Modeling Tips
General Techniques
Wing Roots
Highlighting Panel Lines
Dry Transfers
Burnt Paint and Skin
Dust in the Paint
Resin Tips
Liquid Cement
Tips on Weathering (New)
General Techniques
Posted By: Rob Graham <>
Date: Thursday, 25 March 1999, at 9:53 a.m.
Howdy, all:
What are your three favorite modeling tools, techniques, and other general tips?
For instance, I used to use putty to fill seams, but I rarely do anymore. I now use CA glue and accelerator. I've used it to do a lot of stuff! It's harder than styrene, but it works.
I use metalizer on a Q-Tip cotton swab to apply it by hand, sometimes in a "dry-brushing" technique to simulate wear. It saves the brushes, and if I want to simulate a galvanized look, I simply roll the cotton tip over the surface.
When I paint the gauges on the panels in the cockpit, I do it in a flat finish, and when it's all done, I put a drop of Tamiya clear on each gauge to give the "glass" look.
If I want a shiny finish when airbrushing, I use thinner (when I'm cleaning the airbrush) to make a final coat, then I put the model (fumes and all) in a sealed box to allow a SLOW dry time. When it's sat in the box a day or two, I remove it to let it final cure in the open air. This is especially effective on cars and golden age air racers, etc.
I had a specially mixed a color for a detail with acrylic enamels but it dried out and I just needed a little more for touch-up. I put a little liquid cement in the paint. It softened, then I worked it to the right consistency and applied it by hand. I've also put liquid cement on small decals that wouldn't lie down and were applied over acrylic enamels, and it "melted" the decals right to the paint! This really only works for old thick decals, I think, but it did work for me. Super Set and stuff like that works well, too, but liquid cement is a powerful substance for those tough decals.
How about your tricks?
Wing Roots
Posted By: Mitch Inkster <>
Date: Thursday, 25 March 1999, at 4:20 p.m.
The modeling tip I would most like to know about is how you all tackle those wing roots. The bane of my existence! Do you glue bottom surface to fuse. first, glue top surf. first, or follow kit instructions and cement top to bottom and then to the fuse? Some kits [Hasegawa] are not real tight fitting in this area and I just hate to cement, cover wing with tape, fill, then sand. So, how 'bout it fellas?
Posted By: Tom Hall <>
Date: Thursday, 25 March 1999, at 5:06 p.m.
Dear Mitch,
Your question reminds me of the order for dressing. Socks first, second or third? I like to test fit the wing tops to the wing bottom(s) many times and check for warpage, the sharpness of the trailing edge, alignment of aileron edges, and so on.  After fixing those and detailing the wheels wells, I like to glue one wing top to the wing bottom. Next, I test fit the assembly to the fuselage while holding the other wing half to it. This takes about three hands or a rubber band. Then I check dihedral and symmetry. If there will be a big gap at the wing root, I will fill it with a strip of sheet plastic before gluing the wings on.
If there's just a small gap, I fill it with stretched sprue softened in liquid glue after the wings are glued on. I prefer sprue and sheet for filling because they can be sanded easily when the joint has cured and are about the same hardness as the rest of the model, so any re-scribing usually goes pretty well. That's about a week after gluing.
As you can see, I'm in no hurry! And I never worry if some glue has squished up from the joint. I just let it cure thoroughly, sand it and scribe it. If there are some air bubbles in the cured glue, they can be filled with thick paint after an initial sanding.
Posted By: Mitch Inkster <>
Date: Thursday, 25 March 1999, at 5:12 p.m.
I also use the plastic sheet shim method along with plastic sheet that has been allowed to dissolve in liquid cement. I try to use filler putty as a last resort.
Posted By: Dan Salamone <>
Date: Thursday, 25 March 1999, at 6:49 p.m.
A trip to the local beauty supply store reveals all sorts of sanding sticks for nails. Combo sticks in coarse, medium and fine, also to polish clear parts, and round ones are great too. Best thing is they are a whole lot less expensive than the Flex-I-File or Squadron sticks.... Also, to sand in small areas, trim the ends of the sanding stick to a triangle, this allows sanding where needed without excess damage to details, etc.
There is no truth to the rumor I seal decals with hair conditioner....:-)
Highlighting Panel Lines
Posted By: Bill Steinberg <BSTEINBE@GENRE.COM>
Date: Friday, 26 March 1999, at 10:07 a.m.
