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Stage 1. Dis-assemble car

You will need :
Craft Knife
Small flat head & Phillips screw driver.
The car is taken apart. The body work and chassis are cleaned. All parts are inspected. If found to be faulty they are replaced.
Tyres & bulbs checked and replaced.
Motor checked and electrics.
Any parts that are obviously not meant to be on the car EG F1 wheels on a GT car are removed and replaced with the appropriate part.
Any parts that are missing EG Mirrors are taken from stock and put with the car. Most replacement parts are new, some reconditioned and just a few taken from other cars, depending on availability.

Take the car apart and put everything safe in a bag and seal it up. Some parts can be ultra small and if you lose anything the spares can be a nightmare to source.
Some cars are easy to take apart, they almost fall apart in your hand like the Scalextric Jaguar XJ220 or Scalextric Ferrari F40.

However, the more modern cars have plastic parts welded to each other or glued. If this is the case then I use a craft knife and scrape away the welded plastic until it starts to free up the joint and then ease the parts open with a small screw driver or the blade of the knife.
Similarly if the parts are glued I scrape the glue away or cut it away with a craft knife until the part works itself free.

Some modern cars have wire grilles and rubber ariels. Work on the inside of the shell gently scraping away the glue and or melted plastic until the part almost falls free.
On a modern car disassembly can take 45 minutes. The parts are then put away unless they are required for painting.

Stage 2. Stripping & Priming

You will need:
Clean cloth
Plastic Primer
Scourer pad or fine wire wool.
Tooth brush
Acetone Free Nail Polish remover OR T-Cut OR Graffiti Remover.
Before you start masking and painting, have a clear idea in your head of what the car is going to look like. If you do not have an idea in your head the car will end up neither one thing nor another. Your uncertainty will come out in the car. So decide on a scheme and stick to it.
Most cars will need the paint stripping off first. Even the cars that are just plain white - if you want to repaint it you will still have to strip the paint and prime the body. The way I strip the paint is to use one or more of these methods;

a. Put the whole body in ACETONE FREE Nail polish remover. Leave it for 10 minutes and then take it out and wipe off the paint with a cloth. Put it back in the nail polish remover for another 10 minutes. Then take it out and scrub it with a tooth brush to get the paint out from all the cut lines and crevices. This may take quite a bit of elbow grease and you may need the help of a kitchen scourer pad.

b. Dip a cloth in ACETONE FREE Nail polish remover and rub the paint off section by section. This is probably safer than the first option and uses less Nail polish remover.

c. Put the car in a plastic tub. Spray the car with Graffiti remover. Wipe over with a cloth. Then spray again almost immediately. Then leave to 'cook' with the car covered as this again creates quite a lot of fumes. Or do it outside but not in direct sunlight. Wipe clean again. You may have to repeat the process again but using a tooth brush to get in all the crevices.

Note that the Nail polish remover will dry your hands and give off fumes like you would not believe. So do it either outside or by an open window with gloves on.

Other people use Graffiti remover, T-Cut & TurtleWax. Just try to get as much paint off as you can. You may need a tooth brush or a craft knife to get the paint out of the cut lines in the body.
Once you are happy with the paint removal wash the car in warm soapy water, dab dry with a towel and leave to dry in the air. Two reasons for this, you want to get rid of the chemicals & you want to get rid of grease marks from your fingers. Now try to handle the car as little as is humanly possible.
You are now ready to prime the car. I use Halfords Plastic Primer. It is £5 for a can. It comes in white, grey and red. Use the closest matching primer to the colour you are using. If you use a white primer with red paint it will lighten the red from what you were expecting. So it can be usefull sometimes - experiment and see what happens.

You will need to mount the car body and bits on a stand of some sort. I use several small water bottles, filled with water with the tops on. I put some blue tak on the top of the bottle and mount the car on that so the blue tak sticks to the inside of the roof or bonnet. So now I can hold the bottle and rotate the car in my fingers. I also use more bottles to stick wing mirrors and spoilers to.
I then go to the garage, I cover my arm with an old t-shirt, with the garage door open I spray the car while rotating it in my hand. I also wear a painters mask. An alternative method could be to get a large cardboard box and suspend the car inside it with a coat hanger and rotate the coat hanger from outside the box. This is far less messy but not so easy to control.
The car will need 2 coats of Primer. Rub down the primer after both coats. I use a fine nail file. The primer will need 30 minutes to dry between coats and you will need to leave the car atleast 24 hours before you go to paint the car.

