Assembling Whitemetal Kits
The kits may need assembly, using glue or solder, and many require painting. These general hints on assembly may be supplemented by the contents of the many modelling magazines and books. Patience and experience always improve the end result.
Flash - any small amounts of flash (the small, cooled remains of the molten whitemetal) on the edges of the castings can be trimmed off by scraping with a modelling knife or a file.
Any castings attached to 'feeds' (see How We Make the Models) should be separated by cutting with a sharp knife or snipping with cutters. The feeds may need gentle removal which is best achieved with a file.
Assembly and painting can be accomplished in a number of ways and the ideas given below are not intended to be exhaustive. As in any process such as this, a little care and patience will tend to pay dividends in the quality of finish that can be achieved.
Cheap needle files are ideal for this purpose and come in a variety of shapes depending on the casting you are working with.
Bent Items - these may be gently bent back into shape.
It is possible to assemble the models using either glues or soldering techniques.
Whatever glue is used, some preparation will pay dividends. Firstly always check on the fit of the parts by having a few dry runs. Once you are happy with the fit and any unwanted material has been filed away, then it will pay to clean the surfaces. Glues do not stick effectively to a layer of grease, dirt and oxide.
It is possible to use degreasing solvents, but at the very least, the surfaces of the metal joints should be cleaned with a coarse abrasive (file or emery paper). This will also provide more of a 'key' for the adhesive.
Only small amounts of adhesive should be used and always follow the safety guidelines (especially regarding smoking and ventilation).
Super Glues (Back to top)
This gives fast results but is not ideal for parts that have significant gaps between them as it is not designed for use as a filler. It is by its nature, fast acting and quite permanent. If you have the parts wrongly aligned, separation can be quite difficult, although there are normally a few seconds for you to make any final adjustments.
The best results are probably obtained using a gel type super glue. This has a consistency similar to toothpaste and is a little easier to control. The glue will tend to stay where it is put rather than run down the castings and this can be useful in aligning small components and thin edges.
Epoxy Glues (Back to top)
These come in two parts which need to be mixed and have various setting times which allows adjustment of alignment to be made. Premature handling can be fatal however, and assembly will take longer with this method.
Excess glue can be hard to remove carefully from the finished model and you should only mix small quantities of the glue at a time, otherwise it will harden before you have time to use it.
Clear Adhesives (Back to top)
It is possible to use clear adhesives such as Bostick or Evostick Impact. These glues do not set hard and subsequent handling should be done with extreme care.
Car Body Filler (Back to top)
It is possible to use car body fillers such as Isopon. Whilst this has the added advantage of filling any gaps, it again may not provide the strongest of joints since adhesion is not its prime function.
Soldering (Back to top)
Whitemetal has a similar melting point to that of electrical solder and if you attempt to use a standard wattage iron, you will simply melt the castings.
You must use a low wattage iron (12-15 watts), low melt solder and a low temperature flux.
Useful tips on technique can be found in many publications including Carrs soldering handbook, Iain Rice's book on Whitemetal Locos (White Swan) and The Art Of Soldering by R Brewster (Bernard Babani Publishing Ltd). (See our Links section)