BUYING MODEL CARS
Where can I
buy model cars online?
One of the favorite
places to buy is Hobby Link Japan, available at
They have a superb live database site which has pictures and a clear and
concise ‘in stock’ display. The kits are incredibly cheap, but once
postage is added you will pay close to local prices! You will get a good
selection and it is a fantastic place for accessories. Worldwide postage
is slow, and it often takes a week just for the parts to leave Japan, so
think ahead when ordering! I usually receive items within a 5 weeks, 6
if you go for the cheaper surface mail option.
A new and up coming
company is Media Mix, who have a fantastic Race Car accessory list and
carry many items in stock. Postage is as fast as they get and once again
you can view a live database. Available at
http://asiapac.worldpay.com/cnb/shop/mediamixhobby tell Wong that
you are from Automotive Forums and he will treat you extra nice!!!
Local to the United
Kingdom is Grand Prix models, available at
www.grandprixmodels.com. It also has a live
database but without the pictures. Very fast postage service if
the items are in stock, but order out of stock items at your risk!
kit manufacturer is good for beginners?
A question with many
answers, especially as the choices in model cars is so large! If you
like Nascar then only Revell will do, as no one else makes them. If you
like Japanese Touring cars then only Tamiya will do and so on and so
But if you are flexible and are looking for a kit just to break you into
the hobby, then us guys will say go for a Tamiya! If you have never used
decals before DON’T go and buy the brightest, multi-coloured, ultra
winged Race beast you see as it will dishearten you! Go for a single
colour road car, preferably without an engine! (Fiddly!)
We say Tamiya as the part fit is perfect, the instructions very
clear (Though I have noticed omissions!) and the subjects are inspiring!
The two Skylines, the WRX STI, the S2000 and
the WRC Subaru in my gallery are all good starting kits.
MODEL CAR WINDOWS
can I tint model car windows?
It can be done
using car window tint film.
putting it on you need to clean the window so there are no marks etc.
Lightly spray the window with soapy water then apply the tint on to the
Use a really soft cloth or stiff cardboard to rub over the window tint
to smooth it down. This helps to get rid of any tiny air bubbles that
Allow to dry.
DONT do it dry......you will never get the bubbles out.
DON’T use Tamiya
X19 smoke. It does not give acceptable results!
How do I paint the
black round windows?
The best result
will be achieved by spraying semi-gloss black paint over Tamiya masking tape
or the masking set included with many models. Apply the mask to the
clean clear plastic, rubbing the edges will with the back of a
fingernail or something similar. Then apply a very light dust of
spray over the area, and leave to touch dry which is about 5 minutes.
This seals the tape edges against paint ingress. Then apply another
slightly heavier coat, allow to dry, and then another, until the surface
opacity has gone. Remove the masking tape within 30 minutes to prevent
the paint lifting with the tape.
What is primer?
Primer is a filler
and a barrier coat, preparing the plastic to grip the paint, filling
scratches and imperfections, as well as neutralizing any incompatabilty
between the paint and plastic. Automotive plastic primer is the best
choice, as it is suitable for any top coat and comes in white or grey.
Also available in clear though that has no filling properties. ‘Key’ the
plastic by rubbing the whole body with 800 grade wet & Dry paper, then
apply up to three coats of primer. Then leave for 24 hours, smooth with
1200 grade paper, then add the top coats.
is the purpose of Lacquer?
Vital for metalics
and optional for solid colours, lacquer, or clear coat will add a clear
film to the paint which can then be mirror polished. A superb way to
seal race car decals and protect them, though it often attacks the decal
and so must be used carefully.
It gives a hard
shine similar to enamel and so may be undesirable for some finishes, but
is a good way of polishing a model for the inexperienced, as the lacquer
can be cut back to a shine and still give warning before you polish too
much off! i.e. As soon as you see colour on the cloth, STOP!!!
It should be left
for at least a week to ‘gas off’ before polishing otherwise your new
shiny surface will dull again as the lacquer continues to shrink!
What is the
difference between the various paint types?
