Side Project Part 1: Hot Wheels Datsun 510 Mod


Last weekend I was at Main Event playing laser tag and ski ball for 4 hours (they still haven’t fixed their Initial D machines and they say they never will). I ended up with enough “tickets” to bring home a Hot Wheels car, so I searched through their meager selection and was pleased to find a Datsun 510 hiding behind the muscle cars and customs. Being the man-child I am, I was probably too excited. The one thing that bothered me were the ridiculous “NIGHTBURNERZ” graphics all over the car, and the hideous wheels. I decided to see if I could do better.





The first thing you need to do when taking apart a Hot Wheels car is throw it against the wall as hard as you can get rid of the rivet(s) that hold the metal body onto the plastic chassis. This is easy if you have a Dremel, if not just grab a power drill and an appropriately sized bit and go to town. After you’re done it will look like this:


If you can’t separate the pieces by grabbing the rear wheels and the body and pulling them apart, get a flathead jeweler’s screwdriver and pry them at a seam.


The glass should be separate and easy to pull off.


This specific model has a roll cage, and even cooler – it flips up and away from the interior to make painting them different colors very easy.


After you’ve got them apart the obvious first step is stripping the paint off of the metal body. I used acetone because it’s all I had handy, and it took a lot of soaking, rubbing and scraping to get to this point:



Still showing some of the original paint around the cracks and corners. I’d recommend using something a little more hard core and letting the chemicals do the work.

The plastic lower piece lends itself to creativity if you still have that Dremel lying around. Here’s a teaser for part 2:


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1 Comment

  1. Hi! Just started to collect HW last year, and now I wanna learn how to custom, these are great advices!


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