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Make it look like brass

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I am beginning work on a the deck equipment on my current build (Sansun tug).  I have a lot of dull grey metal parts that I have to paint to look like brass.  Nice and shiny.  I brushed some brass paint from Vallejo (acrylic) and did not like the results.


Any recommendations.  I do have an airbrush and I am reasonably adept at its use.  Just not sure what paint to use.

Current Build:  Harriet Lane by Model Shipways

Completed Builds: USS Cairo by BlueJacketNave Egizia by Amati

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This may be way to simple but how about making some of the parts from brass ?

With some brass sheet, tube and rod you can do a lot, esp if you make a few tools, one guy here used a drill to make a lathe and carved a lantern that came out really good.

Holding at Rigging stage :

MS Bluenose 1:64, rigging and finish work


Building Hull :

MS Fair American 1:48


In the yard:  18th Century Longboat, Model Shipways Kit

Done: AL Bounty Jolly Boat

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You can try Bare Metal Foil: http://www.bare-metal.com/bare-metal-foil.html


It's basically an extremely thin self adhesive foil. Be careful, it's very fragile. The surface needs to be prepped thoroughly, because any defects will show through. 

Regards, Keith


gallery_1526_572_501.jpg 2007 (completed): HMS Bounty - Artesania Latina  gallery_1526_579_484.jpg 2013 (completed): Viking Ship Drakkar - Amati  post-1526-0-02110200-1403452426.jpg 2014 (completed): HMS Bounty Launch - Model Shipways

post-1526-0-63099100-1404175751.jpg Current: HMS Royal William - Euromodel

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Don, you can look for Testors Model Master Metalizer Brass lacquer paint; bottle, no spray cans. Its non buffing, so it may not be very shiny.


Also, Alclad2 has a shiny brass airbrush only lacquer. For Alclad, surface prep is key. That may be a route for shiny ship-board brass.


Started: MS Bounty Longboat,

On Hold:  Heinkel USS Choctaw paper

Down the road: Shipyard HMC Alert 1/96 paper, Mamoli Constitution Cross, MS USN Picket Boat #1

Scratchbuild: Echo Cross Section


Member Nautical Research Guild

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  • 4 weeks later...

Adding a little drop or two of gold/silver acrylic in another acrylic color of mix of colors can sometime give desred effect particulary on small pieces



Edited by Nenad

In progress:

CUTTY SARK - Tehnodidakta => scratch => Campbell plans


Content of log :


Past build:

Stella, Heller kit, plastic, Santa Maria, Tehnodidakta kit, wood, Jolly Roger Heller kit, plastic

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If you want to try something a little different you might want to consider plating the white metal parts with copper.  Here is a simple DIY copper plating method I found on the web.  http://www.instructables.com/id/simple-Copper-plating/


For thicker plating let it sit in the solution longer.  The part can be polished or left natural and painted with a satin clear coat to prevent oxidation.  If you want to get go further and put a second coat of bronze over the copper it can be done but is a bit more complicated.

Edited by grsjax

My advice and comments are always worth what you paid for them.

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Only metal looks like metal … apart from this, the plastic modellers have tried to overcome this and there are a number of quite good metallic paints around now. It seems that Alclad is one of the best ones, but I haven't tried it yet myself.



panta rhei - Everything is in flux



M-et-M-72.jpg  Banner-AKHS-72.jpg  Banner-AAMM-72.jpg  ImagoOrbis-72.jpg
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There is a new paint from Krylon called Krylon Foil Metallic - the Gold color looks like polished brass when applied.  It needs to go over a white primer (do not use Rustoleum under this paint).  Coat it with a clear coat and it will do the job.  Just used it on a non-ship project that had a lot of white metal parts that were brass on the original subject.  This paint can be decanted and sprayed with your airbrush as I did for some of the parts.  Others I used the spray can and it worked fine - it was a 1/12 scale project probably bigger than your scale so you might want to stick to the airbrush.  I have a model boat - again in 1/12 scale that will have the "brass" fittings done in this paint rather than plated.  Once it's in the case nobody will touch the parts again to worry about paint vs plating.


Kurt Van Dahm






Nautical Research & Model Ship Society of Chicago

Midwest Model Shipwrights

North Shore Deadeyes

The Society of Model Shipwrights

Butch O'Hare - IPMS

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