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Round 2 Models: Shine On

posted by JamieH 4:03 PM
Thursday, December 1, 2011

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. The holidays come quicker every year, don’t they?

We, at Round 2 Models, continue to see what we can do to improve our product wherever we can and one thing we’ve been keeping an eye on is the appearance of our chrome parts. I don’t usually deal with as many chrome sprues as John does with the car stuff but back when we were working on the Pilgrim Observer, I made sure to pay special attention to the chrome parts in that one. There is a fine balance we need to strike to hold the details and also keep a nice shine on the parts. Compounding our concern is that the nature of applying the chrome and gloss coat is environmentally sensitive. (heat, cold and humidity, etc all have to be carefully controlled) We have done our best to strike that happy medium for keeping detail and also having a nice high gloss shine.

As I compared the old Pilgrim Observer vintage example to the fresh new test shots, I found that the detail wasn’t quite as nice but it was sufficient in that if you didn’t compare the two side by side, the new ones still looked pretty good. The new ones were very shiny though. Actually, they were too shiny for my taste. I think such high gloss on chromed plastic looks a little too “toy-etic”. Besides, the nature of the gloss, itself, hides or at least camouflages details and I really picked up on that. The gloss had greatly lessened with age from the vintage example and I personally found them much more appealing. They looked more scale accurate and I didn’t think any ‘70s era space agency would go through the expense of chroming parts to a high gloss just for the sake of looks. The parts might have looked like bare metal be it stainless steel or aluminum but not chrome plated. In any case I settled for what we had and let it go.

Fast forward a year or so… I’ve begun taking a look at the AMTronic kit and I was wondering if we absolutely HAD to use this high gloss coat on the chrome parts. So, I asked the factory about it this time to see if they could do a semi-gloss or flat finish on the chrome parts. They said “sure” and ran a few examples. I really like the results. The semi-gloss finish looks scale accurate. They look almost like the aged vintage sample we have on hand. The detail is all nice and crisp. The matte finish copy is also very intriguing. It really looks like brushed metal or aluminum at scale. I am very excited by the possibility of using this finish on the retro-futuristic AMTronic.

I passed the idea along to John and showed him the examples. He really liked how they looked. He agreed that the result was more scale accurate and showed detail very well, but he was concerned that if we included what looked like 30 or 40 year old chrome parts in our kits that some modelers might not appreciate it as much as we do. I felt that was a valid concern as well.

In the end we figured we’d show you guys and get your feedback on the idea. By no means would we want to use these finishes in every case but sometimes an aluminum wheel is more desirable than a polished chrome one. So, take a look at the photos and tell us what you think?



25 Responses to “Round 2 Models: Shine On”

  1. Bats says:

    I agree withthe assesment. Keep in mind though that a flat or satin finish can always be clearcoated by the builder. Therefore, if you want to give a better scale look I say go with the satin finish. That’s the best of both worlds because if someone wants that finish they’ve got it, if they want the high shine they can clearcoat themselves with little effort. 🙂

  2. movius says:

    I don’t build cars.But if I did, I would like to have the GLOSSY parts.
    You could always DULL coat them if wanted._RICH.

  3. so how “buffable” are the finishes? both the semi and matte look really good, especially if (even if i can’t see it that well) the details pop more. if those finished can be “spot buffed”, you’d have a really nice scale effect…

  4. rocketguy says:

    I suppose I like the semi-gloss best with matte next. However personally I have been stripping the chrome on the car models I have done recently and then airbrushing them with Alclad chrome or whatever color the part should be. In the case of the Munsters Koach I did chrome and gold with Alclad. That was because I thought the chrome on the part looked fake and was too shiney. So while I will continue to do the stripping and painting I still like the semi-gloss or matte finish better if I weren’t going to “rechrome” it.

    Bob K.

  5. crowe-t says:

    For parts like chrome bumpers they should look like shiny chrome. However model kit parts with hi-gloss chrome often look toy-like. It looks like semi-gloss is a good compromise for scale effect. It’s still a bit tough to tell from the pictures but semi-gloss seems to be a good option.

  6. spock62 says:

    Kind of hard to tell based on the photos, but I think semi-gloss would be the way to go if you want to standardize the finish on all of your kits. If a person wants a gloss or flat finish, there are clear coats available. It also depends on the kit, a show car should have gloss bumper, wheel and engine parts. For the Pilgrim Observer and similar space/military kits, I’d go with matte finish. But, that’s if you guys are going to vary finishes per kit.

  7. justinleighty says:

    Wow, looking at the photos, the matte finish looks the most convincing. Looking at that sprue, the parts look legitimately metal. The glossy finish just has a plastic look to it. The semi-gloss is an improvement, but still doesn’t look “real.” It may be the best compromise, though, between those wanting super shiny and those wanting a realistic scale effect.

  8. delta99 says:

    A lot of the big rig builders spend a lot of time stripping chrome off, and applying a dull finish such as “bumper chrome” from an auto parts store. The parts in particular would be wheels mostly, and sometimes fuel tanks. I’d love to see these in matte, and all the rest of the parts in semi gloss.

