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I'm done with sanding/wet sanding by hand! Any alternatives?

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  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: South Africa
I'm done with sanding/wet sanding by hand! Any alternatives?
Posted by ohms on Friday, November 20, 2020 12:36 AM

Hi guys,

When I began the hobby last year, it took me a while to get an airbrush, because I believed I wouldn't be a 'serious modeler' without mastering brush painting first. 

It was only when I got so frustrated that I decided to finally buy an airbrush, and I haven't looked back since. I now don't believe an airbrush is a tool you get only when you 'upgrade' to higher level modeling. I say you need it from day one.

A similar problem with my models now is the sanding/wet sanding for the gloss finish. No matter how many YouTube tutorials I've watched, I still can't get my car bodies to look good. Either I don't wet sand and there's a trace of orange peal, or I do wet sand and it looks patchy and scratchy. The YouTube videos are, of course, always welcome, but they practice on convenient, flat surfaces (where you don't have to worry about the edges), and some cars are way more complicated than that.

Like brush painting, I know there's a way to do it right if you want to go the by-hand route, but I'd rather just go with a machine. 

Is there any solution/alternative for this? Can I use a dremel, or another process completely?

This is one of those things where I feel if I don't find a solution, it may turn me off doing shiny objects/cars in the future, and I don't want to limit myself in that way.

Let me know. All advice welcome. Smile

 

Wet sanding tools: Micro Mesh

Current model: Revell Ford Shelby GT-H

 

Into model building since September 2019. Also into books (mostly science-fiction), comic books, and gaming.

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: South Africa
Posted by ohms on Friday, November 20, 2020 1:14 AM

Or maybe I should change my gloss? I use Humbrol Gloss Cote.

Into model building since September 2019. Also into books (mostly science-fiction), comic books, and gaming.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Friday, November 20, 2020 3:28 AM

ohms

Or maybe I should change my gloss? I use Humbrol Gloss Cote.

 

 
I don't do cars, but I used to do commercial spraying for Norton motorbikes & Jaguar.
 
The key is preparation.
 
Get your target/car body as smooth as possible, key with 0000+ wet & dry or those nail buffing sticks ftom dollar/beauty shops.
 
Then prime with a good auto or lacquer primer. smooth again with 0000+ wet & dryetc.
 
Dust coat, (very light coats, to key the paint), then progessively build up the finish.
 
When you think 'just one more' stop.
 
Allow to harden, 1-7 days, depending on the paint.
 
Consider Hiro Boy automotive finish Paints, formulated for err car models, but it depends what you have available to you.

Then don't sand! Unless you have orange peel or runs like pimples.
 
Consider car finishing compounds, Nova/Novus(?) or T-cut or similar, & polish out.
 
Touch up if necessary. This is a normal part of finishing.
 
Definately bin the Humbrol, it's difficult to spray, will yellow over time, & I had more grief with this this than any other finish.
 
My favourite at the moment is Galleria acrylic, Mat, Satin & Gloss, self leveling, easy to spray, forgiving if you over-cook it.
 
Hiro Boy do a Show 'n' Shine Spray which may suit your needs.
 
 

East Mids Model Club 29th Annual Show 19th MAY 2019

 http://www.eastmidsmodelclub.co.uk/

Don't feed the CM!

 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Friday, November 20, 2020 6:46 AM

I rarely build cars, but I started a new build recently on the same Testors/Fujimi Porsche 911 Turbo that I had built when I was in high school.  I had to bag everything up and set it aside so I could just focus on one model and get my F-16 finished, but so far the painting process is going well.  I'm using Model Master enamels I managed to find through Ebay being sold by little mom and pop shops.  As with all of my other modeling subjects, I give every part a bath in Simple Green, rinse, bath in 99% alcohol, then dry.  Then I use decanted Tamiya Surface Primer (just the regular gray stuff, which lays down nice and smooth when airbrushed), thinned with MEK.  I give the primer at least 2 hours to cure, then paint.  So far, I just have the first coat on, which went on in four passes of the airbrush.  The first pass shows a lot of the primer through it, and with each pass I get closer and closer to the model with the airbrush.  The final pass goes on nice and wet, so its really important to KEEP MOVING.  I'm using the Model Master Enamel thinner because I haven't had good results with other things like lacquer thinner for that (probably just my technique, so YMMV).  After that, I put the whole thing under an upside-down Gladware container and leave it under there for at least 24 hours.  After that its safe to uncover it and let it cure an additional 6 or 7 days and not have to worry about dust getting stuck in the paint.  It will get dust on it still, but it won't stick.  But, definitely don't handle the parts until that full week has passed.  The second and final coat is the wet coat, where the paint is actually mostly thinner.  Again, the most important thing is to keep moving with the airbrush...don't stop, pause, or hover.  Now, I haven't gotten to the wet coat part yet, but aside from the airbrushed Tamiya primer, this is the same technique I used on the one I built in high school.  The first coat was nice and glossy, but after I put the wet coat on, I always hesitated to touch it because it still looked like it was wet...the finish was that smooth and glossy, like glass.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
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Posted by philo426 on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:27 AM

After about 5 coats,wet sand the body staetibg with 3200 grit and go up to 12000.Then clean it up and give it a thinned coat of body color followed by a good clear coat No prob!

