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by TTT

TTT's Spray Paint Basics Tutorial

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Old 05-10-2009, 10:15 PM   #1
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TTT's Spray Paint Basics Tutorial

This tutorial is for basic spray paint techniques using an auto primer and hobby/hardware enamels - just the basics.
These techniques may not work for Krylon "Fusion" paints, if you choose Krylon Fusion paints read/follow the label and use accordingly.

Start with safety, wear some form of protection.Respirator, gloves(long sleeve shirt).
Those little cup masks are not designed for this, read the label and/or ask questions at a hardware section /store.

Where are you going to paint ?
This is best done outdoors away from homes, family members & pets.
You'll need a clean area free of dust.
Little to no wind.
A place to hang dry parts.

What's the weather like ?
Outdoor humidity levels must be low or spray paint will not apply properly.
Best results will be on a warm/hot, dry day. The less wind the better.
If it's raining don't bother...

Taking the figure apart...
Areas that rub will need to be sanded.
For spray paint I would take these apart and paint accordingly.
This can normally be done with just a screwdriver, keep track of all screws.
Put them back where they belong as you go, see pic.

If you skip this and just bag them all...good luck !!!

Separate parts that are not being painted and parts that are being painted.
Very small parts should all be kept in a bag that locks with a zipthingy-majiggee.

Factory paint removal...
Factory paint applications normally have a bad reaction to spray paint, removal is highly suggested.
I give my parts needing to be stripped a bath in 99% rubbing alcohol(this will require testing on parts before heavily applied and may ruin clear parts on some figures).
After soaking under supervision for an hour or 2 I get to work with an old tooth brush(and gloves).

Some parts may need longer soak times or more time with the brush.
All factory paint should be removed before proceeding.

At this point the parts that are getting painted must be thoroughly cleaned before any paint is applied.
Most agree that a hot/warm soapy bath followed by a thorough rinse and dry time is all that is needed.
Some people use paint thinner or rubbing alcohol, these 2 methods will require testing on parts before heavily applied and may ruin clear parts on some figures.

The parts are now clean so if you handle them you'll get them all oily again, I use those blue rubber gloves when handling parts at this point.(and as much as possible until the figure is complete)

Now separate parts that need masking and parts that don't.
Most generic masking tapes are OK for this but higher quality & priced ones can be found at hobby shops.
I don't pull pins, I mask.
Here's a little trick for those tricky Alt shoulders...

For wheels I go all the way and mask the back as well so no spray comes through to the front.

Large posts that won't be seen are best left unpainted.
The layers of paint changes that size of joing parts like these and you might not be able to put it back together if painted.

If you do paint them by accident try scraping off as much as possible.

I tie a wire somewhere on all the parts that are getting spray paint.
This helps with handling and drying.

Here are some parts all ready to go for paint.

Read the directions on your spray can.
You can even put your cans in a shallow cake pan of warm water to warm the paint(some people do this every time).
I usually shake the can for about 2 minutes before spraying.
Have a drying rack set up, I use this old shelf with strips of packing tape waiting ready to go.

Before you start...
Do a few test sprays to see how the spray reacts, make sure it doesn't spit paint in big drops.
This should also give you an idea of how/where(and if any) the wind is blowing.

The real trick to spray paint is technique, thin coats and heavy patients are key.
Your spray stroke should always start away from the target and spray evenly over desired area but keep the spray going until after you have cleared the target.
Never start or stop spraying directly at your target.
The speed of your stroke will depend on how fast the can sprays and what part of the process you are at, in the beginning you will want somewhat fast strokes as first coats should not cover the target, only a light mist is necessary.
This can be repeated every 15 minutes or so(read directions on can for exact times).
Each piece sprayed gets the wire handle secured in the packing tape strips in between coats.

We'll start with a few thin primer coats.
After several mist coats of primer and 24 hour dry time you have complete coverage shown here.

Note the thickness, no details were lost.

I try to keep these parts in a sealed container so they remain clean from now until the painting process starts.

First paint applications should be similar to the first primer apps. start with mist coats, never start or stop spraying directly at your target.
Your first mist coat should look like this...

4-6 more mist coats should get you complete coverage.

At this point you can either:

A) You can go further and improve the the smoothness of the paint finish.
B) Finish up here and do a thicker gloss coat as your final coat.

If you choose A).....

Let the parts dry for at least 3 days or more.
You will need 1000 grit sandpaper, this is called "wet sanding".
Get the 1000 g. paper soaking wet with water and keep it wet, you want to sand the parts evenly but you do not want to sand through the paint(or primer!) so it's better to think of it as "scuffing the paint" not sanding, use very little effort.
Once you have scuffed the paint evenly it will have a dull flat look to it.

Give the parts a rinse and let them dry thoroughly...then see step B) below(final gloss coat).
You can even repeat this process for an even smoother paint finish.
The sky is the limit, you can even buy a polishing kit that scuffs the paint and polishes in a step by step process with different grit pads.(ask your hobby shop)

If you choose B).....

Do 1- 3 final gloss coats, a gloss coat is similar to the mist coat only it's a little slower and may an inch or 2 closer to the target.
You may want to repeat a gloss coat within 20 - 30 minutes but be careful, don't over do it.
Let the parts hang dry for at least 24 hours before you touch them.

Be very gentle with the pieces, don't test to see if you can smudge the paint with your probably will.

Remove masking tape after 24 hours.
See how masking connecting pegs will eliminate paint wear...

Always pull masking tape away from the paint on masked lines.

Over sprayed areas like inside Alt. arms I try to hide & detail.
First sand inside arms to prevent paint rub.

You can see the cleanly sanded area that would normally rub causing paint loss.

Paint insides black & reassemble arm.

Let parts cure for a week before reassembly.
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Last edited by TTT; 05-10-2009 at 10:18 PM..
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:17 PM   #2
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The last ten pics...
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