Introduction: How to Modify a Die-Cast Car

Picture of How to Modify a Die-Cast Car
This instructable covers how to take an ordinary die-cast car and modify it using basic tools. It will cover how to properly repaint it, add a carbon-fiber hood, add a carbon-fiber splitter, as well as create a carbon-fiber spoiler. This is my first instructable, and I hope you all like it. Make sure to put pictures of your modified cars in the comments.

Step 1: Step One: Materials

Picture of Step One: Materials

Here is a basic list of materials:

1) Die-cast Car
- Try to get a simple, stock-looking one with smooth surfaces and a low ride height.
- Good brands include Tomy Takara and Matchbox.

2) Rotary Tool
- You will need a drill and saw attachment.
- You can use the sanding attachment as well.

3) Spray Paint

4) Clear Tape

5) Hobby/Utility Knife
- Box cutters, X-Acto knives, and pocket knives will all work.
- It is a good idea to sharpen them beforehand.

6) Superglue

7) Staples

8) Black Permanent Marker
- Sharpies work the best.

9) Clear, Hard Packaging Plastic
- Easily obtained.
- If not available, cover card stock with clear tape.

10) Sandpaper
- Be sensible about the grit

11) Scissors

12) Ruler

Step 2: Step Two: Disassemble the Car

Picture of Step Two: Disassemble the Car

Using the rotary tool and drill attachment, drill out the metal rivets that hold the car's metal body to the plastic chassis. Drill deep enough to remove the lip of the metal rivet. You will need to exert some force, but be careful. If you do not have a rotary tool, you can try to use a hand drill and a sharp knife. But be warned, it is not easy. If this fails, cut or drill away at the soft plastic surrounding the rivet. Disassemble the car as much as possible. Separate the body, the interior, the windows, and the chassis. If it is possible to remove the external lights, do so.

Step 3: Step Three: Remove the Paint

Picture of Step Three: Remove the Paint

First, scrape off as much paint as you can with the knife. Knives can remove certain kinds of paint faster than sandpaper. Remove as much paint as you can with the knife, then use the sandpaper to remove the remaining paint. It is extremely important that as much paint is removed as possible, otherwise the new paint will not adhere properly. However, be careful not to make holes or deep scratches in the metal body. If you do, sand them down using the sandpaper. As a final precaution, sand down the entire body, including the inside, to ensure that the paint sticks properly. Wash the body using water and rubbing alcohol.

Step 4: Step Four: Remove the Old Spoiler

Picture of Step Four: Remove the Old Spoiler

If you have a spoiler on the stock body, you need to remove it to put a new spoiler on it. Using a rotary tool with a saw attachment, saw off the spoiler. Take care not to hurt yourself or damage the body. Smooth the cut with sandpaper. If your body does not have a spoiler or you do not have a rotary tool, skip this step.

Step 5: Step Five: Paint the Body

Picture of Step Five: Paint the Body

Now it is time to paint the body. Holding the spray can at a slight downward angle, depress the nozzle and sweep upward. Give the body light, multiple coats and let it dry in between coats. If bubbles form, sand off the paint and try again. Make sure to paint the inside as well. Once you are satisfied with the color, let the paint fully cure for one day.

Step 6: Step Six: Add a Carbon Fiber Hood

Picture of Step Six: Add a Carbon Fiber Hood

Take a black permanent marker and color the hood (note: permanent marker has a very distinct shade that resembles carbon fiber much more than black paint. In addition, it is easier to work with and dries very quickly). Work slowly and carefully, making sure to thoroughly cover the hood. If you make a mistake, gently and carefully scrape off the layer of maker using a sharp knife. When you are done, let it air-dry.

Step 7: Step Seven: Make a Carbon-Fiber Splitter

Picture of Step Seven: Make a Carbon-Fiber Splitter

Trace the front lip of the car onto a flat piece of clear packaging plastic. Cut out the shape and sand the edges smooth. Thoroughly color both sides using the permanent maker, and let dry. Finally, glue the splitter to the underside of the chassis using superglue.

