Artitec general assembly and painting instructions

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INTRODUCTION

Modelmaking kits from Artitec are characterised by:

1) A high degree of detailing which ensures that bricks, nail holes, wood grain, and hinges etc. are all exactly to scale.

2) Realistic effects such as skew roof tiles, sagging roofs, cracked walls etc.

3) Screen printed windows.

4) Fewer parts, which saves time, and has the advantage that tiny details no longer need be mounted separately.

A possible drawback of the Artitec system is that the reverse side of the components are not treated during manufacture, so that there are no notches or other aids to facilitate assembly. Consequently it is necessary to fit the pieces together with a good deal of precision before finally glueing them into place. After some practice and with a few tips this presents no problems.

Another characteristic is that the components are unpainted. This is an essential part of the construction process which will give much pleasure. If you follow our instructions closely and practice a little, you will quickly achieve good results.

 

CONSTRUCTION OF THE MODEL

WARNING. It is extremely important to read the following assembly instructions carefully.

Tools and materials
It is recommended that you have the following tools and materials: scalpels to be fitted with Swann Morton or X-acto blades, sandpaper in grains 80 or 100, and 220 or 240 and a set of model maker's files, instant modelling cement (cyanoacrylate), model-maker's "putty" or "filler" from Revell or Tamiya, adhesive tape and scissors.

Stage 1.
Empty the contents of the box onto a table. These will comprise a number of plastic components, a piece of styrene, a series of etched metal parts, and for some models, a printed plastic transparency. Check that all the components are there and put them back in the box, retaining only the plastic components. The transparency is only fitted in the final stage.

Stage 2.

Free the components from the moulding. Where the moulding is too thick to be snapped free, sand the reverse with 80 or 100 grain sandpaper. The reverse side must be sanded in such a way that the moulding falls out of the window spaces and/or the `ragged edge' is smoothed away — this is the edge left by the removal of the moulding. (see fig. 1)

Do not exert too much pressure while sanding as this will leave uneven areas. Ensure that the sheet of sandpaper lies flat without wrinkles. Remember to wear a dust-mask or use water and "waterproof" sandpaper.

The parts should then be sanded in circular movements. (see fig. 2)


Stage 3.

Follow the assembly diagram. First join the pieces together without using glue and adjust the fit to rectify any possible problems. Lightly sanding adjacent edges with 220 or 240 grain paper improves glued joints.

Light sanding here means simply removing the surface gloss from a piece — anything further will adversely affect the fit. When everything fits well, glue the joint by thinly smearing the whole contact surface with instant cement. (see fig. 3)

Note: if a part has been warped, it can be bent back into shape in hot (nearly boiling) water.

Small gaps can be sealed with modeller's putty. You are advised to be very thorough in filling such gaps at this stage — once the model is painted it will no longer be possible to seal them.

In constructing a building, extra care is needed in fitting the roof. Here, too, a trial run should be made without using glue. Adhesive tape is a useful aid for this "dry" run. After the halves of the roof have been taped in place and it has been established that they fit, remove one of the halves: make sure that the other half remains firmly in position. (see fig. 4)

The half that has been removed should be prepared with cement and put back in position. Obviously the ridge of the roof should not be glued to the other half at this stage. Now remove the second half, prepare it with cement/glue, and return it to its position. Finally chimneys, other details and any etched metal parts can be attached.

The model should first be painted before the windows are installed.

 

PAINTING THE MODEL

Painting can make or break a model. Some basic instructions and several tips on artificially ageing the paintwork are outlined below.

Paint and materials
You will need: paint, terpentine, paint brushes, a multiplex board and an old cloth. An airbrush is not necessary.