Hi all,
Can you guys help a rookie out with finishing touches on models? I have just discovered the wonderful effect of highlighting panel lines on my models. I use a wash with watercolors and remove excess w/ dry Q-tip. A tip I received from this board! :) Anyway, I am now starting Academy's 1/72 A6M5 52c, and would like weather with paint chipping, etc. I have a few ideas as to how to do it, but would welcome any hints. My main question is: would I highlight the panel lines after "chipping" the paint or before. I know it sounds rudimentary, but if you can humor me.....
Also, regarding the finish. From what I have gathered some of the Japanese finishes (IJN Nakajima green/light gray) were at least semi gloss, maybe even glossy.
I would imagine that this gloss would not have lasted very long. Would anyone suggest leaving the finish glossy, or applying a dull cote? As of now, I intend to do the latter.
One last "simple" question...I see that most finished kits that appear on packaging or in magazine ads are in glossy finish (Tamiya, Hasegawa for example). I would imagine it is to make the model look as attractive as possible. Granted, it looks pretty, but does not look particularly authentic. Do you folks finish your models in gloss, dull, or a bit of both?
Bill Steinberg
Posted By: Rob Graham <>
Date: Friday, 26 March 1999, at 10:40 a.m.
For chipping, I HIGHLY recommend the article in one of the more recent FSMs. It is excellent for weathering tips! The author uses a Prismacolor silver pencil (available at good art supply houses) sharpened and used on flat finishes. Looked great.
I use Testors semigloss lacquer spray paint. The lacquer dries quickly and it looks good. After seeing the real aircraft at the NASM, etc, I think it looks closest, but you'll want to do a THIN coat. Zeros were pretty glossy, but if you look at the famous photo of Tanimizu standing next to his 52c, you see bullet hole repairs and some type of (I think, anyway) quickly brushed on "dirt wash" to aid in the camouflage. Note the camouflage bamboo panels, too.
Posted By: François P. WEILL <>
Date: Saturday, 27 March 1999, at 5:24 a.m.
Hi Rob,
I don't agree with your opinion about glossy aspect of late war Zeros.
Courtesy of Jim Lansdale I had recently in hand a late war painted piece of Zero. It was covered with an almost MATTE PAINT, which is consistent with the contemporary photos (it was the matte version of the gray-green).
It seems now demonstrated that after the second regulation camouflage was adopted (but unfortunately at an unknown date)the original combination of a MATTE dark green upper surface on the original glossy gray-green under surface was replaced by a definitive combination of matte paints (easier to apply by hand instead of spray, less consuming in terms of manpower and not requiring qualified workers at a time the very hard glossy finish was no more required considering the average duration of an airframe in frontline). The only glossy finish that seems to have survived was the one applied to the cowling and it is not sure that Nakajima kept this practice till the end if Mitsubishi seems to have done so.
So a late Zero like Taznimizu's Model 52 Hei (which is a March 1945 Nakajima built one) is likely to have been matte or almost matte everywhere.
A word of caution too about the chipped paint. It is obvious that there were places where a "used" Zero of this period was likely to have chipped paint. However, in no occasion these machines where chipped to the point an Army fighter would have been. Zero fighters were factory painted to the end on the red brown primer (which is likely to surface on some places, so it is preferable not to overdo paint chipping.
Posted By: Rob Graham <>
Date: Saturday, 27 March 1999, at 9:38 p.m.
If you look on page 65 of the Motorbooks International "Zero: Japan's Legendary Fighter" by Mikesh, you'll see the photo I'm mentioning. By the stabilizer, you'll see considerably more reflection than the Hino and kill markings. I think this is evidence that the plane was pretty glossy, but please understand I don't mean SHINY. I'd call it a "satin" finish, I guess. It's hard to describe qualities of paint without benefit of a spoken voice! :^)
Do you see, though, that there has been a brushed on "wash?" It's not brush applied paint, as I see in other books (same picture) that the brush strokes continue through green and gray all the same, as a separate coating over the paint. I don't know if it's to tone down reflections for propaganda photo purposes or to help camo, but it's a different component altogether. We can also see the demarcation line between the green and gray is gradient, as it has been sprayed. What Zeros were brush painted? I haven't seen this.
Take care,
Posted By: Dan Salamone <>
Date: Friday, 26 March 1999, at 4:31 p.m.
Hi Bill,
Sorry for the shameless plug here, but here is a link to an article I wrote on Hyperscale that includes one method for paint chipping:
There are other ways as well, my advice would be to go with what makes you feel comfortable. One word of advice as far as chipping though, the P-61 in FSM did look good, but keep in mind that many WWII aircraft had cloth covered flying controls, IIRC the model in FSM had chipped cloth covered surfaces...:-)
As for gloss or flat, try to look at as many photos of operational aircraft as possible as it does vary from aircraft to aircraft. Hope this was helpful,
Posted By: Grant Goodale <>
Date: Tuesday, 15 August 2000, at 3:46 p.m.
