Before you customize a TFPrime figure

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by NEST SOLDIER, May 21, 2012.

  1. NEST SOLDIER

    NEST SOLDIER IRONHIDE'S DRIVER

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Posts:
    1,025
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    After painting three of these things, I wanted to share my glorious finds with everyone, all at my expense, too! :cry 

    First, you should know that these figures are made of a softer plastic than previous lines. This means they are malleable. As such, here's a few tips to help you out, and save you some money:

    -DO NOT soak these figures in a bath of Isopropyl alcohol. It will cause the figure to actually warp.

    -For paints, I'd recommend Acrylics, simply because the Laquers and enamels that I used didn't take well.

    -I also highly recommend using House of Kolors adhesion promoter, or a similar product. It has to be applied with an airbrush, but it's worth it. This means that the base color will have to be flat grey or black, but it's better than having your paint flake off.

    -Lastly keep your paint layers extremely thin around the joints and parts that touch. I know the tutorials say this, but on these figures there's no room for error of any kind. I highly advise not painting ball joints, pivot pins, or anything of the like.

    Keeping your paint layers as thin as possible is a good thing on any figure, but especially on these. I spent at least an hour prepping the figure, then allowing it a day to dry before I touched it, and I wore gloves the whole time! The tacky paint experience, as well as a few cover ups due to joint contact have only served to motivate me to mod another one.

    For me, the motivation is simple: I wanted a Mirage in my DOTM collection. Now I've got one. Hope this helps you in your customs.
     
  2. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Posts:
    47,975
    News Credits:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Likes:
    +188
    Those sound like some great tips!

    For those of you who have worked on Prime figures, please share your experiences/tips that are of similar nature (things particular to Prime customs), as I'd like to make a resource of this. It's got a disclaimer type of feel to it, and from NS is saying here, I think that it sounds warranted!
     
  3. OMEGAPRIME1983

    OMEGAPRIME1983 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Posts:
    12,777
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +532
    Ebay:
    Great tips! It's nice tip see people sharing experiences like this, very cool of you ns.
     
  4. deliciouspeter

    deliciouspeter Back in Black TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Posts:
    4,597
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    292
    Likes:
    +444
    Ebay:
    My experience is that they aren't much different from other lines. Like past lines, almost every figure has different types of plastic, which react to different paint/dye/ink differently.

    An alcohol bath can have that effect on almost any plastic, so I wouldn't ever soak plastic. I've had an overall weakening of plastic from using alcohol too generously. Just use it to wipe areas down. Windex and other mild degreasers are effective at removing the so called mold release layer.

    I don't own FE Bulkhead or Prime, but FE Arcee and FE Bumblebee took acrylic paint well. RID Cliffjumper took spraycan lacquer. Cyberverse Bulkhead is in progress, but so far so good, despite the many many many rub spots.
     
  5. Zildjian

    Zildjian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Posts:
    3,552
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    212
    Likes:
    +25
    Wow.... I could not disagree more on all of your points above. I soak ALL of my figures in 99% Isopropal alcohol and have yet to have a problem with any Prime figure. The plastic is the same as it has always been.

    Always use some from of adhesion promoter or plastic adhering spray paint as a base. Also, you MUST let it fully cure for at least 5-7 days before moving to the next step to ensure 100% adhesion.... it says so right on the labels! Also, my adhesion promoter from house of kolors has always been clear, I need to tint it with a flat white.

    I would NOT recommend ANY acrylics in any form other than detail painting. You will be able to scratch them right off since they are water/alcohol based and NOT solvent based. Lacquers are the way to go on MOST if not all transformers as it actually chemically bonds to the plastic/adhesion promoter.
     
  6. NEST SOLDIER

    NEST SOLDIER IRONHIDE'S DRIVER

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Posts:
    1,025
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    In response to what you said:

    First, My TFP Deluxe Wheeljack soaked for less than thirty minutes in 91% alcohol, and became malleable. Whether or not this is a fluke with one figure, I cannot say. I can only tell what happened with mine.

