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Alclad Natural Metal Finish with Low Effort and Low Expectations

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  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 9:05 PM

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks again for your encouragement.  There were times where I was getting discouraged, but I tried to hang in there.  Patience is not one of my virtues lol.  And thanks for your comments on the cowls, I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  Tbh I didn't see this on any of the photos I looked at, I'm not sure if real Lightnings have this type of staining.  But I used my imaginiation and just added stuff until it had the look I wanted.  I am looking forward to building on what I learned.

I think you are right, I shouldn't worry too much about the raised panel lines.  I will focus on washes and post shading.  I heard of pin washes, maybe I will try that.

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 8:44 PM

Hi Eaglecash867, I muist admit I never knew about the Sea Fury.  But I read some articles and what a plane!  Fastest single-engine piston fighter, 460 mph, 100 deg/sec roll rate, 4500 ft/min climb.  Too late for WW2, but went against Mig-15's in Korea and shot some down.

Thanks for the compliment.  I get a lot of enjoyment from weathering and replicating that "workhorse" look.  I found a photo of an extremely "workhorse" Thud that I will use as a guide for my next build, but I don't think I'll go to that level.  That's one of the biggest cannon gunpowder stains I have ever seen, and behind that it looks like some huge staining from ejecting shell caases or hydraulic fluid leaks from the vulcan.  And the lower fuselage is filthy.  If planes ccould talk, imagine the war stories this plane could tell.

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  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 3:47 PM

burrito king

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the compliment! I will never match the level of detail and precision I see in the other builds here. But I am trying to find a good balance between decent build quality, my limited skills, and limited time and budget. I think my next NMF will be a P-47. I am looking forward to applying some of the lessons I learned with this P-38.

Just maybe this thread might ecourage other newbies to try regular alclad. It's not as difficult as it seems when reading other threads and articles. Just try it, and be ready to learn from mistakes and make adjustments. And be ready to accept less than perfect results ;)

On deck I have a 1/48 F-105D from Revell with raised panel lines. Nothing special about this build, just standard SEA camo. So I don't plan on starting a thread with this one. Maybe if I find a good way to deal with the raised panel lines.

Take care, and thanks again for looking.

 

Hey you have a new starting point for your future builds. And what I like best is you worked through the challenges and ended up with a nice build with very decent paint work. I was pleasantly taken back when I saw your used airplane look and the weathered look around the cowls.  You will only build on what you've learned. Thumbs up !

On the raised panel line build maybe don't worry too much about the lines but rather concentrate faintly on the panels themselves and let the lines be as they may. Or maybe more seasoned raied line airplane builders can help you out here, the last 105 I built I was 12, now 73 lol.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 10:42 AM

I was involved recently in a restoration project on a 1:1 Hawker Sea Fury, and I have to say that you pretty much nailed the bare aluminum "workhorse" look with your Lightning.  Nice work!

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

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 10:21 AM

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the compliment! I will never match the level of detail and precision I see in the other builds here. But I am trying to find a good balance between decent build quality, my limited skills, and limited time and budget. I think my next NMF will be a P-47. I am looking forward to applying some of the lessons I learned with this P-38.

Just maybe this thread might ecourage other newbies to try regular alclad. It's not as difficult as it seems when reading other threads and articles. Just try it, and be ready to learn from mistakes and make adjustments. And be ready to accept less than perfect results ;)

On deck I have a 1/48 F-105D from Revell with raised panel lines. Nothing special about this build, just standard SEA camo. So I don't plan on starting a thread with this one. Maybe if I find a good way to deal with the raised panel lines.

Take care, and thanks again for looking.

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, November 20, 2023 5:48 AM

IMO it looks great ! Congrats !

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Sunday, November 19, 2023 11:55 PM

Finally finished my first NMF plane using alclad.  Here are my main takeaways for regular alclad finishes.  I know polished finishes are a completely different animal.

  1. Surface finish is important, but not to the level of highly polished finishes.  Don't need 3000 micromesh finish with gloss black primer.  1000 grit with rattle can primer should be fine for regular alclad.
  2. Although imperfections in the putty and sanding will show up, it isn't too difficult to get a decent surface.
  3. Spraying alclad over a light colored primer requires fewer passes and is easier to get good coverage. Unless I am trying for a deeply polished finish, I think I prefer white or light gray primer for alclad.
  4. Spray the alclad straight from the bottle at 15-20 psi.  For me having the airbrush 2 inches away had the best results.  Any further caused a rough and grainy finish, possibly because the alclad was drying before it hit the surface. Once I figured out the right distance, spraying alclad is pretty easy. And airbrush cleanup is also very easy. I really enjoyed spraying the alclad.
  5. Preshading some panels to get shade variations did not give me the results I wanted.  I ended up masking over the alclad and mixing with dark aluminum and burnt metal to get different variations.  Gotta go easy on the tinting to avoid having overly dark panels.
  6. Washes, post-shading, pencils, and makeup style Tamiya weathering all gave good results over the alclad.  I got the effect I wanted, a veteran bird with many sorties and quick turnaround between sorties.  I tried not to overdo the weathering.

