M41 Assembled and Some Primer Observations

This kit shows its age.  My theory is that as molds age in use, their alignment deteriorates and you are confronted with little ridges on all the parts.  However, there are nowhere near the number of parts you would encounter on a new modern kit, so the issue is not a big one.  Over several evenings, the parts were cut off the sprues, prepared and put in place.

My practice is to prime all my models.  There are many modelers who would say this is a waste of time and material.  I suppose it is a matter of taste.  Why do I do it?  On armor models, I am using various preparations to weather the model.  Some are solvent based.  I think the primer helps protect the paint finish by keeping it in place while weathering chemicals are being applied.  On aircraft models, I am so frequently masking camouflage and stripes of one sort and another with masking tape that I regard priming as a necessity.  I like to work with acrylic paints for colors.  Without priming, they are easily removed by masking tape being pulled off.   So, I prime models.

Here are some primer products I have used.

Vallejo Surface Primer comes in many colors, and I really liked it when I first started using it.  It is an acrylic-polyurethane.  However, over time I have been frustrated by the fact it can be the devil to clean out of my airbrush.  Maybe that is my issue, and not theirs.  I have tried everything, but it seems that sessions with this paint are marked with frequent needle build-up problems topped off with a full field strip of the airbrush for a thorough cleaning with lacquer thinner.

Stynylrez by Badger is also an acrylic-polyurethane preparation, and it has acted as the Vallejo Surface Primer described above, i.e., airbrush cleaning challenges.

Let me hasten to add that both these primers do their job very well when applied.  I have never had paint lift when masking tape is removed, and the finishes have been protected during weathering procedures.

My issues with these products may be due to my own lack of using proper procedures.  If I can be corrected, I would be grateful.

The final product I have used, and I really count on, is Mr. Finishing Surface 1500 thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner.  I thin the primer until it is as thin as 2% milk, and I apply several thin coats.  It goes on beautifully, and totally does the job.  Paint resists masking lift offs, etc.  It come is black, white and grey.  It is lacquer based, and cleanup is a snap using regular hardware store thinner.  

Mr. Color Leveling Thinner has been described by Dave Knights on the Plastic Model Mojo Podcast as “unicorn tears”, i.e., a liquid with magical properties.  And he is totally correct.  Paints thinned with this thinner  form a perfect finish and resist running and dripping if you overspray.  As a bonus, Mr. Color Leveling Thinner works with alcohol based acrylic paints such as Tamiya’s.

The only drawback is that it is a lacquer type product, so there will be some odor using it.  But unlike old enamel based paints, that odor goes away very quickly.

The tracks were primed and painted with a mix of Tamiya Acrylics I use as a track base coat.  This base coat is the invention of Andy Klein of Andy’s Hobby HQ fame:  5 parts XF68 (Flat NATO Brown), 4 parts XF64 (Red Brown) and 1 part XF7 (Flat Red).  This base coat provides the perfect first step in weathering tracks as it covers up the color of the material the track was molded in and provides a nice base for weathering.

Next step – I’ll try to make olive drab look interesting.

Thank you for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s