JSS Diecast Tips and Repair Information.

Diecast repair tips for all your diecast repairs of Danbury Mint or Franklin Mint models. Find out what the best glue is to repair your diecast model. JSS Diecast Repairs and Diecast Repair tips. How do I make faded model tires new again.

The Garage is a compilation of tips supplied by you the average model hobbyist, some work, some don't. Maybe a very important lesson was learned along the way, such as what glue ruined a finish or marred the plastic trim? We all can learn from our mistakes or victories and this is the place to share those experiences.

Make " The JSS Die Cast Tips" page your first stop when attempting "a do it yourself repair", consider it the die casters encyclopedia of tips.

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Air Flow

View C for Chrysler.

How to lower the suspension on the FM Avanti.

John Luthi describes in detail how to correct the ride height of this interesting replica.

Avanti Modification Instructions.

How to Blackwash a grille.

Semi-flat black works better for black washing as flat black has a sheen that reflects light, which doesn't give the illusion of an open space. Testor's makes a semi gloss black called 'black chrome trim' that works well for black washing, also.

If the depression you want to black out is deep enough, one technique is to paint the whole grill black, then hit the grill bars with a cloth dampened with thinner. The wash works best if the depressions are shallow. Getting the correct wash density is a matter of trial and error.

Also, there is a product available from hobby shops called 'The Detailer' made for detailing grills among other things. It's a thin, water soluble, tinted fluid. I don't like it for grill washes, preferring it for bringing out panel lines and tinting windows.

Submitted by Ben Valdevarona

Buick Estate Wagon (DM 1953 Buick Estate Wagon) steering fix.
How to lower the Danbury Mint 1955 Nomad Custom Wagon.

View detailed Instructions.

Submitted by Robert Barager

How do I repair the tires on my DM 1930 Cadillac 1:12 scale.

The tires on my Danbury Mint 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster are pulling apart and I need to repair them. How?

Here's how:
1.) Lift the entire car off the table and place on a raised stable platform.
2.) Gently remove the black treads from the mounted wsw.
3.) Take any quality (LOK-Tite, for example) gel cycroanolayte adhesive and lay out a "bead" inside the groove on the black tread and replace on the wsw. Press tight around wsw and the tread and wsw will bond. Do all 4 and spare.

By Jay Engle

However if the tires are seperated then you need to do the following:
Cut a small section out of the tires  and re-glue them together.
My suggestion is to practice on the spare wheels first, since they can be placed in the fender so that the cut cannot be seen. Then move on to the four road tires.

Use a sharp blade, (X-acto) and you can use super glue, (Crazy Glue) to cement them together.

I need the instruction manual for my DM 1930 Cadillac 1:12 scale.

You may download the instruction manual here. DM Manual

My DM 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is tilted how can I fix it.

I came up with this fix for the rear suspension that works on most cars. Here is what you need to do:

On some cars, the left rear tire hangs down significantly more than the right side,
and that one wheel throws off the ride height of the car. The adjustment screws for the rear ride height can be accessed by removing the fabric covered panel behind the rear seat. It can be pryed loose with a thin jeweler's screwdriver and then lifted off. Epoxy or super glue can be used to glue it back in place. When the cover is off, use a #1 phillips screwdriver to tighten the screw on the driver's side. Screw it down tight and that rear wheel should pull up into the wheel opening. The right side can also be losened a bit to level the rear of the car.

Not much can be done to level the front. On some cars, the wheels stick in the "up" position when the suspension is compressed. Pull down on the stuck front wheel before setting the model on display.

View Instructions

How to remove the DM '63 Miller Lite Corvette from its base.

The car was not intended to be removed from the base, but it can be. There is a foil "bottomstamp" sticker on the bottom of the base. If you poke through that and dig a little, you will find the mounting screws for the car. The base may be slightly damaged by removing the car, but if someone really wants it off, it can be done.

The left front tire does not touch the surface on my FM 1967 Corvette L89.

Turn the model over and examine the steering linkage on the left side of the model. You will notice two screws on the linkage. If you loosen the back screw the one closest to the fire wall ever so slightly it will correct the problem and lower the wheel thus correcting the problem.

Adjusting the ride height on the DM '60 Impala and others.

Before you start to adjust ride height turn your model upside down and look at the underside and compress each wheel front and rear to see how the suspension works (Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible if you get stimulated or "Worked Up" during this physical examination process). Best way to describe the process of adjusting ride height is outlined below (Note: You do not have to disassemble the model to make any alterations outlined below):

1.) Obtain a very small diameter Hollow Pipe found at hobby stores (top view looks like an 0 and hollow in the center and more or less 1/32 to 1/16-inch diameter). Soft metal preferred. This tiny hollow pipe will be your suspension "spacer" to reduce suspension ride height. Price: one pc. of pipe a few dollars and you might be able to adjust ride height on a dozen or more models.

2.) Using a hobby saw (cheap at a hobby store) cut the pipe length to the size/ride height you want to lower the front suspension which most likely will be 1/8-inch or smaller (you can call this little pc. of pipe a spacer / same concept as a washer).

3.) Cut/Spit the small pc. of pipe down a vertical side using the same little hobby saw so now it looks from the top view like a "C" instead of an "0".

4.) With a small screwdriver slightly pry open the vertical gap (very slightly open the gap) so now when looking from the top view of the little pipe it looks like a "C" instead of an "0".
NOTE: Make two little spacers at the same time so their length matches.

5.) Turn the car upside down exposing the suspension.

6.) Holding the small pc. of pipe/spacer with needle nose pliers, use your fingers to compress down one front wheel which exposes the inside of the shock absorber cylinder.

7.) Fit/position the small split "C" shaped pipe around the exposed part of the smaller diameter "0" shaped shock piston.

8.) Once you have this little metal spacer positioned, squeeze the little metal pipe spacer with the needle nose pliers to close the gap so it fits tight around the shock absorber piston, thus closing the gap on the spacer and tightening around the shock absorber piston. The spacer should now look more like the "0" and your spacer will not pop out when you release your finger pressure that has been compressing the wheel suspension.
NOTE: If you do not tighten/squeeze/close the gap on your spacer from "C" to "0" before you release your finger pressure holding down the suspension your little carefully cut metal pipe spacer will pop out, fly across the room, and will never be found again (unless you have cats).

9.) Repeat for the other side of the front wheel suspension. Now you have perfectly balanced and lowered front ride height.

(Disclaimer: Attempt at your own risk. If the spacer pops out and hits you in the eye that is your problem for not wearing eye protection. If your pet eats your part that has flown across the room your vet bills are your responsibility).

This little metal pipe spacer will hold the wheel suspension in the lowered position and is not permanent (can be removed at anytime). Like I said lowering both front wheels on the DM 1960 Chevy took about 15 mins from start to finish.

Lowering the rear end of the DM 1960 Chevy I used small metal twist ties found in packages of garbage bags or in my case twist ties found in cat box litter liners (or thin metal hobby wire is acceptable if you do not buy cat box litter liners). I looped the wire around the axle (part that doesn't move or flex) and then looped around the part of the suspension that can be compressed or is flexible. I then twist the little wire to tighten each individual side of the suspension by compression (each side of the suspension requires one twist tie but is not a major expense). Total time to lower the rear suspension (both sides) took 2 mins.

I also used the "Alfred aka abaucom21" twist tie method to lower the front suspension of the Vicki's '61' Lincoln, FM '49' Cad, DM Merc TPC, and a few others. Just takes a few minutes, no special tools, and is not permanent. None of the methods I have mentioned alter the front wheels from turning.

Wait...I am not finished! Want to raise the front or rear of a model? All you need are paper clips and a small wire cutter from the hardware store. I use paper clips because they hold their shape. I just cut parts off a paper clip and wedge between the working suspension (front or rear) and the nearest undercarriage part that is fixed in place. A little bending of the paper clip can put upward pressure on the working suspension to raise the ride height. I slightly raised the height of my DM 1958 Plymouth Fury using this method (front & rear). To slightly raise the front and rear of the Fury took about 15 mins. and total investment money was the cost of 4 paper clips and 20 mins. of time to adjust the bend of the paper clips. When I have time I am going to use the twist tie & paper clip method to level the ride height of my '51' Hudson as the front end keeps dropping (paper clips to raise the front and twist ties to lower the rear).