Each paint type has
a plus and a down side. Each type also has its place, though the
following is through my experience and you may feel differently!
Is a very reactive
paint, and will not allow automotive paint to be applied over it. It is
happy over every other paint type however.
a very deep, harsh shine which is a bit too plasticy looking for car
It is perfect for
fine detail however as the oil base is very easy to work with and it
will happily sit where you place it. Have a small amount of enamel
thinners near by in a small pot, and dip the tip of the brush in the
thinners, then the paint pot, dab on paper and then paint on the detail.
Enamel is also good
for large surfaces which require brush painting, as it is slow to dry.
Allow 6 hours before adding another coat if required. Very difficult to
remove as chemicals that remove the paint also attack the plastic. A
strong degreaser like Castrol Super Clean is the only way known to
safely remove it at this time.
Fine detail painting. Large surfaces which require brush painting.
DO NOT USE:
On car bodies. The shine is too harsh and unrealistic and it doesn’t
polish well. Do not use on any surface which requires another paint type
Because it is water
based it is very friendly to use, but the water tends to ‘hold’ the
paint off the part you are painting, making detail painting difficult.
Again, thinned with a little soapy water, the results can be improved
but expect to require a few coats to achieve complete coverage.
This type of paint
is easy to remove, just spray the part with oven cleaner, leave to work
and then rinse under a tap. The paint dries quickly, which makes
painting large surfaces undesirable.
Great for matt
colours, as it is easy to hide the brush strokes and dries to a very
smooth, velvety finish. The gloss colours dry to a soft shine. Then just
four days is required before polishing to a shine.
Car interiors and light lenses.
DO NOT USE:
On large surfaces. The paint dries very quickly and each new brush
stroke tends to pull at the drying surface.
very reactive, and requires a plastic primer for modelling. Enormous
colour range and it’s possible to use the exact colour of the car being
modelled. Some metalics can be out of scale but true mica paints can be
used, where the round metal particles reflect the light and give
time is fast, touch dry in 10 minutes, but required hardening or ‘gasing
out’ for a week before polishing.
suitable for detail painting, but possible to spray each part a single
colour, and then add other colours with enamel or acrylic paints, or
mask and spray other shades over the others.
Perfect for car bodies, or model parts sprayed in a single colour.
With a brush as it leaves brush marks. Not suitable for detail painting.
I polish the body?
you spray a model car body, the paint is usually a bit rough, what is
called orange peel, especially if automotive paint is used.
achieve a scale shine, the paint is polished to a glass like finish,
using cutting compound and car polish.
are many grades of compound, and experience will teach you which is
best. Aim for something around 5-6 for a start.
are new to this try it on a lacquered paint job as you can watch the
cloth you are using. As soon as you see the body colour on the cloth you
know you have rubbed through the lacquer and that it is time to stop.
Doing so on a solid colour will reveal the primer underneath and you
will have to add more paint, which is very frustrating!!!
the paint is smooth, you can polish out the swirl marks using a car wax,
which is also a mild abrasive, or milky swirl remover around compound 9.
Finish the model using a high gloss polish such as Tamiya Polish or
Autoglym Gold High Gloss Shine when completed.
do I do the really small lettering with?
Markers! These are really fine marker pens used for detailing robots.
Try an Animation enthusiasts shop or art shop for various fine markers.
You can paint marks on tyres like most race teams use using a 00 brush
and slightly thinned white, I prefer matt enamel for this. Teams will
usually indicate which side the tyre is for, front or rear and which
driver or car it belongs too, as well as information such as cut slick
or intermediate use.
Fillers are used to hide gaps and to blend parts of your kit together.
Apply it with a piece of card and make sure it is fully dry before
sanding. Some fillers will only bond to bare plastic, others to only
paint, so make sure you know what you are using.
If you are using putty which is Touline
based, apply some masking tape 1/16" - 1/8" on either side of the length
of the gap, apply a small amount of the putty to the gap to fill it,
remove the tape, then use a q-tip (or cotton ball) dipped in normal
strength nail polish remover to remove excess putty just after it
sets-up and starts to harden. Clean up any residue with a soft cloth.
