How to fix diecast toys

I’ve told you about the best way to fix plastic toys, but it dawned on me the other day I’ve never mentioned how to fix diecast toys. Diecast toys don’t break as often as plastic, but it can happen. The good news is that you can fix them too.

In my example I will be fixing a Lionel 671 train from 1946, but the same technique works with anything made of diecast metal of any age.

This is a broken piece from the cowcatcher of a diecast Lionel 671 locomotive.
This is a broken piece from the cowcatcher of a diecast Lionel 671 locomotive.
I've applied JB-Weld to the break, as well as a bit to the area behind it to build it up for extra strength.
I’ve applied JB-Weld to the break, as well as a bit to the area behind it to build it up for extra strength.
Rather than remove the excess, I smoothed it out a bit. After it's dried, it will need to be sanded and painted.
Rather than remove the excess, I smoothed it out a bit. After it’s dried, it will need to be sanded and painted.
I've reinforced the repair from the back with a generous amount of extra JB-Weld where it won't be visible.
I’ve reinforced the repair from the back with a generous amount of extra JB-Weld where it won’t be visible.

The best glue for diecast metal, bar none, is JB Weld. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a super-strong epoxy that sets up harder than steel. It’s more brittle than steel, but it still makes an exceptionally durable bond. The downside to it is that it takes 16-24 hours to fully cure, but once it does, the repair is rather strong.

If you need a faster bond, you can use Kwik Weld. Made by the same company, it sets up in a few minutes and fully cures in a few hours, at the expense of not being quite as strong. Another option is to tack the repair into place with a bit of Kwik Weld, then finish the job with slower JB Weld.

Both of them work the same way. Mix up an equal amount of the two parts on a piece of scrap plastic, such as a food container you’re going to throw away anyway. Stir it until the color is a consistent medium gray, then slather it onto the edge where the broken-off piece will go, then press the broken-off piece into place. Clamp the pieces together tightly after applying it, if possible. Once you get the glue into place, you can smooth out the excess with a wooden coffee stirrer or popsicle stick. It does an excellent job of gap-filling, so if the pieces don’t fit super tightly, it will still hold. If you can, build up some excess on the back of the repair to give it extra strength. Let it cure for the appropriate time, then you can sand the repair smooth and touch up the paint as needed.

I’ve used JB Weld to rescue more than one Lionel train that took a dive off a table. It works well.

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