Lowering the Nomad is complex and should not be undertaken by the faint at heart. I have that info documented by the first one I was aware of doing this who posted a long time ago the "how to" on the Zone and later he was kind enough to send me his step-by-step. I have saved that information and can send directly to Myron if it is not already listed on this site. I am a twist tie & paper clip sort of guy and the diecast pro in Ottawa did not use paper clips or twist ties to adjust the ride heights on my Nomad or Brougham. These ride heights were complex and I supplied many reference photos to get the ride height factory perfect. He also detailed the inside of the wheel wells on the Nomad with black and the model is perfect. The pro lowered front of the Vicki's '57' Brougham and required my numerous web photos of Brougham's to determine correct / or acceptable ride height. However, I don't know how he adjusted the ride height of the Brougham (lower front end) or Nomad (lower front & rear), and he said there was another way to lower the Nomad.

Bottom line is if the model has working suspension many, but not all, ride heights can be adjusted with minimum effort. All I had to do was put on my reading glasses and look on the underside of the model to see how the suspension operates. My disclaimer is that when in doubt let a pro work on your favorite models. Experimenting with twist ties and paper clips can be an easy ride height fix, is reversible, cheap, and little time invested for some great results. Correcting ride heights on models does make a big difference to the appearance of the model.
Hope this helps.

Submitted by Alfred Baucom

FM 1934 Chrysler Airflow touch-up.

If you have a sharp finger nail and a soft Cloth you can improve the poorly finished trim piece below the windows. This is a chromed plastic insert with black enamel through the center. You can rub off the chrome edges to make it more even looking. Careful- if you rub in the center the finish will rub off to reveal chrome and you will need some gloss black enamel to fix it.

Submitted by Larry Churchill

FM 1934 Chrysler Airflow polishing tip.

If you're as nuts or fussy as I am you'll want to polish your Airflow and or detail it so it looks as good as it can. Under NO circumstances use any polish/cleaners near or on the grille, running boards or on the upper double chrome strips at the belt-line. If you do, you'll inadvertently ruin the finish on those respective parts. Just a bit of friendly advice from Phil, "The Diecast Doctor"

Submitted by Philip Realmuto

FM 1934 Chrysler Airflow concerning the fragile grill. Is there any sort of clear coat that could protect the chrome grill from becoming damaged w/o destroying the piece?

Modeler's tricks older plastic kits like Revells and Hellers are notorious for this problem. Ph from fingerprints will remove the flash plating. Clean with soft cotton cloth or eyeglass cleaning cloth. Do not use any cleaner like Windex (alkalinity from ammonia derivatives is terminal). Protect with a water based clear acrylic like Tamiya.... or.. this may sound strange... Future Floor Finish. It is great stuff that can be airbrushed or manually brushed on. It's non-yellowing and self leveling. Apply and cover model for an hour or so and do not touch area for 24hrs. If you apply it too heavily, you can just dab the drips with a paper towel. If you can isolate the grill, the easiest thing to do is apply on the outside and dab from the inside. Within the first few minutes it's water soluble after that rubbing alcohol will remove any runs.

I left with a little bit of overage on the car body, just let the whole thing dry for 24hrs and polish off the residual smudge. Avoid the temptation to use the standard lacquer based clear varnishes.

"Future" brand floor finish (Klear or Kleer in other parts of the world) by SC Johnson, is a water based clear acrylic emulsion, and is widely used by the model airliner community.

It is often applied with soft brush or Q-Tips! I'm not kidding! It's *very* self-leveling and doesn't yellow. Some reports of yellowing are due to reaction with not-quite-dry decal adhesive or un-cured paint. Highly recommended, as they say. HTH

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

DM 1948 Chrysler New Yorker swap top to 1948 Chrysler T & C.

Here are the instructions on how to modify the top of the DM 1948 Chrysler New Yorker to fit onto the DM 1948 Chrysler T & C.

View instructions

FM 1956 Continental Mark IV D4C LE touch up paint.

The color that best matches this car according to post on our forum is Testors "Color by Boyd" Chezoom Teal.

Submitted by Bill O'Neil

How to repair the front bumper and interior on the DM 1957 Chrysler New Yorker.

1.) Using the top half of the foam container, set the model in it upside down. Rubber bans are helpful to hold the model in place. Simply slip the rubber band around the model and foam your model is now secure.

2.) The bumper is glued in place on the front and the sides. Slip a narrow screwdriver between the blue body and the chrome bumper and carefully wiggle it forward. You will hear small cracks of the glue and hopefully nothing else breaking. Be gentle until the bumper slides off.

3.) Clean all extra glue off the front end of the model and the bumper. Bend the bumper tang where the missing screw will go down a hair or until you are happy. (Do a test fit)

4.) Finally re-glue into place. I used a screw to hold the bumper in place until the glue set and I didn't put the glue on the sides of the bumper.

5.) Remove the car from the container when you do the glue step. The bumper should be pushed in good to the car until it stops. Now look at the bumper from above to make sure it doesn't dry at an angle. It should now be flush and straight with the bodies trim moldings.

I twisted my bucket seats a bit until they took on the right look. Lowering the car is a bit more involved? Drop the frame and re-work the rear axle until you are happy with the ride height.

Submitted by Dan Duma

DM 1957 Chrysler New Yorker front bumper fix. Part II.

Insert the flat tip of a regular screwdriver (The wider the tip the better) between the forward cross member of the frame and the bottom edge of the bumper itself. GENTLY but FIRMLY, PULL THE SCREWDRIVER HANDLE TOWARD THE front OF THE CHRYSLER ...... DO THIS GENTLY AND THE BUMPER WILL STRAIGHTEN TO ITS PROPER POSITION. Pull a little bit at a time, checking your straightening progress and to assure that you don't pry the bumper off. This fix takes all of 5 minutes....

Submitted by Jay Engel...

DM 1957 Chrysler New Yorker poor mans ride height fix.

Easy, (and crude) New Yorker fix. Put the car upside down in its package. Unscrew the back bumper. Unscrew the four other screws around the bumpers. Lift the chassis out. Unscrew the little screws above the rear axle. Put something in the screw space to act as a washer (anything). I used a lid top from a plastic storage container cut to about 1/4inch square (with scissors) with a tiny hole drilled in it. Use the screws that were adjacent to the front bumper (you're going to move them back to the rear axle) and reattach. Use the screws that were originally over the rear axle to reattach to the front bumper. I am thinking that on this issue, the screws between the front end and the rear axle may have been mixed up. However, do these steps and it will please you very much!!!!!

Submitted by Larry Churchill

Cleaning your models made easy.

Dusting your models can be a veeeeery trying event ! If you use a feather duster, it catches the small items (mirrors, windshield wipers etc) and can break them off. The same can happen with a soft cloth. The cure is to use a SOFT BRISTLE BLUSH BRUSH. The same kind of brush your wife or girlfriend uses to apply makeup. They are available almost everywhere.

Submitted by Dennis Gardner

Use a Dash Duster to clean your models.

Here is an unexpected benefit from a gift I received - a Dash Duster thrown in with a CA Car Duster (a great product for real cars) from the Eastwood Co. Part # 52010 Dash Duster.

The Dash Duster has soft bristles that do no damage to the model yet removes the dust even inside, just open the doors or hood and twirl it. I am really excited about this because I have some models on display in my office that are hard to clean, such as an Auburn Speedster, a Cord, etc. This thing really works, on everything including display cases, and better than anything else I've ever tried - in fact it is pure magic. If you have exposed cars try it - you might just end up Loving it like I do.

Submitted by Steve Williams

Compressed air to the rescue.

I always found it hard to dust some of the tough spots in my models (under roof racks, near the windshield wipers, etc). But recently I have been buying the compressed air that people use to clean their PC keyboards, and I have found it to work perfectly. Very easy, too!

Submitted by Chris Harmon

Dealing with that very dusty/dirty models.

Over a period of time just dusting your model doesn't get ALL the dirt or residue off your model. So, I wash mine.

I use a VERY SOFT BRISTLE BLUSH BRUSH and AJAX ANTI-BACTERIAL soap. I put a piece of cheese cloth in the sink drain so if I DO loose a small piece during the washing, it doesn't go down the drain. I then rinse them VEEERY carefully under the faucet with a light stream of luke warm water and then blow dry them with a hairdryer.

The AJAX ANTI-BACTERIAL leaves the model looking as if it had been waxed and the tires and interior had been ARMORALED. I have been doing this for over 10 years and it works very well. I have lost only one piece in all that time.

Submitted by Dennis Gardner

Cleaning with Anti-bacterial dish or any regular soap.

Please do not use anti-bacterial soap. Different soaps use different chemicals that could react with Zamak, the metal die casts are made of. In addition, regular soaps can leach out reacting with the oils in your models finish causing it to become dull or worst.

