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PHOTOS RESTORED: Alclad2 Metalizing Quick Tips to help prevent headaches for metal finishing.

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PHOTOS RESTORED: Alclad2 Metalizing Quick Tips to help prevent headaches for metal finishing.
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 11:13 PM

Hi Crew,

Thank you to those that have been emailing me with questions regarding "stainless steel" and other natural metal finishes on rolling stock and scale vehicles.  Glad to see the interest is alive and well. 

With that said; I felt the need to, respectfully, touch on a few points for the modelers that are metalizing and have had issues. 

Based on questions I received and photos shared with me......here are 4 areas that, imho, constitute the majority of glitches with metalizing. 

1. Dirty or poorly cleaned surfaces. Guys, a quality metalizer reveals everything that you leave on a model's surface! After you paint strip a model...it's not yet ready for the airbrush! Even if you strip a shell with ELO, Kleen Strip, or 91% iso-alcohol, there may still be tiny paint flakes, acids, and other contaminants on the surface. After removing your shells from the paint stripping agent, WASH them properly and slowly. Dawn or Ivory liquid in warm water works well. Don't rush, take your time. Make sure that your hands are clean and oil free. If you have sweaty palms, use latex gloves.

Here I've stripped a Walthers shell for a friend and am washing it in warm, soapy water. I slowly scrubbed it with a clean cotton cloth in lanolin free soap. Afterwards, it was rinsed under running water. After checking for leftover paint chips, I performed the surface "squeak test" with a finger while still wet. If any part of your shell's surface feels slimy and doesn't squeak, the shell should be scrubbed and rinsed again. After the "squeak test" I wash the shell to make sure any oils from my fingers are off of the surface. Time well spent. Next, I handle the shell(s) wearing latex or nitrile gloves.

Before spraying, final wipe with a lint free cloth, very slightly moistened with either Windex or 70% iso-alcohol. The 2nd photo shows a shell after the application of the gloss gray basecoat color foundation. Notice that I'm shining the LED flashlight on a flat panel to see how smooth and wet the paint appears on the surface. If I find noticeable mistakes, I can fix them once the primer-basecoat dries.

     

2. Dirty airbrush! I helped a friend a while back with this. It's professionally recommended that airbrushes be disassembled and cleaned after EVERY job. HOWEVER, many of us don't do that. We simply load the cup or jar with thinner or alcohol and flush it out. I'm guilty of doing that occasionally when performing back-to-back jobs with solid colors.  HOWEVER, When it comes to metalizers, whether Alclad2, Kosutte Gin, ALSA, or Extreme Metal, a clean airbrush is critical for the job! Don't be lazy. Take the time to clean the airbrush. In addition to clean cloths, invest in cleaning brushes. They available at Harbor freight for just a few dollars. In time cleaning becomes 2nd nature and can be properly performed in just a few minutes. 



3. Basecoat Color Foundation too dull and/or rough.

Remember: Metalizers reflect their foundation. If your basecoat is rough, dry, or "orange-peely", then your metalizer will appear likewise. Guys, you've got to put that basecoat on WET! In your mind, you want that gray foundation to look slick and smooth.

Just before applying paint to the surface of any model, I perform a "test spray" on a practice piece, usually a compact disk, soda can, or in this case, the lid to a peanut can (which I washed and scrubbed with soap). After mixing the gray, I test sprayed this lid. Upon inspection, I noticed that it appeared smooth but very dull. I decreased my air pressure slightly and slowed my stroke speed. This time, it looked much better! Notice that in the photo you can see my cell phone's reflection in the lid. That's the type of basecoat finish that you want for your shell.

Remember, don't basecoat your shell until your paint appears wet and slick on your test panel. By testing you can determine if you need to thin your paint more, increase/decrease distance or stroke speed, or see if the airbrush or compressor has any problems.

     

Guys, I experienced these same problems myself when I started years back. I had to discipline myself to slow down and "enjoy the ride". That's why I listen to smooth jazz music as I work.

4. Clearcoat/Sealer applications - Whether you use the Alclad2 Clears or Future, don't pile it on. Apply your clearcoat thin and medium wet. 2 thin wet coats recommended. Again, test your pattern on a test piece. Make sure things go on smoothly on that panel first.

Side Note: I realize many modelers are on a budget, but if you can afford it, purchase an airbrush that will be dedicated for clear coating only. It's a time saver and the possibility of a tiny piece of a color paint chip, that was stuck inside of your airbrush, landing squarely on your beautifully clear coated surface is eliminated.