  • Member since
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Posted by philo426 on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:37 AM

  • Member since
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Posted by BrandonK on Friday, November 20, 2020 10:02 AM

By hand is the only way to go. I personally use decanted clear krylon and I wet sand the base coat and clear coat using modeling sanding pads that start at 3200 and go up to 12000 grit. The primer surface must also be super smooth so sand it with 3000 or so dry and then paint. Dont sand the edges or body lines as this will rub through SUPER easy and ruin your paint work. Take your time, sometimes days worth, and slowly work up to finer and finer pads. When you are done you will be very happy with the results. Finish the paint with NOVUS polishing system and you will be stunned at the shine. Good luck and it does take some practice.

BK

This one was wet sand as described.

This one was not wet sanded, only cleared. You can see the orange peel in the paint here.

On the bench: Alot !

On Deck: Alot more !

 

  • Member since
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Posted by philo426 on Friday, November 20, 2020 10:55 AM

Slight orange peel!

  • Member since
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  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, November 20, 2020 12:28 PM

Abrasive polishes.  They come in a wide range of grits. Auto polish is a fairly fine grit- rubbing compound coarser, cleaner a medium.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: South Africa
Posted by ohms on Friday, November 20, 2020 3:24 PM

Thanks to everyone so far for the replies. Believe me, I check up every few hours to see if there's a new reply to the thread, and so far I'm ecstatic about the responses. 

It's just that I have so much feedback that I'm gonna have to try finding time in the weekend, or at least by Monday, to express all of it. 

Have a good one. Smile

Into model building since September 2019. Also into books (mostly science-fiction), comic books, and gaming.

  • Member since
    October 2020
  • From: Tennessee
Posted by BUCKY on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:28 PM

I definitely WOULD not try to do any sanding with a motor tool, such as a DREMEL! 

That would most likely make it come out more patchy than what you've had up to this point. It probably would even gouge through the paint and primer, and dig into the plastic.

Building models since 1963.

Taking up space on the bench: '53 Ford Pace Car, '58 Impala, '63 Boss Nova, '67 FOOSE Dodge, '67 Puma GT, '72 Dodge Van, '73 Mustang, Dodge V-100

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Friday, November 20, 2020 8:25 PM

Hi OHMS, I have been building models of all types, everything for nearly 80 years & love cars. I think the best advice I can give you is use Tamiya spray Lacquer. I buy the cans & spray a 1/2 oz bottle 1/2 full thru a 4" plastic straw & then thru  my Pasche airbrush. I also use any large can of paint the same way.

                   I also don't use much wet & dry paper, mostly some 3M type pad from an auto store made for car painting. It is about 2000 grit. The other people gave you great advice too. I will show you some of the cars I have painted  this way. I just wanted to show you what Tamiya spray lacquer can do. I use Tamiya's acrylic paint for ships & things because masking tape does not peel it.               Gene

  • Member since
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  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, November 21, 2020 9:12 AM

Beautiful!  What is the second car down?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 9:38 AM

Don, it is a 1/16 Rolls Baloon Car I forget who made it but it is a beautiful kit. You even rig the wheels & it wasn't hard. I have done a lot of wheel rigging, once you get the pattern straight. 

    That little Bugatti was another real nice kit. It is 1/16 or 1/20. 

                       Gene

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 9:47 AM

By the way, that Balloon car I got on ebay used & painted & it was a mess, but the wheels were not started. I soaked it in 1/2 Purple Power & water for a day & all the old paint came off. It repainted nice & is a beautiful model. I did a lot of those big old car kits. Loved them.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Sunday, November 22, 2020 6:55 AM

I shoot my gloss enamel  paint and set it aside to cure for 5-7 days then use a soft old cotton t shirt and Novus#2 to polish the paint that produces a glass smooth finish. This method will also work  on a car finish.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: South Africa
Posted by ohms on Monday, November 23, 2020 1:35 AM

Ookay, I was dreading this, but time to reply to the posts (deep breath).