It's like using dish soap on your personal 1:1 car, over time the shine will be gone. It's simply too harsh.

Submitted by George Bojaciuk

GMP/Meguiars Model Car Kit for cleaning your models

The GMP/Meguiars cleaning kit is my favorite tool for maintaining my personal models here at JSS Software. Everything you need is included with this kit brushes, cleaners, waxes etc. in my opinion this is the best all in one tool kit for the die cast diehard.

Suggested Cleaning Sequence:

  1. Dust Model with assorted brushes.
  2. Start with #34 Final Inspection wipe down as an initial "wash to remove dirt.
  3. Apply on #7 Show Car Glaze and buff off. Apply additional coats if desired.
  4. Apply #26 Hi-Tech Yellow Wax, let dry to a haze and buff off.
  5. Maintain the finish with #34 Final Inspection, especially to remove fingerprints.

Additional Professional Detailing Tips:

  1. Apply product with Cotton Swabs carefully and in a circular, overlapping motion.
  2. Micro-fiber cloth can be washed and reused.
  3. Always use a clean area on the cloth when working with a specific product.
  4. Mixing product on one area of the cloth can cause streaking.
  5. Streaking or "caking" of product may also signify too heavy of an application.
  6. Wrap the metal area of the brushes with masking tape. this is a detailers trick that prevents accidental scratches from the brush.
  7. Avoid waxing flat black surfaces.
  8. Avoid working over water slide decals. Age and deterioration may make decals brittle and any handling may cause damage. Paint tampos can be waxed.
  9. Store gloves and Micro-fiber cloth in a plastic bag so as to avoid workbench contamination.

Additional product can be purchased at any fine automotive store that carries Meguiar's products. Cotton swabs can be purchased at any drug store or supermarket.

Cleaning our models should I use wax or polish.

View W for wax..

View George Bojaciuk article on Diecast car care.

What's the best way to clean a car?

I purchased a model on eBay and it looks like the person who packaged it must have had a chocolate donut before handling it.

Depending on the thickness of the gunk, I start with Meguiars 'Quik Detail'. It's mild, effective, easy to use, and leaves a nice shine. If the residue is still apparent, I'd then go to 3M 'Perfect it' hand glaze, a simply wonderful pure polish that removes all the 'dead' paint leaves an incredible shine. If all else fails, I use Meguiars 'Gold Class' car wax, which takes out everything and leaves a high gloss.

Novus 1 does wonders and it even repels oust and dirt. It doesn't seem to be available everywhere...so you might want to check Novus.com for a store near you that sells their products.

Removing adhesive residue from a models finish.

GOO-GONE works extremely well and very quickly. It will not harm the finish of your model in any way and can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Submitted by Jay Engel

De-chrome a plastic part.

First you need to remove the piece from the model. Since most pieces are glued on you may use a small screwdriver to get under the chrome and gently tap it out of the mounting holes. You can always find a small gap that a 1/32" electrical screwdriver will fit into.

If you are repainting the body, you can use superglue de-bonder, which makes the job go easy. De-bonder will dissolve the paint so don't get too excited if you're working on a red car and notice all this red stuff running down your arm!!!

Once you have the part removed take a plastic container (dish or cup) fill it with straight bleach. Dip you part(s) in and watch the chrome come off in seconds. This gets you to the bare plastic in seconds. Make sure to wash part(s) under warm soap and water. BINGO your ready to paint any color you want!

Yet another tip on how to de-chrome.

Another easy way to de-chrome a part is to soak it in Easy Off oven cleaner. Spray on and let sit for 30 minutes; rinse in warm water and let dry.

I had a couple of Mattel Pro-Street 53 Corvettes and I wanted to repaint the engines with metalizer paints to make them more realistic. The Easy Off removed the plating, no problem. I have been using this method for 20 years on my plastic model kits and it works fine.

Submitted by: R Cleary

Bare metal Foil gives a part a chromed look.

See F for foil.

Diecast Cancer

What happens when you tuck your model away in the box and forget about it or never wax it. Read the entire article by Joe Kelly.

View article.

Diecast Rash

What is die cast rash?

Read the article by George Bojaciuk

View article.

How to remove the decals without ruining the paint.

Acetone free "Nail Polish Remover". Use a Q-Tip and lightly dab and try to bring the tampo off of the paint.

Or try to use a pen eraser; you know the darker one not the pink.. 

Note either method may damage the finish think long and hard before removing by either means.

You may want to use a tried and true method of removal w/o any surface damage is by using Bare Metal Polish - 5 minutes on each side and the tampo was removed and the surface was nice and clean and polished.

You can also use Meguiar's Fine cut cleaner - one bottle will last a lifetime. The smaller the tampo, the easier it will be to remove. The larger the tampo, the more difficult - but it will come off with excellent results - and no paint worries.

More on removing decals/tampos.

To safely remove the tampos from your model use Meguiar's, #1 Medium cut cleaner. Gently apply to the tampo and it should start to rub off. Concentrate your efforts only on the tampo. When you're finished buff the model with #26 Carnuba Wax.

The for example the FM Cobra model was finished with a special clear coat that adheres to aluminum. If you repaint your clear with a standard lacquer clear coat it will, over time, start to crack, chip and lift right off the aluminum body. If you decide to clear the body, use clear coats made exclusively for aluminum mag wheels. This is formulated to "stick" to unpainted metal. Eastwood makes one.

Reattaching photo etched decals.

A product called 'Micro Set', which is a glue available at most hobby shops should do the job.

Submitted by Martin Erkamp

Removing scratches from Plexiglas display cases.

View S for Scratches

How to make custom decals for my model.

McGonigal Paper & Graphics not only has an excellent how to article you may purchase all the necessary material right from their site.

How to adjust the ride height on the DM Desoto Adventurer.
The paint finish on the drivers door and hood of my DM 49 Ford has developed a rash.

Oven cured finishes put a hard skin on the paint that allows them to get these diecast's out of their factory faster. Problem is there's uncured paint under it and the volatile solvents may take years to fully leach out. If oven cured too quickly, this "rash" results. Good news is it can usually be rubbed down without ill effect. Worse case is a rubdown with 10k grit wet-dry pad and Novus2 to bring back the shine. Have fun.

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

Adjusting the roof on the TinderBox FM Skyliner.

I posted this "FIX" a while back as most all of our Tinder Box Skyliners suffered from this minor, but annoying problem, that being the front most part of the roof didn't swing up enough and sit flush with the rest of the top. It made the roof looked "bowed" Here's the "fix" in a nut shell.... Take what we all have and use to buy our little cars, YES your credit card. Then with the top in the "up" position insert the cc in between the flip up roof and the other part of the roof. Slowly put downward pressure on the rear part of the roof (larger section) using your thumbs, while pulling "UP" on the flip up portion of the roof. Start out with very little pressure and slowly increase it, kind of flexing it. Periodically "test" fit the roof with the D.C. removed. Keep repeating the procedure till it's corrected. Once it sits perfectly flush, mail your credit card to me and I'll order a few more precision models! LOL THANKS!!!!!

Submitted by Philip Realmuto

I need to hold the Air Cleaner on my GMP Ford Fairlane.

See G for glue.

I received my DM 32 Ford and the top doesn't fit?

Use a drill. The sides of the holes have to be opened up just a bit. I put a small drill in a pin vise and did it by hand.

Submitted by Fred Kern

Fred's solution works.

But with a little patience, and some finagling, the top fits without adjustment. I found that if you mount the top exactly into its proper holes, press down GENTLY BUT FIRMLY with your thumb under the car and your fingers atop the roof, the bow ends will "pop" onto the proper pins and the top will mount perfectly.

Submitted by Jay Engel

How does the DM '55 Ford Skyliner come apart?

I could only find one screw at the front of the chassis. I looked in all the obvious spots that screws are usually hidden under the gas tank, under the exhausts, even under the rear shocks.

Then I thought, the top is plastic. So I carefully levered it off --sure enough, when you pulled the rear parcel shelf and seat out there were two screws under the shelf! I've painted the doglegs and kick panels flat black as well as the steering wheel and column white.

Submitted by Fred Kern

How do I repair a broken antenna on the FM 1970 Mach I?

Using a Pin vise along with a # 74 drill bit (about the thickness of a straight pin) drill a small hole where the antenna needs to be placed. Both the pin vise and drill bits may be purchased at your local hardware store, or hobby shop; MicroMark does sell these small hand held drills & bits along with others listed on the Links page at www.jsssoftware.com

BTW - for small holes like this a Dremel tool does not allow for sufficient control and the bits break too easily.

