Date: Mon Aug  3, 1998

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Part 5

Part 5 ** More General how-to questions ** ** This section is an extension of part 4, it covers frequently asked ** questions regarding construction techniques that can be answered in a ** few paragraphs. Questions with longer answers have their own FAQ ** section. [Q] My superglue never seems to set the same. Sometimes it is slow,
sometimes very fast, why?
[A] (Urban Fredriksson) Superglue sets through humidity in the air. When the humidity is higher, the CA will tend to set quicker. [Q] Should I use an accelerator to speed up the setting time of CA? [A] (Urban Fredriksson) There is no definitive answer to this. There are advantages and drawbacks. Accelerators such as Zip Kicker tend to result in a weaker, more brittle bond than if you let it set normally. This is isn't a real problem if you are using the CA for filler, but if it is your main adhesive, a sudden jar, or a shearing force could break the bond. On the flip side, accelerators really do speed up the process. Especially in using thick super glues for filling. A problem unrelated to the bond is the reaction of plastic to accelerator. Accelerators such as Zip Kicker contain 1,1,1- trichloroethane. This is a solvent of styrene. It can mar the surface. This can be quite detrimental if the model has already been painted and decaled. [Q] Is it true that CA glue is made from Cyanide? Can I poison myself with it? [A] (Mark and/or Mary Shannon) [I had to wade through several layers of email attributions to figure out who authored this - please let me know if I got it wrong.] As a qualified chemist (Ph.D. in the ruddy subject), let me try to clarify the point. Cyanoacrylate glues contain the group H2C=CH-CN: Where the = represents a double bond between two carbons and there is a triple bond between the carbon and nitrogen of the CN. CN is the 'cyano' group, and a three-carbon chain with a double bond next to another type of multiple bond (or some other form of electron rich group such as a radical or anion) is an 'acrylic' group -- the combination gives a relatively high reactivity to the compounds and allows them to polymerize like a plastic. Many non-toxic compounds contain both types of groups, and many medicines have cyano groups. Along with this group, there are other chemicals and can be other chains attached to that cyanoacrylate group in place of one or more of the hydrogens. There is NO, NONE, NADA cyanide released on curing these glues and hardening. There are some obnoxious fumes released -- some of them just parts that boil out from the heat of the curing reaction. BUT, whenever an organic chemical that contains nitrogen is burned, some cyanogen/hydrogen cyanide is released. This happens with tobacco, meat, veggies, fireplace wood, etc. This release is worst when there is not enough oxygen present in the burning zone to ensure complete combustion -- so if there is a lot of smoke formation, there is more likelyhood of cyanide formation. As with any chemical process, it is best to have good ventilation when dealing with these compounds, but most Cyanoacrylate glues have been formulated as non-toxic (some of the original uses were as skin and tissue glues to replace sutures in surgery). If you are burning CA glues, do it in the same hood you use for spray painting. This goes for operations where you are using CA glue to hold parts for soldering, especially, since the fluxes and the modest burning temperatures add their own brew to the mix. Combustion Chemistry is a field in itself, and there are many things not understood about general rules of chemical formation in various conditions of burning organic compounds. I would suggest that everyone play it safer than they might normally when they are burning any of the materials used in this hobby. [Q] What are some basic safety notes about using CA? [A] (Urban Fredriksson) Super glues are not unsafe to use if common sense is applied. If you use CA to glue a seem together, don't use too much. If you do, you are likely to find yourself unable to remove your fingers. Don't wipe excess CA with your fingers. If you do happen to glue a part of your body, use acetone to remove it. [A] Rick DeNatale On the other hand if you ever get CA in your eye, DO NOT ATTEMPT HOME REMEDIES! Get expert medical attention immediately. This is a true medical emergency [The glue probably won't do permanent damage to your eye, but you may very well do so trying to pry your eye lid open!] [A] (Don Schmitz) I've also heard of CA reacting with certain materials - the stuff in "microballoons" for one example - to give off gasses that are powerful eye irritants (and probably no good for your lungs either). As always, use lots of ventilation. [A] (Urban Fredriksson) This isn't a safety factor, but something to keep in mind. Keep your CA tube, dispenser, or