Section 1 - Initial Preparation.

Before any work can be carried on a model it will need to be stripped down to its basic component parts.

The majority of models consist basically of a cast body, a baseplate (in most cases tinplate) and the wheels and axles. Later models with windows take a bit more work and of course, if there are other fittings as on some of the supertoy models, they will need removing also.

These will all need to be taken apart for optimum results.

Baseplate Removal

The baseplates are held on in 2 ways.

On the later models they were held on with screws.

I should not need to mention that all you need to remove these is an appropriate sized screwdriver - if you did need me to mention it, you should not be restoring a model.

The majority of baseplates are held on by rivets.
Now most people probably think of rivets as something akin to a nail that goes through 2 or more pieces of metal and is then 'peened' over to hold them in place. Dinky models use the same principle except the 'rivet' as such is cast into the body shell and protrudes through the baseplate which and is then turned over into a head to hold the base on firmly.

In order to get the baseplate off these rivets obviously have to be removed. Restorers have their own methods some of which include grinding the head off with a small grindstone, drilling - which is my preferred method and even in some cases that I have heard of - using a cold chisel to knock the heads off - pheeew very dodgy.

First I will cover grinding and why I personally do not like this method. To grind the head off you would need a small grindstone in a rotary tool similar to the Dremel tools. This is OK as long as you don't slip with it - if you do - you will leave grind marks across the baseplate which are difficult to get rid of. The second reason I do not like this method is that the base has to be fastened back on at a later stage. This is usually done by using small rivets that fit into a hole in the rivet post. This means drilling a hole for it. Using the drilling method, explained in a moment, this hole is already drilled for you. Just me being lazy I know but why do 2 jobs when you can get a job done in 1.

Before I explain the drilling method I will just say why I do not like the cold chisel method. In case anybody does not know what a cold chisel is it is a hardened steel chisel capable of cutting into metal.
It is used as a normal chisel with a hammer to provide the force needed to cut the metal.
Now, as you can imagine, a fair bit of force is required to cut into metal especially if the chisel is not sharp. Diecast metal is very brittle and cracks very easily. You can see now why I do not like this method - if one is not extremely careful the rivet posts can be broken off.

The method I prefer is drilling.
Some rivets have a rounded head rather that a 'dimpled' head.


In order to get the hole central you will find it easier to grind the top of the rivet flat.

You can then use a centre punch to mark the centre to start the drillbit off without slipping.

You will find the dimpled type
easier to drill as the dimple centres the drillbit for you.
Drill a pilot hole down the centre out of the rivet using a 2 or 2.5mm drill bit (depends on the actual size of the replacement rivets). Drill to a depth of 4 - 6mm (check the length of your replacement rivets)

and then, use a larger drill bit - I find a 6mm bit is best, drill the head just deep enough to take the head off completely.

Do NOT drill into the baseplate.
This leaves a nice clean stub of rivet post with a hole ready to take a replacement rivet and, as long as you are careful, does not mark the baseplate.

The baseplate removed.

Wheel removal

On nearly all models the wheels are held on the axles by the end of the protruding axles being burred over to form a head or on the earlier models by being crimped.

In order to removed the wheels the burr or crimp needs to be removed or, if the axe is badly bent or corroded and to be replaced, it can just be cut with a pair of side cut snips.

The removal of the burr is easiest done using a small round grindstone in a rotary tool.

If you look closely at the axle you will see that one burr is slightly larger than the other end.

Thick end ................................................. Thin end

I always find it easiest to remove the smaller burr. Grind the burr off parallel with the axles shaft as in the photo rather than reducing the length of the axles.
You will find that the axles can then be reused.
If the axles are just crimped, grind off the wider parts so that the axle is parallel. In both cases the wheel will then just slide off .

Window removal

The window unit on most models consists of a single moulded unit usually held to the body by a rivet head that is part of the body shell.

The plastic windows are very brittle and if the one you are removing is in good condition great care should be used when removing it if it is to be used again. If it is already broken and you intend to replace the whole unit the job is a bit easier - just break the pieces out and grind the rivets away with a small grindstone in a rotary tool.

If the window is to be used again the rivet head needs to be carefully removed. I have found the best way of doing this is to use a small drillbit and drill a series of holes into the plastic around the edge of the rivet. This is known as chain drilling. Space the holes as near to each other as possible - you may find that if the drill bit slips it breaks through to the next hole but this does not matter. One point here - only drill through the plastic - NOT into the metal bodywork. When you have drilled holes all the way round put a bit of sideways pressure on the drillbit you will find that it slowly elongates the hole and eventually breaks into the next hole along. Do this with all the holes and eventually the window unit will come away. Once it is free, remove the rivet by grinding it off flat with the body.


Other Parts - removal

With the range of models that Dinky made there are obviously too many models with individual parts to cover them all separately. Basically it is a matter of examining the part and how it is held on. In a lot of cases it is a steel pin burred at the ends to form a head the same as axles.
hese can be removed same method as the axle removal or simply cut the head off withdraw the pin and use a new one when reassembling.
Some parts are held on by small steel rivets that are simply pushed into a hole - these just need a pair of pliers to pull them out.

I have come across some models where a part is held on by a hollow spring pin. These can be knocked through using a fine punch or, in some cases a nail with the point flattened.

One other method of fastening that I have come across and is worth mentioning is on the 29 series buses. These consist of a cast baseplate and body. The body has lugs that protrude through the base and are then flattened out. I have found the best way of getting these apart is to grind the lug flat with the base and then use a small screwdriver to gently prise the 2 parts away from each other. To avoid bending or cracking either of the parts, prise at different positions along the joint, gently working them apart.


Proceed to section 2 - Paint Removal / return to Restoration Main page

Home Page & Index