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      A Body Prep and Painting Primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint.

      Now comes the part you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s throw some paint onto the body. Painting large, smooth surface parts like auto bodies is one of the most intimidating things a modeler can get involved in. Incorrect paint handling and lack of understanding of how the paint itself works keeps more modelers from achieving the results they really want to get but makes them settle for what the paint lets them have. In this subchapter we’ll discuss some of the things we’ve talked about before but with some additions, and in greater detail than before. Therefore, instead of the paint telling us what to do, we’ll learn to make it do what we want it to do.

      Before we pick up our airbrushes or our rattle cans, we have a lot of details to consider. Again, this is mainly for the less experienced modelers and for those who have had a lot of trouble getting the results they’ve been looking for. One big question that’s always asked is “What’s the correct technique for painting the body?” Before we can answer that question, we need to ask ourselves three other very important questions.
      Assuming that the body is completely prepared and areas we need masked off are done, we need to ask ourselves what kind of finish do we want to wind up with. Do we want a candy finish, a metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. finish, a suede finish or what? We also need to choose a paint type. Do we use enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. , acrylic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. , model lacquers or the hotter automotive lacquers? Lastly, we need to pick a color and make sure it comes out in the exact shade we’ve planned. Therefore, in order to be able to lay down that gorgeous finish easily and make the paint do our bidding, we need to discuss all three aspects of our paint in more detail. The bottom line is that the correct painting technique is different for the different choices you can make. Know your material, and you’ll know the correct technique.

      First, we’ll discuss some general considerations that are common to all the paint types.
      Spraying something as critical as the body is where you must never rush the job or a large number of problems will jump up at you, bite you and will mess up your result. Especially if you don’t have an airbrush Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. , don’t try to get a perfect wet coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. surface like you’ve seen in some magazines. If you’re not experienced with spraying paint, I’ll be showing you how to correct some of the simpler paint boo boos a bit later on so don’t panic if something isn’t perfect. In the words of the man who taught me how to use lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. in rattle cans, “You’ll never get a perfect out of the can finish. It’s what you do after the paint is dry during the polishing phase that really makes your finish dazzle”.

      I always go in favor of many very thin coats rather than a few thick coats for a good number of reasons.
      1) Paint always shrinks and will continue to shrink for a long time if the coat is thick. With many thin coats, you minimize that shrinkage because a thin coat stops shrinking well before a thick one.
      2) With thick coats, you have more solvent in the thick coats that has to evaporate completely. The thicker the coat, the longer you’ll need to wait for out-gassing.
      3) You have a greater chance of laying a following coat over a seemingly dry coat before that initial coat can completely gas out. This can lead to greater shrinkage problems and distortions and possible crazing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. and cracking of your paint.
      4) The thicker a coat is especially the initial ones will increase your chance of getting crazing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. of your plastic and that’s a real hard thing to correct. The solvent in the new coat can seep into previous coats and soften them, creating crazing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. and/or cracking of the paint.
      5) With thick coats, you’ll get more paint in and around panel lines and your details. It’s really easy that way to obscure all that detail. Just think of the paint filling up your cowl flap lines.
      6) (and this is something a lot of folks don’t take into account) even though it is less than water, lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. and enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. still have a surface tension. Thicker coats will dome up to the edge of a door for example and be much thinner Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. over the edge than a bit away from the edge.



      . That will make your panel lines, when you do some photography, look a bit sunken in. That’s the dead giveaway that you’re looking at a model. Thinner Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. coats won’t bead up or pool like that and you’ll get a much more realistic appearance.
      7) With thicker coats, you also have a greater chance for runs, bubbles, sags, pooling, and drips that although correctable most of the time, are not that easy to deal with.
      8) With thicker coats, the paint stays softer a lot longer leading to fingerprint impressions and paint dulling when the model is handled.
      9) If you spray thicker coats and then try to sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. them, since the paint stays softer longer and holds the solvent longer, even wet, your paint will tend to get gummy and will sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. poorly. The outer layers of the paint may be hard but the deeper layers that you expose by sanding Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. off some of the outer coats will still be holding a lot of solvent. You’ll never get a good finish on that and that leads to the common phrase “No matter what I do, I can never get paint to polish. It’s a plot against me and I give up”. I assure you, with the right steps, you can’t miss, even with a rattle can. I’ll prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      Next, we discuss paint types. There are three types of paint most commonly used in modeling, i.e. lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. , enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. and acrylic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . .

      Lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. - This material is the hottest of all three paints meaning it’s solvent will readily attack the plastic and cause crazing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . ( Urethane Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. is even hotter but I do not recommend it because it is way more toxic than lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. and are very expensive so I don’t count it. Some types need to be baked to set.) I like lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. the best because it sets quickly (you can polish it in a few days), the surface is the hardest and it’s available in a large number of brands from automotive brands to the much “cooler” preps like Modelmaster lacquers. Plus, lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. polishes up extremely well. They also come in some great color choices. Still, they need a good barrier coat because improper handling will cause crazing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. of the plastic. The technique we’ve discussed before about spraying several mist coats Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. followed by several thin wet coats will give you the best results.

      Enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. - This is probably the paint most of us are familiar with since we were kids with Testor’s being the most familiar brand. Enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. comes in some great colors and is available in many, many places. Its greatest problem is that it has a relatively soft surface and takes forever to cure Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. so it can be polished. Therefore, you must use mist coats Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. at first and let them dry thoroughly before you apply any wet coats and for those to cure Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. well, they must be thin. You have to leave a body alone to cure Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. for 2 weeks to a month depending on the brand you use and the thicker the coat, the longer the curing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. time between each coat. Thick wet coats never seem to harden. That considered, it still is easy to handle, very forgiving and once fully cured yields a great polish. Plus, its aroma brings back a great many modeling memories. Today though, I prefer to stay away from enamels as much as I can because of its curing Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. time and tendency to leave fingerprint impressions when handled.

      Acrylic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. - Acrylic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. is somewhere in between lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. and enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . Fortunately, it’s very kind to plastic surfaces and some preparations like Krylon Fusion may not even need primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . (For best results, I still would use the primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. .) It’s softer than lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. but harder than enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . It takes about a week or two for the surface to be hard enough to handle without leaving fingerprints or polish but it will still polish up beautifully. However, since they are water soluble, they clean up easily and they are great for someone who can’t stand the fumes of either lacquer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. or enamel Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . In addition, once they have hardened, they are no longer soluble in water. Remember though to let the paint dry fully before you try to polish it.


      Before we pick our final color, we need to clarify a few things about the subject of color itself. Color is a function of visible light which is composed of different frequencies or wavelengths just like radio waves. Without light, there is no color. Color is basically a measure of which frequencies of light are absorbed and reflected off a particular object. If you look at a rainbow, it will show you the visible light spectrum, red to violet, from low to high frequency, so when you see a color, you know about which frequency is reflected back to your eye. So much for the science lesson. Now for the art lesson.
      Color has three components: hue, value and chroma or saturation. Hue is the basic color itself like blue, green, orange, etc. Value is how much light or dark the color has. Consider it like adding drops of white, or black to a hue so you get for example pastel pink to deep dark red with the amount of red being constant. Chroma or saturation is how much of the hue there is, or in other words how diluted or concentrated the hue or color is. Consider that like adding water to a thick paint until it becomes very thin. For example, you start out with a very intense blue and remove the color until you have a shade of gray with a slight bluish tinge. Now we have the vocabulary to start deciding what colors and shades we’re going to use.

      We now need to discuss the type of paint finish we need and those are as follows:

