“How To” Project- The Making of the Merc Phaeton


 -“How-To” Project-

The Making of the Merc Phaeton

G’Day all..DU here from Down Under In Oz Land.

I would like to take you through the process of Customizing one of my favourite castings “The Passion”…Now this may not be the correct way, but it’s the way I do it.

First off I must say that SAFETY is a main factor in customizing, always wear a mask when spraying and “CUT” away from your body. Common sense is all you need really.


First off I took the new Passion and removed it from the blister very carefully, so I can put it back later.


This is a special tool that a friend gave me to place the car in to hold it (and not stab myself) while I drill out the rivets.


After taking the car apart, I placed all the parts in a container so as not to lose them.


Now out comes the Dremel and off comes the roof and the rear fins, grinding them down as far as I can, making it easier to file later on.


Using a small soft sanding disc, I smoothed off all the ridges left from the moulding process.


A coarse file was now used to file down the rear end to the angle I wanted.


I then take the car and coat it in paint stripper, any normal paint stripper will work, (from your local hardware store) Let it sit for 5 minutes and then scrub with an old toothbrush under the garden hose and wash it off thoroughly. Take some 800 grade wet and dry sandpaper and sand the car down to somewhat of a shine.


As I wanted to make this into a 2 seater, I used some plastic sheet styrene cut to size to fill in the rear seats. This wasn’t too difficult to do as all I had to do was cut away some of the rear seat edges, to rest the styrene on, and then super glued it in place.


Now as I wanted to get this as low as possible, a bit of work had to be done to the chassis and the axle supports, as you can see in the pics. I smoothed off the gas tank, so it wouldn’t show and cut away some of the chassis where the wheels go, this is to get the wheels further inside the body. When they were test fitted, I found that the axles stuck out further than the wheels, so I had to cut one end off the axle and shorten it a Tad and then glue the wheels in place. I glue all my wheels, as I don’t want the car rolling off the desk and causing damage. I then cut further up where the axles sit, this makes the car sit a lot lower. Sometimes you have to grind out some of the wheel wells, to get it to sit really low.


To fill in the gap in the rear, I filled it with Car Bog (Bondo) and also spread some on where there were major defects and let it dry for 20 minutes. Using 200 grade sandpaper and a coarse file, I smoothed it all out just short of where I wanted it and then I sanded it again with 800 grade to a smooth finish.


Now I coated it in Tamiya Body Putty and smoothed it out by dipping my finger in Thinners and rubing it over the putty. This really smooths it out great and cuts down on the sanding time.


After the putty is dry I sanded it all out with 1200 grade wet and dry. I did a test fit to see how it all looked, but didn’t like the gold 5 spokes so I opted for some white walls from a donor car. Putting it all together and checking that it was low enough. I decided that it was ready to add the primer. when done I check to see that there are no imperfections etc, If there is .. my solution is to spray on a coat of Spray Putty and then sand with 1500 or 2000 grade sandpaper.


As there were no defects (this time) I gave it a heavy coat of white primer, wait 5 minutes then give it one more coat, sprayed from a distance…to make the surface feel quite rough, this helps the top coat stick a lot better.


When the undercoat was dry (10 minutes) I then gave it a Light coat of the main color, checked it over and then if all was ok, gave it one heavy coat. I can do this because the paint I use is Base Tinter that all colors come from AND this dries in 10 minutes! and does not need a lot of coats. It dries to a semi-gloss finish, which is easier to handle and there is no need to put in a drier etc.




The color used here is a Mazda Green, thinned to a ratio of 60/40 (60%Thinner 40% paint) Now is the time I sit for hours, working out whether to add flames, scallops, 2 tone etc etc, So after a long think (35 seconds) I decided on pink scallops from a 1/24 scale 49 Mercury kitset. These were cut and placed on the car and left to dry overnight. The next step was Clearcoating. For this I use 2 Pack 3:1 mix A light tacky coat was first applied, then after a few minutes, another coat added. This was touch dry in 10 minutes, so a Final Heavy coat was sprayed on and left in the Sun (covered with a clear container of course)

This 2 pack is a wonderful clear as it dries Hard overnight and can be then polished. The next day I polished it with “Final Treatment” model car polish. The interior was painted satin white and the seats were given a coat of a lighter mix of the body color.

The car was the assembled and all details added. And that’s it! Finished…

Keep on Kustomizing,

Your Friend DU (Gary Ritchie)  –  His memory lives on!

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