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Final Shot Repaired Tyco Bandit Bumper 2

Quick & Easy Toy RC Bumper Repair

Last year I bought a 1992 Tyco Bandit, and it’s a great car except for one problem – it has a 1990’s era repair of a snapped bumper, which quickly came off due to the nature of that terrible caramel colored glue used back then, which has the consistency of chewing gum and has never successfully glued down anything that isn’t already held down by earth’s gravity. It’s more of a persuader than a glue as such.

Do Not Use This Glue Ever Contact Cement

Yes! This is the stuff! Nasty. The kind of thing you might use for gluing the sole of your shoe back on , or sticking down some Lino (Linoleum?) to your kitchen floor in the 80s…

But on a plastic toy? NO! Never!

So I kept it on my shelf, with the bumper attached with some Blu-Tak… which isn’t half obvious…

The bumper

I started with a nice sharp knife (X-Acto/Razor), scraping and cutting bits off, with the occasional entire section of glue just lifting off in one piece. And I only cut myself badly once! You know when you cut yourself, but you don’t notice until you see the blood, and only then does it hurt? Stupid brain!

Below is progress at the 15 minute mark, whilst I enjoy watching Youtube videos of more skilled toy restoration’ers such as Toy Polloi who is probably the king of this stuff (but focuses on non-RC toys as they all do), while Toy Tinker Tim is also worth checking out. My new favorite however is Vintage Toy Rush who has a small channel but it’s growing on me, because he swears and gets p*ssed off just like me!

Using Proper Glue

While a variety of super glue would work for precisely matched parts, this situation where I’m not matching these perfectly so there’s small gaps calls for something with better filling qualities – a two part epoxy. The best I know in Australia that you can buy at the local hardware store is Selley’s Araldite 5 Minute Clear Epoxy (in the US the most similar seems to be Gorilla 5 Minute Epoxy) but you may have your own favorite.

Those two rounded heads you see here are the parts which are screwed down onto the car, which is exactly where the bumper cracked off, like a hinge, just snapped staight up.

Getting them angled correctly is important, but thankfully its made easy in this case as they’re flush with other parts of the bumper, so adding a business card underneath and removing it before the glue set too much worked well.

Restoring the Chrome Finish

If you do the research, there are 50+ options for what Chrome paint to use, and 95% of them will give you a lackluster result, usually a dull aluminum silver color. After watching every YouTube video on this topic, all the comparisons, I can tell you what the three best options are.

Mirror Chrome Paint2

“Mirror”

This is super impressive stuff, as good as it gets. The same crew have also released a vanta-black style one that’s blacker than a black hole, really cool. Great if you want nothing but perfection, and have a wallet full of cash. Me? Negative ghostrider!

Buy at Manufacturer: “MIRROR” by Culture Hustle

Revell Chrom Spray 150ml2

Revell Chrome Spray

A new release, it’s surprisingly good, but seems to always be sold out because modelers everywhere are going nuts about it. Oh and it’s not cheap, not at all. So… not today, friend!

Buy at Manufacturer (.de): Revell Chrom Spray 150ml
Try your luck on eBay: Link to eBay


But yes, those are quite expensive and may take a while to arrive… I need something cheap, fast, and decent, especially for a first go at this.

Molotow Liquid Chrome Pens

Molotow Liquid Chrome*

So this is the best option for the quick and easy, and relatively cheap, and it works well if you use the right technique (more on that later).

Actually this is the one that is constantly copied and mimicked by all those super cheap Chrome paint pens you see on eBay.

Hangon, there’s cheaper ones? Oh yes…

Cheap Chrome Paint Pen

Cheap Chrome Pens

There are dozens of these sold everywhere online for very cheap prices. So they must be rubbish right?

Buy on: eBay, AliExpress, and Amazon.

But is it rubbish?

I expected some dull silver color like so many of the hardware store spray cans (I’m looking at you Rust-ole-eum, Duplicolor, etc.) but this stuff isn’t too bad. It comes out proper chrome mirror effect, wet and shiny looking.

The trick seems to be (and I did’nt do this quite correctly) is that you need to let it flow on undisturbed. As soon as you go over the same area again, or mix it up, that area will lose its super shine. The same happens with many other decent chrome paints which are far more expensive.

So here’s my outcome – reminder, there was no careful sanding here, no real preparation, just epoxy, a quick cleanup, and draw with the pen. My first attempt – and I reckon it’s not too bad!