I use a low bake oven to dry my cars. It sounds flash but isn't. It is a metal cabinet with a lamp in it. The lamp warms the cabinet and it keeps the dust off the car as it dries. However this is not essential an alternative would be to cover the car with an old scalextric box lid and leave it in a warm room out of the sun.

Stripping and priming the car can take 1-2 hours (not counting drying time)

Stage 3. Masking and painting.

You will need:
Paint Mask
Tamiya Masking Tape
Craft Knife
Automotive Paint or Tamiya Paint.
Ensure you have waited at least 24 hours for the primer to dry. Also check the weather forecast. If you paint in the rain or fog or snow it can cause the paint to get an orange peel effect or a dull finish. If you get an orange peel effect you will have to rub down and start again. I spray in the garage and have experienced this even after a shower.

Both Tamiya and automotive paint go on better if they are at room temperature or just above. I usually put the can of paint upright in some hot water for a minute or two before shaking and using.
Use the same techniques for spraying the paint as you did for the primer. Make sure you spray past the car. By that I mean don't stop the spray stroke with the can pointing at the car, stop spraying once you are spraying into thin air. Yes this wastes paint BUT if you don't you will get a doppled effect where you stopped spraying.

A lot of people use air brushes. This uses a lot less paint and is much cheaper. But you do have to buy the air brush and thinners and cleaning bits. I cannot comment on how to use air brushes because I do not use them. That's a whole new subject.

The paint I use is either Halfords Automotive Paint or Tamiya TS Paint. The Halfords paint is £5 a can and will do 3 cars. The Tamiya is £4 a can and will do 2 cars. Both have good finishes but the Tamiya is less toxic and I find it is easier to use.
Always paint in a well ventilated area and always use a mask.
I spray 3 coats on the cars. After the first two coats I rub the car down with a fine finishing pad. I leave each coat to dry for at least 30 minutes in my low bake oven. Try and keep dust and hairs off the car.

Obviously it is far far easier to paint a single colour than it is for multiple colours. If you are using more than 1 colour you will need to mask off areas of the car. Which colour you paint first depends on the car and your own nerve. I try and paint dark colours first. The reason for this is if you get any bleed you can touch up dark colours easier than lighter colours. Now I know there are people in this forum that do the exact opposite. I don't know their reason for it but they do. Again you have to experiment on what works best for you. Having said all that it may not be a choice of which colour you paint first. The shape of the car and where you decide to mask may determine which colour you do first. If you are masking a curve or in a crevice try to work out if there is a safe way to mask. Because of the curve of the body it may be easier to mask one side than another so it is best to mask the difficult side first, spray that initial colour. This may give you some paint bleed, but that doesn't matter because now you mask the easier side and you should get a good crisp line between the two.

So masking takes time - not just to do but to plan.
Tamiya masking tape is very good. It comes in a few different widths and is about £3 for a roll. It gives good adhesion but not too tacky so that it marks or pulls paint off. It also gives a good seal and crisp lines.
Mask off the area that you do not want painted. Remember to mask the inside too and also holes where windows and grilles and air intakes are. Because the paint goes every where and you could find the paint going inside the car body and back out through an air vent and onto a part of the car that you do not want it to be.
Once you think you have the area masked off check it over, look at the cut lines and crevices. Can you see any gaps, the tiniest gap will let in paint!!!!

Then spray the colour you want. Wait for the 3rd coat to dry, maybe an hour or so and then remove the masking tape. You will then have to wait 24 hours for this colour to dry. I recommend that you rub down the edges of where the masking tape was because this can cause a 'lip' of paint. If you rub this area down it will remove the lip and this will make the masking tape seal much much more effectively the second time around.
Then mask up again. Whatever you do, do not mask the painted car and then leave it for a day before you want to paint it. The longer the tape is on the car the more possibility there is of the tape damaging the paint surface. So make sure you have enough time to mask up, paint 3 coats and more time to remove the tape once the paint is just dry.

Paint the car as before.

