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Monday, 27 January 2014

Model Tips for Beginners - Part 2

Previously we did a Blog on  Basic Tips For Model Building for beginners that takes you step by step through some basic steps on building a model kit.  

The following are some questions that some of you, our customers, have asked either through email, social media or here at our store.  If we haven't answered your question, please send us an email or come down and see us here at Chinook & Hobby West!

Make sure to check out Part 1 from last week:


What type of paint is best to use?
There are dozens of different paints sold in hobby and craft stores, hardware stores, and chain stores. We generally suggest that you try to stay with paint made specifically for plastic models. Most hobby paints will be either:
  • Enamel, which you will need to use paint thinner or turpentine to clean your brushes and equipment, or
  • Acrylic, which is water based so water will clean brushes and equipment.
You must clean the unpainted plastic parts prior to painting because paint may not adhere to the parts otherwise. This will remove the oily mold release spray that is added during manufacturing. To clean, put a few drops of a liquid dish or hand soap on an old toothbrush and give the parts a quick scrubbing. Let the parts air dry.
Many modelers like to use spray paints for the largest parts of their model, such as car bodies or aircraft fuselages because sprays will provide a better finish. Usually smaller detail parts are painted with a brush using bottled paints.
Some general guidelines when using sprays are:
  • Use a coat of primer before spraying on your paint. Some paints may "craze" or attack the plastic surface depending on the paint's ingredients.
  • Don't attempt to cover the part with one coat of paint. You want to spray several very light coats to build up the coverage. Paint coats that are too heavy cause runs and loss of engraved detail. Follow the directions on the can, but generally you'll want to wait 15-20 minutes between paint coats.
  • It's best to stick with the same manufacturer for the different types of paints you use on the same model (primer, color and clear, if you use a clear coat). Putting one manufacturer's paints over another may cause them to react with each other.
  • Let the paint dry completely before handling or trying to polish out the paint. Although it may seem dry on the surface, a good way to tell if the paint is fully cured is to hold the model up to your nose, if you can still smell the paint, it's probably not dry yet.
Why can't I find colors like fiery yellows and leafy greens in paints?
There are a variety of manufacturers that make an almost universal variety of paint colors that are compatible with plastic models. Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Floquil and Badger are just some of the companies you may want to check out. Rust-O-Leum is also safe because it is fish oil based, but always test first to be sure.
Don't be afraid to look in military, automotive, marine or any other category for paint. It's the color that counts, not the name on the bottle.
How can I fix a mistake in my paint job?
Your model should be quite salvageable. First thing, do NOT use sandpaper. There are a number of products that will remove most paints from styrene plastic safely. We recommend using products made specifically for this purpose, such as Scale Coat or Easy Lift Off by Floquil. Once you have stripped the paint from your model, wash and dry it thoroughly and re-prime. You should be good to go!

Why do I sometimes get bubbles in my paint?
There are a number of possibilities that could cause bubbles in your paint, but one of the most common is residual mold release left from the manufacturing process. Before painting any model, wash it with dish soap and dry thoroughly. Be sure to prime your model before painting so any imperfections may be resolved before applying your finish coat.
Is it better to paint the model before or after it's built?
Generally, you will have better results by painting your model before assembling it. An exception is to first glue together small parts of an assembly if they will all be the same color and painting it as a unit.

Decals: Types & Application

How do I apply decals?
Revell SnapTite® (Skill Level 1) kits contain "Peel 'n Stick" self-adhesive decals that are applied by simply peeling the image from the paper backing and applying to the model. Kits that require glue (Skill Levels 2 & 3) have traditional waterslide decals.
To apply a waterslide decal:
  • Cut apart the individual images from the sheet.
  • Dip the decal into lukewarm water for 1 or 2 minutes. Take the decal from the water and see if the image will move or slide on the paper backing. If not, return to the water for a few more seconds.
  • Once the decal will slide on the backing, put the decal and backing on a paper towel for a few seconds to remove the excess water.
  • Then bring the decal up to where on the model you want to apply it and slide the image from the paper backing onto the model. While wet, you can still move the image on the model a bit to position it just where you want it. If there are any air bubbles under the decal, gently push the bubble toward one of the edges of the decal with a wet Q-tip or edge of a paper towel to remove it.
  • When the decal is in position, simply leave it air dry and it will stay in place.
Many hobby shops will sell various decal setting solutions that will help the decal conform to sharply curved surfaces. We suggest trying out the specific solution you wish to use on an unused decal from the same sheet applied to a piece of scrap plastic to make sure the solution will not react with the decal. If you wish to spray a clear coat over your decals, the clear paint you intend on using should be tested first using the same method.

I am a first-time model maker and am having difficulty removing the decals from the page to apply to model. Do you have any suggestions for application?
Decals should be dipped in lukewarm water for only a moment and then set on a paper towel to let the water soak in and dissolve the adhesive that holds the decal on the paper. The decal will curl up, and then unroll after a short time. At this point the decals should be able to be moved around on the backing paper and slid into location on the model. Once in place they can be dabbed with the tip of a paper towel or tissue to soak up excessive water.

My model requires that I put the gas cap on before the decals. How are you supposed to fit the decals over the gas cap?
The best way to do it would be to apply the decals first, and then with a sharp hobby knife make an "X" pattern hole in the decal and then install the gas cap.
For a tutorial on putting on very small decals Click Here

Replacement Parts

I bought a very old kit from a garage sale, at a swap meet, or on Ebay. Do you still have parts and decals for it?
Although we do our best to fulfill requests for missing parts, many of the kits available through collectors or other independent sources were released many decades ago. These kits can make wonderful collector's items, but it is unlikely that we will still have parts for them.
If this is the case, you might want to contact another collector through an online forum. Collectors will sometimes seek out multiple copies of the same kit so they can combine them and have one complete kit with some extra parts. You may be able to arrange a swap or purchase that way.
We usually suggest that you try going directly to the manufacturer of the model kit.

Why do models sometimes look different on the box than what's in the kit?
Although manufacturers try to make sure that the box art represents the actual model kit, in some instances there may be small variations in what is shown. Sometimes, the hand-made master model is used for the box art photo because the actual kit production hasn't been completed. Or, the producer of the actual prototype may make changes after the model tooling is committed for production. In either case, the differences will be subtle and will not affect the overall model kit subject.


We hope that we have been able to answer some of your questions.  Please let us know what you think of our blogs. We love to hear from you.

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