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Advice for White Metal Models


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Looking for any advise to a newbie on putting together white metal models. I picked up a couple of the Model Shipways Guns of History Civil War cannons for something to do this winter when I'm snowbound and bored. I haven't touched a model in a million years and have never put one of the white metal models together before. I've read up a little about cleaning the metal parts and using some automotive primer on them.


What type of paint and glue should I use on them?


These cannons are very nicely molded and accurate. I would like to end up with a nicely done model the end. Any other advise is surely welcome!

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Except for photo-etched parts, I've not worked with white metal models. But unless anyone has a better suggestion using Krazy-glue type adhesives (cyonacrolates) because they'll form a very strong bond.

As for paints I recommend enamels. But keep researching until you find what you need.


Semper Fi.



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For anything white metal the key to a long life and good looks long after assembly is in the cleaning and for assembly pinning .

Cleaning ; after clean up with a scalpel and emery paper I always scrub white metal models with a house hold scouring powder such as Ajax or Vim .

clean with an old tooth brush and cool water . The metal will dull to a mid grey colour, this is ideal .

Pinning ;

If you have a pin vise and a drill bits great if not they can be bought for around $15-20 , drill a hole part way into the casting (I like to use a .5 bit as its easiest to get the .5 rod for me) and drill a hole part way into the other mating side piece . This can be either a good few mm deep or just 1-2mm as the thickness of the part will dictate . of there's a flat mating area around the hole score it with the tip of your scalpel .

Then use either copper or brass wire/rod and cut a piece that will just fit into the two mated halves.

Use a cyano or superglue glue to stick the parts or a 5 min epoxy to allow you time to move them around if fit isn't so crisp .

For painting you can use either Enamel or acrylic paints ,in fact the model acrylics on the market today were originally designed to paint metal models .

The key here is a good primer and only a couple I have found really work well enough, these are Games Workshop Chaos black spray or Games Workshop Skull white spray, Gunze Sangyo Mr.Surfacer 1200 spray give this one at least 12 hours to dry though .

Hope this helps some ? Nige.

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Appreciate the advise. Looking forward to putting these them together. Have to do a little research on the painting of Confederate Whitworth artillery pieces. Figure that I will do the mountain howitzer in OD green.

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  • 1 month later...

I guess I don't know what White Metal model is. Is that a brand name of the manufacturer or a type of cast metal?


I am working on a 1/6 scale model cannon that I'm trying to build from scratch with plastic. I thought about posting my Project in a thread on this forum so I can get some advice on specific details. Why am I building it from scratch? Well, this cannon is a rare breech-loader. I bought a carriage from one of the models you can find at the Civil War battlefield parks that is pretty good.


Schnicklfritz --- I may want to ask to see some of the details of the hardware on your models. Things such as bolts/nuts, handles and other hardware on the carriage. I also need some idea as to how to paint the carriage (the finished wood and unfinished wood) as well as what colors to choose to replicate painted steel and the brass parts.

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I have a bunch of the old Hubley white metal A-Fords that I stripped and want to restore, but the few primers I've tried this far are no good. I think I'll need some sort of etch primer. Once suitably primed I guess I can use my regular Vallejo acrylics for the top coats.

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