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What Do You Use To Replicate Chrome Trim


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Posted (edited)

I have used  Bare Metal Foil on several projects and have found it to be a ROYAL pain to apply properly. Additionally,  I`m neither comfortable nor thrilled with the prospect of putting a fresh X-Atco blade (which is required to trim excess foil off) on body panels after spending hours sanding, priming and shooting multiple coats of color.  Oh.. let me not forget to mention Bare Metal not wanting to stick to body (I know..I know.. it means the foil is old  & is losings it tackiness).   I`m looking for a BETTER alternative to Bare Metal!!! So I ask what have you good folks  been using on your chrome trim around the windshields, roof line rain gutters, rocker panels fender well openings and body-side moldings.

Edited by 69NovaYenko
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I don't think there is a better alternative to bare metal foil but, there are some things you can try. There are Molotow paint markers, they come in at least two sizes and offer a very shiny but very delicate finish. The pens also seem to have a short shelf life so some folks have opted for using the refill bottle and just applying it with a brush or toothpick. Silver Sharpies have a matte finish and can interact with paints sensitive to alcohol. Also Easy Chrome seems to be the most durable of the chrome paints but it is pricey, though the amount you get will probably last a good while. There are a few more, and more all the time, I'm sure others will post more.

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IMO, there is no substitute for BMF.  Lots of us use it and our models survive (and look good).    Using any sort of liquid solutions is not any easier.  Freehand application does not give high quality results, and masking and spraying is as difficult as cutting BMF on your model's surface.

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I only use BMF. There's nothing else that I'm aware of that will withstand repeated handling. Nine times out of ten, if foil doesn’t stick, it's because the surface is too rough. When you trim foil, remember that you only need to drag the blade along. No pressure! It takes very little to trim foil away as it is so thin. You only want to cut through the foil. Not the paint. 

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As the others have said, there’s no substitute in my opinion either.

You can try one of the paint/Molotow options as pointed out, but personally, I’m much more comfortable with a sharp #11 blade than the relatively high possibility that my trim will look like trash in a few years.

BMF will last for decades and look good all the while.

Molotow might last, and then again, it might not.

Nobody can answer that question with any real degree of certainty.

 

 

 

Steve

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20 minutes ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

As the others have said, there’s no substitute in my opinion either.

You can try one of the paint/Molotow options as pointed out, but personally, I’m much more comfortable with a sharp #11 blade than the relatively high possibility that my trim will look like trash in a few years.

BMF will last for decades and look good all the while.

Molotow might last, and then again, it might not.

Nobody can answer that question with any real degree of certainty.

 

 

 

Steve

Not to mention, if you have a slip with a Molotow pen, you have mess! I've seen some pretty rough looking trim done with a Molotow pen. I've seen some that look decent.  But, I've never seen a sharp, crisp line with it. It's just not gonna happen with a pen. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm in awe of youse guys who can consistently do clean, crisp, straight, un-wrinkled BMF.

So far, I've put off even trying, and usually build the kind of stuff where it's not necessary.

But there are stock, or close-to-stock builds I'd really like to do, so eventually I'll have to bite the ol' bullet and pull the trigger (pardon the mixed whatever).

Lotsa great helpful info's been posted on the forum. Just gonna hafta do it.  :D

Edited by Ace-Garageguy
TYPO
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I am a BMF fan as well. A brand new hobby blade should only need the weight of the knife to cut the foil. You can hold the knife at a very low angle where possible to get a smooth straight line.

The green stuff looks very nice, but it has the same application issues as Molotow does.

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, NOBLNG said:

I am a BMF fan as well. A brand new hobby blade should only need the weight of the knife to cut the foil. You can hold the knife at a very low angle where possible to get a smooth straight line.

The green stuff looks very nice, but it has the same application issues as Molotow does.

Not only that, but in order to use it for trim, and in order to get a clean job, (as is the case with Molotow as well) you would need to mask off around all of the trim.

If you’re willing to go through that much work, why not the work of learning to use foil?

 

 

Steve

Edited by StevenGuthmiller
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2 hours ago, Plowboy said:

Not to mention, if you have a slip with a Molotow pen, you have mess! I've seen some pretty rough looking trim done with a Molotow pen. I've seen some that look decent.  But, I've never seen a sharp, crisp line with it. It's just not gonna happen with a pen. 

I agree. 
If you had problems with applying the old Testors “Chrome Silver” back in the day, you’re not going to have much better luck with Molotow.

It’s no silver bullet.

It’s basically a shinier version of Testors chrome, with about the same durability properties.

 

 

Steve

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@NOBLNG and @StevenGuthmiller I am a BMF fan as well but the original post wants alternatives to BMF. I don’t think we can convince them to stick with it.
 

So let put out some alternatives and let OP make up his own mind. After a few messy slip ups or masking jobs maybe they’ll give the BMF another try. 

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32 minutes ago, Sandboarder said:

@NOBLNG and @StevenGuthmiller I am a BMF fan as well but the original post wants alternatives to BMF. I don’t think we can convince them to stick with it.
 