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  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Saturday, November 4, 2023 12:00 AM

I remasked and repainted the odd panels.  I am happy with the improvement.  Thanks, Pawel for the comment!

Before

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  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Thursday, November 2, 2023 4:54 PM

Pawel

Hello!

I think in the "top" shots the "odd" panels are too "in your face". I like the effect in the photo from the side very much though! Thanks for sharing and have a nice day

Paweł

 

Hi Pawel, I agree 100% the odd panels are too prominent. I was hoping the lazy approach with an airbrush dusting with light gray would tone them down. But I think I will just remask the odd panels and go over them with a lighter metallic shade. Thanks for the feedback and have a nice day also :)

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Thursday, November 2, 2023 4:46 PM
Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the compliment! I had a lot of information and helpful hints from you and the other master builders on this forum. It was really helpful, and I am very thankful for all the information.
  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Thursday, November 2, 2023 3:33 PM

Hello!

I think in the "top" shots the "odd" panels are too "in your face". I like the effect in the photo from the side very much though! Thanks for sharing and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, November 2, 2023 3:02 PM

burrito king

Hi oldermodelguy, I plan to use a lot of craft acrylics in my builds, so these tips will be really helpful.  Almost done with the P-38, got it dirtied up and dulled down.  Just a few more washes, some light dusting with the airbrush for more oxidation, then do the props and canopy.  My alclad skills need a lot of work, but I think I did ok for my first try. With minimal surface prep and cheap primer.  Thanks everyone for looking, and for all the tips and encouragement.

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What you've done is certainly better than my first efforts for sure, keep going !

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Thursday, November 2, 2023 12:41 AM

Hi oldermodelguy, I plan to use a lot of craft acrylics in my builds, so these tips will be really helpful.  Almost done with the P-38, got it dirtied up and dulled down.  Just a few more washes, some light dusting with the airbrush for more oxidation, then do the props and canopy.  My alclad skills need a lot of work, but I think I did ok for my first try. With minimal surface prep and cheap primer.  Thanks everyone for looking, and for all the tips and encouragement.

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  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Sunday, October 29, 2023 5:31 AM

burrito king

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the tip for the Liquitex Retarder Fluid.  I checked on Amazon, they have Slow-Dri Fluid Retarder for $5.09 for a 4 fl oz bottle.  I will be using a lot of craft acrylics in the future so I ordered the bottle.  I reduced my detergent to one drop and it works great.  Thanks for the tips and the encouragement!

 

That's the right stuff and that's also a good price for the Liquitex..

The dish soap is something I take a mixing stick, add a film to the end of the stick and put that into 3oz of reducer. When I lightly shake my reducer I get a slight foaming. And in thinning my craft paint with that I find it sufficient. You can also use a drop of glycerin, which I'm pretty sure is the main ingredient in the commercial flow aids. Personally I find the dish soap sufficient for my needs. I just don't use more than I have to. And everyones kitchen has it lol ! Dish soap in acrylic paint is very old school but if it works so be it I feel. And it works for me.

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Sunday, October 29, 2023 1:25 AM

Hi Tanker-Builder, thanks for the compliments.  I am adding stains and other weathering.  Once everything is done, I will look at it as a whole and start toning down things as necessary.  Here is one of the engines, I am trying to create the airplane version of the "thousand yard stare".  In my imagination, this engine has been run to its limits in desprate battles of survival against equally desparate enemies.

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  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Sunday, October 29, 2023 1:15 AM

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the tip for the Liquitex Retarder Fluid.  I checked on Amazon, they have Slow-Dri Fluid Retarder for $5.09 for a 4 fl oz bottle.  I will be using a lot of craft acrylics in the future so I ordered the bottle.  I reduced my detergent to one drop and it works great.  Thanks for the tips and the encouragement!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, October 28, 2023 9:47 AM

Oh My!

         Now that's one shiny, Pretty Boidy! Have always always loved the D.C.-3 and all her iterations. My first airplane ride was in an American Airlines D.C.-3, from Buffalo N.Y. to Albany, N.Y. when a small child.  I have never forgotten that grand experience!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, October 28, 2023 9:43 AM

That is----

      Wow, talk about a pristine P-38! I bet when you tone the sharpness down a little, she's gonna look awesome!

