Bare metal finish? - RC Groups
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May 03, 2002, 04:47 PM
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Gerald's Avatar

Bare metal finish?

I've been doing a little experimentation to see how best to finish my P-38. I want to do it in a natural aluminum finish but want it to look realistic. I have not had good results with paints in getting the right look and so I thought "what looks more realistic than real aluminum?"

Here is the result of comparing plain old aluminum foil to some Oracover 'shiny chrome' color film. Both materials are applied onto a piece of thin scrap vacuum formed material from the Guillow's P38 kit. The P38 has a lot of vacuum molded parts which might be challenging to cover. I specifically chose scrap pieces with a severe compound curvature to see which material conforms better. Can you tell which is which?
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May 03, 2002, 09:21 PM
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Daren's Avatar
I'll take a stab at it and say that the Orocover is the one on the left. No matter which is which, the one on the right looks better, however.

May 03, 2002, 09:49 PM
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Rudderman98's Avatar
If your plane isn't too large, try some Bare Metal Foil. You can get it at your LHS. It has an adhesive backing which makes application a breeze. It's also very thin and confroms to difficult area's very easily. I used it when I built plastic model kits.

Don't go for the Flite Metal. It's too heavy. I originally was going to use it on my B-29 but found out the weight would be a problem. So Ultracote chrome was used in conjunction with Flite Metal in certain hard wear area's.

If you like, I will send you a sample of some extra Flite Metal. Just PM me with your address.
May 03, 2002, 10:55 PM
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the Orocover is the one on the left
Interesting. I was going to say the one on the right is the Oracover.

In any case. In the pictures at least, I see little difference other than the wrinkles on the left.

Out of curiousity, have you tried using 0000 steel wool? Try very lightly buffing the surface of the chrome Oracover. I've heard of people applying the covering material, laying out panels by sectioning off with masking tape, and buffing the adjacent "panels" at 90 degrees to one another. Although I haven't seen the finished product in person, the effect is supposed to be pretty decent.
May 04, 2002, 09:56 AM
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Martin Irvine's Avatar
I've done a fair bit of brutalizing Monokote to get it to look less like plastic. With chrome, you can get a pretty good aluminum effect if you wet sand the film prior to putting it on. Use 400 grit and sand in a circular pattern. For a brushed aluminum look, I use a plastic ScotchBrite type scouring pad, again before covering. If used in a straight line, individual panels can be picked out. Use masking tape and experiment with direction and pressure. When the pad is new, it scratches quite well. As it wears, it dulls, (clogs?), so change them often.

As an aside, the ScotchBrite pads on coloured Monokote provide a good "key" for a flat finish to be sprayed on - Dull Coat or something similar. Some colours would hardly even need anything over them as they are flattened quite well just by the scouring pads.

May 04, 2002, 12:19 PM
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Gerald's Avatar
Daren, you got it. The one on the left is Oracover. On the right is common household aluminum foil applied with the shiny side out. I used Balsaloc which was brushed onto the surface of the part and the the foil was ironed on. One drawback of the Balsaloc is that the brushmarks become visible through the foil. Maybe if it were thinned and sprayed on it would be better.

I was pleasantly surprised that the color matched very well between the Oracover and the polished aluminum. I will probably use a combination of the two for the plane, using the Oracover in flatter areas for durability. The foil conformed nicely to the curvy shape, better than I expected. It was almost like applying gold-leaf.

Even the foil seems too shiny though, so I would probably use the duller side up or give it a treatment for the 'brushed' look.

Perry, I might try some of that bare metal foil before deciding.
May 04, 2002, 01:12 PM
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Ian Easton's Avatar
Many years ago when all I built was plastic static models, I used a product called "rub'n buff." It was a paste that you spread onto the plastic then buffed it to the required level of shine. I seem to remember that it would come out looking quite good. There were also other colours available such as copper and bronze that were good for rotary engine exhaust pipes etc. It would be worth a try on your vacuum formed parts. No creases to worry about. I think I've seen it recently in craft stores where people use it for "antiquing" picture frames etc.

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