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Two-part urethane clear topcoats, auto colors caution

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  • Member since
    January, 2011
  • From: Chico, CA
Two-part urethane clear topcoats, auto colors caution
Posted by Wick Humble on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 2:25 PM

I have to agree with Tim Boy's A WORD OF CAUTION re: two-part urethane topcoats in the very good paint/finish issue (SA April 2019) in that there are dangers involved with 1:1 auto finishes, and hobbiests should take precautions if they utilize them.  When I suggested in TIPS & TECH a year or so back that auto paint stores were a good place to source model car colors and materials, I stick with my statement, but I was remiss in warning 1.) the dangers of inhaling or skin contact with such, and 2.) the fact that only 'grown ups' should use that source.  Obviously, no body-shop supplier will hand out paints to youngsters anyway!

I'm sorry that two-part clears are at risk for the taboo 'dipped in clear' effect as being way out of scale, but so are many of the techniques that many average modelers use on kits; fake rust and weathering are the most blatant, then about half the metallics, and the attempts at body damage on the 'new realism'.  It's hard to get the Gerald Wingrove perfection on a plastic kit, and the 'out of scale' problem is pretty universal, judging from the show coverage your mag features!  I'm sure it's good advice to eschew that hazard, especially if showing for prizes, but there are limits to what the typical modeler can achieve.  When we ponder why the model car hobby isn't exactly penetrating the new generations and kit sales are down, it might also be because of the rareified level of virtuoso quality at the top-flite shows and the almost elitist attitude of those who can achieve it.  So often one has the impression that after being exposed to these super builds, the feeling 'why even try...' is prevalent among the young -- and old.

As a former elemtary teacher, I know that the current crop is not much interested in any 'hands-on' project; the popularity of die-casts reflects that, but they are closer to the TOY end of the spectrum than the built-kit creativity that we elder modelers respect and enjoy.  After years of building planes, ships, and military (began about 1953) I was attracted to the AMT-type 3-in-1 kits of the early '60s, and probably would have stopped modeling myself without the lure of the 'customizing' feature on car kits.  When I was drafted in 1969, I gave away all my built kits  with the exception of my automobile projects, which I stored in hopes of coming home in a few years.  Luckily, I did, and now as a retiree, I'm doing my best with failing eyesight and carpal tunnel problems to restore and finish them; some of which were begun in 1960 and are still unfinished!

But also I worked in a PPG store after age 66, and accumulated a fine stash of 1:1 paints, some of which are two-part and require a coat or two of high-performance clear.  A bright hue and slick clear coat make a finished model stand out on the shelf whether it trophies or not.  I acknowledge that model car magazines must 'pimp' (in the modern lingo) their advertisers, and most of the body shop suppliers don't buy space, right?  When I was Restoration Editor of "Z Car Magazine", the editor was prone to give feature space to Nissan USA to get their new-car adverts, and very editorially sensitive to allusions to rust in any Nissan product; it's the way the game is played.  I'll admit I was glad when Nissan USA repurchased my 1970 240Z for a display car!  Now I'm going to convert the Tamiya ZG 1:18 kit to a RHD US-spec model to commemorate that restoration project.

Be very careful when using any finishing product, fillers or paints, and any model cement, for that matter; don't breathe it, ingest it, or wear it, if possible.  But keep on building, not just watching! Keep buying SA!

Wick  [Watch for the reissue of my 1991 book HOW TO RESTORE YOUR DATSUN Z-CAR, CA Bill's Automotive Handbooks, a revised text (about time, too!) coming this year!  Yay!]

  • Member since
    January, 2017
Posted by 195X on Thursday, March 21, 2019 6:28 PM

"Elemtary teacher". :)

My favorite color is clear. I am also ambidexterous, I can screw up equally well with either hand. I am 53 years old and been building for most of that time. :)

On the bench... somewhere. Pink Panther show car, 1978 Dodge Magnum Charger Daytona Midnight edition SE 300. Mongrel T.

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