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Bare-Metal Foil

by Andy Slater

Please note: I wrote this review some time ago for another site that I used to own. It's not really up to TG standards as it has no images to illustrate it. This is an issue that I hope to rectify as and when I have time to take suitable photographs but in the meantime I offer it here in it's original text only format:

What is Bare-Metal Foil?

Bare-Metal Foil is an adhesive backed metal foil but if you've never used it, and I guess that's why you're reading this review, then you will probably be concerned (as I was) that it's either so thick that it obscures detail or so thin that it tears at the slightest touch. Don't worry. The foil is thin but it's tough too. Tough enough to withstand the rigours of application (see below) but at the same time it won't obscure detail. In fact you need to make sure that the surface that you apply it to is blemish free because any marks on the surface being covered WILL show though.

Bare-Metal Foil is available in several 'colours' including gold, copper, a couple of different types of aluminium, and chrome, however my favourite is the Ultra Bright Chrome because although I feel it's possible to achieve, for example, an acceptable aluminium finish using paint, it's very difficult to reproduce a good shiny metal effect with paint and that's where this product excels.

How to Apply Bare-Metal Foil

The first step is to cut a piece of foil which is slightly larger than the area to be covered from the sheet. For large or complicated areas it will be necessary to apply the foil in several pieces but provided that some thought is given to where the joins occur they should not look unsightly.

Next, the foil is applied to the surface and worked into place, pressing it around any raised or indented details using a wooden cocktail stick, toothpick or 'sharpened' matchstick. Clearly there is a limit to how far the foil can be 'bent' and 'stretched' but it should easily accommodate most surface details such as rivets, panel lines and surface textures. Note that at this stage it's best not to press it down too firmly at the edges because the next step it to trim it to shape with a sharp knife.

It's probably a good idea to have a couple of knives on the go at the same time, one for cutting the shapes out and an even sharper one for trimming it when it's actually on the model. You'll find that the foil will blunt your knife relatively quickly so make sure you have some spare blades handy. You can then use fresh blades in the trimming knife and demote them to the cutting out knife as they begin to loose their edge (although you'll still need a 'decent' blade in the cutting knife). I also find a steel rule and a pair of scissors come in handy when cutting out shapes.

After cutting around the outline carefully peel away the excess. Pull it away slowly as this, if you find that you haven't cut all the way through the foil, is the time that you are most likely to tear it. After trimming, give the foil another careful going over with the wooden stick paying particular attention to the edges. A final burnish with a soft cloth should see the foil set firmly into place.

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised by this product. It's tougher than I expected and shows detail better than I expected. It's not something that I'd anticipate using a lot, and it's probably fair to say that it'll find more use in genres of model making other than terrain making. However if you need some shiny metal on one of your models, this stuff could be just the ticket.

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