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Translucent Paint - Step by Step with pictures

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I painted this Nissan Silvia body using Tamiya Translucent paint. There was interest in my previous translucent paint job, so I decided to take pictures of each step to show how to do it. 




I used these colors:




For each "coat" of paint, I hold the can about 6 - 8 inches away from the body and spray in side-to-side or up-to-down strokes.  I want the paint to dust onto the body in a mist. I don't want to paint in stripes. I aim for complete coverage by the 3rd application of paint, or when the can runs out. The time between each coat depends on when the paint flashes off. When you first apply the paint, you can see that it is very glossy and wet. If you watch the paint, you'll see it flash off and lose it's gloss. It'll still be wet, but will have a matte look to it. Soon after that, I apply the next coat. The temperature that you're painting in will determine how long this takes. On a cool day of 60F, this could take up to 5mins, but on a hot day this will be a lot faster. Just make sure the paint looks dry before applying the next light coat. 


Here's the body after the first coat of Translucent.




Held up to the light, it's very see-through.






Here it is after the 2nd coat of Translucent:




A little more orange, but still very see-through.






The 3rd coat of Translucent:






At this point, there wasn't much left in the can, so I was holding the body up to the light and looking for any area's that looked uneven. In particular the lines and crevices in the bumpers or around the windows. Here's how it looks now:




Here's how it looks from the outside when held up to the light. If I stopped here, this is how it would look. If I backed this with black, I would just get a dark orange color that wouldn't be that appealing. 




The next step is where the magic happens. 


Here's the first dusting of Bright Silver:




You can already see the color starting to change on the outside. It looks like there's some yellow in the orange.






Here's the next coat of Bright Silver. I had complete coverage by this step and stopped here with the Bright Silver.




When held up to the light, you can see that it is still semitransparent. If you look at the shadow from my hand, you see the silver.




First coat of Black.




Held up to the light:




Next coat of black. I put the black on a bit heavier here. 




Held up to the light, you can no longer see through the body.






I gave it a couple hours to dry, and then removed the masks and overspray film.










This is the body in direct sunlight. You can see the metal flake from the Bright Silver showing through, giving depth to the paint.






Indoor lighting showing the metal flake.












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Excellent tutorial - and that gorgeous finish on the shell is more than enough proof!

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Great job, I like that orange 

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Great guide, if you had chosen a solid white instead of the black at the end it would’ve come out a lighter shade of orange I guess... but that darkish burnt look is very cool.

These translucent paints are nice, I’ve just bought translucent purple and a bright silver and am now deciding if I finish with white or black... I’ll paint the same method as you showed here though ;) 

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when the Trans range first came out I did this...


(1/2 Trans Orange 1/2 Trans Red, bright silver backed)

but if I'm gunna do an entire shell today I'd go the new PS61 Metallic Orange instead 


Less risk of the spotchiness I often get with Trans in light coats.

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Great tutorial! I happened to use the same paints a couple of years ago on my TRX-4/Honcho build. But I only backed with the silver, no black. I now wish I had left a little orange off the bottom edge of the body so the silver would show more and fade into the orange as you move up the body - maybe next time ;)

IMG_0200 IMG_0201


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Has anyone tried using a translucent shade as a tiny for a dark color? 

Specifically what I wonder about is clear red and ps5 black and whether it would add a bit of depth or effect in sunlight.

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Thanks for sharing this - I just used it on an Avante body with the box art PS-16. Stoked with the result. 

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