There are a variety of materials tha will greatly improve the apprearance of you model
Printer ribbon - seat belts Sewing ribbon - seat belts - any sewing store will have a variet of sizes and colours
Cigarette packaging - patterned foil for heat shields on race cars, gold and silver with a variety of patterns
Wire - Radio shack - wires for circuit boards come in a variety of colours and sizes
Fuel Filters - resistors, diodes - Radio Shack
Q-tips - waxing, hard to reach spots, stretching sprue
The following are little items that add that extra detail to your model. Unfortunately each little item means your model will take longer and longer to comlete.
Real racing slicks do have a seam line down the middle when new. These do wear away quickly but do not sand them off if you are putting tire stickers on the car. If the seam line is huge a bit of trimming may be needed for a scale appearance. If you want that used look I use (150-200 grit) sandpaper to sand the tires down. Depending on the Kit manufacturer tires react differently to the sanding. Some Protar tires are useless and can't be sanded
2. Exhaust headers
Kit supplied ones are generally terrible. Scratch built ones will look 100 times better. The easiest material to use is electrical solder. They come in various sizes and a bit of searching may be needed to find one with the correct diameter. See the tips section for a more detailed explination.
3. Valve stems
Drill hole in rim to fit the rod you are going to use. Paint rim. Drill hole again to clear paint. Add PE nut to small length of rod. Thread rod through hole and glue from behind. (Note: there are various suppliers of PE nut and bolt heads, S&S, Photocut, etc). There are also aftermarket turned valve stems. I have seenthe 1:12 scale ones and they look good btu a bit oversized.
4. Dzuss (1/4) turn fasteners
There are differnt suppliers of PE Dzuss fasteners out there but the best I have seen so far are made by Photocut and Replicas and Miniatures. These fasteners are mounted on a rubber backing sheet and do not require any trimming from a tree. I also think they look better. I have used the type that is mounted to a tree and I can tell you that it isn't fun holding the item and cutting it from the tree. These are also hard to file ans sand down without bending or losing them. the first step is to drill a small hole in the kit dzuss fastener. Next sand the kit fastener off. The hole will show you where the PE part will go. After painting the body the fasteners can be applied. (for gluing methods see the PE application section) These will give a real clean appearance and the chrome look will beat and paint ot foil job.
5. Seat Belts
I generally hate the molded in seat belts and prefer aftermarket ones. However some aftermarket seat belt sets are better than others. The ones that supply the belt material are pretty darn expensive. I try and find the sets with only the PE hardware and use sewing ribbon for the belt material. Threading the ribbon through the PE hardware isn't easy with the ribbon fraying. One trick I use is to add a touch of superglue to the tip. When this is dry I will cut it into a sharp point to thread easier. Once threaded I cut off 90% of the glued portion. The rest keeps it from fraying. Most of the time this glue makes can be hidden
6. Wing End Plates
The front and rear end plates are usually very think. To get a more scale appearance they should be replaced with plastic card, sheet brass or sheet aluminum. The existing endplates should be used as a template to make the new ones. Don't forget to drill all the wing adjusting holes onto the new endplates. This method will not work on some of the newer race cars with front wings that are complex curved shapes. This procedure may get tricky for some rear wings since all the old mounting pins will be gone and the new wing will have to be lined up to make sure it is square. I have done this before only to find the rear wing tilting to one side when mounted to the car. It may be hard to notice but the trailing edge of some rear wings have a vertical gurney flap. This may be hard to replacet on the new endplate (be warned)
7. Steering Wheel
The steering wheel has a rim of rubber type material with a centre made of metal. To simulate the inside I paint the middle part as required (semi gloss black, metal etc). For the rubber rim I do not use flat black. What I do is use rough sandpapaer (180 grit) and gently sand the rim parallel to the steering wheel axle. This produces a rough surface that I think looks better than flat black.
To get the best reults for mirrors there arew several different methods to use.
1. Silver paint - ok but cheap and quick
2. Bare metal foil - better and still cheap and quick but it can be better
3. Polished aluminum sheet - these sheets ahave a mirror type finish and are great for the smaller scale cars 1:20 and smaller.
4. Plexiglass mirror - this method is not easy but gives excellent results for the larger scales 1:12
I've tried stainless steel but these don't look very good. For the quickest and best results go for option No 3. For the insane go for No 4 on the larger scale kits
9. Brake Lines
These items seem relatively simple but can be very hard. I use ciruit board wire from Radio Shack for these items (on other cars they may be braided lines). Drill al hole in the caliper where the line is supposed to enter. Installa hex fitting or nut onto the wire with enough sticking out to go into the caliper. Bend the wire to the approximate shape it will be when mounted to the model. First glue one end to the caliper and then thread the other end into the body or other appropriate site. Here is the hard part. The brake line is sometimes held to the suspension piece with duct tape? To replicate this I use chart tape . This is small and very awkward to install. One it has been installed you should add a touch of glue to hold it in place since over time the tape will come off.
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