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I was so excited when Jared Flores announced that he had returned from overseas and was going to begin creating custom Vinylmations once again. I couldn’t wait to add some of his amazing pieces to my collection! Several months later, I am the proud owner of 6 of his spectacular customs, with more on his list for the future! This article will feature what I consider to be the grand daddy of them all!

A few years ago, my kids started watching the Henson produced PBS show Dinosaur Train, and my daughter showed an interest in paleontology. I started collecting dinosaur fossils from a rancher in Montana, and we have about 30 specimens, including a beautiful T-Rex tooth. Our collection mostly consists of finger bones, toe bones, claws, and teeth, but really nice specimens. We displayed the collection for my daughter’s school science fair, and it was really great to see the kids’ eyes light up when they could touch a real dinosaur bone! Something they can’t do in a museum. We have plans in the works to go on a real dinosaur dig in South Dakota in 2018, when my kids turn 8. We can’t wait to rough it for a couple of days in the hot sun and see what treasures we can find!

One of my favorite movies of all time is Jurassic Park. I have always been fascinated by dinosaurs from a young age, and this movie really brought them to life for me. Last year, my husband let them watch the movie for the first time. They absolutely loved it, and I took them to see it in the theatre during the 3D release. Yes, my husband and I got a lot of strange looks, taking a 3 and 4 year old to that movie, but they had a great time! I collected many of the toys in 1993, and my kids are still enjoying them today. We even have a full arcade size Lost World pinball game in my daughter’s bedroom. Our next trip to Florida will be in June 2015, and I can’t wait to get my kids on the Jurassic Park Ride! They will finally be tall enough, and they will love that T-Rex! My son’s favorite dinosaur is of course aT-Rex, but my daughter loves the Velociraptors! For those fans of Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs portrayed as Velociraptors are actually Deinonychus, a dinosaur that lived in the United States 65 million years ago. The much smaller Velociraptors are native to Mongolia.

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When Jared Flores posted pictures of an amazing T-Rex that he had created for a client on a 3 inch Vinylmation, I jumped at the chance to add one of his Jurassic Park creations to my collection. I decided on the Raptor, and what Jared created was simply stunning! I cannot, in words, properly describe the detail in this piece. The sculpting of her head, tail, arms, and claws are out of this world! On a 3 inch Vinylmation, you wonder how it is even possible!

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The attention to every detail in the painting of this piece is awesome! The painted scales, teeth, and eyes look so real, that I am convinced that she is watching my every move! Such a clever girl! If this were a real Velociraptor hatchling, which would be the size of a small turkey at adulthood, I am certain this is what it would look like! image3-e1397654763963

If you would like to commission an amazing Jared Flores custom, he can be reached at www.facebook.com/jaredflores. You won’t be disappointed!

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One of my favorite movies or all time is Pixar’s Cars. Although not one of Pixar’s most critically acclaimed films, it sure struck a chord with me. From 1996 to 2001, I was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. When you live in North Carolina, you can’t help but be consumed by the sport of stock car racing. Sundays became NASCAR days. If we weren’t watching it on television, we were at the track. I was a huge Rusty Wallace fan, and my husband was a huge Mark Martin fan. We attended at least 8 races a year all over the Southeastern U.S. We were at Bristol Motor Speedway to see Rusty get his 50th win, and we were at Daytona when Dale Earnhardt sadly lost his life.

As much as we loved racing, we also loved Disney and Pixar! You can imagine how excited I was when Pixar announced the making of this film. It was the best of both worlds! Pixar really did their racing research, and the premiere was even held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The character Tex, the owner of Dinoco, is voiced by Humpy Wheeler, the president of this racetrack at the time.

This past September, Tom Shultis of NorCal Customs created an awesome custom 3 inch Pixar blind box series. Included in this series was a Lightning McQueen with gorgeous candy red metallic paint. When I saw the pictures of it, I went bananas! I purchased one blind box, and look who was in it!

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In the voice of Mater, “He must have knowed I wanted that one!” The metallic paint is awesome, and the the detailed blue eyes on this little guy are stunning! I loved it so much, I contacted Tom to see if he could make me a 9 inch Lightning McQueen. He was already priming a 9 inch Vinylmation to do just that! The candy apple red paint just glistens, and the Rust-eze logo looks like it just came off of Lightning’s hood!

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The arms are adorned with Lightning’s sparkling metallic bolts. Ka-chow!

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The design on the back of this vinyl is what makes it so special to me. My favorite race was the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. It was one of the toughest tickets in NASCAR, and we had season tickets high up on the front stretch! The camera flashes went crazy when the green flag waved, and this was depicted perfectly by Pixar in the movie’s opening race sequence. Although this track was referred to by Pixar as “The Motor Speedway of the South”, Tom placed “Bristol Motor Speedway” on the back of the head. Every time I look at this vinyl, I remember all if the great times I had at that track!

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Shortly after Lightning arrived, I realized that he couldn’t be displayed without his main squeeze, Sally. Tom created a beautiful blue metallic Sally that really compliments Lightning. Her ears have a really cute touch, with the Cozy Cone logo, as well as a picture of a car sleeping inside a cone.

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Sally wouldn’t be complete without a pinstripe tattoo on her back!

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Thanks to the awesome artwork of Tom Shultis, Lightning McQueen and Sally are still getting cozy at the Cone!

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My Sundays have changed in recent years. My favorite driver retired from the sport, and my husband and I have moved to the Northeast, away from the iconic race tracks of the South. We have been blessed with 2 wonderful kids, and our Sundays are focused on them. Perhaps one day my kids will enjoy auto racing as much as my husband and I did. But for now, I just look at these beautiful customs and remember all the great times I had at the track!

If you would like to commission an awesome Tom Shultis custom, he can be reached at www.facebook.com/tomshultis .