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Tips from the Hobby Heaven Message Board

Big Chuck: When I have a bunch of chrome parts to strip, I put them in a tea ball (a small perforated metal ball that screws together, used for straining tea). Tea balls can be picked up for about a dollar in the cooking utensil section of any department store. Place the parts in the tea ball and hang it in a tall jar filled with stripping solution. The parts are all stripped together and using the tea ball lessens the chance of losing small parts.

Len Columbo: I use window screen to replicate the case in the interiors of my police cars. It looks good and is close to scale.

Daryl Huhtala: I don't think I could build a model without a box of round toothpicks nearby. They can be used to paint little details like lug nuts and battery caps; they can apply super glue in tight spots; they can hold small parts for painting, and when trimmed to a chisel point, they can scrape off uneven edges of enamel paint. I've been know to use them after eating one of my wife's meatloaf sandwiches!

Evan Hermel: Silly Putty can be used to make a mold for small, one-piece part castings. Simply squish the Silly Putty over the master and quickly remove it by pulling straight up. Then, fill the cavity with casting resin. Since Silly Putty is a cousin of RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) rubber, resin won't stick to it. Once the resin has cured, you can use a hobby knife to slowly pull or peel the Silly Putty from the casting.

Jon Cole: Post-it note pads are great for picking up photoetched parts when gluing them to a model. By the way, clear paint makes a wonderful adhesive for tiny photoetched scripts.

Brian Austin: For jobs where I need small scraps of styrene and don't want to break into a new sheet of Evergreen sheet, I use those flat plastic ties used to close bags at the supermarket. They're about .030- to .40-inches thick and approximately .8 x .8-inches and come in various colors.

Manlytoolman: A powder called Pearl-Ex, sold at most craft stores, is great for pearl paint jobs. Pearl-Ex is available in about 30 different colors and can be mixed with any clear paint for an airbrush application over a solid base coat. A little goes a long way, too.

Steve Salhany: I build a lot of modern NASCAR models. The tires need to be sanded for a more realistic appearance, so I put a mandrel in my motor tool, put a tire around it, and run the motor tool while holding a piece of sandpaper against the spinning tire. A few seconds gives the tire that "run" look. After sanding, I wipe down the tires with a paper towel soaked in lacquer thinner to reduce the sheen.

Larry Curtis: For simulating roll bar ties, buy a sewing repair kit. These kits usually consist of several small spools of different color thread and cost less than $2. Paint the roll bar padding any flat color, then wrap and double-knot similarly colored thread around the roll bar where the zip ties would go. It looks cleaner and more realistic than painting on the molded-on zip ties.

Brian Kelly: When sending out a rack of bumpers or wheelcovers to be commercially painted, include steering wheels that have built-in horn ring assemblies. Of course, you'll prep all the parts, but also be sure to thin down the horn ring so the builtup plating won't make the part appear too thick. This is a detail that's noticeable on any interior. Dashboards can also be chrome-plated, then masked and painted. This works well for 1950s cars with heavily chromed dashboards.




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