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Saturday, October 28, 2023 3:50 AM

burrito king

I didn't like the presahded panels.  They looked like dark squares with silver paint on top, which makes sense because that's what they were.  So I decided to paint over them.  I wanted to avoid masking on top of the alclad, but I accepted the inevitable and used my 3M blue masking tape.  There were no issues with the alclad getting pulled off.  I got craft metallic acrylic from Michael's, they had a 40% off deal so I got two bottles for $3.00.  I mixed them with various combinations of acrylic black and/or raw umber to get different shades.  I used my airbrush, it had a tendency to clog unless I got the thinning just right.  I'm still navigating the learning curve, but eventually I got decent results.  They are a bit too prominent right now, but I will try to tone them down during final weathering.

I applied panel line and rivet wash using raw umber acrylic thinned with water and a few drops of detergent.  Next steps are to apply panel line post shading, exhaust and oil stains, and dry brushing.

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You can make up a basic thinner for spraying those acrylic artist and craft paints. And in it, if you add 8 drops of Liquitex Retarder Fluid ( don't mistake the retarder medium for the fluid, while medium will work the fluid works much better in the airbrush), anyway 8 drops for every 3oz of thinner you make up or have if using commercial thinner. That will stop your tip dry issues unless in a really dry climate then up that to 10 drops for every 3oz.. The time to buy the acrylic products is on those 40% off sales at Micheals for sure, or you can sign up for coupons. 20% off the entire purchase is common as well.

You don't need multi drops of dish soap, just a very small amount will work and the paint integrity is stronger. But you're on the right track.I put less than a full drop in 3oz of thinner and that is enough to break surface tension of the airbrushed paint.

Anyway it looks like you're winning the battle. Keep at it !

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Saturday, October 28, 2023 2:26 AM

My goal was to convince myself (and maybe other beginners) that natural metal finish using alclad, although challenging, can be done with minimal skill and basic equipment.  The results will not blow your mind, but I think it is good enough for many models and skill levels.  There is a lot of great information out there, but imo the sheer mass and complexity of the info can be intimidating to beginners.  But fear not, I think you can get decent results with a lot less skill and effort.  Here are my takeaways for regular metal finish, not high shine polished finish.

  1. Surface prep is important, but it doesn't have to be perfect unless you want a highly polished surface, using the high shine alclad products.  I can see areas where I applied plutty, and other areas where my sanding wasn't up to par.  But for this model I could live with it.  I didn't worry about fingerprints, dust, etc.  I used regular sandpaper from Walmart and Amazon, not Micromesh.  I think sanding the plastic with 1000 grit before prmiing is good enough for non polished finishes.
  2. A high quality primer is not necessary for regular finish.  I think flat or gloss white is a good primer color, provided you don't want a deep polished finish where high quality gloss black is required.  I think sanding the primered surface with 3000 grit is a good step.
  3. I got best results sparying the alcald at 15 psi in thin coats around 2 inches from the model.  The gray primer required a lot of coats to get good coverage.  I think the white primer would be easier to cover.  My test sprays on white styrene sheet came out super smooth and satiny.  My P-38 is grainy, but I think I can do better on the next one.
  4. The alclad is easy to spray and goes on smooth with decent surface prep and proper spraying technique.  The alclad is easy to clean from the airbrush.  I have no complaints about the alcald itself.
  5. I got poor results with preshading the panels.  I willl use post shading for panel variation on future models.  Acrylic metallic craft paints thinned with water or IPA worrks good for this.
  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Saturday, October 28, 2023 1:54 AM

I didn't like the presahded panels.  They looked like dark squares with silver paint on top, which makes sense because that's what they were.  So I decided to paint over them.  I wanted to avoid masking on top of the alclad, but I accepted the inevitable and used my 3M blue masking tape.  There were no issues with the alclad getting pulled off.  I got craft metallic acrylic from Michael's, they had a 40% off deal so I got two bottles for $3.00.  I mixed them with various combinations of acrylic black and/or raw umber to get different shades.  I used my airbrush, it had a tendency to clog unless I got the thinning just right.  I'm still navigating the learning curve, but eventually I got decent results.  They are a bit too prominent right now, but I will try to tone them down during final weathering.

I applied panel line and rivet wash using raw umber acrylic thinned with water and a few drops of detergent.  Next steps are to apply panel line post shading, exhaust and oil stains, and dry brushing.

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  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, October 23, 2023 12:25 PM

burrito king

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the info. Based on this information, I will hold off on spending $100 on a new compressor with regulator and tank. I will focus on improving my technique, including mixing, speed of passes, and distance. I reworked the most grainy areas by polishing with 10,000 grit, applying a light coat of white acryllic I have laying around, then reapplying the alclad. Keeping the airbrush closer and reducing my trigger start-stops seems to help give a smoother finish. So now the overall finish has a nice improvement. Like most things, experience is the best teacher.

 

Yeah, With a 5 gal air tank I doubt you need the compressor to fix your problem. As I stated, as long as your air pressure can be set correctly and the flow even. In due time it might get to be a pain in the butt to keep airing it up, but that's a story all it's own not connected to the issue at hand..

