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Model Paint Tips


Painting can really brings out that realistic look in all models and besides, its just plain fun. Your model kit may come with stickers or a decal sheet to improve the look and realism of the model; however, painting really makes a model stand out. All you need is some practice and patience. The following information below will explain some basic tips about painting. Before explaining anything else, be sure to test your paint colors before painting your model. Remember to paint lighter colors first, then the darker ones. Darker colors are harder to cover up when using lighter colors.

Using your Brush
Brushing paint can be an art-form; however, you don't need to be an artist to paint a model. This paragraph explains some easy tips for using the paintbrush. Let's tackle the paintbrush; a good recommendation for brushes are our Taklon Artist Brush set. For detail work, a finer brush is recommended, like our Model Master detail brushes.

Now, for the paints. First, remember to brush in one direction at a time. Brushing in one direction gives you an even looking finish. Second, don't apply too much paint to your project. Too much paint could cause wrinkling of the paint when it begins to dry. Third, do not apply more paint to the project while it is still wet, this will cause brush strokes to remain on the finish. It may require many coats of paint to accomplish the look you are looking for. I would not recommend that you paint a large surface with a paintbrush. Paint small areas with a brush. Large areas should be painted with a spray paint or an airbrush. We Recommend our Aztek - Single action Airbrush for large painting area's.

Spray cans and Airbrushing
For large areas that cannot be brushed, use spray paints or an airbrush. The technique for spraying an area is almost the same as using a brush. However, you will end up with a much smoother looking finish when using the spray can or airbrush. When using a spray can, remember to follow the instructions on the can. When applying spray paint to your model, remember to paint in one direction using a back and forth movement. Be sure not to over spray your work or the paint might run or cause drips on your model.

If you a die-hard modeler like myself, than more than likely you have an airbrush or two laying around the house waiting for the next modeling project. Using an airbrush will give you a professional look compared to using a paintbrush. But you can still run into problems if not used correctly.

One of the most common problems when airbrushing is rushing your paint job or not cleaning your airbrush well after each use, which can cause drips, runs, spitting of paint and even clogging. Follow these basic rules when airbrushing especially if you’re a beginner.

  • Clean the surface of your model very well before painting. Use a good quality tack-Cloth to get rid of any dust or dirt that might show up in your newly painted model.
  • Mask off the areas that you don’t want painted. Take your time when doing this part, which will pay you dividends with a clean and professional look.
  • Hold your airbrush about 3 to 5 inches from your model to achieve best results and don’t cover your project all in one coat. It may take 2 coats to cover your model.
  • Don’t start airbrushing directly on your model. Start spraying about 3 to 4 inches from the left or right your model and don’t end spraying on your model either. End spraying about 3 or 4 inches pasted your model. This will give you a nice professional paint job. Remember to paint in one direction using a back and forth movement

After painting, clean your airbrush very well after each use. This will cure or fix most paint issues including clogging and spitting of paint. Most modelers don’t take there time when it comes to cleaning but it’s a must if you want your airbrush to last and keep giving you great paint results time after time.

Mixing Paints
If you can't get the right colors for your model, you might have to custom mix your paint. There is no real magic to mixing paints. First you will need a container to mix your paint. Make sure that the container is re-sealable, just in case you need to reuse the paint. Mix your paints to the consistency of milk. You may need a 50/50 mixture when using an airbrush. I personal use a battery operated paint mixer for all my mixing. After your finished fixing your paint, you should test your newly mixed paint before placing it on your model.

Masking is a good way to protect parts of your model from paint. When masking the parts to be painted, make sure that the tape completely covers the area that you don't want painted. Firmly press the masking tape onto the surface, this will ensure that no paint will run under the tape. Now you can paint, either using your paint brushes, spray paint or airbrush. Allow the paint to dry before removing the tape.

Paints Storage
All paints are subject to eventual spoilage once opened and exposed to the air and other contaminants. Most spoilage is a result of cross-contamination from common sources such as air, water, people, brushes and other utensils. Proper storage and usage will reduce potential sources of contamination and extend the life of your paint.

  • Store the product in its original container in a cool, dry place and prevent freezing.
  • Date and rotate inventory, always using the oldest stock first.
  • Thoroughly shake the product before using again.
  • Remove only enough paint for immediate use. Never return unused portions to the original container.
  • After each use, make sure the cap is returned tightly and that the product is sealed before storing.

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