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"Some experiences painting WTJ miniatures" Topic

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Yellow Admiral25 May 2016 4:56 p.m. PST

I've finally gotten around to painting a bunch of my 1/2400 WTJ ships, and I thought some of the denizens here might like to read some of my observations.

I soaked mine in Bestine to clean off the wax. It certainly seems to work, as you can see in this picture:

The white one was soaked in Bestine

Unfortunately, my assortment of DDs and CLs are now proving alarmingly brittle. I've had stacks and conning towers popping off with only the slightest pressure, and sometimes without explanation, and one of the DDs broke clean in half when I tried to drill a hole to step a mast. Nearly all of my DDs and CLs now have to be repaired. Since I haven't worked on any WTJ Rapid Prototypes that weren't treated with Bestine, I can't say that Bestine was the culprit, but I'm suspicious. Use caution.

I filled in the bottoms of mine with Liquitex Modeling Paste, which I also use to fill in the bottoms of GHQ models. This gel medium has the lowest shrinkage of all the gel mediums I've tried (and my half-dried bottle now has zero shrinkage grin), it's fairly easy to work with, it dries relatively tough and slightly flexible, and it can be sanded and filed. However, I have discovered it doesn't stick to the WTJ rapid prototype plastic as well as I'd like. I use a thin coat of white glue to hold ship miniatures down on craft sticks during painting; when I popped the models off the craft sticks, all the filled WTJ ships left behind some crumbles of modeling paste on the craft stick and now have holes in the dried gel medium that need to be re-filled. None of the GHQ ships have ever done this to me.

WTJ recommends gluing masts with rubber CA glue. I bought a bottle, did a few test gluings with it, then capped it and set it aside. A year later when I tried to use it for actual WTJ ship assembly, it was too cured to use. I have other bottles of CA glue that remain liquid for years after opening, so it would appear the rubber CA glue has a much shorter shelf life. I'll try storing my next tube in the freezer and see if that helps.

In my test glue jobs with the rubber CA glue, I noticed it is pretty thick, and doesn't flow all that well. It will take some practice to get the hang of it.

I ended up gluing the wire masts into my WTJ DDs and CLs with regular CA glue. So far, so good.

So far the paint seems to stick to the plastic just fine. The finished miniatures look really nice. The level of detail in 1/2400 is pretty impressive, and I like the results after painting. Some people

Since the miniatures are plastic, they are very light. I prefer to use 1/2400 scale miniatures unbased, but the WTJ Rapid Prototypes beg to be based preferably on metal bases. They are even more prone to blowing around by puffs of air than Panzerschiffe resin ships.

- Ix

dragon625 May 2016 7:45 p.m. PST

WTJ initially advised against using Bestine but tried it and decided it had no downside.

I think you have found one, the models thin funnels, superstructure might be too brittle.

Mark Hinds, who sometimes posts here, has much more experience with FUD and Bestine

Sailor Steve26 May 2016 8:29 a.m. PST

I clean mine with warm water, dish soap and a toothbrush. No problems at all so far.

KPinder26 May 2016 3:13 p.m. PST

I've done about 40 models over the past few weeks. I hand wash in dish soap, though I forgot this on several models and it didn't seem to make any difference. I then Krazy Glue onto aircraft plywood bases, and drill through both model and base for wire masts to give them added strength.

I have only had one break. A teensy tiny gunboat funnel broke. I just replaced it with thicker bit of wire than that I was using for the mast.

The models seem more robust than one might think. I'm sold. I've even started buying their 1/1250 scale models.

yarkshire gamer27 May 2016 6:33 a.m. PST


Quick wash with soap and water before priming, no issues at all, great models.

Regards Ken

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2016 6:43 a.m. PST

My experience is with Shapeways FUD, which is probably the same as the material used by WTJ for their ship models.

Based on personal experiment and discussions with other users on forums such as Railwire, I concluded that FUD is slightly porous, with the pores containing residual wax. A thin coating of wax is also on the exterior surface. This residual wax is presumably what is left on the printout after oven / ultrasonic cleaning at Shapeways, and it can be removed using Bestine solvent.