A while back, someone posted a question about where to find a proper rust application (I can't find the posting anymore). I recently went to my local model railway supply store and found weathering kits that consist of little plastic bottles of very fine powder with rust, dust, grime, etc. I have tried them on some armour and they work great. Much finer than pastels. They seem to stick very well to matte painted surfaces. It is called the "Weather System" by Bragdon Enterprises, 2960 Garden Tower Lane, Georgetown, California 95634. I am including the URL that they supply but I have not tried it yet. A set of four cost me $10.95 (Canadian).
Good luck
Dry Transfers
Posted By: Grant Goodale <>
Date: Tuesday, 15 August 2000, at 3:53 p.m.
There have been some postings recently (maybe in another message board on this site) where questions were raised about painting the warning stripes on propellers. I recently went to my local model railroad hobby store and I have found that they have various dry transfers (like the Letraset type) under the brand name of "Woodland Scenes". They have a package of just stripes of various widths. I bought them in red, yellow and white. I haven't tried them yet but they look like just the thing for waning stripes and for those annoying to do "aim off" stripes on the stabilizers of dive-bombers and level bombers. They also have packages of lettering (I am not sure what colours) that seem to be about right for those 1/48 tail codes but I will need to check them out.
Have fun.
Burned Paint and Skin
Posted By: Frank <>
Date: Wednesday, 3 January 2001, at 3:14 p.m.
maybe someone can help me with a little problem. I want to build a Mosquito nightfighter which flew right through the fireball of an exploded plane ( like the one in the
SQ "in action").But how to create the burned paint on the aircraft skin ? A friend told me to finish plane - and then to use a H²O²spray ; the rest of paint should be removed with a bit of cloth. This seems me to brutal!! Any advice ??
Posted By: Dave Pluth <>
Date: Friday, 5 January 2001, at 11:34 a.m.
In Response To: Burned paint and skin (Frank)
I haven't done this, but this is what I would try.
First paint the metal surfaces with a silver undercoat. This will allow you to peel some paint off. Next overpsray with a blackened/darkened color that is similar to the paint that you are using, except you only want to spray the affected areas. Do some chipping by pulling up some paint with some tape. Next take your pastels and weather in the direction of the explosion. You may want to flat coat first as the pastels will really dig into the pastels.
The biggest thing is to find photos of aircraft that may have gone through this type of explosion and study the fire patterns. Make sure that you are consistant on the rest of the aircraft in the weathering, that is, what the aircraft would have looked like previous to the blast (there would be protected areas etc that wouldn't be blackened).
Just some ideas.
Posted By: Frank <>
Date: Friday, 5 January 2001, at 3:27 p.m.
In Response To:  (Dave Pluth)
Little to late,
since i had Monograms old Mossie sitting masked and ready to be painted on my work bench, I choose her as a victim for a "Frankenstein"- like experiment. I removed all fabric covered parts (will be replaced by new ones, which will show the inner structure). Then I used a bit from the H²O²-spray along the fuselage. This devilish thing really "eats up" the plastic - right like the fire would consume the wooden airframe. After quarter of an hour i removed the rest with some water. Next I painted the wooden parts and the metal parts according to different materials used for the airframe construction.13 hours later the plane was painted using Aeromasters colors. Serial numbers and all roundels were sprayed on later. This is necessary, because in the areas with several layers of paint, there will be more color left after the flight through the fireball. I used some thinned masking liquid to protect this spots and those which aren't as exposed to the fire as the rest of the plane. Next came the clear parts. When the film was removed, I used a very thin glue together with some coal dust. It looks just like the pic in the SQ "in action" about the Mossie. Ten minutes before i switched on my computer, I removed most of the second layer of paint using a piece of cloth and white spirit. Of course, i don't know how it will look when it is dry - but at the moment it looks quite fantastic!!!! I hope, that it won't change to much! Tomorrow i will attach the other parts and will do a little bit of weathering and drybrushing.
Frank "Frankenstein the 3rd "
Posted By: Jeff McGuire <>
Date: Thursday, 4 January 2001, at 10:25 p.m.
In Response To: Burned paint and skin (Frank)
I think I would try, on an old model first, to spray over the camo with a very flat blue/black mix, almost as if you were blackening the end of a tank barrel or something. I think a blackened look may be more convincing than a burned off look. I could be and have been wrong many times, however.
