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Modelling Hot Wheels For Car Wars
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What follows is my conversion of 8 Mini-Cooper cars from the Hot Wheels toy line.

This made my life a lot easier. By sheer luck I picked a car that could be easily taken apart with this nifty little latch.

Once the latch was released, the body could be tilted forward and removed from the chassis.

With the body separate, I could remove the plastic windows carefully for painting separately.

The various pieces of a dismantled Mini-Cooper.

The Chaos of my work area. I was working on my Tyranid army at the same time, so it was a lot more cluttered than usual.

I simply painted black paint over the parts of the window that would be visible when it was put back in the body.

Now came the question of how to make the gun barrels. I had already established the technique of pinning models, using paper clips for reinforcement and I wanted to take advantage of that. I also wanted the gun barrels flush, so it was critical that the pins be normal to the surface. So I decided to approach it form the other side. I would glue the pins into the barrels and then affix them to the car. This would insure the barrels were flush with the surface.

I would also take care of painting them before mounting them, another good reason to mount them on pins.

I used a 0.035" drill bit in a pin vise to make the holes for the paper clips.

This 3/32" tube has an inner diameter just slightly larger than the outer diameter of a paper clip, which makes it a convenient choice. It's also the smallest I could find and looked to me to be about the right size for a gun barrel on a car.

The cutting tool shown is the Chopper, a very simple buy highly useful cutting tool. I set the length to 3/8" and chopped away.

Once I had cut pieces of styrene, I took reasonably long paper clip segment, say 1.5" or more, and glued a piece of styrene to it with cyanoacrylate glue (a.k.a. Superglue).

I then mounted the pins into a piece of cork which was affixed to a metal washer. These were then placed no a mount consisting of a piece of wood with magnetic strips on top and wrapped in newspaper. This allowed me to spray paint multiples easily and spray at various angles without fear of dropping pieces. I simply sprayed on black primer and left it at that.

After the paint had dried, I clipped the pins short, leaving 1/8" to 1/4" of pin to insert into the car.

I then added a dab of cyanoacrylate glue and affixed the barrels to the car.

Here are all of the bodies, painted with their basecoats. Note the black car has barrels at this stage.

I applied Future floor finish to the surface to shine it up. In this picture, the Future is still wet.

And the final collection of Combat Coopers provided by Pagoda Motors for Amateur Night!