Teach me how to paint

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by DrGeologist, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. DrGeologist

    DrGeologist Canadian Down Under

    Ok. I’ve never painted a model before and thought it would be relatively straight forward. However, I’ve been disappointed with my first attempt at painting some details on my Walthers ore dock.

    I’ve decided to paint the railings on the ore dock and nice bright safety yellow. I am using Tamiya Color acrylic paint. The paint isn’t going on well at all. Rather than coating the plastic, it is blotchy and uneven. I end up just pushing it around and it eventually rubs off just from brush strokes.



    I’ve read posts that some people wash the kits in soapy water before painting. Surely this isn’t necessary!?! Should I invest in a primer of some sort before painting with color acrylics?

    Please help!
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    a little dishwashing detergent and water... yep, it's needed sometimes. Acrylics usually do ok without primer, but it depends on the type of plastic.

  3. DrGeologist

    DrGeologist Canadian Down Under

    That's crazy... oh well, off to the kitchen I go with my ore dock :p
  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    It may be crazy, but remember, these parts were injection molded and they use oil to allow them to get out of the mold easily. Oil and water, or water-based paints, don't mix well. If that doesn't work, you may have to rough up the surface a bit to take the sheen off the plastic, but that's rarely needed.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Dr J,

    As with any project, preparation is (much more than) half the work! Washing the parts, and priming them will go a long way to making that final colour coat look much better, especially if you are brush painting.

    The key evidence that this prep work is necessary is your note that
    The paint isn't getting any "bite" - the surface is too oily and/or smooth.

    "Oily-ness" has to be washed off; smoothness can be overcome with a plastic primer. You don't need to use a model primer either - the Krylon spray paints from the hardware store are good. Use white or light grey for light finish colours; medium or dark grey are good for dark finishes. Just be sure to apply several very light coats, rather than one heavy. This will preserve the details instead of clogging them up with paint. You can prime all the parts while they are still one the sprues, and then do the finish/touch up once the model is assembled. Beware of any complicated structures that would be hard to paint once fully assembled - sometimes sub assemblies have to be painted before the last step.

    See this blog -> Lyon Valley Northern Chris is a member of the Friday Night Group here in Ottawa, and has done several great structures with the Krylon spray paints.

    If you are really intent on not preping the piece, you can try dry-brushing. I have had some success with this approach when the prep work has not really improved the piece, or I did not have primer on hand. It results in a semi-decent paint job, but one that is very fragile and easily damaged. This is because the paint is like a coating over the piece - the only thing it is sticking to is itself. Nine times out of ten, I have to redo part of it later...

    Hope that helps.

  6. DrGeologist

    DrGeologist Canadian Down Under

    Well after washing the parts in soapy water (dish detergent) I have to say there was significant improvement to my second painting attempt.

    As pointed out to me, the plastic now no longer rejects the paint since being washed and I will certainly adopt (and recommend) washing all kits down the track prior to painting.

    Although an improvement, I’m still not 100% satisfied on how the paint is behaving, so I will go out and invest in a light coloured primer.

    Thanks for your tips once again guys! I will no longer doubt your “insanity.”
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The other thing to keep in mind is that red and yellow are the worst colors to try to get coverage with. Yellow is the worst, because it is very transparant. That is the reason if you look at Santa Fe blue and yellow warbonnet freight motors, the Santa Fe lettering in yellow is often a funny color when painted over a blue hood. I'm talking about models here, not the prototype, the prototype paints them as thick as the paint needs to be, they don't care about hiding details!
  8. leon

    leon Member

    I have just finished a Bowser I1 Decapod locomotive and was just currious since I used Crazy Glue to attach all of the super detail parts. I was just wondering if washing the loco in soap and warm water would have an effect on the glue. If so--what kind of glue should I have used? I am in the process of getting it ready to paint and this bit of info would really help. I hope I am in the right thread.
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Crazy glue is not water soluble, neither is plastic cement. The only glue that would be affected by washing is the white glue and you wouldn't use that on plastics or metal anyway since it's for wood.
  10. leon

    leon Member

    Thanks ezdays. Sure has relieved my stress. what brought this on was the information on the package where it says to rinse your hands in warm water should one glue their fingers together. This just got me to wondering. Thanks again.

  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Gee, that's amazing. I've got a package of super glue that tells you to wipe off any glue on your fingers with a tissue. I've always found that all that does is stick the tissue to your fingers. No, the only remover that I'm aware of is acetone or nail polish remover, which is solvent based anyway. I keep acetone near my workbench, but be aware that it evaporates quickly.
  12. leon

    leon Member

    I have DURO super glue. Stated on back: 'Fingers Bonded? Soak bonded skin in warm soapy water. Gently massage bonden fingers back and forth to "peel" bond apart. Use rolling, peeling motion - do not pull.'
    This is what put up a flag for me.

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