Making realistic automobile badges, the clear plastic kind

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This is a little trick I'd thought of doing for several years: How to recreate the clear plastic medallion (badge of a particular marque of car) on a model.

Just a bit of history here (like I ever forget history, huh?). In the early 1950's, with the advent of injection molding of plastics, carmakers discovered a way of giving their products a striking, very visible full color "crest" (if you will) of their marque that could be attached to a hood, a trunklid, even made into a horn button for the steering wheel. These were molded from clear acrylic (think Plexiglas here), having the detailing of the crest engraved into the back side. By spray-masking both transparent colors and opaque colors on the back side, then vacuum-metalizing aluminum over the back side of that (same process by which we modelers get chromed plastic parts, BTW), and the front or outer surface having a polished, somewhat curved shape, they could get a very visible, almost jewel-like crest that spoke volumes about the car it was mounted on. At some point in the 50's, virtually every car of note carried these.

Now, I've (as probably many of you here, have foiled (or used the ocasional separate plated hood or grille crest) and then hand-painted in the colors of say, a Chevrolet Crest. But, how to make it look real, take it to that next level?

Moebius made it easy with their Hudson kits, by providing a neat little decal to be applied to an appropriately shaped flat spot in the middle of the top bar of the grille. Put that decal on, and you KNOW you are looking at a Hudson grille--but yet, it's still flat, no 3-dimensional character to it. So, what to do?

P1010147-vi.jpg

With my '53 Hudson Hornet Club Coupe, I decided to go out on a bit of a limb, try making that medallion (crest) truly 3D, by using Devcon 5-minute epoxy. This was done, first and foremost, by mixing the epoxy parts together on a Post-It Notes pad with the large, smooth, rounded end of a paintbrush handle, to minimize any airbubbles (tried it with a toothpick, and that stirred in a lot of bubbles!), then applying the mixed epoxy to the badge area, over the previously applied decal (which I let dry for several hours!), being careful to use only a small amount of epoxy on the end of a toothpick, dragging that carefully around to just the edge of the flat space Moebius provided. Here is the final result--one very accurate Hudson Crest!

P1010149-vi.jpg

Notice the difference? Now it has a clear, but 3D presence, which makes that little decal detail really pop, which it should (the real ones stand out prominently!). Now I know that Devcon Epoxy may well "yellow" slightly with age, but then so does acrylic plastic that is exposed to sunlight and the various gasses and pollutants in the air, so IMHO, it's all good.

Here's a look at the grille of my '53 Hornet Club Coupe, on which I first tried this little gimmick, just to show one more time what it is:

Hudsongrillecloseup-vi.jpg

Oh, and by the way, Norbie approves of both the techique, and this message. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Art

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Posted · Report post

good idea. any full car shots of the Hudson available?

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Posted · Report post

What if you don't have a decal for the badge?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I use clear acryllic gloss medium for the same effect. Acryllic gloss medium also works for making the "glass" covers on the dashboard instruments.

I find acryllic medium easier to work with than epoxy- at least for me.

Just another option.

Great looking Hudson too!

David G.

Edited by David G.

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Posted · Report post

I use clear acryllic gloss medium for the same effect. Acryllic gloss medium also works for making the "glass" covers on the dashboard instruments.

I find acryllic medium easier to work with than epoxy- at least for me.

Just another option.

Great looking Hudson too!

David G.

The only problem I had with any air-dry clear medium is that it shrinks when it dries, where epoxy doesn't.

Art

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Posted · Report post

The only problem I had with any air-dry clear medium is that it shrinks when it dries, where epoxy doesn't.

Art

True, that's why I use multiple this coats.

I just can't seem to mix epoxy properly. Mine usually comes out sticky, or just fails to set properly.

David G.

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Posted · Report post

Nicely explained, Art. I've been using this technique for a long time, also. It works great on guages, radio faces, even reflectors (remember those), parking lights, turn signals, and many forms of taillights.

No decal? Just use the very pointed end of a toothpick to 'pick out' the details of an emblem with paint, let it dry thoroughly, then apply the epoxy over the emblem.

B)

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Posted · Report post

good idea. any full car shots of the Hudson available?

The pics of the epoxy detailing are of parts for the '52 Hudson convertible, which is fast approaching done, but not quite there yet. Here's the '53 Hudson Club Coupe though:

hudsonHornetCoupecomplete1-vi.jpg

(please note that I took this pic before I remembered to install the gas filler door!)

Rear view:

HudsonHornetCoupecomplete2-vi.jpg

Art

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Posted · Report post

The last badge for the Hudson convertible is now done: The steering wheel now has a proper "clear plastic" horn button Hudson emblem.

P1010152-vi.jpg

Art

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Posted · Report post

Nicely explained, Art. I've been using this technique for a long time, also. It works great on guages, radio faces, even reflectors (remember those), parking lights, turn signals, and many forms of taillights.

No decal? Just use the very pointed end of a toothpick to 'pick out' the details of an emblem with paint, let it dry thoroughly, then apply the epoxy over the emblem.

B)

Danno, exactly! I'd used this technique years ago, for detailing race car instrument panels, but the '53 Hornet coupe was my first use of the method on a factory stock car. BTW, on the coupe, I used epoxy for the parking lights and backup lights.

Art

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Posted · Report post

Beautiful car and great tip. Thank you so much.

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Posted · Report post

all this Hudson business is great. my uncle had a dealership and Aunt Helen had a Hornet, two tone blue, with every accessory offered. visor, tissue holder, spotlight & rear window venetian blind included.

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Posted · Report post

Beautiful Hudson, Art. Another option is Future. The badge on this grille was painted with blue enamel and then coated with Future.

frontaxle029.jpg

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