@Jon_a_its:

What's "0000+". I use Micromesh abrasives, which number (off the top of my head): 1800 going all the way to 12,000 in about 10 sheets. Are we speaking about the same thing?

I could try your suggestion: multiple dust coats instead of 1-2 wet coats. I thought dust coats were just for the base, so I never considered (or maybe even seen on YouTube) a multi-layered dust coat. It's easier for me to try this because it's just a change in method. Getting specific stuff in South Africa or ordering online is often impossible (when they're out of stock), time-consuming or costly, so I have to be very sure I want something before plonking the cash down.

My fear about dust coats was you'd get a non-even, patchy finish, but I'll practice on some bottles to see if this is a better option. Sounds intriguing.

It's not really the fact that I have to change my method that troubles me. I don't mind trying out different paths until I get this right. What's really confusing me is I've seen YouTube videos where they get a good shine, basically emulate what they're doing with the same or similar products, and there's still a big difference. I'm just trying to figure out what I'm missing/they're not showing.

Thanks for the recommendations.

@Eaglecash867

If you're saying you can still see the primer after the first coat, it means you're heavily thinning your paint, which is also something I can try. Again, this isn't a costly, "try another product" solution, so it makes sense that I attempt this first before putting aside my Humbrol coats.

I don't know if I'll go ahead with the bath in alcohol just yet. 

At the moment, I just shoot the Tamiya acrylics straight out of the bottle, without any thinner unless it can't go through the airbrush. Lol! Some of you may be shaking your head after reading that, but I always believe in taking the easy route until it's proven not the way to go.

@philo426

YES!!! This is the approach I (sort of) took with my current model. Prime -> wet sand -> 2 good body coats -> wet sand -> 3rd coat -> 2 gloss coats

I thought I saw the method in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rxgXxyOPKQ) but looking at it now, I may be confusing it for another one.

I'd like to find a way to get the gloss/mirror finish without sanding the uppermost coat of paint and/or clear coat, because that just adds another variable to a scracthy finish. I'm sure someone on YouTube did it by sanding only the undercoats.

@BrandonK

I understand not sanding the edges/body lines to prevent the paint from burning off, but doesn't that lead to a patchy finish? This is why I want to attempt trying to get a gloss by sanding only the undercoats.

@Don Stauffer

Abrasive polishes, you say? Will have to look into that. Is this the equivalent to the Tamiya polishing compounds? Because I have and use those as the final process.

@BUCKY

So there's no other way to do sanding besides by hand? Noted. 

@gene1

This is doable. I have 2 cans of Tamiya gloss clear spray. Never thought of using it through an airbrush. Colour me intrigued!

BTW: From one racing fan to another, nice models!

@plasticjunkie

I'll try that with the Tamiya fine compound, which I have. 

 

That's it! Thanks all for the tips, people! Now I have plenty to do in trial-and-error. Will get back to you in time with more problems to help solve! Stick out tongue

 

Into model building since September 2019. Also into books (mostly science-fiction), comic books, and gaming.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, November 23, 2020 7:09 AM

The secret of a good gloss finish is brinkmanship.  It also requires multiple coats.  The first coat should be light, the last very wet (several intermediate coats help).  The last coat should be so wet it is just ready to run.  How do you know when it is ready to run?  Experience and practice.  Buy or find some cheap sources of plastic.  Many of us use cheap packages of plastic.  Priming is always a good idea.

Sanding between each coat is necessary.  Model cars are the most difficult genre to paint, because of the need for a good gloss finish without clearcoats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: South Africa
Posted by ohms on Monday, November 23, 2020 10:41 AM

Don Stauffer

Sanding between each coat is necessary. 

Yeah, people like Dave Thibodeau teach the sanding of even the primer! (Which is how I built my current model).

BrandonK

Take your time, sometimes days worth, and slowly work up to finer and finer pads.

Days?! Wow. I went through abrasives 3,400-12,000 on my car body within 30 minutes. Big Smile

plasticjunkie

I shoot my gloss enamel  paint and set it aside to cure for 5-7 days then use a soft old cotton t shirt and Novus#2 to polish the paint that produces a glass smooth finish. 

Again, this is something I'd like to try first, because it's just a change in method and I won't have to purchase anything new. Plus it seems easier, and I want to explore the easier options first.

Are you saying the cotton shirt acts as a very fine sandpaper? Because I've been applying Tamiya Coarse compound to my models on scratch-free cloths (basically the cloth used to clean eyeglasses, obtained from local opticians). The point (I thought) of the compound is more to level scratches, not visibly smooth out the surface (from orange peel), but I'm wondering if your cotton shirt suggestion can actually smooth out a surface like the fine sandpaper, just with a lighter touch. That's definitely explorable.