whatever clean. When you finish using, clean the nozzle before replacing the cap. If you don't CA will build up, and make it difficult to remove the cap later, and will cause the seal to be less effective, and the CA to set up in the tube prematurely. As in all areas of modeling, cleanliness is next to godliness. [Q] Any other opinons on glue? [A] ??? (Tuomas Viljanen) My standard styrene plastic glue is Ethylacetate. In my opinion, it is superior to all commercial liquid plastic cements. It runs thinner than most so it has good capillary action, it evaporates quickly and thus runs little risk damaging surface details if some of it ends up outside the joint. Additionally it is reported as being far less harmful than those containing Tolouen and Xylene, as well as substantially cheaper (but try to purchase less than a litre...). I find that I also need some sort of thicker, but still liquid glue, at present I use Revell's "Contacta Professional" as it has relatively little tendency to form strings. Most types that comes in bottles which has a thin metal tube to put the glue where you want I've tried have been OK. I used to use ordinary white glue, thinned, to fix canopies and the like, but now I use Kristal Kleer. I've never been able to decide if this is just thin white glue, or if something else has been added. To mount already painted parts, like bombs, where it's difficult to scrape off the paint, I use (very little) of some type of "universal" glue. You know, the sort which is supposed to glue plastic, wood, leather and so on, and is rather thick but clear. (Karlsons is my preferred brand, but Uhu and others work just as well.) For resin, you need some sort of epoxy glue. I haven't had any Cyanoacrylate glue at home since 1990. Must mean I don't like it much. But I guess it's essential for some types of jobs. .... Have you used any of the so-called 'liquid glues' ? Oh well, they all work on the same principle: they dissolve the plastic surrounding the joint and then evaporate, leaving the plastic around the joint welded together. The liquid glues are either aromatic or aliphatic solvents, ketones or chlor- inated hydrocarbons. Aside the commercial brands (f. eg. Humbrol, Testors or Super Weld) the following chemical substances can be used: - Xylene (slow evaporating, thus leaving long working time) - Toluene (similar to the previous) - Acetone (evaporates very, very quickly, not recommended) - n-Butanone (methyl ethyl ketone, MEK) (good and very popular, but has very strong intoxicating fumes, which are very odourous) - Ethyl isopropyl ketone (expensive, not recommended) - Benzaldehyde - Benzyl alcohol - Dichloromethane (my own favourite) - Chloroform (excellent, but have a good ventilation) - Trichloroethane (very good, recommended) and so on. If you have never worked with the liquid glues, the procedure is following: - Press the parts to be glued together. If possible, use masking tape - While the parts are tightly together, apply the liquid cement into the joint (and nowhere else) with a thin brush - Hold the parts tightly together, until all liquid glue has evaporated - Sand the joint and/or apply putty if required Also good types of adhesive are cyanoacrylate glue and 5-min. epoxy (any strong glue will do, providing you keep the parts together until completely cured) I myself have junked the tube glue long, long ago. Hope this helped. (Tuomas Viljanen) Lahderanta 20 A 19 SF-02720 Espoo 72 FINLAND 358-0-592175 or [A] (Bruce Burden) For plastic (polystyrene), I use Tenax and Faller. The Tenax in Creations Unlimited applicator is good for large applications, Faller for small areas (the applicator is too difficult to attach two small parts). You should keep white (PVA) glue around for attaching the canopy. Super glues and plastic cement can glaze or craze the canopy. [A] (Don Schmitz) Hot-melt glue - the stuff you put on with an electrically heated gun, has its uses. In particular, its great for gluing seats in an auto. Hot-melt dries to a rubbery consistancy, so don't use it where you need real strength. I haven't had any problems with the heat warping the plastic, but my glue gun has a low-temp setting and I've always used that. [Q] What do I use to glue on clear parts? [A] (Brian Arsenault) [A] (Don Schmitz) Attaching clear parts, eg. aircraft canopies and windows, can be a problem as many glues will form ugly smears or fog the plastic (the fumes from a tiny drop of cyanoacrylate can fog a big area). A few glues that are safe for this are: - watch cement. Used by jewelers for attaching watch crystals. Some folks claim this is the same thing as "Micro Crystal Klear" - a glue sold via hobby sources for the same purpose. - Good old Elmers white glue. - Clear enamel paint. Just brush some on the mating surfaces, wait a few minutes for it to get tacky, and then stick the two parts together. This has also