model building help

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by hickstmj, May 7, 2008.

  1. hickstmj

    hickstmj Marcie

    I am starting on my first model build. It is an Atlas water tower (plastic kit). I have a few questions if somebody will be so kind as to help me out. I know I've seen the answers here but I have been searching the site & haven't found them. I have found a lot of other great tips/tricks though.
    1. What is the best glue to use?
    2. What is the best type/method of paint to use?
    3. Should I paint the parts before assembly?

    Thanks you
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    1) For glue, I have been satisfied with Model master glue in the squarish black bottle with the needle tip.

    2) If you are brush painting, use acrylic paint such as model master acryl or polly scale. For airbrushing, I recommend a solvent-based paint such as floquil. It will go on smoother and clog less than the acrylic paint.

    3) paint the parts beforehand if you can, but remember to keep the paint off of the glued joint. You may need to touch up the paint along any joints after the structure is assembled.

  3. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Revell contacta professional -

    In a plastic bottle with a fine needle applicator.
    The container stands nicely to hand on the bench and is unlikely to spill if (when?) knocked over.

  4. hickstmj

    hickstmj Marcie

    Thank you for your tips. Any more suggestions are very welcome.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    All good tips...

    I use Ambroid Pro-Weld for most of my joints. Hobby Lobby carries it on the Panhandle. Once I finish assembly and paint, I dust on pastel chalks and/or drybrush paints to weather, then overspray the whole model with either Testor's Dul-Cote or Krylon 1311 Clear Matte Finish. This frosts my windows somewhat, something I've come to prefer as I generally don't have interior detail. It gives a nice warm glow when lighting is added. Just wait 'til your finished spraying before you glaze it if glass that shines is your desire. I did both on this particular model...


    Don't forget to post pictures of your progress.:thumb:
  6. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    The Surgeon General has determined that the use of Ambroid Pro-Weld for joints may give rise to severe movement restriction ...

    Sorry, Brit humour/humor.

    Couldn't resist.

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The gluing and painting is only part of the job. Making sure that the joints fit nicely and closely is very important. I keep a set of jewllers files on hand, as well as a large flat file, and some fine sandpaper on a flat piece of mdf.

    If you are looking for something a little more enviro-firendly, MicroScale has a non-toxic, citrus based version of styrene glue, and Testors aslo makes a non-toxic version of their thick "airplane" glue.

    The key to a good join is close fitting parts and just enough glue.

    Good luck!

  8. scubadude

    scubadude Member

    :agree1:...test fit, sand/trim/file, test fit, test fit again, then glue.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think that any of the clear liquid plastic cements/glues would work. These dissolve the plastic effectively making the two pieces one. There's no way to get them apart neatly if you do a good job. Make sure the pieces fit snugly -- lots of filing or sandpapering on the corners, and the glue should just seep in. Cement in tubes is usually less successful but does fill gaps. Avoid anything that says "model airplane" or "balsa" Try setting up 4 walls before you do any gluing and check all the corners. Use a very fine brush and the smallest amounts of glue.
    Cut the parts ff the sprue; sprue is that rod of plastic that they're all joined to. Don't take them off just by wiggling or twisting as that leaves a nasty edge often with gaps.
    Lots of paints that will work, with varying degrees of solidity. Just watch out for the solvent-based paints that will dissolve the plastic surface. (And we had a LHS that had a sign on them saying they were suitable for plastic.) Just don't use any that warn about breathing them.
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

  11. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I use Tamiya plastic cement just because that's what my local hobby store has in stock. I apply it with a small 00 paint brush.

    I own a paintbrush from Testors and use only acrylic paints ( except for rails painting ).
    I use Tamiya paints for the structures, because it was a leftover for painting airplane scale models.
    I purchased some "real" railroad acrylic paints from Polly Scale for painting brick buildings. I like them.
    I tried some Badgers Modelflex but didn't like the result so I'll stick with Polly Scale.

    Before doing anything, wash all the parts in water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. It will remove the oil film used in the plastic injection process.

    I try to paint as much parts as possible on the sprues .

