Customizing and Decaling a ’50s Merc


-A Scale-Master Project-

Customizing and Decaling a ’50s Merc

Author:       Mark D. Jones. aka Scale-Master

Vehicles Needed:   Any – ’50s Merc used for example

Special Tools:   Scale-Master Decal Sheet – See bottom of page for details

Rating:   Beginner/Novice
#1- I started with a Purple ’50s Merc I had sitting around for a while.


I drilled out the rivets with a 3/16s inch drill bit in a cordless drill. The car was held in this friendly clamp for safety.


#2- Here are all the parts, same as any ’50s Merc of course.


#3- The body was soaked in the solvent tank for about 90 minutes and came out with very little paint residue.


#4- Traditional clean up of the casting lines using files was done. A rat tail file is very useful on the contours of this car.


#5- Sanding of the filed areas and an all over wire brushing get it ready for painting. I used #400 grit sandpaper.


#6- To lower the car, I sawed slots into the axle notches already molded into the interior. I used a knife to clean up the burrs left by the saw.


#7- Go slow and make sure the cuts are even from side to side. This is the rear.


#8- And this is the front, just cut down to the reinforcing rib.


#9- If you cut too deep and the won’t roll, you can shim the slots with wire or thin strips of plastic. Regardless, you will have to cut the “brakes” that are molded into the bottom of the chassis off. I clipped them and then cleaned up the edge with the knife.


#10- Test fit and adjust if necessary to make it roll and sit the way you want.


#11- Make sure it is how you want it before painting it so you don’t over handle to freshly painted body during reassembly. A thin coat of Krylon spray can Gray primer was applied and allowed to dry while I set up the airbrush to spray the gold base coat. I used an old bottle of Alclad, it is a lacquer so it dries in just a couple of minutes.


#12- I put two semi wet coats on within 5 minutes.


#13- A thorough cleaning of the airbrush was enough time for the gold to dry and the bottom portion of the Merc was sprayed with Tamiya Transparent Green following the bodies beltline.


#14- The green was allowed to dry for about fifteen minutes and the next color painted was Tamiya Transparent Yellow over the entire body. The body was set in the window in the sun to dry for about and hour.


#15- The interior was sprayed semi flat black.


#16- Then a coat of Testors Boyds Bright Pearl Green was sprayed over that and allowed to dry for an hour or so.


#17- The front bumper & grille of the chassis were masked off…


#18- …And sprayed flat black.


#19- Then the grille was detailed by brush with flat black.


#20- The interior was sprayed with Testors Dullcote to knock the shine down on the interior.


#21- Now it’s time to decal it. There is a set of flames tailored to fit the Merc on the Scale-Master Customizing Decal Sheet (#6201). Shown are my favorite tools to decal with.


#22- The Merc flame graphics are printed in red and white, but as you will see, you are not just limited to those colors…   First to be applied was the hood decal. Because of the compound curve of the front of the hood, a little decal solvent is very helpful.


#23- Wet the decal with it after you have it where you want it and give it a minute or two to soften the decal. Then carefully and lightly blot it away and position, at the same time, the decal.


#24- If it still won’t lay down, add some more solvent, give it time to work and repeat the previous step. Here it is with the side and the trunk decals applied.


#25- I let the decals dry for an hour before the next step. I went in with a paint brush and carefully painted the white part of the decals with the transparent yellow.


#26- Here it is with all the decals painted.


#27- Headlights from the sheet were applied…


#28- …as were chevron taillights


#29- After letting it dry for another 45 minutes to an hour, I shot it with a coat of Testors Clear Top Coat Enamel Gloss. The clear was left to dry for several days before reassembling the car.


Here it is about a week later all finished.






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