Introduction: CARS - Fred's Makeover Aka From a Rusty Car to a Lightning McQueen Version Using Rust-eze & Elbow Grease

About: I studied Electrical Engineering and a lot of other things. I'm always driven by my passions. Please visit also my Youtube channel.

Welcome to my "ible" #41.

I had this project in mind for years.

When I watched Cars for the 1st time in 2006, there was the scene with the "rusty" Fred at the Rust-eze tent and,

I felt really sorry for him: "He knows my name... he knows my name!"... Poor Fred!

I thought that a fictional Stodgey Suaver LT should have deserved a proper makeover/restoration,

copying the style of his idol Lightning McQueen.

So, here it is... Let's start!

Step 1: Shopping List

To complete this "ible" you need:

Fred die-cast model 1:55 - Disney Store... or Ebay...

Lightning McQueen die-cast model 1:55 (you need his wheels) - Disney Store... or Ebay...

1 paintbrush

Humbrol Enamel paint Red/White/Silver - Thinner

Acrylic Paint Blue/Black

Sandpaper 120 grits

Drill (with drill bit for metal 5mm)

Sugru Glue Red (for the spoiler)

Fixative Spray

A4 Decal Paper

All purpose Glue


Step 2: Disassembling Fred

Using very carefully the drill (equipped with a 5mm metal drill bit), you should be able to remove the rivets placed at the bottom of your diecast model.

Please wear the safety glasses and lock in place the diecast model, using a vise (with 2 pieces of soft wood between the brackets, to avoid to dent the body of the car).

After this step, remove the body, the windshield, the chassis and the mirrors.

Step 3: Remove All the Rust From Fred

Using the 120 grits sandpaper and (a lot of elbow grease), remove all the "rusty" bits/bumps from the body of Fred.

I know in this case it would be better to use the varnish remover, but I read it's very toxic, therefore I've decided to use just the sandpaper.

Please be careful around the number plate. You should leave Fred name intact.

I try to find Rust-eze, but regrettably it's not available on the market :-)

Step 4: Painting Fred

Using Humbrol Ebamel red paint, I very carefully started to paint the body of the diecast model.

You have also to paint the anterior part of the windshield, leaving intact the original eyes and the chassis.

Being under the diecast model, I painted the chassis mixing the blue acrylic paint, adding literally a drop of black.

Step 5: Making the Spoiler

Using Sugru Glue, I've tried to copy the shape of Lightnening McQueen spoiler.

This glue is fantastic because is very mouldable (and it stays in that state for a few minutes).

Complete this step wearing a pair of diposable gloves, to avoid to have the residue of the glue on your fingers/nails.

Leave the glue to set for 24 hours.

Thanks to Sugru, the spoiler will stick to the metal of the car, creating a strong bond to it.

Step 6: Printing the Decals

Using Google, type Lightning McQueen decals. You won't believe how many results will show immediately the all set that includes numbers, sponsors, etc., etc.

I bought a decal paper sheet for my inkjet printer (the other choise is for laserjet printers).

I did a few tests using normal A4 sheets (printing black & white), until I found the right size for the decals, that fits Fred die-cast model.

After this tedious task, I sprayed 3 times the fixative on the sheet, to create a thick layer that protects the decals.

Spray once and wait 15/20 minutes before spraying the next layer.

Once the sheet is dry, using an exacto-knife you should start to cut every single bit you want to place on the body of the car. Some decals will be so small, that you have to handle them using a pair of tweezers.

Prepare a cup with a bit of warm water, put the decal inside of it for a few seconds and very carefully slide the decal on the body of the model, removing the white part.

If the decal is wet enough, it should slide easily using even your finger.

Please be aware the decals are very thin, therefore you should be sure you have printed a replacement, if you break them during this step.

After 24 hours, use the thinner to create a shiny layer, that will protect the decals forever.

Step 7: Mounting Bigger Tires

Using Lightning McQueen diecast model, repeat the disassembling step you did with Fred.

Using very carefully the drill (equipped with a 5mm metal drill bit), remove the rivets placed at the bottom of the chassis of Lightning McQueen. Please wear the safety glasses and lock in place the diecast model, using a vise (with 2 pieces of soft wood between the brackets, to avoid to dent the body of the car).

Remove the wheels and put them inside the chassis of Fred. They will fit perfectly.

Step 8: Ka-chow!!!

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