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Armor/AFV: Techniques
From Weathering to making tent rolls, discuss it here.
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Building a tank with clear hull
spongya
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 07:16 AM UTC
Well, I started the RFM Panther. The question is the following: is there a more rational/simpler way to built than getting every non-transparent things separately organised and painted before assembly? All the fittings, hatches, hooks and nooks need to be painted and weathered, and it looks like a nightmare to get everything sorted. How did you do it?
ivanhoe6
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 07:26 AM UTC
Andras, I've got the same kit. My big fear is how to keep the clear plastic from fogging when I glue parts to it.
Good luck and please let us know how you solve gluing to the clear plastic.
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 08:01 AM UTC
Andras: I can see two options:
1. Do it the way you described.
2. Do it the hard way by assembling everything and then carefully masking the clear plastic before painting.
I would choose option 1 ....

Ivanhoe:
The mating surface between the part and the clear plastic could possibly be saved from fogging if you use clear acrylic as glue.
Microscale Kristal Klear would probably work too.
http://www.microscale.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=MI-9&Category_Code=FINPROD&Product_Count=3
If fogging of the mating surface is not an issue this method could be used:
1. Drill a small hole, half a millimetre (1/50 of an inch) in the centre of the mating surface.
2. Hold the part in position and use a very small paintbrush to position a very small amount of ethyl acetate to the other opening of the hole.
3. Solvent will go into the hole and capillary action will draw it into the joint.
4. Fill the hole with styrene rod and paint that small patch on the other side of the clear plastic.
If there is a lot of internal detail with many mating surfaces this will not look good.
Go with the acrylic/Kristal Klear instead ...
/ Robin
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 08:10 AM UTC
Gents; A few thoughts and suggestions for building clear-hulled AFV models...

(Just my opinions, FWIW!)

There seem to be a growing diversity and supply of kits with both lots of interior AND clear hulls / turret-shells... And, personally speaking, these clear-hulled things pose a combination of high "wow factor" (IF one can get them built up and fully-painted AND keep things clear for viewing!) AND considerable challenge for building and painting, given those parts relative to clear hulls. My take on these kits is that companies are actually sort of "emulating" the established museum practices where holes are cut into hulls and turrets so folks can get a look inside. There have been several - many - great builds of "regular" kits where folks have put interiors in and cut away parts of hull and turret sides to enable viewing - quite cool and, I guess, established "old-school" approach. The neat thing about such cut-aways is, of course, that one can fully paint and weather all of the inside and outside as desired - because the HOLES are actual HOLES. But setting up this sort of real-hole stuff in a production kit may be complicated and fraught with modeler-dissatisfaction, so companies probably have stayed away from doing this with the new interior kits...

The modern clear-body stuff seems to be a fairly near-perfect solution to provide modelers potential interior viewing "holes" without either obligating the modeler to accept the specific "holes" the company might offer, nor limiting modelers as to where and what "holes" to create. Seemingly great for doing the interior viewing without the surgery - all one may have to do is some careful masking, along with perhaps some parts-deletion, where one wants one's "viewing holes" to appear.

So, my general suggestion for these clear-body kits is to treat it like a regular kit with selected "real hole" cut-outs. You just mask the "cut-out" on the inside FIRST, delete parts from that "hole", assemble, paint and weather the interior, and then repeat the masking and possible parts-deletion outside, followed by complete exterior painting and weathering.

IF one wishes to have the majority of the hull clear, and wants to see those interior bits (and maybe exterior details, too) just "floating" in a clear hull... Well, friends, you will need to either separately paint and weather parts and then attach same, or attach and individually paint and weather those bits in place. You have little other option!

1) About cementing and fogging: Much as the aircraft folks seem to like to do with clear canopies, I would suggest trying some non-solvent glues, such as PVA or Gorilla Glue or such, for attaching pre-painted parts to clear areas. NOT CA as used for PE bits - that can fog styrene. Yes, this does probably call for total painting and weathering of those separate bits before attaching, OR you may be able to paint and weather an attached part in place in some cases...

2) IF you are going to attach parts to clear areas where you expect to see them from outside the hull... remember that those parts will be visible from "all sides" - which will REQUIRE one to fully paint and weather the "usually hidden aspects" of the part before attaching it.

My preference for these kits is to treat them more like kits with real HOLES than not - simplifies some of the process while getting both interior and exterior weathering done "coherently". But that's only my pref, and each will have his or her own!

