AMT 18 inch model guidance

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by magnus, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    I've been away from the modeling hobby for some time. I recently found a couple AMT 18 inch kits on sale and couldn't pass them up. I've decided this is going to be my first project in ages. I've done a lot of reading about current techniques and just want some general guidance in the model building process.

    Here's what I understand to be the best way to tackle these. I'd love to know if any of this sounds out of place or there's a better way approach.

    1. Build sub-assemblies (primary hull, secondary hull, nacelles)
    2. Sand / fill any seams
    3. Prime the sub assemblies and additional small parts (deflector, shuttle bay)
    4. Sand / fill any blemishes revealed by the primer
    5. Assemble sub assemblies to complete ship
    6. Spray with primary color
    7. Paint with detail colors
    8. Apply Decals / Decal set
    9. Spray with clear coat (flat?) to complete

    Does this sound about right?

    Any tips or suggestions are appreciated. I'm hoping to build a couple of these this year as time permits :)
     
  2. trekriffic

    trekriffic Sr Member

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    Before applying the decals spray her with a gloss clearcoat. "Future" floorwax (a clear acrylic) works well for this but it's best to airbrush it on (thin with alcohol) to avoid brush strokes. Alternatively you can spray with a gloss lacquer like Testors Glosscote from a spray can. If your primary and detail colors are painted using enamels make sure to wait 2-3 days before applying a lacquer based clearcoat to give the enamel time to cure. And even then spray the lacquer on in light coats or it can cause the enamel to soften and wrinkle. After the lacquer is dry, I'd wait until the next day, apply your decals with decal setting solution and make sure to press them down tight to eliminate any air bubbles that may get trapped under the decal film-this is called silvering and the gloss finish will help to eliminate this. Wait a day so the decals are good and dry and seal the decals with another coat of whatever gloss you used underneath them. And trim the decals as close as you can to the lettering or stripe for best results, ideally you want them to look painted on. After the gloss overcoat has dried you can apply as many layers of flat clearcoat as you see fit to give it that flat matte finish. I use 2-3 shots of Testors Dullcote although there are other great matte clearcoats like Floquil Flat finish which is more of a clear enamel as it cleans up with paint thinnner. It also doesn't smell as bad as Dullcote. The downside to Floquil is it takes about a day to cure and is best applied with an airbrush. I prefer lacquers for a finish coat myself as they give you a nice hard finish and dries much faster. One thing about clear lacquers though is they can yellow over time especially if your model will be exposed for long periods to sunlight. To avoid yellowing, an alternative to lacquer or enamel clearcoats is Krylon gloss and flat acrylic clearcoats which are purported to be non-yellowing. They dry faster than Floquil and almost as fast as lacquers but be careful of pooling though as they are runnier so spray several light coats rather then one or two heavy coats.
    Forgive me for writing a novel but I have no idea of your expertise level with decals and clearcoats.
    Good luck and welcome back to the hobby!
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  3. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    Provided the seams are well dealt with on the sub-assemblies, typically I don't prime until after the model is together since the primer can interfere with the bonding strength of the glue. Hold the parts up to the light and sight down the seam like it is the sight of a gun using reflected light off the surface to look for surface blemishes, you can catch stuff pretty easily that way. Plus, there is a seam between the neck and the saucer that will need to be dealt with also to blend it.

    I've got some tips and tricks specific to the 18" E in the following video:

    18" Starship Enterprise Building tips and techniques - YouTube
     
  4. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    Just a correction to these two points;

    1) There's never a need to thin Future, even for airbrushing. New from the bottle, Future is water-thin, as is. The trick to application is low and slow, as in slow passes with the airbrush regulator set at 12-15 psi. But because it is so thin, you can easily brush it on without fear of brush strokes. I do it all the time, when I don't want to have to clean the airbrush, afterwards.

    2) If you use decal set and solution (a 2 step process, but not always needed), do not touch the decals, once they've been exposed to either. Though Floquil (IIRC, though it may be testors) sells the set as Decal set and Decal Sol, there are 1 step solutions as well. What they do, is soften the decal so that they conform to the multi-facets of most models. Touching them after they've been exposed, may cause them to tear. Just let the solution do it's thing. Put down a puddle of the solution, float the decal into position, then use the corner of a paper towel, or a cotton swab, to absorb the excess. The decal will start to wrinkle, but as it settles down, it will dry flat, conforming to the surface. If there is still an air bubble, after it dries, use a new #11 blade to make a small slice over the bubble and apply more of the solution.

