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Mechanic AH

Do you apply clear gloss varnish/lacquer to your RC hard plastic bodies? And any tips?

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Can anyone share some tips or pictures regarding hard plastic bodies and if you have applied (or always apply) some sealant like a clear gloss varnish? Perhaps a Tamiya TS-13 or some other gloss coat brand? Does it really help protect the paint job and does the TS-13 make it glossier?

I'm working on two things, a driver (helmet) and a hard body and just thought if it's best to apply a coat of gloss (I want it shiny). So far the helmet, with just the paint is already shiny and I'm wonder if the TS-13 will dull it a bit? before I purchase it. Any suggestions or sample pics of your work with some coating? Thanks!

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TS13 is just paint like any of the TS range. It just doesn't have any pigment in it.

I think it's always good to apply it over your paintwork because it provides a surface that can be polished; at first to give a nice shiny finish, and later to remove light scratches, without removing any of the colour coat.

High gloss wet coats that require little to no polishing are difficult to acheive unless you do a lot of spray painting. The smallest error will result in runs in the paint. So it is much safer to paint in lighter coats with lots of room for error and then polish them when they're dry.

The danger of polishing the colour coat directly, is that you could end up polishing through to the primer and having to paint all over again.

Better to have a few layers of clear on top. That way you can keep on polishing it while the polishing cloth shows no trace of the colour coat on it. If, and as soon as it does, stop polishing, degrease the surface, add more clear, and then polish that.

I just use automotive (Autoglym resin) polish.

 

Here's a link to my showroom - https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom.asp?id=46480

The Buggy Champ uses TS13 with stickers on top.

The Orange/Cream/Black Sand Scorcher body uses automotive (Halfords) clear laquer with stickers on top. The box art Scorcher body uses TS13 with stickers on top.

The Fighting Buggy uses automotive (Halfords) clear laquer with stickers on top.

The Lancia 037 uses TS13 both under and over the stickers.

The driver's crash helmets on all cars except the XR311, Hornet and Frog use TS13.

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@Fuijo thank you so much for the response. Really appreciate the time you spent responding to my question.

I have a number of automotive sealant and waxes but I've never used Autoglym resin so I might look into it. I looked at your showroom, and man, you really have good work and I like that you spend time on the details/bodies.

I asked about the TS-13 because I read on other forums that people we're having problems with it and how it ruined their work. I realized that they probably were not doing light coats first before wet coats. But where I hesitate (since I've never used it), was that some say to take time before re-applying coats--to a point where others recommend to wait for weeks or a month! Which I think is insane considering production 1:1 cars don't even require that. Anyway, I figure I'll probably not apply TS-13 on the driver's helmet but just the body.

Sorry I have another question because I saw your Sand Scorcher work. I have a Blitzer Beetle that I'll be working on in a month or so and I planned on putting putty (prep, sand, prime) on the gap between the front mask and bonnet/hood. Did you do anything special to hide that gap? I also was planning on using some styrene and plastic solvent cement if the gap is wide. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Mechanic AH said:

I realized that they probably were not doing light coats first before wet coats.

All the TS range have the same laquer base. So in theory, say you have a 2 colour paint scheme like a box art Sand Scorcher for example. If you apply a thick coat of TS13 it can soften the paint below it. In extreme cases this could cause the colours beneath to run into each other.

On a hot sunny day the TS13 will dry so fast that you can get away with a fairly thick coat. On a cold day it will take much longer to dry. What you want to avoid is a wet coat on top of other similar paint, that stays wet for a while. The longer it stays wet, the more chance

it will soften the paint underneath.

You want the thinner, or solvent part of the paint, to "gas off" before this happens.

The same can happen to stickers if you are painting clear coat on top of them. With very light dust coats, the solvent wont stay liquid long enough to attack them.

I've had thick coats of Halfords paint take several weeks to cure hard enough to be immune to fingerprints in winter. Even when sprayed indoors. But one wet coat of Halfords paint is like 6 or more wet coats of TS paint all at once.

 

I don't like to use filler on RC car bodies because I like to use heat from a hairdryer to shrink the stickers to any compound curves and to seal the edges. If the styrene body material and the filler expand and contract at different temperatures, the filler could become visible where it wasn't before.

Instead I make a powder out of the sprue or unused parts, melt it into a paste with liquid polystyrene cement, and use that instead. The cement melts and welds the plastic together and will sand at the same rate, and have the same properties, as the body material around it.

 

EDIT: A few more tips. When using TS or PS spray, always shake it for 2 minutes like the instuctions on the can say. And then do it for another 2 minutes. You don't know how long the can has been sitting around. Could be a couple of days, could be a couple of years.

Then run some water in the sink at hot bath water temperature and stand the can in it so that the water comes about 2/3 of the way up the can. Leave it there for 5 minutes, dry it off, and then shake it a bit more.

Spray the first bit away into the air to check it sprays the way you expect it to.

I highly recommend using Tamiya fine surface primer as a base. It gives a lovely uniform porcelain-like finish that doesn't require wet-sanding. Just wait for it to dry and then using a large soft paintbrush wash it all over with warm water and a little dishwashing liquid.

Let it dry and then apply colour. Note that this primer cannot handle water at the temperature I desribed above (for warming the can). Use lukewarm water for this.

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@Fuijo Wow! Thanks so much for all the great tips. This has been so helpful especially for future work I'm about to do. I probably will test out the TS clear on some leftover plastic and get some experience using it. Interesting approach on turning sprue into powder, have to look that one up and experiment on a few things. I do shake the paint cans for quite a while and keep them warm but I like the idea of just running them for a bit in warm water. Also had a chance to use the Tamiya fine surface primer and I like it a lot. Unfortunately, winter is coming and so paint work will take a while. Have to get to it then! 

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@Mechanic AHYou're welcome.

There can be some good painting days in winter. Sunny, dry and crisp. It's moisture you need to be careful of. If the air is anywhere close to reaching its dewpoint, then it's best to skip it that day.

Paint does take longer to dry, but if you wait until it no longer smells of paint then you'll know for sure that it's cured.

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On 10/18/2020 at 6:11 AM, Fuijo said:

Instead I make a powder out of the sprue or unused parts, melt it into a paste with liquid polystyrene cement, and use that instead. The cement melts and welds the plastic together and will sand at the same rate, and have the same properties, as the body material around it.

I second this, I’ve been doing this a while, only comment I’d add is it can take a long time to dry it can stay soft for days and will shrink a bit so leave plenty of time before sanding, I have a few where I’ve had to re-fill my finger nail impressions because I’m impatient :). Thinking out loud.. I wonder if you can melt and pull the material like how aerials for model tanks used to be made, then soften the sting in styrene cement and use this as a filler bead... I might try this one myself next time.

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I also came across a product here in the States called Waterweld. It can be sanded down and I'll probably test that out too. They have another product called Plasticweld but it dries clear.

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Hi all, on the topic of primer, is there much between Tamiya's "fine" surface primer and "normal" surface primer?  Would it make any difference when priming a Lunchbox body shell?  Thanks!

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The fine surface primer does not need wet sanding as I wrote above. Not sure about the normal stuff. If it does, wet sanding flat panels is straightforward. Fine intricate detail, not so much. Try a bit on scrap plastic and see.

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