So what are the mechanical consequences of a Bestine soak? The most obvious is that you avoid painting over wax. One of my experiments with FUD was to deliberately break off funnels from a number of 1/6000 FUD models of USS Atlanta, both with and without soaking in Bestine. I could detect no difference in the finger pressure needed to do this. This means that strength loss was small to non-existent. The duration of the soak also made no difference (from overnight to up to a week). I also conducted an email correspondence with the guy at WTJ, who tried similar experiments on his material. In contrast, he reported that there was a small but detectable degree of weakening after soaking in Bestine.

So these are my current conclusions. FUD is flimsy, especially for very small scale models such as 1/6000. WTJ material appears to be FUD-like. Soaking FUD in Bestine may make it slightly more flimsy, since it seems to make sense that a weak, porous matrix would be slightly strengthened by infusing it with wax. On the other hand, since I am concerned about stability of paint jobs over time and over various temperatures, I don't want to paint over wax. YMMV.

Mark H.

yarkshire gamer27 May 2016 9:38 a.m. PST

As far as I know the material used by WTJ is completely different to Shapeways. The guy who runs WTJ comes on here a bit and hopefully can explain in full.

I have painted many WTJ ships for my Project Jutland from large Dreadnoughts to small Torpedo Boats all 1/2400 scale. I can only say that I have had no problems at all, not breakages no flaking paint, nothing. Other than weight it is very difficult to tell the difference between WTJ and GHQ.

Top product.

Regards Ken

eptingmike27 May 2016 10:21 a.m. PST

Has anyone had any issues with ships warping? I have a handful that I purchased 6-10 months ago and have had them in storage. One ship has taken on a noticeable curve in the hull. Not a huge issue as I suspect that super glue/pinning should hold it down or maybe even trying to put it in hot water and warp it back. I also notice a very distinct, sort of sweet smell in the container that I store WTJ ships in. Some sort of off-gassing I assume.
Thank you

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2016 11:50 a.m. PST

As far as I know the material used by WTJ is completely different to Shapeways.

Do you have any evidence for this belief?

As stated above, I got the impression in corresponding with the Owner that it was similar, although he wouldn't say definitely one way or the other. Among other things, we discussed my testing, and after he completed it his testing. Unfortunately, my emails from that conversation are currently inaccessible in an Outlook backup file.

Furthermore, WTJ's output looks the same as FUD, and per the OP is similarly delicate and appears to respond to the Bestine soak in the same way. Also, there are a finite number of affordable technologies which do 3D printing. So, just curious…

no flaking paint

Even if one paints over wax, one would not necessarily see flaking paint immediately, if ever. It depends on the structural integrity of the paint skin, on the environmental conditions which your minis are exposed to (yours are on bases, which helps from a handling perspective), and on time. I am concerned about decades, not months, based on some similar experiences from the 1970s. And as I said above, YMMV.

Has anyone had any issues with ships warping?

Some of the sample Shapeways FUD 1/4800 DDs I bought were warped. I was able to straighten them by immersing in boiling water and gently bending. Unfortunately, part of the warp reappeared several months later. NOT saying this applies to WTJ, however. Among other things, my experience could have been from poorly supported printouts.


yarkshire gamer27 May 2016 12:56 p.m. PST


I discussed this with the owner of WTJ myself, I have re read the emails and still, despite a degree in Engineering, don't fully understand the process. I have discussed this on TMP with you before as have others. I am quite happy to hold my hands up and say I don't know, that's the impression my tiny brain got from the email, to be honest they are great models I don't particularly mind how they are formed.

I can only respond from my experience. The WTJ stuff to me doesn't look like the Shapeways stuff I have seen, no I can't back that up with a dissertation that's my experience. I have never had any issues with the models being delicate, no breakages at all, in fact compared to the bendy masts on GHQ stuff I have been more than happy.

I have had massive problems with both paint and primer lifting immediately in the past with other products and have had no problems to date with WTJ stuff, I can only state that as a fact. No signs of any paint problems either, I will post again in 10 years time if I do. No warping either but then mine get glued to a 3 mm MDF base straight away, that should stop any bending !

Regards Ken

Yellow Admiral27 May 2016 10:43 p.m. PST

Some of mine did warp slightly, I just forgot to mention it. I need to go check again to see if the gluing to craft sticks for painting corrected it.

