by Bob Ward
Modern slot cars from manufacturers such as Scalextric, Fly, Slot It, Carrera, and others are made in factories that use very high-quality industrial processes and materials to produce a level of fit and finish very few hobbyists working at home can even come close to. Fortunately, many cars have been produced in a large number of liveries that include the favorites of most hobbyists. Still, there often seems to be that one livery you saw at Watkins Glen years ago and thought was really cool but hasn’t been put on a factory slot car model yet and is obscure enough that it likely won’t be. And, of course, there are those phantom liveries that never existed but should have and those fantasy liveries straight from your fertile imagination. If you want those you will have to create them yourself.
I’ve had many such ideas, more than I will ever get around to doing. Here are some of the ones I have managed to do, presented here in the hope they may inspire you to try repaints of your own. These are cars that are just repaints. My scratchbuilds and kitbashes are featured elsewhere on this web site.
“Sunday Driver” 1969 Camaro
Racer and journalist Brock Yates has had a lifetime of racing adventures, including a stint racing in the TransAm series in the early 1970s. This is a model of one of the cars he drove. It started out as an all-white Scalextric 1969 Camaro. The repaint consists of a couple of coats of orange paint, a set of decals printed for me on an ALPS printer, a few coats of clear gloss, and painting the cockpit/roll bar assembly grey. It’s easily a one-weekend project. And you won’t see Scalextric do an RTR car of it because they don’t do beer cars. This car shows that even a simple single-color paint job can look attractive with the use of the right decals.
Because parts of the body are incorporated into the chassis I had to mask off those areas and paint them in body color. Before the orange paint went on I sprayed these parts of the chassis with flat white primer.
When using decals made on a computer printer you should always test a scrap piece of the decal with the clear coat you are going to use. Some clear coats do not always agree with some decal inks or papers. I have had good luck with Testor Glosscote sprayed with an airbrush, but there are many other clear finishes available, including spray-can acrylics that can give you a nice, glossy finish in just a couple of coats. You just have to be sure the one you are using won’t attack your decals. One I have used very successfully on computer-printed decals is Krylon #1303 Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating. I also have used it as the overall clear coating on my car bodies with excellent results.
Camaro #16 red
This is about as basic as a repaint can be. I didn’t even paint the cockpit. I did this for a beginning racer who wanted a car that looked different from all the factory RTRs. It’s just a coat of red paint and miscellaneous decals from my decal box. As with the #42 Camaro I had to mask off, prime, and paint the front and rear parts of the chassis in body color to complete the paint job. The Perfect Circle sponsor decals are peel-and-sticks from an RC car sheet. If you look closely you can see that this photo was taken after the car had been raced a time or two.
Camaro #22 black
Here’s another simple paint job. This time I painted the wheels and the lower front and rear of the body in bright yellow to contrast with the overall glossy black body color and added red numbers on yellow roundels and a large Pennzoil decal for further visual impact. The car looks quite striking on the track.
Mustang #50 purple
Here’s another quick and easy one-color-plus-decals effort, but I like it for the way the gold Motorcraft decals and gold-painted wheels work so well with the primary color. The female slot car hobbyist I painted it for loves it. One nice thing about slot cars that are not models of 1:1 scale cars is that you can choose decals and graphics to coordinate with the main color of the car without historic reality getting in the way.
Mustang #77 yellow
This is one of the first cars on which I used homemade computer-printed decals. The TropiKai Resorts logo and GT1 lettering are from the first sheet of decals I printed out myself.
Note the driver’s helmet painted to match the car and the wheels painted aluminum to get rid of Scalextric’s original chrome finish which just doesn’t look right on a race car. Little touches like this add a lot to the look of even the simplest repaint. One of these days I’m going to go back and repaint the chrome wheels on all my cars that have them. I’ll also go back and paint the driver’s firesuit on this Mustang.
Fly Lola T70 #28 yellow
I got this car, along with another Fly Lola T70, in rather rough shape. It had been painted more than once and the paint on it was at least a scale inch or two thick. I had to strip off the old paint using alcohol before I could start on repainting it. The headlights were so far gone with glue all over them I just painted them over in silver. That works because this is supposed to be an SCCA car that doesn’t race at night.
