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Building and finishing a model frequently goes beyond the normal paint and glues that we all use in construction. To illustrate these techniques I rummaged through some of the many older craftsman kits that have been stored away over the years with the hopes of building them someday.
The most important step in craftsman kit construction is the preparation of the various parts prior to assembly.
Select the larger casting that will be treated with the Rust-n-Dust and prime the cleaned parts with a thin gray primer and allow them to dry over night. Step Three: Seal each of the parts with the clear acrylic sealer in the third jar and allow to dry. For what ever reason hand rails and pipe details seem to shed paint with infuriating regularity. One thing to keep in mind when using Blacken-It is that it will react differently to different metals. Once the parts are cleaned and dry the solution is either painted on to each piece or the piece is dipped. At this point with all of the various parts finished all that is left to do is to assemble the model per the instructions. Once assembly is completed the entire model is given an overall coat of clear flat lacquer. New products and techniques can easily bring older models up to today’s standards so don’t overlook one of those older kits that you have squirreled away for the future. The UK’s DailyMail shows a photograph of the four young men smeared with black paint over their faces and bodies -- one of them wearing a dreadlock wig. The report said the students have since been warned that they could face disciplinary action by the university.
In the popular 1990s movie Cool Runnings, actor John Candy turns a group of failed Jamaican athletes into a bobsled team to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada. Did opting out of the National Debates affect the PNP’s chance of winning the General Election? Can any of our Aussie friends point me to where I can source Blacken-it in Australia please?
I managed to get some from a UK supplier, but having tried it and then trying some Casey Birchwood Brass Black (as recommended by Danny) I think the latter is better.
Thanks, I had a search around and found a place that sells Birchwood Casey "Brass Black" just 5 mins drive from me. There's another product called Jax Pewter Black that I tried recently and it seems to work well also, but requires a different technique than Casey's. Once the part has soaked long enough and is then rinsed in water, paint the Jax on with a paint brush.
The bright highlights on the blackened parts in this photo are not indicative of incomplete blackening but simply highlights from the lamp used to light the part for photographing it. If you happen to scratch the part down to brass while you're installing it, you can sometimes touch it up with a Sharpie (black permanent marker). Capturing the decay and aging of the prototype requires mastering some of the specialized techniques that have been developed specifically to reproduce the aging of wood and oxidation of metals. Each pieces had its grain detailed with Micro-Mark’s® Grain Enhancing Tool demonstrated in the first Craftsman Tool Chest installment.
In addition any one who has ever tried to pain scale sized chain has found that it is akin to pushing a rope.


Leave Blacken-It on the part until the desired color is attained then wash the item in dish washing detergent and water.
When the flat coat had dried part four of the Rust-n-Dust system was brushed over the log buggy. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. There are two answers - blackened brass looks more like iron and there's no fear of filling in fine details as you can with brushed-on paint.
I used to recommend muriatic acid but it can be dangerous, so now I just use white vinegar and it seems to work just as well. According to the bottle, Jax will blacken pewter, lead, brass, bronze, copper, tin-lead alloys and solder. You'll want to stir it around while it's in there (I use a different wooden stick for this). I have used the Jax immediately after sanding and wire brushing and sometimes there can be little specks that don't blacken.
If you need to blacken something that is adjacent to wood or a painted surface, Casey's can stain. Note that I soldered the ring closed using lead-free silver solder (Stay Brite from Micro Mark).
These easily built, old style craftsman kits use precut bass wood, brass wire and die-cast metal detail parts in their construction. Once the wood was distressed, Micro-Mark Age-It EASY was applied with a soft brush and allowed to completely dry. The final step of applying a dust over coat was held off until the model was complete at which time the entire model had dust brushed over it with a soft dry brush. The quick and easy answer to finishing these parts is to use a chemical tarnishing solution. For best results the items to be blackened should be as clean and grease free as possible since Blacken-It will not penetrate dirt and grease. To assure that the metal parts would adhere the gluing surfaces were sanded down to bare metal. To replicate this greasy build up use burnt umber oil paint brushed onto the trucks straight from the tube. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published. Of course, you can use spray paint to hold detail, but using a spray can or setting up a sprayer can be a lot of work and can be messy.
There used to be a good product called Blacken-It, but the company is out of business and the product is no longer available.
I'm usually not very patient when I'm trying to work with a blackened part, so I let mine sit about 10 minutes.
If you do, a brown coating will build up on the part and it will flake off when you rinse it. The kit is available both in HO and O scale so the techniques used are applicable to any scale that one would choose to work in.
Age-It is a solvent based penetrating stain and weathering solution that will not warp wood and cause the grain to pop like many water based products.


I found that the base coat that is used makes a difference in the finished rust color; dark brown will yield a darker, older rust color while a black under coat will give a more orange, newer rust finish. This technique provides a smooth, durable finish that will not hide fine details or chip like paint frequently does. This removes the paint to which the glue will not readily attach and provides a rough surface on the metal that allows for a better bond.
I don't know why it makes a difference, but believe me - painting it on is the only way to do it. To capture this look the wooden timbers would need to be scored with age and have a gray patina while the metal parts needed to be tarnished and rusted. Age-It is available in both gray and brown as well as Railroad Tie & Bridge Stain colors leaving the choice of finish up to the modeler.
One word of caution when using this product is to follow all the safety warnings and instructions. Aliphatic Resin Glues such as Titebond are also useful for wood to wood construction; however, over the long term they are susceptible to moisture.
You will use both of them over and over rather than throwing them out with each use, so you want something that will be good for storage.
I have tried less time and gotten mixed results where some spots don't blacken, so 10 minutes is the minimum. I sometimes find rubbing it around on the part with the brush helps to even out the color.
A small kitchen strainer is a good tool for holding the parts while being rinsed and dried. The final step of the painting process is to apply a coat of flat spray lacquer such as Testors Dull Coat.
You may not want to use metal tweezers - they can turn black too - unless you keep a pair just for this operation. The part will turn black very quickly and then you can rinse it in water and dry on a paper towel.
I have had some problems blackening solder with Casey's in the past so your mileage may vary.
This will rough up the surface and provide more tooth to the finish and give better adherence to the Rust-n-Dust. This is especially important if you're doing multiple parts at the same time - you don't want parts sticking together. Jax is probably better for solder but I don't have enough experience with it yet to say for sure. I do know that Jax will turn clean solder black as night so I expect this is what I will use in the future. When you think it's been in the vinegar long enough (or you happen to remember it) remove the part from the vinegar and rinse well with tap water. A small strainer can be helpful unless you would enjoy watching your laboriously made part sliding down the drain.



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Comments to “Blacken it up podcast”

  1. Azeri_Sahmar:
    With brio or Thomas so we ordered far more.
  2. zarina:
    Scale appropriate now, we also have a huge table is that since it is generally one piece as soon scale.
  3. 7700:
    Carriages, level crossings and stations.