Sunday, 24 February 2013

Painting the fiddly bits

Small parts are usually difficult to paint. You can attach them to your model, but then you can't really airbrush them and you'll have to be really careful with a paintbrush. Or you can paint them separately.

If they have attachment pins, you can use alligator clips. These wil hold on to pins less than a millimeter in size. Mount them on a toothpick and you're ready to paint.

For the wheels, I just use toothpicks. If the holes are too big, I use a small ball of silly putty for every wheel to hold the toothpick in place. Silly putty will usually stay in one piece when you remove it afterwards, whereas normal "plasticine" will break apart and you'll never get the axle-whole clean. Since the wheels have to rotate freely on their axle, I want as little goo as possible to remain behind.

Some parts don't even have pins, like the stowage bins and jerrycans I made last time for the Abrams.
You can hold them in your hand and paint the sides you can see, but then you get paint on your hand and you have to paint it in 2 or 3 sessions. You could hold them with tweezers, but even then accidents usually happen when you try to put the part down to dry. It always falls on a painted side (Damn you, Murphy's law!)

After reading this tip in FSM, now I just glue a toothpick to the bottom with white glue (Elmer's glue, "wood" glue, ... whatever you call it). It will stick firmly enough so you can airbrush almost the entire part and you can pin it somehere to dry. When done, the glue easily snaps off clean, leaving no trace behind. You still have to do the bottom afterwards, but it's much more controlled and almost accident-proof.


Below the entire ensemble of all the small parts for the Abrams. Some alligator clips on the left side.
I'll try to gather some courage soon to get behind the airbrush-desk again.



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