Sunday, August 24, 2014

Audi R8: Pain in the Mask (or) Pain in the Glass!

Ever since I started building model cars again I discovered working with glass is really hard.  How do you work with "plastic glass" in a manner that doesn't leave glue visible, smudges and junk everywhere and generally things looking terrible?

Turns out--I don't know!  I still don't have a foolproof way to work with clear materials that looks great all the time. If someone has some secrets let me know.  In the meantime I'm working on it!

OK....anyway, it's time to start working on the glass for the Revell 1:24 R8.  Like most modern cars, the window trim isn't surrounded by chrome, rather, a black finish.  So that has to be painted!

To start with, I bought "HOBBY DESIGN" masks for the 1:24 Audi from StradaSports.  The "mask kit" didn't come with instructions but turns out, it's simple: cut out the mask, take the backing off, stick it down, and paint.

If things were really that easy!  Getting the mask centered on the window is tough! I had to redo (lift and reapply) a few times. And from having masked other models, as soon as you lift and reapply a mask it's not as effective as it needs to be.  At least that's how I see it….

Let's motorize this pursuit! I use Tamiya masking tape for whatever isn't covered by the mask kit. I figure I need to seal the masks, so for this I use Future Floor Polish (which I have poured into a leftover airbrush glass jar, 2nd from left) applied with a crappy brush.  Future Floor Polish is essentially acrylic clear paint. 1001 uses! So I cover the edges with that.  Let it dry, and then paint with Tamiya Color Semi Gloss black (which is NOT acrylic!)

So OK, I spray the black, let it dry, then lift the masks off.  Sure enough, I can see the acrylic seal all over the glass.  But not to fear!  Some Window cleaner removes that, even once it's dry.  Since I used enamel paint (the Tamiya SG black), the window cleaner only removes the acrylic yucky seal, and NOT the paint.  It worked!  But I also have some more clean up to do in the pictures above--not done yet!

I used the same technique on the body panel above but for this I didn't use the window cleaner.  The white paint is acrylic and would have been attacked by the window cleaner. I also touched up with some enamel semi gloss black. Is it perfect? No, but it will have to do.  I am going to need a lot more practice to get this one right.

And note the bubbles in the acrylic white--to the bottom right.  I have no idea how this happened, it seems bad in certain light but not noticeable other times.  I figure it's a function of using so much PearlEX but I am not sure. As much fun as it is, I may stop using acrylic for body colors going forward. to me lacquer and enamel seem a lot easier to work with.

To get a crisp look for the body panels, I used the same technique, but didn't use the seal; again, I used acrylic white for the body, so there was no good way to remove the seal once it was down.  So I just skipped that step.  The 1:1 car has gunmetal trim, not black, but for drama I am taking some liberties with the paint on this.  Besides, if you were buying a 1:1 R8 I figure Audi will paint it any way you want, if the check is big enough?

Next up--how to glue the glass into the body without making a mess. For that I need bare plastic on bare plastic, which means removing some of the paint on the edges to get a good seal.  So I have no idea how I will do this.  Sometimes I wonder why making a finished model takes so long, and some of that time is spent pondering how to do things like this.  I am stumped.

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