Dust in Paint
Posted By: Grant Goodale <>
Date: Wednesday, 6 December 2000, at 3:37 p.m.
Hello world -
I have found that I tend to get a lot of dust in my model room from sanding, airbrushing, etc. I use a homemade spray booth with a fan and a filter. The only life forms in our house are my wife and myself (empty nesters) with no animals. My wife is a clean freak. I have found that I get dust on my models during construction. Before airbrushing each coat, I spray some "Endust for Electronics" on a lint free pad and give the model a quick wipe down. After spraying the coat, I usually find areas that I somehow missed! How do others deal with the dust problem?
Klutzy in Toronto
Posted By: rick shank <>
Date: Thursday, 21 December 2000, at 9:23 a.m.
In Response To: Dust (Grant Goodale)
Grant, I forgot to mention there have been times when I thoroughly cleaned a model and then painted it and still had what I thought at first were dust particles. Upon closer inspection I discovered they were not dust specks, but tiny chunks of paint. Most paint, especially acrylics will develop these after a while [I still have some Pactra paint I bought in 1978]I found a simple, inexpensive way to eliminate this problem. If you have a bottom feed airbrush, before you pour your paint in the color cup, tear a small section out of a coffee filter and position it in the cup snugly with your little finger. Then pour in the paint. You will be surprised at what you might find in the filter when you're done that otherwise would have been blown onto your model. LATER,RICK
Posted By: Grant Elliott <>
Date: Thursday, 21 December 2000, at 3:45 a.m.
In Response To: Dust (Grant Goodale)
Hi Grant,
After wiping the model, I tend to zap my models with that old static gun that was meant to be used on vinyl LP records. Find them at garage sales!
Good luck,
Posted By: rick shank <>
Date: Wednesday, 20 December 2000, at 9:51 p.m.
In Response To: Dust (Grant Goodale)
Grant, before I paint any model I go over it dabbing it with a wide piece of masking tape. This has a ''tack rag” effect and will remove dust particles that you may not notice until after you've painted over it. We all have been through this frustrating battle and even the most expensive paint looks like crap when it's peppered with dust particles. Hope this helps. Rick
Posted By: Jim Fox <>
Date: Thursday, 7 December 2000, at 7:04 a.m.
In Response To: Dust (Grant Goodale)
In my old house, my workbench and spray booth were located within 10 feet of the clothes dryer. Needless to say, I come down stairs after the dryer had been running, and I'd find a layer of dust all over things (not a thick layer, but more of a dusting kinda). I'd usually tack rag the thing, then right before I applied the paint, I'd shoot air from the airbrush across the model to catch the stragglers. Had pretty good luck that way.
HTH and Happy Modeling,
Jim Fox
Posted By: Clark Hollis <>
Date: Wednesday, 6 December 2000, at 6:23 p.m.
In Response To: Dust (Grant Goodale)
Hi Grant,
I have that dust problem, also. Sometimes I just put the thing under the faucet and wash it off with warm water. Blow-drying it with my airbrush helps get water residue off, then hurry to paint before it gets dusty again.
I'd like to hear other comments, as well.
Resin Tips
Posted By: Deniz Karacay <>
Date: Thursday, 18 January 2001, at 5:45 p.m.
I have got my conversion for Italeri Ju86 to Ju86R from RS Models. Understandably they are resin parts. However not so clean as I usually encounter. How do you recommend cleaning and smoothing out the extra resin on the surface plus fusing the parts to plastic ones?
Posted By: Dan Salamone <>
Date: Sunday, 21 January 2001, at 9:51 p.m.
Hi Deniz,
Well, I'd wash the parts first with warm water and mild soap (dish detergent is good for this).
You can clean up the parts with the same tools as an injection molded part, be careful though not to breathe in resin dust. After cleaning up, primer the parts with white paint and check for air bubbles in the resin. If present, fill with either CA, or epoxy putty. After dry, you can sand this down with sandpaper like standard plastic parts. For very small pinholes, you may want to widen the hole a bit with a pin vise or tip of an X-Acto as this will allow the filler to really get into the hole.
Finally, you will need to use either CA or an epoxy to glue the parts to plastic. I like epoxy as it allows more time for fitting the parts together, but it all depends on size, etc. CA is good for small parts, but the added strength of epoxy is best for larger resin parts. BTW, 5-minute epoxy is water-soluble even after curing so if you will be doing any wet sanding after gluing together- use a longer setting epoxy like 15 minutes. The longer the cure time, the stronger the bond anyway.