I understand if there is some disagreement on some of my steps, which is fine. But I hope that this is helpful and am looking forward to seeing some "Clean Steel" related threads in the near future!

High Greens Cool


"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by Paul3 on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 11:29 PM

Antonio,
The importance of keeping one's airbrush clean cannot be overstated.  I always totally clean it after every use...and every color.  A friend of mine thought that just running through some cleaner through a brush after only spraying clear finish would be okay.  He was wrong.  He ended up buying a new airbrush after that fiasco.

Paul A. Cutler III

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Posted by G Paine on Thursday, July 9, 2015 8:33 AM

I agree, it is surprising how much paint sticks to the needle after running clear solvent through the air brush. Also that little drop of solvent that often remins at the end of the nozzle. I sight through against a white paper towel. If it does not show clean and shiney, I blow theough it to clear it away. That last drop may contain particles that could clog things up on the next use.

I need to check on thise tiny wire brushes....

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, July 9, 2015 12:09 PM

Airbrush cleanliness plays an important part in getting a good finish and predictable results.
I do a full disassembly and cleaning after every session, although when painting with multiple colours in succession, a shot of  thinner between colour changes works fine if you've planned the order of colour useage properly.
For cleaning, I use lacquer thinner regardless of the paint type used:  a good shot through the brush, then all small parts (tip, aircap, and aircap body in lacquer thinner in the paint cup - I never use the cup for painting, as it's too small for most jobs and only becomes another thing to need cleaning.  For the airbrush shell itself and the rocker assembly, the tip of a pipe cleaner dipped in lacquer thinner, then pushed/pulled completely through all passages does the trick.  The needle gets wiped with lacquer thinner on a rag. 
Airbrush cleaning should be done as soon as you've finished painting - even before removing masking tape from items just painted.

Wayne

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Friday, July 10, 2015 7:04 AM

Hi guys,

Agreed 100%.

For modelers that are on tight budgets, Harbor Freight carries airbrush cleaning-brushes for $2.00!  These are soft bristle units that work well.

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-pc-airbrush-cleaning-brushes-68155.html

Word of caution:

Some airbrush users like to use brass cleaning brushes, also available in small sizes. Usually sold in welding supply and hardware stores. Be careful with these. They work but, don't be "brutal". Brasswire brushes can gouge the inside of your airbrush's body, nozzle, or tip surfaces, which can lead to airflow performance issues. If you feel that you must use a brass brush for an extreme case, be gentle.    

I've read/heard that some modelers are curious about airbrushing but are intimitaded by the maintenance aspect.  No need to be guys. Imho, it's no more difficult than properly flossing and brushing your teeth.

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, July 10, 2015 8:13 AM

All very true!!!
 
I too clean my airbrush by complete disassembly after each use, even between colors.  For solvent type paints I have found that a complete disassembly only takes seconds and by dropping the parts into a clean 2 oz paint bottle ¾ full of Acetone, screwing on a lid and giving it a quick shake for 5 seconds then a quick dry on a paper towel followed by reassembly and air flow through the brush works very good for me.  The whole process takes less than a minute and keeps the airbrush working perfectly.  
 
I haven’t had any problems with my airbrushes or painting since I went to that process about 5 years ago.  Another thing I learned by experience is when I changed over to Tru-Color Paints and started using 3M Scotch-Blue Delicate Surface Painters Tape #2080 EL it stops bleeding.
 
I also found out I can remove the tape as soon as I finished cleaning my airbrush without dinging the new or old paint.  That really speeds up the painting process.
 
Mel
 
 
Modeling the SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
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Posted by chutton01 on Friday, July 10, 2015 8:57 AM

RR_Mel
Another thing I learned by experience is when I changed over to Tru-Color Paints and started using 3M Scotch-Blue Delicate Surface Painters Tape #2080 EL it stops bleeding.

On this topic, how does the Delicate Surface Painters tape compare in tackiness to regular blue 3M Painters tape - Is it much less tacky? Or green FrogTape tape? Or the old standard, Tamiya masking tape?

I remember what seems only a few years ago (but reality was 2 decades ago, when all I had was tacky-as-heck all purpose tan masking tape, and sticking and pulling that off a pane of glass over and over to reduce the tackiness..

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Saturday, July 11, 2015 7:48 PM

Hi Chuton,

From my understanding, the Scotch DSP tape you're referring to works well for smooth surfaces but not likely ideal if you're masking off irregular surfaces, such as hood locomotives where there are raised panels to deal with. I've used the FROG Tape, which is similar.  

