Jump to content

Painting plastic model (refresher course)

Recommended Posts

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?




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic cane up handy as I have a plastic 1:24 Caterpillar bulldozer to make up for my father. The plastic is pretty colored yellow but I will be painting the whole thing. Cheers. I'm not used to plastics so it will be interesting.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model shipcraft.

The Nautical Research Guild puts on ship modeling seminars, yearly conferences, and juried competitions. We publish books on ship modeling techniques as well as our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, whose pages are full of articles by master ship modelers who show you how they build those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you what details to build.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research