Ford DM 1932 stiff steering mechanism repair.

I have a very simple fix. The steering box has two screws. I released the tension (three turns) on each and turned the steering wheel progressively from right to left. I finally removed more tension from the biggest screw and now the steering operates more freely without risk to breaking it.

Submitted by Richard Dube

How do you apply bare metal foil to give the illusion of chrome and keep it on?

The secret is don't try to make a piece of foil fit, work with oversized pieces, carefully working it into the compound curves (yes, a headlight rim will be OK). To burnish it you may use a wooden toothpick or similar object to smooth it out.

When you have it just right trim around the foiled section or part with a new #11 blade then peel away the foil you don't want.

What is the difference between the types of bare metal foil?

The "Chrome" foil is much easier to work. It is more pliable than the "Ultra Bright Chrome" The ultra bright is somewhat tempered from the polishing process. This tends to make it harder to work with because it tends to wrinkle when you apply it to compound curves. The "Ultra" looks better but good luck getting it on, it does not stick as good as the regular foil. I think the "Chrome foil" is the best.

What glue is the best to use to replace a piece of glass?

The product I have used with great success is Watch Crystal Cement, which can be purchased from Micro Mark.

Item # 80343

What glue is best for clear plastic?

This special cement with needlepoint applicator is ideal for cementing clear plastic canopies and windshields on airplane and car models. It's also ideal for plastic 'glass' on dollhouses and miniature furniture. Can also be used on many other model assembly projects. Cement dries crystal clear and won't attack plastic. Uncured cement cleans up easily with ordinary rubbing alcohol. Special needlepoint applicator tip makes precise placement easy. Wire-in-cap keeps applicator free flowing. Cures to the touch in 15 minutes.

What glue is the best general purpose product for repairing my model?

The glue of choice would be a fresh bottle of CA or cyanoacrylates [trade names: Hot Stuff, Zap, Crazy Glue, etc.]. It is fast, holds good, comes in three thickness, thin, medium, and gap filling. Using the wrong formula can make very weak joints, and for large areas it can cure before you get the parts together, worse yet, you have no time to reposition parts when you glue them. It is almost instant bond as soon as they touch. If you use too much accelerator the glue will be brittle and break under load or vibration. And the stuff is just plain expensive.

Other than that, it is great stuff. The thicker it is the slower it sets. Use CA with plenty of ventilation and use it properly with as little kicker as you need to set it and it will work for almost any application. Acetone will clean it up even after it has set it can also be used for a de-bonder if you stick it to something like your fingers. Be very careful with acetone as it to can be hard on you if you breath the fumes and it may damage the paint of plastics of your model.

Is CA worth the extra expense and trouble to use? You bet it is no clamping, no waiting for glue to dry. Nothing has been done to ease the job of repairing models more than CA. CA glue is readily available from your local hobby shop or major hobby centers such as Tower Hobbies for around $6.00 a bottle.

My model car broke and needs glue what should I use.

Duro Quick gel - no run super glue. It works and it lasts.

Submitted by Terrance Daly

I need a quick drying glue, which do you recommend.

Some years ago I was looking for an industrial adhesive for a very particular application. One of my suppliers was an authorized Loctite dealer having the full range of all the industrial adhesives and lubricants manufactured by this company.

The product I am speaking of is Loctite 404, which is not your common crazy/superglue. It is an adhesive that sets instantly I am talking seconds here. I have bonded various materials with only a tiny drop. I always use 404 to repair broken parts on my die cast with this product.

We include a link on the JSS Software Links page to a supplier of Loctite adhesives. You are interested in Loctite 404 (part number 46551) retailing for approximately $36.00 a bottle.

Submitted by Richard Dube

Another quick drying glue.

The product is: Future Glue "high performance" by Super Glue.

Guys, for our needs and applications, forget Loctite 404 at $26.00 and go for this product at $0.99.

Submitted by Richard Dube

How to reattach a windshield to its frame once the pins that held it in place have broken off?

If there ever was a modelers' secret, this is it. Micro Kristal Klear can do so many things, you will not believe that any product can make such a big difference in the appearance of your models.

First, Micro Kristal Klear is a liquid that can be used to form very real looking small windows up to 1/4" in size. It also is an adhesive for mounting clear plastic parts, windows, etc., on models. It can be used to make lenses both clear and colored with the addition of a little food coloring. What really makes a remarkable difference in your models is the simple fact that the clear parts can be joined to the painted parts with a completely clear adhesive. What this means is that you do not have to mask around the clear parts, something that is rarely completely successful any way. Plus the sills which are painted can be seen through the Micro Kristal Klear for the most realistic looking windows you will see on a model.

What the pros like best is that it is fast and easy and stays clear. It cleans up with water while wet and is waterproof when dry. You can tell when it's dry because it turns from milky white to clear. If you need a super strong and flexible adhesive for wood, plastic, paper or most combinations of dissimilar materials, this is a handy thing to have.

Your local hobby shop should have it in stock if not contact our good friends at BMF be sure to mention JSS Software sent you.

Glueing tips.

If you're doing styrene plastic models as opposed to the "new age" polyurethane resins. Here are my suggestions:

1) if they are relatively large pieces that mate well, use the liquid plastic cements.. they are actually solvents that will weld the surfaces together, you can use an old pointed paint brush or a larger gage needle to 'feed' the solvent in letting capillary attraction carry the solvent along the surfaces. Do not worry if any of it gets on an outside surface, it'll evaporate without a trace if you can resist touching the area.

2) If the surfaces are not mating well, I use cyanoacrylates of varying consistencies to cement as well as to fill small gaps. Use these in conjunction with an accelerator like "Zip Kicker" and it will set the instant you spray it. I also use it for small pieces that require positioning and then spray. Do not use near clear or 'chromed' pieces, as "fogging" can occur during the setting

3) Clear pieces, I'll use white glue (dries clear) or with gaps and chrome pieces, "5 minute epoxy" works well.

If two properly prepared styrene pieces are to be glued then Testors liquid cement is still the best. It 'welds' the two parts together, it is not a gap-filler! When used as such it will shrink and break off over time (buying an old, rare kit put together like this is a real coup; it will just fall apart!). As mentioned, there are gap filling super glues, but you must be quick and precise with both application and parts alignment (plus, I always seem to glue my fingers together!). I also use two types two-part epoxy; the relatively quick five-minute set-up, AND a slower twenty-minute set-up (for some reason I usually end up with Duro brand). Both of these give you nice working time and are gap filling. I've even used the twenty-minute stuff to 'cast' moldings and emblems! I would also recommend clear hobby enamel to adhere "glass" and "lenses".

I use Testors and Tenax-7R by Hebco.

I have had excellent results with Faller Expert glue (It's German), which is available through better hobby shops. It has a built in needle but keep a very thin piece of music wire handy to clear the needle, which will clog every once in a while. I find that it is worth the trouble.

Apply the perfect amount of glue every time.

Having trouble often getting too much glue that oozes out from beneath the part or spreads out around the part?

If using a wire or toothpick, does the glue run up the side of the applicator instead of staying on the tip?

Then try this: Look at the wire you use for spark plug or coil wires. Does it have a solid wire core? If so, strip the insulation off the wire and, using a pair of tweezers with a very fine point, twist a small loop into the end of this wire. Dip this loop into the glue you are using. The loop holds a very small drop of glue, the smaller the loop, the smaller the drop. You can then place this drop of glue with increased precision!

Remove Superglue from the finish.

A very fine rubbing compound used with a Dremel tool to polish it off. Although it made some people here deride the suggest or, I tried it and, lo and behold, it worked ....a little polish and you'd never know it had ever happened.

Non Acetone nail polish remover with a Cotton Swab is another suggestion. Do not get on plastic or Chrome trim.

What compound can you use to breakdown the glue to dismantle a car?

CA ( Super )glue De-Bonder, from a hobby shop..should loosen up most glue joints. It also will remove paint, so be careful when applying. You may need to go back and touch up after the repair.

Submitted by: Bob Calhoun

What is blooming (or all this white stuff)?.

The phenomenon known as blooming is when the CA vapors leave a white haze behind after curing. This is typically caused by a couple of things. Too much adhesive is used, too much accelerator is used, high humidity environment, and improper ventilation around the part while the CA cures.

If an excessive amount of CA is used you will get excessive gassing during the cure process which will cause blooming. If accelerator is used in excessive amounts it speeds the curing process up so dramatically that you will get a large amount of gassing during the curing process causing the blooming. The excessive moisture associated with high humidity acts just like using too much accelerator. Improper ventilation during the curing will allow the vapors to build up on the surface and cause blooming.

