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Tips on painting metallic colors?

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  • Member since
    December, 2017
Tips on painting metallic colors?
Posted by drumsfield on Friday, February 02, 2018 2:09 PM

My latest experience with maetallic color painting has been a lesson in frustration and persistence. I've been working with Alclad Polished aluminum.

I first lay down a nice glossy coat of Tamiya black, the first time I tried this technique I used Vallajo Black primer which is more of a matte black and ended up being a waste of $8 bottle of Alclad paint. So this time I got a nice shiny black base coat. I noticed some imperfections on the model so I go back to my bench and sand an polish those out as best I can and go over the spots with black again.

Frustration #1
No matter how well I sand and polish it is impossible to get a perfectly smooth surface all around. I realize next time I'll have to spend a LOT more time prepping or I'll expect the same results.

Next I apply a first coat of Tamiya Titanium Silver. This is a technique I first saw online on Youtube. To be honest, the Titanium Silver by itself looks really nice, but it wan't intended to be the final product. It's really intended to provide some aditional coverage since the Alclad is very thin and getting adequate coverage requires a lot of paint. I realized this after my first attempt when I used up an entire bottle of Alclad on a single model.

After laying down the Tamiya Silver I went over the entire model with the final coat of Alclad Polished Aluminum which gave it a little more of that "metallic" look, not that the Tamiya was bad, it just gives the model a little more tin-eyness if that's a word.

Frustration #2
All went well up until this point. I applied a clear coat and was ready to get to decalling when I start noticing small imperfections here and there. Usually dust spots and a small spot where thinner accidentally go on the wing. It stuck out like a sore thumb. I try to fix the spot by stripping some of paint around it and repaint the area again starting from gloss black. I've never had to paint shiny glossy models before so the more I did to it the more imperfections showed up. Long story short I ended up stripping the entire wing and painting it over again. All together I spent an extra 2 days working on the paint.

Frustration #3
So after thinking the painting was finally done, I procede to decalling. Everything pretty much goes as expected. I complete the decalling and wait for the decals to dry after using Micro Sol. The next day I notice dry spots all over the model, presumably from the Micro Sol or the adhesive from the decals. I get a wet towel and attempt to rub away the water marks but they just don't go away. No matter how much I rub and wait. They are somehow etched into the paint. So now I go back to my paint bench and start with black and spot paint all the water spots again.... At this point I'm so done with this model I just want to move on. 

Anyone have any pointers on any of the issues I've described? I'd really like to know how to handle this kind of painting a little better. I reallize I probably made a few mistakes because of not being patient, but a lot of it probably has to do with my inexperiernce.

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Friday, February 02, 2018 3:47 PM

I know that there are plenty of folks out there who recommend priming with products outside of the Alclad line, but that's never worked out well for me. If you follow their instructions to the letter and use what they recommend, it's a very easy system to use. 

Frustration 1: Any NMF finish demands excellent surface prep to be effective. Use a Micro Mesh sanding system for smoothing out the plastic, making sure to eliminate all traces of scratches and swirls. Paint doesn't hide sins - metallic paints just magnify the flaws. Back in the '90s, the rule of thumb was to go back over things with a plastic polish to get the plastic reflective. Once primed, any residual flaws can be further sanded and polished if needed. Use the Alclad gloss black undercoat (not a primer; this is a glossy black lacquer) and don't overcoat it with anything but Alclad when cured. 

Light coats are the key to this system. I've never used an entire bottle on a single model, including 1/32 scale. You may have used an unusual amount because you were trying to cover the Tamiya paint.

Used properly and by manufacturer recommendations, Alclad Polished Aluminum results in a mirrored finish that is highly reflective, but light coats are key. Too much paint takes away from that mirror finish, so know when to stop.

#2: Dust is a part of the game. Use the Micro Mesh to buff it out, or better still, put your freshly painted model in a sealed Tupperware storage box to keep out the dust while the paint dries and cures.

 

#3: Micro Sol is a mild acetic acid, but an acid nevertheless. Letting it dry on the surface of a metal finish gives it time to etch the paint. Once your decal is in place, clean up any excess running over your paint immediately with a wet towel or cotton buds. You want it solely on the surface of the decal, but not in big puddles. Think of it as akin to a clear paint - light coats, only over the decal, and clean it up before it has a chance to start etching. Most decals require only Micro Set, so be extra careful using the Sol.

HTH

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Friday, February 02, 2018 4:23 PM

Drumsfield,

I understand your frustration in trying to duplicate a real NMF by using paint. I gave that up years ago. The dust, fuzz, scratches and grit drove me nuts. I now use Bare Metal Foil to simulate a NMF finish. It looks like metal because it is metal.

  • Member since
    December, 2017
Posted by drumsfield on Friday, February 02, 2018 4:52 PM

KnightTemplar5150

I know that there are plenty of folks out there who recommend priming with products outside of the Alclad line, but that's never worked out well for me. If you follow their instructions to the letter and use what they recommend, it's a very easy system to use. 

Frustration 1: Any NMF finish demands excellent surface prep to be effective. Use a Micro Mesh sanding system for smoothing out the plastic, making sure to eliminate all traces of scratches and swirls. Paint doesn't hide sins - metallic paints just magnify the flaws. Back in the '90s, the rule of thumb was to go back over things with a plastic polish to get the plastic reflective. Once primed, any residual flaws can be further sanded and polished if needed. Use the Alclad gloss black undercoat (not a primer; this is a glossy black lacquer) and don't overcoat it with anything but Alclad when cured. 

Light coats are the key to this system. I've never used an entire bottle on a single model, including 1/32 scale. You may have used an unusual amount because you were trying to cover the Tamiya paint.

Used properly and by manufacturer recommendations, Alclad Polished Aluminum results in a mirrored finish that is highly reflective, but light coats are key. Too much paint takes away from that mirror finish, so know when to stop.

#2: Dust is a part of the game. Use the Micro Mesh to buff it out, or better still, put your freshly painted model in a sealed Tupperware storage box to keep out the dust while the paint dries and cures.

 

#3: Micro Sol is a mild acetic acid, but an acid nevertheless. Letting it dry on the surface of a metal finish gives it time to etch the paint. Once your decal is in place, clean up any excess running over your paint immediately with a wet towel or cotton buds. You want it solely on the surface of the decal, but not in big puddles. Think of it as akin to a clear paint - light coats, only over the decal, and clean it up before it has a chance to start etching. Most decals require only Micro Set, so be extra careful using the Sol.

HTH

 

Great advice. Thanks Smile

  • Member since
    December, 2017
Posted by drumsfield on Friday, February 02, 2018 4:54 PM

JohnnyK

Drumsfield,

I understand your frustration in trying to duplicate a real NMF by using paint. I gave that up years ago. The dust, fuzz, scratches and grit drove me nuts. I now use Bare Metal Foil to simulate a NMF finish. It looks like metal because it is metal.

 

I followed your thread on that plane. It's goregeous. I know I will be frustrated now, probably will take a break for a few weeks to gather mayself before moving forward. The stuff I'm learning on this forum has been priceless. Thanks. 

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Friday, February 02, 2018 5:31 PM

Give BMF a try on a P-47. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You have no idea what you are capable of unless you try.

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: Chicago, Illinois
Posted by Phil1947 on Friday, February 02, 2018 8:19 PM

Lesson learned, and by me the hard way, Never, and I mean never use Vallejo primer for ANYTHING as, in my inept experience, it's utter crap! I'm new to modeling after not having built anything in over 55 years so I hope you get things worked out smoothly. ;)

~I started out with nothing, and still have most of it.~

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