New hobby: improving Diecasts with a bit of paint.

Back in April, in the heights of the first lockdown, a video was suggested to my Youtube-feed. Little did I know that it would lead me down a rabbit hole, resulting in me eventually buying and painting a Hot Wheels diecast.

The video in question was a video by the youtube channel 3DBotmaker, a channel previously focussed on creating 3D-printed tracks that pivoted their content into using those tracks to do actual races with commentary.

Honestly, while a bit nerdy, it provides great entertainment. Some of the ‘drivers’ have whole histories and character flaws attached to them. As time goes on, this creates an intricate lore of relationships and rivalries between the drivers which, even though it is clearly fictional, really pulls you into the narrative.

Diving further into the rabbithole of diecasts, I discovered two things:

  1. There’s a whole subculture dedicated to (re)painting diecasts. I myself had once dabbled into trying to build a model with little success (it still lies unfinished somewhere in the back of my wardrobe), but it did does mean that I have some spare cans of paint still lying around.
  2. There are a whole lot of Hot Wheels diecasts you can buy cheaply on Aliexpress.

A plan hatched in my mind. It would just take a couple of weeks.

The Project

Sorry for the blurry pictures. It was only after I painted the car I found out they were like this.

For my first project, I decided on this (already awesome) Bentley Continental GT3, which features in my beloved GT World Challenge and Intercontinental GT Challenge series. It already had some nice details printed on the sides and bonnet, but that just made the rest look all the more empty.

Everything I used for this project (save for a paper towel).

And then I got to work.

I had told a friend about my intentions before commencing on this project, and he gave me the tip to first spray the paint on a piece of cardboard, and then using a fine brush to then distribute the paint on the car.

I felt like a watch repairman, using my tiny brush to paint this tiny little car. Trying not to mess up the tiny little details I was aiming to add to it. Grill, bumper, rear bumper, mirrors, canards, air vents and rear wing were the first to receive a coat of black paint. Then I went on with the silver to color in the headlights, grille, exhaust, fuel tank, the outside of the rim, and the inside of the mirrors.

I used the red paint solely for the rear lights, and used just a tiny bit of white as a highlight to the headlights. I didn’t want to overdo it, because I actually didn’t get any materials to remove paint and I was scared the household materials I did have would also wipe away the green underlayer.

My setup by the end of its paintjob.

The Result

And well, here’s the result. With these zoomed in pictures, you can clearly see some imperfections still. However, with the naked eye and especially at first glance, these are near impossible to spot.

Euro for scale
Euro for scale.

The Lessons

Even though I think I did a pretty good job for a first time, there’s always things I’d like to do better. Here’s some lessons I learned during this project. If you feel encouraged to try your own hand at this, these might help you too:

  • Working with a hard-tipped brush is best, soft tip gives too little control over where the paint goes;
  • I think using a toothpick for some harder to reach places could be beneficial (haven’t tried it);
  • Paper towels are useless at this tiny scale. I should probably combine cotton with (again) a toothpick next time.
  • My DSLR doesn’t do close-ups well, or I don’t do close-ups well with my DSLR. I should use my phone next time for the before pictures!

1 Response

  1. December 30, 2020

    […] couple of weeks ago, I decided to ‘upgrade’ a Bentley Continental GT3 with some leftover paints I had lying around. When I ordered the Bentley, a different car also […]

Please, tell me why I'm wrong.