So let put out some alternatives and let OP make up his own mind. After a few messy slip ups or masking jobs maybe they’ll give the BMF another try. 

I can’t disagree with that.

But, to be honest, he was looking for “good” alternatives, and unfortunately, I can’t think of a single one. 😊

I guess you could say that we’re just trying to pre-empt those “messy” issues before he has to go through them.

But, now he knows my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.

 

 

 

Steve

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

 

But, to be honest, he was looking for “good” alternatives, and unfortunately, I can’t think of a single one. 😊

I guess you could say that we’re just trying to pre-empt those “messy” issues before he has to go through them.

But, now he knows my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.

 

 

 

Steve

First thank you one & all for responding to my post. My completed projects are NOT fingered by myself or viewers. Even contest judges rarely pick up or finger completed projects. Finished projects spend 99.99% of their life in a display case. Once completed the the chrome trim (aka Bare Metal Foil) along with any supporting decals & photo-etched parts are lightly overstayed & hermetically sealed to body with a non-yellowing clear acrylic. This is to protect the paint, decals, photo etched parts, foil (or alcohol-based metallic paints) from fingerprints, dust and the ravishes of time. I`m aware number of you leave you chrome trim, decals & photo-etched parts naked to the world..which is fine but, that`s not how I wish to roll. I`ve wrestled with Bare Metal Foil Chrome, Ultra Bright Chrome as well Gold, off and on since 2014. True, it looks good when finished. However; that doesn't change the fact that it's finicky & a royal pain to work with. Not to mention I`m still uneasy with running a fresh sharp X-acto blade over my 99 % finished project. Because ,I do not wish to re-strip body, hood etc and start over with sanding, priming, color coating due to an accidental slip of a sharp blade. I have tinkered with some of the alcohol-based metallic paints on junk bodies and found several of them to be clear acrylic friendly. Testing on  junk bodies has also revealed low percentage alcohol or non-ammonia window cleaner will clean up Ooops as long as you don't allow it to dry and the color coat is not a flat or matte finish. So, I was surveying the group to see what other chrome trim options were out there beyond Bare Metal Foil. StevenGuthmiller gets were I`m coming from. Again thanks for the replies and unbiased input.

IMG_0660.jpg

Edited by 69NovaYenko
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4 hours ago, Sandboarder said:

image.jpeg.a5a8eb02e984090aa2fccdbc7793765f.jpeg

Sandboarder I have already placed an ordered for some  however it appears to be on it way to me via a VERY SLOW boat from overseas, but once it arrives  I planning on giving it a spin. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Greg, in your last post you basically repeated most of your initial post.  I'll also repeat again: if you don't want to use any sort of adhesive foil (which needs to be trimmed on the model), the only other alternative is some sort of liquid chrome solution.

If you apply the liquid chrome freehand, you can easily stray off the molding, messing up the paint job. Plus freehand you will not get nice even edge like you do when trimming foil with a knife.  So, you will likely have to mask then airbrush the chrome liquid.  Masking requires the same trimming process as does BMF application.  Also, if you don't burnish the masking tape well, the chrome liquid paint will seep under the tape, again ruining your paint.

Most clear coats also dull the look of the liquid chrome solutions.  I have never clear coated BMF (I apply it as a last step) and have not had a problem with it either peeling off or getting dull.

As for the knife slipping, you can stick thin strips of masking tape against the trim on the model's body you want to chrome, then apply BMF, and use the edge of tape as your knife guide.  the guide tape strip can be applied either over or under the BMF.  This method has been nicely explained on this forum in the past.

I think the "miracle" super-easy chrome trim you are looking for doesn't exist. 

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Good BMF is the best most durable product IF, you have a good batch of it. I too have used Testors silver (long ago) Silver sharpie sparingly, Molotow for nice defined ridges but BMF is still my favorite. The low tack super shiny sheets are admittedly a pain but, once laid and clear coated give the desired results. Back when I had the privileged of really good BMF, I found applying it to be one of the most rewarding tasks of my build. The results are well worth the effort. I have just recently received one bottle each of Green Stuff World chrome in brushable and airbrush formulas. I have not had the opportunity to try them out yet. I learned about them from Barbatos Rex YouTube video of the various chrome comparisons. Good luck in whatever you choose.

One tip I learned from Steve G is to use thin line masking tape over an oversized piece of BMF before cutting. It helps produce laser straight cuts AND protect your paint from an errant blade. His results speak for themselves. I used this techniquique to cut my desired stripes in my Parafilm used to mask on the following projects. Two done and one in progress.

Decals in progress.JPG

IMG_1290.JPG

IMG_2582.JPG

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For the past 5 years I've been using HVAC tape for my chrome trim with very good results.  I learned that it's better to cut size appropriate strips then apply, rather than try trimming wider pieces on the model; although I have had to carefully trim occasionally. I've never used BMF so I don't know how it compares in strength, but I really like the HVAC, doesn't tear too easily while working with it. I usually work in strips btw 1.5 - 3 mm wide for widow frames, roof edges, etc.  Sometimes increasing to 4 or 5 mm if needed.  I use a wooden cuticle tool (pointed on 1 end, beveled on the other) to burnish the strips after they're in place and to fit into creases/edges. Then buff with soft rag or paper towel to really polish.  Using thin strips makes it easier to conform around curves. Also used for other trim/molding.  I'm attaching some pics of models where I used the hvac tape.

