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How to tone down the brightness and off scale color of chrome pieces

7 replies
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  • Member since
    June, 2008
How to tone down the brightness and off scale color of chrome pieces
Posted by patton45 on Thursday, March 31, 2011 2:49 PM

It always appears to me that the chrome pieces for autos seem way too bright - the concept of scale color comes to mind, which is used a lot on aircraft kits.  eg. regular oiive drab out of the jar is fine for a 1/32 kit, but it needs to be lightened for a smaller scale kit to look right.


Was trying to think of some kind of finish that make the chrome look a little more realistic, like it needs some kind of bluing to tone it down a bit.


Anyone else notice this?  Ideas?



Tags: chrome
  • Member since
    April, 2006
Posted by Irish3335 on Thursday, March 31, 2011 2:53 PM

good thought, the chrome is definately too bright for scale - for grills a black was usually does the trick, and a flat clear can make a car look more road used - if you can get a flat clear to be more satin colored you could probably get right on the money (just bright enough to give the chrome look, but doesnt look like plastic) 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, April 01, 2011 9:00 AM

I don't think scale effect is a good idea. It is most applicable to small scale models that you view from a scale distance of hundreds of feet.  We generally don't view model cars from that far away.

Also, some chrome plating of kits looks, to me, a lot like fresh chrome.  I have seen some freshly chromed parts that looked fantastic.  There does seem to be a very slight bluish tinge to chrome compared to shiny aluminum, but getting that slight a tint would seem to be very difficult.

A bigger problem to me is the sprue attachment area which lacks plating after you remove the part from the sprue.  Some kit mfgs take good paints to make their attachment points where they do not show, but others don't worry about these attachment points.  So many of my friends strip the chrome, prime the parts and alclad them.  Personally I usually just touch up the spots with Floquil "Old Silver."  Only if the chrome is really bad will I do all the work of alclading.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by spadx111 on Friday, April 01, 2011 7:54 PM

Thanks Don i learned somthing today .


  • Member since
    August, 2007
  • From: Cape Town SA
Posted by Big Mike on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 7:13 AM

I dont like the kit crome, i strip it in some bleach and respray with Alclad crome witch is much better. or you can over spray the kit crome with some thinned down tamiya smoke that will tone down the crome. just my 2 cents

  • Member since
    June, 2006
Posted by KennyB on Saturday, April 09, 2011 9:17 PM

Big Mike said it all. The chrome parts in the kit give a toy like appearance. Strip the chrome and refinish with Alclad. You'll be amazed how good it will look.



  • Member since
    June, 2010
  • From: Australia
Posted by OctaneOrange on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 1:21 AM

most chrome paints look more like unpolished aluminium, i've not found a paint that can get close to shinyness required.

  • Member since
    January, 2007
Posted by the doog on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:38 PM

ALCLAD Chrome is the way to go.

These bumpers were all done with it.

Undercoat it with gloss black acrylic, and spray over it. Buff it out if you want to for a high shine, or leave be for a more muted flavor.


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