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jinx46

Some unpleasant truths on modelling

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:gold-plane: This post arises from my own experience only and it concerns how many models age and actually get worse as they do.

The other day, I opened my modelling cabinet, which has six shelves and house about 60 models of all kinds, and took out some models I had made in in the early 80's. Some of the aircraft models were a sore sight: the decals had yellow, the painted had yellow, and some landing gear doors and missiles had come off and unglued.

Let me say that I made aircraft models in 72nd, AFV"s in 1/72nd and 1/76th, waterline ships in 1/700 ot 720, figures in in 1/72nd, 1/ 35th, and 1/76th and in 54 mm--and that myself contain specimens of all the above types pluse some unfinished models pending or stopped.

Aside from the constant battle against dusr ( I wash them and go over them with a soft brush and let them dry from time to time--every 2-3 years), I saw that my Humbrol enamel finishes had yellowed and so had some of the decals, even on some aircraft models that had got 1st prize at the IMPS-Greece Nationals long ago, when they were fresh from the bench.

I also noticed that tanks and AFV's, mostly western desert WWII, and painted sand, did not look as bad and had not deteriorated much--some are still great to look at. My 54 mm figuresm those that had been primed with Humbrol enamel and then painted with artist's oils, looked fine. Those painted only with Humbrol enamels had yellowed and deteriorated.

 

I then stopped to wonder if the sad fate of the deteriorated models is always there as a menace for whatever I make now and also reflected that many modellers have met the same sad sight.

 

Clearly, it is a pity. :smiley16:

The models certainly gave pleasure when they were being made, and joy to me when many of them got awards in many classes...

But are we modellers everywhere fighting a losing battle all the time?

Must we resign outselves to the idea that after a few years the sheen and lustre will go and the colors become despicable and the decals horrid?

I am 66 and have been modelling since the age of 14. I am no.3 member in the list of IPMS-Greece and helped create it and many of the models I made when I was 14-18 are now in storage for a Plastic Kits museum that will be created in the next years in the city of Athens and will feature creations by "old & well-known"" modellers. I am now such a modeller and I am not sure of the mertis of that dubious distinction.

I also paint as a standard artist (oils and gouaches and watercolors and acrylics).

:smiley14: In fact the picture at top left of my posts is a goyahe painting of mine of a British WWII destroyer in the sunny waters off Crete in 1942. My gouaches and oils and watercolors do not yellow. The models do.

 

 

A penny for your thoughts,

and Happy New Year to all.

 

Nick In Athens :smiley29::unsure: :unsure:

Edited by jinx46

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I've had the same problems, and as with your experience, the degree of degradation varies from model to model.

 

I have an A-6A Intruder I built in 1981, and it's not really in bad condition at all. However, some other models that I painted only 10-20yrs ago have deteriorated much more. White does seem to have the biggest problems. In my experience, Floquil flat white yellows more than Model Master gloss white. That said, MOST of my yellowing problems stem from 2 sources: the final clear coat and bad decals.

 

I've used Testors flat coat and Gloss coats much of my life, and those are notorious about yellowing. Heck, the flat coat is often yellow looking in the bottle! If you apply heavy coats, it will tint the model and also look more yellow over the years. This is one of the main reasons that Future has been so popular: it doesn't yellow! Also, cheap decals use cheap glues and they tend more to yellow over time. It's just one more reason to use aftermarket decals IF you are looking to keep a model in prime condition for the longest period of time.

 

I've heard that if you tint your white paint with 1-2 DROPS of blue, it will actually look brighter and tend to yellow less over time. Along the same lines, if you prefer enamels, you can buy clear urethane varnishes (gloss, matte, and semi-matte) with "UV inhibitors" that are supposed to not yellow over time. Look for them at your local hardware store.

 

I can see your concern, especially if you're stocking a museum shelf, and want your model to look pristine for at least 5-10+ years for the viewing public. Outside of that scenario, I think we tend to look at our work as having some "permanence" , and that may be a misconception on our own part. I think your thought about having enjoyed them when we built them gets to the heart of the matter: be happy for that and use the deterioration as an excuse to build another! Cheers!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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]Thanks for the feeback, Gil.

 

Floquils are not available here--most Greek modelllers have turned to Sangyo and/or Vallejo colors Some use some Tamiya colors also.