I'm glad you found better results. Save your 100 buck for some good Tamiya LP lacquers or some other good products. Keep practicing !

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Monday, October 23, 2023 8:43 AM

Hi oldermodelguy, thanks for the info. Based on this information, I will hold off on spending $100 on a new compressor with regulator and tank. I will focus on improving my technique, including mixing, speed of passes, and distance. I reworked the most grainy areas by polishing with 10,000 grit, applying a light coat of white acryllic I have laying around, then reapplying the alclad. Keeping the airbrush closer and reducing my trigger start-stops seems to help give a smoother finish. So now the overall finish has a nice improvement. Like most things, experience is the best teacher.

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Sunday, October 22, 2023 4:57 PM

burrito king

Yesterday I sprayed the aclad regular aluminum alc-101.  The reuslts were mixed, below are my takeaways.

  1. there is a learning curve, and I have a way to go.
  2. i sprayed some test shots on a practice sheet of white styrene, it went on smooth and shiny, I thought I was good to go.
  3. On the model, I got a grainy surface.
  4. The gray primer required a lot of passes to get coverage.  Next time I will use white primer.
  5. The pre shaded panels were nicely visible from some angles, but not from others.  Preshade against a white background might give more conisstent results.
  6. I sprayed from too far, the aclad was drying before hitting the surface, which contributed to the grainy finish.  2 inches away seems to work best.
  7. My air supply consists of a tire filling air compressor I bought 10 years ago, a craftsman portable tank, and a $10 regulator from Harbor Freight.  Maybe I need an upgrade.
  8. I can spray acrylics really good.  I suck at spraying enamels and lacquers.

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I used just a portable air tank for airbrushing for years. Even today if I sprayed this afternoon I'd be using my 8 gal compressor. Just air it up ahead unplug it and move it to whereI need it. A glorified air tank is all. I can do a lot of spraying before the tank gets down to 35-40 lb or so where I'd air it back up to 125.

As to the regulator, as long as you can get the setting you want and intial pressure drop doesn't keep falling off while spraying you should be fine. By initial drop, I mean when you press the trigger there will be a drop at the regulator while the air is flowing ( usually 1-2 lb). As long as that initial drop holds steady you should get even flow if thinned right and pressure set right.

The rest is mixing the paint, speed of passes and distance. Don't confuse spoon tests with spraying a model. In most tests we spray a limited amount of paint over a small area. That is very different from spraying 12 times the area lol !

 

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Sunday, October 22, 2023 2:01 PM

Yesterday I sprayed the aclad regular aluminum alc-101.  The reuslts were mixed, below are my takeaways.

  1. there is a learning curve, and I have a way to go.
  2. i sprayed some test shots on a practice sheet of white styrene, it went on smooth and shiny, I thought I was good to go.
  3. On the model, I got a grainy surface.
  4. The gray primer required a lot of passes to get coverage.  Next time I will use white primer.
  5. The pre shaded panels were nicely visible from some angles, but not from others.  Preshade against a white background might give more conisstent results.
  6. I sprayed from too far, the aclad was drying before hitting the surface, which contributed to the grainy finish.  2 inches away seems to work best.
  7. My air supply consists of a tire filling air compressor I bought 10 years ago, a craftsman portable tank, and a $10 regulator from Harbor Freight.  Maybe I need an upgrade.
  8. I can spray acrylics really good.  I suck at spraying enamels and lacquers.

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  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 11:51 PM

cbaltrin

Looks good so far. I like your idea. Very interested to see how it turns out. 

 

Hi cbaltrin, thanks for the encouragement. Today I went over everything with 1000 grit, then 3000 grit, then a damp cloth wipe. Feels pretty smooth, but is it smooth enough?  Not expecting or wanting a polished or even semi-gloss finish. I'm hoping for a smooth satin. Tomorrow I'm going to make sure the panel lines are ok and rescribe as necessary. Hopefully spray the alclad this weekend.

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • From: Land of Lakes
Posted by cbaltrin on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 6:40 AM

Looks good so far. I like your idea. Very interested to see how it turns out. 

On the Bench: Too Much

  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 12:39 AM

Just about done with the preshading, just gotta do final sanding before spraying the alclad.  I am hoping to convey a beat up warhorse that has been patched up numerous times by whatever pieces the ground crew could scrounge between missions.  Trying to get that beat up effect without overdoing it.

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  • Member since
    June 2023
Posted by burrito king on Sunday, October 15, 2023 9:29 PM

Getting through the process of masking random panels and painting them with black primer to get tone variations of the alc-101.  Also sanding the primer to get a decently smooth satin finish.  The alclad website recommends sanding with 1000/1200 grit for regular (not high shine) finishes.  Some of the darkened panels were matched to actual photos, but most are not.  I'm just using my imagination to select which ones.

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