Into model building since September 2019. Also into books (mostly science-fiction), comic books, and gaming.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Monday, November 23, 2020 11:48 AM

Yes the cotton t shirt will act as a super extra fine polisher specially when combined with Novus.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
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  • From: Virginia
Posted by Wingman_kz on Monday, November 23, 2020 12:40 PM

Sorry, I can't fight the ads today.

Short answer is, you can get a really good finish with just paint but you have to learn how to reduce it and spray it. It can be done. Light coats first for some coverage and then heavier wet coats. Once you get full coverage with a wet coat, let it set for a little while, reduce your paint a little more and do it again. Hate to say it but you're going to have to suffer through orange peel and runs and sags and any number of other problems until you get the hang of it. That's just the way it is. 

            

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, November 23, 2020 4:50 PM

plasticjunkie

Yes the cotton t shirt will act as a super extra fine polisher specially when combined with Novus.

 

Or cotton gloves and Novus.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by BrandonK on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:06 AM

Getting that showroom fresh and smooth paint on a car requires removing any orange peel you have in your paint. It is rare when you can lay down a finish with no peel in it. So wet sanding is to flatten those areas out only, not to make it shine. The shine comes from the finest of the pads making that surface glass smooth. Then when you are there the polishes like Novus are to bring out that shine in the super smooth paint/clear. And no you wont get any blotchiness in the finished product if you take your time and slowly work the paint smooth and then polish it. You can't really see the OP in the body lines or sharp edges and when its done the super smooth and shiny paint forces the eye to see that and not any small OP in the edges, which likely aren't there any way due to how the paint will flow away from those edges when you spray and it settles in. 

Again, wet sanding is not done in 30 mins. You should take a least a few hours to carefully work the paint out grit by grit till its perfect. This is why 1:1 cars cost so much to get a super nice paint job. It's all the labor in sanding down the coats and clears to make it perfect and then they polish it to get the shine. Sanding only gives you the base for the polish to achieve the shine. 

BK

On the bench: Alot !

On Deck: Alot more !

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Detroit
Posted by garylee on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 11:19 AM

You definitely have to have good body work in order to get a good paint finish. Kind of like building a house, if you don't get the foundation just right everything that follows will be off as well. Now, the color you decide to paint the vehicle can also make a big difference. There's even a saying in the auto body industry, If it ain't right, paint it white. Black and silver are probably the hardest colors to get a perfect paint job with.

Detroit, where the weak are killed and eaten. Bwahahaha

  • Member since
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  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 1:26 PM

That's why I build mostly tanks and fighters.  No gloss finishes, except when I apply decals.  No big seam filling.  Flat finnishing.  I've done one car for a friend, 20 years ago, that's it for me.  I had one little cat hair that landed on the finish, and after much wet sanding with extra, extra sanding I got the plastic kit looking good.  My buddy just put it on the back shelf of a case, and that was that.  I'm back to tanks.

  • Member since
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Posted by BrandonK on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 3:18 PM

That's very true, tankboy. If you don't like what you are doing you won't find youself doing it for long. In the end if you don't enjoy the work to get that perfect finish you probably won't be building cars for too long.

BK

On the bench: Alot !

On Deck: Alot more !

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 3:28 PM

Or build weathered race cars, rusty junks or demolition derby cars ;)

Thanks,

John

Ain't no reason to hang my head, I could wake up in the mornin' dead 

  • Member since
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  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:24 PM

The orange peel on my finishes are VERY light and are removed by the Novus as the paint can be seen on the t shirt after polishing an area.  It takes time and patience to rub the paint out, each time changing sections on the t shirt to keep a clean polishing cloth. The only times I wet sand is if an area is very grainy or rough. It takes several coats to build up the paint thickness so some of it can be removed during the polishing step.

 

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:32 PM

tankboy51

That's why I build mostly tanks and fighters.  No gloss finishes, except when I apply decals.  No big seam filling.  Flat finnishing.  

 

True that. Armor Is great to work with specially easy to hide gaps and steps with pigments and weathering. Just throw some mud on that ugly gap and problem solved.  Wink

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 11:07 PM

It's not like the effort is really difficult, it is the subject.  I just don't care for cars, real or models.  I just see them as ways to get from point A to B somewhat quicker.  Car models are fun builds and I admire the artists who do them.  Now that said, I'm building now an ESCI 1/9 scale Kubelwagen. Go figure.  I just finished a old kit 1/35 of a DML Pzkfw III ausf G.  I've done it Panzer grey. 

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