How to Make Fender Flares on Model Cars

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Making fender flares helps to create a custom look for your model cars. They can also add a finished appearance if you plan to enlarge the wheel-well openings or add larger wheels and tires. You can make the fender flares as fancy as you want by adding extra layers of material and doing more sculpting.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet styrene (0.04 inch thick)
  • Steel ruler
  • Hobby knife
  • Masking tape
  • Styrene cement or super glue
  • Body filler putty
  • Medium-grit sanding sticks
  • Sandpaper (200 to 400 grit)
  • Decide how wide you want the fender flares to be and add 3/8 inch to that amount. This will allow for the curvature and thickness of the model car body. Cut two strips of sheet styrene to that width with the hobby knife and steel ruler. The strips will serve as the fender flares and should be long enough to fit completely around the edge of the wheel opening, with about 1/8 inch extra at each end to allow for final shaping.

  • Carefully bend one of the styrene strips to shape. Do this as you fit it to the inner edge of the wheel-well opening on one side of the model car body. Cement the strip into place. Use small strips of masking tape to hold it in place until the cement is dry. Repeat for the other side of the car.

  • Allow the cement to cure for 24 hours. Then use the sanding sticks and sandpaper to shape and trim the styrene strips as desired on both the outside and inside of the car body.

  • Apply thin coats of body filler putty where the styrene strips join the model car body. This will make the edges of the fender flares blend with the body. Allow the putty it to set as the manufacturer recommends. When cured, sand the body filler putty smooth, starting with the 200-grit sandpaper and finishing with the 400-grit paper. Apply primer and paint the model car.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's easier to decide how wide to make the fender flares if you have the model car chassis at least partially assembled. Suspension components should be at their final ride height, and wheels and tires should be fitted.
  • In most cases, the flares will look best if they are thicker at the top of the wheel opening.
  • Styrene cement, super glue and body filler putty contain solvents and should be used in a well-ventilated area.

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