Nissan 350Z

This car has always had a special place in my heart as it was penned by a fellow from my hometown of Leicester. I brought home the kit last summer, hoping it would be a quick build (famous last words) but also as a test subject for applying a realistic metallic finish for another project.

Cars look great in silver and other metallic finishes, though they are tricky to reproduce, mainly because I find the size of the metallic particles to be over scale. I've had previous success with Model Master and Humbrol range of buffing paints but the former are no longer available (I do have a small stash though) as well as the finish is very delicate and must be handled with care.

This time around I broke out the Humbrol Matt Aluminum Paint 27001. This was my second attempt applying this paint to the Nissan as I had mucked up the finish the first time as well as I had missed some seamlines when prepping the body for paint. The Humbrol paint went on very smooth over the Alclad grey primer via my Badger airbrush and after a 15 minute flash off period, it was buffed to a rich aluminum finish. Satisfied, I sealed it with Tamiya Acrylic Clear shot again though the airbrush. I think the next time around I'll use the Model Master Sealer as I found the Tamiya Clear darkened the paint a shade or two. I let the body sit for a few days and then applied two coats of mr.Hobby UV Lacquer Gloss coat directly from the can. I let that rest for ten days to ensure it had fully cured and hardened. It was the first time using the UV spray and I have to admit the finish looked pretty good the UV paint did not attack the Tamiya clearcoat beneath - that was a relief! The body then received a light sanding with 2000 grit paper before employing Tamiya's range of polishing compounds, working my way up from coarse to regular and finally finish.

A couple of things I wanted to get right with the 350Z was the anodized gold look on the brake calipers and the finish on the mags. Tamiya's metal finish on the wheels are impeccable but felt they were too bright. I went into my stash of Model Master paints and used Stainless Steel from their range of buffable metalizers. The tone of the Stainless Steel matched up really well with the body color when compared to reference photos. For the brake calipers, I used the same method as I did on the stanchions on the front shocks of Tamiya's Ducati 916: first a base coat of aluminium was applied and over this, a heavily thinned coat of Tamiya X-26 Clear Orange was airbrushed on until I was satisfied with the tone. I've ordered some Hobby Design Race Brake Calipers that will be used on this build to add that little bit extra. I did a quick check of the stance and as usual with Tamiya, the ride height was perfect. I did increase the rear track using homemade spacers made from styrene card as I wanted to push the wheels out to the edge of the vehicle.

I laid down flocking powder for the first time. Pretty easy process of painting on a layer of PVA glue and then covering this with flocking powder, in this case I used Midnight Black by KA Models. It's a very quick process but the effect really adds a realistic touch to the interior. The interior also sports seat belt retainers made from styrene.

Happy to have completed my second model of 2012!