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Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar30/21, DONE!

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:16 PM, chuck540z3 said:


Thanks!  This makes sense, so I'll try to find some and give it a test.  The worst clear coats over metal are thick, like Future and the Alclad Aqua Gloss, while the best one I found so far is X-22, which I thinned a lot with Tamiya lacquer thinner.  A clear lacquer, likely thinned even more, should give the thinnest coat and maybe not dull the finish too much.  One key concern is what will it do to the Alclad, which crazes easily with solvents of any kind.  I see another experiment in my future!




Good morning Chuck... Have you tried future thinned with lacquer thinner(leveling thinner for me) ?? Yes it can be thinned with lacquer thinner!!!

Thinned 70/30 favour to thinner... I tried it on my f-86 with Light passes....just to cover the decals...In my case it did not cut the shine I wanted... But again I want it a slightly dull NMF!! 

As for AK Interactive Gauzy, it is nice, May be does not dull the metal finish But it is like you put a glass over the model... Did not like it... My humple opinion! 



Edited by zaxos345
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8 hours ago, zaxos345 said:

Good morning Chuck... Have you tried future thinned with lacquer thinner(leveling thinner for me) ?? Yes it can be thinned with lacquer thinner!!!

Thinned 70/30 favour to thinner... I tried it on my f-86 with Light passes....just to cover the decals...In my case it did not cut the shine I wanted... But again I want it a slightly dull NMF!! 





Yes I have John, with so-so results.  One thing is certain in my mind:  ANY clear coat will knock down the Alclad high shine metallic look, because they all take the reflective surface to a higher level away from the Alclad.  The key, I think, is that if you must use a clear coat, make sure that it's as thin as possible.  That's why Tamiya Lacquer Clear LP-9 shows some promise, so I have some on order to give it a try.




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Would mixing in a little of a particular clear coat, I would imagine it would have to be a lacquer clear coat like mr color or I suppose you could try some of the future thinned with lacquer thinner directly mixed with the Alclad work?  Probably try mixing it in a cup first to see it will actually mix together address some of the issues?

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1 hour ago, themongoose said:

Chuck here’s a pic of the Gauzy over Alclad. Pic with plasticjunkie’s permission.


you can check out all the pics and progress here . the contrasting Alclad colors, like middle of wing, don’t have Gauzy over them. I can’t wait for mine to arrive after seeing this.



Thanks.  As shown above, my P-38L came out looking similar.  Nice and shiny, but not as good as with no clear coat.


February 22/21


I’ve been procrastinating on this build lately, mostly because the next step of attaching a zillion rivets to this model is going to be a big, slow and likely boring job.  Time for a couple of experiments while I get my modeling Mojo spooled back up again.


One thing that I’ve always wondered about is the exact color differences of many Alclad metallic paints.  Like what the heck is “Duraluminum” and how does it compare to regular Aluminum, White Aluminum, Dark Aluminum, Polished Aluminum and Airframe Aluminum?  I want to use different metallic shades on this model, so now is the time to do a little testing so that I know what I should be doing later.


The first thing I did was to paint 13 clear plastic spoons with Tamiya gloss black lacquer, let them dry overnight, then paint them with 13 different shades of Alclad metallic paint.  This is not a totally objective experiment, since the exact amount of paint I used was as variable as the age of the paint, some of which I’ve had for 8 years or more.  In any case it’s better than nothing and the results are quite surprising to me.  Spoiler Alert:  Many of these paints look exactly the same and I can only detect about 7 distinct shades rather than 13.


So here’s a pic of the first 11 shades of Alclad I had on hand, before I bought 2 more for comparison.  These are arranged in roughly the lightest and shiniest on the left to the darkest on the right






Now some close-ups.  The Chrome and Chrome for Lexan are pretty much identical and should be, but so are the Polished Aluminum and White Aluminum.






Duraluminum looks almost identical as well.  Although there are some slight differences, they aren’t enough to own all 3 shades of paint.