Despite what we may think., there is no permanence in models--they do change over time--colors, varnishes, even glues change, and putty also. But then again all in nature changes over time, wether man made of nature-made, and that includes us.

 

Thanks again

PS. The atttached image shows 3 paintings of mine of British WWII pilots as they were published in a Greek magazine called WAR AND HISTORY, long ago. The text in Greek was also part of the article I had written about these men. Dated 1994.Kent was a Canadian.

post-1987-0-99862600-1356941910_thumb.jpg

Edited by jinx46

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Hi Nick (and I wish Iwas in Athens!):

 

Model paints are not light stable. They could be made that way but it would be even more expensive. One of the battles we have here is that as some of the older modelers pass, they have huige collections, many of which have the same probelms that you mentioned along with what to do with the kits- built and other. I don't really have a good answer except to enjoy the builds and the people who build it.

 

Dave

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I spent over a quarter century in the US Army. It meant that I moved every 2, 3 or 4 years. Most of my completed kits rarely saw the light of day and if they were displayed, only for a short period of time before they were stuffed in a box and literally crushed along with other completed or semi-completed builds as I moved on to my next assignment. Many of my better tanks just have the turrets removed and carefully placed inside the original box, padded with some paper towels and I could probably pull them out and they are as good as the day they were finished.

 

Every once in a while, I would revisit a subject. Often I would find a newer release and see how my skills progressed.

 

In two months, I will have lived in the same house for five years; the longest period of time under one roof since I left high school in 1982. I only have about a dozen kits displayed in a glass cabinet. I rotate them every so often. They are mainly 1/72 scale armor so they don't take up too much room.

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RobG,

 

It is certainly true that when sheltered from light, models age less. It is also true that armor kits age less, esp. if they are smaller scale and painted sand--with the possible exception of decals, if they have any at all.

 

Thanks

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My display kits are mainly 1/72 scale armor (many WW2 and a few modern). The vast majority of my built kits are 1/35 scale kits commonly Tamiya, Italeri and Dragon sprinkled across eras and nations. Those are the ones stuffed in boxes.

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I've had the same problem recently when unpacking older models. Makes me question why we bother to collect them. My problem is not with the paint or overcoat since I switched to acrylics and tamiya white about 15 years ago. The problem is with almost every decal made. They turn brown/yellow after about 10 years. I think the problem is the adhesive under the film. This is even with expensive aftermarket decals and some "real-space" type Alps decals. Is there any way to prevent it, or just build new models every ten years?

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Actually, I think I'm OK with my models having a 10 year or so life span. I like to think that each model I do is a little better than the last, so as time goes by, I tend to throw out the older ones. That being said, I keep my in a decent display case where sunlight rarely hits the models, at that seems to keep them fairly well preserved. I have two aircraft and at least one tank that are all over 10 years old, and they don't look like they've changed at all.

 

David

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Testors clear is the worst for yellow, I switched to Tamiya, Micro Scale and Future over 10 years ago without a big problem. Model white paint has never worked well for me so I switched to rattle can from Auto Paint stores with more success.

Aircraft are the worst with parts falling off and decals, ships and tanks seem to have held up much better. As others have said I tend to not keep many items around for long periods, but I do have a few that have withstood the test of time okay. But they are in a case out of sunlight so that helps.

Edited by sumterIII

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I have the Revell Space Station in a case that I custom built for it. The model was originally purchased and built by me in 1963, and then restored about 7 or 8 years ago. The case is dust proof and is away from direct, or even any bright indirect light. For being "vintage" it is in remarkable condition but then again, the paint job and repairs are only 7 or 8 years old.

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I've made it a habit of photgraphing my models when competed, then when it starts looking long in the tooth, stripping the weapons, interiors, and other useful parts, then waste-canning the rest. I've found about 10-15 years shelf life is about all they'll last. It sucks to toss out all that work, but it keeps my display case filled with good looking stuff, and making room for the newer, better built things.

Doug

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No sure what is going on here....I have models on display, in the open air, in my house, and aside from a good dusting every month or so, they look like the day I finished them. I mostly paint with MM rattle cans straight from the can, no decanting. They are not in direct sunlight, but the room is very well lit with indirect sunlight for most of the day. No of my decals are yellowed, and some of my builds are garishly decaled racecars. Some have clearcoat, but most I just polish the paint work.When I do gloss to seal the decals I use Testors.

