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Model Kit Painting Tips

Most collectors prefer to paint their models. You can bring out the realistic look by painting your model and at the same time, have some fun. Remember, every era has its own style and color for the original vehicle. Check on the Internet for pictures of the model you will be painting so yours will look more like the original. Paint only in a well-ventilated area and always wear a breathing mask.

Steps For Painting The Model

1. Wash your assembled model to remove any dust or excess glue. Let the model dry completely before you begin to paint.

2. Determine whether your model will need a water-based paint, which spreads thin and sprays very well, or oil-based paint, which is easy to clean up and covers very well.

Choose a high quality brand of paint. Remember to match your paint thinners to the type of paint you select. Check instructions to see if plastic parts have been primed. If they have not, it is important to prime with a neutral color, especially if painting light colors over dark.

model kit paint

3. Purchase soft, flexible brushes and always keep them clean. Mineral spirit, which is a petroleum distillate, is good for cleaning brushes. It is often used as an alternative to turpentine since it is less flammable and less toxic.

4. Use a brush size that is the same as the area being painted. Brush paint in one direction. Always paint light colors first and leave enough time for the paint to dry (a few hours for acrylic and 24 hours for most enamels).

5. When spray painting, spray light coats and always keep the can at a distance of at least two feet. Before spraying the second coat, let the first coat dry for two to three minutes.

Airbrushing Your Model Car

Airbrushing is another form of painting used by modelers. An airbrush is a small, air operated tool that sprays paint by a process of atomization. The first airbrush was invented in 1879 by Abner Peeler. Airbrushing is a skill that has to be learned. It is used extensively among model builders because airbrushes allow them to apply very thin layers of paint on the fine details of their models.

Applying Decals

Once you have painted your model, you may want to apply some decals. They usually come with the kits, but you can purchase more if you like. Decals are transfers of logos, letterings and markings. Some are stick-on but most are water-slide transfers. Make sure the surface where the decal will be applied is clean, smooth, and glossy.

Tweezers may be used to position the decal on the model. Hold the decal in place and pull the paper away with your hand. Do this very gently to avoid tearing the decal. Once the decal is in the right location and has dried for several hours, you can wipe (not rub) the residue from the model with a soft cloth. Once the decal has dried for at least 24 hours, spray with a gloss or flat paint.

Detailing Your Model

Detailing is a very important step for a modeler if they want their model to look authentic. The most popular method of detailing is with a pen, but it requires a steady hand and a lot of patience.

Your model will look more realistic if you ink most of the panel lines. Be sure the ink pen has a very small tip. If there are smaller details that can't be painted with the pen, you can use a toothpick.

Each builder must decide on the degree of detailing they want for their model. There are many materials available for adding details, and some of these can be found in your kit. The left over plastic can be used for many different accessories. Engine and oil stains can be simulated by mixing flat black paint and paint thinner. Mud stains can also be made by mixing brown paint and flat black paint. Some panels can also be painted in a lighter shade to bring out more detail.

These are just a few examples of detailing. You can search the Web for more on painting and detailing for your model kit.

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