    As for curing, Testors informed me that all of their paints require 48 hours to cure. The labels on some of their paint that I ordered DID NOT SPECIFY THIS. Being new to this, I called the company to check.

    After carefully prepping the figure, and allowing no less than 48 hours for each layer of primer / paint to dry, I applied a clear coat. After it cured, it too, flaked off.

    This was after sanding the figure. So, for whatever reason, after following the steps outlined in the tutorials, My figure didnt turn out so hot.

    As for the House of Kolors adhesion promoter, again, I was told to use either flat gray or flat black as a base color.


    I'm not saying your wrong, as board members say that you are a pro customizer, but I do know what I did, and what did and did not work.
     
  7. SG hailstorm

    SG hailstorm JaAm aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Posts:
    2,964
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Location:
    Kaon
    Likes:
    +144
    I would like to note that spray primer works on prime figures, my TFP kick-off has a white primer undercoat
     
  8. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Posts:
    6,707
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    267
    Likes:
    +122
    Aww heck, I'll chime in, 'cause I have something of a renegade perspective that new-folks often find helpful.

    I agree that the Prime-Figures I've been playing with are not substantially different material-wise than any other line (the material-sorting seems a little different, but it's kind of a wash), I've yet to encounter any issues using standard techniques with these guys.

    You mentioned you were new at this, and that this is one of your first projects. From the sound of your posts it seems like you've put some real effort into reading tutorials, investigating and investing in good materials, and even making sure that you have official word from the vendors on how to use their products.

    That is COMMENDABLE, you're clearly taking this seriously, and wil undoubtedly develop this skill in short order.

    All that said, you still need to develop your skills, and the tutorials you're following, while excellent and accurate, are also in many cases "advanced techniques" in a lot of ways.

    Trying to jump into the deep-end of how to play this game is a bit like trying to hop on a full-size motorcycle without ever having to learned how to balance on a bicycle. Even with a great teacher, you're first few rides are more likely to end in a crash than someone who's worked their way in slowly.

    I've been painting models/toys/etc. in various ways for decades now, and when I really WANT to, I can buckle down and get some damn fine results. There are some folks here on the boards (and I've commissioned most of them), who do literally WORLD-Class paintjobs, and their work is mind blowing, but my best work is certainly comparable to the bread-and-butter of the more skilled artists you'll see on here.

    But I'm lazy. I have more project ideas than time, and it's a rare occasion when I go all-out and bust-out the "advanced techniques" (usuallly when I've been commissioned or if I'm doing a figure specifically for sale), but that's fine, because you can still get great looking results with just a few simple steps that you'll be able to master with a minimum of practice.

    So, my practical advice-for your first few projects, follow these steps, and don't fuss over anything more advanced. You'll be able to get results that you can be proud of without getting lost in the weeds. If you master this process and want to start working in the more advanced stuff, you'll be able to do so after a project or two:

