wings for their turn on the workbench.

“The stash grows faster than I can build!” he says, adding that he needs new display cabinets to house his latest projects. “One holds my 1/43 scale Ferraris from the brand Ixo. The other is mostly full of diecast models, and other models I built.”

Brae once trained in New Albany, Ohio, as a professional car detailer. While his career took him other places (which we’re thankful for), he still details cars in his spare time – that’s when he’s not deep in a new build for his ever-growing collection.

He went back to the future with his latest model and brought the results into the Universal office to share with the team. Unfortunately (or thankfully?) we didn’t have a spare 1.21 gigawatts required to get the car fully operational. However, it was still a sight to behold.

Creating each model is an involved process. The replicas are built through a subscription service, with packs sent each month containing parts, instructions, and background information.

“When the subscription first came out, it was something I couldn’t really afford,” he says. “After moving to Palmerston North, a friend showed me the DeLorean he was building, and it sparked my interest again.”

Once he had obtained all 125 packs required for the build, a process which took around six months, he started looking into potential modifications through an online discussion group.

“The main modifications I have made are an actual working flux capacitor and a Christmas tree, which is what we call the LEDs behind the driver’s seat that you see go up and down in the movies,” he says.

“I also replaced the flux bands with EL wire and the standard seats with more realistic 3D printed ones. I got tiny white cable ties for all the wiring that goes around the sides of the car. The most interesting part was doing the interior and trying to replicate the real car, which has all the wiring everywhere.”

Brae admits that much of the time spent in creating models goes on researching details and shopping for extra pieces. The DeLorean will take pride of place next to some other of his best pieces, he says, adding that it is hard to say which is his number one favourite model.

“Many of my builds have something unique about them in different ways,” he says. “I have a Skyline that I painted three different colours and I got the masking just right, so the separate lines are almost perfect. There’s also a Millennium Falcon that is very detailed and nicely weathered – yet fits in the palm of your hand. Then there are the ones I’ve done in special paints with pearl clear coats that look amazing in the sun.””

“The main modifications I have made are an actual working flux capacitor and a Christmas tree, which is what we call the LEDs behind the driver’s seat that you see go up and down in the movies.” 

Having now finished the DeLorean, he has many more projects on his wishlist, with a 1/8 scale KITT and a 1/8 scale Ecto-1 top priorities. However, his priority is to find more time to spend at the workbench. With results like these, we’re not surprised he’s keen to get back to it!

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