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    guide: Craftsman Detail Suppliers

                          ... "its all about the details"

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Our search for quality detail pa

Our search for begins...



Craftsman level train modelers utilize many detail parts. After all, to be considered craftsman its all about the details. We are limiting this search to only suppliers who offer a  wide variety of detail parts. Our reviews will primarily focus on HO scale details of the "craftsman kit" type; that typically are made with wood, paper, metal, plastic and other textures. We will start with castings formed in white-metal and resin. Commercial castings has been a hobby standard for decades.


Today, we will review new source (new to us) for white-metal detail castings. We are only looking at their HO scale details, even if they manufacture other scales.



Product  Review

--  DRAFT  --


The supplier/manufacture is  WISEMAN MODEL SERVICES INC.


Wiseman Model Services' casts and sell their white metal details as a "bulk-unfinished" product. They arrive grouped together in clear plastic zip-style bag. No separate packaging. While this keeps costs down the trade off is more time spent checking the order. Our order included  a total of 8 different products. The castings arrived promptly (3 days from purchase). Upon checking the order we found that one item was short one piece and two items where missing from the order. After contacting Wiseman, they shipped the missing parts promptly. We communicated with Wiseman via email, they where prompt in their replies, and corrected the order with replacement parts in record time. When the replacement parts arrived we discovered that they had sent the missing items and extra pieces. The replacement parts also arrived very promptly. In customer service we would rate Wiseman "exceptional"; we all know that issues in life occur, and that's just part of life. It's how someone deals with the issues that really matters, and Wiseman dealt with our issues professionally, with speed, and they provided a little extra to correct the issues. Example, we  got 3 hand-trucks (vs the two advertised) when they sent the missing parts. The little extra goes a long ways. We did not expect any additional quantity, but it sure felt good when they arrived.  


Purchased on April 18th through their eBay store, at a fixed price of $3.00 for a pair. (seems reasonable)

The castings required, some minor removal of typical amounts of flashing/waste material.

This was followed by a warm water and dish soap cleansing to prep them for a finish. The wheels are separate and required gluing in place after cleaning.


We will apply/use Blackin (3 min. bath) air dry then buff to a shinny finish on the tongue for the final finish. We use "Jax Pewter Black" (Jax chemical company, $12+SH per pint) for this technique. Blackin is a chemical solution that will produce a black antique finish on pewter, lead, brass, bronze, copper and tin alloy metals. Even if we are going to paint the metal we often Blackin first, this allows a great surface to paint to and when paint is chipped away the black is a natural looking finish underneath.




Above picture is casting before any finish. Image provided by Wiseman website store.


Now that the Hand trucks are blackened we worked to buff the tongues. Then while I was hand buffing the tong, the metal castings chipped, so I worked on another part and it too chipped.

We began to wonder if these white-metal castings are too fragile for hand buffing? Seems very odd that they will not hold up to a light buffing. We have used this technique successfully with many other white-metal castings over the years. And here too, on the third hand truck it worked out fine.

After a shinny finish is achieved on the tong, I panted the wheels black  and handle ends to resemble hand-grips also black,  using craft acrylic paints (we like to use "Creamcoat" tube paints by Delta for most of our model building projects. However this is just a preference, any acrylic paint should wok well when painting white metal castings. We also brush paint vs airbrushing. But again this is a preference as both work fine. We finished the project with a light coat of a flat finish (satin) from a spry product. Any commercially available dull finish spry-can product will provide a sealer for your casting. We like a product from Lowes called "DEFT clear wood finish lacquer" in satin, recommended for wood and metal products. On small projects a 12oz can lasts a long time as only thin coats are required as a final sealer. If we use pastels or weathering caulks we use this same product as a final project sealer. It can also be used to prep in replacement of a primer before applying a finish.

At this point our hand trucks are considered layout ready.


(click on image to enlarge)

 We think the product offers a good grade of detail, is reasonably priced, comes support with great customer service.


 After writing this review we contacted  Wiseman Model Services and shared our experience and this article. Wiseman felt that their metal castings are more popular due to their more accurate "thickness" in their casting dimensions, and we fully agree. They shared that to achieve this they use an alloy that is comprised more in "lead and tin" verse the industry typical lead-free pewter castings. And that this could have been responsible for weakening the part at the "cross section of the bottom of the part"  during the soaking process of our technique. They recommended that we try using another technique for blackening their castings. A technique that using common household vinegar, and they sent replacement parts for the two that chipped. We felt an obligation to give it a try so we have amended this review to include their recommendation.

  • supplier recommends blacking with vinegar due to high tin alloys in his casting, he is sending replacements and we will use them to try this approach, amend to capture this recommendation.

We used the replacement parts and followed the above process replacing the blacken product with vinegar. We soaked the parts for 12 hours and found no noticeable blackening of the parts, so we continued to soak them for another 36 hours. and they blacked very little. We dried them and found the vinegar  did create a nice  "tooth" to the metal for holding paint. But the tongue was very shinny and not blackened. We soaked the tongue again in our blacken and they held up fine when we hand polished them.


Our recommendation would be to soak the white metal castings in vinegar for 12 hours, to add "tooth", then blacken for visual effects. The two soak process will give your a nicely finished white metal detail. As for the "chipped" items, We think the first batch of castings had some kind of defect in the metal mixture, because we have since used our blacken process on many other castings from Wiseman Model Services with no chipping after hand polished them. The process is very effective, and Wiseman Model Services customer service is outstanding as are their detailed castings. We highly recommend them to all modelers, because ...

..."during our adventures in life problems will occur, this is just part of life. However, its not the problems that matter, what matters, is how people handle the problems."

The following white-metal castings by SierraWest where done using our  Blackin technique described in this review.

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Supply list:

Acrylic Paints

CreamCoat by Delta

2oz, Acrylic paint

Consumers: 800-842-4197

Retailers: 800-842-4196

 .pdf catalogue click to download

Jax Pewter Black

16oz, pint

Jax produces a beautiful dark black antique black finish on pewter, lead, brass, bronze, copper, nickel, tin-lead alloys and solders.


RadioShack PCB Etchant Solution









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Last updated

July 13, 2014 02:43 AM



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