Painting plastic model (refresher course)

Good Afternoon,


In a week or two I plan on building a plastic paddle wheel model.  I believe that this is the correct order for painting


wash all of the parts in something like Dawn dish soap

spray primer over everything

remove pieces as necessary, assemble, and then paint.


Have I got it right???


Should I paint the parts while still attached to the (forgot the word) large collection of parts, then assemble?


Is enamel paint better/same/worse then acrylic?


Should I get a bunch of rattle cans containing the appropriate color paint?




thibaultron and reklein like this

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Chuck if you go to the web site for Model Railroader Hobbist Magazine and register you will be able to access a pretty amazing tutorial on painting. Its free for the download. Also the IPMS web site has some treatments on painting as well.


thibaultron, Canute and mtaylor like this

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I think these questions cannot be answered categorically. Points to consider:


- the glueing of styrene is rather a welding, so painted surfaces do not stick together

- you have to able to carefully remove all the flash, ejector marks and sometime reshape parts, when the moulds have not been carefully aligned; this may be best done, when the part is detached from the sprue

- when using enamel paints, there is no need for priming, as these paints usually slightly dissolve the styrene and therefore stick very well

- the fewer layers of paint, the better; this includes primers

- for a static model, that is not handled, I would carefully degrease the surface with dishwashing liquid and then even paint directly with acrylics (railway models are handled frequently and the railway modeller, therefore, would give you advice to the contrary)

- the amount of paint coming out of a spray-can cannot be controlled very well and using these is better left to large surface areas, such as hulls

- some parts are, indeed, easier to paint, when on the sprue, but this only works, when the area where the parts are attached can be hidden

- notwithstanding the glueing issue, it sometimes better to assemble parts of the same colour first, as you may need to clean-up excess glue and fill-in seams; the paint may also hide seams

- if possible, parts of different colour are better painted first and then assembled

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You may want to keep in mind with translucent colors, such as red and yellow, that you should prime, if trying to cover a dark grey or black plastic.


And make sure the unprimed plastic is clean of mold release , oils and fingerprints. Wash in warm water with Dawn or similar dishwashing liquid. Also works on resin castings.

mtaylor and thibaultron like this

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Excellent how-to and it lists acrylic equivalents in Vallejo, Badger ModelFlex and Model Master Acrylics for the old Floquil-Pollyscale line. And they do add more info on an as needed basis. Highly recommended.

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Think about getting a Double Throw Air Brush. You have control on the amount of paint And the area painted in one pass. You will get much better results than with a bunch of spray cans.

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