Blooming is strictly a cosmetic issue and has nothing to do with the quality of the bond, if blooming cannot be tolerated at all than it is good to use a low odor product that will not gas or bloom.

You can remove the haze by dipping a paper towel in isopropyl alcohol or using a slightly oily rag. I would not use the oily rag if further painting is planned.

More on removing superglue from a model finish.

There is a product called Bare Metal Polish. Use a Q-Tip to gently wipe away the glue. It works on glue gassing extremely well. It's available at most hobby shops or BARE-METAL FOIL COMPANY, P.O. Box 82, Farmington Hills, MI 48024. Meguiar's Plastic polish works well too. It will take more time so be patient and it will come out w/o any damage to the paint.

DO NOT use acetone!!! The paint will melt!!!!!!!!!!!

I need to hold the Air Cleaner on my GMP Ford Fairlane.

Use FUN TACK it is a "sticky" product that is used to hold items in place, such as photographs on mirrors. In my case, I rolled up a very small amount into a ball and placed it on the carb and then pressed the air cleaner onto the Fun Tack. Now it stays in place and it won't wobble or get lost. It is available in most craft stores.

Submitted by Steve Massaro although he defers credit to George Bojaciuk

Gluing the Air Cleaner on the GMP Ford Fairlane.

Rather than glue it on, I used two pieces of permanent double-sided scotch tape, cut to about 1/8" x 5/8" and used an Franklin Mint plastic tool to form it to the inside throat of the air cleaner. I simply pressed it in place on the carburetor and it now stays in place when the car is moved but is removable, when desired.

Submitted by Terrance Daly

Yet another suggestion on the Fairlane Air Cleaner.

Get a glue stick like the kind that kids use in school. It has just enough low tack to keep it in place but still removable.

Submitted by Brian Schindler

Reattaching photo etched parts.

View D for decals


I have found a great way to make headliners, hood insulation, or blower blankets. First, obtain a plain, white, non-quilted paper towel (not too thick!). Lay this on or over the part you want covered, then liberally wet it with a mix of water (30%) and white glue (70%). Let this dry for a full day, gently remove from the part, trim to size, paint with a flat paint, and then reattach to the model!!

How to remove black spots in the headlights.

It's a simple production solution the pin acts like a fiber optic strand. It transmits the void as black. If you can pop out the lens, all you have to do is paint the end of the pin silver. It will now transmit the silver dot instead. The silver dot tends to look more like a "bulb" detail as it is diffused thru the lens. I prefer not having a pin, but when it's needed I do ask that it be painted silver.

Submitted by George Bojaciuk

Another suggestion on removing the black spot in a headlight.

A slightly more complicated remedy but yields a more realistic result would be to grind off the clear mounting pin with a Dremel. If you go slow and a little at a time you should be able to get the back of the headlight pretty smooth without any need for sanding or polishing. It doesn't have to be perfect, just smooth enough so you can't see the "dot" from the front.

Next turn your attention to the hole where the pin goes into. There's many ways to tackle this; you can fill the hole with putty or epoxy then cover the entire area behind the headlight with chrome foil; you can use a section of the old mounting pin to fill the hole then cover with foil; or you may choose not to fill the hole at all...just make sure the chrome foil you use is thick enough not to settle into the hole.

Bare-Metal is probably too thin for this method. Maybe the shiny side of some smoothed out household aluminum foil might work? After that you can simply glue the headlight back in using a small amount of 5-minute epoxy around the edge. The chrome foil behind the headlight looks much better than the silver paint or body color that's usually visible.

I realize that losing the mounting pin reduces the strength of the bond somewhat. The headlight might fall out if the car is not packed properly and put in the mitts of some brutish mail handler then shipped across the country a couple dozen times but this method should be plenty strong enough for gracing a display shelf and the occasional fondling for closer admiration. I assume anyone that would even attempt something like this has a general understanding of basic modeling so I won't go into more specific details, good luck.

Submitted Wadus Exum

Leather/Vinyl Simulations.

A good way to simulate vinyl or leather interiors is to try this. Regular gloss paints are too - well - glossy, and flat paints are too flat to simulate vinyl. BUT if you mix them half and half, they are perfect!

Leather is even easier! Just spray paint the interior in the desired color using a flat paint. After the paint is completely dry, gently rub you finger over your forehead or the side of your nose. Then gently rub the paint with your finger! Not too much. The trick here is to be subtle and use a very light touch. Sounds weird, but try it the oil on your skin will give the finish a leather look.

How to repair the Vicki's Gift 1961 Lincoln Continental windshield.

The tricky part is getting the car apart without damaging the details in the engine compartment, but that won't be too tough. FM uses some form of superglue but fortunately is doesn't adhere to the chrome all that well so with just a little pressure the windshield frame pops right off without much threat of chipping the paint.

I reinstalled the dashboard first to get it at the correct height before doing any alterations to the frame. Oddly enough the holes in the dashboard mounting tabs did not align with the corresponding holes in the body. On one model I repaired the dash had a screw in only one side, which seemed odd. Just widen the hole on one side to get it to align properly. After that grind down the frame until it sits correctly. Notice that FM ground down the passenger side A pillar ...curious...I'll hold my tongue ...You'll most certainly have to lose the majority of the mounting tabs under the frame and might have to thin them a bit to get them to fit behind the correctly positioned dash.

Use a 5-minute epoxy or some other slow setting glue to attach the frame to allow for adjusting to get it to sit just right. Keep in mind that the windshield frame is not a structural element so you don't have to pile on the cement.

Two pieces of advice:

Grind slow and a little bit at a time. It's much easier to take away material than having to add it if you grind too much.

Make sure you don't align the frame too close to the vent posts or else the doors won't open and close properly ...BREAK OUT THOSE DREMEL TOOLS AND GOOD LUCK!

Submitted by Wadus Exum

Flaky paint or paint rash..

oven cured finishes put a hard skin on the paint that allows them to get these diecast's out of their factory faster. Problem is there's uncured paint under it and the volatile solvents may take years to fully leach out. If oven cured too quickly, this "rash" results. Good news is it can usually be rubbed down without ill effect. Worse case is a rubdown with 10k grit wet-dry pad and Novus2 to bring back the shine. Have fun.

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

Miracle product for bad paint! I just found a product that does an incredible job of cleaning up paint blemishes on cars. I posted on another subject that I had several old cars with the dreaded paint rash. One was a Tinderbox skyliner. All the top panels had rough paint. I dug through some stuff in my garage and found some liquid clay bar my son had for his car. Brand name is "Ice". I figured, what the heck, I'll try this before I resort to rubbing compound. I can't believe how this improved the paint on this car and a coral 57 Chevy (FM). The paint looks like new! A couple of spots required a little more work but they came out fantastic. This product does not take the paint off or dull it at all. A little wax on top and the cars are showroom shiny and smooth. I highly recommend this product!

Submitted by Mark Sweeney

Paint leaching.

Hi Myron, I removed my DM '49 Mercury from its box last night after many years of dry storage and discovered paint leaching on both front fenders ....its very noticeable on the top and sides... what would you suggest as a fix...if there is one?

Duke Denty

Buff the areas w/3M Finesse It or Meguiars Scratch -X. Then wax it. Should buff out nicely.

Submitted by
George Bojaciuk

Repairing paint chips.

First, make sure this is not due to a misalignment of an operating panel.. if it is, you'll have to solve that problem first. I'll run a round polished metal probe around the edges of the chip to see if there's any more loose paint.

Then I'll find the closest color match I have in the paint drawer put in a white porcelain mixing cup, lighten or darken as necessary. I use model enamels for their fine scaled pigment grain and airbrush thinner which contains a dryer.

Bead it in the chipped area with a fine brush. If the color is not right, draw it off and alter the shade as necessary. Ultimately, I'll use the bead of paint to act as a filler. Bead it on so it's a bit higher than the surrounding finish and let cure a good 24hrs (72 with metallic). I'll use wet 12,000 grit polishing pad to blend it in (it'll have virtually no effect on the surrounding finish) and then Novus 2 plastic polish to finish.

Preparing a body or part for painting.

For prepping any model or part for repainting, it is wise to wash at least the body shell prior to applying paint. This is to remove fingerprints and other contaminants from the surface. Such contaminants (in particular silicones) are the cause of such blemishes as "fisheye" in which the paint seems to "run" away from small spots on the model.