  9. Fraley1701 says:

    Semi-gloss or matte finish is my preference. Most modelers I know strip chrome parts anyway, because they look too much like a toy. Alclad or bare metal foil is used in it’s place.

  10. Rocketfin says:

    I think the semi gloss will be a good compromise to most people. The only part I see in the photo that I would really want chrome at all are the wheel rims. The rest can be “metalized” in some way with paints, so the other parts could be molded in white. I don’t think that is practical here though (as they share the same sprue). There are lots of “metal” parts on military and aircraft models, and those don’t include any chrome trees at all. 🙂

    (and I am glad you are bringing this kit back out, it’s unique!)

  11. JamieH says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys. Keep ’em coming.

    Just to clarify, the sprues shown in the pics are from the Meyer’s Manx kit. The factory just happened to have them available when I asked for some examples.

  12. edge10 says:

    Quick question: Is the Enterprise C going to make it out this year?

  13. JamieH says:

    edge10- yes. They are due to arrive at our warehouse any day now.

  14. BatToys says:

    Hi Jamie,
    On the Deluxe the box says pinstripe mask but I couldn’t find it.

    Also how can I get a replacement trunk as the left fin tip was bent.

    Thanks,
    Frank

  15. DJarryl says:

    I have a question about paint colors, not sure if I can get an answer here but what the hey.

    The Enterprise 1701 is recomended in the instructions you paint the bulk of it Gloss Pearescent White. I have been unable to locate this color anywhere. Can anybody help me with this?

    Thanks, D

  16. JamieH says:

    BatToys- That was a miss on the packaging on our part. We had to drop them from the product because we couldn’t be assured of consistent quality. We dropped the price of the kit accordingly, delivering it for under $40 SRP. We had originally planned on a $50 price point. I will take steps to get that line deleted from future runs for sure.

    DJarryl- Testors make a one coat lacquer. I think they call it White Lightning. Otherwise, check with you local automotive paint dealer to order a pearlescent white paint.

  17. JamieH says:

    BatToys- To have your trunk lid replaced, please follow the directions here
    http://www.round2models.com/replacement/

  18. @ DJarryl- Tamiya also makes a white pearl in a rattle can which has been popular for the Refit builds. It needs a white primer undercoat but it looks pretty sharp.

  19. DJarryl says:

    Thanks Jamie
    I wish they would have called it that in the instructions before I went to 5 stores looking for it. Seems needlessly misleading.

  20. JamieH says:

    DJarryl- I think the Testors paint was new when we did the instructions. Keep in mind that our paint directions are just suggestions offered to match the filming model. Different modelers want different results and often research and mix their own paint to match what they see as the “true” color or effect. any paint we show in the instructions is usually the best educated guess of an existing paint color.

  21. BatToys says:

    Jamie, the Alex Ross box cover for the 350 is inspired. I like it! He is Polar’s James Bama. Was that the surprise for 1701 members at iHobby Expo?

  22. JamieH says:

    BatToys- Yes, that was the new information I was sharing at iHobby. I meant to mention that in the update. Basically, I would have shown you 8 1/2″ x 11″ print outs of the images I showed in the update.

  23. Dave Darby says:

    I think it is a lot easier to dull down the shiney chrome than it is to shine up dull chrome. In addition, not all components will have the same level of gloss. So for my money, I prefer the shiney chrome. Also, if you are losing detail, perhaps your lacquer base coat is too thick. Cheers, and keep those classics coming!

  24. Patrick Costello says:

    There’s no one correct answer to this. If you’re doing a custom show car, especially late ’60s or ’70s era, they had A LOT of highly polished chrome. A factory stock from that era had chrome but it wasn’t as glossy, yet still glossier than your semi-gloss photo looks. A restored factory stock from that same era like you’d see at a car show today would most likely have show-quality chrome, too.

    The semi-gloss and matte look more like aluminum parts to me. Isn’t that what the vacuum metalizing is anyway? If you take away the mirror finish, you see the color of the metal so they really look aluminum, like the billet parts on the Boyd Coddington-style rods of the ’80s. Having any less-than-gloss finish on those Cragar mags (the real ones have chrome plated steel rims, chrome plated cast aluminum centers) just looks wrong. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3644/3606024425_f638f28db8.jpg The engine/transmission parts look better in matte. Too bad they’re on the same sprue.

    I agree with Dave Darby, too, about the thickness of the clearcoat. I think that’s more what gives a toy look rather than the level of gloss. It may not obscure detail but, if it’s too thick, it sort of rounds corners a bit in a way that the high gloss reflections on it magnify. So my vote would be to work on a thinner clear coat and stick with high gloss except in cases of subjects that are replicating cast or billet aluminum with their plated parts.

  25. phicks says:

    Jamie – It’s been 6 weeks since there was anything new here. Can you tell us what you got for Christmas? Screen shot of your work desk? Throw us a bone, please!

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