I picked up the Revell Mig-21 F-13 to have a try on my first post-modeling hiatus all metal finish. There is actually a camo option as well in case things go bad. The kit is coming together nicely. I intend to use Testors Metalizer as it seems to be the most forgiving method from all that I have read. There are a number of articles out there and some call for priming and others don't mention it. I know any primer should be high gloss for smoothness, but is it necessary at all? I painted the wheel wells etc. with Metalizer and it seemed to adhere fine with out any primer. Any advice is most appreciated.
Definately don't prime. What I discovered by accident on some smaller parts is that if you start with a smooth, bare plastic surface, spray the Metallizer on, and then polish it with Scotchbrite, the surface will end up looking like the back of a teaspoon. And will also tarnish in the open air to a very nice effect.
I'm in the process of trying this as the finish a whole kit right now - the Trumpeter Bear J. Should be a beauty if it all works out.
For metalizer-type paints, many people "prime" for the purpose of tinting (backtinting??) the metalizer. Priming some panels in a gloss black (and polishing it out afterward, before applying the metalizer) can result in some nice, though subtle, tonal variations..
Metalizer is so thin that it shows the texture of whatever it is applied to. Primer is flat (satin), so the metalizer will have a flat look to it. If you apply it to smooth and shiny plastic, it will have a nice smooth look to it. I suppose that you could apply it to gloss paint undercoat (like what Alclad Chrome uses). That way, it will have a nice metal-plated look.
Parafilm is an excellent masking medium (I use it extensively), but it doesn't want to stick to metalizer paint. But if you want, give it a try.
Paint a scrap piece of plastic and see how Parafilm works on it.
Testor's Metals will show any surface flaw under them. IF you don't have any body work, spray over the bare plastic. IF you do have body work--prime, check for flaws wetsand, reprime as needed. When satisfied with body work, spray a light coat of Future to get a gloss smooth surface before metalizing.
I have used two different techniques with metalizers. One is a bit labor intensive but allows you to work right through. The other is easier but you have a lot of down time (Future drying time).
THE EASY WAY If you are going to be using multiple tints, start with buffable Aluminum over the entire surface. Buff everything out 'till it shines like chrome. Spray a shell of Future over the whole thing. After 24 hrs. you can use any 'low' tack tape for masking but drafting tape works best. After each tint, recoat with Future.
THE LONG WAY Start with buffable Aluminum overall and buff completely. Spray on a dust coat. Mask the areas to remain brightly buffed, using drafting tape. Lightly burnish just the EDGES. Spray tint #2 buffable shade and buff. Spray a dust coat of tint #2 Mask the areas you want to remain #2 tint
Follow this patteren through all the tints you are going to use. Even the non buffables. As you start removing the masks, you will get some flakes but it will be from the dust coat you put down, not the base coat.
I'll post a some pics on alt.binaries.models.scale of a couple F-86s done the LONG WAY and an F-100 done the EASY way
Thanks a bunch folks. All good advice. I think maybe I will take a few practice shots first. I am also uncertain as to how I will decal. In the past gloss and then flat clear on a flat camo finish has helped hide decal carrier (the extent of my experience), but I think two coats of the metalizer sealer will serve the same purpose? I will experiment some with something from the plastic bone yard. Thanks again everyone.
The unfortunate thing is that most sealers will tend to negate (even if only a little), the "natural-metalness" look of the metalizer-ish paints.
On the other hand...to me; these metalizer-ish paints have never really looked that realistic anyways. On the genuine article, it is *not* the shininess that gives natural metal its unique appearance; rather, it is the "grain" seen in individual panels; and the other colors reflected in the panels (asphalt, sky, grass green, etc.).
The better attempts at models, I have seen, do *not* go overboard on trying to achieve a glass-smooth finish on the plastic, before applying the metalizer. Rather, the modeler would buff each panel, so that very fine scratches (i.e. "the grain") would be present. Some panels would have the grain running one direction. Adjoining panels, the perpendicular direction, etc. It was this, more so than any "magical" qualities of the metallic paint, that gave the model its realistic appearance. To achieve a realistic look, one must put far more consideration into replicating the effect that light plays on the genuine article; than on the paint being used on the model. (For similar reasons...I have always thought that the highly-touted foils...were just about the *least* realistic looking medium I have ever seen.)
Just a simple thought exercise: Look at a fine-quality photograph of a highly-polished natural metal aircraft, rocket, highly-chromed car, etc. Notice how shiny it looks. Then...realize that in printing that photograph... *NO* metallic inks or pigments were used, at all!. It is all "tricks", like I described above.