been recomended for attaching photoetched trim. Note that none of these glues give really strong bonds with plastic, so you don't want to use these as general purpose glues. [Q] What are the basics of masking? [A] (C. D. Tavares) Try to find a low-tack tape, and use as little tape as possible. Aluminium foil and small plastic bags which you just tape around the edges are good ways to cover large surfaces. Before you apply tape, stick it to your table, or a piece of glass once or twice to make it less sticky. Remove any tape promptly (30 min) after painting, as they set harder the longer you wait. When removing the tape, pull back over the _______ => tape that still sticks, and keep the angle /___________ as small as possible. ------------------ .... A good point. I often read how you are supposed / to pull tape off at "a 45-degree angle" and I / tape always thought they meant this: /______________ It doesn't work! ------------------------- painted surface (from side) painted surface (from above) __________________ Then I discovered that they meant something tape /\ entirely different: make a 45-degree angle ________________/ \ in the FLAT plane. This works much better! / / / / \ / - \/ --If you believe that I speak for my company, OR write today for my special Investors' Packet... ------------------------------ [Q] What are the basic techniques for applying decals? [A] (Urban Fredriksson) For Tricky Decals - Decals that seem to not to want to lay down can be coaxed into doing so with the following technique. WARNING - this is tricky - if you aren't careful you can make a big mess. Lift up the decal and apply a small amount of liquid cement to the model's surface with an old brush. Blow the decal down with your breath or use a light single stroke with a brush. DO NOT TOUCH THE DECAL AGAIN! The glue will melt the decal thus adhering it to the model. If you are careful this coes out great. If you touch the decal while the glue is setting it will smear like paint - the decal at this point it melted and until it dries is very susceptable to damage. Once it dries it will be fine. I've used this on old decals (from 1960's kits) and those tricky German losenge patterns. Wait 2-3 days before dullcoating - Always wait at least two days after applying decals before applying a dull or gloss laquer coat. The moisture in the decals will react badly to the laquer if you coat too soon and the decals will wrinkle. ... * Cut away all decal film you can do easily. Use a very sharp knife, don't press hard as you don't have to cut the paper. * Put a few drops of Micro Set into the water before you wet the decals. * Wet the decal, but don't let it stay in the water. * Apply Micro Set to the surface you want the decal. * Slide it there. * Press down with a soft brush, blot off excess water. * Brush on Micro Sol, press down gently. * Place the kit so the decal lies horizontally (if possible). * Let dry slightly, apply more Micro Sol, press down. Don't worry about small wrinkles, but try to smooth down large ones. The decal will contract again when it dries. Repeat about twice. No guarantees, but this is what works best for me. [A] Tuomas Viljanen Decal film The decal film is cellulose acetate by chemical composition, and all of the so-called "decal setting solutions", such as Micro (nowadays Super) Set/Sol, Humbrol Decal Cote, Testors etc are based on acetic acid and some detergent. The detergent lowers the surface tension of water and acetic acid saturates and softens the decal film. As it is amorphous by composition, it does not dissolve, but softens; while the acetic acid evaporates away, the decal film sets to conform the surface beneath it. I have worked with glacial acetic acid (straight from the lab of Organic Chemistry in HUT) and made an aqueous solution of 2:5. It tames most of the commercial and kit decals (the brand I have had most difficulties with is the "Cartograf" used by Italeri and Esci). Even some stronger brands of household vinegar might be suitable ! One of my friends has gone even longer and he uses a solution of CH3COOH, MEK, water and dish-washing detergent as a decal-setting solution. He has not revealed the exact composition, though ! Tuomas Viljanen Lahderanta 20 A 19 SF-02720 Espoo 72 FINLAND 358-0-592175 or [Q] I would like to tint the windows of the model I am building,
how can this be done?
[A] (Urban Fredriksson) Try using food colours mixed into future floor wax (or some other acrylic clear coat). This can be brushed onto the clear part. In "The Verlinden Way III", tinted windows on a S-3A Viking were produced similarly. However, here gloss clear lacquer tinted with India Ink was used Some paints are manufactured that are transparent. For example, Tamiya has a Clear Yellow which could be used for tinting. [Q] The F-117 that I am building has gold tinted windows. How can
such a metallic tint be produced?
