How to Remove Car Decals from Scale Models

Wendy Stokesby:

CarsHow to ...

Before I gifted my first ever car to my Nana, there were a few things I had to tidy up so that it was…age appropriate. As my first car, it had a number of decals plastered on the paint – most of which included foul language or offensive slang. After imagining my sweet Nan copping the disgusted looks that I did when I used to roam the streets in the car, I decided I was going to remove those decals if it killed me.

Determined to save my money and get the job done myself, I pulled out a box of old Hot Wheels cars to get a couple of practice goes in. After consulting with an expert in the customisation scene, Alex from My Custom Hot Wheels I learned the quick trick for a decal removal on a scale car. Decals for Hot Wheels that come from the factory are known as ‘tampos’ and often larger scale model cars from other brands will also come with these which are a lot more stubborn and harder to remove. Giving it a red hot go, I followed two simple steps.

  1.  Arm yourself with a soft cloth and some q-tips that have been sprayed with a light layer of acetone.
  2.  Rub VERY gently on the tampos for about five seconds and – voila!

For a more in-depth explanation, read this guide to learn more and see exactly how to remove factory-applied ‘Tampos’ from your diecast model car – with pictures!

*There are pictures showing the process of how to remove tampos and decals from model cars, this is not a guide showing you how to use pictures to remove tampos… just making sure we are all clear here.

Model Car Decals Removed – Now on to the Big Job

Following a number of successful attempts, I braved my full-size car and could only wish that they made bigger q-tips at this point. Guides from the internet said it was essentially the same process with the addition of a hairdryer to melt the glue before rubbing the area with acetone and washing clean.

After hours of work, seeing my car with an exposed backside brought out a feeling inside me that I hadn’t felt for years. Possibilities were racing through my mind of brand new decals that I thought would make my car look ‘dressed’ again. Being conscious of who the new owner was, however, I decided that maybe I could get some decal/tampo release on the Hot Wheels cars that I had just stripped.

If you’ve always been turned off decals out of fear that you’ll never get rid of them, think again. Spark that interest within you and experiment with car decals or Hot Wheels tampos. If you’re looking to start small, check out this FAQ from My Custom Hot Wheels showing you how to apply model car decals

Whether you’re toning down the car from your youth or customising die-cast cars from the shed out back, it’s handy to know your stuff when it comes to decals and tampos. Never feel afraid to experiment, help is always just one click away!


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