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How do I weather the plated brass parts in my Model T kit?


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#1 clovis

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

After many years, I am returning to the model building hobby. My daughter and I built a Revell Corvette for her 4-H entry last year, and I was surprised to learn how much I missed building.

 

I've been very inspired after watching Dr. Cranky's YouTube videos to build some junkers.

 

I bought a Lindberg Ford Model T in 1:16, Sure, I realize this isn't the ideal kit to build, but it was cheap, and something we can practice some weathering techniques.

 

I'd like to learn how to weather the brightly...and actually gaudy...brass (chrome style) plastic parts. The rusty and junk-out Model T is going to look very odd with a rusted body and bright gaudy chrome. 

 

I am totally new to weathering techniques, and I don't have a working airbrush set up yet. Heck, at this point, I own less than 10 different colors of paint!!!!

 

Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?

 

Thanks!!!!!

 

 



#2 Art Anderson

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:56 AM

OK, this is actually a rather easy question to answer:  If you've ever seen tarnished brass (old brass musical instruments will show tarnish were the lacquer clear coat has been worn off, for example, or perhaps an older brass table lamp), it "tarnishes" due to exposure to air.  Tarnish is different than corrosion, in that brass, being an alloy of copper and zinc, can corrode upon contact with chemicals, even water, which is a bluish-green color (Turquoise, the semi-precious gem stone, is actually the result of corroded copper in nature).  Early, so-called "brass era" automobiles used polish brass trim and radiators simply because the technology of really good electroplating hadn't yet been developed, although nickel was used on occasion.  However, nickel doesn't stay bright on its own very well at all--goes dull on exposure to air, and being a fairly soft metal, nickel wears off rather quickly with frequent polishing.  Chromium wasn't used for plating on automobile trim until introduced by Oldsmobile in 1927, once chemists figured out how to plate it onto steel.

 

Now, how to "tarnish" model car "brass" trim, such as your Model T kit:   Unfortunately, this is a job that calls for at least a basic airbrush, as in my experience, it's best done with a thin "wash" made from Testors "Rubber" (#1183TT) which is a flat brown-black color, in the little square bottles.   I put a small amount of this in an airbrush color jar, then add enough lacquer thinner to make a thin wash.  The lacquer thinner thins the paint to about the consistency of ink, which means too thin to apply by paintbrush.  However, when airbrushed lightly on those "gold-toned" plated model car parts (your brass trim), it gives that brownish cast that looks very much like tarnished brass, along with a very dull, flat finish.   With a bit of practice on the sprues, you can vary this shading to get the degree of tarnish you like, and unless you go overboard with it, the bright plating will still show through, albeit toned, or dulled down greatly.

 

If you, or anyone has ever seen the second issue of the old AMT 1907 Thomas Flyer "New York to Paris Race" winning car, with photographs of the built model on the box art, I am the person who built that model for Lesney-AMT back in 1979.  The brass trim on that model is tarnished as I described, and it did come out surprisingly realistic.

 

Art



#3 clovis

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:24 AM

Art,

 

Thank you so much for your time and reply. It is guys like you that make hobbies like this so good.

 

Are you up to a dumb question?

 

Since it could be a while before I have a working airbrush set up, do you think I could spritz the thinned paint that you described onto the parts using the sprayer from a Windex bottle?

 

Another option that considered was stripping the plating off the parts and trying to find Floquil brass paint, and painting the parts, then trying to weather them.

 

Thoughts? 

 

Thanks so much!!!!!



#4 Tom Geiger

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:58 PM

Jeff, I do my weathering without use of an airbrush.   Practice your weathering of the brass on the sprue from that parts tree. I would recommend a spray can of Testors Dullcote.  It will take the shine off of anything.  You can try a couple of different things. First, just spray some onto scrap to see how it changes the brass look.   You can get more control by spraying some into a small cup. I like to use those small bathroom paper cups since they're disposable.  You can then brush on the Dullcote or add a bit of black or brown paint, or even some black or brown chalk dust to it to tint it for the look that Art described.  I also use water color paint (yea, I have a small kids set on my bench) for some toning.  Once you put Dullcote onto a part, it will hold some black or brown water color paint. Even work some green into the seams as if the brass is turning color.  Play with different methods with these materials on the sprue until you get a look you like. Then move onto the actual model parts.



#5 clovis

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:50 PM

Tom,

 

Thank you so much!!! 

 

I appreciate the tips and tricks!!!