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Chrome. How? School me please.


thommo
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I've got to make my first venture into the world of chrome for the bumpers, trim & dashboard of my 1959 FC Holden car build.

 

The only true chrome colour I have is Tamiya X-11 Chrome (acrylic).

 

I have Alclad aluminium and some old SNJ spray metal aluminium polishing powder (the paint that goes with it is dead).  Also some Polyscale Old Silver (enamel)

 

I've experimented on scrap with the Alclad alum. over a white primer polished with the SNJ power - too dull, no chrome mirror finish.  I tried the same with the Tamiya X-11, better but still too grainy and no mirror finish.

 

Next I'll try the X-11 over a black gloss undercoat and ditto with the Old Silver and then polish with SNJ.  But I'm not holding my breath for a realistic chrome finish.

 

Wondering what others have found is the best chrome option?

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I've had fairly good results using the SNJ powder over a gloss black base. Make sure the paint is fully dry or it makes a bit of a mess....

 

One of the chromes popular now is Molotow. I've used it on small areas from one of their pens, but you can also buy the stuff (much cheaper too) in a large refill container and it can then be sprayed through an airbrush. I've bought a refill to use on an old restoration I'm working on but haven't used it yet. Molotow is quite fragile so large areas are best protected with an acrylic gloss varnish. 

 

Alclad also do a chrome that is much shinier than their aluminium.

 

And then there's also bare metal foil which some people get spectacular results with, but I can't really get on with it. Hasegawa also do a mirror finish film and I've watched youtube vids where Japanese modellers use it to great effect - but it only seems to be available in Japan and our customs charges would likely double the price...!!

 

Keith

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Hi Roy,

 

Agree about Molotow giving great results, but how do you protect the finish? Clear over the top? If so which type?

I have found it very fragile to finger marks which destroys the finish.

 

M.

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As has been said I've found the Molotow chrome to give a very good finish, and will be fine for your dashboard details (you can brush paint it too if you prefer, although that's best for fine details rather than large areas. The biggest issue is that it takes a looooong time to dry (allow a week or so) and have a decent finish, although it will never be the most robust finish. If you have gloves try using those to avoid leaving finger prints on the chrome finish.

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Thanks guys.  I see one of my Oz hobby suppliers sell the Molotow pens. 

 

I also found a Molotow spraycan - https://www.metrohobbies.com.au/products/molotow-416-chrome-effect-acrylic-spray-400ml?variant=13066142679093&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwqPX7eDt8gIVjiErCh1l_AjzEAQYASABEgIXmvD_BwE 

 

I also found many other brands of chrome paint (e.g. Gunze, Humbrol, Greenstuff, Zeropaints, MrColour).

 

And I see Bunnings do a chrome - https://www.bunnings.com.au/white-knight-300g-super-chrome-spray-paint_p1566055.  Anyone tried running this or other chromes from auto stores through their airbrush?  Wonder what you'd thin them with?

 

The SNJ powder over a gloss base I will experiment with too.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Malc2 said:

Clear over the top? If so which type?

 

I've seen a few people recommend aquagloss as it apparently doesn't affect the chrome effect. Also Valejo do a water based acrylic varnish they say is specifically designed for their water based acrylic metal colour (that includes a chrome) range to not affect the metallic appearance. I have some, but as so often with stuff I buy, I've yet to try using it!

 

https://www.scalemodelshop.co.uk/product/60ml-metal-color-gloss-metal-varnish-vallejo-26-657/

 

Keith

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I've recently started using a new Tamiya spraycan it's TS 83 Metallic silver.Very happy with this for bumpers etc. It even has a label on it saying that you must use a black undercoat first. It also costs about £13 a tin compared to the normal £7 or so for a 'normal' Tamiya spraycan.  Chris.

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1 hour ago, thommo said:

And I see Bunnings do a chrome - https://www.bunnings.com.au/white-knight-300g-super-chrome-spray-paint_p1566055.  Anyone tried running this or other chromes from auto stores through their airbrush?  Wonder what you'd thin them with?

 

Not familiar with the Bunnings one, but I've previously tried 'chrome' paint in spray cans & was not impressed.

 

Another vote for Molotow pens!  I usually use it for model kits & have been pleased with the results.  Also, when I used some to touch up damage to chrome on an old diecast model, the repair was pretty much seamless.  I really wasn't expecting it to work so well!

 

BMF can work well too for trim strips, window surrounds etc.

 

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For trim Hasegawa mirror finish is great. It's very thin and can go around curves a bit. Be aware they make two kinds though. The thin one which is TF1 and a thicker one TF927 which is good for flat surfaces like door mirrors.

Looks like it's in stock at BNA too.

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9 hours ago, gamblor916 said:

For trim Hasegawa mirror finish is great. It's very thin and can go around curves a bit. Be aware they make two kinds though. The thin one which is TF1 and a thicker one TF927 which is good for flat surfaces like door mirrors.

Looks like it's in stock at BNA too.

 

I was wondering about a sticker type option, was going to ask my brother who runs a graphic design company & often wraps real vehicles if they had any really, really thin chrome vinyl.  

 

But this stuff looks better (probably thinner).  TF1 and TF927 are not actually called chrome through are they?

 

I need it for some larger areas (bumpers) and tiny areas (trim around lights).  Would TF1 be ok for both those applications?

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Thommo,

Yes, BMF is self adhesive. The great thing is if you mess up you can just peel it off and start again.

Its not very good at sharp double curves (EG bumper over riders), but would do a roof for example.

Great for screen surrounds or trim lines.

Put an oversize piece on and trim to size after smoothing down with a cotton bud, then cut the excess away with a sharp knife.

 

M.

