I like to finish my war birds in natural aluminum sometimes but there is no really great options for restored aluminum.
Restored full scale warbirds in natural aluminum often have a highly polished "chrome" look after they are clear coated.
I tried some Ultracote (not Parklite) "Chrome" to get that fully restored & clear coated shinny aluminum finish and I have to say I was disappointed. Parklite is my favorite material but it does not come in "chrome". Here are the problems I had:
1. It does not shrink well.
2. It shows every scratch even if they came in the finish (not much could be done about this though).
3. Using a heat gun will blush the material and it will look terrible.
The "Silver" Parklite & standard Ultracote look similar to aged aluminum kind of between really shinny and dull weathered.
Parklite seems to have very few issues. It shrinks like crazy, doesn't distort light structures and is just generally easy to work with. The only thing I struggle with is the base is so tough that even a brand new X-Acto knife doesn't cut it well. I have to run my knife over a leather strop with aluminum oxide powder to get a clean cut.
The only options for metal like finishes I can find are:
1. Ultracote silver and chrome
2. Ultracote Parklite silver
3. Other brands of silver/chrome
4. Doculam with Testor's metalizer (paint adhesion issues & masking problems though)
5. Stick-on aluminum sheets like Dyna-skin (only work for big sheeted and/or glassed finishes).
I would be interested in any other methods to acheive a durable, decent looking bare aluminum effect.
"Gravity: Natures way of telling you to watch your airspeed"
There is a decimal point after the first zero as on all digital calipers ,and to get the plate just go to your nearest printer and ask for some use litho plate,they are usually only to happy to give it to you.
I picked up some chrome packing tape from Canterbury Sailaplanes in N.Z. So far I have only used it minimally for flashing and orientation strips on my combat planes, but it is very durable, and shrinks well with a heat gun without losing colour. It does take practice though, to get a good finish. Alternatively, Ed Clayton AKA "flite metal" sells his unique aluminium finish in the U.S, so it may be an idea to contact him...good luck
Nice, that is a beautiful DC-3 finish. That's what i was after! If that is your plane how did it go on around the compound curves? Easy to apply?
That's not mine, mine don't look that good. But I've been experimenting with it. It's self adhesive so it works over foam. Adds a lot of tensile strength to foam. It has a slight amount of stretch that can be improved a bit with heat (hair dryer, not heat gun). The fillets on the model shown were done with many pieces. If you work within the panel lines of the full sized aircraft (if you are doing a scale model) you'll be fine. It's light, similar to iron on films.
It will highlight any imperfections so you either have to tolerate it or prep the surface as you would for a glossy paint job. Work in a surgically clean space!
The Oracal website lists distributors, there are vendors on ebay that sell smaller cuts. Oracal 352 can be printed on. I'm tempted to buy a roll to see if I can print decals directly on it and then use it to cover.
Thank you for the plug...we ship worldwide to world champions. Payne, I am surprised you did not do a Google during your
search for a natural aluminum finish. Nothing looks better than the "Real Thing". Below a short what and how-to: will show
how is applied properly. This is our 12th year of providing the "Real Thing" to competitive flying scale
Nothing speaks louder of successful utilization than our customers witnessing it... .
"Flite-Metal For The Look Of The Real Thing"