Metallic tinting technique for litho-plate
Thursday, 21st May, 2015
Anyone who has looked reasonably closely at a P-51D Mustang will have noticed that the bare metal cowling panels immediately adjacent to the exhaust stack have a hue to them that is distinctly different from the sheet duralium with the rest of the airframe is clad. From the airframes and many photographs I have inspected the exact colour tends to vary, but in the main it can be fairly described as having a distinct bronzy tint.
While there are various thin films in many metallic hues available from graphic arts suppliers and the like, there is nothing that I know of for the model maker in the form of thin 10-11 thou soft metal sheet that fits the bill (please correct me if I am wrong). So I was left with no option but to try to create the colour over the standard aluminium litho-plate that I use to clad my airframes. The photographs show the result, which was achieved as follows:
- Clean the litho-plate of any chemical coating and polish the surface as normal. Degrease with a metal cleaner.
- Spray the working surface with a coat of clear metal lacquer
- Allow the lacquer to become very nearly dry (just tacky to the touch), then take a little bronze buffing powder on a soft cloth and rub it evenly over the metal surface. The aim is to use as little powder as possible.
- Spray the tinted surface with another coat of lacquer to fix the powder, and then repeat the process until the required density of colour has been built up.
- Give the job a final spray coat and allow it to dry hard.
I found the result both realistic and durable. Presumably it would work just as well for all those other metallic shades in which buffing powder can be obtained.