- Ix

wtjcom Inactive Member30 May 2016 9:46 p.m. PST

Hi folks,

Regarding Bestine, here is a copy of the text currently posted to the WTJ store:

"…in some cases, heptane solvents (like Bestine) may weaken medium-sized standing features such as funnels by as much as 20%, although even at 80% strength our 1/2400 scale test pieces withstood at least 16 ounces of side loading force which is still very good (the best was HMS powerful, whose rear funnel pegged the force gage at a 36 ounce side-load without breaking!). Thorough testing has demonstrated that smaller features such as gun barrels and ventilators are not weakened by Bestine and in some cases may experience a 5% gain in resistance to shear forces. So actual effects on the model are somewhat of a tradeoff…"

So far I haven't needed to update that entry – Bestine probably does weaken some features and strengthen others. Today I ran some new tests to address the breaking concerns, here are some numbers on models pulled off the assembly line (extras, no customer models were harmed during the course of these tests!):

Shear load test for hull failure (2 each, 1/2400 Destroyer #1 and #4). All models held a sustained 8oz shear load 1/4 of the way from the stern on models held 1/4 from the bow. In a second test to failure the results were:

DD #4: Raw model broke with 10 oz shear load, Bestine soaked model broke with 14 oz shear load.

DD #1: Both raw and Bestine soaked models deformed to slip at 15 oz shear load… never broke, just bent.

Other tests:

1/2400 Maria Theresa (raw state); held sustained 16 oz shear load at top edge of funnels… could not check at higher loads because load bar kept slipping off. Didn't want to put model in vise!

1/2400 DD #8 Funnel, bestine soaked: held sustained 16 oz shear load at funnel base. At top of funnel, loads exceeding 6 oz to 9 oz caused funnel to bend and release load bar… no failure.

None of this conflicts with my earlier tests which indicated that features in a certain size range (medium sized projections in the 2400 scale range) may take a strength hit, whereas smaller feature may experience a strength gain. Also, model design affects results; flat features will tend to deform and bend more than others which might fail first. Ironically, flat features are more vulnerable to warpage (which goes back to the old adage about tradeoffs). All that being said, tiny plastic features such as light vessel ventilators at 1/2400 scale are going to be delicate as a matter of course, beyond a certain point it's pretty hard to get away from that.

The white surface created by the Bestine solvent is called crazing. I have had these parts examined by materials engineers post-soak (in Bestine, after the models turn white) and their immediate reaction upon handling the models was "Oh yeah, and the surface is crazed…" The variable effect of the crazing is the most likely reason for some features experiencing weakening and others strengthening (in conjunction with model geometry):

Crazing also leaves a really nice surface for painting!

If Mark can let me know how many FUD models he has bought and tested for his wax-impregnation concept, that would be helpful. I can't speak for the FUD makers but the material used for WTJ models does not mix wax with the plastic (WTJ models are not made of the same material as FUD, although the material strength is similar). WTJ models are pure plastic and the surface of a cleaned model is plastic only. If not properly cleaned, a model is more likely to have mineral oil residue on it than wax. That being said, the 3D printer heads can sometimes suffer failures that allow the wax support liquid to contaminate the plastic. When that happens it is considered a major problem with the machine, and the resulting models are functionally scrap (well, in my opinion they are).

For WTJ models, the only wax may sometimes be remnant bits that get stuck on the surface in some nooks and crannies, especially in the bottom of the model. In such cases, the wax is very obviously wax: a small clump of whitish "stuff". The main emphasis in detergent, alcohol or bestine cleaning is to remove remnant mineral oil and prep the surface for primering.

Back to YA, please feel free to email me the SKUs for the models you experienced breakage on, I'm curious to see what sort of issues you encountered.

I hope this helps,

Part time gamer15 Nov 2016 5:52 p.m. PST

Thanks to All that have commented here guys. I have yet to get but 'DIEING' to get some of the WTJ Predred's. (life $ keeps getting in the way).

Just from an outsiders observations:
Based on the majority of the comments made, it would seem that 'over all', simply using a small amt of dish liquid, warm water and a 'very' gentle cleaning w/ a brush seems to solve the problem of remaining wax/solvents.

To any other 1st timers I would highlight "small amt" of dish liquid. Otherwise you trade one residue (wax) for another (dish detergent).

As for the warping, It brings to mind a 'rule' a former HS shop teacher mentioned regarding newly cut wood.

"Nail (glue in this case) the parts in place (to their base) as quickly as possible as the wood will try to warp as it dries."

Just some food for thought there. But it would seem after the good pre wash and air dry over night, IMHO when possible, get them glued to the base you want to use permanetly as soon as you can.

Again thanks to all.

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