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What Does It Take?


Mark Deliduka
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I am trying to build a 1/72 scale Saturn V rocket. That takes a shipload of white paint. I've been using the Wal-Mart .96cent rattle cans of flat white. It's been going on very smooth and even. I found that it is easier than trying to airbrush such a massive model, as I don't have a paint bottle big enough.I have had no issues with the paint itself.

 

My issue is that every time I try to prepare this model for a clearcoat to apply my masking for the black paint and subsequently the decals, I keep finding little flecks of dust and micro hairs that are very obvious. I've done all I can think of to wash and sand these specs off. I've even sprayed Static Guard on this model to try and eliminate the static that keeps attracting this crap! I've been at this for FIVE HOURS now and I'm further away from masking this than I was five hours ago! And I've only been working on STAGE II!

 

Now, I've seen all you Masters on here getting such smooth, CLEAN, and EVEN coats of white and other colors on your models. I have been at this second stage for FIVE HOURS and still nowhere near where I need to be to move on. Then I still need to do the larger Stage I. This is why I'm still just a moderately novice modeler here, nowhere near being in the same league as everyone here. I cannot make this model look RIGHT to save my life! I haven't even gotten to the step where I can add the black sections to this because I'm too much of a bad modeler to even get the stupid model CLEAN ENOUGH!

 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

 

All I want is for this to NOT look like some kid built it in a dusty, dirty room! I've cleaned my workstation, spray booth area and surrounding environs. I've done as much as I can to eliminate as much of the dust as I can. I've done everything I can think of to stop the static cling on the model parts. I guess I'm just too much of a screw up to do this model any justice!

 

 

What does it take to make a model even half as good as any of you Masters?

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Go to the auto supply store and find what is called a "tack cloth". This is what auto shops use to remove the dust and lint from cars before they paint. It also removes static electricity from the model as well. Also, make sure you have a clean painting area. I would suggest rubbing the painting area around the model with the tack cloth. If you paint in your gargage, wet down the floor with a garden hose to avaid stirring up dust. We did that when I was painting cars at my dad's body shop.

 

FWIW.

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Mark - Since I paint mostly Gloss Paint jobs on my Model Cars I am all to familiar with this problem. Here are SOME of the things I do to try to keep all the crap floating around out of my paint jobs. On the model itself I use Polly Scale Plastic Prep, a pink antistatic liquid. I stopped using Tack Cloth's as mentioned above as I found that if the tack cloth is not very "fresh" it will sometimes leave little balls of the tacky stuff on the models surface. I also use a antistatic Gun I picked up at Industrial Equipment Sale just before painting. Do not ever use paper towels to wipe down your models as they will leave exactly what you are describing. In the area where I paint, starting with the Paint Booth, I do a lot to reduce dust etc. My paint booth gets wiped down inside and outside with Spic and Spans Cinch Multi cleaner. This stuff dry's fast and leaves nothing behind, I then line my paint booth with fresh aluminum foil on the bottom and sides and cling wrap on top so built in light is useful. I change out the foil and cling wrap after every paint session. Everything that goes in the booth such as paint stand and lazy susan also get covered with aluminum foil. In the area around the paint booth I wipe everything down with Cinch [ I vacuum the day before paint sessions so dust is settled] and using a small spray bottle I spray a mist of water on the floor around the area that I paint. After painting I leave the model in the Paint Booth and close the door while it is still running for a few seconds and this completely seals the model in [ I have silicon seal on the door and the booth to make a complete seal. I also sometimes use a food dehydrator to speed up build process and I clean it in the dishwasher and wipe down with plastic Prep before use. Even with all this I still get crap in my nice glossy paint jobs and therefore have gotten very good with the infamous "Polishing Kit" that is a whole other topic! I hope some part of this long post helps. Dan

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Thank you Rusty. I just got done picking up a couple tack cloths. I will be trying them out.

 

Dan thanks. I haven't got a spray booth per se, it is mostly a tray in front of a window with a fan blowing everything out. I do clean up the area around it before painting but always seem to have issues anyway. Most times it doesn't matter as I can easily remove it from a lot of my smaller models. This rocket is huge though and will be very obviously dirty if I'm not more careful. I will try the spray bottle technique as well with the tack cloth and hopefully get better results.

