When I decided to recreate the Jaguar used in my all-time favorite movie, "Withnail & I", I ordered a diecast model of the exact year and style: a 1961 Jaguar Mark II. When it arrived in the mail, the model was barely an inch long! Not nearly large enough to work with properly. So I bought this one, which is a 1958 Mark II - but it's a foot long, the doors, bonnet, and boot open and close, and the wheels and steering wheel turn! The only major difference is the back wheel wells - the 1961 has cutout wells that show the entire back wheel, and this one has a more hooded quarter panel that covers the top part of the wheel. I got over it.
The first task was to take that nice shiny finish off. I used steel wool while wearing rubber gloves (don't attempt anything without the gloves!). It was a bastard trying to get that stuff between the headlamps - I used broken swab sticks to push the steel wool around between things.
In this photo you can see I started creating the dents and scratches. Used a screwdriver to carve the dents in - the diecast metal of this car was much too heavy to actually hammer dents in without risking breaking the door hinges and other moving parts.
I was lucky enough to find a model car paint in the exact shade of bluish-grey that Withnail's Jag sports, and matte, too! It looks like shite here because I used the paint for both primer and finish. Took three coats to get it done right. More in some places.
Withnail's Jag, as shown here, had a super-crappy old red leather interior.
Since they don't sell paint in "super-crappy red leather interior" color, I had to mix my own. I used acrylic paints because they dry flat and crappy looking... just what I needed!
The pale beige plastic of the model's seats shone through the red paint, giving me the exact mottled crappy look that I was hoping for!
In many movies, they remove the rear view mirror for easier viewing of characters when filmed from the outside. Bruce Robinson chose to leave the rear view mirror in, so I did too.
In this shot, the paint job is complete, as well as the removal of the appropriate windscreen wiper (the right one) and headlamp lens (the left one). I also blacked out the headlamp well.
Using screencaps from the movie as my guide, I mixed my own rust-colored paint and applied it. Also dressed up the dents with some shading.
The ass-end of Withnail's Jag.
I had to paint that license plate with a toothpick - it's so tiny I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the details readable, but I'm pretty chuffed with how it came out.
The finished product... Withnail's Jag model! The color looks weird because of interior lighting, but it really is the same color as Withnail's car in person. The front license plate was a lot easier to paint, since I made it first and applied it to the car later.
I used pliers to clip off the fancy wheel centers, then applied modelling clay to cover up the chrome wire spokes. Then I painted the clay and center hub and lug nuts to resemble the wheels on the Withnail Jag. Not sure I'm entirely happy with the results, but it's sure a lot closer to the movie Jag without those chrome spokes!
They never show a shot of the trunk in the movie, but I went ahead and painted it to match the interior, since the real car probably would have had the same thing. It would have annoyed me to know it was shiny green in there.
I'm really happy with the way the dents and rust came out!
My "piece de resistance" is the above-pictured empty tissue box. It's only visible in two shots during the movie, while Withnail is drunk and driving agressively through traffic, and they are being chased by a police van.
I hand-made what I believe may be the smallest cardboard box in existence. With a razor, I scored and folded a piece of the thinnest cardboard I could find, painted it hot pink and added the green flowers, and with my trusty toothpick again, painted the crack where the tissues would come out, if the box had any tissues, which of course it didn't.
So there you have it, my friends... my lunacy has crescendoed to full-on CRAZY ABOUT WITHNAIL!
This model is going to feature prominently on my "Wall-O-Withnail". And if Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann don't respond to my letters, I am going to photograph the wall and send the photos to them. If that doesn't work, then I'll have to think of something else.