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Model Building - Lesson 2: Putty

» Features, Plastic Modeling (PLAMO) | posted by RAYTHEGREAT! on 02/27/2006 [Discuss]


Welcome to model building lesson 2.

Today’s lesson is on how to use putty. Putty has many uses, but it’s main uses are for filling seams, gaps and holes.

In lesson 1 we learned how to build a basic model without painting it or doing anything to it. I’m sure after reading lesson 1, you guys have gone out and bought models of your own and start building your own models, right…?

Anyway, for those who have started building their first model, I’m sure you guys notice gaps in parts where two parts would join. The image below is an example.


- This is an example of the “gap,” also known as seam lines. You can “fix” (or cover up) this problem by using putty and covering up the seams.


- First, we need to get some cement glue and put it over the seam. Make sure the glue seeps into the seam.


- We then squeeze the parts together; letting the excess glue ooze out.

- I usually use clamps and clips to hold the two parts together; this increases the strength of the glue’s bonding with the plastic.

- While one part is drying, move on to the next.


- When the part is done drying, it’s time to take out the putty. I prefer to use white putty because it’s an easy color to cover up, no matter what colors you are using.

- Also, this stuff has a smell to it, so make sure you work in a well ventilated room. (The smell isn’t as bad as spray paint, but it smells like cement glue)


- Putty comes in a paste like form, and if you don’t like to get your hands dirty, you can switch your model knife blade to a dull one and use it for puttying.

- I personally like to use my hands for puttying, that way I can control the putty better.


- Just take the putty and apply it onto the seam. It doesn’t matter if it’s bumpy or uneven, everything will be sanded out at the end.

- Always apply a good layer of putty, a thin layer isn’t good enough.

- Remember to keep your surrounding areas in mind, sometimes you don’t want to get the putty into certain details of your model.

- Getting the putty out of the detailed areas may ruin the details and sometimes it’s annoying to do.


- After the putty is dries, you can cut off any sloppy chunks with a model knife and start sanding.

- I recommend you use a 200 grain sand paper followed by a 400 grain for finishing.

- If the putty covered up the panel lines or detail lines of the model, use the model knife to carve it back out .


- Look how smooth it is now! you don’t even notice the seam anymore!

- Time to paint the model. I won’t go into much detail on this lesson about painting a model, but before you paint your parts, make sure you clean them first, you don’t want any dust showing up on the paint.


- This is how I clean my models, I put it under warm running water and brush it.

- In this picture you can also see the dust from sanding the putty floating in the water.


- Remember, if you’re going to paint something, you’ll need to mask out parts you don’t want painted.


- I won’t go into full detail about masking, because that’s saved for another lesson. But for these joint areas, I usually bend the joint down and mask them, then I put it back into a straight position, to make sure the visible areas are covered properly.


- Taped down and ready for spray painting. I will also be spray paint a non-puttied part for comparison.

- Also, remember, before you spray paint any parts, you will need to put primer on it, especially puttied parts.

- While the parts are drying, I’ll explain why we need to use primer below.


- Here are two plastic sheets, each one I have sanded in equal amounts.


- Sheet #1 will only be spray painted, while Sheet #2, will be primed and spray painted.

- Primer works like a base coat and it also helps cover micro scratches.

- If you’re going to spray paint something that is white or bright colors, use white primer. For dark colors, you can use grey primer.

- Grey primer can also help dull brighter colors.


- Ready for spraying! I’ll be spraying these parts white, and the result……


- Sheet #1: Without primer the scratches from sanding are still visible.


- Sheet#2: You can hardly see any scratches with primer as a base coating!

- Ok, the parts are dried and now we go back to the model.


- Results without putty.


- Results with putty!


Conclusion, putty makes the model look more real and nice, but if you feel you don’t need to use putty on a certain part, then there’s no need to putty it. Remember this is your model and you can do whatever you want to it, as long as you like it. Modeling takes time and patience, it also takes many mistakes, it took me a while before I mastered it, and I also messed up a lot of models. So be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them. I’m here to help you make the least mistakes possible. As we keep progressing on with the lessons, things will start to get harder and harder. So be prepared and try these techniques on a cheap model before moving on to anything big. Your skills will definitely increase.


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