[A] (Urban Fredriksson) There are several possible ways to accomplish this. Here are several suggestions. 1) One possibility is to use some of the carrier fluid for the metallic paint, and a very small portion of the metallic particles. Airbrush this mixture on the inside surface of the part. 2) Another possibility is the use of thin Mylar Film, sometimes called "space blanket". It can be applied to the inside of the canopy using Microscale foil adhesive. Practice. If you get a wrinkle while applying it, and remove the film, the adhesive glue residue is very difficult to remove. 3) Another solution is to use metalised mylar for tinting house windows. Available at most hardware stores, this material comes in silver, gold, bronze and smoky, and has the advantage over a space blanket in that it is designed to be transparent. To attaching it, it is apparently adhesive backed with a peel-off protective layer on the back. 4) Yet another possible solution are the metallic polishing powders, such as those that come with SnJ Spray Metal products may be used like a dry pastel. Apply it to the inside of the canopy with a Q- tip. For a more permanent coating of the powder, apply a clear coat, such as Future Floor Wax first. Once dry, apply the powder, and rub it into the coating. [Q] How do I attach canopies to my model? [A] (Urban Fredriksson) As with everything in modeling, there is no absolute answer, although I would hazard to say that everyone has their own absolute answer. A problem I've seen with some very nice models is that some people seem to be scared of treating the transparency as another piece of plastic, or treat it as an afterthought to the entire model. A little more care needs to be exercised. So lets look at several methods of attachment, and what situations hint at one method. 1) Sometimes we are fortunate and the clear part to be attached has wide border areas that will be painted. For these types of parts, I typically use ordinary liquid cement. This allows a firm bond, and if the parts fit well can be sanded and faired into the surrounding areas. Some filler can be used to fill any gaps between the transparency and the model. Many people seem to forget that you can sand a clear part, and polish it back, and many times after polishing it looks better than before you started, because of inconsistencies in the molding process itself. Polishing is specifically discussed a little later in this FAQ. I personally think it is important to make the transparency look like part of the model, like the real thing, and not something simply attached as an afterthought. Being a model aircraft builder primarily, this is important. Canopy windscreens are integral parts of the plane, and there aren't big gaps between the canopy frame and the rest of the aircraft (generally). The clear part then can be masked when it comes time to paint. 2) Now say that you have a part that there isn't much free attachment space between the clear and where it joins to the model. If the parts mate well (and for some reason, it always seems that model companies don't make clear parts mate as well as other parts) again ordinarily model cement can be used, very carefully. Use a very fine paint brush, like a 000 for instance, and carefully touch some liquid cement to the joint, allowing capillary action to pull the cement in. Don't use too much, just enough to pull into the joint. If too much is used, the clear part will craze near the cement. Again, this works well for parts that can be attached before painting. 3) Some discourage superglue for clear parts because it can fog the plastic, but superglue can be used, if used very carefully. If too much superglue is used, it will fog the clear parts and usually does this on the inside of a canopy where it is hard to clean or polish out. I use thin superglue quite often with no problem with fogging. The trick is to use only enough to join the parts and no more. Use a sharp #11 blade as the applicator. Put some superglue on a piece of scrap plastic, touch the blade to the glue to get some on the point, and run the point along the joint, allowing capillary action to pull some superglue in. I use this exclusively to attach open canopies, like the canopy hood on an open Messerschmitt Bf109. This is also useful for attaching the brass and steel canopy detail sets available for aircraft these days. It is also, in my humble opinion, the best for attaching vacuum formed acetate canopies like those from Falcon. Again, the key is BE CAREFUL and don't use too much. 4) For those not up to wanting to risk superglue, there are alternatives. One of the most used is white glue. Several brands exist, Elmer's for one. Similar to white glue, there are some other similar products. Some use Kristal Kleer. My favourite among these types of products is a decoupage material called Mod Podge. It is like white glue, but I think dries even more transparent (it is intended of decoupage, to be applied over plaques, etc.) 5) As an alternate to white glues, some use 2-part epoxies. It's odourless, cures slowly, is sandable, easy to apply, doesn't attack styrene, bonds all type of materials, and is cheaper than superglue. [Q] My model aircraft is tail heavy, what do I use for ballast to keep
the nose down, and where should I put it?
