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Discussion Starter #1
I usually use Testors Contour Putty because it's cheap, but I'm not always happy with it.

I'd like to get some opinions about which other kind I should try. Something that fills in well, easy to shape/sand. Preferable something without fumes or so toxic I shouldn't ever get it on my skin.
 

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Lifetime Quacka
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Magic Sculp is a filler that one of my friends swears by. I believe it is water soluble and you don't have to worry about any fumes either. You can also sculpt a little bit with it (so I am told). I am sure others will ring in and give you some ideas. I am a fan of the toxic, smelly, cancer causing Squadron filler. Never really used anything but this so I am anxious to hear everyones replies too. I happen to use enamel paints as well and I am sort of wondering if there are any problems using the water based Magic Sculp with enamel paints? Hope this somewhat helps.
 

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Rave',

Magic Sculp, Aves Apoxie Sculp, and Miliput are three examples of two-part epoxy putty. The two parts usually come in different colors that are mixed in equal volume to produce a third color. You will then be able to work with the putty for around half an hour before it begins to set up. When it has solidified completely the putty can be worked with tools pretty much the same as plastic, and accepts most paint finishes very well.

The Testors Contour Putty you're using now is a solvent-based putty. It is similar to Squadron Green and Red putties, as well as those by other manufacturers including Tamiya. These type of putties are carried in a solvent that actually bites into styrene the way plastic cement does; the putties harden when the solvent evaporates. You'll have much less working time with solvent-based putties, but they are more widely available and less expensive than epoxy putties. They can be worked much like hardened epoxy putties, but tend to chip more.

What type of putty should you get? Well, I keep a little of everything, because different putties work better for different jobs. Solvent-based putties work really well for small seams, where I just want a smooth surface and don't have a deep crevice to fill. Epoxy putties are good for larger seams, and can be used to sculpt new features.

Solvent-based putties usually come in tubes, so it's best to squeeze out only what you'll need, then cap the tube - otherwise, the solvent will evaporate out of the tube and you'll end up with half a tube of rock hard, useless putty. The epoxy putties come in sticks or tubes and require you to go to some little effort to measure out equal amounts and ensure that they're mixed thoroughly. You can get a smooth surface before the putty has set up if you smooth it with fingertips or tools moistened with a little water.

Both materials have drawbacks: because part of the volume of solvent-based putty is occupied by the solvent, the putty will shrink and sometimes crack once the solvent has evaporated out. It is best applied in several thin coats, rather than a single thick one. Two part epoxy putties can be more versatile, but also be tricky to use: if you use too little water as a lubricant they may get too dry and stick to you or your tools better than the plastic; too wet, and they lose their adhesiveness. Both kinds of putty will crack if too much stress is put on them. Both should be primed before color paint coats are applied because the putty will look different from the surrounding plastic under paint.

My own preferences are: Squadron Green for small flaws like shallow scratches, sinkholes, etc. and Aves Apoxie Sculpt for deeper gouges and sculpting new details. The Squadron Green handles really well, and Aves is much softer and easier to work than Miliput. But you'll have to experiment in order to find out what works best for you.

That help?
 

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For minor seams I use Bondo Glazing Putty. The good: available at almost any auto parts store, it's not "chalky", it's easy to sand (or smooth/blend with acetone-based nail polish remover), no shrinkage when used in small quantities, and cures to a durable consistency. The bad: short working time.

For major seams, filling gaps/bubbles/voids, and/or adding detail or resculpting, I use Aves Apoxie Sculpt. The good: easy to work with, 1-2 hour working time, smoothes with water, also cures to a durable consistency. The bad: nobody stocks the stuff, so I have to order it online.
 

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Gap-filling super glue has its uses also, mostly for really deep voids. I'm thinking of applications like the gap between the upper and lower hull halves of the Aurora/Monogram U.F.O. from The Invaders or that big seam under the wing of the Batplane. Remember that you have to sand the hardened super glue (an accellerant is a must) smooth within an hour after you've applied it, or it will be harder than the surrounding plastic.
 

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I use the Bondo glaze too, but I thin it with testors liquid glue. When it gets to a fairly runny consistency , I just brush it in to the finer seams or gaps. Sands very easy too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for your thoughts. After looking up some of the products you guys mentioned, I was going to use Milliput as it seemed to be the easiest to measure and cut equal parts and mix together, but no one mentioned actually using it. How do you mix the Aves and Magic sculpt, scoop each half out of a tub and mix or does it come in tubes also? Doesn't seem like any of the stores around here even know what I'm talking about when I called today and asked if they had any of these products. I may have to order online also. I'll check into that Bondo glaze also.

Feel free to keep adding thoughts to this post. I'm still considering things.
 

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Magic sculpt is like a soft clay. You get 2 containers, one is the hardener and the other, is, the, er...stuff. Anyway, you make two little balls of the same size and knead them together. It is pretty easy to work with. I let it harden over night. You can smooth out any rough spots with water and your finger , before it dries.
 

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I like Bondo spot putty for big gaps, and Nitro-stan for seams and pin holes. You want to use both outside or in a very well ventilated area. Nitro-stan can be ordered online, a 1 lb tube will last forever and is less than ten bucks, it sands smoother than Bondo or Squadron imho, and the white is handy for figures. It's only drawback supposedly is that it can crack if applied too thickly, but for "skinning" or in thin coats it works like a charm.

Whatever you use a, a pack of cheap plastic "painting knives" from Walmart or Michaels make puttying a lot easier, you get about a dozen for 99 cents in various sizes and widths. They're made for spreading paints on canvas, but they work great for getting small amounts of puttty into seams in tight places. Once you get used to them they'll greatly cut down on clean up and the amount of putty you'll use.
 
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