Repurposing some pretty awful model cars
Got any Indycar and F1 Christmas ornaments on your tree? Probably not.
If you’ve been collecting model cars since time began, you may have some of the early Onyx Indy 500 and F1 models. On the collector market, these models are nearly worthless. Any single seater model from Minichamps or Spark are lightyears better than those from Onyx. But when the Onyx models came out in the late 80s/early 90s, they were pure gold.
The 1/43 scale collector model car industry was in its infancy and the Onyx models were just dressed up toys. The models lacked any detail that would characterize them as “replicas”. Sure the paint was almost right and the decals were pretty close, but that was about it really.
The Christmas quandary
So you say you are a devoted Indycar or F1 fan and would love to decorate your Christmas tree with something racing. Anything other than a Santa-driving open wheel thing.
Where are those worthless Onyx models again?
Bring on the Indycar and F1 Christmas Ornaments
You’ll need a few easily found things in order to create these gems.
- A few old 1/43 Onyx Indy and/or F1 models.
- A power drill with sharp 1/16″ and 11/16″ drill bits.
- Eye protection.
- Some spray glue. I highly recommend Mod Podge ultra. It’s non-toxic, has no odor and doesn’t create a toxic mess. Mod Podge also serves as a sealant for the…
- Fine glitter. See if you can get a variety pack of small glitter containers with the appropriate holiday colors. The ones I obtained have salt shaker tops so the glitter ends up where you want it. The glue and glitter are easy to find at craft stores
- Christmas tree hooks.
- Newspaper or unprinted newsprint. You’ll be spraying glue and making a decent mess. Cover your work surface with paper. When finished, fold up the paper to prevent glitter going everywhere. If you soak through the paper, check to make sure it hasn’t glued itself to your work surface.
- I suggest disposable gloves when spraying the glue. The glue makes your fingers quite sticky…. and then glittery.
Let’s get to work!
First, you’ll need to drill out the two rivets holding the chassis to the body. Use the 11/16″ drill bit to drill out the peened-over part of the rivet. Drill pretty slowly so that you don’t hurl metal shards in the air. WEAR EYE PROTECTION! Metal bits may also fall onto your hands so a glove will prevent you from later rubbing bits of metal into an eye or two.
When you have drilled out the rivets, carefully pry the chassis away from the body. I found an eyeglass screwdriver handy for this.
We’ll use the body and any wings to glitter-up, so you can put the other parts aside. Remember how it all came apart so reassembly will be easy. If the Indycars have aero wheel covers, you can pry them off with a fingernail and paint them another color if you like.
Using the 1/16″ drill bit, drill a hole horizontally right through the back to the front of the roll hoop for the hook to go through.
Cover your work surface with paper. I balled up some masking tape to put inside the body shell to keep it from sticking to the paper. I used more masking tape to secure the wings to the work surface. For ease of working, I mounted each model on some scrap foamcore board. You can use some scrap cardboard for the same purpose. If you are using different color glitters, you don’t want the models too physically close while dropping the glitter on.
Don’t worry about the decals or paintwork. The glitter will totally cover all of it. Nice!
Begin by dousing the pieces with spray glue. Neatness does not count here. Lay on the glue to low puddle height on every surface you want to glitter. You really don’t have to do the bottoms as nobody will notice the bottoms when on the tree.
While the glue is very wet, drop glitter on the pieces everywhere appropriate. Don’t spare the stuff either. When satisfied, leave the cars to dry for about an hour.
If you missed any spots, spray on some more glue and recoat with glitter.
When that is dry, spray every glitter-covered model surface with the spray glue. This seals in the glitter and prevents you and your home from looking like it belongs to Elton John.
Let everything dry for about 2 hours. When dry, reassemble the model using epoxy or superglue to secure it all together.
Pop a hook into the hole in the rollhoop. You’re now ready to hang your beautiful and joyous Indycar and F1 Christmas ornaments on that huge tree in your living room.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday.
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