There are a lot of things I just don’t understand about this hobby. Like the attraction to eggplanes.

But one that really flusters me? The way that some products will work like a damn charm on armor builds, but inevitably nearly ruin any aircraft they touch. And vice versa.

A few weeks (months?…you lose track of time with three little kids) ago, I was nearing the end of the road with my Challenger 1. It was time for the flat coat. And this is well-used armor, so I wanted dead flat. The solution was obvious – Alclad’s flat clear is the flattest flat clear I’ve ever used. It works a charm on aircraft.

The second it touched the Challenger is dusted and fuzzed up like nobody’s business. I literally had to sweep the dusting off with a stiff brush. Another go with Vallejo Matt Varnish worked perfectly.

Fast forward to last night. I needed to gloss the T-26 before moving into oil filters, so I pulled out Vallejo’s Gloss Varnish. It went down like a charm. So I figured, while I was at it, I’d spray down the MiG-21 to get it ready for panel washing.

I guess I forgot that rule that Vallejo Gloss Varnish SUCKS ASS on aircraft. Now I have a nice, rough texture on the wings.

I have no idea why this is the case. Why some products will work perfectly fine with one genre, but not the other. It’s all the same plastic and paint and clear coat. Apart from the shape there’s literally NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. And yet…there has to be, because it seems like crossing the genre streams, particularly with clear coats, results in instant regret.

Am I alone in this, or does anybody else have similar horror stories?

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrew Fraser says:

    Well, being relatively new to the hobby, I can’t yet relate to the stream crossing re clear coats as I’m still trying to find my comfort zone with the bloody things.
    Not much of a choice here in South Africa and its a mission of note to get stuff sent out here.
    Its vallejo or alclad. When available….
    Just downed tools for the evening on the revell bf109 g6.
    Filling the trenches in the wings and wondering why the hell they engineered it that way.
    Aren’t germans meant to be on the ball with engineering?
    Hells teeth!
    Maybe I should do a tank….
    And experience the stream crossing syndrome….

    1. Kevan Stuart says:

      Hi Andrew, where do you get your stuff from? I’m in Cape Town and looking for primers, paints, etc…

    2. Doogs says:

      Andrew – been there with the Revell 109! It does a lot of things right, but some of the engineering and detail decisions (three-piece gear struts?!?) are just bad/lazy.

      Hasegawa’s 109 is definitely the cleaner build, but I’m interested to build one of Trumpeter’s Gustavs since, a few accuracy issues aside, I’ve heard the engineering and design are very good.

  2. Vaughan says:

    From a non-tried-it perspective, you may have given the clue to the problem in your last paragraph – the shape.
    Aircraft are all curves, whereas armour is generally flat surfaces.
    My theory, only that, is that some solutions are better with curves and others to flat surfaces.
    Just a thought

    1. Doogs says:

      Except the place it really went to hell was on the Fishbed’s wings – which are as flat as can be!

  3. Murad ÖZER says:

    shape of the surface can indeed affect the finish, for ex i’ve seen too many instances where vallejo matt varnish turned into cloud around right angled surfaces, ie the vertical fin joints to fusalage of an F15 or the area in the between the main wings and intakes of an A4 skyhawk etc..
    that being said i am suspecting of something else, mayhaps something is contaminating varnish either when it’s in the airbrush or on the surface of the model. no i am not talking about hand grease or mold release agents but a weathering product or a medium since these matt coats are more or less the final phase. plain old drinking water used for priming the airbrush for instance.

  4. rcflyerguy101 says:

    Usually that happens when airbrushing at too low of a pressure if I’m not mistaking.

    1. Doogs says:

      Except they were all airbrushed during the same session…

      1. rcflyerguy101 says:

        Strange indeed. Guess the medium isn’t drying in flight

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