BASIC SEAM FILLING & SANDING

(Page One)

 

 

I  MODELING GAP FILLERS:

1.     Testors white contour putty

2.     Squadron green glazing putty

3.     Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty (Automotive)

4.     Cyanoacylate (crazy) glue – (Zap-a-Gap)

5.     Elmer’s White Glue

 

II  TOOLS:

1.     Lacquer Thinner

2.     Toothpicks, straight pins, and sewing needles

3.     Aluminum Foil

4.     Masking Tape

5.     A Plastic Syringe

6.     Sandpaper/Emery Boards/Files

7.     #10 X-acto knife (curved)

8.     Q-tips

9.     Water

10.     Baking Soda

11.     Primer paint

 

III  BACKGROUND:

1.     Before diving into Basic Seam Filling, I should start out by mentioning that it may be possible to eliminate the need to fill in gaps. There are two ways that this can be done:

·         If the kit you are building is an excellent fitting one, the need to fill in seams may not exist, or may be down to a minimum. Many of the models currently being released are very good fitting ones.

·         By investing some time in the “dry-fitting” stage, the need to remove gaps may be eliminated. What’s involved here is after the parts have been removed from the sprue, do as the term indicates: fit the parts together without gluing. Sandpaper or an X-acto knife is used to remove excess plastic, with repeated dry-fittings done. Even if it does not completely remove all gaps, this technique should be useful for removing many of the seams.

 

2.     Two of the most common problems one runs into when filling gaps are:

·         Too much filler is applied, which causes a lot of time and effort to be put into removing the excess.

·         The inadvertent removal of surface detail while sanding down the putty.

There are some very straightforward, simple ways to prevent both from occurring.

 

3.     Different types of fillers can be used to fill model gaps.

·         Each has advantages and disadvantages.

·         Certain fillers are better in certain situations than others.

 

IV  CHARACTERISTICS OF GAP FILLERS:

1.     Testors Contour Putty

Advantages:

·         Easy to apply. (With narrow tube opening, can be applied nicely directly to gap).

·         Not very “messy.”

 

Disadvantages:

·         Unlike the “glazing” putty, does not stick well onto surface; (must be “pushed” into the seam).

·         Does not cure quickly.

·         Does not sand down as “uniformly” as “glazing” putty.

·         According to the Warning, breathing in the vapor of this stuff can cause a person problems.

 

2.     Testors Contour Putty/Lacquer Thinner mixture

Advantages:

·         Depending on the mixture of putty to lacquer thinner, anything from a watery wash to a thick liquid paste can be created.

·         Easy to apply. A toothpick or small paintbrush can be used.

·         Because it is lacquer based, lacquer thinner can be used to clean the brush.

·         Even though it is a “messy” liquid, it can be applied very accurately to very small areas.

·         It dries very rapidly.

·         Even though it shrinks a bit when dry, multiple layers can be applied relatively quickly, filling in the gap completely.

·         Since it dries to a thin layer, much less sanding is required afterwards, starting out with  a much finer grade of sanding paper.

 

Disadvantages:

·         The fact that it is mixed with lacquer thinner means that by using it, you will be breathing in the thinner vapors, which makes using it not good to one’s health.

·         Sometime “bubbles” form while it cures.

 

3.     Squadron Green (glazing) putty

Advantages:

·         Easy to apply.

·         Due to it’s “sticky” nature, applies better to surfaces than contour putty.

·         Takes a shorter period to cure than the contour putty; (roughly 30 minutes)

·         Sands down more “uniformly” than contour putty.

 

Disadvantages:

·         Due to its “sticky” nature, more care must be taken in applying it, making sure it goes where it’s supposed to.

·         Can be difficult to apply due to large tube opening. (A toothpick or plastic syringe can be used for a more precise application).

·         According to the Warnings, breathing in the vapor of this stuff or having it come in contact with one’s skin or eyes is not a “very good thing.”

 

4.     Squadron’s Glazing Putty/Lacquer Thinner mixture

Advantages: (Pretty much identical to those of the contour putty/lacquer thinner mixture)

·         Depending on the mixture of putty to lacquer thinner, anything from a watery wash to a thick liquid paste can be created.

·         Easy to apply. A toothpick or small paintbrush can be used. Because it is lacquer based, lacquer thinner can be used to clean the brush.

·         Even though it is a “messy” liquid, it can be applied very accurately to very small areas.

·         It dries very rapidly.

·         Even though it shrinks a bit when dry, multiple layers can be applied relatively quickly, filling in the gap completely.

·         Since it dries to a thin layer, much less sanding is required afterwards, using a much finer grade of sanding paper.

 

Disadvantages:

·         The fact that it is mixed with lacquer thinner means that by using it, you will be breathing in the thinner vapors, which makes using it not good to one’s health.

 

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