    • Prep and Planning
      1. Decide what your color-layout will be
      2. Disassemble the figure and sort the parts into each to-be color
      3. Give the parts a good wash (I actually usually skip this part, and rarely have trouble)
      4. Examine each part and see if any are soft-rubber or nylon-based "unpaintable plastic"
        • if you're unsure, a quick spot-test will give you an idea
        • MOST toys have at least some of this stuff, and paint adhesion is really tough, thankfully it's often an interior structure, so you might be able to work around it in your final color scheme. Consider using that stock color as an accent to your final figure if it's at all complimentary.
      5. Pull those "unpaintable" bits out of the color piles and either plan on leaving them stock, accepting a higher degree of chipping, or use another technique (Sharpies, dye) to tint them.
      6. For everything that WILL be painted, mask-off anything that should stay stock (windshields etc.), or that will make it hard to reassemble the figure (screw-post-shafts, etc.) Regular blue painter's tape works pretty well, though you may have already picked up some nicer stuff.
    • Base-Color
      1. Get yourself some Krylon Fusion (I think there's now also Rustoleum "Universal" which has a similar formula). It's a rattle-rattle shake-shake can, and hey get poo-poo'ed a lot, but the stuff works, and it works well. Remember, we're keeping this simple for your first few projects.
      2. Follow the directions on the can, and apply thin layers to each part until you have a nice even coat on all visible surfaces.
      3. Allow the paint to cure for the time specified on the can.
    • "Chip Proofing"
      1. "Chip proofing" is a lie. Accept that. If you're willing to accept that truth, jump to the next section, if you want to mitigate the chipping as much as possible, continue to the next step.
      2. Reassemble your base-coated parts.
      3. Run through a few quick transformations and a little posing, this will show you your true "rub points" (this is one of the best tips I've picked up on this board!)
      4. Now that you know where your rub points are, you have three choices:
        • A: Work the esposed-area into the design of your final deco, re-exposing the base-part to create a stripe or other accent. (If you're creative, this can be a very effective way to go, let those contact parts do their thing, and work WITH it instead of against it)
        • B: Find a more-durable pigmenting solution for those areas (sharpie, dye...though ideally you would have dyed the parts FIRST if you're going this route), and again, figure out a way to work the different shade/color into final layout creatively
        • C: Sand the snot out of the rub-points to reduce the side of the part enough to accomodate the additional layers of paint (per the tutorials). Re-paint, re-assemble, re-test, and keep at it until you hit a level of chip/rub you can tolerate.
    • Detailing and Finishing
      1. You've now have a fully assembled, and mostly-chip-mitigated figure, you're a good 90% of the way there.
      2. Detail paint your figure with a brush, air-brush, or a mask-and-spray technique. Depending on the look you want to go for you can dry-brush to shade and highlight the textures of the paint, or you can just judiciously paint the detail areas to keep that "new car look" as clean as possible (Drybrushing is a LOT easier to get a good result, and may be where you want to start until you're more comfortable with painting.)
      3. If you want, or don't mind, a little bit of a gloss-finish, mist the completed figure with a few coats of Future Floor Polish (The OTHER best trick from this board!). Spray it on thin and do a few coats if needed. You don't want it to run and pool in yiour joints etc.
    You can even cut out some of the steps above to really keep it simple, but you can get solid results with just a few hours of work and a bit of dry time with the above method.

    But above all the key is practice and experience. You WILL ruin your first few projects, so don't start on something you really care about, work with some scrap pieces or an old figure in your parts-bin, once you're happy with your results on the scrap, try it out on a real figure.

    You're clearly enthusastic and committed, so I'm sure you'll be doing amazing things in no time!
     
  9. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Posts:
    47,975
    News Credits:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Likes:
    +188
    I'm still really enjoying this discussion, as I think a lot of good is coming out of it. Keep sharing those tips, gang :) 

    Also, I want to say that I've not personally done any work with Prime figures yet, so I am taking your words that customizing them may be different than working with other figures. I have noticed some changed in plastic (also attributing to the main topic of this thread), so I figured that there may be truth to it. At any rate, the discussion here is really good :) 
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  10. NEST SOLDIER

    NEST SOLDIER IRONHIDE'S DRIVER

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Posts:
    1,025
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    Allow me sir, to say thank you. Your advice is exactly what I needed. I really do care about this project in particular, and customizing in general. It began with this desire for a Mirage figure, but I'd like to one day be able to take on commissions for other fans.

    Thank you again for your help.
     
  11. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Posts:
    6,707
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    267
    Likes:
    +122
    I've started working with a few (specifically PRID guys), and yeah, they definitely feel a bit different, but I haven't encountered any issues using standard techniques on them yet. NEST S may well have bumped up against some of the limitations I haven't hit yet, anything's possible.

    I love these kinds of threads though, it really highlights how many ways there are to do things, and that there's no one "right" way.

    You are very welcome. Keep working at it and you'll get there, you clearly have the drive! Hopefully you'll start seeing success soon!
     
  12. Fartini

    Fartini Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Posts:
    197
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Likes:
    +0
    The only parts I've had to take off the ones I've done so far were the heads/faces of Arcee, Knockout, and Megatron. I brush-paint mine so that's why naturally. Alcohol is fine to wipe them down with but I wouldn't ever soak a figure in one long regardless of the line. If you are going to strip paint off get a vibrating/sonic toothbrush and 91% alcohol, three or four minutes tops and it's gone. That tip I found out on my own.

