I really need advice from experienced painters.



  • I’m in need of advice from anyone who has experience painting Axis & Allies sculpts.
    I’ve started the long project of painting my armies and the main trouble that I’m having is getting the paint to stick, especially to infantry.

    I’ll give you an overview of my project…

    I’m using Tamiya model sprays, so I won’t be creating any additional details.
    My sculpts are a combination of OOB ('40, '42) and HBG.
    My goals are:
    1. Use colors that are less game-y looking and more muted without compromising visibility.
    2. Broaden the sculpt options per nation (i.e. using 2e Anzac sculpts like Warspite and Beaufort in UK tan)
    3. Eliminate the difference in shade between OOB and HBG.
    4. Sculpted details ‘pop’ more when painted.

    I have a process which produced some highly successful test pieces.  However, I have since been unable to duplicate their quality and I cannot figure out why.
    The process:
    1.  Soak pieces with warm water and Dawn soap to remove mold release agents.
    2.  Rinse and dry.
    3.  Paint with a spray primer at room temp.
        A.  I’ve tried multiple primers (Krylon Fusion satin white, Citadel, Tamiya primer)
    4.  Let dry at least 24 hours.
    5.  Paint with light coats of Tamiya model sprays (room temp)
    6.  Let dry at least 24 hours.
    7.  Coat with Testors spray lacquer (semi gloss, @ room temp)
    8.  Let dry at least 24 hours.

    I made perfect test pieces that whose colors were solid and perfectly scratch-proof.
    So I went and bought the rest of the sprays that I wanted which were not cheap, and have since been unable to duplicate that quality.  Infantry pieces seem to be especially ‘flaky’.
    Have I missed something?
    Is a soak in soapy water not enough, do I need to scrub each piece?
    I’m afraid to paint en masse without 100% confidence that the paint won’t just scratch off after.
    If anyone can advise me on my process/equipment, I would be very grateful! Thanks.


  • 2020 2019 2018 Customizer

    What do you mean by “flaky”?  Can you post a picture?



  • I’ll post a photo tonight after I get home.  The paint looks good, just easily chips off (down to the plastic) when scratched.  I’m perplexed because my original test pieces (OOB Ju-88 and HBG Panzer IV) came out impervious to scratching.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    I would have said to make sure you wash them with soap, but you have already done that. In my experience scrubbing is not really required and soaking should suffice.

    Next thing I can think of is the paint and lacquer you are using. Is the lacquer for enamels specifically? The difference between lacquer and enamel isn’t totally clear to me. But if you are using acrylics for the base paint and you either brush or spray on enamels over top, they may not mix well. Haven’t had it happen to me, but the thinner in lacquer can break down acrylic paint underneath and cause it to flake as you have been describing. I was under the impression that Tamiya only makes acrylic paints… while I known Testors makes both acrylic and enamel. I would check the Testors lacquer; combining that with the Tamiya is likely the problem. I have also found that it is best to stick within the same brand of paint on any one piece. Not all paint brands play equally well together when mixed or overlayered.

    Anecdotal, but I haven’t had great experiences with Tamiya. I have used some olive drab and hull red in the past and the paint consistency varied from watery to chunky and kinda flaky. This was brush paint and not spray. Could be an anomaly, but I don’t use Tamiya anymore. Predominantly because I stick to enamel paints pretty much exclusively. Testors/Model Master specifically.

    Hope that helps.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    I would suggest reading some stuff on here. You will have to sift through it and determine what is most accurate, but there is a lot of background info that should inform your decisions. Some of their comments confirm my suspicions above:

    http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/tools_techniques_and_reference_materials/f/18/p/125865/1265976.aspx#1265976

    http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/tools_techniques_and_reference_materials/f/18/t/140092.aspx


  • 2017

    Greetings from Michigan,

    At some point, I’m going to post my own tutorial on painting the pieces, but in the meantime here is my advice:

