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Alclad II Bare Metal Lacquers

Alclad II Bare Metal Lacquers First-Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of First Look April 2010 Manufacturer Alclad II
Subject Alclad II Bare Metal Lacquers Pros Hard finish, can be painted over, masked, and handled w/o fingerprints!
Cons Lacquer-based finish, requires good ventilation MSRP (USD) $8.25 per 1 oz. bottle

First Look

In the mid-1990s, a product appeared on the hobby shop shelves that revolutionized bare metal modeling. This product, called Alclad, made itself known at the 1995 IPMS/USA National Convention on an AMT/ERTL 1/72 XB-49 Flying Wing painted with different shades of this new metalizer. What made Alclad different from other products on the market:

  • It came in a variety of 'shades' of aluminum, as well as steel, titanium, etc.
  • It could be applied over other paints
  • It could be masked and sprayed over
  • It could be handled without fear of fingerprints!

Alas, as fast as Alclad appeared, it went out of production again when the company closed. It forced many of us to hoard our remaining supplies of Alclad and otherwise shelve any new bare metal projects until something new came along.

Alclad II Bare Metal Lacquers

Tony Hipp picked up on the Alclad concept and improved it, rendering the Alclad II product line we enjoy today. Over the last 10 years, Alclad II has rendered a number of shades of lacquer-based metalizers that are second to none, and also pioneered the micro-fine versions of those two-colored metallic finishes that appear on custom cars. Model cars now enjoy similar color variations in scale.

The Alclad II line isn't just the metalizers, it has the primers including a filler primer gray that we reviewed here, and a gloss black primer needed to get the shiniest chrome finish reviewed here. We also just recently reviewed the new Klear Kote which you can use over the top of these shades or for as an alternative to Future (reviewed here).

Since that time, the makers of Alclad II have released more shades of the product, with still more in the works. The line-up includes:

  • ALC-101 - Aluminium (Aluminum if you prefer)
  • ALC-102 - Duraluminium
  • ALC-103 - Dark Aluminium
  • ALC-104 - Pale Burnt Metal
  • ALC-105 - Polished Aluminium
  • ALC-106 - White Aluminium
  • ALC-107 - Chrome for Plastic
  • ALC-108 - Pale Gold
  • ALC-110 - Copper
  • ALC-111 - Magnesium
  • ALC-112 - Steel
  • ALC-113 - Jet Exhaust
  • ALC-114 - Chrome for Lexan
  • ALC-115 - Stainless Steel
  • ALC-116 - Semi-Matt Aluminium
  • ALC-117 - Dull Aluminium
  • ALC-118 - Gold Titanium
  • ALC-119 - Airframe Aluminium
  • ALC-120 - Gunmetal
  • ALC-401 - Transparent Red
  • ALC-402 - Transparent Yellow
  • ALC-403 - Transparent Blue
  • ALC-404 - Transparent Green
  • ALC-405 - Transparent Black/Smoke
  • ALC-411 - Hot Metal Red
  • ALC-413 - Hot Metal Blue
  • ALC-416 - Hot Metal Sepia
  • ALC-417 - Hot Metal Violet

One of the first major differences between the original Alclad and Alclad II is that Alclad II should be applied over a coat of acrylic primer. The lacquer will evidently craze softer plastics. I tried the Alclad II straight onto the nozzle of a Hasegawa F-16 and had no reaction without primer. When all else fails, however, follow the instructions.

The Highly Polished Aluminium must be applied over a gloss black acrylic to be effective, while Chrome must be applied over a gloss black enamel. These are currently the only two shades requiring special attention.

As you can see in this photo, there are a wide variety of metal colors here as well as the transparent overlays. Some of these transparent and hot metal colors are ideal for replicating scorched metal around afterburner sections.

All of these products are airbrush ready (they're too thin for brush application) and you will need a good spray booth or have ample ventilation with a good breathing mask/filter to protect your lungs. Once you get your Alclad II properly mixed and your airbrush loaded, you'll be pleasantly surprised how little it will take to obtain good coverage on your model.

My sincere thanks to Alclad II for these review samples. These recently arrived for a special project you'll be seeing in the near future.

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