Aluminum and Dark Aluminum were also pretty close, while the Stainless Steel appears to be as well, but that’s mostly due to the limitations of my photography and lighting.  The Stainless Steel does look a bit different to the naked eye.






While Steel, Magnesium and Gunmetal are all clearly different and worth owning.  Having said that, I find the Gunmetal to be too dark for guns and I often use Steel instead.






I later bought a bottle of Airframe Aluminum and RAF High Speed Silver for comparison.  The Airframe Aluminum is almost identical to Chrome, while the HS Silver isn’t much different than White Aluminum






This paint is quite expensive, so there’s no use owning every color based upon what I can see, so I have made up the following suggestions:


1- Chrome, Chrome for Lexan or Airframe Aluminum

2- Polished Aluminum, White Aluminum, Duraluminum, or RAF High Speed Silver

3- Aluminum or Dark Aluminum

4- Stainless Steel

5- Steel

6- Magnesium

7- Gunmetal


If you want to create different shades of the above, paint a white background or other color, rather than buy another bottle of paint.  I also have many other Alclad paints, like Gold, Copper, Brass, Clear Blue, Clear Green, etc., but they are all very distinct and worth having around.


Now another experiment with another clear coat over Chrome, in this case the relatively new Tamiya clear gloss lacquer LP-9.  The thinking was that if any clear coat would be the best, it would also be the thinnest and nothing is thinner than lacquer, which I thinned even further with 50% Tamiya lacquer thinner.  Another bust! 






Which brings me back to my theory indicated earlier.  Any clear coat that covers Chrome or another High Shine finish will dull it, because the reflective surface is above the metallic paint, rather than directly on it.  If I take one of the High Shine spoons and immerse it in water, they look a bit duller underwater than above it for the same reason.



Class Dismissed!  :P





Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Feb 22/21, A Few Alclad Experiments

Wow Chuck... that is a great lineup image of the various Alclad shades.  Need to print and post on my wall!  Sorry about bum steer regarding the LP-9... just passing along info that that I seen on another modeling website.  I guess there is no magic bullet clear for these High Shine finishes.

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I’m spitballing random ideas here a little. Is there any product that you could simply dip your paint job into? Similar to a glaze that’s used in ceramics.

Or what about the possibility of the lacquer finish used in automotive? 
I’ve no idea what these products would be, or their suitability for use in your finish, but maybe worth a hit of investigation.

Edited by Stokey Pete
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Thanks for posting this info Chuck, a lot of interesting testing there! I've done a big reply here but some testing I have been doing maybe useful and interesting to you below. 


How old is your bottle of Polished Aluminium (PA)? I ask because these 'High-Shine' types 'go off' after a few years or less and spray less reflective and more granular. I've had to buy 2-3 bottles of PA these last years because of this problem, I find after a year or so they become useless for the highly reflective job. I'm not sure if it's a temp thing as I store my paints also outside in my garage in negative temps. 


I'm doing some testing for my own NMF TF-104 atm after your motivating work, where I'm not trying to get a mirror shine but a medium between the Hi-shine and normal Alclad range. Anyhow, here is a result of a fresh bottle of Alclad PA on the left, also on the right is AK Xtreme PA, both over Alclad's gloss black enamel. The surface was not prepped in the slightest and was kinda rough as I use it for testing things, I was just in fact testing durability over the enamel primer. The below pics aren't doing the PA justice tbh, it is very shiny. 




The reflection is pretty good even with no surface prep,





I think, looking at your PA test spoon, it has the classic 'gone off' appearance where as you say, it becomes pretty much the same as white or standard aluminium. 


The AK, whilst certainly more durable than Alclad, doesn't have anything like the shine but it is maybe more scale for a more worn, used appearance. The grain is also noticeably larger than Alclad's. I prefer Alclad tbh.



