Diecast Restoration

There are many people that just collect diecast and probably just as many that like to rebuild, customize or renovate them too, I fall into both categories and love collecting and renovating old diecast models especially one’s that seemed destined for the scrap bin, this section will show how to strip down and refinish some of  the diecast cars and trucks I collect as well as sell.

To me, restoration is not always restoring to original specification as tooling used on the toys and models are very rarely available, but getting near to the original is better than not at all.

In some cases you need to be inventive and creative to make parts or see uses in other materials to finish your project, such is the case with most renovations I do, besides it’s for me not a purest collector.

Matchbox replacement parts, along with Dinky and Corgi are quite easy to get hold of other makes can be a bit more tricky to track down.

There is a difference of opinion in the collectors world about restoring or altering any diecast model, some like the idea that another old car or truck has been saved, others disagree with the practice and think that no matter how bad it looks it is at least original.

Since the 70′s I have been building models and model kits and most of the time found it hard to make a model as it was intended and always ended up creating a custom model or tweaking it in some way.

During the late 70′s my focus moved to real cars and motorbikes and had the same attitude towards them building customs and improving them.

The modeling bug never went away and since the early days have still found time to either collect models or rebuild them albeit not that often.

The idea behind this section is to show anyone can restore diecast models, with a little patience and knowhow and some basic equipment you too can bring life back to a worn or damaged car or truck in any scale.

Matching paint to original spec can be a challenge and would of loved to of seen the paint shop at Matchbox as the colour range was awesome even now I have hundreds of spray cans, air brush paints and Humbrols and still find I don’t have the colours I need.

A lot of people I speak to are afraid of messing it up if they attempt it, well I will let you into a secret, I have messed up many times but as I have always said you don’t learn anything by not doing it, there is an old saying we used in the workshop,A man that has never made a mistake, has never made anything” so I would suggest starting with models that either are past their best and if worst comes to the worst it can be thrown away and put down to experience or as with paint jobs can be re-stripped and started again.

The links below will lead to projects I am doing or have completed, most with useful information on restoring, so do feel free to ask questions as the more you know, the more chance you have of success.

Diecast Restoration basic tools and equipment

Matchbox Lotus Europa born again

Bedford TK conversion

Recent restorations & conversions

Audi Quattro renovation

Commer ice cream van restoration

For more radical custom builds, Click Here

Aston Martin DB7 refurbishment

Quick Fix #1

Corgi Toys axle removal

Replacing Matchbox Superfast axles

Corgi Mercedes 600 Pullman refurbishment

Removing Chrome from plastic parts

Quick Fix #2

Quick Fix #3

Matchbox MG 1100 restoration

Budgie, Motorway coach restoration

Bburago, Prima Giugiaro, restoration

Corgi, Rover SD1 restoration

Merlin A100 diecast jeep restoration

Tri-ang, Spot-On, fiat Multipla restoration

Franklin Mint 1930 Duesenberg  J Derham Tourster custon repaint


  1. John Mitchell says:

    Hello from Somerset . I have collected Diecast models for some years & now would like to start reconditioning mainly commercial vehicle models . I am looking for a one stop website to supply my needs . My main passion is for Corgi vehicles in Guinness livery . My first attempt at repairing is on a Corgi Junior, Ford Transcontinental Guinness tanker which is play worn . Is there a basic starter pack for tools ? Rivits , cab windows , paint & transfers/decals etc will be needed . Any help & advice you could offer would be very welcome .
    John Mitchell

  2. Peter says:

    Hi John,
    We will be providing a reproduction parts service soon, depending on what you need, as for tools firstly a good drill or drill stand for drilling out the rivets, larger scale rivets are easy to get but as for the smaller scales like Corgi juniors most people either make them, use screws from old cassette tapes or use a spot of glue such as araldite.

    Painting can be done with spray cans but if your doing a lot of detail an airbrush is the way to go.

    Decals I can get made to any specification

    In the first instance, and if you don’t already, join one of the Diecast forums, one I would highly recommend is http://diecastrescue.myfreeforum.org/index.php, there are alot of knowledgable people there to you can ask questions.


  3. John Mitchell says:

    Hello Peter . Many thanks for your Email & advise . If I supply the measurements , could you supply the Guinness decals which I will need for two models ? Also , what method of payment you prefer e.g. PayPal or cheque .

