How to Restore Dinky Toys

Updated April 17, 2017

The Dinky Toy company was created in 1934 and released die-cast car models from that period until the early 1980s when its British division closed. The company name was later sold to a Chinese company that also holds the rights to Matchbox and other car lines. The die-cast models became a popular collectable for toy car and truck enthusiasts. Restoring these models requires specialised techniques that also work for most other die-cast models.

Place the model in your polythene bucket. The bucket must be polythene as caustic soda will eat through tin and other weak metals.

Pour enough water into the bucket to fully cover the model. The water should be at least 1 inch above the top of the toy.

Add caustic soda to the water. You must wear gloves as caustic soda can burn the skin. The model should remain in the solution for approximately three minutes.

Use your brush to remove the model and inspect for paint. The caustic soda should quickly dissolve the paint and you can brush away any remaining flakes. This may take longer for larger models.

Rinse the model and brush with cold running water once all paint has been removed. Make sure that all of the soda water is gone and the model is fully dry before you begin painting.

Prime and repaint the dried model. Metallic primer is best as it will accentuate unpainted areas. A size 5 paint brush is recommended due to the level of detail it makes possible while still covering large areas.


Add successive layers of paint instead of one thick layer. This will result in a brilliant glossy finish, similar to a showroom shine.


Never pour water into caustic soda. This will result in bad fumes and sputtering which can cause burns or damage to surrounding equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Polythene bucket
  • Caustic soda
  • Water
  • Enamel paint
  • Small wire brush
  • Size 5 paintbrush
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nicholas Robbins has been a professional writer since 2008. He previously serviced system issues ranging from operating systems to point-of-sale deployment and global distribution system equipment. He has experience with computer and tech equipment, as well as business relations/management. Robbins studied business at the University of Alberta.