How to Use Model Paint for a Die-cast

Written by larry simmons
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How to Use Model Paint for a Die-cast
Paint your die-cast models with model paint for precise colour control. (model car. hobby, collection image by Ana Vasileva from

Die-cast models are detailed models of existing vehicles created to scale for display. Representing nearly every make and model of car, truck, motorcycle or plane, diecast models are prized by collectors around the world. Carefully preserved models can last for decades, but sometimes renovations are necessary to an existing model to give it the look desired by a collector. Painting a model can go a long way toward bringing it up to display-level quality. Using model paints for the painting process ensures that you have a wide choice of colours available, allowing you to give your model precisely the look desired.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Hobby knife
  • Cyanoacrylate glue remover
  • Kitchen cleanser power dissolver
  • Wire brush
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Fast-dry primer paint
  • Enamel model spraypaint
  • Cloth
  • Clear coat paint
  • Epoxy adhesive

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  1. 1

    Remove the body of the car from the chassis. Remove the screws located on the bottom of the die-cast model and then pull the body of the model upwards from the chassis.

  2. 2

    Remove the plastic trim from the car body with a hobby knife. The manufacturer attaches the plastic trim to the car body by melting it or gluing it onto the metal. Cut through melted trim where it joins the body in order to remove the trim without causing damage. Remove glued on trim by apply cyanoacrylate glue remover to the joint area and wiggling the trim free.

  3. 3

    Strip the present layer of paint from the metal body of the car by placing the car body into a bucket containing enough power dissolver in which you can submerge the body. Leave the body in the liquid until the paint begins to loosen, wrinkling and bubbling from the surface of the metal. Soaking times will vary according to the paint type used and the thickness of the covering layers.

  4. 4

    Remove the car body from the power dissolver and scrub away the loose paint with a wire brush, using running warm water to assist in the removal. Collect the runoff in a large bucket as the paint removed may be toxic and require special disposal. Check with your local regulations for paint disposal information.

  5. 5

    Sand the car body with coarse sandpaper to remove any imperfections left over from the moulding process or damage gained from usage if the car is a used vehicle. The sanding process also creates a rough surface for the primer paint to adhere to.

  6. 6

    Spray a light coat of primer paint onto the surface of the model, covering it in lightly applied layers of spray paint until achieving a solid coating of the primer. Allow the primer to dry for one hour before applying your top coat of paint.

  7. 7

    Place model masking tape over any portion of the model you do not wish to paint the primary topcoat colour. Rub the surface of the tape with a cotton swab to ensure that the edges are securely in place to prevent bleed-through of the paint. Spray the top coat of paint over your model. Apply the paint in light layers, building up to a full coat of paint that's solid enough to conceal the primer, but doesn't clump or run on the surface of the metal. Allow the coat to dry for 24 hours.

  8. 8

    Remove the masking tape and mask off the painted area to paint the area masked off. Paint the newly uncovered model surface a different colour than the primary one. Wait 24 hours with each colour applied to allow the colour to dry sufficiently for handling the model.

  9. 9

    Sand the surface of the painted model with 3,200-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections from the painting process and to create a smooth polished finish. Sand the model in a single direction, taking care not to use the edge of the sandpaper as it can create stripes in the paint job.

  10. 10

    Wipe the surface of the model with a clean cloth to remove sanding residue.

  11. 11

    Spray a layer of clear coat paint onto the car body to protect the paint job from damage. Allow the clear coat to dry overnight.

  12. 12

    Reassemble the model. Replace the trim by gluing it to the car body using epoxy adhesive. Sand the trim if necessary to create an even surface for the glue. Screw the chassis to the body of the car.

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