Finishing Tips

Signs

We are often asked about the signs used in or on our finished buildings. Below is a brief description of what we use:

Until now, we didn't have a good answer for folks wanting to know what signs we used in the windows of our taller storefront buildings because the signs we used were no longer available. However, now that we have our own sets of "Window Dressings" the answer is easy! Click on WINDOW DRESSINGS for the details!

You will also find that our sign sets #1 and #2 are perfect for the inside of store windows.

If you want to personalize your store windows, you may want to make your own signs using a computer or dry transfer lettering (available at most hobby and art supply stores).

If you decide to make your own signs, we suggest looking at actual building signs first. Your signs will look much more realistic if you look at how real signs are designed. Look at common color combinations, how most signs have borders or frames around them and the styles of type most often used by professional signmakers. You'll be amazed at how much more realistic your model signs will look if you pattern them after real signs!

Microscale Decals offer a variety of decals sets for our gas station and diner kits. Since their line of decals is constantly growing, the best way to see what is available is to refer to their catalog or see your local hobby dealer. Microscale also offers some very nice large signs for the sides of buildings.

Painting Structures

We use a wide variety of brands of paint to finish our structures. Normally the main color is sprayed on first using any plastic compatible paint. We have had good results using both paints designed for plastic models and inexpensive paints found in variety stores. Just make sure they will work on plastic! Solvent based paints (like Floquil and other lacquer based paints) may etch the surface of your model and give an uneven finish. Even many paints labeled "enamel" found in discount stores can react and ruin the surface of your model. ALWAYS test any paints before using. To be safe, you may want to prime your models using a plastic compatible primer sold by hobby dealers. Again, it's important that any primer be plastic compatible. Most primers sold in discount stores contain lacquer or other strong solvents that could react with the plastic surface of your model.

After spraying the main color, we usually brush paint the detail or trim colors using acrylic based paints, such as Polly Scale or Testor's acrylic-enamels. Using these paints eliminates the possibility of their reacting with or smearing the base coat and allows you to wipe off mistakes before they dry (use a damp cloth, tissue or cotton swab). You may even want to try wetting your tissue with a spray cleaner like Fantastik.

Now all you need to do is make sure you have a good quality brush, take your time (don't rush it!) and try to be careful. If you do make a mistake, don't worry about it. Just touch it up using some of the main color. Spray a little paint inside the cap and brush it on. If you are painting window frames, we suggest painting only a few at a time. Trying to do too many quickly becomes tedious and causes mistakes. If you do a couple at a time over the period of a few days, your building will be finished before you know it with much less stress and aggravation of trying to paint them all in one sitting! We cannot stress enough the importance of taking your time and not rushing!