Step 8: Step Eight: Make a Carbon-Fiber Spoiler

Picture of Step Eight: Make a Carbon-Fiber Spoiler

First, trace out the basic shape of the spoiler on a piece of clear plastic. Cut out the shape and sand the edges smooth. Using the knife and the ruler, fold down the two edges of the spoiler to create wingtips. Locate possible mounting points on the car, and using the ruler and marker, mark those points on the bottom of the spoiler. Take two staples, bend the ends as shown in the picture, and attach them to the mounting points using superglue. Reinforce the connection with two pieces of paper soaked in superglue. Thoroughly color the spoiler with the permanent marker and let dry. Finally, bend the staples in the center and attach the spoiler to the rear of the body.

Step 9: The Finished Product

Picture of The Finished Product

Once all of the modifications are complete, put all the parts of the car back together again. If necessary, glue the body to the chassis. Make sure to post pictures of your modified die-cast cars in the comments box.


Ganendra As JDMSensei made it! (author)2017-03-14

I Have the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X but what ingridients do i need for the bodykits, rollbars, and mirror

Julius caluttung (author)2016-01-21

I have this Mustang GT500 I have already made rear wing and mat black paint and I swapped it with wider rims with custom built wheel spacers, my next project is to make fender flares, please help me to build it, thanks

adamlhelton (author)2015-11-16

Hey guys, long time collector of 1:18 scale cars. I have a project that I've wanted to do for a while. I have two maisto lamborghini murcielago's one of the first generation and a second of the lp640. I've had the first gen in an autoart model before and ultimately I want to do this project with autoart but I figured I would try and do it successfully with maisto because of the models cost. I want to place the first gen wheels and first gen tail lights on the lp640 car. That has always been my dislike of the lp640. Any recommendations?

NismoGT-R (author)2015-07-22

How would I make a spoiler that looks like this?

lorenzoalonso (author)2014-04-19

how can i removethe paint without using blades

DAV706 (author)2011-01-02

if the car is white,can i paint it without removing the current paint?

pmet (author)DAV7062013-02-05

I would still sand it. You need a rough surface for the paint to adhere.

noob006 (author)2012-04-11

what color do you recommend/your favorite colour for a honda nsx-r? this might sound unusual to you cuz planes is more your hobby than cars. and what other ways to remove the paint?

pmet (author)noob0062013-02-05

I would recommend a Gloss Red, Gunmetal Grey, or Black. The Carbon Fiber attachments won't stand out well if you opt for black. Another way you can remove the paint is to use paint stripper, thinner, or brake fluid. Be careful though, these chemicals are VERY corrosive.

DAV706 (author)2010-11-13

can i add decals too if i want?

I luv Duct Tape (author)DAV7062012-04-19

no. your not allowed

pmet (author)DAV7062010-11-15

Yes, just print them out and glue them to the side.

FrozenIce (author)2011-09-12

still one of the best instructables on the site

pmet (author)FrozenIce2011-09-12

I wouldn't go so far as to say one of the best... but still many thanks :).

DAV706 (author)2011-01-18

if the window cannot be removed from the body,can i cover the windows with a tape or something that can be used for covering it?

pmet (author)DAV7062011-01-18

You can try it, but I highly recommend that you do not. The tape job has to be perfect, or the paint will seep through and stain the edges. A good method is to cut out the windows and then re-glue them on (very carefully) afterwards with some clear glue. If the car and windows are all one piece metal, paint over the car AND the windows, and then paint the windows with blue or black permanent markers or paint.

DAV706 (author)2011-01-02

what sharpies marker is that?sharpies or super sharpies?

pmet (author)DAV7062011-01-02

Its just regular sharpies. You can use most permanent markers.

DAV706 (author)2010-12-16

what is the difference of metal rivet to metal stud?

pmet (author)DAV7062010-12-24

Both are two different words for essentially the same thing.

DAV706 (author)2010-12-22

can i use illustration board covered with clear tape if both clear hard packaging plastic and cover card stock with clear tape are not available?

pmet (author)DAV7062010-12-24

Yup. Anything that is thin and study, easy to cut, and can be covered with tape can be used.

DAV706 (author)2010-11-13

its too difficult to modify a medium die-cast car?

pmet (author)DAV7062010-11-15

Yes, it is very difficult. I've tried it with a BMW M3 and it didn't turn out too well. Start with smaller cars.

DAV706 (author)2010-11-13

where can i get the Clear, hard plastic?

pmet (author)DAV7062010-11-15

Electronics are usually packaged in them.

