Preparing for the overhaul...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Finishing the Chrysnbon Coal Scuttle

I like these little things.  Plus, seeing as how I get a few with (almost) every kit, I can finish them all kinds of different ways.  I only did a couple for this post, because I realized that if I didn't stop soon, it'd never get written.  But I have a few more finishing ideas, so I guess I'll just post those later on.

There are two parts to this: painting the coal scuttle and shovel, and painting the actual coal.  We'll tackle the coal first.  Which, this is assuming you're even using the coal.  Admittedly, when it comes out of the package, it looks a little unpreposessing (fake).  Maybe my standards are just low, but I think that, with a little creative paintwork, you can actually get a pretty realistic effect.

First, the coal.  There are many different types of coal.  The most commonly used kind was anthracite coal.  Anthracite coal has the highest carbon count, the fewest impurities, and the highest calorific content--meaning it's the most efficient burning coal.  You get more heat per coal lump with anthracite coal than with any other kind (or at least, you did, back when people heated their homes with coal).  And anthracite coal isn't black.  Rather, it's very silvery.  This high luster finish has to do with how it's formed in the ground.  Don't worry, I'll stop nerding out about rocks now.

Some anthracite coal, courtesy of Wikipedia.

A whole lot of anthracite coal.
After separating the "coal" from its sprue and cleaning it up a bit, I painted it with a coat of Testors metallic silver.  The differences are subtle, but each paint actually does look slightly different; for my money, it really does have to be silver.  Then, I let that dry--awhile. 

A friend of mine took this picture.
While that was going on, we watched our neighborhood bears try to make friends with our cats through the screen door, continued our quest for a construction loan, and went south to visit my mom for a little bit.

Mr. Awesome, chilling with his dad and grandma.
So after all that, the silver was dry.  Then, I painted on a thin coat of Testors flat black and wiped it off.  The best way to do this is to a) work quickly, and b) use a q-tip for paint removal.  Anyway, below, you can see the difference between just silver (bottom) and silver plus black.

Moving along...
Then, the real challenge is to give the coal some depth.  I took a small angled brush and sort of pushed some more Testors flat black into the crevices.  In some areas, I also dry brushed a little extra silver.  Don't be surprised if the crevices take a couple coats; they usually do for me.

Getting there.
Now while that all dried (ugh), I started painting the actual scuttles.  I used brass, here.  Back in the day, metal scuttles were usually made from cast iron, galvanized tin, or galvanized aluminum.  Especially fancy ones were made--partially or wholly--from brass or copper.  Many scuttles were also made from wood, etc, but that's a separate post.  A word of advice: not all paints are created equal and, while I like the finished result, Testors brass is really hard to work with.  It covers for [spit] and has a vaguely gelatinous texture.  Which, well, you can also use that to your advantage--read on--but it's still annoying.

I sprayed two of my scuttles with primer.  If you paint brass over black plastic, you'll be painting forever.  Then, I started with the brass.  I painted the rim and handles of one scuttle, and the entire outside of the other.  I also painted their associated shovels with the same brass.  The gelatinous nature of the paint works great with things like edges; it's pretty easy to get a nice, neat edge.

A semi-fancy scuttle.
Some fancy shovels.
After two coats of paint.
A finished coal.
After letting the brass (very thoroughly) dry--and I swear, this particular color also takes longer to dry--I painted the other bits with Testors flat black.  Now, obviously, you can paint your own scuttles however you see fit, but these are a few ideas.  It's interesting how, with just a little paint, the same exact thing can look so different.  I think, for my next trick, I'll make a rust-covered steel scuttle (steel rusts; stainless steel theoretically doesn't).  Or perhaps a tin scuttle?  Tin doesn't rust, but often the metals it's either a) mixed with or b) covering do.

PS: I don't generally glue my coal in, since you never know when you might want an empty scuttle.  I prefer the option of dumping it out, in case my dolls are having a cold night.  Plus, there just doesn't seem to be a neat way to glue that thing in, at least without a whole lot of touch-up painting.

Hooray finished scuttles!
This one's rusty.

This one lost its handle; it's a little more casual than the others.


otterine said...

Oh, I love the shiny new one! :D They all look great!

CJ said...

Thank you! This is an especially exciting compliment, because I'm a huge fan of yours and have been following (silently) your blog for a long time :-) Your work is beautiful!

Irene said...

I've enjoyed your progress with the stoves and now this. You have excellent attention to detail.

CJ said...

Thank you!

I'm working on a few more things, too, which I'll (hopefully) be posting pictures of soon :-)