Model Painting tip request

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by TheSubCommander, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    May 5, 2013
    Hi.

    I have a couple of old AMT 3-ship Enterprise packs which contain the star ships Enterprise TOS through E. The ships range in size from 2 to 10 inches or there about. The reason they have remained unassembled is because I am a horrible painter. So, they have remained packed away for some 8 years or so.

    Anyway, after cleaning out some things, I ran across them again, and thought it might be a good idea to finally assemble them. I decided that the easiest way to paint them is maybe a gold color, like Star Trek FC. The only gold paint I have come across so far at the Ace hardware store doesn't produce a "gold chrome" finish like in FC, just a gold semi metallic flake finish.

    I was wondering if anyone has done something similar and if they were able to find a "gold chrome" finish paint, or am I stuck with the gold semi metallic flake?

    Thanks!

    :)
     
  2. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Mirror-like chrome kinda gold doesn't come from a can. It has to be vacuum deposited by a fancy machine. The best you can do from a can looks like gold with a satin finish, but that polished reflective gold look is unattainable.

    Another option is laying down actual metal foil. Lots of craft stores sell a foil material for gold leafing. It's still not as shiny and "polished" looking as the chrome effect on the FC models, but it does shine a bit more than rattlecan gold. On the other hand, it is tricky to use, especially on surface with compound curves like tiny starships. It tend to wrinkle and crack and looks cool for an old-timey "found object" look, but won't probably end up as smooth as you'd want for ships at this scale.

    Good luck with your experiments, and, above all, have fun with it!

    --Alex
     
  3. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    Another option is regular old Testors Gold, oversprayed with a clear coat or two to bring up the gloss. Try it out on some scrap plastic first to check for compatibility.
     
  4. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    Thank you for your suggestions :)

    Sounds like it would be easier for me to just spray paint with a gold paint then a clear coat.

    OK This leads to a more subjective question....which shade of gold would be best to use (IE metallic gold flake, Inca gold, etc), and what brand? Is Testor's really best to use, or should I use a paint like Krylon that bonds with plastic?

    Thanks again!
     
  5. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    IMO, a spray can would be way too heavy-handed for models that small. You'll likely wind up overspraying in parts and getting drops of excess paint killing the detail. You're better off using a double-action airbrush. The paint flow is easier to control and you will get a nicer sheen to the paint than with a spray can. It still won't be chrome-like, but it will be close.

    Now, I've been out of the modelling game for a very long time, but I remember back in the 80's and 90's that many metal-colored paints, like silver or gold, particularly by Testors, never fully dries. I remember coming across a model I made almost 20+ years ago of a Hawk fighter/interceptor from Space: 1999. I rubbed my fingers on the engine bells that I painted silver, and the paint actually rubbed off as if it was still relatively fresh. For some reason, it never fully bonded with the plastic like a proper enamel. I don't know if this is still the case, but if you paint something all-metallic, handle it with care, or you might end up getting visible fingerprint markings all over the finish. So, yes, as E-DUB says, give it a nice shot of Testers gloss-cote once it's relatively well-dried. Again, it will never give you a true chrome effect, but it will protect your finished model from touch-damage.
     
  6. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    So, in this case it would be better to paint the gold paint with a brush, and then spray with a gloss coat? I don't want to spend extra money on airbrush equipment I will only use once.

    Also, is it better to paint before assembly or after? Will the model glue eat the paint?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  7. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    No brush! You're better off spray painting. Spray painting and air brushing throw down an even layer of paint pigment that uniformly settles on the painted surface. It looks smooth. Brush painting flattens out the pigment and the result is nowhere near as smooth and can, oftentimes, look very mottled and inconsistent. If you're going for a near-chrome look, do NOT use a paint brush.

    There are two schools of thought on the time when to paint. I usually paint the parts ahead of time, followed by assembly and touch-up as needed afterwards. Others like to paint once the model is built, but that can sometime add extra effort in the masking of windows and other openings. This can be particularly troublesome if you intend to light the model, like I normally do (hence, painting before assembly). In your case, however, since you plan on painting everything one uniform color, without decals (and I'm assuming without lighting), I would advise painting after assembly.
     
  8. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    Thank you I will try that. If Testors is as gooey as you say, is there a better brand to try?
     