    I've used Model Master and Citadel acrylics with a Future topcoat on mine and had no problems so far with chipping but I don't "play" with customs other than transforming them.

    Arcee I simply cleaned and laid down MM True Blue Pearl, custom mix metallic pink details, black where needed, and the silver where needed also. No priming at all and it's paint is solid. Letting them fully dry/cure before handling is the best thing one could do.

    It varies brand to brand. Get some Model Masters Gunmetal or Flat Black, lay it down as a basecoat for an arm or leg or whatever really. I've taken car keys to it the next day or so after it's good and dry/cured and BARELY scratched it. Car keys. Their Gunmetal is especially durable for some reason. Citadel/Games Workshop, oh absolutely not. It is probably the least durable paint I've found and if it's thinned it will rub off just by touch unless clear-coated. I like lacquers too but really don't have a use for them since I brush. You just can't brush them and get a good finish (sure you know this already Z) but when I have for details they have came off pretty easily unless coated.
     
  13. aledromo

    aledromo Decepticon at the Gate

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Posts:
    5,007
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +198
    This is really helpful.
     
  14. optronix72

    optronix72 Autobot

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Posts:
    517
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Thumbs up for a highly useful info thread! Great topic!
     
  15. aledromo

    aledromo Decepticon at the Gate

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Posts:
    5,007
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +198
    I'm also a relative newb to the world of painting and I realize that my vocabulary is limited, and worse: I've got just enough knowledge to be dangerous to myself. As such, I do have a few questions about this incredibly useful list:

    So the base coat is meant to be a neutral color? Or is it best to use a variant of the intended final color? Or the final color itself?


    So for example, you'd drybrush blue highlights onto a neutral base? Or are you talking about metallic drybrushing onto a colored base for detailing? I see the term drybrush thrown around often but often with apparently different meanings.

    Any insight is welcome as I fight the war on uneven paint apps.
     
  16. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Posts:
    47,975
    News Credits:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Likes:
    +188
    I paint differently than some here, but I tend to prefer base coats of the same hue. For example, I'll use a Kyrlon Fusion blue as a base coat for a blue custom and use a type of blue for a top coat (usually brushed on + Future).
     
  17. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Posts:
    6,707
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    267
    Likes:
    +122
    I'm with Quaddy' on this one, I try to base coat with a color as close to the final as possible. Sometimes if you're trying to paint a light color over a dark color (eg yellow paint on black plastic) then you'll want to put down a few coats of a neutral color that has decent opacity (I like light gray), as light colors don't have the same ability to "cover over" that darker hues do.

    As for drybrushing, the technique refers to any time you're using your brush with a very minimal paint load (I.e. its all but dry), what you DO with it is up to you, there are a million variations. But in general you use it to accomplish any effect where you want to transfer the paint to the raised-areas of a part while leaving the "valleys" (relatively) untouched.

    Hope that helps!
     
  18. aledromo

    aledromo Decepticon at the Gate

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Posts:
    5,007
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +198
    Update. I bought and tried a little rustoleum today (since Krylon doesn't make a blue shade that I found). It goes on very easy and seriously covers everything. Great look. But it has a kind of thick, puffy feeling to it. Now the can says it takes 5-7 days to cure fully, but will that feeling go away?

    Oh, and that helps a lot. Especially now that I see a solid blue block on my sample arm. I can see where it wouldn't take much of anything to add some detail with a brush.
     
  19. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Posts:
    19,470
    Trophy Points:
    257
    Likes:
    +46
    Never used Rustoleum. What's it like?
     
  20. aledromo

    aledromo Decepticon at the Gate

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Posts:
    5,007
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Likes:
    +198
    EDIT: I don't have much of a frame of reference since it's my first spray paint, but compared to the finish model masters acrylic gives, it's kind of sticky. Even coverage with very little run or blobbing. The stickiness may fade with time, I suppose. Won't know for certain until Saturday. In all, I feel kind of confident thinking of using this for an upcoming project. Now I need to go read up on masking.
     

Share This Page