Watch an old Volkswagen campervan toy get a new lease in life

Watch a rusty Volkswagen campervan toy get some much-needed TLC.
Christopher McFadden

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Do you have rusty old toys that are in need of some serious tender loving care? Perhaps you've found an old rusty toy in your back garden? Then why not consider bringing it back from the dead with this simple restoration guide? 

diy toy restore complete
Source: Newsflare

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

Materials and gear needed

  • Old rusty toy vehicle - in this case a VW campervan
  • Soap and water
  • Earbuds or cotton buds
  • Dremel tool
  • Brushes
  • Basic tools

With all your gear in hand, let's get on with the build.

Step 1: Remove the rust

The first step is to take your rusty toy and give it a once-over. Check what parts need to be cleaned, which are replaced, and the extent of the rust on the toy.

diy toy restore start
Source: Newsflare

In this case, the toy is heavily rusted, and it is also missing some key parts like a tire, windows, etc. With that done, the next step is to take an appropriately sized screwdriver and begin to dismantle the toy. 

Gently loosen old screws, and try not to damage them any more than they already are. If they are rusted tight, use some WD40 or a lubricant to help loosen them up. With the screws removed, gently remove the bottom chassis of the toy.

Depending on the design of the toy, this may also expose most of the internal components of the toy too. Remove those parts as well.

diy toy restore disassemble
Source: Newsflare

With the toy's gubbins exposed, continue to remove screws to separate all the individual components of the toy as needed like the glazing, etc. 

Step 2: Clean the parts

The next step is to fill a small container with warm soapy water. Take each component in turn, and begin to scrub away mud, dirt, and grime using a sturdy brush (like an old toothbrush) as needed. 

Change the water regularly too. 

diy toy restore clean
Source: Newsflare

For smaller components, use things like cotton buds to get into the nooks and crannies. With the larger plastic pieces, don't be afraid to be fairly aggressive with the brush to remove not only dirt but also stains as best as you can. 

Once done, leave the parts to drip and air dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Begin to restore metal parts

Once dry, take the metal parts of the toy, like the main bodywork. Depending on the level of decay of the part, you can now begin to strip off any old, flaky paintwork. 

For convenience, use something like a Dremel tool to make this process quick and easy. 

diy toy restore remove paint
Source: Newsflare

Strip off as much of the paint as you can until the bare metal is finally exposed. Don't forget the inside too. 

Once happy, basecoat the entire piece using a spray can or airbrush as needed ready for repainting. 

diy toy restore basecoat
Source: Newsflare

With that done, decide on the paint scheme for the toy, and then mask off parts you don't want to be painted in a particular color before painting those parts of the bodywork, as needed. 

diy toy car restore repaint
Source: Newsflare

At every stage, leave the previous coat of paint to dry before applying the next. Paint any chrome parts using metallic paint by hand using a small brush or cotton bud as needed. 

diy toy restore details
Source: Newsflare

Step 4: Reassemble and finish the toy

Once all the paintwork is dry, we can then begin to reassemble the toy and finish the restoration. Take all the main components of the chassis, and rebuild it as needed.

Add tires to axles, and axles to the main chassis as needed. Reinstall the dashboard and other internal features as needed too. Where needed, replace missing parts with suitable replacement parts. 

diy toy car restore rebuild
Source: Newsflare

Once the wheelbase is rebuilt, clip-on/screw-on the seating, etc, as needed. For the exterior of the toy glue/clip/screw decorative features like wing mirrors back into place.

diy toy restore exterior features
Source: Newsflare

Once done, you can then reattach the main chassis and bodywork of the toy back together as required. Screw back together as needed.

If needed, you can then add stickers and other decals to the bodywork needed. You can make your own or try to copy the originals as best you can. 

With that, your old rusty toy is now fully restored. Happy days!

If you enjoyed this little restoration project, you might enjoy watching another object being restored? How about, for example, an old military lamp?

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