Primer and spray paints for card models

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by Deathping, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Deathping

    Deathping New Member

    I've been wondering what primer you guys use for your models. I have a can of Armory Primer (found in shops that sell wargaming kits/models, in the paint section), and it comes in white, grey or black (pretty cheap too, $4 for a 12oz can). I used the black primer on a model I'm working on and came out great on heavy matte inkjet paper, but I'm curious what you use.

    Obviously I want to paint the model with other colors, and I'm about to go out to get me some colors for this model. What do you suggest for spray type colors? Ive seen Testors sell a spray kit for models (basically a 'airbrush' adapter that fits on top of a propellant can, with a cup to hold paint) Im not looking for fine detailing, just broad area spraying.
  2. dimas Karabas

    dimas Karabas Member

    Hi there,
    I am not sure about primers, I personally do not paint models from paper. But I do use Testors sprays for diffierent parts such as wheels and spinners. Testers works awesome and thier colors almost exact match to the ones on real planes.
    And the price is good.
  3. bholderman

    bholderman Member


    My experience isn't enough to answer your question, but I have seen that testors kit you mentioned. I was told by a salesman (I have not bought it) that its good for a beginner wanting to learn spray techniques.

    My 2 cents.


    GEEDUBBYA Active Member

    Howdy Guys,

    Well, i think we all know what too much paint will do to paper. But, as an avid airbrush "artist", and since paper is a neutral white to begin with, I would think that airbrushing a model would be no different from airbrushing a design on any other paper (within reason, i know rice paper would never hold up, but we are talking card stock). Although there is a chance of deformation since the model isnt on a flat suface like would be if you were airbrushing a painting, but I think that if you know how to airbrush you shouldnt have any trouble if you use moderation and take your time....remember less is better.

    have a good day,

    Greg aka GW
  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi All,

    This is a recurring subject on this site. A couple of hints:

    1.) Seal the paper prior to construction. What is used is an individual choice. Lacquer, shellac, nitrate dope, acrylic spray have all been used. Acrylic spray being the most popular. Sealing the paper prior to construction makes cleaning the surface without defect a reality. Nitrate Dope adds stiffness to the paper and makes the paper much easier to sand. Sealing is nearly mandatory for those of you who live in continous high humidity.
    2.) Acrylic paints are low cost and come in many different colors and finishes. They can be applied with a brush or better yet an airbrush, can be used inside and are water cleanup. Hobby enamels offer specialty match colors and metallic colors that are difficult in acrylics but are on the expesnsive side.
    3.) Learn color mixing. That way you'll only need around 7-12 colors on hand to obtain nearly any color desired.
    4.) Low cost enamel based undercoats are good for the base coat of large models. Don't overdue the amount per layer and allow the layer to completely dry before sanding between layers if desired. Heat the contents by runnining hot water over the can while agitating it to mix the paint. This makes a considerable difference in the atomization especially in cold weather. Make sure to clean the nozzle by holding the can inverted and spraying until all paint is exhausted from the spray head.
    5.) Magic model filler and acrylic modeling paste make great seam fillers with magic model filler the more easily sanded. Flexible spackle can be used but is not as good as the aforementioned items. Use a primer over the finished filled surface before applying the finish color.
    6.) Seal the finished model with a light coat of matte or gloss acrylic spray. This makes the model easier to dust and clean and helps protect the color from UV bleaching.

    Probably more but this is enough for now...,

  6. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Since the subject popped up again, here's a question I've been thinking about, and where I might undertake some practical investigations on my own. But first, let's see if somebody has the answer already:

    I regularly give my models at least three coats of matt clear acrylic, at various stages of the build. I apply the varnish with high-quality brushes. The problem is not the brushmarks, but the amount of matting agent in the varnish.

    Acrylic apparently is made matt by adding fairly large amounts of what I suppose is a fine dust of very small white particles. You can buy this separately as a paste and mix it into clear (gloss) acrylic to obtain the degree of matting you wish (although I've only bought ready-mixed matt varnish so far).

    The point is that the matting agent inevitably diminishes the transparency of the varnish, ultimately becoming almost visible as a kind of clouding of the surface.

    From previous experiences with polyurethane paint, I know that you can make your own matt paint by diluting the polyurethane with 15-25 percent aceton. I always presumed the matting effect in this would come about by the aceton in the second layer somehow acting on the underlying layer, thus making the surface kind of rugged (this is just a hunch).

    My question is, do you think something similar could be accomplished by adding aceton to clear (gloss) acrylic, thus turning it into clear matt?

    Easy enough to find out, you could say. Fair enough, but I just thought I'd ask first.

  7. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Try using thin layers of gloss acrylic medium first followed by a finishing layer of matte. The bottom layers are left crystal clear allowing the base detail to show through with little impairment. The last matte layer is used to control surface reflectivity.

    Best regards, Gil
  8. Some might say it isn't a Card Model if you have to paint it as you are not being pure. Bull fertilizer in my opinion. On well sealed stock some of the spray acrylics like Krlon in repeated light coats works well. The perfect example is ships hulls below the waterline. And really think about it. Is painting the model in the printer any different than painting it after or during assembly? :? :? :? :? :? :? :?
  9. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Good advice, Gil - thanks. Clear gloss acrylic all the way, except for the final coat of matt acrylic. Simple solution. Why didn't I think of that that myself? Goes to show.

    Sticky (?). I agree. I'm particularly happy when I can find a model where the livery includes e.g. a distinctly coloured nose cone and spinners, since then it is much easier to hide those pesky petals. Seal and sand away, then paint. Love that. As for the rest - camouflage, patterns, markings, etc. - nothing beats the computer and printer. Which is one reason why paper is such a great modeling medium.

  10. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi All,

    Edited lacquer in under number 1 above. It's available everywhere at low cost. I use it to stiffen and water proof paper for filling with home made magic model filler (gloss acrylic medium and micro balloons). It penetrates the paper instantly, dries quickly and is compatible with acrylics. Nitrate dope is a great alternative and is also called instrument lacquer. Neither of these has much effect on inkjet print...,

  11. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    Um, what kind of paint should I spray onto a card model? Enamel? Acrylic? Lacquer?

    I want to coat the marcenter shuttle with a clear coat.

    And, will paint preserve the paper permanently?
  12. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    I think what you're after is an acrylic spray coat - the one is use is Crystalkote - comes in matt and gloss. It can be used after printing to seal and protect the
    ink jet colours before building.


  13. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    Uhuh... Can I use the water soluble type?

    And is it ok if I spray it after I finished it?

  14. cmdrted

    cmdrted Active Member

    To Chime in, about the matt finishes, the little powder that gives matt paint the flat effect is usually some type of talcum powder. When I used to build plastic/resin/white metal AFVs I brushed painted acryllic matt as a final coat. If it wasn't flat enough for a military type finish I added a little talcum powder and it flattened the finish. You have to experiment with the mix ratio, too much and it comes out frosted. As far as painting paper models, before computers and printers, when I scratch built models, all there was was paint.If it takes paint, metal, plastic, wire, wood, and you are happy, then you did good. The only one you have to satisfy is yourself
  15. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    There shouldn't be any problem about spraying on a completed model - it might take a number of light coats to get good coverage on a complex model though.

    Crystalkote uses a hydrocarbon propellant so it doesn't cause any damage to paper surfaces - I'm not sure I'd trust water thinned acrylic on paper unless you were very careful with the application - lots of light coats.


  16. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    I see...

    Oh well, I'll just use those spray cans!

    Thanks sir!

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