HOW TO PAINT YOUR OWN MODELS
PART 3-PAINTING the MODEL

All painting information is based on using waterborne acrylic type paints
If you are using Scalecoat paints go to WEAVER MODELS for instructions on how to apply.
For more information on Accu-Paint go to SMP INDUSTRIES
For more information on Modelflex go to BADGER MODELFLEX PAINTS .
For more information on Pollyscale go to TESTORS PAINTS .

Still more preparation

I'll bet you thought you were ready to start spraying paint! Not yet, a bit more preparation must be done. This is a good time to thoroughly wash the model with a mild dishwashing detergent. Rinse well and let dry.

1. Prepare the paint

Most acrylics can be airbrushed straight from the bottle so don't require thinning. Shake the bottle till the paint is thoroughly mixed. Don't use old paint thinned down, get in the habit of using fresh paint, after all why take a chance on a $4.00 bottle of paint on a $100.00 model! Now I know some will thin the paint or use old thinned paint. Before thinning the paint save a bit in a clean bottle for brush work later. There will be some need to brush on the paint, such as on details which interfere with decal application. If you use old thinned paint, strain thru a fine mesh cloth to get the lumps out. Nothing ruins a custom paint job quicker than a blob in the paint. Above all there is no need to rush....

2. Prepare the airbrush

Adjust the pressure and try the airbrush to see if it works at all. I like to hook up a 1 ounce bottle of windshield washer fluid and spray into space, this will clean out the passages. If some particle plugs the airbrush now you aren't caught with a half painted model! This is a good time to finish blow drying the model to get all the water out of the cracks and crevices. Set the model aside....

3. The bottle of paint you plan to use can now be hooked to the airbrush.
A note here:: Apply the lightest color first then the next darker and proceeding to the darkest. Darker colors cover lighter colors much better than trying to cover a dark color with a light color.

4. Set the spray size

This is done by moving the needle in toward or back away from the tip. In any event this will help you determine how close to the model you need to be when spraying. Always adjust the spray pattern on anything but the model to be painted! What you see will be close to the finished paint job...

5. Double action type airbrush

These allow you to adjust the amount of paint being sprayed. The amount of air is fixed by the aircap. When the finger button is pressed air will flow, as the finger button is moved toward the rear of the airbrush the paint will begin to flow. The further the finger button is moved to the rear the more paint will flow. This allows you to paint different surfaces with different spray patterns. What you are doing is moving the needle with respect to the tip to increase or decrease the flow of paint.

6. Single action airbrush

You set the spray pattern by manually moving the needle. When the finger button is pushed you always get the same spray pattern. To get another spray pattern the needle must be moved again manually, it does not move with the finger button. It is difficult to spray the edges and other small areas without adjusting the spray pattern for a small spray pattern. After spraying the edges and other small areas you can readjust the spray for a larger pattern. Works well, just a bit more trouble, remember you have to test the spray each time after moving the needle. Again not on the model!

7. Painting

At this point you should have the paint prepared, the airbrush adjusted and a clean model on which to apply the paint. These steps are necessary for a good paint job. I like to spray the interior and edges first, then the ends, then the large sides and finally the top. I find as I spray the sides I include some of the top with each side. When all is covered set aside to dry. You now have the first coat on the model. I like to let the first coat dry before applying the remainder of coats. This will give better adhesion of paint to the model than a heavy coat or several coats applied wet. Usually 2 or 3 coats will do the trick, even on black plastic.

After the first color is on the model you are ready to go to Part 4. MASKING for the second/third colors.

S.A. McCall