Chrome emblems faded, plating weathered away. Solutions?


Oct 9, 2023
Vehicle Details
'96 Bird 4.6
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The chrome birds on my taillights and the "Thunderbird LX" lettering on my trunk emblem have weathered and are looking sad, so I'm planning ahead how I might deal with this.

Do you guys use high quality modeling chrome paint (I mean the expensive shit that shines like plating), paint 'em black, strip 'em and leave the base black matte, paint 'em the color of your car, or do something else?
Got any before & after pics of your solution to share?
If you want to avoid all that work, you can usually find that 'Thunderbird LX' emblem on Ebay for a few bucks.
Not sure about the chrome bird emblems for the taillights, though.
Cougars have this issue with the chrome body trim. I have been thinking of getting a paint match spray can made up, and painting all the chrome. Would be a bit of work but it will look nicer than faded fake chrome.
I used a pen called liquid chrome, made my Molotow to touch up the chrome that wore off the bumpers on some of my 1:18 cars, it's the closest thing I've found to actual chrome in paint form but I don't think it would hold up against the elements
The original chrome on the emblems is aluminum vapor deposited on plastic film for the mrror, then they melt it to the black plastic emblem. The side reflectors/ doorguards look like crap on all my cars, and the cops told me that indiglo or 3m reflector tape is sure to get unwanted attention.
If we could get the film, it would be easy to recoat the trim pieces. Ebay is my friend; the film is cheap. I'll have to get some and see.
The "chrome pieces are on ebay for 30 bux...
I wonder whether a chrome/silver/mirror film might work, maybe mylar. Could try masking off the emblems, spray adhesive/cement, such as DAP Weldwood, then work the film over the contours while using a heat gun. Or perhaps use a vacform box. Then trim afterwards with an X-acto.

There are lots of self-adhesive chrome/silver vinyl films, but from what I've read, they tend to be thick and don't conform to contours or don't stay stuck if you manage to get them to conform. So, I think non-adhesive, thinner would be the way to go for a film attempt.

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