 

Thanks again for the helpful hints guys; I'm writing everything down.

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Thanks Rob. I did and so far it has worked like a charm. I did write down all the suggestions from this and a few other Forums; implemented as many as I was able, and successfully clear coated this entire model. Now to get it masked off for black.

Wish me luck.

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  • 3 months later...

I usually clean with Plastic Prep or alchohol (not a good idea if you've got an acrylic base coat.) The trick is to use coffee filters! They're lint free and don't shed so they're an excellent media for applying fluids.

 

Any type of anti static device is a good investment.

hth

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I don't have a spray booth per se other than an open garage door but I have found that a spray bottle to be my best friend. Just before I paint I wipe the model down with 50% distilled water and 50% 90% Isopropyl alcohol from the spray bottle and then just before I paint I mist the area with the same mix. I am rather liberal in the area misting. It seems to take all the dust and lint out of the air and being pure water and alcohol it does not contaminate the area. By the way, if you are going to be building models of this size with any frequency I suggest you look into an Iwata LPH-50 http://www.coastairbrush.com/proddetail.asp?prod=Iwata_LPH-50_HVLP gun. It is a step up from an airbrush and a set down from a touchup gun. It can give you a fan about 2 inches wide down to 1/16". Very versatile gun for model building. It is also an HVLP gun so you aren't blowing so hard and it keeps the overspray to a minimum. You can get there different tips and needles depending on the medium you are shooting. I bought mine after going to a demo by a automotive mural painter Craig Fraser and saw what it was capable of.

 

Incidentally, just a thought but why would you paint it with flat white and then clear coat it to do the decals. Why not just spray it with gloss white to begin with. Saves you some paint and has the same effect as flat then gloss. It also reduces the loss of detail through to thick of a coat of paint.

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Thanks for the great comments guys! Coffee filters! That's brilliant! Time to go shopping again.

 

Pete, I shot flat white because from the rattle can it went on smoother and less opaque. The gloss tended to go on too thin so that I could see the bare plastic underneath (especially at joints) and also tended to run easier. I got a more solid color with the flat with far less coats so that's why I did it that way.

 

I would love to get one of those guns. Maybe when I get paid again, I might make the investment since I do have a few larger projects coming up. (Can anyone say Blackjack Bomber?)

 

Thanks again for the great comments and suggestions. I'm taking copious notes!

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When I built Airfix's Saturn V, I used Tamiya flat white primer from the rattle can to get an opaque finish, then topped off with gloss white, again from the rattle can. I sprayed outside in my back yard on my lunch break, then inspected the painted parts in the evening. The flat white (actually the primer dries to a nice satin finish) was easy to spot sand with a bit of 600 grit wet-n-dry. A quick wash and rinse in the kitchen sink, then off to dry overnight. I repeated this process over a period of around a week. I think I applied four flat white coats and two gloss white coats. I did get some dust and bugs in the gloss finish, but they were eliminated with fine sandpaper followed by a quick spot re-spray of the gloss white. Tamiya rattle can paint is great stuff, as it dries really fast (even the gloss colors) and produces a hard surface that takes sanding and polishing well.

 

As an aside, I used Tamiya's masking tape and rattle can semi-gloss black to finish the model. The tapered and corrugated areas just needed some careful pressing down of the tape to get a good seal. I used space Model Systems' decal sheet, which provided corrected markings and a plethora of additional small stencils. The service module had a nice optional "wraparound" decal that included all the tiny stencils in their proper place. I had the older uncorrected undersize CM/SM version of the kit so I had to modify the decal to fit.

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Neal, that is excellent advice. I hadn't thought about putting a gloss over a flat coat. I might have to try that next time. Then again, I'm not sure when I'll do another 1/72 scale Saturn V!

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Neal, that is excellent advice. I hadn't thought about putting a gloss over a flat coat. I might have to try that next time. Then again, I'm not sure when I'll do another 1/72 scale Saturn V!

The car guys told me about that paint trick.

 

Instead of building another Saturn V, just wait until DML does a soviet N-1 moon rocket in 1/72! (Actually, I'd like one in 1/144 - the Realspace Models resin kit is very rough.)

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