Lotus Elise- A Transition


-A Scale-Master Project-

Lotus Elise – A Transition

Author:       Mark D. Jones aka Scale-Master
Vehicles Needed:     HWs Lotus Elise

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

Rating:       Beginner/Novice
This is a 2004 HWs First Edition Lotus Elise. It is a nice casting with some well engraved details, and I am partial to little British cars. A friend requested I make a yellow roadster with it. Here is a step by step How-To of what I did.


First, the rivet was drilled out using a cordless drill with a 5/32 inch bit. You may want to put it in a vise with a rag between it and the vise jaws protect it (and you) from getting damaged. My wife trusted me enough to hold this one for the picture.


Drill down just enough to make the rivet and chassis flush.


Here are the main components that were held together with just the one rivet in the front


The body was soaked in carburetor cleaner or “parts dip” for a couple hours and thoroughly washed off with soap and water and a scrub brush. Due to the fumes, this is an “outside” job, unless you are or want to be single


The next step was to “roadsterize” it. Using my small hacksaw, I carefully sawed the roof off the tops of the A pillars. Then the roof was sawed along the engraved line at the rear of the side windows. Be careful not to saw through too fast and ding the tops of the doors.




A large flat bastard file was used to smooth the tops of the A pillars and the rear opening area.



The request also included removing the rear wing. To fill to holes for it, masking tape was applied over them. CA glue was put into the holes from the inside and allowed to dry without the use of accelerator. (Accelerator will very likely cause the CA to form bubbles like a hot batch of resin when used on a mass of glue.) Put enough in to slightly fill over the edges, but not too much, or the chassis might not fit back on without some trimming.




I let it dry overnight and there were some small bubbles on the top side. CA was used on the top to fill them, and again it was left to dry on it’s own with no help from accelerator.



The whole body was cleaned up with a jewelers file and sandpaper as well as the filled holes in the deck. Start with about 220 grit for the big casting lines and work to 400 grit. I like to use the sandpaper wet to keep the dust down and it lasts longer too. Wash the body off in water and scrub it clean with a toothbrush.


When it dried, I put a very light coat of Krylon gray primer over it, not even enough to cover. I used the gray first as it has the best properties for coverage. Two more light coats and it’s fully primed.




I let it dry for about an hour and then wet sanded it with 600 grit paper. Don’t worry about going down to the metal in places, lots of them even.


Now I used the Krylon white primer, again in very light coats. Here it is after the third thin coat, ready for color.


Testors “Colors By Boyd” Dark Yellow was airbrushed on in one coat, this color covers very well. It was allowed to dry for a couple days.


The side windows had to be removed to make the roadster appear more open. Carefully scoring along the engraved windshield/side window line with a sharp X-Acto knife, I went a little more than halfway through, then bent the window inward. I finished cutting it off, easily seeing how deep I was cutting. The other side was removed the same way of course, and the tab at the top of the windshield was cut off as shown too.




A small piece of Bare-Metal foil was applied to the remains of the tab to be a rearview mirror. The windshield frame was brush painted satin black (Testors Black Chrome Trim).



The chrome interior part was detailed some with brush painting after it was sprayed with clear semi flat mixed from Testors Dullcote and Glosscote lacquers, 50%-50%. The black and clear enamels were mixed together about 15%-20% black to about 80%-85% clear and thinned with mineral spirits to make a light wash. It was applied to the dash and front grille.Tamiya flat blue and transparent red were used on the steering wheel and engine. (All brush painting was done with the brush in the picture.)


The chassis contains the seats and fire extinguisher tank. Again, the same red and blue were used, but silver was painted first so the red would look like anodizing. Every other indentation of the 10 spoke wheels were painted with Tamiya Titanium Gold, it’s a fairly new color in their line, only a year or two old. To finish up the chassis / interior parts, the axle ends were painted transparent blue (on the left side) and transparent red (on the right side) and the driving lights were painted gloss white.




Now that the paint on the body was dry, the rear panel was masked off by pressing a piece of tape over the rear and trimming it with a knife and airbrushing it gun metal gray.


The same technique was used on the top of the car. Try to only leave the tape on as long as needed to avoid leaving imprints in the paint. If some do happen, quickly use a hair dryer to warm the body and they will “melt” away, but remember to let the car fully cool before handling or you will do even more damage to the paint as it will be soft when warm. Gun metal was also brush painted on the lower edges of the front fenders.


Black was brushed on the rear side “windows”, A pillars and across the rear roof area.


Head, parking and tail light decals from Scale-Master sheet #6201 were used.


The rims of the exhaust tips and back up lights were painted silver, the recesses in the rear, front grilles and side scoops were painted with the black / clear wash and the exhaust insides are black.



Turn signals above head lights were done by layering two decals together. Decal solvent wasn’t needed, but it did help make the head lights conform better to the compound curve of the body. When the decals had dried overnight, the body was airbrushed (I use a Paasche VL) with clear. In this case I used a two part automotive urethane. (I also use Testors Top Coat Enamel sometimes and it would have worked fine on this project too.) Here it is with the windshield installed. A very small amount of CA glue was applied to the cowl area where the glass fits. I used a new bottle of cement to reduce the chance of “fogging”. I also waxed the windshield with Pledge before attaching it for added protection against fogging.


The parts went back together easily and a drop of CA glue where I drilled out the rivet secures it. Here’s a few more pictures of the redesigned Lotus Sport Elise.






Mark D. Jones

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