Silicones are nearly everywhere in modern households. Johnson's Pledge, for example, has as its primary polishing ingredient silicone! Many dishwashing detergents also contain a small amount of silicone, for that advertised "clean right down to the shine". Almost all dishwashing liquids have skin emollients to keep hands soft after repeated use (dishpan hands).

What's a body to do? Common bath soaps (such as Dial, my personal favorite) work very well. Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) is an excellent detergent (Westley's Bleach-White, Spic n Span are a couple of well-known TSP detergents) which will strip offending greasy fingerprints and silicones as well from model surfaces. Just use one of these along with an old toothbrush and hot tap water, and allow to air-dry, and you should have no problems.

How to attach photo-etched parts.

I am often asked how to attach photo-etched parts to models. There are three ways I do this. If I am going to paint over the piece, super glue works fine. These types of glues sometimes frost metal parts, model "glass", or painted areas around where these parts may be attached.

If gluing large photo-etched parts to other metal parts or plastic, I use 5-minute epoxy, or very small amounts of super glue. The secret method I have for small parts (especially scripts, badges, etc. that are glued onto the final finished paint) is to use clear Tamiya paint. With a toothpick, fine wire, brush or any other small instrument, place a small amount of paint on the model, then position the photo-etched piece. Since Tamiya paint is water based, if you make a mistake, clean up is very easy. A remarkable thing about this paint is that it shrinks significantly as it dries!! If a small amount of paint protrudes from under the part you are attaching, don't worry. As the paint dries, this will become less and less obvious!!

More on re-attaching photo-etched parts.

I received this model a few days ago and although I've offered advice to those who needed their photo etched scripts or badging reattached, I had no idea just how incredibly fragile the fixation of these tiny pieces are.

My example started shedding parts without me even handling them. I strongly advice that as soon as you receive this piece, inspect all these parts (they are very tiny and easily lost) and immediately "fix" them with Future Acrylic Floor Finish applied with a fine pointed sable brush (#0 is a good choice). Wick off any excess with the same brush dried on a paper towel and set aside in a relatively dust-free environment overnight.

For example on the DM Packard Hawk check the pieces like the winged "Hawk" logos which are flat and do not completely conform to the curved surfaces (especially the trunk deck badge) to see if any of the fine bristles can still insinuate under the wingtips. If so, reapply more of the clear acrylic. It will seal those points to the substrate by capillary attraction. The seal will be permanent under normal care and is self-leveling and non-yellowing.

Here is how to achieve the re-attachment:
Wet a larger pointed sable (a #1) with Future to pick up the piece by the end. Then wet the piece with Future applied with the smaller brush and carefully apply the part to its proper position. There's just enough viscosity to allow it to stay where you put it and yet you can still adjust the position if necessary. The Future will reach an initial "set" in a few minutes that still allows a seamless addition of more Future to complete the seal. Future's consistancy and working properties are superior to other liquid acrylics for these applications.

For larger pieces that can be more easily manipulated, I would not be adverse to using Micro's Kristal Klear which, in essence is a white glue that undergoes a tacky phase before it sets crystal clear. But its surface tension and viscosity are too much for such tiny parts like the individual letters where you need more of a wetting agent. Kristal Klear is also not self leveling which makes it excellent for modeling tiny windows or gauge crystals.

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

Protecting photo-etched parts and removing protective covering film.

You should remove the film as over time it may want to react with the paint. Then you have to buff around the lettering anyway. This lettering isn't photoetch, but a diecut self-adhesive mylar. Photoetch would have to be glued on in some manner and would be a bit thicker. You may want to consider using Tamiya Clear on these scripts. It doesn't yellow and holds them tight. Use a fine brush and just touch the edge of the emblem. Capillary action will take up the clear easily. Work from the top as gravity will pull it downward. Don't overdo it or you will have a run at the bottom of the emblem. I've used this method to seal p.e. on models and it has not let me down. Clean up is easy and the Tamiya thinner does not react with the exterior paints. I'm concerned with Future yellowing over time, especially if applied on scripts on a white car. Please avoid CA type glues as they may fog the surrounding paint or the mylar itself. It will also attack the tampo underneath and then you've lost both the script and the tampo. I like the look of the diecut mylar but I don't care for it's fragility. It is a double step to tampo and then apply these scripts. A better adhesive needs to be developed to keep the scripts in place or develop a metallic paint for a tampo.

Submitted by George Bojaciuk

How to clear coat a bare metal body.

If you repaint your clear with a standard lacquer clear coat it will, over time, start to crack, chip and lift right off the aluminum body. If you decide to clear the body, use clear coats made exclusively for aluminum mag wheels. This is formulated to "stick" to unpainted metal. Eastwood makes one.

How to remove the Connie Kit from the DM 58 Pontiac Bonneville

Thanks to John Luthi for sharing his detailed instructions on how to remove the Connie Kit from the Danbury Mint 1958 Pontiac Bonneville without destroying the model. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader installed to view the PDF file.

View Instructions Here!

How to fix the whitewall tires on the Danbury Mint 1936 Packard

Thanks to Doug Ford for the step by step instructions on how to convert the whitewalls on the Danbury Mint Packard to a full whitewall. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader installed to view the PDF file.

View Instructions Here!

Making your steering wheel straight.

I have a number of models with steering wheels that are not straight when the wheels are pointed straight ahead or require detailing. The steering wheels are fragile and easily broken if you try and remove them.

I have found that applying a soldering iron to the metal steering column for just a few seconds while applying a light pull to the wheel will allow it to come off very easily. I recommend removing the body to accomplish this task and the closer to the steering wheel you can apply the heat the better.

Submitted by Frederick Kern

More on straightening a steering wheel.

I have received many FM cars with the steering wheel positioned improperly. One actually had the steering wheel mounted upside down! On the FM models, all you have to do is loosen the screw on the bottom of the car where the steering wheel rod connects to the tie rod. Make sure the front wheels are in the straight ahead driving position and loosen the screw just enough so that the steering wheel turns freely without moving the tie rod. Position the steering wheel and re-tighten the screw making sure the gears are engaged. I don't recall if I have had to re-position a DM wheel but it should work the same.

Scratches and how to remove them.

Novus brand Plexiglas polish in the #1 grade. This unique product appears as a clear liquid but is really a *very* light abrasive (it will not scratch the 'glass'). Apply on, and with, a Q-Tip and work a very small area at a time. Wipe clean with another Q-Tip. Don't press on the glass, let the Novus #1 do the work. I've used this many times to remove that super-glue "fog" from many models.

Remove scratches from plastic display cases (FM),

I bought a couple of FM cars on eBay that came with the FM display cases, both of which had a lot of scratches too severe for most polishes. Remembering a tip from model building days, I rubbed them out with toothpaste then finished with the GMP kit. Now they look just like new (and smell refreshingly minty!) For years I have used a camera lens brush - the kind with the squeeze bulb. I believe it has camel hair and is very soft.

Submitted by Robert Alescio

Chrome scripts/logos are peeling off does anyone know how to remount them?

I use watch crystal cement...This stuff is the cat's butt...holds very well, will not fog like CA glue, not as thick as silicone and dries clear. You have ample time to set the peice before it sets up also. It also has a needle applicator built into the tube.

I use it for Slot Car headlight lenses (of course I could learn to slow down thus not nailing the scenery at high speed but that is no fun either! But it holds the lenses in tighter than when the car was built!). Clear enamel will work also but it takes some setup time so it becomes tacky and if you wax your cars, the paint will not stick as well.

Try it, you can get it direct from Micro-mark.

Submitted by Brian Schindler

How to figure the correct dimensions of a scale.

First of all, you need to know two dimensions. What size was the real (1:1) vehicle? And what scale is the model? It's easier to work with decimal base, so the conversion for 1/25th scale is roughly .480 (1/25th of a foot). Assuming the real car was 10 feet long, you compute as follows: 10' X .480 = 4.8 in. In 1/32nd scale 10' X .375 = 3.75 in... For mixed measurements (10 feet 7 inches) first convert to total inches, work the equation, and divide the result by 12.

But it all goes back to having at least two of the dimensions known. Using the formulae, you can determine real size from the model, model size from the real size, etc. But given only the scale - you're up a creek, unless you research other sources to find the size of the real vehicle.

18 feet Full-sized automobile
18 inches 1 inch equals 1 foot
12 inches None
9 inches None
6.75 inches None
 5 inches O gauge is based on a ratio of 7mm : 1 foot
4.5 inches Modified O gauge based on a ratio of 1/4 inch : 1 foot
4 inches The common scale used for most Siku toys and other German die cast.
3.4 inches Longer than most models that usually measure 3 inches in this scale
2.84 inches "Double O" is a common gauge used on UK models produced by Hornby and Dinky
2.5 inches Derived from half "O" gauge
1.5 inches A new scale created by Racing Champions within the last two years.
1.35 inches None
1 inch This scale represents the smallest scale train sets on the market.
Removing fine scratches from a models finish.