      1) Standard opaque colors
      2) “Clear” colors
      3) Candies and pearls
      4) Metallic paints.
      5) Suede colors
      Standard opaque colors are the simplest type. An opaque pigment Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. is mixed with a solvent with no other additives. Light does not go through the paint except with some of the lightest colors like yellow, pink, light blue, etc. You just need to put on a few more coats to get them to cover correctly. If the combined thin coats are thick enough, you can easily sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. it without losing any of your color unless of course, you sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. too much. Therefore, if you have a run, a sag or you sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. over a ridge, you won’t lose your color to any significant degree like you would with a clear or candy finish.
      “Clear” colors are pigments mixed in a solvent with no other additives but they are very translucent. Light goes through the paint even with multiple coats and it will easily allow the base coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. color of the paint to show through depending on how many coats of the clear color you spray. For this reason, clear colors must have a base coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. under it other than primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. to get the effect you want. Sanding Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. clear colors is much more difficult because the thinner Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. you get the coat, the more the base coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. color will show through. That means that you can get uneven areas of color if you’re not careful. Poor and uneven spraying techniques result in the same thing happening. Runs and sags are much more difficult to correct because of the color unevenness potential. The solution to the sanding Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. problem will be discussed after I’ve presented all the finish types.
      Candies and pearl Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. colors are similar to clear colors but have some additives like pearl Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. chips and flakes that make the paint “sparkle” a bit more. They let a lot of light through and have the same problem of unevenness if incorrectly sanded or not sprayed correctly. Runs and sags are also difficult to correct. They require a colored base coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. to get the intended effect.
      Metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. colors are paints where tiny metal particles are added to the paint to give it a metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. sheen or real sparkly look. Examples commonly used are metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. blue, metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. red, metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. gray, etc. They are more opaque than clears, pearls and candies but can be somewhat translucent depending on the effect you may be trying to get. Most of the time they do not need basecoats but if you sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. incorrectly, you can get uneven color areas or “shinier” areas because of uneven areas of particles. You have to keep shaking the rattle cans often to keep the particles suspended evenly. Runs and sags can be tough to repair like the pearls and candies. You also have to choose your paint carefully because many of the automotive preparations have metal particles that are way too big for smaller scales. Don’t forget, they are made for 1:1 Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. applications. You don’t want your model looking like you imbedded a bag full of dimes in the paint.
      Suede paints are those that have a semi gloss finish. They are usually used on hot Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. rods and some racers. You can use any color but usually we spray a semi-gloss clear coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . Nuff said on that.
      As I mentioned before, you can have color problems with clears, candies, pearls and metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. paints if they’re handled incorrectly. This is a situation where you don’t ever want to be impatient and rush the job if you want a museum quality model. That doesn’t mean you’ll never make a mistake. It just means you’ll have less of a chance of messing up your work.
      The most important thing you can do is intelligently pick your final color for your model. This is where you can use the information about color characteristics we talked about before. Not only do you need to know the color, but what primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. /basecoat/color coat/clear coat combination you’ll need to coordinate to get your ideal result. For lighter colors, you’ll definitely need to use a white primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. or you run the risk of graying out your color unless that’s the effect you want. If you want the finish to sparkle a bit more, you might consider a metallic Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. silver or gold basecoat. You may want to experiment with many different basecoats and see what they’ll do under a number of different color coats. You can even make up a shade guide out of scrap plastic you won’t have to play with the paint each time you want to paint a model. If you don’t want to take that kind of time, the following website has House of Kolor paint chips so you can see the different effects first hand. www.hokpaint.com . Just remember that the colors may not be exactly true because of computer differences, but they’ll be close. On top of that, experience is your best guide.

      The color I chose to paint my deuce will be Black Gold Kandy Kobalt Blue over Black Gold Stratto Blue. I’m looking for a deeper blue but I want the blue to stay intense and not diluted by a silver basecoat. Cobalt blue is a deep color like royal blue but it still has a bit more red in it than what I want. The Stratto Blue will allow me to dilute the red by adding more blue to the mix from underneath and won’t affect the saturation. My other choices were Kandy Teal over a Stratto Blue also to keep the color more to the blue side with just a hint of green from the teal color and traditional Candy Apple Red over a silver base coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. . I could also put a medium intense blue underneath to get a slight purplish red or even a maroon color depending on the number of color coats. Again, I let my experience be the guide.

      Below is a drawing I did that maps out my paint layers.