    These are plastic pieces that we are painting so we are getting into the realm of scale modeling.  Fortunately, I have quite a bit of experience in that arena since I’m heavily involved in that hobby.  Cleaning the parts prior to painting is a good step to take as that will get any oils from your fingers as well as mold release off the pieces.  So, go ahead and do that as its an easy step to take.  Use an old tooth brush to scrub the pieces a bit.  Use a quality primer!!  My primer of choice for anything model related, including miniatures for A&A is Tamiya gray or “Fine White” solvent based (not acrylics) out of the spray cans.  In fact, I do not like to use acrylic paints (including Tamiya brand) because I find that they just are not durable enough, despite what they or others may claim, especially for pieces that are going to be handled, such as game pieces.  If its a show piece that I’ll shelf and it won’t be touched, then acrylics are fine.  Otherwise use solvent (enamel) paints!  There are a lot of quality brands, but Testors “Model Master” line of paints are fine to use and come in a wide variety of colors, both flats and glosses.  I spray with an airbrush, but I believe you can get some of the “Model Master” flats in spray cans too, although I have not used those so I cannot confirm that they will work just as well as the paint out of the capped bottles.  Also, avoid putting a “hot” paint over top of a “cold” paint, such as a laquer paint over a water based paint, like acrylic.  You can put cold on top of hot, but not hot over cold.  Best practice is to just try and keep all primer and paint of the same base, be it laquer, enamel, acrylic, etc.  Even better is if you can keep all paints and primers of the same brand as well, although that is not always practical.  Most important is that the paints and primers need to be compatible and play nice with each other.  A lot of people overlook this and then wonder why their paint job looks “funny”, flaking, or whatever.  When painting the pieces, avoid using your fingers to handle them while painting, as the oils from your fingers will get on the pieces.  I glue (super glue) each piece temporarily to a toothpick in an inconspicuous location (on the bottom of the piece is a good spot) on the piece so that I never have to touch it during painting.  I then stick the other end of the toothpick in a block of clay or cork so that the piece can be set down without it laying down and touching anything, plus that gives me something to handle while painting the piece.  Last but not least, be sure to allow the paint to fully cure before handling.  This is another important step that is often overlooked.  There’s a difference between “dried” and “cured”.  When spraying enamels, wait a day and then put the piece to your nose and sniff it.  If you can smell any trace of enamel, then the piece is not fully cured yet.  With flat enamels, the paint can be dried in a matter of minutes depending on how thick you applied the paint, but can take a week or better to become fully cured when left to cure at room temperature.  You can use a heat lamp to help speed the process, but be careful with this as you would be surprised by how very little heat is needed before the piece begins to melt.  I once used an incandescent lamp to speed the paint curing process on a fully assembled and painted model, just to come back the next morning to find the model partially melted in one spot, although I didn’t think there was much heat on it at all.

    Some additional step that may help ensure maximum durability:
    1.  After painting, spray the piece with a high gloss clear coat to give the piece a protective coat.  After that has cured, you can go back and spray a dull coat back over that if you want it a flat finish, which is what I prefer (flat finish).

    Apologies if this was too much of a long read for some, but hope it helps.

    Cheers,
    D


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    What spray can brand do you use for primer or what brand name if you prime with an airbrush BusaRider ? Where in Mich you from ?



  • What about using a paint that has primer built-in and afterwards using a clear coat… is this a good way to paint without having to do a seperate primer first, then paint? Such as the example in the picture?

    RustoleumWarmCaramel2.jpg


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    @Nowhere:

    What about using a paint that has primer built-in and afterwards using a clear coat… is this a good way to paint without having to do a seperate primer first, then paint? � Such as the example in the picture?

    Yes Man      That is the brand that I use as a primer first and only then do I paint piece after it dries and then paint the colors I want. Then a coat of sealer.

    I am just asking Busa if theres a better brand of primer out there that he uses.



  • What I’m getting at is “is it cool/ok to use a paint/primer combo”, as-in
    step-1: use paint/primer
    step-2: clearcoat
    done

    …or should you use a separate primer, as-in
    step-1: primer
    step-2: paint
    step-3: clearcoat
    done

    Just wondering what other folks do and think is ok.


  • 2017

    @SS:

    What spray can brand do you use for primer or what brand name if you prime with an airbrush BusaRider ? Where in Mich you from ?