What if you unmask the car and you find you didn't get a good seal and you have paint bleed. This can happen on cut lines or where the body takes a sharp turn, like in air vents or around wheels. It's not a disaster. It's a pain. I make sure all the paint is absolutely dry. At least 24 hours after the last coat was applied. You can then try and rub the paint off with a nail file or cloth dipped in nail polish remover. Alternatively, spray some of the paint I need to use to cover the area into the spray can top. I then use a clean dry brush and cover the area by hand. You need to use minute amounts of paint. Less is more! Use gentle strokes. Use a few thin coats rather than 1 thick one rubbing down with a nail file after each thin coat.
However, it is far far easier to make sure your masking is 100% good before you paint, it will save lots of time and frustration in the end.

It can take 2-3 hours to mask a car - depending on how intricate the design is or how many colours you are using.
Painting takes around 5 minutes per colour per coat. Plus drying time.

Stage 4. Decalling.

You will need:
Curved Nail scissors
Decal paper
Clear Lacquer
Inkjet printer
Internet connection
Commercially produced decals
While you are waiting for paint to dry etc you can be preparing decals. I usually use my own decals. However, using commercial decals is ok.
Look Pendle Slot Racing Decals.
Look Pattos Place Decals.
For excellent decals.
One thing to note about commercial decals they are ULTRA Thin. As a consequence they can be hard to use and you can get quite frustrated at creased or torn or stretched decals.
I try and use my own as it is cheaper and they are easier to use.

Planning your decals
I print all my decals on a sheet of a4 plain white paper. I cut them out and then put them on the body with a small piece of blutac to make sure they are the right size and look ok. I do this as many times as it takes to get them looking right. It is far easier to waste a piece of plain paper rather than use up all your more expensive decal paper with continuous mistakes.
This also ensures you have the right number of decals for the car

Producing Decals
I buy my decal paper from Crafty Computer Paper.. £1.55 for an A4 sheet. 1 A4 sheet will do up to 6 cars. Depending on size and number of decals.
Go on the internet and search in Google for logos.
Save the logo files to the PC.
Open a blank word document. Click Insert -> Click Picture -> Click From File.
You then select the logo you want and it will put the logo into a word document.
If you then single click the logo in the word document it will allow you to resize the logo to fit the car. I suggest you get all the logos onto the file you need. Then save the file and print it on a piece of normal white paper. Then cut each logo out and offer it up to the car making sure that all the logo's fit and look ok. Once you are happy with the size of the logo's arrange the logo's on the file in word so you use the space efficiently EG Same size decals on the same line. It's amazing how much paper you can save by doing this.

Take the piece of decal paper and wipe it over with a soft dry cloth. There tends to be something on the surface of the paper that can sometimes stop the ink from sticking. Once the surface of the paper feels smooth and clean print off the decals. You will have to experiment on the best setting for your inkjet printer to get the best results. Each printer will be different.

Leave the decals to dry for 24 hours.

The decals can then be lacquered. I use Halfords Clear Lacquer. It is £5 in an aerosol can. One can will do about 10 cars or more. Each sheet of decals will need 4 or 5 THIN coats. Leave at least 30 minutes between each coat.. If you spray too thick the lacquer will crack and the decals will get ruined. Leave the lacquer to dry for 24 hours before you need to use them.

How do you get white decals?
Well this can be tricky. First of all you need to use white decal paper. Ink jet printers don't print white. Have a look at these two decals. The Esso decal is easy to produce on white paper - the Renault is very tricky. The reason is that you can cut round the edge of the Esso decal and the only white bit will be the Esso, however the Renault logo will need to be filled with a colour to match the colour of the car surface. This can be very hard to achieve. You will need to play around with the decal in paintshop or some other software like that. I will usually use commercially produced white decals for intricate decals. Alternatively you can cut the Renault decal into two V shapes and apply them individually.

Applying your decals:
Cut each decal as close to the decal as you can. Curved nail scissors are good because they are sharp and allow you to cut round corners surprisingly easily.
Pop the decal into a saucer of luke warm water for 5 seconds.
Take out decal and put it on the work top and leave for 30 seconds.
With damp fingers slide the decal paper away a little so it creates a lip of decal free of the backing paper.
Lay the decal on the car and slide the decal paper away.
Reposition the decal with a damp finger.
Dab the decal dry once you are happy it is in the right place. Get rid of bubbles and excess water by gently wiping over the top of the decal.
If the decal is going over a cut line or a curve in the body I would recommend using one of the decal set fluids available from model shops. These will soften the decal and give it sufficient suppleness to attach itself to the lines of the car without cracking or lifting.

