Die-cast model cars were first produced by the Meccano company under the name of Dinky Toys in 1934. They are made by injecting hot metal alloy, originally lead and later aluminium, into a mould or die to make a preformed shape. This method of production was first introduced in the printing industry almost 100 years earlier and is widely used today for the mass production of mechanical components and many household objects. Thanks largely to the robust quality of the diecast toy cars produced, there are still many that survive, and repairing a damaged car is straightforward.
Drill out the rivet, holding the base plate to the car body. The rivet is on the underside; take care not to drill too deeply to avoid damage to the car interior.
Remove the base plate slowly from the body. On some models springs were used to operate accessories, so be careful to avoid losing pieces of the car.
Check where all the interior parts fit and remove them one at a time. Remove the axles from the base plate together with the wheels. If your car has a windshield, press it with your thumbs to pop out the plastic.
Fill the bucket with water and add the caustic soda. You will need 29.6ml. per gallon of water. Place the metal body of the car into the water for four minutes to strip the paint work. Wear rubber gloves to avoid getting caustic soda on your skin.
Remove the car body from the bucket and rinse with water. Use a wire brush to remove any paint still visible.
Paint the car using model primer and then the desired colour diecast model paint. Use a fine brush and avoid applying too much paint. Allow to dry and apply a second coat if required.
Insert the interior pieces into the body and attach the axles to the base plate. If the model has a windshield, insert this first, then insert the seating.
Fix the base plate to the body using the rivet gun and the correct size rivet, which will depend on the model's scale.
Things you need
- 1/32-inch drill bit
- Plastic bucket
- Caustic soda
- Rubber gloves
- Wire brush
- Fine paintbrush
- Rivet gun