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Building & Painting White Metal Models

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  • Member since
    June, 2008
Building & Painting White Metal Models
Posted by georgeshaeffer on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:44 PM

I finally found and purchased one of my "holy grail" kits - a 1960 MGA 1600 by South Eastern Finecast. It is the first car I ever owned and this is the only good model of it in 1/24 scale. My problem is that it's made out of white metal and I've never built a white metal model before. This kit has been OOP for a long time and very expensive. I certainly don't want to screw it up.

I've purchased a few 1/43 practice kits from eBay, but I need some kind of reference book, etc., on how to build a white metal model.

How do I clean it properly before I start to work on it? What is the correct body putty? JB Weld? How smooth do I need to get the body before painting it? Which primer should I use? Which adhesive should I use to attach the small parts? CA? What kind of color coat paint? What kind of clear coat? Is white glue still the best adhesive for the clear parts?

In short, how do you build a white metal model, start to finish?

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 4:02 PM

I have only used white metal tank tracks and white metal figures,I cleaned them with acetone and rinsed with water.I glued the figures using CA or super glue.I prime them with regular rattkecan primer like Mr Surfacer 1200 or Tamiya Extra Fine.

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 5:28 PM

Just as with plastic, start with a good wash of the parts with soapy water. While most white metal is cast using talcum powder to keep the pieces from sticking to the mold, some companies use silicon sprays as a release and this can leave a residue behind that may foul a finish.

Use files and sandpaper to prep the parts. Parting lines from the molds may be stubborn, but just go at it as you would a plastic piece. Assemble with your choice of either CA glue or epoxy. Depending on the composition of the "white metal", you can also solder pieces together with an oxy-acetylene torch; soldering irons are not the tool for this job, but this would be more appropriate for pewter than pot metal compositions.

Use a primer that is geared towards metal for best results. I use an automotive spray primer in a rattle can and it works beautifully. Any standard modelling putty works fine for correcting flaws or filling gaps. Paint and finish as normal. Treat it like any other model and use the paint and sealer you normally use. Make it as smooth as you like - just like you would with plastic.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, July 09, 2017 11:37 AM

I pretty much agree with KT.  However, I have never soldered these kits- I find the CA or epoxy works well enough.  Also, I'd say auto primer is nit just best, it is the only one I use.  I used to use zinc chromate before that was ruled off the shelves, now it is a trip to auto parts stores to get primer.  And- I use it on my plastic models as well.

I find some die cast metal kits tend to have more flash and other flaws in the surface.  I use needle file for cleanup, and it works far better than sandpaper on metal kit parts.  But, again, I also use the files on plastic models.  The only sandpaper I use is fine wet or dry paper for sanding between paint coats.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 4:12 PM

Hi George !

 Listen .You work on this just like a real automobile . Sand out the imperfections and clean with a real car - Pre - Surfacer - Then Prime at a ratio of three parts primer to Six parts primer OR use Rustoleum , lt. Grey right out of the can .

 If you can't get pre - Surfacer , wipe the body with Lacquer thinner and then wash with Dawn and warm water .Let air dry under some kind of cover that clears it all the way around ( like a plastic cake cover ) . Then take out when dry , use a Tack Rag lightly , and spray your color out of a spray can or air - brush . 


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