Replacing, Matchbox Superfast axles

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Replacing axles on the Matchbox Superfast has been one of those things that have been left to one side as I could never find suitable replacements and no one makes them, next to replacing the whole wheel set, which I have been doing until now, there are no real options.

Most older Matchbox models before the Superfast range are easy to do and readily available but Superfast measured with my digital vernier gauge is a mere 0.57mm, a few weeks ago I had an idea and measured a standard dressmakers pin, they have a head and are 30mm long, the vernier measurement was 0.53mm, next was working out how to use them.

For this article we will be using a Matchbox Merryweather fire engine.

As you can see the axles are very bent.

Other work is required on this model but for the purpose of this article we are going to replace the axles.

This model has external axle caps fixed with plastic riveting, so if this model was in great condition other than the axles you don’t even need to remove the base plate.

By carefully drilling off the top of the rivets, the wheels and axle are easily remove along with the axle caps.

Next I check the length of the axle to cut the pins if required.

The wheels are removed from the axle by cutting the axle with a pair of side cutters.

The pins come in big or small packs, I also bought a small 1oz jewellers hammer for this task.

The wheels are slid onto the pin which has had the point cut off.

I have tried to create a flat head on the pin and have so far failed as the pin either bends or if gripped really tightly gets distorted or otherwise ruined.

So the option I succeeded with was by laying on the anvil part of my vice and flattening the end with my jewellers hammer, for a more precise flat end you can use a flat punch to spread the metal.

Keep going until the wheel will not come off the axle then you are ready to fit.

Once both are done the axle caps are pushed back on with a small amount of epoxy resin glue underneath the edges taking care not to get adhesive near the axles.

And there it is, new axles made from dressmakers pins, if I improve the way of doing this I will update here and if you know of a better way please let me know and I will share with everyone.

I now have dozens of these to do now I have found something that works, just to finish off here the wheels have long lost their chrome centre tampo so with a fine brush and care I repainted them and brightened them up once again.


  1. Liam says:

    Nice work, good thinking! Well done…

  2. James says:

    You ask for suggestions of replacing the pathetically thin axles fitted to fast wheels vehicles.
    You use a pin which is even thinner than the original!
    I go the opposite way and replace the axles with something more substantial i.e.40mm panel pins from the hardware store.
    These are very close to the standard Dinky etc axles at 1,6mm.
    I drill out the hole through the wheels to 2mm so that they will spin freely.
    Next depends on what type of finish you want – if the knob on the axle must show, you are done with the drilling.
    If you want to recess the knob, you have to very carefully ream out the outer part of the wheel to 2,5mm.
    Next cut to lenght, make new knob for other end and fit.
    (I have photographs available)

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