    • Peter says:

      John, i will sent you an email to reply to rather than do it on the comment section :)

  4. John Mitchell says:

    Hello Peter . Sorry to take so long getting back to you . For some reason I can’t click onto your Email in order to reply to you . I joined the Diecast Restoration website you suggested but again ,get problems replying . My computor skills are limited , but I plod on as best I can . Many thanks for your advise & support .

  5. Peter says:

    Hi John I have just sent you my personal email, hopefully will be easier for you.
    If you have trouble just post here again as to sizes and type of decals and will reply to you via email, if you have something in mind style wise let me have a picture or I will research it for you and send you some samples.

  6. Bob Papworth says:

    Hello. I am hoping you can help me. My wife brought me a very nice diecast model of a James Bond Aston Martin, finished in gold plate. Its a nice piece and I think she paid about £200 for it. My grandson, bless his heart, played with the car and broke one of the front wheels off. I have collected all the parts which consist of the wheel still on its axle, a 15mm steel rod, on which the wheel turns and two small springs. The brake is really just one piece of plastic, which I have. A proper repair is way beyond me – it needs someone with steady hands and good eyesight. Is this the sort of thing that you can repair. If necessary I can post it to you for you to assess properly. I’m hoping it wont cost too much, but its a favoured item which I would like to keep or return into good order. I look forward to your reply. Regards Bob Papworth

    • Peter says:

      Hi Bob, it is hard to say it can be repaired without seeing it or knowing the model in question, but will gladly take a look if you want to send it to me, if you like I will reply to your message via the email you left and give you my contact details.


  7. monty williams says:

    I have a few diecast models i would like restored I can also supply photographs that they should look like regards monty

  8. sujan dias says:

    hi – i have a few models of yesteryear- matchbox- which need restoration. They are classic cars, and to be be specific, they have no boxes, some have the paint scratched, wheels missing, slight bruises to bodywork etc..

    How could you assist me

    • Peter says:

      Hi Sujan, the paint can be done and wheels are easy to come by, other damage like broken headlights etc is a bit harder as parts are not readily available.

      I can possibly get boxes made for you but I don’t do them.

      You could sent pictures to info@essexmodelsandminiatures.co.uk if you want more information

  9. steve ellis says:

    hi first thing is do you repair die cast cars ??
    i have an aston martin db5 bond car from the film goldfinger
    and the front wheels have come off
    have all the parts but not the right tools to put it back together
    can you and would you repair this for me ??
    steve ellis

    • Peter says:

      Hi Steve, yes I can do it for you, but at the moment there is a long waiting time due to the amount of work I have.
      You can get in touch with me via the contact form where I can send you my phone numbers so we can talk further.

  10. steve ellis says:

    hello mate
    cannot find your phone number in my e.mails
    sorry but can you please send again

  11. Damon says:

    Hey mate just started doing Corgi model cars and have stripped a couple down but how do I re rivet the castings together again. Can I solder them you think. Thanx mate

    • Peter says:

      You can’t solder diecast, but you can buy rivet replacements on Ebay but it does mean drilling a hole carefully down the middle of the rivet post, or you can do what I do a lot, and use a strong adhesive like Araldite rapid and put a spot on where the old rivets were this does hold well, see my articles on repair and renovation links at the top of this website.

  12. Steve says:


    Can I buy some rivets from you – I need them for restoring matchbox superfast cars- if I could get a selection of sizes, (if there are any), that would be great

    Cheers Steve

    • Peter says:

      Hi Steve, it’s not something I keep, in fact I have found it difficult to find anything suitable, they do exist but I tend to use either small screws from something like an old cassette tape or use a spot of epoxy resin adhesive (see renovation pages)


  13. Geoff conway says:

    How do I dismantle a scania Oxford Diecast coach

    • Peter says:

      Oxford diecast and Vanguards I personally have never restored or dismantled, so can’t comment, sorry

  14. les page says:

    Hi Im looking for wing mirrors for a Franklin Mint 1:24 1967 mini cooper, any suggestions, regards.

    • Peter says:

      Parts for Franklin Mint models are hard to obtain, unless Franklin Mint keep parts which is doubtful, you will need to look for a cheap scrap model or a similar model in 1:24

  15. John Stasiak says:

    Years ago I worked for a place that sold Franklin Mints, we had got a Eldorado Brougham that had a missing headlight, so we contacted our distributor and they sent us a new car. We said no, all we needed was a headlight. They said that any damaged cars get tossed and they didn’t have any parts. Kind of amazing that that’s what they did with damaged cars.

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