20190414_165900.jpg.d969b9ee0796657ae0966fef3fe2f4d3.jpg

Note the badges on the gremlin, the hvac molds nicely to the detail. Used toothpick to work this.

20210115_145131.thumb.jpg.765eddeeaec94fffb1e81b411b502902.jpg

20211002_103743.jpg.14172feeb97af4b7bcb4e6f4ce81138d.jpg

20200218_203822.jpg.e18683409c4c37ea744f86f6b9e1c8b1.jpg

I'll be glad to answer questions, hope this gives an alternative to chrome painting for us older guys without the steady hands we once had.

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On 5/24/2022 at 6:40 PM, 69NovaYenko said:

Sandboarder I have already placed an ordered for some  however it appears to be on it way to me via a VERY SLOW boat from overseas, but once it arrives  I planning on giving it a spin. Thanks for the suggestion.

tried it .love it   just not very much in small bottle   shipping is the same cost as product

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Two things I would like to add, if I may.
Sometimes I have trouble gripping the X-Acto handle, so I tried holding a raw #11 blade between my finger & thumb. It seemed to help.
Second idea, tho mentioned by others already, is to use a metal ruler to cut a length of BMF. Apply like you would with pinstripe tape. This is more suited for straight chrome trim, tho I suppose it could be used around windows and such. Only after it is in place where you like it, do you then burnish it.
Good luck with experimenting. 

 

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Bmf is probably the perfered choice ,but many hobby stores have a vast array of chrome /silver markers out there that also work very well ,my advice shop around!

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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2022 at 7:50 PM, Bills72sj said:

Bills72sj

One tip I learned from Steve G is to use thin line masking tape over an oversized piece of BMF before cutting. It helps produce laser straight cuts AND protect your paint from an errant blade. His results speak for themselves. I used this techniquique to cut my desired stripes in my Parafilm used to mask on the following projects. Two done and one in progress.

 

 

 

Thanks for the tip. I will have to try it. The chrome on your completed projects look very good.

On 5/26/2022 at 8:24 PM, Leica007 said:

For the past 5 years I've been using HVAC tape for my chrome trim with very good results.  I learned that it's better to cut size appropriate strips then apply, rather than try trimming wider pieces on the model; although I have had to carefully trim occasionally. I've never used BMF so I don't know how it compares in strength, but I really like the HVAC, doesn't tear too easily while working with it. I usually work in strips btw 1.5 - 3 mm wide for widow frames, roof edges, etc.  Sometimes increasing to 4 or 5 mm if needed.  I use a wooden cuticle tool (pointed on 1 end, beveled on the other) to burnish the strips after they're in place and to fit into creases/edges. Then buff with soft rag or paper towel to really polish.  Using thin strips makes it easier to conform around curves. Also used for other trim/molding.  I'm attaching some pics of models where I used the hvac tape.

I'll be glad to answer questions, hope this gives an alternative to chrome painting for us older guys without the steady hands we once had.

Leica007

I`m not familiar with HVAC tape. However, I really like the results & look of the tape. With a little searching I was able to find it on Amazon. I will be ordering a roll to try it out. Once it gets here I may reach out to you again for additional how to use it tips & tricks. I`m VERY impressed with how the HVAC tape conformed to the Gremlin logo. Your projects also have awesome looking chrome as well!!!!

On 5/28/2022 at 2:04 PM, Jon Cole said:

Two things I would like to add, if I may.
Sometimes I have trouble gripping the X-Acto handle, so I tried holding a raw #11 blade between my finger & thumb. It seemed to help.
Second idea, tho mentioned by others already, is to use a metal ruler to cut a length of BMF. Apply like you would with pinstripe tape. This is more suited for straight chrome trim, tho I suppose it could be used around windows and such. Only after it is in place where you like it, do you then burnish it.
Good luck with experimenting. 

 

Jon Cole

Thanks for the helpful advise and how to apply Bare Metal Foil technique tips.

Edited by 69NovaYenko
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Posted (edited)

You should be able to find HVAC tape (aka.  aluminum duct tape)  in any hardware store.  It is quite a bit thicker than BMF since it is meant to seal duct work.  The adhesive is also much more aggressive.  I have roll of it, and I do use in my modeling, but not specifically for chome trim).

Edited by peteski
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I am going too shop around for markers and paint. Because of MS I can’t hold the knife to cut the foil. I do from past work believe BMF too be the best trim.

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I have used HVAC duct tape and while it does go on OK, it tends to be too thick to expose fine details. The adhesive is also thicker and more gooey, so the foil will get distorted with handling and may shift over time. It leaves big wrinkles on curved surfaces.

I remember there used to be a hobby adhesive meant for foil and I recall a builder using the cheapest, thinnest kitchen foil he could find and putting it on with the adhesive. I wonder if that adhesive is still for sale?

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