Need Custom Painting Tips

Ryan 79 Jun 9, 2014

  1. Ryan 79

    Ryan 79 TrainBoard Member

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    Im getting back into modeling again, Im selling all my N Scale stuff and getting into S Scale.

    Planning on having a Granger short line type layout, which means Ill need to learn how to custom paint
    everything. I am fair with an airbrush, but all my custom paint stuff has been done on metal.

    I need tips on painting, especially how to strip paint off plastic.

    I only use water based paint in my airbrush, what do you guys use?

    Any info is appreciated
     
  2. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've also used almost exclusively acrylics, such as ModelFlex. Usually works just fine, although I would advise a fresh bottle for each project to minimize problems. A clean surface is best, usually just wash with some dish soap, an old tooth brush and an alcohol rinse. As for stripping, lots of options you can use. I've done it with Pine Sol, brake fluid and Polly-S Easy Lift Off (ELO) with generally good results all around. It is worth a small trial with the one you choose on an out-of-the-way place to see how the plastic responds to the stripper; in this sense, ELO may be best as it is designed for hobby applications.
     
  3. Ryan 79

    Ryan 79 TrainBoard Member

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    What are you priming with?

    I was planning on using Testors spray can primer even for acrylic paint, but if there is something better, let me know
     
  4. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    To be honest, I use the plain gray primer in the rattle can from the hardware section. The cheap stuff. Only thing I do with it is stand it in a bowl of hot tap water for 5-10 minutes before use. I've read many times that this warming helps produce a finer spray, and I certainly haven't seen anything to complain about.
     
  5. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Placing the spray paint in hot water raises the internal pressure and this will result in a finer spray the same way it does in the air brush. I prefer the higher quality brands of primer but Testors is over priced.
     
  6. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV TrainBoard Member

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    I've used 91% isopropyl alcohol for paint stripping of plastic models. Takes a long soak followed by scrubbing with a toothbrush, and may require multiple soak and scrub cycles but the alcohol is cheap.

    For primer of plastic models I've used Model Master acrylic primer, which is a light gray color and makes for a lighter final coat. I've also used Rustoleum dark gray automotive primer for a batch of hopper cars and it works well. After putting on a flat black finish coat I wondered why I bothered as the Rustoleum looked pretty good!

    Most recently I did an experiment using Modelflex paint without primer on some cars and it seemed to work fine - good adhesion. In the same experiment, I skipped the gloss coat finish before decaling and the decals also look fine. I'm starting to like Modelflex even more. Only thing I don't like about it is the finish looks sort of like plastic even after a dull finish is applied. On a moderate to heavily weathered model the finish is not a problem.

    On most of my repaints I have used Polly Scale, which is no longer made, but hopefully the equivalent Model Master will give me the same result.

    Enjoy the repaints!
    George V.
     
  7. robwill84

    robwill84 TrainBoard Member

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    I'll play devil's advocate here and suggest that way too much effort goes into stripping paint off, especially on modern factory painted equipment that is already an ultra thin coat to begin with. I've seen and experienced countless projects ruined by various methods of paint stripping. In many cases, you can simply give everything a light sanding anywhere there is paint seperation or thickness, like lettering, striping etc. If lettering is especially thick, or there are rivets in the way, use some 91% alcohol and a cotton swab. You'll notice the lettering comes off before the paint does, this is all that needs to be done.

    Then hit everything with a good quality primer. Tamiya makes an outstanding line of primers that cover beautifully and go on ultra thin. Then apply your paint. Nobody on earth will be able to tell that the factory finish is underneath, and you saved yourself from a potentially ruined shell.
     
  8. robwill84

    robwill84 TrainBoard Member

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    Case in point, here is a Model Power tender in N scale. It has the factory paint, a coat of primer, a coat of Polly Scale grimy black, then gloss and dullcoat applied. Every rivet is still perfectly visible. If I had attempted to remove the factory paint, I can almost guarantee that fine rivet detail would be damaged.

    DSC06719.JPG
     
  9. Ryan 79

    Ryan 79 TrainBoard Member

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    Finished Product

    Here's what I started with. This is an S Helper Caboose

    [​IMG]

    I removed the roof rails and grab irons, filed off all the mounts for the roof walks, plugged all the holes, removed the markers and plugged those as well.

    And here it is.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Overall, I'm pleased with it, especially for a first time paint job on plastic. I stripped it with alcohol, primed it with rattle can automotive primer, and painted it with Tamiya Paint. It was my first time making decals too, and while they aren't an exact match, they are pretty close.

    It's not as good as factory, but it's not too far off. I bought an SHS switcher that I'm going to do in a similar scheme with but with tiger stripes.

    I'm learning, but for a first time job, I think it came out pretty well.

    But on the other hand, I was doing a very simple paint job on a truck tonight, and dropped it, so I had to strip and repaint it, and I lost pressure while painting it the second time, so it's in the stripper again. I hope this caboose wasn't beginners luck
     
  10. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Every once in a while the gremlins come out to mess with you. Gotta say, that caboose looks great!
     
  11. ratled

    ratled TrainBoard Supporter

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    Variety and experience is the key in paint removal. Each company use different paint on their models and you will find that each one has a better solution. Starting at the least offensive and working your way up until you have successes is what I do for brands of models I haven't worked with before. For renumber/road name type work I start with Micro Sol and a pencil eraser, then 70% IsoPropal Alcohol (IPA) rubbing alcohol (there are different types of "rubbing" alcohol), then 90% IPA, then Easy Lift Off (ELO).

    For whole body removal I start with 90%IPA and then ELO. I try to stay away from the harsher stuff unless absolutely necessary - Brake fluid, oven cleaner Pine Sol etc. Some of these can affect the plastic and not just the paint. Be sure to watch your soak times. Start with a few minutes and check, soak again as needed. Soft toothbrushes and cotton swabs are good for helping the paint come off. Try not to scrub too hard or you can scratch the plastic. A toothpick can help with tight corners and detail lines. I do use a dental pick on occasion but a light hand is a must.

    If you search for a specific brand of model or paint in terms of removal may fast track you to tips from other for a starting point. Sorry I don't have any experience with S scale so I'm not sure who makes it to offer what I know of brnds

    Good luck and keep us posted

    ratled
     

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