    -Fred
     
  5. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    Thank you, and thanks for the advice! I appreciate it and definitely don't mind detailed explanations. :)

    I was looking at the Krylon clear coats in the store and was wondering if they would work well for this purpose. I have some testors dullcote i was planning to use, but I think i may switch to krylon if it will avoid the yellowing.

    As per your suggestion, I'll put down a layer of gloss before the decals and then flat afterwards. :)
     
  6. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    Hi Jay, thanks for pointing me to your videos. Excellent job on the Constellation, it's beautiful. The build tips are great and I'll definitely be using some of them in my build. I'll keep an eye out for the seams you mentioned. I think I'll avoid priming this time, as I'll detail in my next post.
     
  7. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    After reading the feedback here and looking through a few more posts, I've changed my plan somewhat since I originally posted. I have a couple 18" AMT models that I'd like to build, but I've decided to start with a Tholian Web version and build it as a glow in the dark Defiant instead of doing a full on painted Enterprise. My thought is this will remove the priming / putty steps as they'd cover up the glow in the dark aspect. It'll also give me a chance to get my bearings again with model building before jumping in the deep end.

    So here's my current plan:

    1) Build and sand sub-assemblies
    2) Paint subassemblies and small parts
    3) Assemble model and sand seems as necessary
    4) Clearcoat model with gloss (probably Krylon)
    5) Apply decals / setting solutions
    6) Clearcoat model with flat (Krylon again) until i get the right level of flatness

    Let me know if this makes sense :) Thanks again for all the input, it's very helpful.
     
  8. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    Will do.

    I accidentally ended up with both Micro Set / Micro Sol and Testors decal setting solution (it seems to be 1 step). Do you have an opinion on which may be better?
     
  9. trekriffic

    trekriffic Sr Member

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    MicroSet will work for most decal applications. It is not as strong as the SOL so if you do need to tamp down the decal to get it to adhere better it's less likely to tear. Just be careful and use a Q-tip with a little of the Set on it. If you put the decal down with Set and it's off line don't try to move it around, rewet it with some water; if it's really not wanting to move take a brush dipped in water and run it along the edge of the decal to get underneath it. Then gently reposition it, then tamp it down to get the water out from underneath it, then dab on some more Set. The SOL can be used in conjunction with Set for curved or uneven surfaces. It's stronger so be careful about touching the decal while it's still wet
     
  10. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    The biggest problem with all these solutions, is the name :lol

    I've been using Model Master Decal set and Decal solution. Problem is, MM is a sub-division of Testors, so sometimes they sell the same product, under different names.

    Now Micro Set/Sol, I believe, is a different brand, all together. The Testors decal setting solution you have, may be just the one half of the decal set and decal solution combo I mentioned above, because as I pointed out, Model Master and Testors are the same company. Confused yet? Good :lol.

    I know, the one true, one-step decal soution, is Walther's Solvaset. They say that stuff is strong enough to even soften up an Academy decal sheet. If you've ever built an Academy model, you'll understand how strong this solvent is. Solvaset is not easy to come by. Ebay is usually your best bet.

    So with the 2-step combo, I make a puddle of solution (50/50 decal SET and water) in the general vicintiy of where the decal is going to go. Once it's in position, I use a q-tip to absorb the excess. Then, using a brush, I dab a bit more of the decal set around the edges of the decal, allowing capillary action to draw the Set, under the decal. Let that dry a few minutes, then apply a wet application of decal Solution. That usually does the trick, for me.

    -Fred
     
  11. trekriffic

    trekriffic Sr Member

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    My LHS had the Solvaset in stock one day so I bought a bottle. It is very strong stuff. It will even soften enamel paint if you get too much on the model.
     
  12. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    Yes, that is confusing :lol

    The testors decal set I have is this one: TowerHobbies.com | 8804CA Testors Decal Set

    Not sure if that's the same as the Model Masters or not? Micro Set / Sol is a different company as you said. I've read that Set / Sol melts the decal enough that once it's had a layer of clearcoat over it, you really can't distinguish it from paint.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  13. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    Ok, I've hit my first snag. I was test fitting the components and the lower part of the secondary hull is way off. It appears to be smaller in diameter than the upper two halves put together so they don't line up at all. (If I line up the left, the right is on the inside, if I line up the right, the left is on the inside.)

    Just to make sure I wasn't looking at it wrong, I pulled out another lower secondary hull from a different run and it seems to line up pretty well. It's not perfect, but it's just a small seam issue. I also checked putting the two secondary hulls on top of each other to see how they look. The one from my Tholian Web kit is definitely smaller in diamater and also wants to fall inside the other one.

