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First Build (Need some tips)


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#1 Mascot

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 07:52 AM

I just purchased a pretty simple pre-painted die cast model the other day. I put it together and it required no gluing so it was pretty easy. I'm now wanting to get something a little more difficult and detailed. I'll probably be building a 1:18 (or possibly 1:24), I just need to know exactly what I'm going to need for this, and if anyone has some good tips for a beginner. All help is appreciated!

Edited by Mascot, 07 October 2011 - 08:01 AM.


#2 Jantrix

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:16 AM

I wrote this up a year or so ago for a family member that was re-entering the hobby. The following are my opinions only and there are many schools of thought for most aspects of this hobby, so feel free to take advice that is contrary to mine, as it may work just fine for you.

Advice for the newbie.

Tools- Northern Tool and Harbor Freight. Tools are cheap and will last you a while. They have file sets, hobby knives, clamps, mini clips and other groovy stuff for very little expense. Sally’s Beauty supplies and other stores like it are great sources for sanding sticks. You’ll find them in the nail care area. They come in a variety of grits and are indispensable. Micro-Mark is the hobbiest’s best pal. The best source for tools and supplies.

Chrome remover. Got a piece you want painted instead of chrome? Household bleach will strip it in about 15 minutes.

Paint remover- screwed up the paint job? Get a gallon Tupperware container (shoe box size) and fill it with Super Clean or Purple Power. These are lye based solvents available in any auto parts store or the auto section of WalMart. Soak the parts for a couple days. Enamels and acrylics will come right off. Lacquers are a harder nut to crack. Sand through the dried paint to the primer layer in five or six spots and then soak. The lye will attack the primer layer beneath the paint and the lacquer will just slough off like a snake skin. Every day or so check the progress and scrub the part with an old toothbrush. Easy-Off and brake fluid, have also been used as paint removers. None of these will harm the plastic. Note: if these are harsh enough to strip paint, imagine what they’ll do to your skin. Latex gloves for the win.

Opening the kit – get yourself a box of generic zip-lock sandwich bags. Bag the glass, tail lights, metal axles (if any) and tires. Get a cheap photo album and store all decals in the album.

Starting the kit – take all parts trees and larger model parts not on a tree out of the box and soak them for an hour in some water w/dish detergent (not the chrome tree). This is to help remove any mold release agent left over from the manufacturing process. Rinse completely and air dry. Very easy to lose pieces in this step so be very careful. Clip all parts off the trees or “sprue” with a pair of diagonal cutters (flush cut would be best). Do not twist parts off the trees! I like to get the instructions out (yep, I use ‘em) and ID every part and then snip every part off and separate by location. One baggy for the engine, one for suspension, one for interior, one for everything else. The only exception to this is the chrome, that stays in its own factory poly-bag and I snip off each part as I need it, to protect the finish.

Glue- plenty of options here. I use just four glues, but there are many schools of thought on this one.
  • A gap filling super glue. Zap-a-Gap is a national brand but there are plenty of generic knock-offs. Available in any hobby store.
  • Liquid cement like Tenax. It’s a liquid solvent that will melt styrene. Basically welds parts together. Very helpful when scratch-building. Available in any hobby store.
  • Elmers white glue. For clear parts, dries clear, water wash-up. Makes it hard to screw up windshields and the like.
  • Clear craft glue. Michaels carries this stuff. A little stronger than Elmers and dries clear. I like this for installing exterior chrome pieces. If the part pops off down the line, it doesn’t take the paint with it.
Avoid the model tube glues. To stringy and they tend to leak unless you cap them immediately after application. Testors liquid cement is okay, particularly with kids.


Assembly & parts painting – plan the color every piece is to be painted. Write it down if you need to. Regarding paints during assembly (more later on body painting). Brush paints are for detail and touch up painting only!!!!!!!!!! Spray paint everything you possibly can. For this WalMart is your pal. Krylon. A bit more expensive than the generic spray paints but miles better paint and nozzles. Flat black, semi-gloss black, gloss black, silver, gold, flat white, flat red, and grey primer, I use a lot of. They also have a special line called Fusion just for plastics. The Fusion silver is a different shade than the standard silver so it’s nice not to have the silver parts all look like the same metal. I don’t necessarily primer under this paint. Usually goes on just fine over the plastic. Only parts to be painted body color get primer, but more on that later. Assemble what you can before paint. If you want the engine block and cylinder heads to be same color, by all means glue them together first. I recommend not gluing seats into the interior prior to paint because it makes it tough to get paint everywhere it needs to go. Follow the directions! Sometimes you’ll think you got it all down and build away, and then realize that this part needed to be left off or this won’t fit into that and now you’re screwed. This happened to me just recently.
Small details in the interior like gauges. A good craft store like Michaels has a line of Prismacolor pencils. These are perfect for that. Get white, silver and red. A little Elmers in the gauge well afterward to simulate a clear lens and you’re set.

Detailing. You’ll see lots of builders who will wire and plumb every part on the engine. Looks great but takes practice. Learn to build a clean model first, and then worry about the extra details.

Chrome – too bright? Want something a little more aluminum-ish? A little dull-coat (matte clear) will fix it right up.

Next is time. Take lots of it. Don’t rush. Find your part, check it out for mold lines, injector pin marks, sprue tabs, sink marks etc. Clean it up with a sharp x-acto knife or sanding stick. This can be fun with small parts. A clean floor is a good idea. It makes them easier to find after you drop them.

