Chipping fluid – or Hairspray technique as it is more widely known is a modeling trick, used to expose underlying layers of paint. This is simulating wear of the vehicle, usually resulting from small damages and/or time. This was popularized by Michael Rinaldi more than anybody else, even though he wasn’t the first modeler to use it. However, Rinaldi was the man who exploited this technique to its wider boundaries, opening the door for many to search for technique’s limits. Latter ones seem unreachable, which is the beauty of it.
Shortly after TankArt books from Rinaldi Studio Press became available, here and there chipping liquid solutions started to show up. Hairspray from your local store works pretty much the same way, however chipping fluid should eventually keep you away from surprises. That is because hairspray brands and their variations are numerous and each might give you slightly different result, while with chipping fluid from a known brand, one might expect similar results every time. Even though – at a higher price. That is why, what Rinaldi presented as an option in his books was not widely accepted, simply because the brand of hair spray that he used in US was hardly available Worldwide. Hence the necessity of specified product from modeling-oriented brands. And then they started to appear.
Tamiya, known for the quality of their models and supporting products are now entering the market with their own such solution. They are also completing the circle all together, offering a guide how to achieve the desired results using solely their brands of paints, which – if we have to be frank – are amongst the best in the World anyhow. So what they came up is called Chipping Liquid and it resembles their Cement’s bottles, but unlike them is with brown cap. It is also water based, 40ml in volume and with item number – “87225”.
Tamiya’s guidance invites modelers to apply lacquer paint as a base coat, of course from Tamiya’s range. That is LP, AS or TS color series. Then on, one should apply a layer of their new chipping solution, possibly with brush, but according to our experience – best applied with airbrush. Finally, a top coat of Tamiya’s acrylic paint should be applied, and that will prepare the model for the next and final step of the process. The actual chipping. Interestingly, Tamiya suggest to act rather “quick” with the solution, with periods extending up to a week, which for normal hairspray is an eternity. We know from experience that 24 hours or less is your best bet anyhow.
As with any other Hairspray or chipping solution, what follows is to dampen the surface with water, working on the areas where you want to achieve the chip results. That will activate the magic. After a few minutes, you can start removing the acrylic layer using brush /preferably stiff/ and/or toothpick. Of course any other tool might be used, as long as you know what you are doing. The trick is not to damage the surface of the model, but gently to remove small paint flakes. The smaller those are, the better. We suggest to check Rinaldi’s works for more info on the matter.
Tamiya’s solution is nothing different from any other hair spray. However, that is only on paper. In our opinion, if you want to do it accurately and avoid unnecessary hassles, best way is to use what is made specifically for modeling. That is not mandatory of course, but it is recommended. Knowing Tamiya’s tools, models, paints and actually everything, it is pretty certain that they did whatever is needed to achieve best possible results with their own solution.
Justification of that last statement are the series of pictures /seen above/ that Tamiya shared on their website. They feature the results of chipping a wheel and a cupola, of course not limiting in any way usage of their new product solely from the armor modeler. On the pictures you won’t see anything new, especially if you are a weathering expert, but it is always a pleasant surprise for everybody to get a new product from the Japanese manufacturer. This was something that took them long enough, because many hoped to get this years ago. But it is better late then never, so this is warmly welcomed addition to Tamiya’s line. In the results, we have no doubt, simply because this is the one and only… Tamiya.
pictures of the chipped wheels and cupola are courtesy of Tamiya’s website