The process for applying commercial decals is exactly the same.

The time decaling takes can vary. I have done a Martini Jaguar and the decals are VERY difficult to get right and can take 5-6 hours, plus the time it takes to find the decals online and size them and print them. You could find the whole decal process takes a whole day to do. The thing to do is keep the decals you produced on your PC so that you can modify them for other cars. That way you don't need to keep recreating them.

Also you can use sticky backed paper to make some base decals for the cars. That way the base matches the car. The base stickers are made in just the same was as normal decals but they are not water slide. The back peels off to stick on the base. Note these will still need lacquering to protect the sticker.

Decals will need 24 hours to dry. Remember to only apply the decals once the paint has had 24 hours to dry.

Note: Some people apply one coat of lacquer to a car before decaling. This gives a good smooth surface for the decals to attach to. Painted surfaces, even though they may look shiny and smooth are actually far from it. They will have microscopic pits in them and this will trap water and air, this can cause friction on the paint surface which makes decals hard to move, it can also make decals appear shiny. So this may be worth doing. But remember to let the lacquer dry before applying the decals.

If you are doing a Matt finish to a car you may need to lacquer the car before you apply the decals. Matt paint is not smooth, so when a decal is applied it traps tiny air bubbles behind the decal giving it a shiny appearance. However, this will not be apparent if you are using white decal paper as you can not see through the decal.

Stage 5. Detailing.

Once painted it is a nice touch to get the detailing done. This can be anything that suits the car. Painting driver figures, putting chrome on bonnet clips, black rubber sills, a pit babe to match the car, making indicators orange, giving the dashboard dials.

This is usually done by hand with either acrylic or enamel paints, usually on very small areas
As long as it is able to be seen in 1:32 scale give it a go

Stage 6. Lacquering.

You will need:
I quality wide brush
After allowing 24 hours for the paint and decals to dry you are ready to lacquer. I use Johnson's Klear Floor Polish which is about £2 for a bottle. A bottle will do 100's of cars, unless you spill it on the dining room table like I did!

This is my method, I will then outline other methods others use.
Method 1. I bought a Sable three quarter inch brush. I brush on a thin coat of Johnson's Klear. I let it dry for at least 30 minutes. I then brush on 4 more coats. You then have to allow at least 24 hours before it will be ready to be handled and put together. Whilst drying you have to protect it from dust with a cover. However, if you do find something has dropped onto the car you can apply more Klear and rub it very lightly with the brush or a finger nail and the bit of fluff will come off. You must stroke the brush slowly, if you stroke too fast air bubbles will form on the car. Again if this happens you just need to apply more Klear and they will dissolve.
Advantages: Cheap
Disadvantages: Have to have a good brush and a steady patient hand.

Method 2. Take an ice cream tub and dip the car in it using your trusty coat hanger. Remove the car and let the excess drip off. Hold the car at an angle and allow the excess to run off or form a pool at a corner of the body. Lightly touch a piece of absorbent paper against the pool of Klear and it will go. Leave to dry for 30 minutes and reapply another 4 coats.
Advantages; Quick
Disadvantages: uses more laquer and can form pools of liquid which could go cloudy

Method 3. Use Halfords Aerosol lacquer. Put the car on its water bottle base and spray the car just like you did with the paint. Apply another 3 or 4 coats.
Advantages: Quick & easy
Disadvantages: Most expensive. Lacquer can go on thick. Can react with some decals and ruin them.

If the lacquer does go cloudy it may dry clear. If you are worried apply more lacquer and wait a few seconds and then wipe excess off.

Lacquering takes 5 minutes per coat.

Stage 7. Assembly.

You will need :
Various glues
Phillips screw driver.
Some cars are easy to take assemble, they almost just clip together like the Scalextric Jaguar XJ220 or Scalextric Ferrari F40.
However, the more modern cars have plastic parts that need to be glued. If this is the case then I use superglue if there are no clear parts close to the area. Also use it very sparingly. I also use plastic cement, hot glue and PVA Glue, depending on the part and the location of the part.
Sometimes you have to do the gluing over two days as parts have to dry and fix in place before you put more bits on top of them. It's handy to remember how you took the car apart because on some models like the GT40 you can only put them back together in a certain order.
I tend not to use glue on wing mirrors because I am of the opinion that it is better they just fall off in a crash rather than breaking off.

