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Thread: What kind of paints to use for changing colors of toys?

  1. #1
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    Question What kind of paints to use for changing colors of toys?

    For a long time now, I've been using art store paints (Guache) to do custom repainting or modifying of my toys.

    But since it wasn't intended for this purpose, I had to modify the procedure a lot.
    The first stage involves putting down a base coat of whiteout, since the guache won't bond to plastic directly.
    Then once the paint dries, I have to add a second coat of clear fixative or it starts flaking off, taking the whiteout base layer with it.

    Does anyone know if there's a paint that can be applied directly to toys without needing a base layer or a fixative afterwards?
    It would have to me something I can handpaint with a fine art brush, since sometimes the details are quite small.

    For example, my next project is to add yellow headcrests to Titan Returns Hot Rod, simply because this detail was missed.

  2. #2
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    IMO preparation is the key. Assuming you?re painting on coloured plastic (ie unpainted surface) then a white primer is necessary to strengthen the bond between plastic and paint. You can get it easily from hobby shops. After that you can use acrylic or enamel paints, but acrylics are wayy easier to clean up with. I would then recommend a clear top coat to seal in and protect the paint work.

    You can get spray paints from Bunnings which combine primer and paint colour but they?re probably too broad for your fine work.

  3. #3
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    I agree with Ralph, surface prep is key, washing and sanding, I've even taken to lightly (I do not recommend using a dremel and wire brush) scuffing a figure with a wire or brass brush to create tooth for the primer to bond to. Bunnings sells a grey primer from White Knights brand and Rustoleum in a variety of colours that contains primer, I used it to do the white on my Thunderclash custom.

    If you plan on doing minor touch ups on your figures, give the head in this case a wipe with isopropyl alcohol to remove release agent, a wash and sand the head crests with 1000 grit wet/dry sand paper, wash and get your hands on a dropper bottle of primer from Vallejo or MIG ammo, they're available in white, black and grey around $5.50, Games Workshop does sell small paint pots of primer but I've only seen it come in black. Use your gouache paints as you usually do but I recommend switching to model paints acrylics or enamels when possible.

    On a final note I've noticed that some of the American customisers are recommending a brand of automotive paint called VHT a vinyl spray paint to base coat with and apparently it doesn't chip as easily.

  4. #4
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    Here's a mockup of what I intend to do:



    Given the small size of the area involved, how best can I rough or sand that up for a primer base coat?

  5. #5
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    If I was you I?d:

    1. Wash the area with soapy water to remove the previous residue.
    2. Optional: A final wipe with isopropyl alcohol.
    3. Use painters tape or masking tape to mark out and border the areas you wish to paint. You can try freehand if you got a steady hand but even I couldn?t do it.
    4. Apply a white primer to the area you wish to paint. Tamiya (https://www.tamiya.com/english/produ...ace/index.html) Vallejo and Mig Ammo are all good brands.
    5. Once primer has dried apply the yellow paint. Again, I recommend acrylic or enamel paint.
    6. Once yellow paint has dried, remove the tape.
    7. If you can be bothered you can apply a clear top coat to seal the paint but its extra cost for such a small area. The primer is the most important step.

  6. #6
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    Another option instead of masking tape is that masking paint. You brush it on where you would mask and it peels off like a thin layer of rubber.

  7. #7
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    This is good advice - just watch out to paint in very thin coats (several layers of necessary) to make sure when you peel the mask you’re not left with an ugly thick seam.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurmus View Post
    Another option instead of masking tape is that masking paint. You brush it on where you would mask and it peels off like a thin layer of rubber.
    Blu Tac can work in a pinch, I've also heard of people using PVA glue instead of masking paint but haven't tried it myself.

  9. #9
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    I have tried blu tack. It sounded a lot better idea in the brochure.

  10. #10
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    To be honest if it's just the crests your painting as long as you have a steady hand a brush with a small or fine tip you can just paint without masking and you can clean up any wobbly lines after it's dried with a toothpick.

    I'd also suggest practice painting on some parts of a broken or junker figure before doing Hotrod if your hand isn't steady.

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