Having polished one of my models with a micro fiber towel I noticed it left surface scratches on the finish now what should I do?

For minor blemishes/scratches I have found Novus Plastic Polish #2 very effective, Novus product # PC-22. This product works well on all painted surfaces including plastic?

Submitted by Art Robertson

How to remove scratches from acrylic case covers?

Tip 1.) It depends a lot on the deepness of the scratches. If you feel your nail in the scratches don't expect to remove them. They will never disappear. The NOVUS product line is designed to polish acrylic and remove scratches from light to medium. They are available in three different Formula (1,2 and 3)and you will need all of them to perform the task.

Submitted by Richard Dube

Tip 2.) if the scratches go deeper sand them with 2000 grit wet/dry or finer and then polish out with the Novus system.

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

Tip 3.) I use Meguiar's plastic polish for all the plastic items that I have. It will take off hazing and some light scratches but not much more than that. If I recall, the plastic used on the FM cases was a molded poly that was NOT very compliant with rubbing ANYTHING on them. Even dust and a light cloth would start a chain reaction of hazing that never would end. I like to display my models but found those single cases to be very hard to use unless you had one or two models. I like and own Giovanni's Plastic cases they are the best and I recommend them for anyone with multiple models to display. I suggest to use the 1:18 size as many of the FM models will be too large to fit in the 1:24 slots. For some of the smaller 1:24, I put two in the slot...even fit THREE mini's in one spot.

Submitted by Raffi Minasian

Tip 4.) I used Novus 2 on a multi-scratched FM case and it cleaned up nicely.

Submitted by Terrance Daly

How to remove the smoke smell from a model.

1.) If your collector was a heavy smoker, you will need to wipe the model down. Use Final inspection by Meguiar's. If you use one of those cosmetic pads, you'll see it turn yellow from the film that is on the model. Go carefully so you don't pull off wipers and antennas. If the seats are soft PVC, they can be done, too.

Painted plastic, I would go slow on them. Avoid doing the dash or door panels if you see real chrome. Esp. FM models. The 300C and '49 Caddy are notorious for pulling paint off the interior chrome, if handled. It's the same deal as the Eldo paint over chrome.

To FM's credit they use real chrome. But it's like painting latex paint over glass. Over time it will peel right off. Once you wipe the model down, put it in the case with Baking Soda. Keep it there for about a week. Put it in a safe place....I've already knocked a few over having to vacuum the stuff out of the model!

Normally, I use a 1:18th display case and 3-4 medicine cups with Baking soda-placed at 4 corners. Works better than trying to stick that orange box in the case with your model. Pharmacies should have these cups. If not, home care supply companies do. You can get a bunch for cheap. Hope this info helps.

Submitted by George Bojaciuk

2.) Placing a little Fabreez on a cue-tip doesn't hurt either.

Submitted by Randy May

3.) GM Glass Cleaner, part # 89021822. This works well with interior and whitewalls. Spray into cap and apply with a q-tip. It's mild and smells good. It also is a great after shave :) I like the 1:18th/baking soda method George uses after cleaning the model.

Submitted by Allan Ording

One word of caution on using liquids on a model interior.

Flocking: it's attached by a thick water based glue. If you wet the flocking you run the risk of disturbing it. Worse case scenario the flocking will lift, shift or clump. When stripping models for repaint, dunking the part with flocking in water removes the flocking rather easily. If you do get liquid on flocking, DO NOT handle the piece until the moisture has dried.

Removing the smell of cigarette smoke from a model.

First, purchase or use a large plastic container with a cover, like a Rubber-made storage container. Next place the model along with its box and packaging in the container, removed from the original storage box of course. Place a box of bicarbonate of soda, opened, inside the rubber-maid container so it can absorb the odor from the individual pieces, it requires approx. a week. This trick should completely remove the smell of smoke from your model and packaging.

Submitted by:
Ken Graham

How to add lights to the Sinclair Service Station.
Create your own realistic custom surfaces

If you want a dirt drive or road make a base any size then cover it with Elmer's Light or Dark carpenters glue (you may purchase this by the gallon) while it is wet cover it with sifted or un-sifted dirt right out of your backyard. Pile the dirt in a heap and let it dry overnight, once dry flip it over and dump the loose dirt off it. Any missed spots just add more glue and dirt, it's easy to repair anytime. Also, you can add accessories to it just stick them on and allow them to dry along with the dirt.

Another item to use is gravel for fish tanks. If you can't find gray just add the white stone and once it dries spray paint it primer gray.

For paved roads roofing paper seems to do the trick and you can even paint lines on it. You can even add pot holes just cut a hole in the base and do the same to the tar paper. You can then add grass to the scene gluing it down the same way.

Submitted by Emanuel Manny

Studebaker 1950 Luggage Instructions.
Tampo removal.

see D for decal removal

Cleaning those yellowing whitewall tires.

409 on a Q-tip. do not touch chromed parts.. rinse. If still yellow, use that Bleach-White (sp) stuff for real whitewalls. Again, don't touch chrome parts and rinse well.

I have one question when you say rinse is that procedure done also with the q-tip?

No.. whatever delivers enough water to get the stuff off. Wet paper towel,, cotton or shove the wheel under the tap. The problem with these cleaners is their alkalinity. We talk of Chromed parts but it's actually aluminum and it is acid resistant so it survives fingerprints,, but it reacts with alkalis. The reason why Drano (lye) fizzes is because they include little chunks of aluminum in the can. Ionic bleaches and saponifying surfactants (like 409) are mildly corrosive if allowed to sit there a while it'll dissolve the plating.

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

More on yellowing tires.

The yellowing that you are seeing is caused by UV (ultraviolet) light. When compounding polymeric materials, many times the compound will not add sufficient antioxidants or UV protectants to the compound. Hence, yellowing will occur over time. There are products out there (Armor All, Formula 2001, etc.) that will help keep the yellowing to a minimum that you could apply with a Q-Tip. But, like the post above, keep it off of the chrome and plastic parts.

But, most importantly, try keeping the cars out of direct or strong indirect sunlight. My displays are away from windows and northern exposures. I've never had a problem with yellowing, and some of my diecast's have been displayed for 15 years.

Still more on tire yellowing.

Toothpaste. but make sure you get all off the residue off of the tire and don't get the tooth paste on chrome or paint. If you do, simply wipe off and then polish with a very light-moist cloth until dry.

There are several different reasons why white walls turn yellow. One, if the car is placed in a sun lit area, two, the chemical structure of the paint such as in Danbury's 1934 Packard LeBaron or Franklin's Pierce Arrow changes balance through age, or three; sudden temperature changes in weather which can affect the rubber and allowing it to absorb oils in the paint, aiding it to turn it yellow. Pigment regeneration.

Most tooth pastes can counter act the chemical changes without hurting the rubber while restoring the white luster in the paint (chemical re-generation). Most likely, the paint is not turning yellow from the outside, but from within.

Submitted by William Bakaleinikoff

Yellowing tires yet another tip.

Peroxide (like for scrapes and cuts)...was used on VERY yellow tires of a Pierce Arrow and it worked great. Do NOT use alcohol, though, as it will dry out the rubber and cause cracking down the line.

A box of q-tips is also required for applying the peroxide to the yellowed tires. As the capful got dirty, it was replaced with a clean one. It took a couple of hours to remove the yellowing, but they came out great.

Keeping tires from sticking to the glass in a curio or in a plastic case.

The chemical reaction that occurs when the models tires are set on glass or wood shelves, or in their plastic cases, can easily be controlled. I now use sticky-back felt (peel-off paper backing) which is applied to the surface that the model will rest on and that stops the tire sticking problem. Any cotton material can also be used. For example, with my drag racing cars, I picked up black and white checkerboard cloth and cut it to the case size. I then sprayed the base with 3M Spray Mount and applied the cloth. Dries quickly. Both of these methods have stopped the tire sticking problem.

Submitted by Steve Massaro although he defers credit to George Bojaciuk

Black tires are turning brown can I restore them back to black?

that's just oxidation ArmorAll's ok. I use a thick silicone preparation (a commercial preparation with the consistency of syrup) Westley's Black Magic. Wipe the tires down with it and the oxidized "rubber" will be removed and the tires sealed for years.

Submitted by Richard Sufficool

Another thought on maintaining Blackwall tires.