    Greetings SS…

    The primer that I use is Tamiya brand gray, or “Fine White”.  These come in small spray cans and are a bit on the expensive side, but they are perfect for plastics and miniatures that have a lot of intricate detail, as that is what they are specifically formulated for.  The consistency of them is darn near perfect, so you get a nice smooth even coat of primer right out of the rattle can.  In the scale modeling community, Tamiya brand is “THE” brand of choice for all discriminate model builders that demand the very best quality.  It’s the best primer that I have used.  If I’m using my airbrush to prime, I use Tamiya liquid surface primer thinned to a consistency that works for me.  I’ve also used flat grays and whites from the Testors “Model Master” line of paints in my airbrush as a primer and those work good too.

    I have used Tamiya acrylics, and although they are better than any other brand of acrylics that I have used, I still find that they lack the durability that I seek.  Therefore I switched back over to using mostly Enamels and Lacquers, with Acrylics used occasionally on some things.  The downside to Enamels and Lacquers and why a lot of guys in the modeling community don’t use them is that they are hazardous chemicals and they have very strong odors and fumes, and require solvent based thinners (not water, like acrylics).  So paint in a well-ventilated area when using these.  I’m fortunate in that I built a paint booth in the hobby room of our home, where it ventilates to a vent to outside of the house.  I’ll post pictures later tonight.

    Hope this helps,
    BusaRider


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Nowhere:

    What I’m getting at is “is it cool/ok to use a paint/primer combo”, as-in
    step-1: use paint/primer
    step-2: clearcoat
    done

    …or should you use a separate primer, as-in
    step-1: primer
    step-2: paint
    step-3: clearcoat
    done

    Just wondering what other folks do and think is ok.

    The purpose of primer is to give the layers of paint on top of it something to adhere to and/or provide a neutral color base. If you don’t plan to paint the pieces any more than that base layer, using the primer-paint then clearcoat should work. Depending on the thickness or how much abuse they may take, you may want to do 2 coats of paint, but that is up to you.

    In any event, spray primers are virtually always superior to paint on primer in the modeling world. Spray on is quicker, application is finer and small details and grooves will not be lost in pooled up paint. Any dedicated modeling spray primers should work well enough, just make sure you are coordinating the type of primer with the type of paint you plan to use over it.


  • 2017

    @Nowhere:

    What about using a paint that has primer built-in and afterwards using a clear coat… is this a good way to paint without having to do a seperate primer first, then paint? Such as the example in the picture?

    My best answer for that is to just try it and see.  With that said, I’m of the type that I not only like to use the right tools for the job, but I also prefer to use the best tools for the job.  I would say any paints that come from the hardware store and are not specifically formulated for scale modeling, may be the right tool for the job, but probably not the best tool for the job.  They may work, but may not work the best.

    Hope that helps,
    Busarider


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    @BusaRider29:

    @SS:

    What spray can brand do you use for primer or what brand name if you prime with an airbrush BusaRider ? Where in Mich you from ?

    Greetings SS…

    The primer that I use is Tamiya brand gray, or “Fine White”.  These come in small spray cans and are a bit on the expensive side, but they are perfect for plastics and miniatures that have a lot of intricate detail, as that is what they are specifically formulated for.  The consistency of them is darn near perfect, so you get a nice smooth even coat of primer right out of the rattle can.  In the scale modeling community, Tamiya brand is “THE” brand of choice for all discriminate model builders that demand the very best quality.  It’s the best primer that I have used.  If I’m using my airbrush to prime, I use Tamiya liquid surface primer thinned to a consistency that works for me.  I’ve also used flat grays and whites from the Testors “Model Master” line of paints in my airbrush as a primer and those work good too.

    I have used Tamiya acrylics, and although they are better than any other brand of acrylics that I have used, I still find that they lack the durability that I seek.  Therefore I switched back over to using mostly Enamels and Lacquers, with Acrylics used occasionally on some things.  The downside to Enamels and Lacquers and why a lot of guys in the modeling community don’t use them is that they are hazardous chemicals and they have very strong odors and fumes, and require solvent based thinners (not water, like acrylics).  So paint in a well-ventilated area when using these.  I’m fortunate in that I built a paint booth in the hobby room of our home, where it ventilates to a vent to outside of the house.  I’ll post pictures later tonight.

