In response to Editor Nathan Trujillo’s request for a tech article specifically related to SUVs, we found the diecast model and some customizing accessories at Toy Castle at the Eastridge Mall in San Jose, California. Proprietor Tony Nguyen was very helpful in our efforts to find a decent diecast model and related accessories for the project. While in the store, a Lincoln Navigator diecast caught our attention. There were many other choices, like a really nice Cadillac Escalade, but it already had clear lenses, chrome engine and cool wheels, and was already lowered. So we chose the Navigator because of its stock looks, plus it will give us a chance to show you some tips on how to detail a diecast from scratch.
For accessories, we chose Hoppin’ Hydros wheels (item #550) and stereo system assortment (item #1016). The steering wheel was donated by Tony from Toy Castle. We replaced the Hoppin’ Hydros tires with those from an AMT Loony Tunes “Porky Pig” Concorde kit. License plates were cut out from a Lowrider Bicycle Magazine and the flocking material is made by Testors. We have gathered some tools and supplies that you will need for this project. You may already have most of the needed tools and/or supplies. If not, then you can find the tools/supplies that are needed at your local hobby shop.
The first step is to disassemble the SUV. Usually, this will require unscrewing the Phillips head screws. You may also need a flathead screwdriver to pry or separate any other parts. Take your time so you may remember how to reassemble the model and be careful not to break anything. The second step is to decide what you want to do to your in-scale ride. There are many endless customizing possibilities. You can repaint it, add graphics, slam it, etc. In this case, we just wanted to trick it out as much as we could, using the least amount of expense and time.
After disassembling the model, we decided to lower it. First, we began by drilling out a bigger hole in the back of the custom wheel. We used a hand drill with an 1/8-inch drill bit. Be careful not to go too far. You might go all of the way through the wheel. Next, we removed about 5/32-inch on the front axle holder pins to allow the axle to go further down. We lowered the front suspension this way to allow the steering to remain functional. We used a Dremel file attachment and a square file for this.
Now, to lower the rear suspension, we found the area where the axle needed to be adjusted. Using a square metal file, we notched an area about 3/16-inch in the bottom of the interior compartment. Next, the axle with tires was ready to be super glued to the bottom of the interior compartment. Be sure to align the wheels to the body and chassis to see how low you can go and where you will have to modify your ride.
Let’s go on to the interior. We removed all bucket seats to add seat backings. We cut four 1×1.5-inch pieces of .015-inch Evergreen styrene sheet plastic. Before gluing the backing onto the seats, remove the seat-to-floor clips. Then you can Super Glue the styrene to the back of the seats. Be sure that all corners are well glued and be careful not to get any glue on the front part of the seats. After letting the glue dry for about a minute, you can start sanding off the excess plastic. We also added a piece of round styrene tubing to the bottom of the seats. Make the tubing just a bit longer than the edge of the seat and use the tubing to glue the seats to the floor. To add any monstrous sound system you will need to remove the rear seat. We started by cutting out the seat with the Dremel tool and cutting wheel No. 409.
Note: Use extreme caution when operating a Dremel rotary tool. If you don’t use a Dremel tool, then you can use a fine cutting saw. Once you have removed the rear seat and sanded the area, cut out a piece of .015-inch Evergreen styrene sheet to fill the area. Take some measurements so that you can cut a precise piece to fit.
Here are the tools/supplies you will need to accent the interior:
* The Detailer (black color)
* Alclad II chrome paint
* Testors gloss brown
* Testors sand-colored flocking
* Ken’s Kustom Fuzzy Fur brown-colored flocking
* Bare Metal Foil – Ultra Bright Chrome
* Two different bristled brushes
To begin, start by painting small sections at a time so that your paint does not dry out. Once a small area is painted, shake some flocking over that area. Immediately press the flocking into the paint so that it sticks well, then shake off the excess back into the strainer if you can. Use a small wide-bristled brush to clean off excess flocking. Repeat the steps until you are done. We used Testors sand-colored flocking to flock the seat edges and Ken’s Kustom Fuzzy Fur brown colored flocking to flock the floor.
We added a custom steering wheel that we got from Toy Castle, installed the seats in place and glued the amps and subwoofers to the rear interior area. Remember that these are just some of the things that you can add. We used The Detailer to accent the lines in the amps and subwoofers. We also used Bare Metal Foil and Alclad II chrome paint to accent the rest of the interior. Bare Metal Foil was also added to some outside body trim. In addition, don’t forget to add Bare Metal Foil to the taillight and headlight areas on the body of the model. This will give you a more realistic effect. We used Alclad II chrome paint to paint the mirrors and some engine parts.
The last step is to reassemble the model together. Be careful and take your time. Also, keep in mind the modification that you made to help you put the model back together. One last tip: the combination of Super Glue and baking soda is an excellent way to fill holes or cracks in your bodywork. Here’s what you’ll need.
To do this, simply squeeze the Super Glue over the area you wish to fill and immediately sprinkle baking soda over the glue. Use plenty of baking soda and press it down into the glue. Repeat if necessary and then sand the area flat with a coarse sanding stick and primer the area. If some imperfections still exist, repeat the steps again until the are is perfect. Note: When using Super Glue, be careful not to breathe in and avoid contact with your skin. Also, don’t look directly over your work area as the chemical fumes will contaminate your eyes.