  12. hickstmj

    hickstmj Marcie

    Thanks to everyone for your input. I will go shopping for glue & paint today. We have one LHS but it is very small & is mostly cars & airplanes. We do have a Michaels though & I will look there too. I have jewelers files & sandpaper. I have read about thinning acrylic paints but I think this is just for weathering. I don't think I will do this yet as I have read that Dullcote can turn the surface milky if thinned with water or the wrong alcohol. I have a set of weathering powders from Walthers to try after building. I'll let you know how this project turns out.

    PS: I promise not to drink the Ambroid Pro-Weld as my joints are fine.
  13. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Jacques' tip about washing the parts is a good one, especially if you're using water-based paints like PollyScale, ModelFlex, or craft paints, as all plastic parts have mould release agents on them that can prevent paint from adhering properly. If you're brush painting, it's often a good idea to pre-paint at least some of the parts before assembly, especially those that will be difficult to get at with a brush when the parts are assembled. Don't paint the contact areas where the parts will be cemented together, as the paint will prevent a proper bond. Even when using an airbrush, brush painting can be useful for some hard-to-get-at areas. Use a good quality brush, and make sure to clean it promptly and thoroughly after each use. The cost of a good brush should be enough encouragement to ensure this practice. ;)
    If you're brush painting, try to avoid solvent-based paints, as the solvent will attack (melt the surface of) the plastic. I almost always use solvent-based paints, but apply them with an airbrush - properly done, the solvents evaporate almost immediately on contact, so no damage is done to the plastic.
    For plastic cement, I use lacquer thinner, the same stuff that I use to thin my paints and clean paint brushes. It's cheap, and readily available at hardware stores and home improvement centres. I buy it by the gallon, and decant it into smaller containers, depending on the use. For kit assembly, I use an old Testors cement bottle, with a brush in the cap. If you use lacquer thinner or any solvent-type cement, work in a well-ventilated area. If you're spray painting with lacquer-based paints, wear a proper two-stage respirator and a spray booth vented to the outdoors.
    Your choice of the Atlas water tower is a good one, as is their station: both kits are well-engineered and fit together properly.
    Here's one of my Atlas water towers, spray painted using Floquil paint, with the bands and weathering done with a brush:

    And an old Atlas station, brush-painted with Polly S water-based paints:

  14. hickstmj

    hickstmj Marcie

    Thanks Dr. Wayne - appreciate the pics.

    Does the Krylon clear matte have the same problem with turning milky (with water thinning) as the Dul-Cote?
  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I don't know about the Krylon, but DullCote is lacquer-based and shouldn't be thinned with water. I've heard that it can sometimes turn milky if applied when the humidity is high.

  16. hickstmj

    hickstmj Marcie

    Well, I tried some brush painting today with acrylics. The paint was so uneven. I think I may try my airbrush. I have never used before. I did get some nice brushes so I don't think that's the problem. I sure hope practice will make me better.
  17. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    The old-time painters used brushes with coach paint, a class of enamel.
    Before spray painting in its modern form* was invented, the method was to use many thin coats to build up a high gloss final coat.

    You might find an antiquarian book on this, but at a price. On the other hand you can look at the link below.

    *Spray painting was invented in prehistoric times. It is believed that the technique was to blow colored dust onto a greasy surface, by mouth through a hollow bone.

    Vehicle Painting Pointers

  18. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...I've never had a problem with Dull-Cote. I use it straight out of the can.....What I do notice, is that chalks will loose some of their effect when dull-coated. So if you use them, apply them on the heavy side...

    Good luck..!!
  19. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    When using a paint brush I frequently dip the brush in some clear water, it removes any dried paint from the paint brush.
    You should have told us that you have an airbrush.
    What brand of paint are you using ? If it is acrylic Polly Scale, don't forget to thin it before airbrush painting . 2 parts paint for 1 part rubbing alcohol

    If you could post a picture of your uneven paint job it would help.

    As you say, practice , practice and ... practice.

  20. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I've not had that problem with Krylon yet. The cloudiness of Dul Cote comes primarily from humidity so, if you watch that, you should be fine. I use Krylon for economics---I get nearly four times the product for the same price as Dul Cote.

    Doc, every time I think I got avarice beat, you post more pics of your layout...sigh.:mrgreen::thumb:

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