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Applying Photoetched Parts

Photoetched parts are becoming more and more a part of the hobby. They are available as detail sets for nearly every currently (and some not) available kit. Everything from emblems to windshield wipers to interior junk is available from the aftermarket.

The biggest question seems to be......"How do you handle and attach these things?"

Well, the techniques vary and depend largely on taste and the application. At this point I am going to deal with exterior trim parts. Pictures will follow at some point.

Photoetched parts are best attached with a clear adhesive. This allows any extra adhesive to be nearly invisible on the finished model. Superglue is the product I have heard recommended most, but it can leave a haze from the evaporating cyanoacrylate...not very appealing or gratifying at the end of a detailed buildup. Two-part epoxy is next in line. It holds very well, is commonly available and dries clear. However, a thick epoxy can be messy, odorous, and sometimes hard to work with. It works well, just be careful not to get it anywhere you don't want it (that, of course, applies to all adhesives).

For a traditional enamel finish, Testor's Glosscote or Dullcote in bottles works nicely. Pour a bit of the clear into a small cup and let the solvents evaporate a bit, just enough for it to thicken slightly. Use a fine brush to apply a generous coat to the part. Wait a bit before applying the part to the surface of the model, you may even want to apply a second coat of clear. Carefully place the part into position on the model. The Testor's clear will dry clear, of course, and any excess just sort of blends in. When working with Testor's clear over a laquer paint job, the excess can even be wiped off of the surface if you act quickly and carefully.

Working with automotive laquers allows another option, clear fingernail polish. Clear nail polish is not recommended over an enamel paint job, and must be used carefully over laquer. The solvents in the nail polish can damage the finish, but it is my choice because it is close to the desired consistency. It is fairly thick and works well as an adhesive for clear parts also.

If you work carefully with the paint or epoxy method, it is even possible to set emblems away from the body a bit...just like on a 1:1 vehicle. It would take considerable care though to make it look accurate, as real emblems tend to have a layer of black seperating them from the body.

I've even heard of people using white glue to attach photoetched emblems.....never tried it myself.

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