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"Diecast Gloss Finish: Washable?" Topic

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grommet3709 Jun 2014 9:32 p.m. PST

Hello my friends.

In my quest for 1/100 aircraft, I bought a few inexpensive (toy grade) diecast planes: Model Power, New Ray Sky Pilot, Hot Wings, et cetera (the kind of stuff in the $5 USD to $10 USD range).

They have a gloss finish, but I'm not sure if it's clear coat, and I'm not sure if it's enamel or not.

I want to turn the "toy" finish into a "wargame" finish by applying a wash and then applying a matte finish.

I have some Nuln Oil and some other GW washes, as well as some brushable matte finish and sprayable dull coat.

Before I ruin the finish on these lovely pre-made and pre-painted gems, I'd like to know if it's safe to apply these finish coats (a wash and a matte coat), directly over the "toy" finish, or if I need to apply a coat of clear gloss first. I know that would help seal the paint job, in case I want to remove the acrylic wash, but will I ruin the paint job if I don't do it?

What kind of finish is this "toy" finish, and do they generally clear coat them?

I'm hoping NOT to strip the entire paint job, because I don't want to re-prime, re-paint or re-finish. I just want to get some practice with washes and clear coats before I try to apply them to my own hard-fought paint jobs, and completely destroy hours or weeks of painstaking squint labor.

Most of these cost me under ten bucks. I just want to get them onto the gaming table quickly, and make them a tiny bit less toylike. I am not in the least interested at redoing the entire (already gorgeous) factory paint jobs.

Later, if the insurgent/irregular faction succeeds in commandeering a few, I may entirely repaint those in the appropriate faction color scheme and camo pattern. Some time next year.


Cheers and thanks for any quick and dirty solutions you can offer.

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jun 2014 10:03 p.m. PST

I know some folks advocate a gloss varnish before washing anyways, but i'd probably do it opposite.

I'd probably start with a matte varnish. After that was dry i'd "paint" a wash into all the cracks and such. Then, another matte varnish.

I'd be worried about applying an overall wash since I wouldn't be able to easily replicate whatever colors they used so that I could highlight it.

John Treadaway09 Jun 2014 11:09 p.m. PST

I'll dig out some shots today if I can but mine just get washed straight over the manufacturers paintwork and then highlighted where appropriate and then matt coated with Testors.

Finally windscreens are painted in gloss and other metallic areas hit with shiney metallic paint where it's needed.

Washes include Army Painter (both dips and inks) but usually it's Future with ink in it. Weathering (before the matt) is more AP inks and Model Mates weathering fluids. Matt is Testors spray and the clear for glazing repaint is Tamiya tinted laquer.

John T

John Treadaway10 Jun 2014 2:37 a.m. PST

I took some last night in the game we were doing link



Now these are pretty grungy but on these work vehicles its is the look I was going for. They are Future Ink (and pretty heavy ink mix to, I might add) dipped literally the whole vehicle dunked in a bath of the stuff.

Mudd in the wheels of the trucks is brown acrylic paint (Revell, as it happens) and the extra dirt around the trcks of the bulldoser is (homemade) basetex (ie paint, sand and pva mix). Details on the roof (that you can hardly see) of the dozer are the cast on kit elements painted in before the dip.

This toy is as it came out of the box:


But it's too pretty to mess with…

John T

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2014 5:04 a.m. PST

I generally agree with the idea of matte spray first, to give a bit of tooth for the wash to stick to. However, based on John's pics I'd say a wash over the existing paint is just fine also.

As for the durability of the finish. It will stand up to whatever you put on it. It's usually a super hard enamel, sometimes with a clear coat top, sometimes not. The finishes on die cast cars are so hard that MEK is the only thing that I've found that reliably takes off the finish.

Zephyr110 Jun 2014 2:10 p.m. PST

IIRC the enamel paint on metal toys (at least the older ones) is baked after application to harden it. I have a box of well played with Matchbox & Hot Wheels cars that attest to the abuse needed to chip off the paint…. ;-)

zippyfusenet10 Jun 2014 6:12 p.m. PST

What the other guys said about baked enamel finishes on diecast toys. Remember, this stuff has to stay on the toy when a 6 yer old chews on it, it can't scratch or flake easily.

I've only done basic refinishing, painted over it both with acrylics and enamels. Never a problem. Protected the final finish with gloss then flat spray laquer.

No Such Agency11 Jun 2014 4:44 a.m. PST

A soak in spray oven cleaner and a good scrub will take that enamel off. But the toy has to be disassembled to protect the plastic parts, so it's more work for a marginal improvement of detail.

John Treadaway: those look super cool. I recognize the agricultural trucks but the ARCTK thing (Matchbox "Blizzard Buster" apparently) is a new one to me. I want one!

John Treadaway11 Jun 2014 5:35 a.m. PST

No Such Agency

I went to my local pound shop and paid you guessed it a quid which, for my money, makes them very reasonable for civilian 'scatter' ie stuff I just want on the table to make it looked lived in.

I shall take another poke at my local shop this lunch time to see what else they have!

My life is way too short for me to take these sort of vehicles apart, strip the paint off and then prime, paint and reassemble them.

John T

No Such Agency11 Jun 2014 6:17 a.m. PST

Haha yeah, I guess then they're only a "bargain" if your time is free.

I did all that work for one showcase model (Riflething buggy I posted here a while ago) but I doubt I'd do it for a bunch of tabletop stuff.

John Treadaway11 Jun 2014 6:18 a.m. PST

Well, I just went out and bought a couple more items but they were out of "Blizzard Busters". Harrumph!

John T

grommet3711 Jun 2014 1:00 p.m. PST


These "hey neato toy" threads always make me spend my pocket change.

No Such Agency,

Those Riflething buggies were lovely. Time well spent.

To All,

Thanks for the many responses and the advice. Seems like a nice, simple procedure. I'll try it.

Grimmnar15 Jun 2014 10:33 p.m. PST


Aint that the truth. Just spent $15 USD on such things at Target. Got some Blizzard Busters. And Artic Whatsitcalled. MATV's Trucks. Max Steele cars as well as a few others. Not to mention the $35 USD i spent at Walmart yesterday on such things. :-)


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