A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Monday, 22 April 2013

Filler


Years ago, when life was simpler and I had more enthusiasm, I used to do a lot of figure conversions and scratch-build scenery items, and I used to use a Humbrol filler, and sometimes I used to use Plasticene, coated with banana oil in the celebrated manner mentioned in all the old books.

Recent hobby work - especially on resin buildings - has brought to my attention that I don't really have much idea what to do about filler now. Banana oil, if it isn't prohibited by Euroregs, is almost certainly plantain oil these days, and it was always dodgy stuff anyway. I have various clever two-part epoxy fillers and things which you mix together and knead by hand for half an hour before you find they have passed their sell-by date and will never set. I admit that I have even used Polyfilla on occasions to fill bubble-holes and graft-gaps in figure castings - at least it sands down nicely. I covered the brass plate on the front of a Hinton Hunt Old Guard Grenadier drummer's bearskin with Polyfilla once, and textured it with a pin, so that he could transfer to the Chasseurs. He's still serving in the ranks - no problems. Not something I would normally brag about, though.

Looking around, I see that Humbrol Model Filler is still on the market, and I believe that is the sort of thing I'm looking for - a simple, relatively non-toxic, one-tube gloop which will set quickly, sand smooth and take any kind of paint without blistering. I would happily order up some of the Humbrol, but felt a nervous twinge - in this day of wonderful acrylic things for modellers, is there something better I should be thinking about?

Yes - correct - replacing the bathroom wall heater would be a useful thing to do, but that's not what I was addressing here. Any gloop-lovers prepared to offer a little advice?

13 comments:

  1. If I was filling air bubbles or voids on resin buildings then I'd probably just use Green Stuff. When I was involved in the resin figurine industry some of the figures we produced were cast in several parts and in these cases we used to use car body filler as it sands really well and covers quite easily.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A good question and one I feel I can help with.

    It is the same stuff it was, bit of 'juice' dribbles out when you first open it, then a thicker (than other makes) medium grey paste, which can be used for fine filling (aircraft halves) and bigger jobs like building-up a basing.

    Crusts-over quite quickly, but is slimy straight out of the tube and doesn't seem to have changed since the 1970's. It does melt styrene, so fixes well.

    I've tried the green version from...Revell? But found it too slimy sometimes, while the pale beige stuff from Testors was useless, and would fall out of the cracks when dry - couldn't be 'worked with' after it had set, well not in the small amounts you might leave in a join.

    Hugh

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like some useful stuff, but does it work on nagging wife lips?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm with Steve on this one. Green stuff is the real tabasco.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you all very much - interesting and useful. I have used Green Stuff, and it comes under my general heading of "clever two-part" things - I don't use enough of it to avoid problems with shelf life, and for little, spur of the moment patching jobs it is too much hassle for someone as inept as I am. I realise it is the correct stuff to use, but I don't really get on with it so well. I have had the same problems with Milliput.

    I try not to be, but I fear there is a streak of the inverted snob in me - I am nervous about using the market leader in any product category. Maybe I feel unworthy. Probably I am unconsciously scared of having no excuses left. When my musical activities eventually led to my being able to afford my first Gibson guitar I was thrilled, yet a little hurt when I had to face up to the fact that if I was still rubbish then it must be me.

    A good wargaming friend of mine has bombarded me for years with his enthusiasm for Vallejo paints. Since long before I was aware of their being available in the UK, he swore that there was no point using anything else, and I'm sure he is correct. I puddled along with my cheap paints and humble pie, and eventually I got to see pictures of his collection. Each to his own, of course, and I do not think much of my own painting, but - you know what? His figures are worse than mine.

    The point? Not sure - maybe the point is that products which become legendary, for whatever reason, will only help someone who has some talent to start with! I'll persevere with the Green Stuff, if I can only use it up fast enough, and I think I'll try some of the Humbrol filler again. Then I'll know that if the results are disappointing I can blame the maker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here is a man who uses Pelikan Plaka....

      Delete
    2. Yes, indeed - I don't think Plaka is quite the same as it used to be, by the way. It used to come in the jar almost as a block of watercolour paint - now it's just gloop like everyone else's paint...

      Things keep on getting improved, until we are convinced or they disappear completely.

      Delete
  6. Tony, specifically for filling air bubbles and holes in resin castings, I would suggest trying Vallejo Plastic Putty - its code number seems to be 401. It comes in a tin foil tube and has a long nozzle that gives good control and gets the stuff into the nooks a crannies you want to fill. Seems to file down well. I haven't used it a lot but it came well recommended and I've always been pleased with the results, so it suits me - you, of course, may be different

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Clive - appreciated. I'll give it a shot! I'm sure I am different. I have always been different, I regret to say.

      Delete
    2. I never understood the use of banana oil as a hardener for plasticine. I just use nail varnish. Works fine.

      Delete
    3. Epictetus - thanks for this.

      Don Featherstone never mentioned nail varnish at all, but I guess it's OK! Plasticine itself is the main problem, I found - anything larger than a thin sliver (or a 20mm scale epaulette) tends to split after a while.

      I have tried some of the more modern, air-drying modelling clays, such as Fimo and Das - not ideal as fillers - Das in particular has a kind of fibrous texture, and doesn't take fine detail too well.

      Jack Scruby says somewhere that you can use solder to plug gaps or build up equipment etc. The mere thought of a complete figure becoming a blob makes me need to lie down for a while.

      Delete
  7. I used to use the Humbrol filler, tried a few other things and then went back the Humbrol. It seems to work fine on plastic kits. For bigger gaps I've used Blu-tac hardened with superglue. Unsophisticated but effective!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must try Blu-tac again - as I recall, it tends to form rounded blobs. I've certainly got loads of the stuff, including a mass of cheap, white, fake Blu-tac(?), made in India, which completely failed to support some of our Christmas lights this year!

      Thanks for this, Tim.

      Delete

To avoid spam and advertising material, comments are moderated on this blog, and will appear once I have seen them.