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Al Schwartz
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In my experience, the biggest thing to watch for in working with these shells is voids between the gel coat and the underlying resin/glass structure. I deliberately tap all over the body with the peen end of a small jeweler's hammer to try and break through any unsupported areas before I have gotten to the finishing stage. The polyester resin is very brittle and will shatter if unsupported. Once discovered, the voids can be filled with Milliput which adheres very well and is slow curing so that any lost detail can be worked back up with small tools dipped in water. Beyond that, a good cleaning, sanding and filling of obvious surface imperfections as mentioned above will do the trick.

My primer of choice at the moment is the grey Tamiya rattle can primer - it is easy to use, sticks very well and dries to a perfectly smooth, flat finish.

EM
 
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