Alligator Clips: one of the more useful tools to have on your painting bench. They’re handy for holding small parts together for gluing and even more handy for holding those parts while painting or airbrushing.
An interesting twist on this old and simple tool is the new Reverse Opening Alligator Clips which can hold any part with an opening sufficiently large to fit the Clip when closed.
Intrigued, we sent samples of these new Reverse Clips and some of the old style Alligator Clips down to Dr. Franz Merkwürdigliebe, Director of the Model Paint Solutions Secret Underground Paint Research Laboratory (and bistro!). Aided by his able assistant Dr. Dita Von Steenbeck, the clips were subjected to a series of rigorous tests aimed at assessing their ability to hold parts and assemblies for painting.
Secondary to the part-holding analysis, the team was asked to devise multiple methods for making simple racks capable of holding the clips in place while parts are airbrushed.
Some of the more “esoteric” rack designs forced Dr. Merkwürdigliebe to fire multiple paint research technicians and require they undergo a thorough psychiatric analysis.
More on this unfortunate incident is provided below.
But first…………………………….Holding Parts:
Any part/assembly with an open end or hole sufficiently large to accommodate the clip when compressed can be held solidly when the clip is extended.
Small tongs on each end of the arms help anchor the clip to the internal contours of the part.
Larger assemblies like this 1/72 Tamiya Ki-61 can be rigidly held for painting while no part of the clip touches the external surface of the model: very handy.
Even larger assemblies like this turret from the 1/35 Tamiya Tiger I are easily gripped with a reverse opening clip for easy, hands-off painting.
Not to be forgotten and still useful: ye olde’ Alligator Clip Affixed to a Sturdy Bamboo Stick. They’ve been around forever and are ideal for holding small parts while painting and finishing.
With the utility of both the Reverse and Normal alligator clips firmly established, Dr. Merkwürdigliebe focused the groups efforts on devising a quick and easy rack. Their suggestions and accompanying comments from Model Paint Solutions upper management are provided below.
1) A Thick Piece of Packing Foam
Management: Easy, quick, and makes a great sound when pierced by bamboo spears: Awesome! Where’s the dog?
2) A Cup of Rice or Beans
Management: This was our favorite. It’s easy to make, hard to knock over, and small enough to fit within the average paint booth.
3) A Banana
Management: How much are we paying those M*&#$!#9!%?#@ clowns down in research?
A disciplinary note was sent to Dr. Merkwürdigliebe. In response we received a profane letter and suggestion number 4.
Management: We got nothing.
For a very handy and easy-to-make paint rack, start with a halve-sphere of florists foam available from most large craft stores. Affix this to a piece of wood with white glue.
The sturdy bamboo sticks of both the Reverse and Normal Alligator Clips can be easily arranged by pushing them into the foam sphere.
When mounted on a small turnstile, the round base can be rotated 360 degrees affording access to all parts for painting.
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This design also allows for the quick and easy assembly of custom painting and building jigs.
Most importantly, the Reverse Opening Clips allow the model to be stabilized from within allowing for hands-free access while airbrushing.
Now I gotta go clip and paint something!
PS: Found the dog.