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Modeling Tips

Below are some modeling tips from ASMS members. We hope to expand this section considerably, so send us your tips and we will be happy to add them.

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Stripping Paint off Styrene or Resin
By Rick Willaman

After 4 years, I finally got that discontinued model that I'd been looking for. The kit was partially painted and needed to be stripped. After searching the web, I decided not to use the ever popular 'Easy Oven Off' spray cleaner and instead used biodegradable 'Simple Green'. I poured some in a plastic container, submerged the model, and let it sit overnight. The next day the paint was wrinkled and ready to slide off. For the nooks and cranny's, I used a motorized tooth brush and the bristles got out all the paint leaving me with the sharp original edges that I was looking for.

Packaging your Finished Models for Shipping or Transport
By Richard Eaton

Whether you are shipping your finished model half way around the world or just want to get it across town to a model show, you want it to get there in one piece. Here are some notes from Richard's presentation at the June meeting that will help you do just that.

The key to all of this is to keep the model from moving inside the box and to protect it from any impact to the box.

  1. If your model is on a base, remove the model from the base and tape the base to the bottom of your box.
  2. Place your model in a sealable plastic bag. This will prevent you from losing any parts that might fall off. Be sure to burp as much air as you can out of the bag as you don't want the model sliding around inside the bag.
  3. When the model is placed inside the box, it should be completely surrounded by packing material capable of keeping the model immobile and absorbing any impact to the box. No part of the model should be touching the sides of the box. For packing material there are several options, including plastic grocery bags, soft Styrofoam peanuts, etc. But the best option is a material called Poly-Fill. This is a cotton-like material available in many craft and fabric stores. (It is used to stuff pillows.) It is inexpensive, easy to mold around the model and good at absorbing impact.
  4. Double box. This is especially important for larger or heavier models as they require extra impact reduction. After you have ensured that your model is immobile and well protected inside the first box, place that box inside a larger box and surround it with packing material (Poly-Fill, peanuts, etc.) so that the outside of the inner box does not touch the inside of the outer box and there is a couple inches of padding between them.
  5. If you are sending your model through the mail, especially out of the country, be sure to check the latest postal regulations regarding the allowable size of the box.

Of course, the above might be overkill if you are just taking your model to a local meeting or show. But remember that you still want to reduce the chance for damage. You still want to be sure that the model is padded and immobile. You should put the model on the passenger seat as opposed to in the trunk as it will offer much better shock absorption.

Paint Your Model, Not Your Fingers
By Mike Gilsbach

I have tried lots of ways to keep small parts and sub-assemblies in place while I airbrush them - large tweezers, tape, fingers - but this might be the best I have found so far. As a gag gift last Christmas, I got a set of four desktop note holders. They are just small alligator clips attached to weights by a short piece of metal cable. They are perfect for holding stuff in place for the airbrush and to keep stuff from getting lost on your workbench. The clips are strong enough to hold, but they don't gouge the plastic.

Wing Leading Edge Landing Light Covers
By Tim Robb

Whether you are using the kit supplied light or replacing it with an MV Lens from the model railroad department, here's a quick and easy upgrade to the kit supplied clear plastic part for your wing leading edge landing light covers. This will be installed as one of the finishing touches on your model so you will not need to come back and mask over it. Here it is:

  1. After the landing light of your choice is installed, apply a strip of Scotch brand "Crystal Clear Tape" over your landing light opening. This tape has a bright red label.
  2. Using a brand new #11 X-Acto blade, trim around the edges of the opening to trim away the excess tape.
  3. The tape itself is not sticky enough to stay stuck down indefinitely so peel up the top and bottom of the light cover, one side at a time, and paint on a little diluted white glue and press them back down.

Getting a clean tire/hub boundary when painting one-piece wheels
By Mike Gilsbach
I actually learned this from ASMS member Dave Orloff at a meeting a few months back. Paint the entire wheel the base hub color. Then use a small brush to place a bead of window cleaner along the edge where the tire meets the hub. Usually, there is a ridge of some type between them and this technique works really well in such cases. Then load your paint brush with the tire color and touch the end of it to the edge of the window cleaner. The capillary action will pull the tire color in tight around the edge of the hub, giving you a nice clean boundary. You will need to experiment a little with the amount of window cleaner. Too much and it will overflow into the hub, taking the tire color with it. Too little and you won't get the desired capillary action.

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