  9. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Oh, it's been a long time. IIRC, I got good results using Tamiya paints. Then again, I was using an airbrush. Their acrylic enamels were easy to dilute with water than the oil-based paints with thinner. I do believe, however, that Tamiya has a line of small spray cans that may work better than Testors, although I've never used them myself. Simply judging based on my experience with the brand in other mediums. I believe Testors also has acrylic enamels and, arguably, a more diverse selection of colors than Tamiya, but that could be left to debate. :) Again, my knowledge is a bit dated, and there may have been improvements in paint quality over the years. I would almost recommend trying different types of spray paint on scraps of plastic or cheap throw-away snap-tite models to see what gives you the most closely desired result.

    In case you're interested here is some of my work from many years ago. The first one shows the Hawk model I mentioned earlier.
     
  10. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    Those are some great examples of modelling 137th! I will comment more, later.
     
  11. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Thankee kindly! :)

    And please post your final images once you get your painting situation worked out. Would like to see what you come up with.
     
  12. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    Well, I will post if it isn't too badly botched! LOL!
     
  13. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    Again, whatever method you use, check for compatibility by testing on some scrap plastic.
     
  14. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    Small models will be fine with spray. Just don't cheap out and buy good paint, and lay it on in thin even coats. Too thick and it'll look globby. Globby is a word. I swear. It's the opposite of globtastic.
     
  15. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    Edub I do plan on a test run on an plastic.

    Patrickivan I was planning on light coats. Do you think a primer coat on ships this small would be a good idea?

    137th, as I stated before, I like your ships.

    The U.S.S. Richthofen is pretty original, both in design and color. Interesting you used a TOS saucer with a TMP nacelle. Federation ships in other than traditional colors are interesting to me, too. After looking at my thrashed Enterprise A (the larger AMT Star Trek IV version) from when I was in junior high years later (this was circa late 90s) I once pondered what a refit Constitution class would look like in Romulan Warbird colors. I tried but didn't work out so well.
     
  16. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I've had Testor's metallic paints have different results. I think it can tend to have weird not-drying effects if it's not mixed up so well. Any time I'm using a metallic spray paint, I shake it up for a full minute... yes, it seems like a really long time. During that minute, I'll run warm tap water over the can periodically and shake it more. Do this three or four times to make sure the whole volume of paint in the can is a consistent warm temperature. The warmth helps it flow well. The shaking helps it mix well. Metallic paints tend to separate much more than regular colors and that can really muck up your final results. Also the kind of plastic you're spraying on can effect the results, but you're good with the styrene these models are made of.

    --Alex
     
  17. Ziz

    Ziz Commodore Commodore

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    Where do you live? What's the weather like there? Reason I ask is that ideally, you want to spray paint out doors when the weather is around 70 degrees or so. Outdoors for air circulation, temperature for better paint flow.

    Also, when spraying, start "off" the subject, spray in a smooth motion all the way past it and finish "off" the subject. You don't want to start or stop the spray "on" the object you're painting. And as mentioned earlier, multiple light coats are better than one thick one. Build it up, go over it a few times from different angles and positions.
     
  18. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    Yes- primer will be fine- but again- don't cheap out on it. I buy a very fine Tamiya primer, but it's pricey. Works very well on my small parts without hiding detail. Keep it light and don't bother with multiple coats. I find anyway.

    Good point about the metallic paints separating, Alex... I did a test run of various colours to use as a base for my 1/350 E, (Primer/ metallic/ Pearl white/ decals)... Anyway- I forgot to give a good shake and the separation is bad. Plus one without primer and I got bad adhesion and separation as well...

    70 degrees?! WTH is that in Canadian? Oh who am I kidding, I was brought up on both imperial/US and metric here... I got it... ;)
     
  19. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Have you considered using Alclad? They make Pale Gold, Copper, Polished Brass and Gold Titanium metallic finishes. For a polished metal look, Alclad needs to be airbrushed over a smooth gloss black undercoat.

    Note: I've read about the stuff but never used it on models myself.
     
  20. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    I'm in Phoenix, so kinda hard to do that right now. We're hitting 110s during the day, right now.

    As for the paint, I bought some today, but have yet to start the painting.

    Primer= Tamiya fine surface primer (white)
    Paint= Rustolium bright coat gold metallic finish
     

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