FrozenIce (author)2010-11-14

u did not exsactly answer my question and im sure a sharpie marker is not a drill

pmet (author)FrozenIce2010-11-15

Sorry about that, must have been an error. Anyway, you can try digging the plastic around the rivet. If the rivet is a screw, then you can remove it with a screwdriver. Other than that, there is no way to remove them without drilling them out.

HardCoreHacker (author)2009-05-23

can anyone help me find a Ford Shelby GT500KR? Doesnt matter if its ebay or hobby lobby or anything in between

pmet (author)HardCoreHacker2010-11-12

Never mind my first comment. Hotwheels now sells both the 1976 and 2008 GT500KR at Walmart.

pmet (author)HardCoreHacker2009-05-23

Jada is the only brand that sells the GT500 KR. These are 1:18th scale and are incredibly detailed to begin with, so it will be extremely difficult to modify them with the methods shown in this instructable and make them look good.
For the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR:
For the 1976 Ford Shelby GT500KR:

DAV706 (author)2010-11-11

where can i get the cover card stock with clear tape?

pmet (author)DAV7062010-11-12

I meant to say that if you cannot get clear plastic, you can take a postcard and cover it with clear tape such as scotch tape. You can also use an ordinary piece of plastic as long as it is thin enough to cut.

DAV706 (author)2010-11-11

how can i modify medium-sized die-cast cars?

pmet (author)DAV7062010-11-12

I've tried it, but its pretty difficult. Your are going to need different materials to make it look good. You have any particular car in mind?

sheepborg (author)2010-08-17

one of the keys to getting this right is practice -- get one or to crappy cars and you can butcher them as much as you will. plus it helps to know how aspects such as the paint you intend to use will turn out i practiced on a junky bmw and junky mustang, as well as testing various methods on other even cheaper cars A suggestion also for using sharpy for carbon: make sure you have got it DONE on the FIRST coat that way it will stay smooth and not start removing and not replacing what you already did

FrozenIce (author)2010-07-23

is there an other way to remove the rivets

TFElite (author)2010-04-06

I think I will do this to my 2010 Hotwheels Camaro as a tribute to Bumblebee from the movie Transformers. Yellow with black racing stripes!

GREYHOUNDareAWESOME (author)2009-10-11

 You could just go to Bunnings (if you live in Aussie) and buy acetone to remove all the paint without any plastic bits coz otherwise the plastic would melt.

 Also, you can use DOT3 & 4, polyethylene glycol based brake fluid to remove paint. They're plastic friendly in most cases as brake systems use plastic parts and a brake fluid that melts them would be a bad thing.

pmet (author)Lokisgodhi2010-01-06
Most brake fluids are plastic-friendly to begin with. However, it does not remove all of the paint. You need to scrape off the rest of the paint with a needle/knife/sandpaper.
ferraridude (author)2009-09-04

do you still have to drill out the studs if the brand uses screws instead of rivets

pmet (author)ferraridude2010-01-06
No, just unscrew them. That is what you call a godsend, because drilling through rivets is a real pain (literally).
8refyeigfye8 (author)2009-08-31

I'm working on 5 cars at the moment and about to start a sixth. and i find it useful to to scrape some paint on the car and then leave in white vinegar for about a 2 days and then removing the paint with a toothbrush, sandpaper and then a needle for the little nooks and crannies

ThEoNeS (author)2009-08-10

Does anyone know where I could get a Nissan Skyline GT-R R34? I know that Hotwheels has a lot of R32's for sale at places like Target, but I am looking for an R34. If you don't know what it looks like, google it, or its the car Brian uses in the second and forth Fast And The Furious movies.

pmet (author)ThEoNeS2009-08-24

Tomy Takara makes many types of model Skyline R34's. In addition, they make a great model of the R35 GTR. I have one myself but I do not yet have the initiative to modify it. Beat me to the punch. -Pmet

nerfer192 (author)2009-05-31


HardCoreHacker (author)2009-05-17

wow this looks great. I'm working on the car and the box. My finished product will hopefully be "hoff" worthy

pmet (author)HardCoreHacker2009-05-22

Make sure to put an image of the car! I'm excited to see it.

unaffiliatedperson (author)2009-05-22

ha thats kool i used to play with tomy cars when i was little. ima dig up some and try this i have a nissan skyline it wood be awesome to try this.

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