Reading your prior posts about any clear coat reducing the reflection simply by being present, I fully agree. I think also the interaction between any type of solvent clear does something to these Hi-shine Alclads, a kind of frosting happens as the lacquer thinner (say X-22/LP-9 or the like thinned with MLT) re-activates the surface ever so slightly, re-orientates and roughens the lay down of the metallic flakes and results in a rougher and slightly cloudy appearance reducing the reflection. 


I know you hate spraying Aqua gloss, I do also, but after some testing if you brush it on you get much better results imho, no orange peel and the appearance has the smallest change in anything I have tried. I tested it with some Winsor & Newton Flow Improver added to reduce brush strokes which helped but this was on a small test piece and brushing over a 1/32 model is just another story. 



Now another paint I've experimented with is this thinned with levelling thinner: 





I've found you can get two distinct results with it. Over a gloss black lacquer you get a decent Alclad Airframe Alu/Chrome type appearance, however it is not as good/reflective as you can see on the spoon. Apply it over standard Alclad shades such as 'Aluminium' and you get a type of polished aluminium that is not as shiney as Alclad  PA but does give quite a nice middle ground shine, overall it is reflective but not as good as Alclad. The main reason I like it is you can mask it no problem, it doesn't come off and you can handle it.  Downside, decal solutions still mark it and it needs a clear varnish unfortunately. However after testing X-22 over it, the difference in appearance is small and that is probably partly due to it not being as reflective as Alclad in the first place so the appearance reduction is less noticeable. If you want, I can get some pics of the test pieces to show my results. 



Two other clear varnishes I've experimented with are MRP 048 super clear and MRP-127 super clear matt. The gloss does not do so much to the shine due to it probably being the thinnest clear of them all, however as it is so thin it doesn't hide the decal edges either. The matt is pretty cool, maybe mixed with some clear, because you can vary the reflection of select panels where it doesn't change the metallic appearance of the standard Alclad paints whatsoever, impressed with it. 



Another curveball that might be something to thing about that has bitten me in the past. Depending on the decals, sometimes I've needed to add a clear varnish layer before and after decals. The difference in reflection between the decal film over no clear + a final clear over the top can highlight the clear film, the reflection coming through the decal film is different than the surrounding surface. 'Neutralising' the underlying decal surface by putting a clear varnish before decals has stopped this for me before a final sealing clear. This does depend on the decals however but is a sneaky thing that can happen. I'm not sure that there is so much difference between adding one and then a second clear varnish to the NMF, once it is compromised the further degradation is slight. 


Finally, a little thing I found is adding levelling thinner to the standard Alclads results in a smoother and more reflective finish. Not only this, you can really thin it and mottle various shades just like normal paint to give a varied appearance. It also can be added to the Hi-shine types, they spray better but I'm undecided if the overall refection results are better, it might make them more durable though due to the binding of the metallic pigment and the base lacquer primer the lacquer levelling thinner gives. 


Maybe some of that is helpful or useful IDK, anyhow a fascinating thread seeing someone who actually knows what they are doing coming up against some of the problems I'm having!







edit...I ordered some of the Gauzy gloss also and will test it.




Edited by Marine104
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Hi David.  Thanks for your input and I would agree with you that the Polished Aluminum may have changed with time and no longer looks like it should.  Having said that, it's still not much different than Chrome and Airframe Aluminum.  I'm also done with testing clear coats.  My prior experiments proved that X-22 was the best of the bunch and if I still have to add a clear coat, I'm going with that.




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Here’s another fish for your kettle:  All aluminum sheet has grain that is readily apparent in its natural state; your spoons and your super smooth black lacquered fuselage do not, making a convincing natural metal finish much harder to achieve no matter the age or quality of your paint.

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Chuck, I admire your work and thank you for taking the time to share with us. I wondered if you had considered metal foil for your CF-104. I remembered seeing this article on LSP and being impressed with the result. https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=2604   I look forward to future updates. Mark


Edited by Hemi
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar30/21, DONE!

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