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This is just a quick post, but if it should be in a different area, just say :)

Ok so I'm thinking of getting a Midnight Pumpkin and putting a nice paint job on it. But, I'm only used to painting Polycarbonate/Lexan bodies, so how do I paint an ABS body? I've heard it's alomost like the 'oppostie' of polycarbonate bodies. So far as I know, you paint the main colour (base coat) on first, then paint details over the top of that. Or, do you need to paint each section induvidualy and mask areas? Please help!

Also, does anyone have any tips for masking? Such as what tape to use etc...



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Great article on painting up a Sand Scorcher shell.


I use 3m Blue painters tape for large areas, and do detail masking with tamiya tape and a new X-acto blade.

In general, you paint the "base" color, then the detail colors. You may have to wait 1-2 days between masking details to let the base coat cure.

Then go over the whole thing with some clear coat, and it should look awesome.

There are other articles on how far away to hold the can, how fast to sweep across, how warm to make the paint etc.

It's still a mystery how sometimes paint jobs turn out so awesome, and others don't. I have good and bad days with painting, and I've been doing it for a while...



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If you want to do it the easy way all i can say is Krylon Fusion. It reallly works great for a novice and doesn't cost too much. I painted a Hi-litf Hilux ABS shell w/ Tamiya TS paints and it almost cost me $70 just for paint and Tamiya brand masking supplies. Tamiya makes a variety of different sized masking tape. it really helps for small detail and produces sharp lines.

Oh, and to mirror what Skottoman said, let the coats cure. If you don't you can actually re-activate paints already put down and it can mix colors or make the paint bubble or run.

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Yes, TS-13 is glossy clear coat. It's basically just clear paint. The TS-13 clear will add lots of gloss and depth of colour. It can be polished to a high gloss.

Best tip I can give is GO SLOW. Paint on a warm dry day, and spray lots of thin coats rather than one thick one. Don't try and cover the body in one go. Wait 15-20 mins between coats, longer if it's cooler. Once the body has a good even coverage of colour, then you can do a final wet coat, where you hold the can a bit closer while you spray and spray until the paint starts to gloss up and level itself, then STOP. This should give a nice glossy finish. Be very careful with spraying clear, white, and yellow, as it's often hard to tell when these colours are glossing up, and these paints tend to be very thin so it's very easy to spray too much and get runs in the paint.

Paint in a dust free area, preferably make yourself a spray booth out of a big cardboard box. Even then be prepared to repair a couple of spots where dust settles on the paint.

If you see flaws in the paint, or get paint runs, then STOP. Paint hides nothing. You should let the paint dry for at least a couple of hours (more if you have a run), then you can rectify these with wetsanding then continue painting.

Plus primer is very important, especially when you are painting white, yellow or red, as these colours are especially translucent. Use white primer for these colours. Grey primer is fine for anything else. Metallic paints usually have thicker pigments and give better coverage.

For polycarbonate you paint dark colours first, then light colours, for ABS it's the reverse - paint the light colours first. If you paint dark colours first, the dark colours will affect the colour of lighter colours sprayed over the top.

And for masking, make sure you use Tamiya masking tape (it gives the best results), and wait at least 1 week for the layers underneath to cure if you're spraying over another colour (the tape can damage uncured paint). When you're spraying two tone, spray a mist of the previous colour or clear to seal over the tape before spraying the 2nd colour.

- James

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All good advice so far. Couple of things I do is use automotive spray paint for cars that will be run (Halfords in the UK, big range of colours and primers) you get more paint for your £ compared to modelling paint and once fully dry it's very tough. Best to wait 1-2 days between colours as already mentioned above or any masking tape can effect the finish of layers already applied.

A great tip I've used for years is get an old long spray can and fix some double sided sponge tape (servo tape) to the top, then fix it to the inside of the car body roof. It makes it much easier to hold the body, turn it around and get into all the nooks and crannies without touching the paint you've already laid down. I also finish my paint jobs by spraying a darker colour inside the wheel arches and underneath, it makes quite a difference to the final look of the car.

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Here is a Pajero MTW I built a few years back. I want to say that the paint job is medium effort.

After throughly washing the body I lightly sanded with super-high grit paper and used an Exacto knife to remove the mold flash.

I did not use any primer and laid down a few coats Tamiya metalic silver.



I put the silver down first so it would make the top coat sparkle. i finished it off with some Tamiya clear coat.



I used the Tamiya masking materials to mask the bottom from the top. I used the same masking for the grill, moulding, and other parts.




I not not wet sand in between coats so the finish was not super smooth. This is the amount of effort I would put in a light runner. If it were a shelf queen than I would have wet sanded between every coat and would have polished the clear coat. It just depends on you. IMHO the best paint job is 90% prep and 10% painting

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Here is an Aeromax that I sanded between coats and it turned out better than my Pajero. I would say medium-high effort.



And, here is my current project. Its a TF2 that I sprayed with Krylon fusion and did almost not prep to the body.

No sanding, priming, or clearcoat. Very low effort, good for bashing.



I am in no way an expert painter. In fact, I hate painting ABS bodies most of the time because i am impatient. Here is what happened to my sandscorcher project when I tried to paint it box art....it somehow ended up all black.


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