I still have FROG tape. Adheres nicely, but I use it for passenger cars since the areas being masked are smooth surfaces.

Going with Tamiya or 3M's automotive tapes are reliable routes to take.

 

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Saturday, July 11, 2015 10:19 PM

The value of simple test panels:



I mentioned that, imho, it's important to test your paint on something immediately before you start to spray your model. Rather than test your paint on paper, you will get a more realistic picture of what your results will look like when testing on a more rigid surface.

Although I've used discarded loco/rolling stock shells, I only had about 8 junker shells. So after accumulating so many layers of test paint on each shell, I either had to sand them down or toss them. Eventually it dawned on me to utilize easily obtainable materials as well.

Test Panel Sources:

PLASTIC LIDS.  For the past 2 years I've been buying canned nut mixes at the supermarket. On one occasion as I was about to toss out the empty can, the glossy surface of the lid caught my eye. I realized "Hey! Test fodder!" (BTW: these are the same type of lids also used on coffee cans).  I now save the lids. After a quick soapy wash in the kitchen sink, they're squeaky clean.

Compact Discs. For those of you with kids in school, or that have connections with a school or college: Talk to teachers! You'd be surprised how many CD's teachers accumulate over the years. As computer technology is continually updated, a lot of older classroom lessons on CDs  no longer work with newer computer programs. They may sit on shelves or inside of file cabinets for a few years until teachers finally toss them during a cleanup. You have nothing to lose in asking!

I've accumulated a collection of Windows 95, 98 and Windows XP era CD's along with peanut and tea can lids. Cost: ZERO. 

The highly reflective surfaces of CD's and the above-mentioned lids are excellent for testing any paint products. Makes it so easy to determine if you need to make adjustments to your airbrush handling (stroke, distance, speed, air pressure, angle).

In a nutshell, NO EXCUSES.....we have plenty of access to test panels!

  

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 7:07 AM

I was asked about the following and was going to post it on a future thread, but I'll post here instead:

It is not necessary to use a Dual Action airbrush to apply Metalizers.  A quality single action airbrush will work just fine!

I wasn't exaggerating when I stated that natural metal finishes are easy to apply.

High Greens. Wink 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, July 26, 2015 11:07 PM

Hey guys, I thought it was better to post the following here instead of on a new thread.

For Paasche' V and VL airbrush owners:

A modeler (Yahoo Passenger Car List Forum member) was frustrated with a spitting/sputtering issue with his Paasche' VL airbrush. Stated he thins his paints well and thoroughly cleans his airbrush.

I had him use his airbrush wrench to check if the Air Cap Body (See Photo) was tightened snuggly (not over-tigtened). He noticed that it did turn slightly. He then test-sprayed it and......TOUCHDOWN! He was relieved that the airbrush was atomizing smoothly again!



This is common with the V-series and there's nothing wrong. The ACB can't just be hand-tightened. Otherwise it may leak just enough air through the threads to make the airbrush spit like a one year old baby that's teething. If you don't have the airbrush wrench on hand or lost it, a 7/16" open end wrench will fit. Tighten gently, don't overtighten Cool

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Saturday, February 8, 2020 8:23 PM

Hi Crew,

Hoping you don't mind.

Like my other "Photobucket" loaded threads, this one also had the photos blurred out. I've restored the photos and hope that the info is still relevant and helpful. Big Smile

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by deckroid on Saturday, February 8, 2020 8:31 PM

Antonio,

I am finding your posts very helpful! I am still playing and testing my airbrush techniques but I plan on posting some updates to my RDC build. I have had some... uh... setbacks, but that's all part of the "fun"!  I love my new Iwata Neo CN... just wish I was a bit better at the air pressure/distance dance.

 

George

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, February 8, 2020 9:59 PM

George, a good test for distance and air pressure settings is one of Paasche's exercises in their instructions which came with my VL.

I picked-up a few cardboard boxes from the supermarket, then broke them down into flat panels, using the inner side, with no printing, as a test area.

The first exercise was to create dots, as small and perfectly round as you can make them.  Once you've mastered that, the second step was to connect the dots with lines, as straight and thin as you can make them.
 
It took me some time, but I was eventually able to make a grid which looked like it had been done with a pen or pencil, using a straightedge.  I doubt that I could duplicate it nowadays.

Obviously, you can vary the distance from which you spray, but for air pressures, it's a good idea to go to the paint manufacturer's web site, where you'll find suggested pressures and useful info on thinning their particular paints for optimal results.

Wayne

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