    Is there anyway to fix that part? I've tried running it under hot water and bending it outward to try to open it up a bit, but it doesn't seem to have any effect. If there's anything I can do to fix the part I'd love to know. I'd hate to turn the kit into spares because a part is warped / malformed.
     
  14. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    Try using a makeshift spreader bar. Cut a piece of sprue so that it long enough to push the sidewalls apart, so that the hull would be the correct diameter. Then heat the hull with a hair dryer, until it's slightly pliable, insert the spreader bar and glue into place.

    You could skip the heating step, but heating it will keep stress fractures from forming.

    -Fred
     
  15. pengbuzz

    pengbuzz Well-Known Member

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    I've used Krylon for about 10-15 years now, and never had it yellow on me. The advantage Krylon has is that it dries to touch in 12 minutes and can be handled in a hour. The other stuff cannot be recoated after 2-4 hours and requires a lot longer to dry.
     
  16. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    This is a good idea. I tried it, but it seems the hull was a little warped instead of just the incorrect size. When i tried to spread one section, another section would come out of place.

    What I ended up doing was getting a pretty decent alignment and clamping it in place until the glue dried. There was still quite a bit of lip / overhang where the hull the didn't quite line up. From there I sanded it down until it's smooth. Now the secondary hull looks decent.

    Would anyone be interested in pictures or a build diary of the assembly? It'll be an amateur build as it's been ages since I've done any model work, but I'm willing to post progress and maybe get some tips if there's interest.
     
  17. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    Alright then, pics it is :lol

    I'll start with a 3/4 view of the side that has been sanded down. You can see some slight separation at the front of the hull where they don't quite fit together properly. The upper hull has been heavily sanded on this side and now aligns well with the lower hull.

    [​IMG]

    The head on view better shows the misalignment of the upper and lower hull sections. I think the front can be cleaned up with putty once the deflector assembly is in place.

    [​IMG]

    This is the aft view, slightly off angle to show a small ridge at the top where the two upper plates are slightly off. I think that can be cleaned up with some sanding. The right aft section needs some alignment work.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the starboard side of the lower hull. While the seam is visible, it is almost perfectly smooth. Only slight sanding was applied here.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    It looks like the parts are just warped a bit. It shouldn't take too much work to fix. Just glue up one side even, let it dry. Then clamp the other side in place with a clothes pin, and glue it. The parts will flex enough to align. as was suggested, a spacer bar made from sprue can help keep the alignment.
     
  20. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    I did a bit more sanding last week. (Several hours!) I also did some gluing and clamping to the rear hull near the shuttle bay. The alignment is much improved! The front will still need some sanding and putty after the deflector is attached, but I figured it's best to leave as much as possible intact for now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These pictures are from last week when I finished sanding the secondary hull. Since then, I've assembled the saucer and the warp nacelles and sanded down the warp nacelles to 600 grit. I'll take and post some pictures of their current state before i start to fill some gaps with putty.

    Quick question: What's the best way to detach the rear component for the nacelles from the sprue? The fine grid lines that cover the outer diameter are where it connects to the sprue and it doesn't seem like there's a good way to cut it without damaging the grid. Also, is there a way to restore the grid to the area where it connects?
     
  21. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    For those rear nacelle parts don't cut them too close, cut just along the top edge of the grills. Then use a needle file to file out material from between the grills.
     
  22. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    I'll give it a shot. I think I need to get new files for this, the ones I have are too thick. (about 3mm). Do you know of a source for extra thin files? The thinnest I've found online so far are 2mm and that's probably still too thick.
     
  23. magnus

    magnus New Member

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    As I mentioned in my previous update, I finished sanding down the nacelles and they were ready for putty. I used Milliput (first time using this brand) on one of them with a couple small dimples and a fairly decent hole where it was cut from the sprue. After sanding it down, it's looking good. In the future I'll cut further from the sprue and just sand it down.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm pretty pleased with Milliput, so I went ahead and puttied up the secondary hull and the other nacelle. I tried to level the sides with the deflector mount and fill the small gap left from the warped lower secondary hull. Hopefully this will look good once it's dry and sanded.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  24. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    Micromark has a few sets of micro files.
    I also use this cheap set from Harbor Freight.

    Good work with the Milliput, it's good stuff.
     
  25. trekriffic

    trekriffic Sr Member

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    I found these in the beaded jewelry section at Michaels last week and grabbed them up quick:

    Needle Files

    They're pretty small, about 4 inches long. And I got them for under 5 bucks with my 40% off coupon!
     

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