Reviewed By Ed Kinney, #2989
THE QUEST…NATURAL METAL FINISHES !
If you haven’t tried it, you should !!
The search for the best method to achieve a realistic natural metal finish became a quest for many modelers. There have been many offerings over the years by various manufacturers that have run the gamut of attempts at scale metal, but it seems to me that there was always a drawback of some sort as part of the program.
My first try at natural metal finish was Testors chrome silver sprayed directly on to the model. This stuff looks nice, but it’s forever drying and doesn’t like to be handled. Then came foil…several brands. In my opinion, the best of these was from Bare Metal Foil Co in Livonia, Michigan. BMF required that the model be perfect prior to application; all painted surfaces had to finished first as one could not mask over the foil. Coupled with this is the fact that compound curves are an art form in and of themselves. Then came a series of buffable and non-buffable offerings from several manufacturers. These were, if properly applied, very good looking, but couldn’t be over painted, masked easily or handled without the heat and oils from your hands removing the finish from leading and trailing edges! Some modelers claim that wearing cotton gloves is the best way to get this stopped, but at what point does one say "is this trip really necessary?"
Then came an excellent product manufactured by Rub & Buff called “Brush & Leaf”. It was and still is available in most craft stores. It will provide an inexpensive natural metal finish that can be airbrushed, thinned with lacquer thinner, and tinted various shades with Testors’ gloss paints. And further, it can be masked over, over coated with clear mediums (flat and gloss) and wears very well in terms of handling. I had honestly thought that this was as good as it was going to get and then along came …
ALCLAD II!! Cures coughs, colds, sore holes and makes childbirth a pleasure! No kidding, this stuff is so far ahead of anything else I have ever used, it’s truly incredible. A brief history of the product, thanks to Dennie Adams, follows:
Tony Hipp, a British model builder who fancied a good natural metal finish, acquired the rights to the Alclad name and introduced his new line of paints at the 1999 U.K. Nationals. Tony has no background in chemical engineering or paint manufacture, but a natural curiosity and a desire for a better product than what was available gave us Alclad II Lacquers. Originally there were only 3 colors: Aluminum, Duraluminum and Dark Aluminum. While employed by Hannant’s Hobby Shop in London and building display models for Revell in Europe, Tony expanded the color range and introduced his chrome paint. In early 2001 he moved his operation to Tampa, Florida and began spreading the word about Alclad II. The company had been basically a one-man operation to this point. Tony made the paint, bottled it, and hand labeled, marketed and shipped every bottle. He also continued to experiment with new colors.
While in Tampa he made the rounds of the local IPMS/USA chapters and befriended a few of the local modelers in the area. From these contacts he was able to hire his first official employee, one of the modeler’s teenage daughters became the lucky person to affix the labels onto the bottles. Tony also attended the 2001 and 2002 IPMS/USA Nationals as a vendor and scores of local shows during this time as well, getting the product out to the modelers. In the fall of 2002 Tony decided he had endured the tropical climate of Tampa long enough and sought a more moderate climate and centrally located place to move to. While on a road trip he visited Knoxville Tennessee, found the area and the climate more to his liking and moved his company there. Tony is still adding colors to the Alclad II line, and in 2004 he released Semi-Matte Aluminum and Dull Aluminum for that older, oxidized look. Alclad II Lacquers has given us an easy to use metal finishing system that provides superior results.
Product line to date:
4 Tint Colors:
Now back to Ed: As many of you who know me can attest, I have been an advocate of automotive lacquers for years. In part II of this article, I will take you step by step through the application of this product and what seems to work best for me.
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