Hot Wheels Spectraflame Red Challenger (How To)

Spectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsThe original spectraflame color Hot Wheels are some of the most sought after for collectors. Spectraflame is the name used by Mattel for the metallic finishes sported by their original “Hot Wheels” cars in 1968 through 1972 and also on Super Treasure Hunts. The finish was not the standard paint used on normal cars, but rather a transparent lacquer applied over a polished zinc plated casting. This resulted in a surprisingly realistic metallic effect, similar to the appearance of real cars. Spectra paint is still available and can be a little costly and difficult to work with. I’ve come up with my own method for reproducing the spectraflame look cheaply and with surprisingly great results. For this demo, I’m using a Hot Wheels 2015 Dodge Challenger from the Muscle Mania series. To begin, you’ll need to drill out the rivets that connect the body to the chassis. Be careful not to drill to far into the post. Drill just enough to remove the head of the rivet. Once the head of the rivets are removed, the body should separate from the chassis with ease. Next you’ll want to separate all of the parts of the car, notice how they come a part so when it comes time to put them back together, things will be much easier. Some cars have many parts, some have just a few. Next, you’ll want to strip the paint from the body. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I use spray on paint stripper. I spray the stripper on the car, let it sit for about 2 minutes, the use compressed air to blow the paint away from the car. Easy and no mess. To make the spectraflame paint really pop, you want the body of the car to be smooth and shiny. There are a few methods for doing this, some people use automotive polishing compound, some people use steel wool and some people use jewelers rouge. On a new car, the metal is probably not oxidized, so a less intrusive method is recommended (polishing compound or jewelers rouge). On older cars, if the metal is oxidized, steel wool or rubbing compound can be used to remove as much oxidation as possible, then gone over again with polishing compound or jewelers rouge. I use jewelers rouge and a dremel with a polishing head to buff the metal. Only takes a few minutes. If the body is in very rough condition, so much so that steel wool and rubbing compound doesn’t work well, you can give the body a base coat of chrome paint before applying the spectraflame. The key to applying spectraflame paint is to do it in light coats, allowing time to dry in between coats (about 15 minutes). For this particular project, I gave the body a total of 4 coats, but you can apply as many coats necessary to achieve the look you want. I also painted the interior a satin black as the bright orange interior just didn’t look right. Once everything is dry, you can take it a step further and apply a couple coats of clear gloss if you want. I believe that not applying a high gloss gives the finished product a look closer to the originals. Now you can put everything back together and display your custom Hot Wheels. I’ll do another “how to” in the near future about securing the body back to the chassis.

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