Cheers! Bob
Biggles2
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 10:48 AM UTC
I've used clear acrylic gloss jell for all clear parts. Also good for when you don't want styrene glue to ruin a paint job. This stuff sticks as good as a styrene glue, but without melting the plastic. It's also great for doing water effects.
https://www.artsupplies.co.uk/item-golden-extra-heavy-gel.htm
This is Golden brand, but there are several other equally good brands - I use Liquitex, or the store brand from my friendly neighborhood art supply store.
ivanhoe6
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 01:29 PM UTC
Robin, thanks for your idea. Bob, thanks for your insights. I had thought of "viewing holes" ala museum displays as an option. Tempered with fears of wrecking the kit but still an option.
Biggles, thanks for the link. It also let me know about the Golden product with the granular texture. I'm thinking "no slip" texture with that stuff.
I will do some experiments with ALL products using clear lids from carry out containers.
This is why I like Armorama so much. So many helpful people that are willing to freely share hard won knowledge to help a fellow modeler raise their efforts to the next level.
THANKS guys !
Tom
brekinapez
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 02:21 PM UTC
Future floor polish will eliminate CA fogging, and is used by airplane builders for canopies...but I don't know how it will look on the thicker plastic used for armor kits. It may add a bit too much layering to the material.
Vicious
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 02:52 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Future floor polish will eliminate CA fogging, and is used by airplane builders for canopies...but I don't know how it will look on the thicker plastic used for armor kits. It may add a bit too much layering to the material.



I think part of the problem with the future is also that those who make airplanes to have an equal layer everywhere and smooth as possible they dip the canopy in the wax, to immerse a complete Phanter hull you need 2 bottles of future, I do not think with the brush or AB you have the same smooth result
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 07:19 PM UTC
You do not need to dip large pieces into a pool or lake of Future to get the desired glossy coat... I place hulls and other items in a shallow pan and pour Future over them a few times, and place the well-drained items on a rack to fully dry. Take modest care to pour Future slowly over stuff so as to avoid air-bubbles. Future is a "self-leveling" fluid mixture and will coat all yet largely run off if allowed - leaving a very thin coat. You do want to ensure that most of the Future has indeed run off, and check to position drying items so that no saggy run-off drops form and dry somewhere embarrassing!

Future CAN be used to glue smaller things to smooth surfaces.

Testing glues and cements and such on some clear styrene before using stuff on your kit is a great idea - just make sure that the plastic you test on is actually STYRENE like your kit... There are many types of clear plastics in wide use, and each plastic reacts differently to various chemicals. I bought a couple of junky car kits to use as paint and cement test hulks - the clear windshields serve well for the sort of critical test you might want to perform...

Cheers! Bob
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 07:34 PM UTC

Quoted Text

You do not need to dip large pieces into a pool or lake of Future to get the desired glossy coat... I place hulls and other items in a shallow pan and pour Future over them a few times, and place the well-drained items on a rack to fully dry. Take modest care to pour Future slowly over stuff so as to avoid air-bubbles. Future is a "self-leveling" fluid mixture and will coat all yet largely run off if allowed - leaving a very thin coat. You do want to ensure that most of the Future has indeed run off, and check to position drying items so that no saggy run-off drops form and dry somewhere embarrassing!

Future CAN be used to glue smaller things to smooth surfaces.

Testing glues and cements and such on some clear styrene before using stuff on your kit is a great idea - just make sure that the plastic you test on is actually STYRENE like your kit... There are many types of clear plastics in wide use, and each plastic reacts differently to various chemicals. I bought a couple of junky car kits to use as paint and cement test hulks - the clear windshields serve well for the sort of critical test you might want to perform...

Cheers! Bob



Future (or whatever the name is this year) Floor Polish actually works as a self-levelling glossy floor polish.
I rub it on my floors with an old towel and it dries smooth every time. The trick is to have a clean and lint free cloth and make sure there is no dried up hard clots in the polish before applying it. The floor is too big to use the airbrush on. I think it would be possible but I would have to make sure that the polish goes on wet on the surface, otherwise the polish results in a sort of satin effect.
Amazing modeling product that can also be used in the household, makes it easier to justify the expense for those bottles of Future ....
/ Robin
spongya
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 09:11 PM UTC
Bob, you are absolutely right about the issues of a fully clear hull. I am building Takom's panther and presently I'm trying to figure out how to cut the hull and turret to show most of it off (interiors and cutaways have been an interest of mine since, well forever). The though of simply masking the clear hull of the RFM has occured to me, and to be honest, I'm quite convinced this is going to be the way forward. Just stick some blue tac onto the plastic, and be done with it. It will cut back on the headache of keeping and painting small parts separately, AND will look less silly.

As for gluing to transparent parts- PVA glue will be the most likely candidate.