BARE METAL FINISH (BMF) Scrimmage (SEPT 3 '18 update)
I have several model kits requiring a bare metal finish (BMF) I'd like to do, but I've held off because I'm, consistently, disappointed in the finish of my BMF models. I have been unable to get a finish that looks like this:
Foil and Alclad
Official USAF photo
My future F-100D, F-104C & B-58A models all require the shiny, very reflective finish that I have been unable to achieve using various brands of BMF lacquers.
Alclad does a great job simulating a BMF like this aged cold warrior:
Official USAF photo
The different, but subtle, shades and hues can all be replicated by Alclad. As everyone knows, the plastic prep & plastic surface are the keys to a realistic BMF using lacquers. Yeah, that's my favorite part of model crafting....groan.
So, off and on I've embarked on a BMF practice session. I have an antique Airfix F-84F in the MPC box that I'm going to cover in kitchen aluminum foil, and a Dragon Jian J-5 which is the Chinese copy of the MiG-17. I'll practice my Alclad skills on the MiG lab rat. I chose these 2 subjects because they, really, "ain't ma' thing"; if I completely botch the models, I'm not out much except my modeling time. I figure the lessons & experience will be worth it.
Here's the "guide" on how to do this:
TIPS ON METAL FOILING TECHNIQUES (CURSES, FOILED AGAIN) by Marc Howell
"FOILED LIGHTNING- How to finish your plane with aluminum foil", by Bucky Sheftall; Fine Scale Modeler, July 2002.
Alclad for the First Time Again! by Larry Goodell
Ok, here we go! I've built the kits straight of the box. The MiG is ready for primer, and the paint trim on the F-84 is complete.
I made some progress. It took me 2 or 3 attempts to get the foil to stick to the plastic. I started with the drop tanks. I figured the compound curve from the middle of the tanks to the nose and tail would be a good place to practice the technique.
Here , I cut the foil in strips on the glass pane and applied the adhesive. You can see tools here:
Then I added strips of foil from the foiled section and run it to the nose.
After I burnished the foil down, I went over the edge with steel wool then placed another strip. After each application I worked the seams with steel wool until they pretty much disappeared.
My first attempt was a little ragged and time consuming, but I like the results. This has potential. I hope the plane goes a little faster since the compound curves are not as pronounced and the foil sections will be larger.
The MiG is still getting the filling and sanding treatment before priming.
AUG 5, 2018
Checkin' out for a week or so; goin' to visit the Grandchildren, spoil them until they're unfit to live with then come back home. I'll re-boot the BMF effort around the last week of this month. Thanks to everyone who drops in. Enjoy the last month of summer.
SEPT 1, 2018
Back at the bench. Picking up where we left off, I used the dull side of the foil for the middle wings.
Of note, the glue wasn't uniform and shows up on the kit. Since this is practice, I'm not going to take it off and reapply. I used the "Formaskin" for the wing edges (more in bit). I didn't like the results. I'll strip it off and try again with Bare-Metal Foil.
As I was using alcohol to remove the residual adhesive, it stripped the enamel paint.....hmmmm. That's interesting, frustrating, but interesting.
I found this stuff in my stash of stuff. I don't remember where I got, but I've had it since at least the '80s. I guess I thought it was a "Bare-Metal" foil competitor. Actually, it's a plastic/polymer type material. It didn't burnish down very well and wouldn't conform around the raised detail. This stuff is just too thick and nonpliable to use for the this type application.
I'm still filling and sanding on the MiG......ugh.
SEPT 3, 2018
Today after a couple of frustrating hours working with foil, I gave up. I pitched the F-84 kit. I'll continue with the MiG kit off and on..... sigh.