Testors Dullcote – Myths & Legends

The following notes regarding Testors Dullcote were first written for the NGRM online forum which is a member only forum, so I thought I’d also put them on my blog and expand them a bit.

The Myth

They’ve changed the recipe and its not as good now and is different to the one you get in the USA

There is no US and EU version of the recipe. The difference is the labelling. Years ago when there was an EU issue with the makeup leading to a big hiatus in the supply the change to the formulation was to reduce the quantity of solvent and add an inert filler. The EU rules didn’t ban the evil solvent just controlled how much of it there could be in a can. Don’t blame the EU, squirting evil solvents around isn’t good how ever you look at it.

The EU labelled version is only made when its ordered by and EU distributor. In the UK that is Ripmax. Because of its nature they have to order it by the container load to get it shipped in nasty stuff containers. The result is that the supply can be intermittent.

The root of the current drought (summer 2019) actually goes back nearly a year. A batch ordered by Ripmax had the US labels stuck on them and wasn’t shipped and had to be made again.  When it did arrive, the drought had worsened and they sold out in no time flat, faster than they have ever experienced.  Now add into the mix Ripmax moving location and holding reordering of a lot of items until they had completed the move.

Drought Ends?

Possibly temporarily as new stocks are due into the UK at the end of October, but I suspect they may not last long as I tried to increase my order but couldn’t as it was all spoken for.

Having seen the horror story of spray on paint stripper above I thought a few hints and tips for using Dullcote might be appropriate.

  • Warm it thoroughly to at least room temperature (a temp where you are comfortable without your jumper on).
  • Making it a bit warmer helps. I have a paint drying cabinet heated by a 40w light. I put my Dullcote in there and retreat for a brew before using it
  • Shake it until your arm is going to drop off and then shake it some more
  • Make sure the paint on your model is dry and hard.  By that I mean not just dry to touch but properly hardened. That varies with paints. Acrylics a couple of days does it, Humbrol oils a week, Precision Paints (notorious for not hardening) a couple of years might do it.
  • You can speed the hardening with warmth. I have an ex electrical enclosure (a metal box with a hinged lid) with a light in it. It’s only a bit warmer than room temp but it sorts the paint in a few hours

When you spray your model with Dullcote

  • Wait until the other half is out and gone for a few hours. I still get “you’ve been using that stinky spray again” when Annie gets home from work.
  • Never squirt it directly at the model
  • Waft it into the sky so it lands on your model like a light mist and, importantly, is virtually dry on landing.
  • Multiple light wafts rather than drowning it.  Turn the model between wafts to get an even light coverage.
  • With it landing virtually dry you can add the next in a few minutes
  • Stick it in the drying cabinet when you’ve done

Some Safety comments.

  • Do make sure you are working in a well ventilated room.
  • Do wear a mask with a filter

On that last point I would comment that I used to think, `nah, it’s only a little squirt’ and didn’t bother. Then I got more proficient (with practice) with an air brush and despite having an extractor fan filtered painting enclosure was shocked to find I had maroon snot just from spraying one 7mm NG coach FR Maroon. That spraying was a lot more controlled as to where the spray was going than the wafting technique proposed above.

At £3.57 they’re not exactly going to break the bank

Get a Mask

I actually use one of these with replaceable filters.

 

 

 

 

 

If you wish to order some its on the Shop here

What will now probably follow is a load of “I don’t do it like that, and it works for me” comments and they’re right.

The above will work and get you good results but there are all sorts of cheats that come with experience. In the rush to get jobs completed I often put it on not fully hardened paint but to do that you really do have to make the first light coats of Dullcote really wafty and light. Once you have a couple of coats on twenty mins in the warming cabinet harden those coats enough that they now form a protective barrier between the paint and any further Dullcote

Townsend Hook – Late Final

Late Final

At last the castings have arrived!  Actually the truth is they’ve been here a few days and I just hadn’t got round to saying anything about it.

 

 

Typically, they arrived, or at least tried to arrive on a day we weren’t in which resulted in some delay whilst we got them from  redelivered.  (not really for here but why when trying to lay out a car park do they seem to use a Corgi model to size the spaces?)

