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Any tips on using Alclad's metallic lacquers?


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Hi all, very new to Alclad and I must say that I am impressed with the effects that can be achieved but not so impressed with my abilities to achieve these effects yet.

One of my first questions is undercoating? I have seen a number of builds and references to painting which say that a black gloss undercoat should be used. Is this correct? My brain seems to think that a white base would be better for bright 'silvers' like aluminium and chrome.

Another thing I have been having is a 'bloom' appearing on the lacquers which use an Isopropyl alcohol as the solvent like Airframe aluminium and Chrome. Most of the time this is just a dust that wipes away but sometime it seems to get caught within the lacquer leading to a cloudy finish.

Any tips for getting a nice uniform finish on large areas?

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One of my first questions is undercoating? I have seen a number of builds and references to painting which say that a black gloss undercoat should be used. Is this correct? My brain seems to think that a white base would be better for bright 'silvers' like aluminium and chrome.

The undercoating affects the final colour more with Alclad metallics than any other paint I've used. I normally use their grey primer, but have used a gloss black before. The black makes for a "richer" deeper finish. It's not always appropriate to use, however. My belief (having not tried it) is that with white, the colour will be far more subdued.

Any tips for getting a nice uniform finish on large areas?

Low pressure, spray close to the surface, don't keep the airbrush over one spot for any length of time, but glide slowly over the model back and forth, like mowing a lawn. A warm dry day doesn't hurt, but IIRC you're in Scotland, so fortunately it's not an absolute prerequisite.

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I did a search before posing the question and, while I found many threads where Alclads are referenced I didn't find any specific Alclad users support thread. This could be down to my poor searching techniques though.

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As a general rule of thumb with Alclads, you use grey for an undercoat on the none high shine finishes.

There are a few exceptions though, but the bottle will advise what to use.

BUT, I've just bought Chrome Alclad and it tells me to use it over a grey primer, WHICH IS NOT CORRECT!

Try it for yourselves.

It NEEDS to be on a high gloss primer to get the chrome affect.

You do get some nice affects by putting them on top of different primers though. Have a play, you won't regret it, it's lovely stuff!

HTH, Rick.

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i am still geting my head around how to use Alclad to its best effect, but I am slowly learning from my mistakes, here'ssome of my observations,

To use the chrome to best effect you have to have a surface as smooth as a babys bum, unfortunately I find it virtually impossible to get that finish with Alclad black primer. So I have found that if you use black gloss lacquer as an undercoat instead you will get a far smoother finish. The trick is then to coat that with chrome as fine as you can until it just covers the black, under a very bright light you will see the chrome effect appear and why you use black. As soon as you see that stop, any more and it will go dull.

I have 2 schools of thought about the black gloss though, after trying both, ,with the lacquer a better gloss can be achieved but it is very fragile, and can easily be rubbed off., so maybe that is why the Alclad doesnt have such a smooth finish so it can give the final coat a better key. As soon as its dry I give it a coat or two of Aqua gloss.

Some one could write a book about this stuff, hopefully someone will in the future. I am just finishing of a vehicle done with Alclad,, it is far from perfect.but has been a good learning curb. ,so as Rick has said start having a play. try spraying very close with little pressure.

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Alclad do a terrible job of explaining their product. The short-ish version...

There are two kinds of Alclad metallics:

The 'normal' metallics like Aluminium, Steel and Gold are lacquer based. Best practice is to apply them over an acrylic lacquer primer, such as Alclad's grey/black/white microfiller primers, Mr. Surfacer or Tamiya's spray paints. It is *possible* to apply them over a variety of base coats - you can even spray them directly onto bare plastic - but it is much riskier and can introduce a lot of headaches.

The 'reflective' metallics like Polished Aluminium, Chrome, Stainless Steel and Polished Brass (Alclad calls these 'high shine') are alcohol based. Best practice for these paints is to apply them over a GLOSS ENAMEL primer. Alclad recommend their Gloss Black Base or Clear Base, but any gloss enamel should work. Again, it is *possible* to apply them over different base coats, but it is not advised and you may have problems with adhesion. Also note: gloss enamels take a long time to cure, and Alclad's gloss enamel bases are notoriously slow drying.

It's important to note, Regular Alclad and High Shine Alclad are entirely different paints. Applying a regular Alclad shade over a gloss black enamel base will not turn it into a reflective shade.

It would be really, really handy if Alclad started using different coloured lids for the two paint lines, or at least did *something* to differentiate that they are not equivalent products and must be handled differently... but they don't.

As far as primer colour goes... For the regular Alclad shades, primer colour is less important. It will add a subtle variation to the final shade and you can use it to good effect by priming specific panels in different colours, but it will be relatively subtle. This Hyperscale thread has a good illustration: http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1396926849/Primer+for+Alclad+question....

For the 'reflective' shades, primer colour is more important and makes a more pronounced difference to the finished product. For the deepest, richest appearance, you will want to use a black primer. Chrome over a gloss white primer will look more like silver.

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