What about filling in the gaps and making it smoother?

I decided to challenge fate further, and bring out the putty. Recommended for any modelers arsenal.

On the right side with the chip/crack I’ve applied some Tamiya Putty Epoxy (see below) which is like two pieces of chewing gum you mix together, mould over the area, smooth with water, and it will dry hard and be sanded and painted.

On the left we just need some tiny gaps filled, so I’ve added a little Vallejo Plastic Putty (see below) which is great for smoothing out surfaces. Once these are dry, I’ll sand them with as fine a grit I have, and then apply the paint again, and post an update here.

Tamiya Epoxy Putty

Tamiya Epoxy Putty

Buy on eBay

Buy on Amazon

Dries hard, great for remodeling broken parts. Available as Quick and Smooth. I used Quick, but needed some water to smooth it.

Vallejo Plastic Putty

Vallejo Plastic Putty

Buy on eBay

Buy on Amazon

Good for surface treatment only, won’t provide strength.

Sanded it off

So I only had some 240 grit, and 1500 grit sandpaper, so that’s what I used to smooth it out, before brushing off and hitting with the Chrome paint pen again.

That’s enough!

It’s now a hundred times better than it was previously, and matches the standard of the rest of the car (Very good condition, but far from great)

And installed…

So there we are. I’ve gone from a 1992 Tyco Bandit with a bumper stuck on with Blu-Tak, to one which is complete, strong, and respectable looking.

What about larger items? What if the whole bumper need redone?

So I have another Tyco Bandit, a 1990 Baja Bandit, and as is normal for these older ones, the chrome has completely flaked off and it will need to be removed and redone entirely. Thankfully it’s not broken, so only paint required. While I’m doing this, I may as well do the wheels, scoop, and tire rack all at once.

For so much area, the pen won’t do. A different product is needed.

These are the best options for a larger area.

  1. Revell Chrom Spray (see details above)
    It’s not cheap, and can be hard to find as it sells out fast, but provides as good as real finish.
    Check eBay for Revell Chrom
  2. Molotow Chrome Pen used in an Airbrush
    Blast some through an airbrush and it will shine far better than pen application.
    Check eBay for Molotow
  3. Cheap Chrome Pens used in an Airbrush
    Just like the brand name, leak some into your Airbrush paint bowl, and spray on.
    Buy on: eBay, AliExpress, and Amazon

What about regular paint cans?

Apart from the Revell, almost none provide a real Chrome finish. The closest, and far cheaper than the Revell is the Rust-oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish.

Unfortunately it’s inconsistent. One can may be dull, another shiny. But for the price, its worth a shot.

Rustoleum Bright Coat Chrome

Rust-oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish

The best of the sprays which are cheap and easier to find is the Rust-oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish Chrome.

It HAS to be the Bright Coat .

There are other Rust-oleum “Metallic” Chrome which have a similar shiny cap, but those are different and will give you a duller silver color or inconsistent results.

This one will give you something with at least a good bit of reflection and shine, but not a detailed mirror surface. That said, it’s inconsistent as mentioned above.

Check Amazon for Stock

Check eBay for Stock

Manufacturer’s site: Stops Rust® Bright Coat Spray Paint (rustoleum.com)

Note: as with all paints, especially those you buy from hardware stores, consider what surface you’re spraying onto and whether it will react chemically. This is what leads to a great spray turning into a bubbling, cracked mess before your eyes, so a little preparation is recommended!

The best neutral / inactive primer in my experience so far has been the Tamiya Surface Primer, available in normal and fine. It’s also good at smoothing surfaces and is just an all round quality product from the experts at Tamiya.

The anticipated process

I’m currently waiting for my Bright Coat to arrive from Amazon and will update this blog once it’s arrived and I’ve begun the work… but the idea will be to:

  • Strip all the existing chrome paint off the existing bumper / air funnel / rear tire rack / wheels.

    This can be done by sanding (hard, needs good face mask) or chemical process such as oven cleaner (toxic, risks melting parts). Let’s see what fun option I pick out of those ones! Any advice is welcome in comments below!!
  • To ensure the Bright Coast has the best chance of shine, wet sanding the parts down with a finest grit paper I can find, then using Tamiya Plastic Polish to get it super smooth and shiny.
  • Then painting in several very light coats.

I’ll update this blog once I’ve made some progress… wish me luck!

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