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Dean Large

Foiling for Beginners

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Dean Large    200

Hello all,

In response to a request from James about how I did the foiling on my 1/32 Starfighter...here's the technique:

What you'll need-
Kitchen foil, the cheaper and thinner the better;
Microscale Metal Foil Adhesive;
Cotton buds - lots of them!
SHARP scalpel;
Alcohol for removing excess adhesive;
wooden toothpick and kitchen towel;
Endless patience (not available in the shops).
step1.jpg

When I first got the adhesive, I experimented with a couple of pieces stuck onto the bottle, one shiny side and one dull side. You can see the effect here:
step2.jpg

Pour a drop of the adhesive onto the dull side of a smallish piece of foil:
step3.jpg

Spread it out into a VERY thin coat with a wide soft brush. Use a good quality brush that won't leave bristles behind!
step4.jpg

This is the back end of another Starfighter fuselage - I'm going to foil just the airbrake area as an example. The trick is not to try to cover too large an area at once - one panel at a time worked for me.
step5.jpg

Cut a small piece of foil and lay it over the area to be covered. Note that the foil has a grain, and you need to pay attention to this when applying the foil otherwise the directions will be all over the place. I kept all mine running vertically.
step6.jpg

With a cotton bud, gently start to burnish the area from the centre of the panel outwards:
step7.jpg

To ensure wrinkles are eliminated as much as possible, I lift the edges of the foil sheet and pull it to stop it attaching itself too early. If it does, you've had it!
step8.jpg

Once you've rubbed down the foil, the detail underneath shows through incredibly well:
step9.jpg

With a very sharp scalpel, cut along the nearest handy panel line until you've gone round the whole area. If your scalpel is even slightly blunt, the foil will rip up, and you're back to square one.
step10.jpg

Peel back the excess foil from around the panel:
step11.jpg

Gently does it...
step12.jpg

And you're left with a foiled panel. Rubbing down the edges well with the cotton bud leaves cotton fibres behind:
step13.jpg

Wipe these away with kitchen towel moistened with alcohol...
step14.jpg

...and you have a foiled panel!
step15.jpg

I rubbed the spare bit of foil from this demonstration onto the scissors I was using - I did say the foil showed up things unerneath incredibly well, didn't I? Make sure your surface preparation is up to scratch before you start.
step16.jpg

Continue on with the rest of the panels. My 1/32 Starfighter took 25 hours to completely foil the fuselage alone, so patience and persistence is required in abundance. This was my first attempt at foiling, so maybe I was a little slow..
104foil.jpg

So that's the technique. Awkward curves are just a matter of using smaller pieces to prevent wrinkles, and if you get them it's amazing what a vigorous rubbing with the side of a wooden toothpick can flatten down!

Give it a try...

Dean

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James Hatch    512

Thanks for posting that. Very, very useful!

How do you achieve uniformity around complex curves, when you use smaller pieces? I note that you need to make sure you remove any remnants of the previous adhesive before you move to another panel. 

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Dean Large    200
35 minutes ago, James Hatch said:

Thanks for posting that. Very, very useful!

How do you achieve uniformity around complex curves, when you use smaller pieces? I note that you need to make sure you remove any remnants of the previous adhesive before you move to another panel. 

It's just a matter of using thin strips, attach one end of it to the surface, and smooth the rest of the piece into position while maintaining tension on the other end. The foil will stretch far enough to stick smoothly, but will rip easily if too much pressure is applied. It's a matter of trial and error really, to get the feel of it.

Cheers,

Dean

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Norman    51

Thanks for posting that i've been meaning to try it for quite some time, apart from the obvious airframe covering i reckon it has uses on the shiney bits on aircraft undercarriage legs and could be used in conjunction with various metal paint finishes

 

Cheers !

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Dean Large    200
10 hours ago, Norman said:

Thanks for posting that i've been meaning to try it for quite some time, apart from the obvious airframe covering i reckon it has uses on the shiney bits on aircraft undercarriage legs and could be used in conjunction with various metal paint finishes

 

Cheers !

That's also what I use it for...a thin strip of foil with the adhesive on the back can be wrapped around the compression struts on undercarriages to simulate the shiny bits. Saves masking and painting those fiddly bits, and gives a better shiny finish than brush painting anyway. Have a close look at the nose gear on my Tomcat:

tom6.jpg

tom14.jpg

1001 uses...

Dean

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Dan    17

Great stuff!

One thing I might recommend is Schlag leaf. I've not used it myself but I have a little experience with gilding and if it's anything like the real stuff it will be extremely thin and will not have that grain you're seeing on the cheap foil.

Look up Wrights of Lymm they sell all sorts, from the schlag leaf which is basically very thin aluminum right the way up to genuine platinum leaf... If you're feeling flush lol

http://www.stonehouses.co.uk/index.php/

Also, not knowing what that Microscale Metal Foil Adhesive is like I'd recommend getting some quality Japanese gold size. And they do a variegated leaf which might be of use on jet nozzles or anodized bits.

 

Be warned though! Gilding is a dark art!! And bloody well frustrating for the most part :)

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