There are many things that you can use, and many places in the model that the ballast can be placed. Lets look at where to put the ballast first. 1) The radar nose radome is a good place to start. It is in general the point most forward from the wheels, so the lever arm is longer and less weight is needed. 2) Engine nacelles. These are forward of the wheels on many aircraft. The major drawback is that since they are in general not as far forward, more weight is needed, and if too much is used, the landing gear could bend or even collapse. 3) You can place weight in the ejection seat. And for many 1/72 aircraft, there are actually white metal seats that are weighty. This can help. 4) Remove weight from the rear of the model. Sometimes, in some older kits, there is structural overkill in the rear section of the aircraft. Some of the inner supports can be removed if they are deemed unnecessary. Next, what materials work well as ballast? There are many materials that can be used, each with advantages and disadvantages. 1) BB's, for BB guns make good ballast. They are small and fill space pretty well. They can be held in place in the nose, nacelles, or around the cockpit tub with epoxy or gap filling superglue. 2) Lead fishing weights work very well. They come in different sizes, and being lead, their density is high, so not much is needed to add a lot of mass. 3) You can literally put your money into your models. Pennies can be used to supply weight. 4) Modeling clay can be used. It fits into difficult places, and can be used to hold BB's and lead in place. However, there can be a problem. Some commercial modeling clay begins to separate after a number of years, and the oil component can migrate out and damage the finish. 5) Glazing putty can be used like modeling clay, with the advantage that it is denser. 6) Flux-free solder works very well. It is dense, and can be easily coiled and made to fit into areas. Superglue can be used to fix it into place. 7) Lead foil from wine bottles is very good also. It can be crushed and made to fill unusual shapes. 8) If you are really in need of a lot of mass, you can mold a weight that fills the entire area. Use aluminium foil or wax to fill the area to get the shape. Remove this shape and make a temporary heat resistant mold. Nothing fancy, maybe clay or sand. Then melt solder into the cavity. Once hardened remove it from the mold and you have a custom weight that fills most of the available space. As in the other weights, superglue, epoxy, or even white glue can be used to hold the weight in place. [Q] What tools do I need for modeling? [A] From: (Urban Fredriksson) I have found some specialized tools that I need for model building that I did not have for miniatures. I started out by trying to do without some of these but finally I have broken down and purchased them and I don't know what I was ever thinking trying to do without them. All should be available at stores like Eric Fukes. Sprue Cutters - Specially made cutting pliers that snip models off of the mold sprues. These make a big difference over just breaking the parts off the sprues. The specially made cutters leave no sprue and cut clean enough that you don't have to go back with a knife to remove the last little bit of sprue. In a pinch, you can use a pair of nail clippers and a knife to do a similar job. Liquid model cement - Model Master makes liquid cement in a black bottle with a syringe like applicator. This is morth ten times the $3.00 price. The cement acts much faster than normal cement and the applicator is great. Clothes Pins - The ones with the springs in them - make excellent clamps for fuselages and other parts - get about six to eight on your workbench. Also use some heavy objects for weights in glue-up. I use Dullcoat bottles. Super Glue Accelrator - Spray accelerator for super glues is a must for tricky set ups. This stuff really works great! Well worth the expense. Many models have metal parts that must be attached with super glue. I also sometimes use super glue when minimal set up time is desired. Decal Set - made by testors. This stuff is really magic. Follow the instructions on the bottle and your decals will come out great. I swear by this stuff. [Q] How do you transfer paint from the bottle when mixing, thinning, etc? [A] <> TOH YUNG CHEONG You mention offhand that you used droppers... I would also like to suggest disposable plastic pipettes. Testors sells them.. but you can buy them cheaply by the box at a Scientific supplies store. [Q] What are the basic techniques of painting? [A] ??? Here are a couple of neat tricks I have learned. Glue small parts to toothpicks - Glue parts like pilots, propellers, engines and etc. to toothpicks with gap filling super glue. Paint them using the toothpick for a handle and then remove the toothpick and glue the painted part to the model after the paint has dried. I use a lump of clay or a box with holes in it to hold all the toothpicks upright so the parts don't lay on the workbench. Don't let parts move - propellors and wheels that were intended to move by the manufacturer should be glued in place. If they move they will invariably be broken by people trying to make them move. I've often found that moving parts have an unrealistic amount of slop in them anyways. Follow the instructions carefully - there is a lot of sound advice in many kits instructions including, dry-fit parts first, paint small parts before assembling, etc. Washes [Q] I have heard of giving models a wash to bring out surface details.
