Thanks, AlphaKappa. Much obliged for the helpful recommendations! I have some follow-up questions, if you don’t mind.
You’re the third person to strongly recommend Tamiya paints. I’ll go hunting for those this coming weekend.
I did wash all of the pieces first in soapy (dish soap) water, then let them dry thoroughly. I live in a very humid location and have been spray-painting during a particularly wet week. That said, when I began this experiment, including the painting, it was a warm, sunny day, so the blotting problem isn’t specific to high-humidity days. I do all my spray painting in very short bursts, from different angles, and in quick passes, left to right, right to left.
I have been quick to paint after priming: anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. I am very satisfied with the Rustoleum Flat Gray primer, which does preserve all the detail I desire, but I will compare with the Tamiya primer, if I can find them.
I’ll also hunt down the Simple Green this weekend. Sad to hear that I probably won’t succeed with 100% paint removal, but I do intend to try again with the same colors, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as I can combat some of the bad caking. I have some Soft-bristled toothbrushes I’ll start with.
Special thanks for warning me about eye protection.