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How to Make clear Headlights from Chrome Kit Parts

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I've seen too many very nice models that the builder did nothing to address the chromed headlights. This oversight takes away from the presented model and kills the realistic look modelers go for. The following how-to shows just how easy it is to make more realistic headlights than the ones presented in old kits and promos. You will need a drill bit or Dremel round head, BMF or chrome paint, white glue and clear lenses from your parts bin. For this demo, which took me all of 15 minutes start to finish, I used the headlights from the AMT 1971 Camaro.

1) Using an appropriately sized drill bit or dremel grinder tool, smooth off the light so it is concave.
2) Bare metal foil or chrome paint the inside of the newly-created headlight bucket.
3) Insert the new lens, be sure to line it up correctly. Apply white glue to secure lense.

1 Cutlass Start.jpg

2 Light drilled out.jpg

3 Light chromes.jpg

4 New lens.jpg

5 finished light.jpg

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It's a pet peeve of mine too.  I wouldn't attempt with a drill bit, a round tip Dremel bit would be the best choice.  Getting headlight lenses is the challenge, I got an aftermarket set that apparently has been discontinued.

I posted this some time ago, some kits have clear lenses but flat reflector.


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I’ve been using this technique, or something similar for many years now.

Usually I just drill them out completely and replace the buckets entirely, but at any rate, it’s become standard practice for me on any project that requires it, and I believe it’s a relatively common modification within our hobby.

If I may suggest as well, if you plan on sending out your parts for re-plating, it’s advantageous to complete this modification before doing so, (up until the clear lenses of course) 😁




Oh, by the way, the ‘63 Bonneville pictured above also utilized resin cast lenses.

These can be made pretty easily with some mold putty for creating a mold, and then casting with either clear resin, clear 2-part epoxy, or one of the UV light setting glues like Laser Bond or Bondic.





Edited by StevenGuthmiller
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