Making Replacement Parts from Aluminium Foil

T-34 track guards

With the release of new T 34 series of kits by Dragon and Maquette, I decided to make new replacement track guards for the front side and rear. The kit I used for this project is the Stalingrad 1942 by Maquette.

The method is the same for what ever style the kit as rounded edges or flat sides or the rear half round types.
You need a sheet of aluminium foil; mine comes from a Chinese take away dish in other countries similar foil dishes are used to bake cakes or pies in.
Cut the base of the foil dish out and smooth it out with the back of your mark one thumb nail.

Safety Tip: always work from the centre towards the edge if you do it the opposite way you will slice a piece of your thumb off, voice of experience.

It will take about 5 minutes to remove all the creases from the foil. One it is flattened then cut a piece out at least twice the surface are you need for the track guard.
Sometimes you will have to remove the tiny details from the kit original i.e. rivets or extra bracing straps; these can be added later from foil strips and new rivets from water canister beads.

See picture 1
: those in the centre show the final shape of the front and rear track guards.
Place the kit original face down onto the foil and by trial and error bend and cut tabs to hold the foil in place while you work it with a blunted cocktail stick.

See picture 1: the one at the bottom left shows the rear of the front guard with the tabs holding the foil in place.

Turn the whole item over and slowly burnish the foil till it takes on the shape of the fender, after you are satisfied with the result. Remove the foil by lifting the tabs clear of the kit part, you can now cut out the final shape with scissors and then place the replacement foil fender over the original to check that is has still conformed to the shape. If not; then gently burnish again back into shape. You may need to dress the edge up with a file. Test fit on the kit and note the area you need to apply supper glue to, in some cases you will have to leave an extra tab on the replacement to give enough surface area. Only experience will tell you this

Depending on the style of fender or track guard you will have some creases in the final shape, you will never get them all out, but this adds to the realism of the item as branches and stones thrown up by the track damage track guards and fenders to some extent.

The pictures: show all the details I have used in this method of replacing the kit parts for more in scale and better appearance to enhance the kits, I have also used the same method to make the shovel heads, it is just on a smaller scale but the method is the same, the shaft is a replacement made from plastic rod super glued into the turned over collar of foil.

Give it a try and have fun, if you make a mistake it has cost you nothing but time.

Ian Sadler IPMS UK 2003

Project Photos

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About Ian Sadler (IanSadler)


Nice one indeed! Isn't it kinda thick to use foils?
JAN 09, 2004 - 01:37 AM
Great article. Looks like a great way to replace overly thick kit parts that would be a pain to sand down. Thanks for sharing.
JAN 09, 2004 - 01:41 AM
Ian Great article, I can wait to try it I do have one question, Can the foil that comes in a roll work as well or is this stuff to thin ? Wofsix
JAN 09, 2004 - 01:43 AM
hi all , a few of your questions answered , the foil on a roll is too thin , and is not very good at holding detail, the ones i use here in the uk are 5 thousands of an inch thick and form and hold its shape very well , far better than the thick plastic track guards , other types of foil dishes can be used again i speak only of what is available in the uk , you must search out your own types in your country , cat and dog moist food trays are 8 thousands of an inch thick and lastly pies that are placed in an oven for reheating are 12 thousands of an inch thich , so you have three gauges to use what every your scale , the pie dish is ideal for larger scale tanks etc , It you find a pice of german track guard that has no holes for tools then try the same method and see the results chequer plate and in scale no need for fancy photo etch , any other questions let me know and i will asee what i can come up with cheers ian
JAN 09, 2004 - 02:03 AM
Ian Great article you wrote dude. IS the foil you using the same as wich the pie lids are made from.. That is what I use and it works really well. Great and clear explanation
JAN 09, 2004 - 07:27 AM
Great article Ian, and thanks for pointing this out Scoccia.
JAN 09, 2004 - 08:15 AM