Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Product Review: Tamiya White Putty

I don’t post negative reviews of things (well, except for Hobbycraft kits, and that’s okay, everybody rags on those!) so this is something of a departure. It must be very rare for the words “Tamiya” and “miscue” to appear in the same sentence, but they are about to here.

I came to try Tamiya White Putty for the simple expedient of the fact that my usual filler, Squadron White, is unobtainable in Australia at this time due to the local distributor no longer dealing with Squadron Products, and after twenty years of using that type it was a bad time to run out. It certainly highlights how used to a thing we can become, and while I am certainly willing to say that it is a matter of familiarity as to how much utility we get from a thing, there are also certain desirable and undesirable characteristics that go a long way to determining how suitable a product is.

Tamiya seem to have formulated an almost useless product. I hear howls of refute from modellers who are perfectly happy with it, and that’s fine, I can only report my own perceptions, attuned as they are to the Squadron product, and they are:

  • Tamiya putty comes liquid from the tube. This in itself is not a bad thing, thinning putty is an old trick, but you don’t always want a thinned putty. Being a liquid, it is subject to capillary action, and I have observed on three occasions that the putty actively resists entering small spaces, which is the precise opposite of what it should be doing.
  • Tamiya putty dries rock hard. The amount of elbow grease needed to cut it back is so excessive I fear parts will come adrift, and if you leave it overnight you’re in for the sanding job from hell. The options are to use a harder grade of wet-or-dry paper, but now you’ll start scouring into the surrounding plastic and need to somehow repair the surface, perhaps a sanding and polishing series. After dressing a simple gap? I don’t think so.
  • Tamiya putty chemically etches plastic. Static effects and its natural stickiness draw it all over the job and it seems no amount of sanding will entirely remove its signature from plastic it has touched.
  • Tamiya putty shrinks. Filling the motorisation holes in an old tank hull bottom – and we’re talking holes really only a few millimetres wide – took six applications because each time it dried it shrank into a pronounced pit. This is frustrating to say the least, and the rubdown required to deal with the agglomeration of putty that inevitably collects around the job after that many applications was not appreciated.
 I am writing this review in a break between sanding sessions on a new project, because my fingers are sore. As I said earlier, it may simply be that I am too used to the Squadron product, and that other folks may level similar criticisms at that one, but to me, Tamiya have seriously miscued on all the important, desirable characteristics of a plastic filler putty. If I could get a tube of Squadron White without paying about $25 shipping to get it sent from overseas, I would bin the Tamiya in a heartbeat. As it is I must persevere; I have put two projects back on the shelf because the precise nature of their filling tasks are ones I have no intention of attempting with this putty.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Finishing Product: Australian Airbrush Company Acrylic Cleaning Fluid

There are go-to products that we all use: that favourite putty, that special file, one’s favourite brand of paint. Well, there are products that serve behind the scenes of the modelling art, and I discovered one of them when sending my faithful Paasche off for some maintenance at an interstate company.

Australian Airbrush Company, of Georges Hall, NSW, has been around for 22 years and airbrushes is what they are all about, sales and service, parts, paints, the works, and it so happens that amongst their products is a cleaning fluid designed for stripping acrylic residues out of an airbrush.

The purple-blue fluid comes in a small, handy bottle and makes up with water at a ratio of 1 part fluid to five parts water, and the solution, once prepared in a small container, such as a spare airbrush jar with cap, remains potent for quite a while.

I have cleaned my Paasche with this fluid many times now, and it seems to do an almost miraculous job. I dip my cleaning brushes directly in the fluid and ream the interior workings gently, while the paint nozzle can lie for a while in the solution. The nozzle, being brass, should not be left in the solution too long as the ammonia will etch the metal, but a few minutes seems to be plenty to loosen paint residue, which brushes then remove easily.

Cleaning is a straight forward operation and results in visible bright metal surfaces, which are rinsed with a passing of water through the reassembled airbrush to prevent etching, and the airbrush is ready for action again at once.

This really has become a go-to product on my bench and I don’t see me ever being without it. I recommend this product highly, and you can order it online at: