Using Epoxy Putty-It’s not as scary as you think!

putty-main.jpgWill Nichols has submitted this great how-to on several ways the modeler can use epoxy putty to add features and detail to models, as well as to close in those pesky gaps.

Epoxy putty is not as scary as you might think it is. The basics are all the same.

The basics
Epoxy putty consists of a epoxy resin & a hardener. By mixing the two parts you create a chemical reaction hardening the resin. You generally have an hour or so of work time once you have mixed the resin before it becomes too solid to work.

What you need:
  • Epoxy putty of our choice
  • #11 blade, tooth picks, various sculpting tools
  • Petroleum jelly
  • A little patience & practice

During this time the epoxy can be cut, sculpted, molded, and generally mashed around. Once the epoxy has dried, certain types can be sanded and carved. Yellow/blue epoxy does not sand or carve particularly well. Milliput & Tamiya (pictured above) epoxies sand and carve very well. Give the epoxy a few minutes to cool down once you have activated it. The putty is very sticky when first activated & will stick to your tools if you are not careful. Saliva or petroleum jelly will help keep the epoxy from sticking to things that you do not want it to.

Once the putty has ‘cooled’ enough, you can begin to work it in a number of ways. When applying epoxy putty to plastic, it is always a good idea to give the plastic a ‘tooth’ for the epoxy by roughing it up with a fine sand paper. No deep gouges are
needed, just a rough texture for the putty to bite into.

Filling Large Gaps
This is probably the most common use for epoxy putty on the work bench. One benefit of doing this is that you can eliminate most sanding by smoothing the putty with a wet finger tip. This is particularly helpful on wing-root gaps and when fairing in ill-fitting resin conversion components.

Figures
putty-hair1.jpgputty-hair2.jpg Detailing your figures & sculpting is ideal for epoxy putties. The putty can be formed and shaped to any desired look, and will hold that shape. Changing hair styles is the simplest thing you can do.

1. place a small amount of putty on the figures head.
2. Using a tool or flat knife push the putty into the rough shape.
3. Once the putty has set for a minute or so, ‘cut’ the hair into the putty by dragging your #11 blade or tool from the figures crown downward in a natural direction. Beards can be made the same way.

Press Molding
If you need to make a copy of a simple part, press molding might be your answer.
1. Mix a blob of putty & press it over the piece to be copied. You may have to make two molds to get the entire shape (It’s a good idea to smear a thin coat of petroleum jelly on the master to make sure it cleaning releases).
2. Once the mold has dried, pop the original out and once again lube the mold.
3. Now press another blob of putty into the mold. Once it has dried, pop out your new part. Attach with cyanoglue & paint as normal.

Seat belts
putty-seat.jpg This is a new one to me, but one that holds great promise. This is how the aftermarket companies make their seatbelts look so dynamic in many resin cockpits.
1. Roll a thin sausage of putty onto your work surface.
2. Now roll the putty flat with a round tool (make sure you have wet the surfaces to keep the putty from sticking to your tools & flat surface).
3. Once you have achieved the desired thickness, cut strips the appropriate width with a straight blade.
4. Now it gets tricky. Using a moistened tweezers, place the belt in its desired position, twisting & draping it as you see fit. Hardware can be added using Evergreen or photo -etched components.

William Nichols grew up around Air Force bases between Arkansas and Georgia, and attended Christian schools through out highschool. A 2002 graduate of Auburn University, William is currently teaching U.S. History at Sumiton Christian School in Sumiton, Alabama. He is the propaganda pusher for IPMS Birmingham, the Phantom Phlashers, and an fan of anything related to model airplanes.

“I am proud to say that my mother led me to the Lord at age 11, during a Billy Graham Tv Crusade! Teaching in a private school allows me to show future generations the spiritual origins of our nation, & help shape and mold our future leaders.”

2 comments

  • Great article! very informative, Im going to go get some of this stuff and try it out.

  • Nice article. I will recommend a couple of other products.
    The “old standard” is A+B Epoxy Putty. Originally marketed for the plumbing industry, it is ironically more familiar to those in our hobby now. It might be easier to find, than some of the more “modelling specific” brands. Another great product is “Super Glue Brand Radiator Seal” – a two part (brown+silver) epoxy putty with unique qualities of its own – sort of halfway between the typical A+B, Tamiya, and Milliput types – and the more rubbery Duro (the aforementioned blue+yellow). This radiator putty is also available under other “house” brand names…including an inexpensive one from Big Lots. Now – here is the neat trick. I have successfully mixed A+B and radiator putty. Just knead them together, in whatever proportion you want, to get whatever characteristics you want. I am going to assume, that Milliput and Tamiya putties can also add their own unique qualities to your own home-brewed mixture.

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