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"PVA for 54mm figures" Topic

14 Posts

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Sevastopol20 Jun 2018 11:29 a.m. PST

Is it necessary to apply PVA to 54mm figs after cleaning them with soapy water, or can you just wash them and apply the desired primer?


Dervel Fezian20 Jun 2018 11:59 a.m. PST

My process learned from a master of painting flexible plastic figures is:

1. Wash with soapy water.
2. Spray with flexible plastic like Dupli-Color vinyl and fabric spray (from Autozone).
3. Paint with my usual water based acrylics.
4. Spray with Plasti-dip clear.
5. Testors Dullcote to reduce the shine.

Sevastopol20 Jun 2018 12:29 p.m. PST

Sounds good. I've read in other posts where people use PVA after washing and was hoping to skip that step.


bobspruster20 Jun 2018 12:45 p.m. PST

Some use PVA as a primer, but I never had much luck with it.

John Leahy20 Jun 2018 3:18 p.m. PST

Dervel nailed it! I only differ a little from him. I use plastic spray primer and don't spray after Plasti-dip as it is very flat.

nevinsrip20 Jun 2018 5:55 p.m. PST

People that work in 1/72 tend to use PVA as a base coat. Not so much in 54 mm.
Try soaking your figures in straight vinegar before priming. The vinegar will remove mold release residue better than soap and water. Rinse under warm water and let air dry.

Sevastopol20 Jun 2018 9:15 p.m. PST

Thanks for the info/tips everyone.

Green Tiger21 Jun 2018 12:12 a.m. PST

I have painted thousands of plastic 1/72 but have never used PVA – is not necessary.

Martin Rapier21 Jun 2018 7:48 a.m. PST

I PVA'd all my 54mm figures, but it was partly just habit.

It does stiffen up rifles, spears etc. which helps prevent flaking.

YMMV depending on the bendiness and greasiness of the plastic.

Sevastopol21 Jun 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

@Green Tiger – without using PVA did you have any problems with paint flaking off of rifles, spears etc.

Sgt Slag21 Jun 2018 1:04 p.m. PST

I painted a few hundred 54mm Army Men figures, only applying acrylic hobby paint to the bits that differed in color from what the plastic was: flesh, weapons, etc. I then painted Minwax Polyshades Urethane Stain on them, Royal Walnut color (the original The Dip technique).

They lasted 4+ years, but eventually, the paint started flaking off. The Minwax will work, for a while. If I had treated them like I do my painted metal miniatures, they might have lasted twice as long.

In my opinion, I doubt anything will last more than 10 years, on soft plastic figures, but I hope someone can prove me wrong. Experimentation is king, Baby! Cheers!

Sevastopol21 Jun 2018 4:19 p.m. PST

Thanks again!

acough2001 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2018 5:16 p.m. PST

Having painted more plastic figures than I care to remember, I have come up with a procedure that works well and is durable.
First they need to be clean. Soapy water works but I've also had success with windshield washer fluid (the cheap blue stuff sold just about everywhere) for soaking then going over with an old battery-powered electric toothbrush.
I then prime them with Model Master Grey Primer. After letting it dry overnight, I then apply a thin wash of Tamiya Flat Black, again allowing them to dry overnight. I use a combination of Vallejo and Foundry acrylics for painting.

They are then given a coat of Liquitex Hi-Gloss Varnish. So far I've had great success. You can see the results on my blog, Der Resin Kavalier. Go to

Sevastopol24 Jun 2018 6:11 p.m. PST

Looks great – Thanks!

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