Re: double stirrup steps and Blacken-It

Richard Hendrickson

Dean Payne writes:

...since I replaced the supplied ladders with wire grabs, I am
wondering if you have experience with using Blacken-It to turn the
wire grabs black. I would hope this would prevent the common problem
of paint wearing/chipping off and showing a glint of brass on a black
model. I have heard of etching the brass by soaking it in vinegar,
and blasting it with abrasive. The cheapest abrasive blaster I know
about is the Paasche Air Eraser at $40, which might be more than I
want to spend right now. Of course, you can use it to blast truck
side frames as well, etc, so you get more versatility. Vinegar is
even cheaper than Blacken-it, so I am trying that as a start. I
could use Blacken-it over the vinegar "etching", of course.
Dean Payne
Dean, I routinely blacken brass wire parts with Blacken-It and have never
found it necessary to chemically etch the brass beforehand; Blacken-It
itself functions as a chemical etch. If the parts are sandblasted first,
so much the better. In fact, paint hangs on to sandblasted surfaces like
grim death and will not come off with normal handling even if you don't use
a chemical blackener. Bite the bullet, buy yourself an abrasive gun, and
cobble up a spray booth from second-hand materials or cheap particle board
to keep the abrasive powder contained. Once you've used one, you'll wonder
how you ever got along without it. (I'm assuming you already have an air
brush and air compressor, since it's almost impossible to do serious
modeling without one.)

I routinely sandblast all models before painting. The myth that you can't
sandblast styrene or resin is just that - a myth. Most paints don't adhere
any better to shiny plastic than to shiny metal; light sandblasting with
fine abrasive provides a "toothy" finish for excellent paint adherance
without damaging details.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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