      They are not meant to indicate the thickness or number of coats but just their positions on the plastic. I first do any masking Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. I need, tape my parts like the trunk lid, doors and hood onto the body, remove the big sprue Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. , smooth the area and then make sure that all the plastic surfaces to be painted are smooth, (about 1000 grit wet sanded. Many others will do things differently but that doesn’t mean that this is the only way and that they are wrong. Far from it. It’s just what works well in my hands. It hopefully shouldn’t get you into trouble.) washed and free from debris. Allow to air dry covered and carefully lay down your primer Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. as before using the spraying pattern we talked about when we painted the engine. Assuming there are no defects, I generally put on about 3 mist coats Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. followed by 2 wet coats with plenty of drying time in between coats. I look for any dust, cat hairs, or my own hairs in the finish and gently wet sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. them out with 1500 grit paper. I now put my Stratto Blue down the same exact way and gently get rid of inclusions in the surface. Here’s where we get serious. I carefully lay down several thin even coats of my Kandy Kobalt. Watch what you’re doing here and try to keep those coats especially the initial color coats even. Also, make sure your spray nozzle is kept clean. You don’t want any spitting by the paint can if you can help it. Do not sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. in between these coats. You will run the risk of thinning out the color coat in spots and wind up with lighter areas at the high points like the rear quarters/trunk curves. Spray your coats on until you get the desired shade you picked out. Do not sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. or polish this coat. Let dry for about 1 week. Your next coats will be clear coats. Make sure you get enough of these on because that’s what you’ll be polishing. I usually like 3 or 4 coats of clear to make sure I won’t go into the color coat when I smooth and polish. Let this dry another week. With 1500 grit paper, I gently remove all imperfections in my clear. The surface should have a nice even satin finish. When I sand Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. , if I see any color in my sanding Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. debris, I stop, check for evenness of color and then clear coat Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. a few more times. If I’m lucky, I won’t see any problems. Now I begin the polishing. I then go to my polishing pads and starting with 4000 grit, I begin to wet polish my paint checking each time that the finish is getting smoother. I go all the way up to 12000 grit. If I’ve done what I’ve set out to do and made sure all my paint coats were dry, I should have a gleaming surface which I final polish with a good, gentle auto polish. I try my best after this to keep the handling of the painted body to a bare minimum. Good luck with your painting. nLet me know if you have any questions.
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  1. Bob Cline's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Bob
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    When not using a rattle can, I assume that you are using a "touch-up" type gun instead of an air brush. For 1/8, I can't get enough paint thru my air brush, so I'm using rattle cans for now.
    No Lathe, No Mill, No CNC
    QUOTE QUOTE #2

  2. hot ford coupe's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Jeffrey
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    Believe it or not, I bought an airbrush Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. about 3 years ago and have yet to put any paint in it. I've been getting such nice results with the rattle cans, I just never put the airbrush Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. to use. I had heard that for 1/25, the bigger spray guns really weren't too good. I'm not sure about 1/8 since I've never tried it. It sounds like we'd need to do a test or get an answer from someone more expert on this subject who's used a touch up gun. It may be a viable method.


    Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint.
    Sometimes a handful of patience is worth more than a truck load of brains. Have the courage to trust your own beliefs. Don't be swayed by those with louder voices. W.S. Maugham :)
    QUOTE QUOTE #3

  3. Rick's Avatar Member
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    Rick
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    Thats a great paint tutorial Jeff. You've put a lot into it and we really appreciate it. Thanks!
    QUOTE QUOTE #4

  4. hot ford coupe's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Jeffrey
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    Thanks Rick. I've made a lot of big booboos to get to this stage. This info is generated not by education but by a lot of crummy looking models over the years.


    Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint.
    Sometimes a handful of patience is worth more than a truck load of brains. Have the courage to trust your own beliefs. Don't be swayed by those with louder voices. W.S. Maugham :)
    QUOTE QUOTE #5

  5. Bob Cline's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by hot ford coupe View Post
    Believe it or not, I bought an airbrush Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. about 3 years ago and have yet to put any paint in it. I've been getting such nice results with the rattle cans, I just never put the airbrush Chapter 6 -- Body prep and Paint. to use. I had heard that for 1/25, the bigger spray guns really weren't too good. I'm not sure about 1/8 since I've never tried it. It sounds like we'd need to do a test or get an answer from someone more expert on this subject who's used a touch up gun. It may be a viable method.
    So, all HOC stuff is available in rattle cans?
    No Lathe, No Mill, No CNC
    QUOTE QUOTE #6

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