How to modify diecast model cars

Written by vincent labbate
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How to modify diecast model cars
Modified diecast car (sporty model car image by Ray Kasprzak from

Diecast model cars typically can be purchased in kits at any hobby store, but you can modify these cars to give them a unique look. From different paint styles to added trim, diecast model cars can be modified or upgraded to look sleeker or more unique to the hobbyist building them. Once these cars are modified to spec, they can be placed for display on a shelf or in a dust proof cabinet.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Paintbrush
  • Paint
  • Wet rag
  • Paint-on rust
  • Chrome trim
  • Hobby glue
  • Metal bolt
  • 2 large metal washers
  • Metal nut
  • Power drill
  • Protective eyewear
  • Nail file

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    Body Modifications

  1. 1

    Dab the paintbrush into the paint and give the die-cast model a new look. Create a two-toned paint job, where half of the car is painted one colour and the other half is a different colour. Provide visual interest by painting the frame one colour and the doors another colour.

  2. 2

    Paint designs on the model to customise a different way. Use the brush to create simple, personalised, or even wacky designs on the car's body.

  3. 3

    Paint the trim a different colour. For example, the model's body might be black, so paint the bumper, mirrors, and fenders white.

  4. 4

    Wipe off the paint using the wet rag if a mistake is made. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours.

  5. 5

    Create an older look to a die-cast car by adding rust to the body or trim. Dab a small amount of paint-on rust onto the brush. Apply the paint-on rust to the lower body panels or trim to create a "beat up" look.

  6. 6

    Add chrome trim to the die-cast model, available at hobby shops. Apply a small amount of hobby glue to the trim and attach it to the vehicle. Consider chrome trim pieces such as mirrors, fenders, bumpers, or grills.

    Wheel Modifications

  1. 1

    Create more realistic-looking tires. Carefully remove each wheel from the model, and take off the tires from each wheel.

  2. 2

    Insert one washer into the bolt followed by the tire. Insert the second washer into the bolt, creating a clamp for the wheel.

  3. 3

    Tighten the clamp by screwing the nut into the bolt until the wheel is held firmly in place. The tire should extrude outward slightly.

  4. 4

    Place the bolt onto the power drill. Turn the drill on a low speed and gently grind the tire on the nail file. The nail file will take off the smooth rubber from the wheel, creating a worn tread look.

  5. 5

    Unplug the power drill and remove the bolt. Take off the tires and place them back onto each wheel.

Tips and warnings

  • Use stencils as guides when painting symmetrical designs.
  • Always wear protective eyewear when using power tools.

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