My maroon ROLLS ROYCE tires have never given me any trouble. However my green 1953 Chevy pickup tires started turning gray. I rolled the tires off the rims and sprayed them with Wesley's bleach white and immediately dipped them in a clean pail of water. I then used a small amount of Armor All detailers advantage (a silicone spray and it is not real glossy it looks natural). The tires looked brand new and have stayed that way for four years now.

Submitted by Ronald W Jones

Create your own whitewall tires.

It's simple and reversible. I have a roll of 3M white vinyl tape (prod no.471). I put it on a glass plate and use a #11 X-acto blade clamped in the compass to cut a "life saver". If you can get the tire off, I will leave the inner rim uncut and trim it to fit the tire after I put the whitewall on. I then just use some acrylic paint to touch up the bead.

Submitted by Fred Kern

How to remove a tire from a DM Model.

see W for wheels.

Replace the whitewalls on the DM 1957 Thunderbird (Pink).

I was finally able to score a discontinued DM '57 T-Bird on eBay, at a price only slighter above the LE retail of $140.00. It was without box and papers, but included the soft top and fender skirts, and arrived in new condition. My die-cast investing strategy is beginning to feel like my stock market exploits before I lost most of my money.

I dallied mainly because of the color, and those 4" gangsta whitewalls put me off a bit also. Ditto for the seemingly undersized wheels. But in person, the Dusty Rose finish isn't so bad. It's not Mary Kay Pink, but more of a smokey shade with a tinge of violet. Not a color I would have hand selected, but nothing not to like.

The whitewalls didn't look as bad in person either, but they still bugged me enough to want to change them to a 1957-correct 2-1/4" width. They are modeled as hard plastic inserts, and detach from the soft tires with just a little prying (I used a micro chisel tip screw driver), with no need to first remove the tires or anything else, save for the rear skirts. I decided to work with these inserts, masking off the correct whitewall width, then painting out the outer portion in matt black. But how to get a sharp, concentric definition - without which you won't be happy, trust me.

I turned to my trusty Olfa compass-style Circle Cutter


and first made a .59" diameter plug from .040" styrene sheet, which fits snugly inside the whitewall insert. The plug was glued to a piece of wood, center prick up, after which the WW insert is placed around it and pressed against the wood (the contact cement residue on its back-side holding it sufficiently in place). The cutter is then set for a .78" dia. circle, and the WW insert scored about .05" deep (ten or so circles with the cutter). The score line represents the outside diameter of the new 2-1/4" WW and will help greatly in giving the sharp definition we are after.

Masking tape is then placed over the WW insert and plug (I used 3M Safe Release because it is thin), and then the tape is scored with a couple of passes of the cutter on the same setting. The outer portion of the tape is carefully removed, leaving a round mask over the portion of the insert to be left white. The mask is burnished down with the edge of a round toothpick, the portion of the insert to be painted is carefully wiped with mild solvent, then matt black Tamiya model aerosol is applied. Once the paint is set, before removing the mask, another couple of passes with the cutter are made, again to assure sharpness. Repeat four times (the spare needs the same treatment).

View Instructions

Submitted by John Luthi

Repair Tire Separation on the DM 1930 Cadillac V-16

See C for DM Cadillac for the fix.

How to add a vinyl top to your model.

The best stuff that I found for adding a vinyl roof to a model can be found in art supply stores. It is simply called black masking tape and I hear that it is used to seal around doors in dark rooms. It conforms to shape pretty well. Place the center piece, (we called that the "deck"), first and then put the sides on. Overlap the side pieces on the edges of the deck so that the tape is double thickness and that creates the seam. Most sixties cars had two seams. This stuff can be cut out a little on the large side and trimmed on the model. It is easier if you have created the edge trim molding and glued it in place first. That can be covered with Bare Metal Foil. If a piece is required under the rear window, (the belt), make that a separate piece and slightly overlap as you did for the side pieces, (see sketch below).

Repair a broken rear wheel on a DM model.

All you need is a pin-vise or something to drill small holes with, a small length of small diameter metal rod (I like to use brass because it cuts easier) and some 5 minute epoxy or the thicker gap filling super glue... First drill a hole the same diameter as the metal rod in the center of the axle that's still attached to the wheel. Drill as deep as you can (the deeper the hole, the more secure the union) but try not to drill so deep as to puncture the original hole the wheel screws into. If you do, it's not the end of the world, It'll just make it harder to remove the wheel properly by unscrewing if you ever need to...Also if the hole is not perfectly centered, that's OK, you'll adjust later but try to get it close. Next glue one end of the rod into your newly created hole. Let dry then cut the rod off leaving about 1/4" sticking out. Now, drill a hole a slightly larger diameter in the end of the axle attached to the chassis. Make sure you drill a tad deeper than what you left sticking out of the wheel. The larger diameter hole leaves you room to align the break perfectly. Once the second hole is drilled, you can glue the wheel in place. I like using the epoxy for this. It gives you more working time before it sets and it's easier to wipe away the excess glue when you press the pieces together. A little touch-up paint is all you need to finish and that might not be necessary depending on how clean the break was and how good a job was done...Let me know if this helps and if you need some exact thickness measurements that work best for me, I can get those for you also...Good luck..

Submitted by Wadus Exum

Wax or polish for sprucing up our models.

This has been discussed many times and no one seems to agree on which product or preference should be considered. There are many fine products on the market to accomplish our end result but one must be mindful that these are not real cars nor is the chrome pieces actually chrome. With this in mind certain products can actually damage our cars rather than preserving them.

Over the years, FM and DM have modified the paint formulation and some cars even had a clear coating applied. Study the surface BEFORE you make any top surface moves. You might want to try applying your wax/cleaner to the underside color or an area that has low visibility first. Therefore, if there is an adverse reaction you won't damage your entire model.

Remember to keep all cleaners and wax away from trim, decals etc. so they don't become damaged by an adverse reaction.

Products to consider are as follows:

  • The Treatment Wax: 800-747-1WAX
  • Meguiar's Detail Kit by GMP.
  • Novus #1 Gently cleans all plastics without scratching.
  • Novus #2 Removes fine scratches, haziness and abrasions from most plastics.
  • Novus #3 Removes heavy scratches and abrasions from most acrylic surfaces.
Remove a wheel from a FM model ('53 Corvette).

Please look at your models and let me know if you know how to remove the wheel/tires from the TFM 1953 Corvette (white early edition). I have tried to pop the hubcaps to get to the screws and remove the tires/wheels but no luck. Can not get the hubcaps off and I want to save the hubcap. Any insight would help.

Some FMs had a two piece wheel which is held togehter by the tire. Once off it reveals the wheel back and screw. Take your time and work slowly. Sometimes a model tool will help. If possible work from the back side of the tire. If you slip it will be less visible from behind.

Submitted by George Bojaciuk

Like George said, some of TFM's early models have a split rim that can only be removed by taking the tire off first.....the 53 Corvette is indeed one of these....to complicate things more on the Corvette you have to deal with the WWW which is glued in seperate and is made of hard plastic....this makes it a little more difficult to remove the tire but it can be done.....lastly the Corvette's wheels are not held on with screws....they have some sort of plastic pin that holds the rims on....I am not sure if this is glued in place or friction fit but either way you will probably have to break the pin to remove rims and drill them out and replace them with screws if you need to put them back on....hope this helps....

Submitted by Paul K

How to repair/remove a wobbly wheel on a DM model.

Most, but not all, DM models use a set screw to secure the wheel to the axle backing plate. On models with wheel covers carefully insert the blade of an Xacto knife between the wheel cover and the exposed rim (on models without rims insert the blade between the wheel cover and the tire). Very gently begin to pry the wheel cover from the rim or tire. Use only enough force to loosen the wheel cover. Too much force will damage the rim, the tire or the wheel cover. Once the wheel cover is removed tighten the black phillips screw holding the wheel to the axle.

Models with wire wheels: with your hands carefully peel back the tire from the wheel. Most DM wire wheels have two halves. Once the wheel is fully exposed the wire wheel will separate into two equal parts. Remove the front half and tighten the phillips set screw holding the back half of the wheel to the axle.

This should solve your wobbly wheel problem.

Submitted by Charles Tobin

My Window/Windows are all cracked what happened?

If what you see can not be felt with your fingernail and you have no other damage to the car it may be flow marks in the clear window that you just did not notice before.....it is something that happens occasionally in the molding process but is most noticable in clear.....if it is something you only see when the light hits it a certain way then that is what you have.....it should have been caught before it ever made it into the car.....

Paul Kravchak

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