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Speedy builders....Paint or blacken brass?


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I have always just painted with flat black paint. This has the advantage that you can work on a few brass pieces at a time and put them in place on the wood before painting. You can't do this with blackening chemicals because they stain the wood. Paint also works equally well on bare metals of all types and on solder joints. It has the disadvantage that the paint chips off on areas that get wear (like when you are attaching rigging).

 

I do have brass blackening chemicals and want to give it a try. I think it produces a better (and thinner) black coat and is resistant to chipping. However, if you use solder on brass parts the blackening chemicals will not blacken the solder, leaving a shiny joint that will need painting. Another disadvantage is that you need different chemicals to blacken different metals.

 

If you produce a large number of metal parts all at the same time blackening them before installing in place is overall faster than painting the individual parts one at a time.

 

Your title is addressed to "speedy builders" and I am not one of them. I can find time for only small modeling jobs, and I do not have everything planned in advance and all the materials prepared for mass production. So I end up making a few pieces each time, and blackening is not handy for this because of the chemical mixing, metal cleaning, etching and blackening process times. Paint is faster and easier. But if you have everything planned, all the materials on hand, and the time for mass producing all of the metal parts in advance I would recommend blackening.

Edited by Dr PR
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Maybe I've confused the respondents. "Speedy" refers to the Vanguard ship model. Vanguard uses many tiny brass fittings. I have the model complete as far as hull and deck, and the basics of the two masts. Now is time when all those minute fittings will start being used. Honestly, the build has sat at this stage for 6 months. Trying to deal with the fittings has brought me to a standstill. I'm honestly thinking of just starting a new build (HMS Supply) that doesn't require so many tiny brass fittings. I wish Vanguard had made this model larger. Too bad...it's really a nice ship, and Vanguard's illustrated instructions are the best I've encountered.

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Blackening is choice of methods.  For me, for loose parts like rings and eyebolts and always cannons, it's blackening.  For parts on a sprew it's painting though they can be cut off and blackened.   I find that blackening agents do a nice thin uniform blackening.  I don't have an airbrush so that method is out for me.

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34 minutes ago, Dave B said:

Would the etching primer be from a spray can? I might try that on my Speedy. Any particular brand you recommend?

None specifically, as they all do the same in providing a key into the metal surface. 

 

Check these:

 

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/s?k=etching+primer&crid=VQQ2M7JBR9E6&sprefix=etching+primer%2Caps%2C142&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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I blackened the brass fittings for my Speedy build (here). I've tried various methods. The one I use now (described here in my current Duchess of Kingston log) enables me to blacken several dozen small fittings at a time. I find this method gives a much better finish than paint. 

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I like to seal brass (as well as other metal/wood/plastic/resin/card) fittings with a sealant (so the paint sticks better) and then have a paint-a-thon.


Then, you can just assembly line them and paint a whole bunch at one time.

 

I should also state that I typically brush paint with acrylics.

Edited by GrandpaPhil
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