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Armor/AFV: Early Armor
WWI and other early tanks and armored cars.
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Having trouble applying paint
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Alabama, United States
Member Since: October 07, 2018
entire network: 2 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 02:36 PM UTC

I'm working on my first kit (a Meng Renault FT-17) and I'm having trouble applying paint in the first step. I used surface primer before applying my first coat of paint, and noticed that it didn't appear to be applying evenly. I thought maybe all it needed was a second coat, which I applied in smaller segments and a little quicker than the first since I thought maybe the primer was drying up quickly or something, but had the same problem. I tried again several days later and am now even moving around some of the paint already in place. I took the above picture after the third attempt. If anyone has any pointers to help this rookie out, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
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Washington, United States
Member Since: March 15, 2009
entire network: 3,425 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 02:45 PM UTC
Jacob, it would be better if we knew what kind of paint and primer you were using, how it was applied, and under what kind of conditions. Your problems could be due to any one or a combination of variables..
VR, Russ
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Alabama, United States
Member Since: October 07, 2018
entire network: 2 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 02:50 PM UTC
I'm using Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer with Model Master paint. Applied using a set of paint brushes I bought at Hobby Lobby (not sure how to get more specific on that). Conditions were room temperature in my office.
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Washington, United States
Member Since: August 09, 2002
entire network: 1,625 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 03:41 PM UTC
I Always spray on the primer, either by spray can or airbrush. I use Tamiya fine primer from a spray can and I always have an even coat.
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Queensland, Australia
Member Since: September 04, 2015
entire network: 1,453 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 03:48 PM UTC
you use a Brush or Airbrush?...model master acrylics or Enamel?...you thin the paint?...and with what thinner?...more information you can give easier to give you the right answer
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / Espaņa
Member Since: July 04, 2013
entire network: 1,189 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 09:43 PM UTC
Not sure about the primer but Tamiya (acrylic) paint is really difficult to use without an airbrush. If the primer behaves the same, you better change the brand or use the spray can.

If you do not have anything better at hand, then try with a few more light coats until it is covered evenly.
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Stockholm, Sweden
Member Since: November 29, 2006
entire network: 6,195 Posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 10:08 PM UTC
Many light coloured paints have the bad habit of trying to creep into corners and leave the flat spaces almost uncovered.
The best solution would be to use an airbrush (or spray can ...)
Another possibility is to go for a grey primer.
A possible solution is to paint only the flat surfaces a few times before letting the paint reach corners. I have not tried this but if the problem is caused by paint creeping into corners then blocking access to corners should work.
I have had similar problems with light coloured Humbrol paints, specifically the gloss ones.
/ Robin
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Hessen, Germany
Member Since: September 22, 2016
entire network: 35 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2018 - 12:16 AM UTC
Hello Jacob,

I'm not trying to be funny but to me it seems the paint wasn't stirred enough or thinned too much!? Otherwise I haven't had this problem!


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Quebec, Canada
Member Since: January 01, 2004
entire network: 7,346 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2018 - 02:42 AM UTC
Is there any greasy or oily residue on the plastic?
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Georgia, United States
Member Since: January 30, 2017
entire network: 110 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2018 - 03:07 AM UTC
Someone pegged it, Jacob. Tamiya is a bugger to brush. I have only used if for small areas and detail work -- not a large piece like you have there. I will say that Tamiya primer and paint in spray cans work extremely well for me.

Some paints -- Model Color for example -- brush more easily. Even then, you can get brush marks. I will do several coats, each in a different direction to even out the coverage.

Model Master enamels seem to brush better for me. I know people who only brush their models, but they thin the paint A LOT and brush many coats. Spray cans are easier, in my opinion, for a beginner, and for better coverage of large areas.

People also say you should wash the sprues before you paint to get any mold release residue off. I don't usually do that, though.
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Member Since: March 14, 2013
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2018 - 05:00 AM UTC
I've tested some Model Master enamels bought on sale, I painted them by brush, and I had similar problems: they cover very badly, they are slow to dry and they melt when one passes a second layer by brush. I don't know if I made something wrong, but really, there was nothing that could have been made wrong.
A friend of mine that utilized paints of this brand, by airbrush I think, referred that they were prone to go away with handling.
Now I am wondering how can such colors be utilized... maybe there is some way that I don't know.
My suggestion is to change brand at all. If you want to use a brush, Humbrol enamels are good for this use and don't require any primer. An alternative could be the use of Valleyo, Italeri or similar paints that are well brushable and odorless, but they require a primer else their adhesion to plastic is poor.
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Washington, United States
Member Since: March 15, 2009
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2018 - 06:42 AM UTC
OK, now I understand the problem-- Tamiya primer, with MM enamel paints. Or are you using MM Acrylic? -- if so, that's your main problem. If they are MM enamels, you shouldn't have any problem. Firstly, it's better to spray primers, rather than brush painting. The reason is they tend to have more uniform coverage when sprayed. Brush painting primers leads to paint build up in some areas, which dries at varying rates, without a uniform finish. This produces "hills and valleys" in the paint, which has a tendency to cause overlying coats to pool or be "repelled". In addition, Tamiya paints are Acrylic lacquers, and they can have an effect on enamels. Acrylic lacquers also tend to dry with a more glossy or finely pigmented finish that will actually repel the carrier in some enamels, which MM paints are. If brush painting is the only way you have for painting, accurate thinning is definitely required-- with the proprietary thinners. In this case, Tamiya Lacquer Thinner for the Tamiya primer, and Testor's enamel thinner for the MM paints. Using a wider brush for full coverage will also help. For the primer, you probably need at least two or three "thin" coats, allowing at least 24 hours between coats to dry. Always brush in the same direction. Then allow an additional 24 hours before applying any enamels (MM) paint, and again, starting with a thin coat of about 50:50 ratio of paint to thinner. Avoid scrubbing. All paints need to be thoroughly mixed. I think it's a myth that Tamiya paints are hard to brush-- out of the bottle yes, but properly thinned mixtures are as easy as any other paints. Really the skill here is to find the correct ratios for mixing. For Tamiya paints, because they are an Acrylic Lacquer, they tend to dry much faster than enamels, which is why many folks consider them difficult to brush paint-- the key is to add paint and thinner into the mix to keep the paint viable over time. And to be patient with the drying process. And remember, paint coverage using dissimilar thinners and carriers can often be problematic. It might be advisable to use a "barrier" coat of clear to prevent one type of thinner interacting with another type of paint. I also recommend a good spray primer. Krylon (which owns Testor's by the way), or another enamel brand might be better. I've used MM paints for years with no problem, and I've used Tamiya for years with no problem, and I've used the two together on occasion with no problem, but the key is proper thinning and patience. I recommend mixing paints in containers outside the bottle too-- get a deep-dish pallet or have several mixing containers on hand.
VR, Russ
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North Carolina, United States
Member Since: January 21, 2004
entire network: 756 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2018 - 08:53 AM UTC
I love the smell of Tamiya paint in the morning....

...Smells like, consistency.