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11 hours ago, Malc2 said:

Thanks @keefr22, do you mean Revell Aqua Clear Gloss?

 

M.

 

Sorry Malc, no it's Alclad Aquagloss is the one I've seen recommended. This one;

 

https://www.alclad2-online.co.uk/product/alclad-ii-aqua-gloss-clear-alc600/

 

17 minutes ago, Malc2 said:

Yes, BMF is self adhesive.

 

There does seem to be a possible problem with recent batches though - the last sheet I bought has very little stickiness, and I've seen mention of other people having the same. Unfortunately there's no way of checking for this until you use it...!! 

 

When I was typing that it reminded me of another possible solution - using thin non adhesive chrome foil of things like chocolate bars! People use enamel gloss varnish to stick it, but microscale also do a specific foil adhesive;

 

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/MSMFA

 

Keith

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I hope that @thommo doesn't mind me piggybacking here, but I wondered whether those of you who recommend Molotow have experience of its longevity. Does it develop any kind of tarnishing after a few months/years?

Edited by Ade H
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11 hours ago, keefr22 said:

 

Sorry Malc, no it's Alclad Aquagloss is the one I've seen recommended. This one;

 

https://www.alclad2-online.co.uk/product/alclad-ii-aqua-gloss-clear-alc600/

 

 

There does seem to be a possible problem with recent batches though - the last sheet I bought has very little stickiness, and I've seen mention of other people having the same. Unfortunately there's no way of checking for this until you use it...!! 

 

When I was typing that it reminded me of another possible solution - using thin non adhesive chrome foil of things like chocolate bars! People use enamel gloss varnish to stick it, but microscale also do a specific foil adhesive;

 

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/MSMFA

 

Keith

 

I'm leaning towards the BMF after watching some vids on how to use it.  Hopefully the adhesive will be ok!

 

Yes, I had pondered using kitchen foil, but figured BMF would be thinner?  And also BMF seems to stretch a bit.

 

Not sure how BMF will go around the curved bumpers, so will get some Alclad Chrome just in case.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is my first go at BMF on the dash.  The large area (which my mate tells me is a speaker) was fine.  The small knobs etc, not so easy as the BMF tended to lift when I trimmed around it.  I suspect the surface area was too small to grip well.  There was no raised strip on the glovebox in the resin molding, so I just cut a thin strip and put it on.

 

As always, I find it looks better with the naked eye, my phone camera makes it all look a little grainy, but it'll do.  The instrument dials/gauges I drew up myself in 3D Paint then printed on clear decal paper on a laser printer.  But they are not that visible.  I added extra tiny bits of off-white decal to mimic the speedo numbers & dial end.

 

The BMF is surely not mirror finish, but so far I find it quite fun to work with.  That may change when I have to do the window trim!

 

Tips on using BMF said to buy really sharp surgical blades to make the cutting better, but I can only get my hands on the normal Exacto blades which seem to do the job.

 

3sDENrHl.jpg

Edited by thommo
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Hey, great job!

Its always cruel when the photo shows the part bigger than it actually is.

 

@keefr22  I just tried Revell aqua clear on Molotow and found that it does seal the finish from finger prints with no adverse effect to the look of the chrome. Major step forward for the Tyrrell!

 

M.

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I'm finding I'm having adhesion issues with the BMF around small details.  It seems to go on all right & burnish down well with a toothpick, but when I started carefully trimming the excess, it lifts.  I'm having to secure it with a few tiny dobs of superglue to handle these items.  My research says this sometimes happens if the sheet is older.

 

I also tried the Alclad chrome, but over SMS Camo Black (which is not very glossy).  It was rubbish.  Maybe it would be better over a gloss black?

 

Anyhow, the BMF looks better, but as noted above, it can be tricky.  I'm going to try to cut some of the smaller curved shapes of BMF on my Cricut to see if I can get a smoother job on things like the steering wheel.  Rather than trying to bend straight strips around curves which leaves some tiny wrinkles.

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Hi Tommo, is it lifting because the tip of the knife is dragging the foil as it cuts? If so, try using a curved blade and 'roll' the cutting edge along the intended cut line.

Will be interested to hear if you get clean cuts with your cricut.

Alclad chrome should always be used over gloss black to get the desired effect.

 

M.

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On 9/27/2021 at 4:28 PM, Malc2 said:

Hi Tommo, is it lifting because the tip of the knife is dragging the foil as it cuts? If so, try using a curved blade and 'roll' the cutting edge along the intended cut line.

Will be interested to hear if you get clean cuts with your cricut.

Alclad chrome should always be used over gloss black to get the desired effect.

 

M.

 

Yes, that is exactly what is happening.  The foil drags off in the direction of the knife blade travel.

 

I'll try the curved blade idea, thanks for the tip.

 

Otherwise, I'm thinking of applying a little PVA glue to the model surface before applying the foil.

 

The Cricut cuts were quite good (using the fine blade, the Washi setting & lighter pressure).  However, the tiny 3mm 'donut' of BMF I cut to go around the centre of the steering wheel came off the backing sheet during cutting.  But i was still useable.

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In my experience BMF seems to have a shelf life, sheets that have been stored for while, say over nine months, either in the stockist inventory or in your own stock it losses its adhesion.

 

Bit of a lottery really as you never know how long it has been around before your purchase.

 

Stuart Semple's mirror chrome is very good but is very expensive as you seem to be paying for the packaging and the "trendy arty" presentation.

 

Modo chrome (Malaysia) and Gaia Notes (Japan) both do excellent chromes and seem to be celebrated by the Gunpla devotees, both are hard to get in the UK and can prove expensive if bought alone from abroad but if compared to the Stuart Semple's product then not that expensive.

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