Note Superglue can cause fogging of clear plastic and can cause a white mist on painted surfaces. So use sparingly. Also if you feel you have to use superglue near a clear plastic part then use just a drop and leave the parts open to the air after gluing. This allows the fumes from the superglue to dissipate away and up from the glued area. For example if I were gluing a cockpit to a body I would leave the body upside down after gluing to allow the fumes to rise and waft away from the clear plastic of the windscreen. Having said all that if you use superglue near clear parts you are taking a risk.

The finished body is then put on the cleaned chassis. The engine is lubricated and all moving parts either greased or oiled.
All parts are re-checked to ensure they are 100% ok.
The finished car is given a quick test with a 9v battery to check the motor and lights work and the motor turns the wheels.

Assembly can take a couple of hours but maybe spread over two days.

· Registered
1,122 Posts
I've got a small flat head what do I need next.

You should write a book, and also get a nomination in the next New Years honours for services to slotters.

Many thanks for all the help and advice you have shared out so unselfishly.

p.s Corel Draw, I use Corel 10 or Photoshop , I use 5.5 can be a great addition to your decalling kit.

· Allan Wakefield
6,720 Posts
Top post! thanks greymalkin.
We will get this translated into a resource if that is ok with you? Just let me know if it is finished or you want to add anything.
I see you use bottles to stand the cars on, try wrapping damp towels (paper or your family tea towels if you can get away with it
) around the bottles. This cuts down on spray mist a great deal.

· Registered
1,122 Posts
Can we get a hints and tips section to add to this excellent workshop.

For example I have discovered that by soaking all white slot it bodies in Isopropyl alcohol for a short time the body accepts primer a lot better. It seems to harden the plastic slightly.

· Premium Member
4,741 Posts
I am the proud recipient of the La Porta Verde McLaren F1 GTR shown in this thread. I commissioned Richard to do it as a feature for our office to promote slot racing and to display on my track. I will not be racing it because it has become a prized possession. It will get the odd excursion around my track, driven solely and carefully by me with no other cars running!

I have to say that Richard's attention to detail, patience and skill is second to none. The car is nothing short of perfect. We are greatly indebted to him for sharing his techniques so freely with us and not keeping it hidden as a black art. Top Guy. I cannot recommend him highly enough and I shall certainly be using him again. I am also preparing a review of the McLaren for the forum, so watch this space.

· Premium Member
3,753 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is it finished............ well i not sure.
I think Chris has highlighted something - regarding a hints n tips list to add to it..................

· Jon Grainger
3,547 Posts

I want to do the same thing on a Scaley Merc CLK LM. It has a "Westminster" on the windscreen, any idea how to remove it? Also I want to have just the wording on my logo, not the background on parts, any ideas on how to do this on the computer or do I have to cut each letter out?


· Premium Member
3,753 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If you are patient and carefull you can remove tampo and decals with the nail polish remover and leave the paint in tact inderneath. I have done this on a couple of Fly cars. I just used a cotton bud dipped in a little of the fluid and gently rub it over the tampo. BUT keep the bud clean - i used a new bud on each logo i removed. As they seemed alot less effective when using a dirty bud.

You can also use it to remove decals from windscreens BUT there is a possibility that the screen can become "fogged"

Removing tampo from clear parts is best done with something like a finger nail. It takes a while, but once it starts coming off it happens relatively quickly.

· Dave Cummings
1,123 Posts
An alternative way of 'holding' the car while spraying the body, is to use some name tag holders they use at weddings or functions where your name is on the table (it's quite hard to describe). They usually have a 1 inch metal base with about 3-4 inch metal wire connecting to a crocadile clip, which can then be clipped to a body post.
One at the front, one at the back and it gives you something to grab hold of to move the car or just to leave it to stand to dry.

· Registered
905 Posts
Another alternative way of "holding" the car while its being painted is make a bracket from plastic card which uses the existing body fixings (screw holes) and then extends beyond the body of the car.
A bit like a lolly pop stick on a lolly.
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