Paint.
Never use gloss paints, only matt. (In scale, gloss surfaces always appear matt and in reality the paintwork will always be covered with a thin layer of dirt/dust.) We advise you to use Revell or Humbroll paints. However, while the manufacturers of these paints instruct you to stir the contents thoroughly before use, we recommend that you ignore this advice and proceed as follows: take a small stick and retrieve a clot of paint from the bottom of the tin and then smear this on the multiplex board. Try as much as possible to avoid mixing the oil — which mostly rises to the top of the tin in a clearly visible layer — with the actual paint. This oil is mainly responsible for giving matt paint a glossy appearance. Now thin the thick paint clot by adding terpentine with a thin brush.

Using the same brush, mix the paint until it is creamy and smooth. The paint is the right thickness when it gives a good coat and spreads well. Determining the precise thickness is always a matter of experiment. It is sensible to practice all these instructions on an old "practice" model. Painting is not difficult but you must get a feel for it.

The paint board.
The board has two functions: firstly it soaks up any oil still present in the paint, and secondly it serves as a mixing palette. Use the same board for as long as possible as the presence of old dried up paint improves its performance.

The brushes.
Brushes are perhaps the most important element in producing good paintwork. Never use a worn-out brush as you will inevitably botch your work. A good brush isn't necessarily an expensive brush: it is the shape that is important. (see fig. 5)

When the hairs of the brush will no longer come to a point it is time to change the brush. After use, clean the brush with terpentine, then soap and finally smear it with vaseline. This will keep your brushes in good condition for a long time. Twist the vaselined hairs of the brush between your fingers into a point. (see fig 5)


TO WORK


Painting the model.
The largest surfaces should be painted first — for houses these will for the most part be the walls and roofs, and for ships the hull and the deck. For these larger surfaces use a bigger brush. The larger the brush, the fewer strokes and consequently, the less `streaky' the paintwork will be in appearance. Golden rule: always use the largest possible brush appropriate for the work (this might also be a very fine brush). When the surfaces have been painted, it is recommended that they be left for two days to harden. If you do not want to wait for two days we suggest you work on two models at the same time. Begin glueing the second model while you are waiting for the paintwork on the first to harden.

Ageing the model.
After the paint on the model has hardened the ageing process can begin. These instructions detail just three ageing techniques, while many dozens of techniques and variations thereof exist. However, with these three basic methods you will be able to achieve results which are vastly superior to those of the pre-coloured modelling kits.

Before dealing with the three techniques in turn some preliminary remarks should be made about the ageing process in general.

Many factors play a role in influencing the way in which you choose to age a model: its condition of upkeep, its age etc. etc. If you examine real life examples you will observe certain regularities in the patterns of ageing. You will also see that there are many forms of pollution and that, for example, old and new walls have very different textures. If a wall has been whitewashed, then it is the age of the whitewash - rather than the wall itself - that is the main factor determining its appearance.

The techniques to be discussed are
1) the dry-brush technique,
2) the dirty terpentine technique, and
3) the stippling technique.

 

1: The dry-brush technique
Take a largish old paint brush and cut the hairs back so that 5 mm of bristle remains. This will give you a stiffer brush. Then take a clot of, for example, white paint from the tin and dab the ends of the prepared brush in the unthinned paint. The brush must be completely dry. Then brush the paintbrush against the board until it is virtually dry. Now lightly brush over the irregularities of the model. This should leave white traces on the irregularities (such as the joints). If the model becomes dotted with flecks of white, then the brush is too wet; if no traces of white remain, the brush is too dry. Here too it is recommended that you first try this technique on a trial surface. If it goes wrong on the model itself you can remove the white flecks with terpentine. Now the importance of leaving the paint to harden becomes apparent! Do not delay too long before attempting to remove paint flecks and do not rub your brush or cloth too long over the underlying paint layer, as this will eventually dissolve. As the traces become more faded you will have to apply fresh paint to your brush and repeat the procedure described above. After you have practised this technique for a while you will see that you can achieve good results.

The dry-brush work should be left to dry for around one hour.