This will leave the joint perfectly smooth and you probably won't even
have to sand it afterward!!
Do not use the tube
type of glue, as it is too messy, but the bottle based glue is superb.
It comes with a small brush, and can only be used for basic assembly as
it won’t work in the presence of paint, the glued surfaces must be bare
plastic. It works by melting the two surfaces together. For initial
building purposes, i.e. joining two engine halves together before
best choice for suspension parts, especially joining the brake discs
onto the hubs. Apply using a toothpick, and squeeze a drop onto the
toothpick, never try to apply super glue straight from a tube onto the
use on or near clear parts, as ‘fogging’ will ruin clear parts turning
them white. It can also melt thin plastic, so use sparingly when
mounting doors or other panels onto hinges.
‘KRYSTAL KLEAR’ or CLEAR GLUE
ONLY choice for clear parts, and also non stressed parts, such as rear
view mirrors, door mirrors etc. Very weak until set, the parts often
require tacking until the glue takes hold. Also water soluable, and a
great way to glue light lenses is to use a few drops to place the part,
and when dry, run a thin bead of clear glue round the lens. Then
immediately wipe off the access with a wet cloth, leaving a thin bead
which fills the gap and dries completely clear.
I apply decals successfully?
vary according to manufacturer, and most will sit on flat panels very
easily. For curved or angular panels however, they will benefit greatly
from a softening solution such as Microsol.
will make any decal conform to a surface, but must only be applied after
the decal is in the right position, as it will break if moved after
application. The decal may wrinkle a little while it is wet, but will
dry tightly and neatly.
Cut the decal from the sheet staying close to the design so you remove
the clear carrier film also. Dip in warm water which has a drop of dish
washing liquid in it, then set the decal on a piece of paper to release.
Once it will slide off with no effort, offer it up to the model with a
pair of tweezers, and slide the decal into position, with either a thin
layer of water or Microsol in the position the decal needs to go.
Then, with a wet cloth, and holding one side of the decal with another
cloth, carefully push down and across the decal, removing water and
bubbles from underneath the surface. Then hold the other end and repeat.
It goes without saying you can rip the decal using this method so be
careful, but when the decal is dry it is the best result you can get.
You don't need to rub small decals.
decal will on an uneven surface will fit better if pressed with a hot cloth, or with heat
from a hairdryer. Care must be taken with both methods though, to avoid
drying out or moving the decal.
nips with a sharp scalpel will also help a decal to conform to an
PHOTOETCH DETAIL PARTS
I attach photoetched parts?
the metal parts off the sprues using very sharp scissors, or preferably
tin snips. Any remaining sprue that needs removing can be done with
best way to glue something like a badge or script is to use ‘photo
mount’, a spray adhesive used to mount photographs. It is a dry adhesive
that can be sprayed on the back of the photoetch and then the part
placed onto the model. It won’t be the strongest grip, so it could be
sealed using Krystal Klear as if mounting headlight lenses. Brush some
over the script, then wipe away the excess with a wet cloth.
photoetch is glued using super glue, and the best results will be
achieved if the parts are primered.
I remove the rib running through the middle of tyres?
very coarse wet paper, around 180 grit, and work away at the line using
plenty of water.
finish using a finer paper, before sealing with Tamiya Polish or other
I apply the sidewall decals?
sidewall of the tyre must be very clean, and very dry. I usually add
them when the wheel is complete so as not to damage the delicate decals.
The decals are reversed and it is hard to see where you are placing
them, so they must be cut to shape, as close to the writing as possible.
Remove the tissue protection film and place the decal dry onto the dry
tyre. Then apply lots of water onto the film using a small brush, and
leave for a few minutes. Repeat the process once more and then press on
the whole decal with a finger in a sure, positive action. As you remove
your finger the paper usually moves with it, leaving the decal nicely
stuck on the tyre. With a wet brush make sure all the decal film is
sitting on the tyre and not raised by the rim. Leave to dry before
heard you can get good results by airbrushing Tamiya matt lacquer over
the tyre sidewall, but I have yet to try this.