Monday, May 13, 2019

Diecast Car Conversion for 20mm or 1/72 Scale Wargaming

Here is another contribution from our resident modeling talent, Evil Von Scary!

Welcome gentle reader to another post from "It's 500 Miles to the German border". 

I started modifying die-cast and cheap dollar store plastic toys as stand ins for my own Twilight: 2000 campaign. We use 1/72 (20mm) models, terrain and figures sometimes to resolve combats in the rpg as a sort of rpg/table top hybrid.

Some 1/72 is either difficult to get or next to impossible or if available cost prohibitive. Die-cast is very cheap. I found out about a game called "Gaslands" that uses die-cast cars modified to look post Apocalypse in a sort of death race game versus other vehicles. I won't get into that game in this article but I do recommend that readers look into it to see if it offers anything that might be of use to your own campaigns or war-games.

I learned from a local hobby shop in discussion about using diecast is that they call it "box scale" in comparison to other model scales. Meaning being that it is whatever fits into the box. Most peg die-cast (hotwheels, maisto, etc) as being 1/64 ish scale. So I usually carry a 1/72 figure around for when I happen to look through die casts to get one that's about the right size. I will have links throughout the article to highlight or go into greater detail various aspects.

Todays project is a Hotwheels 1970 Roadrunner. 

Disassembly: drill out posts and pry it apart, lay out parts left to right.

Be sure to take pictures (especially if doing multiple vehicles), so you remember what parts go where.

Next, strip the paint from main body: I used pine-sol in a lock-tight container and dropped parts into it. I was trying to find a more "enviro" way of stripping paint. It worked but took the better part of a week to erode the paint enough.

Modifying: I made use of various parts from my parts box. I've also seen online (from Gaslands Hobbyists) people using jewelers saws, etc. to chop out parts of the die cast body. (As always, please take your time and be careful).

For this car, I added a driver, mesh for front windscreen, created extra fenders, back window armor, and added .30cal MG and pintel mount as well as some "bolt on armor" made from polystyrene and drilled (for the bolts). I then used some rigged rebar for protecting the headlights, etc.

Painting:   Where to start on the subject of painting? I have found trial and error and/or whatever works well for you is best. 

I started this project with standard flat black primer then did a dry brush white to highlight details. Then I began to think about rust, weathering and what was this cars original paint job. Most of the car and its metal parts should be rusty and NOT the same color as the cars original paint. I rusted and weather the car then splashed/blotted/dry brushed on a lighter shade of "original color" then "re-rusted" and weathered the model. 

I then went back and added ink for highlights and then finally used the original color, dry brushing ir on mostly with a few thicker strokes to give the impression of rust from underneath the paint.  I then painted the interior and the driver.

Reassembly:  I then put the model together again without the windows. It all pretty well snapped together without much trouble and voila!! I will say that looks a little more bad assed than the sissy paint job from Hot-Wheels, lol.

I hope you enjoyed the article and pics and that it inspires you to try it out for yourself. Thanks for tuning in. - Evil von Scary

The completed model-various angles


  1. Definitely got the Mad Max look....nice!

  2. Nice build, I have just started some garlands cars myself, less is more, scale guns and crazies in pickups and buggys for me.


  3. Great stuff, love these kind of conversions.

  4. Excellent, thanks for tutorial.

  5. Nice stuff, Jason. You don't even have to strip the car. Just blast over it with black paint!

    1. Not my article, Mike. Thank our contributor, Evil Von Scary!

  6. Thanks all. I strip the cars as sometimes there's details that dont show up from the original paint jobs. Plus nice to have a clean slate. Id imagine if i do a large amount in future ill try skipping that part to see how it turns out. Thanks again all. Cheers! (Revised for horrible spelling)-EvS


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