 

Maybe it's because I mostly do car models with glossy paint work, but none of them have any deterioration at all that I can see. some are Tamiya F1 and GT type, some are Fujimi Enthusiast Series, and some are multi media resin F1 kits from S27 and MFH.

 

The "youngest" model I have is a 1/48 Tamiya F-16C in Vermont Air Guard scheme which is about 2 years old now, the "oldest" a Hasegawa Castrol Jaguar that has got to be close to 20 years, and the White paint has not Yellowed at all.

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Along the lines of the old saying that "Everything I gave away, I still have..." or however that one goes:

 

The most rewarding experiences I've had as a modeler are building a model that really means something to somebody and giving it to them whenever it gets done. This experience stands in stark contrast to building it for pay, under deadlines, customer technical expectations and such that usually suck the fun right out of the build, for me.

 

The surprise recipient usually treasures the model and preserves it as recommended, whether it's an individual, an organization, or whatever. So the model is out there making somebody happy, showing off, or telling a story and is not just stashed away on a dark shelf somewhere, parked amongst its peers. IMHO, this is a far more satisfying legacy than a room full of dusty old kits and builds that nobody knows what to do with.

 

And then - there's room for the next one - !!!

 

Just my 2 cents.

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Basically, styrene is not a stable product, so unfortunately models will degrade with age. I discovered some styrene sheet that was tucked away in a drawer for about 20 odd years or so that I had forgotten about. Despite being stored well it had gone brittle and was unusable.

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Here is a different point of view, many friends jump each time I tell this.

 

I only enjoy while working with the model, once finished goes to a shoe box, sometimes I give it away and sometimes I have sold them. The point is that I mostly never care about it never again, what I´m really wishing is to enjoy again with a new model.

 

A partial solution for the conserving of the models could be taking as many photographs as possible of the already finished model, they will last longer than the model itself and they won´t change.

 

Fede

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A partial solution for the conserving of the models could be taking as many photographs as possible of the already finished model, they will last longer than the model itself and they won´t change.

 

That's exactly what I do. Have kept a few models that are important to me personally, but most are remembered in a photo album reserved for this purpose, along with my other artwork. Have occasionally seen those gifted/sold models years later and they've been treasured & preserved more carefully than I would have done, had I kept them. Some models that I did keep ended up damaged beyond repair and went into the scrap/spares bin, with those photos now the only evidence they ever looked better. Some fun experimental pix too, with the pinhole lens, forced perspective, etc. Good call, Fede.

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Along the lines of the old saying that "Everything I gave away, I still have..." or however that one goes:

 

 

The surprise recipient usually treasures the model and preserves it as recommended, whether it's an individual, an organization, or whatever. So the model is out there making somebody happy, showing off, or telling a story and is not just stashed away on a dark shelf somewhere, parked amongst its peers. IMHO, this is a far more satisfying legacy than a room full of dusty old kits and builds that nobody knows what to do with.

 

 

I agree. My most satisfying builds have been subjects selected because it means something to someone else, such as a ship a veteran served on or something like that. These models are treasured by the recipiant instead of stored by the builder. A few pictures taken remind me of the story behind the build and the joy of seeing the face of the recipiant light up. That's more than enough for me.

 

EJ

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I can vouch for all of the above. Fortunately, I've seen some aging on the models I build over time but they serve as a reminder to the times of the past when I met and actually knew a few of the pioneers who designed and built some of the planes I have in my collection. Hopefully they will go to a private collection or museum when I pass on.

 

 

Mark

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Ain't gonna lie. The greatest satisfaction for me in the hobby is the act of building and completing the kits with interesting schemes, acquiring and applying new skills - as I prepare each one for competition, especially at the Nationals. My goal is to challenge other good modelers and win! If I accomplish this, the model goes into a display case where, while agreeable to look at and admire, it is essentially out to pasture until it goes the way of all good things. Meanwhile, they can never be a reason to rest on one's laurels-although their deficiencies can be inspirational reminders that there is are always opportunities to improve. No- once off the bench and done competing, they have to make way for future efforts. Nick Filippone, IPMS #969

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Here is a different point of view, many friends jump each time I tell this.