2: The dirty terpentine technique.
Take a large brush with normal bristles and wet it with terpentine. Dip the tips of the brush hairs briefly into some, for example, green paint and subsequently mix the substance on the board. Then quickly dip the brush — now covered in green paint solution - back into the terpentine before brushing the entire surface area to be treated with the dirty terpentine in a single, broad stroke. The entire area should be wet. Do not brush over the the wall area too often, as this will dissolve the dry-brush traces. The terpentine flows into and over the details, as it were, leaving a greenish deposit resembling algae as it dries. If you have used matt paint then the coating will also be matt. If the dirty terpentine leaves a gloss stain then you can wet the affected parts with terpentine before dabbing them dry with a dry cloth. Once again, it is advisable to first try out this technique on a practice model.

The drying time for the dirty terpentine technique is approximately one hour.

3: The stippling technique.
This method is specially intended for whitewashed and rough-plastered walls. Stippling is applied over the top of the desired base colour with which the walls have already been painted. Dip the large brush you used for dry-brushing in unthinned paint (usually white or cement coloured) and hold the paint brush at right-angles to the object. Using the tips of the bristles you can then stipple the whole surface of the wall. (see fig. 6)

If details which need to be painted a different colour are obscured by the stippling process you can remove the paint with a brush that has been moistened with terpentine.

Painting details.

After the larger surfaces have been aged, the details can be added. Larger details with a larger brush, smaller details with a finer brush. Some details are easy to paint, others are more difficult. A steady hand is important. For those who feel they lack a steady hand, remember that the steadiness of your hand is largely dependent on technique. A few tips: hold the object steady with one hand and rest the side of the painting-hand on a flat object such as a book. (see fig. 7)

Secondly, it also helps steady your hand if you hold your breath when painting fine detail.

The frames and doors of a building are the most difficult part of the detailing and require some additional comment. When painting a frame you must not touch the wall, and when painting a door you must not touch the frame.
There are two golden rules:

1. Hold the object at a good angle and continually adjust that angle. Painting a frame requires you to change the angle four times.

2. Begin painting from one corner toward the next corner. Then paint from the second corner to the third and so forth. (see fig. 8)

After you have painted the upper side of the frame proceed to the inside. If you use a good finely pointed brush you need not touch the wall. (see fig. 8)

The procedure for painting doors is the same in principle as for windows. In order to simplify the process you could also choose to paint the inside of the frame the same colour as the door. (see fig. 9)

Finally, after the paint has hardened, you can age the details using techniques 1 and 2 described above. These tone down the colours and flattens out the contrast, which enhances the realism of the effect.
FITTING THE WINDOWS

After the paintwork has been completed the windows can be fitted. Cut the panes of glass along the dotted lines on the plastic transparency or directly around the thick printed lines if the windows are to be fitted into shallow recessed apertures. Take care that the printed surface is uppermost. First fit the window panes without using glue. (see fig. 10)

In glueing the windows down use several little dots of glue and apply these as far away from the printed areas as possible. The windows are then placed correctly by turning and checking by eye. Using dots of glue (so that it dries a little more slowly) you have won a little time to correct any mistakes, but you must work fast.

(See fig 11). Leave the model with the open underside facing upwards until the instant adhesive has finished drying to avoid white stains from forming on the glass (see fig 11).

Should you be too nervous to place the windows by eye then you will have to cut ridges from any waste material and glue these to the inside walls to give you a point of reference in placing the glass. Finding the right location is fiddly work, but it does offer the certainty that the windows will be placed just right.

Finally, you can use the styrene sheet to fashion any further parts with which you may wish to embellish or repair your model.

A REVIEW OF THE MAIN POINTS

1. USE INSTANT MODELLING CEMENT (cyanoacrylate)

2. ALWAYS CHECK THE FIT OF PIECES BEFORE GLUEING

3. SEAL GAPS AND SEAMS BEFORE PAINTING

4. USE GOOD PAINTBRUSHES

5. FIRST PAINT THE LARGER SURFACES AND LEAVE THEM TO HARDEN FOR A DAY

6. USE SMALL DOTS OF GLUE WHEN ATTACHING TRANSPARENT PLASTIC WINDOWS

 

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