Monday, June 21, 2004

My Power Wheels Project

I just finished a great weekend project, and I want to tell everyone all about it. Power Wheels are very cool, ride-on toys by Fisher-Price for children ages one to six. Retail prices range from $70.00 to $269.00. The design is so simple and durable that the children often out grown them before the toy wears out; therefore, used models are often handed down to younger children. My daughter received her first Power Wheel from her day care provider. It is the Barbie Beach Cruiser, Model Number 76821. Because Fisher-Price is constatntly updating their toys to keep them fresh, this exact model is no longer available, and it was subject to a recall in October 1998 because a fault in the wiring that occassionally resulted in fires. The most notable fault with this particular toy is the missing grill. Other parts are also missing or broken, but it runs great!

The first image above is a picture of a Barbie Beach Cruiser in excellent condition that was sold on ebay. The second picture is my daughter sitting in her new car before I got started. I wanted to freshen it up, make it look new again, and I'm not terrbily fond of pink. I rembered seeing a car painted like the American flag after the attackes on September 11, 2001, and I found this photo by Gay Ayers.

I couldn't work out how to manage the stripes on such a small vehicle, so I just painted all the pink parts red, all the white parts white and then added the starfield. I think the finished result is very patriotic, and I hope my daughter can master its operation before the neighborhood, Independence Day parade!

How did I paint plastic?
This was the most interesting part of the project. I found a product by Krylon called Fusion. It claims to chemically bond with hard to paint surfaces like plastic, and it works great!

One thing I wish I had done differently:
I painted the car in my garage with the door up. I thought this would be sufficiently well ventilated. I did not suffer any ill effects from inhalation, but the accelerant in the cans created a lot of dust. The tiniest particles of spray paint dried before they hit the car, and they floated around in the air until they fell on something. Now there is a lot of red dust all over my garage. The next time I tackle a project like this, I will set it up on the patio in the back yard.

Future plans:
I would like to replace some of the missing parts. According to the parts list at Pickering Appliance, the hoodlatch (#74780-9039) and the battery retainer (#74540-4419) are still available. However, the headlight and guard assembly (#80030-0108), the grill (#74560-9809) and the telephone (#73231-9449) are not available. They also list the rear roll bar (#76821-4219) as unavailable. Since the plastic is broken where this piece fits into the body of the car, I don't need this piece. If you need this piece, please contact me.

If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm. -Bruce Barton

Outings are so much more fun when we can savor them through the children's eyes. -Lawana Blackwell, The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter, 1998

Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home. -Phyllis Diller

The soul is healed by being with children. -Fyodor Dostoevsky