How do you go about this?
[A] (Bruce Burden) You need to wash and drybrush to bring out surface details. Washing, and I use artists oils to tint mineral spirits, emphasises shadow detail. Drybrushing emphasises surface detail. Washes, therefore, are usually dark (but not necessarily black), drybrushes are generally the surface colour with progressivly more white mixed in. Actually, I don't like white, it looks too stark. I prefer very light grey. [A] <> (TOH YUNG CHEONG) WASHES - USING OIL PAINTS A warning to those using oil washes over water based paints. Beware.. Paints like Tamiya may be affected by Turpentine. Make sure you spray multiple coats of a glosscoat like Microscale and let it dry thoroughly. A thin light coat might now be a sufficient 'barrier'. [Q] How can I remove scratches from transparent/clear parts? [A] <> (Charles Metz 7/98) (1) Wet-sand the scratched portion of your clear part with progressively finer grade of "wet-and-dry" sandpaper, beginning with 600 grade and working up to *at least* 2000 grade. Sandpapers with grades up to 2000 or more are available at most good automobile-supply stores (because they are used in the final stages of auto-body paint repairs), and even finer grades (up to 12000 grade, as I recall) are available at well-stocked hobby and craft shops. The basic idea is to use the 600-grade sandpaper to remove the original canopy scratches, and then to use the progressively finer grades of sandpaper to remove the scratches produced by the previous sanding. Use a lot of water for your wet-sanding (or even better, do the sanding under running water) to prevent debris from re-scratching your clear part's surface as you work. This first step is the most important and must be done patiently. Continue wet-sanding your part's surface with very fine wet-and-dry sandpaper until you cannot see any scratches when you dry (2) Use a clean, soft cotton cloth (I find that an old, freshly-washed t-shirt works best), a high-quality plastic polish (e.g., "Bare Metal" brand) or metal polish (e.g., "Blue Magic" brand), and a lot of "elbow grease" to bring the surface of your part to a high shine. As you rub, periodically wipe the surface clean with an unused portion of the cloth in order to remove debris and determine how shiny the part's surface has become. A good-quality toothpaste that is intended specifically for "brightening" teeth and contains a very mild abrasive (e.g., "Ultra-Bright" brand) can be used instead of plastic or metal polish if you wish, but I find that the "Bare Metal" and "Blue Magic" polishes produces slightly better results. (3) Future floor polish does a wonderful job of hiding very fine scratches in clear parts but can't perform miracles, so to obtain optimal results, apply Future only after you have obtained the best-possible shine with sandpaper and polish. Wash your part with water and mild soap; dry it with a clean, soft cloth; dip the part in Future floor polish; collect the excess Future with the corner of a paper towel; and then allow the part to rest on a piece of glass or aluminum foil while it dries thoroughly. Additional advice concerning the use of Future can be found in this FAQ at <>. One final point. Good results in removing scratches require a lot of rubbing in steps (1) and (2), and the twisting and flexing forces that this involves sometimes can produce a very fine pattern of "stress fractures" in clear parts. Unfortunately, these stress fractures ruin the appearance of the part but become visible only in the final stages of polishing -- a *very* frustrating and unhappy experience! Therefore, just to be safe, it's a good idea to fill your clear part with wet plaster (if you'll be rubbing the outside of the part) or immerse it in a small box of wet plaster (if you'll be rubbing the part's inside) and then let the plaster set *before* you begin sanding and polishing. The hardened plaster is easy to remove before step (3), but it greatly reduces the chances of stress fractures during (1) and (2) because it prevents the part from twisting and flexing as you rub. All this is really very simple, but (as with any modeling technique) I'd recommend practicing on a few clear parts from old kits before you tackle a prized model.
rec.models.scale FAQ, part 6

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