it comes to models, I've been using what I call "Hardware"
paint for decades. Plastikote, Valspar, Rustoleom, etc. I still use model paints or course, but
if a color is not available that way, or I see a unique
color I realy like, I will use the hardware paint out of
most are enamels, but some are automotive lacquer paints
(from online or from a parts store). I always use primer
with an auto lacquer because those paints, depending on
the brand, can be very harsh on a plastic kit. Enough to
where it will MELT the PLASTIC into a lumpy blob! Or at
least ETCH the plastic and give it a bad texture.
true that Tamiya and Testors both make lacquers, but those
are a synthetic type, and ok for models. Automotive paints
primer I've never had an issue with automotive paint on
a plastic model (or resin, vinyl, etc.).
companies don't tell you what kind of paint it is on the
label. My guess is that they are some kind of enamel / acrylic
hybrid. They dry faster than an enamel, almost as quickly
as an acrylic.
important thing is TO ALWAYS TEST THE PAINT FIRST.
I can't stress this enough. Mixing primers, paint, and clear
coats is like making a mixed drink. You don't know exactly
what you're going to get and how it's effects will be until
after you drank a few.
easiest way to test paints, primer, and clears is to shoot
them on cheap,
white plastic spoons.
The spoons are great because they replicate model plastic (especially Tamiya / Hasegawa type model plastics) very well. They give you a nice spooth surface to check out how the paint distributes over a surface, and they are two sided.
funky things happen to the spoon, you'll be glad you didnt
try that paint, primer or clear coat on a $ 50.00 model.
can use hardware paint if you know it's limitations.
cans are twice the size of a model paint can and many times
cost about the same price. So there are advantages to using
- Tips for can "hardware" paints:
- Always read the label and try to find out what kind of pint. If it doesn't specify - take a chance - but always test on a spoon.
- Read the can label for use! Some cans have to be shaken for 4 minutes - some may be 10 minutes. Mix the paint well by shaking the proper amount of time.
- Find out from the label how far away from the project you need to be! Most cans 10 to 12 inches. So don't get up close - like 3 inches - from your model and glob on a thick oozing dripping coat of paint.
- Do your paint job in layers - I usually do a minimum of 3. Sometimes as many as 5 or so.
- No matter what kind of paint it is (outside of a lacquer maybe) if it says GLOSS it may still dry matte. So be ready to use a clear coat if needed.
- Check the spray nozzle. Fan nozzles are best. They shoot a thin vertical layer pattern of paint that works great when going back and forth across the body for thin layes. Can nozzles that spray a ROUND pattern tend to shoot paint everywhere - so give those some distance from the model.
- I have spent a lot of money in my lifetime looking and testing for the best clear from a can. Currently the best option I have found is Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in a can. #450920F / UPC 27426 33050 . When used in several light coats you can build it up to a high gloss. One caution is not to shoot it on too thick - you will get heavy white spots that will eventually dry clear but you don't want high and low spots in your clear coat. You want a nice even spread finish. I have used the Minwax product on acrylic, lacquer, enamel and various other paints - with the same great results. It doesn't seem to care what kind of paint you are using (but I always test on a spoon - just in case!).
- When using cans it's practice, practice, practice. I've been using them for 40 years so I've gotten used to them. I di have an airbrush I use sometimes but cans are my main paint choice.
Hasegawa Thunderbird for instance uses the Minwax clear, over a hardware paint baby blue color: