If you’ve built just about any German WWII AFV, you will know the pain of snapping off the width indicators on each fender. I seem to do it multiple times throughout the build process, even if I wait until the very. last. step. of the build process.
I do it so much, I apparently don’t even notice when I knock them off. This weekend, I looked down at my Sd. Kfz. 7/2 and noticed one of them missing. I searched high and low and couldn’t find it. Then as I was checking inside the kit box, I knocked the other one off. I headed to the web to search my sources for turned brass replacements. Voyager makes them, but I’d be waiting a week to get them.
After several failed attempts at different techniques, I turned to the forums. By far, the best suggestion was the “dip a rod in paint” method. Basically, you take a rod, dip it in thick paint, then repeat until the ball is big enough to meet you needs. Here’s a few tips I learned:
- Use the right paint – I tried Vallejo and Lifecolor first. Then I broke out a tin of Humbrol enamel and suddenly it worked.
- The first dip won’t pick up hardly anything. That’s OK – it’s all about establishing a base. The subsequent dips will start to round out the ball.
- From the first dip, establish how bit you’re going to want the ball. When you dip a second, third, fourth times, make sure to dip to the same exact depth to get a true globe. Otherwise, the ball will start to look more like a teardrop.
- Wait at least a minute or two between dips. Otherwise, there’s no surface tension being created by dried (or at least drying) paint.
- DO NOT use a hair dryer or even your pursed lips to blow air on them to speed up drying! It’ll break the perfectly round shape.
- Obviously, you have to hold the rod upside down, with the ball hanging down. This keeps the round shape. Thanks, gravity!
- Make sure to plan for what you do when you have the size you want. You need to let it dry fully and that’ll take a while. I used a part of mounted tweezers, and I was ready and tested before I started the process. Don’t experiment while you’re holding a drying width indicator… too easy to bump and destroy your hard work.
One of the commenters in the forum thread suggested using plastic rod, since it’s bendable and will help avoid just snapping straight off like kit plastic or metal rod. Good tip! It works!