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Painting Plastic

2572 Views 20 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Richard Johnson
I have a Peco Turntable that I would like to paint in grey.

Can I use acrylic water paint as I feel this would give a better finish.

Comments from members would be welcome on their own experience.
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I mostly use acylics now and have little or no problems on plastic, or anything else for that matter.

Acrylics are fine on everything.
I have been on a steep learning curve [re-newed learning, I might add..time dims the skills, y'know]....having to paint my son's latest fetish, Games Workshops LOTR soldiers..plastic and whitemetal.

GW have some excellent painting manuals, and their paints are excellent quality, being acrylics especially formulated for this wargaming lark.

They suggest painting a base coat of either black or white....depending on how bright the finished scheme needs to be....

their 'chaos black' is the most usual..not only providing a base coat, but also getting into all those nooks and crannogs that abound ....just in case one misses a bit with one's top coats?

Humbrol car spray is also useful.....I'd basecoat first, followed by the top coats..which will be variable?

I've also tried some matchpot-type paints, sold as 'emulsion'......bought for pennies years ago, I have used Wiko's black flat emulsion....this is variable....but as a black, it has a subtle grey tint....somewhat akin to washed and dried coal.
I take it, emulsion, being water-soluble, is a type of acrylic? am I right there?
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Acrilic paint is less forgiving than enamel when the surface is not completely clean. For enamel paint I clean with enamel thinners whereas for acrilics I use hot (non soapy !) water. Water for acrilics takes longer to dry !

If the surface is not clean then acrilic paint does not stick to well and can be easily scratched.

Whilst useful for some scenic techniques this is very annoying when you want an evan finish.
might also be worth washing the plastic in warm soapy water, to remove any grease residues, either form the moulding process, or grubby fingers
Many Thanks to you all on your advice.

I spray items with acrylic undercoat first,it then tends to stick better,(Im no expert mind)
I buy the Halfords Acrylic grey primer and spray that on as an undercoat. Or if you are painting something grey then it would be perfect for that. I sprayed my Hornby suspension bridges on my out door railway eith hat and they look good.

Kind regards

Tamiya make a superb range of water soluble acrylic hobby paints these days. Available in a wide range of colours both matt and gloss, they will result in a superior finish where correctly applied. Tamiya also offer a limited range of colours available in spray cans for those not owning or wishing to invest in an air brush. A superb finish can be achieved with these given a little practise and care in application.

I used Humbrol enamel model paints as a kid in the 60's. Haven't used them since I discovered Tamiya unless I can't get Tamiya or due a specific (camouflage) colour requirement. From what I glean, Humbrol have reinvented the brand image and are still OK, but IMO Tamiya surpassed them long ago including both volume and packaging of the product.

All the above including Tamiya's enamels are intended for safe application over plastic. The water soluble acrylics are also styrofoam safe AFAIK.
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QUOTE (madon37s @ 2 Mar 2009, 20:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I buy the Halfords Acrylic grey primer and spray that on as an undercoat. Or if you are painting something grey then it would be perfect for that. I sprayed my Hornby suspension bridges on my out door railway eith hat and they look good.

Kind regards

Many uses that stuff has! Well mostly for priming things
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QUOTE (alastairq @ 2 Mar 2009, 22:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>why do Tamiya paints smell so odd?

A good question - I have also noticed the odour.

Although Tamiya Acrylics are water soluble it is better to use Tamiya Acrylic Thinner X-20A to thin the paint. This is also where the odd smell comes from - the solvent used in the paint is the same as the thinners. For cleaning your airbrush use Tamiya Airbrush Cleaner


Here in Jo'burg we are at a high altitude. The Tamiya acrilics don't smell here. If you don't like their smell try painting on the top of Ben Nevis, or maybe put up with it for the benefit of a great finish.
Ben Nevis? could get a bit crowded up there....?
QUOTE (alastairq @ 3 Mar 2009, 21:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ben Nevis? could get a bit crowded up there....?

Not to mention a long wayto travel just to paint a model!

on the topic of Ben Nevis.....were folk aware that a couple of Austin Sevens were actually driven up.....before WW2...and definately pre-Clarkson!
Did they stay there or were they driven back down again ?
getting back to painting plastic,

I work primarily in plastic for scratchbuilding, i use halfords acrylic as an undercoat which is imperitive to alow a good cover. To paint the top colour -

if i am painting a large area on say a coach or locomotive etc - i will spray with halfords car paints as there are close matches to most railway colours. I normally use Games Workshop acrylics for all colour work as they are probably the best Acrylics on the market. I also use Vallejo acrylics as well for weathering.

For oil i use good old humbrol and sometimes railmatch as well.
For weathering both acrylics and oils, wood and various other items i use Revell Aquas (acrylic ), Floquil and woodstains.

As long as you have a good undercoat on the plastic then you will be able to use all of the above on it .

Strangley the floquil needs an undercoat on plastic as it seems to damage it otherwise............

Hope it helps

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