Originally Posted by rockhound1218
If it was just a Model , I wouldn't bother building it from scratch, I'd buy (gulp) an ARF .... kidding. Half the fun of building (for Me) is learning new techniques to achieve the desired results.
To each their own. My better half laughs about me 'building something for a few months just to crash it in a few minutes'. Sadly there is way too much truth in it. ;-)
Another technique to age aluminum is vinegar with salt; and an unusual method is covering with olive oil and heating to the point the the oil turns brown. You could buy Aluminum Black
for $10 and dilute it a little. Sodium carbonate (washing soda or soda ash) is at most large grocery stores in with the clothes detergents; it works similar to lye but is safer, slower and more controllable.
Probably the drain cleaner, oven cleaner or lye is the cheapest and fastest way to get the finish you want; look for the sodium hydroxide as an ingredient. And at least one professional metal finisher recommends adding dissolved salt to the weak lye solution.