Posted By: Dan Salamone <>
Date: Monday, 22 January 2001, at 9:42 p.m.
Hi Deniz,
Sorry! :-) It's super glue, CA is short for "cyanoacrylate". If you have the option of "thick" or "thin" superglue go for the thick, as the thin is almost as thin as water and difficult to control. Hope this helps,
Liquid Cement  
Posted By: Jeff McGuire <>
Date: Thursday, 15 March 2001, at 9:33 p.m.
Hello all,
I have always used Testors liquid cement that comes in the odd-shaped black plastic container. The last two that I've had caused me much grief. After the first use on each container the whole tip became packed with a very hard plastic like orange substance. I cut down all the way down through the spout to try to get past it and could not. It had filled the whole spout! What is this? It's as hard as the container the glue is in. Am I insane?
Posted By: Jim Fox <>
Date: Friday, 23 March 2001, at 5:49 a.m.
I use something I picked up from a plastics supply house. The name slips me, but I wanna say Insta-Weld. They have various grade of it, for the slow drying, fast drying and in-between. It's probably a 4" dia can and about 5" tall, but I don't recall how many ounces are in it (I'm reading these at work today).
I use a Touch-n-Flow application which is a tube with a fine hypodermic needle on the one end. You fill that up, run the needle down a seam and the capillary action sucks the glue into the seam. Or you can do a drop at a time.
Hope that help....
Jim Fox
VP/Webmaster of IPMS Kalamazoo
Posted By: Dan Salamone <>
Date: Saturday, 17 March 2001, at 3:18 p.m.
Hi Jeff,
I've been using Tenax almost exclusively the past few years because it is fast drying and strong. The main problem for me is the taller and narrow bottle which is spill prone- so I use an old Testors liquid cement bottle for the Tenax.
I use a small brush like an 5/0 or 10/0 for application depending on the need- the brushes never get hard or clog.
Hope this helps Jeff,
P.S. Plastruct is also a good cement- and I've never had problems with the supplied brush getting hard either.
Posted By: Stan Goddard <>
Date: Monday, 19 March 2001, at 9:39 a.m.
I have used AMBROID Pro Weld for years and find it an excellent product.
For fine applications I cut down the brush so that there are only a few bristles left while I keep other sizes for larger applications. It works.
Note! Like all glues of this type be very careful re vapors
and follow direction warnings.
Date: Saturday, 24 March 2001, at 7:09 a.m.
The only liquid glue I use is not even a glue. It’s acrylic lacquer thinner. It works great!  
Tips on Weathering
Posted By: JP4 <>
Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2002, at 9:36 p.m.
Looking at some of the pictures on this site, and at pictures on some of the links, I have seen some really kick ass weathering on these Japanese aircraft models.
Now I've got chipping and that business pretty well down, at least by my standards, but some of you guys make the planes look absolutely excellent with the detail and realism of the weathering. Now, unfortunately, I have to fit in modeling around my schedule, so what I really need, are some tips on how to produce some good weathering besides chipping, that at the same time won't take an eternity. I'll really appreciate whatever help you might be able to offer.
Re: Tips on Weathering
Posted By: Mike Gawell <>
Date: Wednesday, 27 November 2002, at 9:01 a.m.
In Response To: Tips on Weathering (JP4)
I am like time, yet want a great looking kit. Here are some of the things I am doing now that help.
I am trying to put SNJ under the pain in the areas that I intend to "chip", and after the painting, I gloss coat as usual, then with 2000 grit sand paper lightly sand it, and with the BACK side of the sand paper (or a paper bag would suffice) I buff it until it is very very glossy. After that I add decals, gloss shoot it once more, and then add washes, and weathering to my taste. The one thing I have learned is not to over do it. With Japanese Aircraft, they did not have the exhaust staining the other countires did due to their fuel. Their paint was not up to the climates, so that is the skill.
I also keep a jar of "weather" for light staining around the gun tubes, and oil stains etc. Mr. Color's Oil color is nice to have handy too.
Look at photos of your subject kit as much as possible, and look for common points of staining, weathering, wear and tear.
Natural metal will wear whitish or blueish around exhaust. On colored paint, I will air shoot a whitish gray, then a sienna, then a darker blackish brown in the center. Again it depends on what the photographs reveal. I am also very fortunant to be able to get close to a whole flight load of WWII aircraft on a regular basis, so I get to look closely at the commonality of the way the aircraft look at the end of our demonstrations. For instance...A-1 skyraiders and TBMs leak oil like crazy!!!
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