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Natural Metal Finishes

Boyd Waechter

History of Natural Metal Finishes

Floquil Bright Silver and Old Silver, Pactra Flat
Aluminum - all enamels, none produce a true,
realistic metal finish, pigments too coarse
Liqua-A-Plate produced by Bob Moore in the mid
1970s, very fragile and hard to use, came in multiple
shades, very toxic odor
Spray N Plate - produced by Advance Products in the
late 70s, easier to use, but still very fragile and could
not be masked over without difficulty, one shade only

Monogram 1/48th SNJ-5 Texan Built in 1980 and painted with Spray N Plate

History of Natural Metal Finishes

SNJ Spray Metal produced by SNJ Metal Products
in liquid form and powder (dangerous to use), can
not mask over it no longer available.
Alclad a derivative of Spray N Plate, based on similar
formula, but pigments ground finer. Lacquer based,
so must put down barrier between plastic and paint.
Very extensive range of colors, easiest to use.

Humbrol, Xtracolor, Gunze Sanyo, Testors, etc. all

now produce metalizer paints to some degree.

ICM 1/48th P-51B Mustang Painted with SNJ Spray Metal

Silver Pastes
Rub n Buff
Treasure Gold
Both available at Hobby Lobby

Tamiya 1/32nd Spitfire Mk.IX Finished with Treasure Gold

Rattle Can Silver Paint

Tamiya TS-17 Gloss Aluminum

Dupli-Color Metallic Silver (GM)

Lone Star Models 1/48th XB-42 painted with Dupli-Color Silver Paint

Building NM Finished Models

Must have large amount of patience. If not, DONT build
natural metal models!
Start with a good quality kit that has good fit (Tamiya, Hasegawa, AFV Club, Revell/Germany, etc.).
Spending time test fitting parts to minimize or eliminate use
of fillers will pay dividends later on.
Assemble as much of model with super glue, or liquid glues like
Texnax 7R or Testors Liquid Cement as you can.
Use gap filling super glue or kit plastic in lieu of putty whenever possible .

To minimize deep scratches in the plastic, NEVER use any

sandpaper or a sanding stick heavier than 600 grit.
ALL imperfections in the plastic and seams must be
repaired before painting begins use super glue or primer.
Putty must be over coated with super glue and sanded
smooth. Putty is NOT your friend when using metalizers.

Prior to painting, polish all seams with Blue Magic or

Novus polishing creams, then wipe model down w/ alcohol.
Use pin light and magnifier to check all seams.
Prime all seams with Testors Non-Buffing Aluminum.
Repair any imperfections before continuing.

Heller 1/72nd EC-121 polished prior to priming seams

EC-121 after wing seams and engines have been primed with Testors Aluminum

Which One To Use?

Testors Metalizers

Alclad II Metalizers

Not as difficult to use as some report

Most durable

No primer necessary

Can be masked over after model is


Mix 1:1 with lacquer thinner (do not

use straight out of the bottle)
All colors must be painted first and
then masked off

Model must be primed in either

gloss gray or gloss black paints, so
additional step is necessary

Mist on in 2 to 3 coats, 18-20 psi

Primer will help fill any minute

scratches or imperfections

Easily repairable, blends in nicely

Limited availability locally

Can be masked over with care

Expensive ($7.99 per bottle via

Sprue Brothers)

Extensive range of colors, widely

available, less expensive ($5.00)

23 basic colors

Always wash your hands after using metalizer paints.

Hobbycraft 1/48th F-94B Starfire painted using Testors Metalizers

Paneling affect on Trumpeter 1/32nd F-105B (Conv) using Alclad II paints.

Fisher 1/32nd Hawker Sea Fury T.20 Racer using Alclad II paints

Paneling affect on Airfix 1/48th E.E. Lightning using Alclad II paints

Paneling affect with various shades of Testors metalizer paints

Using Floquil Silver Paints

These are NOT metalizers, but lacquer based paints
Three basic colors - Old Silver, Bright Silver, Platinum Mist
Very hard and durable once dry
Pigments are coarse, so best to use a medium tip and needle
Pigments will settle in color cup, so best to use in gravity
feed airbrush or using spray jar
Some people polish these paints after application with Brasso

For old, weathered look

Accurate Miniatures 1/48th SBD-5 using Floquil Old Silver


Testors Non-Buffing Aluminum oversprayed with Dullcote

RAF/Royal Navy High Speed Finish

Testors Non-Buffing Aluminum over sprayed with Metalizer sealer

Examples of Natural Metal Models

Classic Airframes 1/48th B-57B Canberra, Edwards AFB

Trumpeter 1/32nd F-105B Conversion

Hobbycraft 1/48th F-94B Starfire (kit decals)

Williams Brothers 1/72nd C-46 Commando

Painted using automotive silver paint

Tamiya 1/48th P-51D Mustang

Painted using ModelMaster Non-Buffing Aluminum

Kinetic 1/32nd F-86F-25 Sabre

Hasegawa 1/72nd Avro Lancaster Mk.III RCAF

Italeri 1/72nd C-119G Flying Boxcar

Matchbox 1/72nd Consolidated RY3 Privateer

Messerschmitt Me-262

Hasegawa 1/72nd B-25J Mitchell RCAF

Always start with the best fitting kit available of the subject
you want to build.
Natural metal finishes require a lot of extra time.
Must plan ahead on application of colors, shades of
metalizers, etc.
Although a bit more expensive and it is a two step process,
Alclad II is recommended for someone just beginning to do
natural metal finishes.

Bye Bye Boys!

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