This is another one-color paint job with all the markings and graphics done with decals. For this project all the decals except the Tamiya logos and ASR lettering are from a Pioneer Mustang kit decal sheet. It took quite a bit of cutting and fitting to get the stripes to go over the contours of the roof and nose but the results are worth it. I also spent some time repainting the driver to match the car. It shows up well on the track and looks as if it could have been a real race car back in the day.
Scalextric “IRL” Car
Well, as you can see, I like yellow cars. I think it’s because they show up on the track.
I believe this is my very first Scalextric car repaint. It’s from 1998 so if it isn’t the first it’s close to it. This car really isn’t just a repaint. It has a resin body shell made to convert the early Scalextric Champ Cars to something resembling the configuration of the first IRL cars. The main difference is the air scoop above and behind the driver. I include it here, however, because it’s an excellent example of using peel-and-stick decals from 1/24 scale slot car and 1/12 scale RC car decal sheets to detail a 1/32 scale slot car. That’s where all or nearly all the decals on this car came from. RC car decal sheets often include a lot of decals for secondary or contingency sponsors that are just the right size to be main sponsor decals on a 1/32 scale car. In the same way many of the sponsor and number decals on a 1/24 scale sheet can be used on 1/32 scale cars. They are just bigger decals on the smaller cars. On this car there are 4 different sizes of Pennzoil decals from various 1/24 and RC decal sheets.
Many people find peel-and-stick decals easier to work with than waterslide decals. Of course, the peel-and-sticks are thicker than waterslides decals so it’s harder to make the decal film disappear into the clear coat, but with enough coats of clear it can be done, and I have yet to find a clear coat that will damage them. (If you have, let me know and I’ll add the information to this article.)
Mustang #41 orange/red/blue
Now we get into something a little more complicated. This one has 3 paint colors and involved quite a bit of masking.
In the photo above it looks like there are 4 colors but there really are only 3. After priming all the areas to be painted in flat white I airbrushed the whole body in orange. When the orange paint was completely dry I masked off all the parts of the body that were to remain orange. I was than able cover the areas to be painted blue and paint the red areas. When the red was dry I covered the red areas, uncovered the blue areas, and painted them. Finally, I removed all the masking, leaving the car with its 3-color paint design, ready for clear coating, decals, and more clear coating.
For masking I use 3M blue masking tape, available in almost any home improvement store. Always use a sharp hobby knife to cut a new edge in your masking tape before using it.
One thing I like about Scalextric and Pioneer TransAm cars is that the chrome trim around the widows is tampo-printed onto the window glass instead of being part of the body. That makes repaints a lot easier and quicker.
Warren Tope Mustang #70
Not all my repaints are fantasy liveries. This one is the car Warren Tope drove to the SCCA A-Sedan National Championship in 1971. This is not Scalextric’s model of the car. I painted this one before their model was produced.
At the time the car’s owner lived only about an hour from me so I was able to go to his shop and take many photos of every detail of the car. I sent the photos to a gentleman in Canada who made the decals for me. Unfortunately, he is no longer in the decal-making business.
A couple of repaints from waaaaay back…
This is a Fly Porsche GT1-98 I repainted in around 2000 or 2001. The Qantas decals came from a decal sheet for an airliner model. There are decals available for many different airlines and as you can see they can be made to fit quite nicely on a 1/32 scale race car. There are many web sites selling decals for airliners. Just do a web search under “model airliner decals”.
This one is a Fly Joest Porsche, also from 2000-01, painted solid white with decals adapted from a Tamiya 1/24 scale Porsche 935 kit. With a little cutting and rearranging I was able to piece together graphics that easily could have been seen on a 1:1 scale Joest Porsche.
For now, these are my only cars I still have or have photos of that are just repaints. I have many more that are kitbashes or scratchbuilds. You will see them in other articles on the VLH web site. If you have any questions about painting, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer them.
Copyright ©2005, 2014 Robert M. Ward. All rights reserved.