 

I only enjoy while working with the model, once finished goes to a shoe box, sometimes I give it away and sometimes I have sold them. The point is that I mostly never care about it never again, what I´m really wishing is to enjoy again with a new model.

 

A partial solution for the conserving of the models could be taking as many photographs as possible of the already finished model, they will last longer than the model itself and they won´t change.

 

Fede

 

Estoy de acuerdo. I also lose interest after I have completed a kit and entered it in several contests. My interest shift to the next kit I am building.

 

Espero que comprende mi espanol pobre.

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I've had the same problem recently when unpacking older models. Makes me question why we bother to collect them. My problem is not with the paint or overcoat since I switched to acrylics and tamiya white about 15 years ago. The problem is with almost every decal made. They turn brown/yellow after about 10 years. I think the problem is the adhesive under the film. This is even with expensive aftermarket decals and some "real-space" type Alps decals. Is there any way to prevent it, or just build new models every ten years?

 

I think this might point to something being wrong with the way the application of decals is usually advised: Gloss-coating, setting solutions etc... To me, it seems the possiblity of silvering, which glossing doesn't seems to prevent every time, is a localized symptom of what is actually overall poor adhesion for the whole decal, with air trapped under the decal due to the decal glue being not being very dense (air being trapped in the decal's glue maybe): I use Solvaset (or Micro-sol on thinner decals) as a setting agent over/under directly on matte paint: The decal, attacked from both sides, is litterally "melted" into the more "meltable" porous paint... And with this combination, the decal glue becomes totally irrelevant to the adhesion...: They stick just as well upside-down!: To remove, once dry, would require stripping the paint!

 

That the adhesion is better this way is evidenced by the absence of silvering despite the matte surface: No silvering ever... And the total impossibility to separate the decal from the paint... The downside is that the decals are attacked so aggressively so early that they only give you a very limited time before deforming as you try to move them around... This is far worse with German late-war open white crosses, because they have little pigment to resist deformation(!): I found the hard way that these can only be moved only once with this method!... Yikes!

 

Gaston

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Basically, styrene is not a stable product, so unfortunately models will degrade with age. I discovered some styrene sheet that was tucked away in a drawer for about 20 odd years or so that I had forgotten about. Despite being stored well it had gone brittle and was unusable.

 

This is because styrene sheets are not the same quality of plastic as the styrene used in most kits: You'll note Evergreen styrene sheets are usually much softer, yet less strong, than kit plastic when new, and will melt far more dramatically with liquid glue: They seem more porous inside, and are not identical at all to the plastic in most kits. The softness is to make them easier to work with than a kit's plastic I suppose... Also the injection moulding process of kits seems something way more forceful than plastic sheet rolling, and that could explain the difference...

 

Many kits I own are made of plastic of over 40 years of age, and their properties are completely unchanged: Ask anyone who own Monogram kits of the 1960s: If still in the box, the plastic will feel no different after 50 years than a newer mould... Much more relevant seems to be the colour the plastic is moulded in(!): That feels more different than any issue of time...

 

The real age issue is sunlight, and especially sunlight heat exposure: Sunlight creates a focussed surface temperature that will "dry out" the plastic (in depth, not just the surface), evaporating the humidity inside the plastic into a gas, and leaving behind tiny gas pockets within the plastic: Then, as the night cycle contracts the gas, the next daylight heating up will expand the newly created gas pockets again, causing the tiny pocket walls to disintegrate over time... Direct sunlight UV rays are of course corrosive, but might actually be less of an issue than you think if the model is painted thick or dark enough: Surface temperature caused by the sunlight will likely be the real killer of models, not UV rays...

 

Kit Styrene is actually not the worse, and seems more stable over time compared to many other plastics...

 

Without heat or sunlight, kit-quality styrene should be very stable, but will become more brittle over decades: This is obviously not an issue on an item that is not performing any actual physical work, but it might lead to snapped gear legs owing to the concentrated stresses: That is why I like the SAC metal gear legs, whatever their other faults may be...

 

I think this is an issue like paper acidity, sold by microfilm companies to the library system: Yes over time the item becomes more brittle, but that doen't mean it will necessarily disintegrate....

 

Gaston

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