Models - Part 1: Tools
IntroductionWell, there has been a lot of ado lately about riveting. Riveting approaches are in the arsenal of scratchbuilders´ techniques for years. For some reason, the subject reappeared again. It is up to you whether rivet lines must be reproduced in your model or not. It is not difficult, but boring... very boring. However, if correctly accomplished, rivets will add a lot to the final aspect of an aircraft model.
Recessed rivetsThis is obviously the easiest type of riveting technique. In actual aircraft, there´s no such type of rivets: they are of the buttonhead (raised, round) type (like those in a Grumman F4F or a Douglas SBD) or flushed type (Vought F4U, North American P-51...). Countersunk rivets are good representations of the later type. Many modelers use this technique regardless the rivet type, simply because it is easier to produce a small hole on the plastic surface than the contrary. Whatever is the case, the idea here is to produce an illusion of the real rivets. After a judicious wash, they will be highlighted, leaving the desired impression. In the case of fasteners and large screws, the recessed type is the obvious choice in most cases.
Here´s a short description of each one:
A1. Simply a compass needle mounded in a hobby knife handle. Pretty much like the tool used to rescribe your models. You don´t need to use a compass needle, but its metal has the advantage of being heat treated, and so it will last long enough. Of course, you can sharpen its end with an abrasive stone whenever necessary.
A2. This is a home-made riveter. I found some of these conical heads some time ago. They are made in high grade steel and its point seems to last forever. I simply mounted in an old handle.
This my home-made embosser. I use it primarily for embossing
plastic and brass sheets, but it can be used to produce nicely
A4. Another home-made riveting device (should I call it beading tool?). I´ve been reading a lot about people spending money with commercial riveters (including me!). You can make your own using syringe needles. Wait, this may be new for you: the secret is inside the needle. Let me explain: Most folks cut the point of the needle and bevel its edge to produce a sharp circular engraving tool. It is difficult to achieve a perfectly beveled end in this way. Here´s how I do:
c.) Now, using a pair of pliers to
hold the shaft, remove the plastic hub on the rear part of the shaft with a knife. This will expose the beveled end
of the shaft - our riveting tool.
A5. This is the commercial Hasegawa rivet embosser, recently reviewed here.
This is something I discovered by accident. Mechanical ink pens are
excellent rivet embossers. It is just a matter of pressing it on the
plastic surface, and it will leave a nicely done circular depression.
Their ends are made of high strength alloy, because it must resist to
the abrasion against drafting papers. Another good news: a typical set
of these pens will range from 0.3 to 2.0 mm, so you are plenty of
options to fit your needs.
B4. Armor modelers will claim this is a ´Zimmerit´ applicator. Nope. This is simply a tool made out of those saws that come with office tape holders. Their tooth are already very sharp and you can sharpen them even more with a file if necessary. The basic procedure is simply to press the saw along the rivet line. Try to distribute the pressure equally on the tooth.
Raised rivetsWell, here´s something that has been bugging me for a while. I have read everything, even insane suggestions like applying fine sand (or cat litter) grains individually over a layer of wet glue. Some folks claim that a recessed rivet will fake a raised one ´perfectly´... I don´t think so. Let alone if you are interested in replacing molded on rivet lines partially sanded off during the assembly. Some others (psyco-)modelers are using miniature punched disks. We need something faster.
that, when individually done, it´s
tuff to keep the pressure constant. Skinning an entire aircraft model
not for everyone... Few things in the modeling world can be more
frustating. On the other hand, the technique is a nice way to enhance
panels, armor plating, fairings etc...
that´s it for now guys.
The objective of this article was to introduce you to some
concerning riveting plastic models. Of course there are other
of the tools presented here. How and where to use these tools is, as I
before, subject of another article.
remember: nothing can beat a creative
modeler approaching a given task with careful planning. We hope this
will help you on your next project.