MINICARS: A Tungsten Trio of Skylines

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 2085

JNC contributor Mark “ScaleMaster” Jones has created some amazing Hot Wheels cars with the liveries we wish they came with. But not everyone has the wherewithal to go to that level of detail. So I asked Mark to make a simple tutorial where all you need is mostly paint and a bit of elbow grease. Enjoy — Ricky

This set of three Hot Wheels Skylines will be re-done in an established classic scheme. You can follow along and make your own if you wish, as the steps to make these simple repainted customs will be explained and illustrated with photos. Perfect for a (I hesitate to use the term “toy”) car you might have sitting on a shelf that you desire a little more personality from. 

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 101

Here are the cars, a hakosuka Skyline, kenmeri Skyline and Laurel-inspired Mad Manga.

The first step is to drill the rivets out and disassemble the parts and strip the paint and tampos off the bodies. (See earlier JNC BRE Datsun article for details on drilling apart and stripping Hot Wheels.)

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Here are the bodies after having all the paint stripped off.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 103

A little bit primer should be applied. It really helps with paint adhesion to the metal, and it helps show minor imperfections so they can be addressed before committing the casting to paint. I used Krylon Gray Sandable spray primer. This shows how light the first coat was applied. Some metal still shows through.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 104

There was a blemish on the right door of the Hakosuka Skyline that the first coat of primer highlighted. A little sanding with some 400 grit sandpaper smoothed it out.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 105

After the first coat dried, (about 15-20 minutes), the second light coat of primer was applied, this coat provided full coverage and was allowed to dry for a full hour (minimum). Note: To hold the bodies while painting, I use hemostats.

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The Mad Manga and hakosuka both had 5 spoke wheels. To keep continuity, another set of 5 spokes were swapped onto the kenmeri (They came from an AE86). With the plastic chassis it’s easy to pry up the three tabs that hold the axles in place in order to remove the old wheels. I use a modified dental pick for this task, but a small flat jeweler’s or eye glass screwdriver works well too.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 107

While our resident guru Ricky Silverio planned the paint scheme, I chose the specific color to meet his vision: Mazda Tungsten Gray (at least I think is the name; it only has the code P2 on the cap). It’s available in a spray can, but I prefer to airbrush it from the brush-in-cap touch-up bottles. It must be thinned with equal parts lacquer thinner and paint, otherwise it will cobweb when sprayed. The exact ratio of thinner to paint varies on things like air pressure and personal spraying preferences.

I shot two moderately light coats allowing about 5 minute’s flash time between. Do not spray this paint too wet or the metallic particles will not lie down uniformly. It dries quickly; I was able to safely handle them (lightly) one hour after application. Here they are only about an hour after being painted.

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The gloss black for the fender flares was freehand brush painted with Testors Classic Black enamel.

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I let the fenders dry so the cars were easier to handle without worry of smudging the black paint. The enamel dries slowly, so I waited 24 hours, then painted the spoilers and a couple other details. Once that paint is dry, I’ll paint again with the same black.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 110

More black has been applied to the window frames. It may seem like it takes longer to incrementally paint the trim this way, but in reality less time is spent painting, and even less time touching up. While it does slow the overall completion time, it makes it easier to get cleaner results.

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While the trim was drying I turned my attention to the chassis and interiors. The hakosuka chassis (left) just needed to have the front spoiler painted gloss black.

The kenmeri chassis (center) has the spoiler, valances and bumpers molded onto it. The valances were brush painted with the Tungsten Gray body color. It took three coats to build up and each coat was allowed to dry for a few hours. The bumpers were done with same gloss black enamel, also by brush. The lights in the front bumper were painted white and amber. The front spoiler still needs to be painted black in this photo.

The Mad Manga interior (right) is molded to part of the body and is made of a softer plastic. A light coat of primer (same as used on the metal bodies) was applied and then a few light coats of enamel black (same as the window trim) were sprayed. Once the black dried, I shot a coat of two-part automotive urethane clear gloss on the parts that will be visible on the exterior.

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I also painted the reflectors and license plate white on the C110 chassis. The reflectors will get some color later with Tamiya Transparent Orange.

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The exterior portions of the interior parts were masked off before being sprayed red. The tail pipes on the Manga will also be red.

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I used Testors Italian Red for the interiors. I built it up in three light coats using an airbrush and then sprayed a coat of Testors Dullcote lacquer to knock down the sheen.

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The dash pads and package trays were brush painted with Tamiya flat black acrylic. The steering wheels were given a little attention with gray for the face, black for the spokes, red for the grip, and a little yellow centering mark.

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This is the chassis for the Mad Manga. I hand painted the wheels gloss black and the ends of the axles flat red. All three cars had the wheels painted this way.

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Once the black accents/trim paint was done, I clear coated them with a two part automotive urethane.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 118

The kenmeri front bumper area of the chassis requires a bit more attention than the same area of the other cars. Here it is, finally done and also clear coated like the main bodies.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 119

The wheels for the Hakosuka and Kenmeri were reinstalled into the chassis and all three cars were given a set of Dunlop tire decals. Once the decals were dry, the tires were brush painted with Testors Dullcote.

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After a few other details were painted — like the kenmeri’s grille and lights, the hakosuka’s grille and oil cooler, and the Mad Manga’s rear panel, taillights, headlights and oil cooler — the three cars were reassembled.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 121

The kenmeri received some extra detail work on the taillights and rear panel badging. The hakosuka also got some decal taillights. The taillights on the Manga are just Tamiya Transparent Red over silver.

ScaleMaster Custom Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline 2088

A little more detailing was done after final assembly. The kenmeri got a license plate and a JNC inkan was applied to each of the rear windows. Hopefully this quick and relatively easy tutorial will remove some of the hurdles for those wanting to get into this hobby. Check out the gallery below for detail shots of the finished cars.

This post is filed under: minicars, nissan.

7 Responses to MINICARS: A Tungsten Trio of Skylines

  1. Clovis says:

    Congratulations for this tutorial, very much appreciate seeing custom miniatures, and how-to tips. The most interesting and cool were the JNC stickers on the rear window, valued miniatures.
    I’m from Brazil, and I love classic Japanese cars. Here in Brazil is not these models, especially the 60, 70 and 80, just starting 90s when they were imported.

  2. acbpanda says:

    Stunning work! Great job, makes my Red Mad Manga look like kids toy. HAHAHAHA

  3. Ben says:

    Thanks for the story, Mark. Truly astounding work, as always!

  4. Nigel says:

    Need to finish some of my 1/24 projects. (To make room on the bench).
    Great story.

  5. Howard says:

    Great article. Just a small detail, but the color is probably titanium grey.

    • Scale-Master says:

      But the color is Mazda (6) Tungsten Gray according to the paint provider. I verified this after I wrote the article.

  6. Brian says:

    Wow, thats pretty insane. I like it.

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