Body painting. – This everyone’s nightmare. Especially here in Florida. High humidity means slow curing times for enamels and possible blushing (metallics mostly) of the paint for any paint type. Best pick the coolest, driest months and paint several bodies at once. That way the rest of the year you can deal with the rest of the kit. The rest of this is my opinion only, you may have other results and opinions.

Testors enamels from the hobby shop. Complete junk. Don’t waste your money. Try any of the following. Testors one shot lacquers. Tamiya lacquers. A good hobby shop should have both of these. I recommend Krylon sandable primers for these. Duplicolor and Plasticoat lacquers from the autoparts stores. These are touch up spray cans of real auto paint. Pep Boys has the best selection. Important about these, is to make sure you use the same brand primer, and primer completely. Inside, outside and in between. Auto lacquers are extremely hot and will damage the styrene if you don’t primer completely. On mixing enamels and lacquers there is a rule of thumb. Enamels over a lacquer = no problems generally. Lacquer over enamels = bad news. This is really important when you are choosing your clear coat. Either make sure you match them up, enamels with enamels, lacquers with lacquers or else get an acrylic clear (Krylon Crystal Clear) which will go over anything and takes the guesswork out of the situation.
So when painting, we need the coolest, driest, most dust and bug free atmosphere you can get. Good luck. You can build or purchase a small paint booth used for airbrushing which will help out a lot. Pace makes a nice one.
After primer. Get some 1000-2000 grit sandpaper and give the primer a wet-sand so that it’s nice and smooth. Avoid corners, raised detail and other areas where you might accidently sand down to plastic. Air dry. Ready for paint. At this point you can dust the model off with a tack rag. (Auto parts store or Micro Mark carries them) or blow it off with some compressed air, but NOT where you are gonna paint, because that will raise more dust in the area.

Spraying paint. First a nice light dusting of paint. This is going to give the other coats something to adhere too. Wait 15 minutes. Second, another light dusting. Wait 15 minutes. Third, a medium coat that cover the primer completely. Wait 15 minutes. Fourth, a “wet coat” this is a complete coat of paint. Start from the top of the car and work down. Wait 15 minutes. Fifth, another wet coat. Allow to cure fully. Enamels can take several days, but most lacquers are touchable the next day. Rule of thumb, if you can put your nose near the model and still smell the paint, it’s NOT cured. The smell is the propellant still gassing out. This takes a lot of practice, so I recommend you get some inexpensive kits to practice on. Try snap kits, Big Lots, or junkyard lots off Ebay to get the best deals for practice.

After curing time, it’s time to do the foil for the window frames and chrome trim. Bare Metal Foil. Google it and order from the manufacturer. The stuff has a shelf life so it’s best to order from the source. This is another step that’s gonna take practice. It’s incredibly frustrating. But it’s worth it. Now the decals. Practice. Use warm water with a “drop” of dish detergent. Once in place blot dry. Take your time! If you screw up a decal while doing another, you’re gonna bang your head on the desk.

Okay it’s all foiled and decals are in place. It’s time to clear. First a light coat. Yep, you guessed it. Wait 15 minutes. Then a medium coat. Wait 15 minutes. A wet coat. Let cure again.

Polishing. Is not for the faint of heart. I hate doing this, and most of the time won’t worry about it. A super shiny finish looks out of scale and in most cases would be shinier than any 1:1. Now if I got a piece of dust in a very noticeable spot, then I would certainly give it a go. Many different polishing systems available, too many to go into here, however remember the same rule regarding sanding the primer and you’ll be okay.

Customizing, scratchbuilding, kitbashing etc. It’s the downfall of many a would-be modeler. Many new builders will see that chopped, channeled car in their favorite magazine, get themselves a Zona saw and set to it with zeal. Soon the zeal turns to horror as he/she realizes they have no idea what they are doing and the model is now junk. And their confidence is shot. Start small. Do some engine and wheel/tire swaps first. See what it takes to swap engines, ie: changing driveshaft length, tranny clearances, exhaust system, suspension obstructions and learn to overcome the issues. Then try some more serious kitbashing. Chassis swapping, tubbed rear ends, altered ride height and the like. Then try a top chop or body channel on some old scrap body. As for filler, Bondo’s Professional Glazing and Spot (2-part) putty will do ya fine. Opening the doors, trunk etc. Much more involved than just cutting the doors on the body. Gotta build door jams, cut the interior bucket too, build up the door panel so that it marries up on the inside and then there’s the hinges. I never do this. But again, that’s just my opinion.

That’s about it. As you can tell, it’s not like when we were kids anymore, where you built the thing in a weekend and brush painted everything. Now it’s about having something you can set on the shelf and go “Hell yeah.” And don’t worry about how good the first couple builds are. You can always re-do them later. But I do recommend keeping your first one as-is forever. It lets you see where you came from. I still have one from my late teens, and it’s bad, but it still puts a smile on my face.

Edited by Jantrix, 07 October 2011 - 08:25 AM.


#3 mr cheap

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:47 AM

WAY TO MUCH INFO

#4 Mascot

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:47 AM

Thank you, that was very detailed and informative, I'll be sure to post pictures in the workbench thread when I get started.

mr cheap: I'm glad he provided it though, I had no idea where to start so it was very helpful.

Edited by Mascot, 07 October 2011 - 08:48 AM.


#5 Jantrix

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 09:49 AM

WAY TO MUCH INFO


There is no pleasing some people.

#6 Mascot

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 02:02 PM


There is no pleasing some people.


Well you certainly pleased me this was exactly what I was looking for, thanks again.

#7 Jantrix

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 02:43 PM

Glad to help.