One of the project imperatives of the bus was to have it molded, die-cast, finished and assembled in the same manor as the originals. The research required to achieve this was significant. Many contacts were made who were involved in the original Mattel project. All contributed in varying degrees. Without their input and insight, the project would never have been completed.
Plastic interiors were computer color matched to US white interiors. Since the prototypes of the RLBB from 1968 were produced in the US, the color of the interiors was US white, not Hong Kong white. The difference is subtle but important as the US white interior color is slightly darker or more ivory than the HK white interiors.
Windshield plastic was also color matched to standard US tint. Contrary to common thought, both the HK and US windshields have a blue tint. The HK windshields are an obvious blue tint and the US windshields are what is referred to as “water clear” blue tint GP Styrene. If you look into the edge of any US windshield, it is not clear! It has a very slight blue tint.
Surfboards were also color matched to US Deora surfboards, which are what was used on the RLBB prototypes back in 1968.
The die cast components were all created with standard die cast tools for an authentic look and feel. For those of you unfamiliar with die casting, the tooling to create the body and the base of the bus weighs just shy of 400lbs, and is about 12″ x 12″ x 18″. Imagine an almost solid block of steel that opens up in 6 different directions after the molten zinc material is forced in. It’s a fairly sophisticated tool with exacting tolerances, even though this technology has been around since WWII. This super-dense steel tool is manipulated by an overhead crane, and is run inside a die-cast machine that is about the size of a pickup truck. The material used was ZAMAC 4 for the Alphas and ZAMAC 5 for the Omegas.
The assembly would involve the same process as a real die cast car for riveting. Fake rivets or epoxy were not used on the BV bus. In the picture below, we can see “vents” in the windows of the bus. This is a raw output from the tool. The vents are there to allow gas and frothy zinc material to collect. These vents catch the first zinc that heads into the cavity, because it’s the last place for the zinc to go! The vents are knocked out when all the flash is removed during the tumbling process. The term “flash” refers to all the small rough edges you see in the casting below. The molten zinc finds its way into all the joints in the tooling, and needs to be cleared away.