Working with White Metal
There is considerable advice available about working with white metal, but the following information and guidance is especially relevant to the high quality metals we produce, and is only given with this material in mind. (This is not to say the advice will not be helpful for other metal products also, but just that it is only given in respect of our products).
The below covers the following areas:
- Trimming and Preparing
- Reshaping and Shaping
TRIMMING AND PREPARING
When working with white metal, as with any other model material, it is important to ensure you are wearing appropriate face protection and have a variety of relevant tools for the task you are to undertake. White metal (which is mainly formed of Tin and cast using a Centrifugal casting process) can be a great material for a variety of purposes with creating a kit, and as such we use it in varying degrees across our range, including some kits and sets which are all White Metal. When cleaning this material, it is crucial to avoid touching your face and especially your eyes, and to wear protective eyewear, especially when sanding, filing or trimming parts. Many of the White Metal parts, especially the smaller ones, will be provided on small sprues, so you will need to trim the parts off from their feeds. This is best done using a pair of good side cutters or clippers, such as the range offered by Xuron. It is also useful to have a set of fine files for removing the feeds from parts once you have clipped them from the sprues. You can also use a variety of Wet and Dry paper, or filing sticks to help with any fine sanding required for smoothing off parts after removing from sprues.
RESHAPING AND SHAPING WHITE METAL
Slight distortion of white metal parts when demoulding or during storage or transit can occur, but these can easily be corrected by some careful adjustment. Due to the quality of the white metal we use, the properties of the metal allow for it to be reshaped to the original position, or indeed shaped to suit your requirement for your model. (For example, this could be especially the case when wishing to coil sections of metal rope for some of the kits). The white metal shouldn’t be overworked, though, as after a number of bends to and fro, you might find that the metal begins to break at that overworked section of the part. It is important to plan where you would like to bend the metal in advance of bending, to ensure no breakage occurs through having to correct where you wish to bend the metal parts.
GLUING WHITE METAL
As with Resin, White metal can be sanded, sawn, drilled, filled and filed as required but a face mask and eye protection should always be worn during these operations. Superglue or a fast curing epoxy resin should be used when attaching metal to metal, metal to resin or metal to plastic. Ordinary liquid poly cements (plastic glues) will not work with white metal components. It is also a good idea to lightly sand the mating surfaces when attaching metal to other metal, resin or plastic parts where it is possible to do so.
PAINTING WHITE METAL
White Metal can be a very versatile modelling medium that will accept a variety of paint topcoats, but it is important to use the correct primer and undercoat to begin with. For best results we advise to use an auto acrylic primer first. The Halfords or Hycote standard grey or white primers are ideal. It is important to ensure the surface is as clean before priming any metal surface, to ensure best results. Be aware that when attaching finishing parts, such as mirrors and lights, on top of pre-painted surfaces, superglue will often dissolve some paints, especially auto acrylics. There is more guidance and information about painting your kits in the Working with Resin section of this site.