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Chrome Foil - Applying It to Your Transformers

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Old 01-11-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
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Chrome Foil - Applying It to Your Transformers

Hey guys,

I wanted to add some chrome accents to my transformer, but didn't want anything permanent. I didn't want to mess up and depreciate the value of my piece. So I made a tutorial on how to apply Chrome Foil to transformers.

hope I put this in the right place.

Dukie-Dukie: Tutorial: How to apply Chrome foil to Transformers action figures

My friend gave me a Fansproject Thundershred for Christmas. I love the figure but felt it lacked a little bit of chrome pieces like the old first generation Transformers toys I had as a kid.

As you can see in the picture below. G1 Insecticons with their chrome weapons in the back and Fansproject version in the front:

I was originally thinking or painting it at first, but could find the results I wanted that didn't require an airbrush. There are some paint cans that I found at the hardware store but didn't really seem to give the best results. Plus this was my first project and I didn't want to mess up a nice $60 figure. So I opted for Chrome Foil. It's easy to apply and you can peel it off if you ever decide you don't like it anymore or if you want to resell your figures. It seemed to be the best option for me. Now onto the tutorial

1. Equipment
-Chrome Foil $8.95 (you'll find this at your local hobby store that sell model kits. Chrome Foil is usually used on car models for the chrome window trimmings. A lot of people recommend the brand Testors, but my local hobby store had Bare-Metal)
-X-acto knife $1.50 (or any type of really sharp blade)
-tools $1.50 (to take apart your Transformers)
-cutting mat $1.50 (or whatever you like to cut on)
-tooth picks
-sand paper

2.If you need to. Take apart your Transformer to get to the part you want to apply chrome foil. In my case it was the thigh. Which was only held together with 3 screws.

3. clean and dry off the piece you are applying the foil to.

Important note: After trial and error it is best that you work with pieces that avoid as many bends as possible. So for example if you were going to be working on a cube I would cut 6 pieces instead of trying to wrap it in 3 or 4 pieces.

On this piece pictured below I should have tried 3-4 pieces instead of 1. I learned the hard way.

4. cut out a piece of chrome foil that is larger than the face that you are covering. I tried to cover this piece in one sheet. That was a mistake and that's why the piece is so large.

5. apply chrome foil to your piece. At this point what I should have done is to apply the chrome foil to this one side alone instead of wrapping it around.

6. After applying the foil I used the q-tip to firmly adhere the foil to the piece. I saw a video online and the guy used a lightly moist q-tip that he dried on a napkin to make it run smoothly over the foil. You can use your figure if you like also. I sanded down some tooth picks and used that to get the final detail. Chrome foil is prettyl delicate so a tooth pick can easily puncture a hole. So I sanded the tips down on mine to help prevent that. Chrome foil blends in pretty well with each other and is really thin. So if you poke a hole or tear it. It can be easily patched up.

You can see where I messed up on the piece on the left cause I tried to wrap it in one big piece of foil and it bunched up and gave me wrinkle marks. The piece on the right I did with 2-3 pieces.

Here he is partly finished. Everything is done except his weapon.

I ended up taking the chrome off on my first attempt and tried it again with better results as you can see on the right thigh.

Here is a comparison. Top no Chrome, bottom with chrome.

This is the weapon complete minus the handle.

Hope this helps you guys and if you didn't like your results. Not a problem. Just peel the stuff off and you're back to normal.

Originally Posted by ladym View Post
does it leave a residue when you take it off the foil? nice idea
No it did not leave any residue when I removed it to try my second attempt. It's almost to the point that you feel there isn't even any tackiness to it, but you you touch it with your finger, but for some reason applies easily.

I have read about some modelers using clear coat after they have applied it to their car models. I personally have not tried.

Originally Posted by reluttr View Post
I wonder if amazon sells the foil... as I have a severe lack of hobby shops in my area.
you can find it here.

Bare-Metal® is Used for Detailing Model Cars, and Aircraft - Bare-Metal Foil Co.

[quote=FakeEyes22]Nice guide! And nice job applying the chrome. Due to the reflective nature of it, it's hard for photos to show how well you've applied it or just how shiny it is, but I can still tell how well you've done and I know this stuff can work.

Years ago, I bought some of this stuff, experimented and agonizingly "restored" some G1 parts with worn chrome. Prime's smokestacks worked really well. His grill was a tremendous pain with all of the vent detail.

Naturally, G1 reissues started happening approximately one second after I finished, which was nice way to tell me how much time I had wasted.

I did learn that this stuff can be really cool if you don't get too crazy with your idea. I tried half of Grimlock's tail and it looked fantastic. Something like G1 Prime's legs didn't work out all that well since the transformation tears the foil, of course.

Now, improving modern toys seems really great for this stuff! Particularly your "Insecticon" who demands to be glorious. I've still got some and I may give it a shot on some deluxes. I'd considered Jazz's feet and rims, but that seemed a bit complicated. Blades weapons, on the other hand, are a great idea that I was too dumb to consider until now. Advice for anyone looking to spice up some Prime toys, I don't think this stuff will work well at all on rubbery weapons.

Has anyone tried applying Future Finish to this foil for durability? I tried burshing on a clear coat of paint once and the results were not pretty.
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Wanted items

WTB: All G1 Dinobot weapons. Gun, Cannon, missiles, swords.

Last edited by Superquad7; 05-16-2012 at 02:57 AM..
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:04 PM   #2
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Great stuff! I've been using BMF for years, and I can highly recommend the product.

Recently I used it on my Classics G1 style Bumblebee on the grill and mirrors:

Classics G1 Inspired Bumblebee

I have applied Future over BMF with an airbrush with excellent results. That BB I referenced in the earlier post was clear coated with Future.
Attached Thumbnails
-bb7.jpg   -bb8.jpg   -bb3.jpg  

Last edited by Superquad7; 04-13-2012 at 03:36 PM..
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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Here some photos after [my] application. [It's] pretty shiny stuff:

Attached Thumbnails
-insect029.jpg   -insect026.jpg  

Last edited by Superquad7; 04-13-2012 at 03:32 PM..
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
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Just chromed his Chevy symbol, door handles, Autobot symbols, and rims.

I used Bare Metal Foil found here: Bare-Metal® is Used for Detailing Model Cars, and Aircraft - Bare-Metal Foil Co.. Gold for the Chevy symbol, regular metal chrome everywhere else.

I have to give credit to sleekmr3 for posting this tutorial here and to nemesisred for posting the link to the Bare Metal Foil site here.
I find it works great for small and/or flat surfaces. I've chromed my Optimus with them (RotF Optimus Prime) but a lot of spots are a bit wrinkly. Hopefully I'll improve as I practice... I also brush on some Future every time I use it...

I would add that when doing rims to place the piece of foil on the wheel starting at the center and then work your way out from there with the Qtip.
Also, in general, when foiling something, to start at the highest elevation and gently work your way down. This will help keep the stretching to a minimum...

A tip I just thought of with the chrome is when cutting it, always try to use a cutting motion that's moving away from the chrome that's going to stay on the figure. It's better to wreck the chrome that's being removed!
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by Superquad7; 04-13-2012 at 03:26 PM..
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