June 2000


To ensure clean color separation when hard masking a color demarcation line, be sure the edge of you tape is burnished down well. Another trick is to put a little Future on a brush, and "paint" along the demarcation line. This seals the paint line and will ensure that absolutely no paint will seep under the mask.
Try using WhiteOut to fill hairline cracks in seams. When the WhiteOut is dry you can very gently sand it with 600 grade paper.
Called by various names, Blu-tac is an very elastic, putty-like material, which you'll find in the office supply section of your local grocery or department store (I found mine in Food Lion). You might recall your 3rd grade teacher sticking this stuff in little chunks on the back of posters and drawings to temporarily mount them on the classroom wall. I have found the slightly tacky quality of this material useful for a number of modeling tasks. First, it can be used to create soft-edge camo demarcation lines. Roll it out in small pieces the about the size and shape of a stirring straw. It can then be lightly pressed onto the surface of your model along your proposed color demarcation line. Fill in any areas you don't want painted with a liquid mask, then spray your color. When you remove the Blu-tac and the masking medium, you'll find a nice soft edge with minimal overspray. A second use for this stuff is picking up and holding minute parts such as pitot tubes or photoetch parts. Put a little ball of Blu-tac on the end of a toothpick and voila, you can retrieve and hold even the smallest, most delicate fiddle-de-bits without worrying.

May 2000

When using Model Master enamels, and you want a fine line without overspray, try mixing 2 parts paint, 1 part lacquer thinner and a touch of clear gloss enamel. (from Pete Peterson)
To remove excess putty from around a seam or gap, use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol before it fully dries. (from Pete Peterson)
For more brilliance in gloss color coats such as yellow, read, and orange, first put down a base coat of flat white. (from Pete Peterson)

February 2000

From time to time I come across products in the local hardware store which I find a use for on the modeling table. My latest discovery was found at Lowes. It's a masking tape called KleenEdge. This stuff is a smooth thin paper tape with a very low tack adhesive which is specifically designed for delicate painting jobs. The adhesive reminds me of the stuff on PostIt notes. Give it a try. I used it to hard mask the camo colors on the upper wings of my Albatros.I think you'll like it.
I happened across a bottle of Floetrol while cleaning out my garage. Floetrol is a paint additive which improves paint flow and reduces brush marks with Latex house paints. I decided to try mixing a little in with some PollyScale paint I was handbrushing and found the results to be promising. It seemed to increase drying time slightly (which meant that the paint did not dry out as fast on my brush), and definitely reduced brush marks. I also tried airbrushing the PollyScale/Floetrol mix with good results. I haven't tried this with Tamiya or Gunze paints, so be careful if you decide to try it with these paints.