SNJ Spray Metal

Like many aircraft modellers, I love the way a well done natural metal aircraft looks. And like many... I hate the thought of painting one! There have been many products to help with this - from multi-toned paints (silver, steel, etc) to foil such as BareMetal Foil. Some time ago, model paint companies started coming out with "buffable" metalizer paints - my favorite for a while was from ModelMaster. The problem was that these were delicate finishes, and required a sealer, which often dulled the finish you had worked so hard to achieve. For a while, I went back to just using Rub 'n Buff paste, and limited my "natural" leanings to propeller blades and small items.

I'd heard for quite some time about this wonderful metalizer - SNJ Spray Metal. It sounded "too good to be true" - it was durable, it could be masked, it could be painted over, it didn't need a sealer - not even Future! When a chance to pick some up as part of a promotion (bundled with an Accurate Miniatures P-51B kit) came up, I took the plunge and bought some. It languished on my shelf for a year and a half, for one reason or another. I just never got around to using it.

Finally, a project came along that I had to use this with. Hasegawa's KI-61 Hien kit had several colorful options, and I chose to go with a mottled green over natural metal camoflage. I decided to give SNJ a try - after all, it had been sitting around, and this would be a chance to see if it DID hold up to masking as well as was stated. Plus, any gaffes could be hidden somewhat with the mottling. "What the heck, give it a shot."

Let me say, it lives up to its hype.

The product gets sprayed on in 4 mist coats, 15 minutes or so apart. Over light grey plastic, it's hard to tell at first what's happening with it, and with the clear canopy not "misting" much, I was afraid it wouldn't cover the framing well after seeing the first two coats.

Third coat's the charm... suddenly I had something that looked... silver! Cool! I finished that coat, waited, and put on the fourth. I then let it cure for a while (SNJ reccommends an hour - and that's really all it needs.)

I looked it over - good coverage, no doubt about it, and very smooth. If I were doing an aluminum or silver doped aircraft, I could leave it at this and be happy. Of course, I could leave it at silver paint at this point with the same result - no metal "flakes" were showing, which is good.

Starting to buffLooking in the box, I pulled out a polishing cloth and a jar of aluminum powder - they reccommend using a mask "just in case" with this, and I'd say do it. After masking a test panel, I dipped the tip of my finger (covered with the rag) in, and went to work... in a few seconds, there was a *very* noticable difference! I pulled off the masking tape - all the SNJ stayed on the model, not so much as a hint of paint on the adhesive. Excited, I went to work on more panels on the model - with a few minutes work, there were noticable variations in panels. It looked like... metal.

This stuff works great. As with any "metal" finish, be sure you have a smooth surface - sanding marks, scratches, and such *will* show up. (Of course, they'll show under paint as well, but it seems more obvious under metal finishes.) Still, I can heartily reccommend SNJ Spray Metal for any project where you need a "metal" finish. They have other shades besides aluminum, as well - gold, bronze, and copper, both as powder and as "paint." The powder can be applied over other enamel paints, as well, such as black - use some aluminum powder, and it can come out looking like steel. And again - it's DURABLE. Unlike other products, which need sealant, peel off, or can't handle handling, SNJ's product stays on the model and stays looking *good.*

Highly reccommended!

Where to get it... Suprisingly, I still have not found a site for SNJ Model Products. However, many online and traditional hobby shops have their products. You can contact the company itself at, write them at PO Box 292713, Sacramento, CA 95829, call at 916-428-7217, or fax at 916-395-8920.