Customs: Painting over "dead" LED eyes

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Thalyn, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. Thalyn

    Thalyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2018
    Posts:
    735
    News Credits:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    162
    Location:
    Australia
    Likes:
    +818
    I've started to get a number of 3rd party Transformers figures with LED eyes. Since I have no intention of ever (and I mean EVER) putting batteries in, this mostly leaves the figures with "dead" eyes that detract from the overall appearance. If experience has taught me anything, however, it's that I'm not very good at painting (at all), so I'm hoping for a little advice.

    I've found that I can get 10ml Tamiya paints locally, or even Games Workshop paints (though they didn't have prices on them). The Tamiya paints were available as acrylics or enamels, so my first question would be which of these would be more appropriate? My understanding is that enamels should look better but may have more aggressive solvents which may affect the plastic (and shouldn't be put over acrylic paints), but I could be well and truly wrong on that.

    The next would be a matter of how exactly to apply the paint. For the most part I figure these clear panels are removable, so I'm hoping that actually getting into the cramped spaces won't be an issue. But should I be painting the inside or the outside and, if the outside, should any kind of undercoating be used? And what of clear coats?

    And, of course, in the event that they can't be removed (such as if they're glued or the whole piece has been moulded from clear and painted elsewhere), is a toothpick generally considered the better method of application? Or is there some kind of tiny masking trick?

    Last question is really only one of preference, since it pertains to colour. Since I've not done this before I'm mostly just guessing on what's appropriate here, but others who have tried may have some input. I'm aiming at getting something of a generic set of paints - a blue, a yellow, and a red - to cover 99% of situations. Since the blue is for Primes (pretty much exclusively) I'm leaning towards Light Blue. But these are then available in standard colours, "pure", metallic, pearl (I'm leaning towards this), and/or "clear", or even a combination. In terms of Transformer's eyes, is there any of these which is generally more appropriate, or any which should be avoided?

    Cheers.
     
  2. ziltama

    ziltama Mods, molds, and casts. Also full of hot gas.

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Posts:
    6,561
    News Credits:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Location:
    Planet Unicron
    Likes:
    +33,570
    Better to paint the outside surface in general. You can try painting the interior if 1) plastic is crystal clear (no dye) and 2) no additional molding details on the inside.

    It's better to take apart the heads whenever possible to paint the eyes directly. There's too much risk in getting paint outside those areas.

    Attempting masking tape on an intact head in that small of a space is an exercise in frustration.

    Everyone here has their own eye paint cocktail. Undercoats are advised if you don't want lighting shining through to the inside of the head. You may need primer if the paint won't stick to the clear plastic (you can spray into a small medicine cup and then use your brush).

    Sometimes I mix white paint with the color I want to get a lighter shade that will show through better. If I want 'shiny' eyes, I'll often paint silver and then do a transparent color over that. Ex: silver paint followed by clear red to get shiny red eyes.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Thalyn

    Thalyn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2018
    Posts:
    735
    News Credits:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    162
    Location:
    Australia
    Likes:
    +818
    Ooooh. I hadn't even considered layering like that. Probably beyond the scope of my abilities (seriously, one coat of one colour is pushing it in my experience) but it's something I think I'll want to experiment with.

    Most, if not all of the figures I'm looking at have opaque heads, so I'm not all that concerned by light shining through. This is why I'm reasonably confidant the eyes are separate, but if it means I can skip a(n under)coat than I'm all for that. Primer could be an issue, though - I'll have to see what's available, and whether it's required. It seems like Tamiya has a primer (that could also double as an undercoat) for ABS and Styrene, so it's likely it will be required (and would permit the use of enamels. *ed: Though Acrylics might be easier, since durability is a non-issue for inset eyes).

    So it's mostly a straight forward process, even if it won't work out that simply. All I really need to do is pick my colours, disassemble, prime, paint, re-assemble.