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Perfect Chrome

After I have done couple of motorcycle models I learned something about chrome. I tried a lot of paints and combinations, including Molotow, Gunze SM06 and SM08, Testors, Tamiya enamel, Vallejo Metal Color, Alclad and AK Extreme Metal paints. Also I tried a lot of different paints as base color, including Mr Color, Humbrol enamel, 2K auto paint, Tamiya acrylic, etc. And finally I came to my own combination.

This short article is about achieving perfect chrome reflection on scale model surface.
Every picture has comment inside and I hope it helps to get idea of every step.

However I would like to highlight one very important point – getting perfect gloss mirror-shine black base is a key for success. It is not much fun to sand and polish models but it is the only way.
Also it is very important to use enamel base paint for this process, because Kosutte Powder and Alclad Chrome sticks much better to enamel paint. My preference is Alclad Gloss Black Base, because it is easy to apply and to polish.

You can skip Kosutte powder and still get very good result – about 90-95% reflection is also very impressive. I use plastic spoons for all tests and recommend you the same. After many tests my colleagues can’t tell which spoons are from metal and which from plastic. So I can sell those back in the market as polished steel spoons πŸ˜€

Two more important comments. Surface does not like clear coat. And I try to avoid decals on chromed surfaces. If you need to clear-coat it , then use Tamiya acylic X22 thinned with Mr Leveling Thinner 1:2.

Good news is that you still can use masking tape. However I always reduce masking tape’s glue by putting given piece of tape on my arms on and off 2-3 times.

And when I apply decals, then I trim it avoid silvering and apply very accurately, by using special setting solutions only on top of the decal.

Good luck and let me know how it goes with your experiments and if you need any more help.

Kind Regards
WizzArt Nik

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.


31 responses to Perfect Chrome

  1. Thank you sir for a fine tutorial on Perfect Chrome.

  2. WOW! Thanks for the great tutorial. I have never tried to do chrome from paint, but your way sure shows that it can be done! I had no idea that Black paint on a model coulds reflect so well, and then you put on the Alclad Chrome !!! Awesome results, Nikolajs!!!

    Bravo!

  3. Nikolajs, it was really nice to meet you at the IPMS Sweden Nationals and talk about your wonderful chrome technique. Now I’m really glad to have it explained like this, and will be looking forward to see more of your builds. Welcome onboard!

  4. Welcome to iModeler, Nikolajs! And thank you for this article, I have been searching for a method to achieve these results for a long time.

  5. That last picture…must the the best mirror I ever saw in NMF models, just awesome

  6. A very informative and comprehensive first post, sir…and let me add my welcome.

  7. Great first post. Thanks for sharing this Nickolajs.

  8. I would say that Molotow Chrome Liquid is currently top chrome. With that one you can skip this all and aply it on Surfacer or plastic directly.

    • Hi Martin,
      That is what I did as well with Molotow. Yes it gives very nice reflection and it is definitely handy paint in some cases. The problem I found with Molotow is that it does not like masking tape at all. Even if I reduce stickiness and apply it for few seconds, it leaves noticeable trace. I use masks a lot and it is important for me…
      Also it does not like vanish at all. Alclad does not like it as well, but I managed to keep some reflection on Alclad with X-22 clear…
      Anyway, I think for some uses Molotow is easier option. If I do not plan to touch painted parts at all.
      Kind Regards
      Nik

  9. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing, and welcome aboard.

  10. Thank you all for comments. I appreciate you went through this tutorial and found it handy.
    Later you will see completed models with this method

  11. Thanks for the info and very informative pics! I imagine the preparation would enhance other metallic paints as well:)

    • My pleasure Theodore. Yes, you right. You can use polishing before you apply other metallic paints. Many metallic paints consists of plain thin “flakes” which lays down on the surface. If you zoom in mat surface it looks like mountains. And “flakes” will just lay down on mountains emphasizing landscape. On the glossy surface flakes all lay down parallel to surface and form one flat layer. That is why preparing base surface for metallic paints is so important.

  12. Many thanks for Sharing Your Experience With US!

  13. Nik, that is what I call a hobby within a hobby! The ones I saw at 08 Open last weekend, that was your handy work?

  14. Very nice tutorial, thank you! I admit I rarely build polished metal aircraft, but I am wondering, is it possible to combine other Alclad’s high-shine paints to create a multi panel look? I’ve tried masking them but even low tack tape lifts them up it seems. Also I am wondering how do you polish the edges – for example the fuselage-wing join to make it perfectly smooth.

    • Hi Senastian,
      Well, the adhesion of chrome paints depends on base paint. Best adhesion is to enamel paints. Which one did you use?
      One more approach is to β€œplay” with base paint color shades (e.g. from light grey to black). If you paint model in panels with different shades, then same thin layers of Alclad chrome will give you different tones. You can try Humbrol enamel for this. And then remember to sand it and polish to get perfect surface.
      I have problem with masking tape sometimes. Then usually succeed with applying reversed mask and airbrush damaged place with very light coats.
      Again, give it a try on couple of plastic spoons and discover how it works for you.
      Good luck!
      Nik

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