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Ways to Change the Appearance of Your RC Body

Replace, Paint, or Modify an RC Body


Don't like the way your RC looks? Or, maybe you've damaged the body and it needs an overhaul. Here are some things you can do to give your radio controlled vehicle a fresh new appearance. This list applies primarily to hobby-grade vehicles although some of these modifications can be done to toy-grade RC bodies as well. In some cases you may use a combination of techniques.

Replace It With a New, Pre-Painted Body

Pre-painted Lexan body
Pre-painted Lexan body. © M. James

For some RCs the manufacturer sells alternative bodies that are already painted. You may be able to get a new style (such as a Ford truck vs. a Chevy) or simply a different color scheme.

Replace It With a New, Unpainted Body

Body and Painting Options
Unpainted Body, Masking Material, Decals, and Painting Options © M. James

Start with a blank slate. New, unpainted, clear Lexan RC bodies come in many sizes and styles. Find one that will fit your RC and paint it and add decals in any style you want.  Remove any protective film, clean and dry the body, apply primer (unless it comes already primed), mask off areas to protect them from paint, then paint (from the inside) using an airbrush, spray paint, or brushes.

Decal It

Decals and decal paper for printing your own decals.
Decals and decal paper for printing your own decals. © J. James

Sometimes all it takes to give your toy or hobby RC a new look is a few new decals. If your RC body still looks good except for a little scratch or small hole, cover up with a decal. You can buy decals or make your own. 

Re-Paint It

Blue stripe splattered.
Spray paint does wonders for old toy RC. © J. James

Even if you have a Lexan body where the paint was applied from the inside, you can still paint over the top for a complete change. Remove any decals, clean and dry the body, mask off any windows that you want to remain clear, apply a primer coat. Then paint on your new design using spray paint, airbrush, or paintbrushes. You'll need to apply a good sealer coat and touch ups (or decal coverups) may be necessary more often since the paint is on the outside. This is also a good option for toy-grade RCs when getting a replacement body isn't possible.

It may be possible to remove paint from a Lexan body (video) in order to repaint it from the inside. 

Modify It

With or without a new decal or paint job, you can change the look of your RC by modifying the body. Add a spoiler. Cut out the side windows and put in mesh. Glue on a hood ornament. For something a bit more involved (including some electrical work), add working headlights and tail lights.

Bedazzle It

You probably won't find a sequin-encrusted, bejeweled RC at most race tracks but you could turn your RC into an Art Car. Glue on tiny fake jewels -- all over or in a pattern. Use puffy paints. Stick on glittery stickers. Tiny beads, buttons, glitter, bits of colorful yarn, and miniature charms are all possible add-ons. Check out your local craft or scrapbooking store. You could even find objects to use at the hardware store such as super tiny nuts and washers.

These decorative elements probably won't do much for your weight and aerodynamics but you'll certainly turn a few heads as your RC cruises through the parking lot.

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