    Hope this helps,
    BusaRider

    Thanks. Ya I used to have a paint booth too for my model trains. Basically weathering. The key that I’ve seen is the dam rifles like to peel from use and I do use my pieces a lot. So main reason why I asked if there was a better sticking primer.  I used to use chalks brushed on cars to give them a weathered looked. Then spray with tester’s dullcote. Have you tried using chalks ?


  • 2017

    @SS:

    Where in Mich you from ?

    Mt. Haley Township area, just outside of Midland.

    -Busarider


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    @BusaRider29:

    @SS:

    Where in Mich you from ?

    Mt. Haley Township area, just outside of Midland.

    -Busarider

    You play with Mad Dog or Big Al ?


  • 2017

    Thanks. Ya I used to have a paint booth too for my model trains. Basically weathering. The key that I’ve seen is the dam rifles like to peel from use and I do use my pieces a lot. So main reason why I asked if there was a better sticking primer.  I used to use chalks brushed on cars to give them a weathered looked. Then spray with tester’s dullcote. Have you tried using chalks ?

    A flat finish is going to eventually start to wear off in the high spots of the piece with a lot of handling.  Honestly, I think its probably inevitable.  As stated, you could try using a gloss clear over top of your painted finish.  Let that cure, then go back over it with a dull spray.  Be aware that I have not tried this and it is just a suggestion.  I will probably try it myself to see how it works though.  The gloss will not wear off nearly as fast as a flat finish.  Sure, with handling you will wear off the dull coat in the high spots of the piece with handling, but underneath that will be the gloss protective coat that will protect the color coat against wear.  I think the piece would still have its flat appearance as the worn off areas would only be in the high intricate edges of the piece.

    For gloss coats, try simple “Future Floor Polish”.  I think its just called “Future” now.  It is acrylic based, but it is durable.  It needs to because its formulated for use on hardwood floors.  It is one of the many “tools” in my arsenal of tools in my hobby room.  You can paint it on with a fine brush, or squirt a bit in your airbrush, thin it with some water and spray.  Because this is an acrylic, it is a “cold” base.  I have used Testor’s solvent based flat clear over the top of it, but you need to be absolutely sure that the “Future” is completely cured, and then only spray the solvent flat in very thin coats.  Wait at least 3 days before spraying over the top of “Future” with a solvent base flat clear coat, if flat coat is your final coat on your piece.

    Yes, I have a full array of pastel chalks and use them often in the weathering process for military models.

    Cheers,
    Busarider


  • 2017

    You play with Mad Dog or Big Al ?

    BigAL and I just recently got in touch, so will most likely end up in his playgroup.

    Cheers,
    Busarider


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    @BusaRider29:

    You play with Mad Dog or Big Al ?

    BigAL and I just recently got in touch, so will most likely end up in his playgroup.

    Cheers,
    Busarider

    Sweet ! Dont forget Mad Dog. He has played by me and is in Holland I believe or real close to that.


  • 2017

    Sweet ! Dont forget Mad Dog. He has played by me and is in Holland I believe or real close to that.

    Holland, cool.  That’s close to me too.  I own some rental properties in Zeeland, which is literally right next to Holland.  I’m pretty familiar with that area.

    Cheers,
    Busarider


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Ya he host games too and has a great bunker room too. Just PM him on site here.


  • 2017

    The key that I’ve seen is the dam rifles like to peel from use and I do use my pieces a lot. So main reason why I asked if there was a better sticking primer.

    With some specific parts of pieces, I think moderate chipping and flaking of paint is going to be inevitable, especially with the rifle ends of the infantry pieces.  Those end pieces (the rifle barrels) flex and bend around when being handled.  Therefore, you need to find a flexible primer and paint to work with that flexing.  Latex paint is one type that comes to mind.  This type of paint is used heavily by scale RC airplane guys (me included).  As a scale RC airplane is flying in the air, the wings and control surfaces get flexed.  Furthermore, fluctuations in temperature and humidity make the wooden structure of the RC plane expand and contract.  They need a paint that works with all this flexing and contracting so that the paint doesn’t flake off and chip away.  Latex paint.

    I have not tried it on scale miniature game pieces, so I cannot say with certainty if it works just as well in this arena.  All you can do is try it and see.

    Cheers,
    Busarider


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