 

Given the length of this saga I was almost scared to open the packet in case it revealed another problem but, no, not this time. The castings are superb and we now have enough for 30 sets.  Some of them will eventually become available as separate parts once we’ve got the initial orders for Townsend Hook delivered.

Annie has now turned 14 bags of 3o castings into 30 bags of 14 castings ready to go in 29 kits. One set is on my workbench as I build a loco from all the production parts to finish the instructions and to take the photos for the instructions.

My aim is to be shipping the kits ideally by the weekend but, if I don’t achieve that, using the weekend to pack them for shipping at the very start of next week.

The instructions in the kit will be fairly basic as by an large assembly is obvious. There will be some notes on material handling and how to work with the resin printed parts. Whilst their may be one or two pictures of the prototype I suspect that a lot of the models will be built with freelance names, as our Sir Jasper example, and rather than the cost of printing lots of pictures people don’t want there will be a reference to an online resource of the the photos taken when both engines were at Tywyn.

 

There are plenty of bodies printed and ready for packing.

 

 

A BIT OF A RANT IS CATHARTIC

<rant mode – on> Bear with me here. The following may mean nothing to you. You may not want to read on but, then again you may learn something, but mainly its about me feeling better for a bit of a rant.

I should have seen it coming. I mean, for gods sake, who thought `Woo-commerce’ was a good name for business software!  Then, it seemed to provide what I needed so I went with the flow but it grated.

Now I should perhaps explain that I am one of those people with a strong allergy to management speak. One mention of `low hanging fruit‘ or “Put a record on and see who dances ” and I am done with the meeting and probably well on to plotting the untimely demise of the speaker. This allergy wasn’t very helpful when I worked in an engineering consultancy and, if anything, it heightened my reaction rather than curing it by exposure.

Having explained my allergy you can probably understand my having a proper meltdown when I found that a software upgrade enforced by Woo-commerce had buggered up the integration utility, which WooWoo had also authored, that connected my website to the payment gateway (I was pretty cross by this point……) and that for a resolution I was now in the hands of their `happiness engineers’.

Well that did it <rant mode – off>

So what have they done? Time for a graphic.

This shows what is supposed the happen.  The website (in Woo-commerce) contains the primary database for stock levels and prices, manages the orders and all that stuff. When someone buys something its all in Woo-commerce up to the point where you press the payment button at which point you are transferred to Square Payments and on their super secure website you do all the stuff with cards and when done, assuming your card coughs up, you are transferred back to Woo. As the admin all I get told is you have paid and that I need to send you stuff. Meanwhile the website also knows we have less of what you just bought.

The clever bit, and one of the reasons that we chose this is Square POS. This provides the till function we use at shows. As the arrows show the Woo stock database is now transferred to my iPad which acts as a till and allows us to scan and sell you stuff with a direct link to payments if you’re using a card. Meanwhile, it also tells the website what its sold so it can reduce the stock.  Everyone, Staff and Customers, at Guildex were impressed.

So what have they broken?  Well, the first thing we noticed was that whilst Square POS was trying to report what stock it had sold the main database wasn’t now listening so much of Monday was spent manually reducing the stock. Then we found out thanks to a customer letting us know that whilst Woo was telling Square a total to charge it was telling them that the already VAT inclusive price was VAT exclusive so Square added a second lot of VAT onto the the total and overcharged the website customers.

Once you are aware of the issues it doesn’t take long before your blood is boiling again….

  • Two days of back and forth before they accept its their issue
  • Two days of then answering the questions you didn’t ask to avoid the one you did
  • Several times repeating and resupplying the same information
  • Finding out you were dealing with a `happiness engineer! and fighting the urge to shake him warmly by the throat

Now we’re: –

  • waiting for their mark 2 fix (not just me, they have apparently buggered up many sites
  • have installed PayPal as an alternative payment whilst Square isn’t available via the website
  • may leave PayPal as an option in the long run but that needs some negotiation on rates as it costs me twice as much to take a payment via PayPal

As the disruption this has caused to this week has now turned into a waiting game there will be a more interesting update shortly