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"Preventing paint flaking." Topic

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963 hits since 8 Feb 2021
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Lbgirl5408 Feb 2021 6:16 p.m. PST

I am new to this painting game. I would like to use my plastic figures 1/32mm to be able to have battles, but would like to know what one uses to prevent the paint from flaking off of the finished product.One person recommended that I use clear nail polish, but that made the paints bledd and left a weird sheen to the figure. I also used Testors top coat, there was some bleeding of colors (limited) and no shiny sheen like with the nail polish, but I don't like that it seems to bleed the colors. Suggestions????

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2021 6:43 p.m. PST

Many have recommended coating the unpainted figure with white glue (i.e., Elmer's Glue) and then after it completely dries, painting them with acrylic paints. After the paint is completely dry, giving them another coat of white glue. Personally I haven't painted plastic figures in decades but that is what I've read here on TMP. YMMV


pnguyenho08 Feb 2021 7:14 p.m. PST

I coat unpainted figures with white glue (brush off all the blobs of paint so you don't lose detail). After I finish painting, I brush on Future wax ( now sold as Pledge floor wax) often mixed with a bit of black for a black wash. Then I use a matt spray/brush on finish to get rid of the shininess. My plastic figures hold up well to handling. Sometimes on the bendier parts like sword or rifle, I will add another coat of white glue after painting as alluded to by ColCampbell.

dBerczerk08 Feb 2021 7:17 p.m. PST

After washing the plastic figures in warm, soapy water and letting them dry thoroughly, I prime my plastic figures with white Gesso (Liquitex), bought from Michael's, a local arts & crafts store.

I let the Gesso dry overnight, and paint them the following day with acrylic paints.

When finished, I coat the figures with matt varnish (Vallejo).

Previously, I undercoated my figures with matt spray can enamel primer (white, black, brown, and/or grey). While it worked fine for some plastic figures, I often experienced paint "flakage" when transporting figures or using them on the tabletop, especially on bayonets, rifle barrels and sword blades.

rmaker08 Feb 2021 8:45 p.m. PST

One uses acrylic paints rather than enamels, for starters.

Vintage Wargaming09 Feb 2021 3:15 a.m. PST

If you spray your painted soft plastic figures with Plastidip clear spray, the pair won't be coming off

John Leahy Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2021 4:24 a.m. PST

Vintage Wargaming nailed it! I've been using it for decades. Great stuff. Just make sure to shake it well. Ace Hardware carry it.



robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2021 5:13 a.m. PST

White glue undercoat and top coat works. Or you can use Woodland Scenics Terrain Cement for the top coat.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2021 8:49 a.m. PST

I agree, the Plasti-Dip is likely your best bet. I've been painting Polyethylyne (PE) plastic Army Men figures (54mm, or 1/32 scale) since 1998 (virtually nothing adheres to PE plastic, for very long…). I block paint the bits that are different from the plastic's color, then I painted them with Minwax Polyurethane Stain (aka, The Dip Technique), and while it looks great, and it is incredibly fast, the Minwax breaks loose, and comes off, after a few years.

I need to invest in a spray can of Plasti-Dip. My hope it that it will permanently freeze the paint in its place, longer than a few years. I tried dipping Army Men figures in Plasti-Dip, but it went on ridiculously thick! Spray application is the only way to go…

If you are gaming with 1/32 figures, I would highly recommend using 2-inch square bases for them. Hot Glue works rather well for adhering them to MDF square bases. MDF square bases can be found, in a variety of sizes, on both Amazon, and e-Bay -- various sellers on both sites. I paint random patterns of PVA Wood Glue on the bases, then I swirl them in two different mixtures of sand: one is a mixture of 3-4 different colors of green sands, and the other is brownish-red sand, which I collected from the North Shore beaches of Lake Superior. I baked the Lake Superior sand, in a cookie sheet, at 350 F, for 30 minutes, to kill any organisms present on it. I let each color of sand mixture dry, thoroughly, before I paint the remainder with PVA Wood Glue, and repeat the process for the second color mixture. Touch-up's may be necessary, but it is best to wait for each application to completely dry before trying again. Use a dry paint brush to gently dislodge any loose sand granules, before storing/using. Here are a couple of examples of what they look like: Figure1, and Figure2.

Some thin plastic base materials will warp, some 2-6 months after applying water-based glues, like PVA. The MDF material will not warp with PVA Glues, even after several years. Do NOT use vinyl peel-n-stick floor tiles for making bases… It warps terribly, if water-based glues are used. Had to rebase plenty of figures, months later, after using inexpensive vinyl floor tiles for making bases. Cheers!

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2021 11:13 p.m. PST

Other options to consider:

There are primers formulated to "bond to plastic" by both Rustoleum (Plastic Primer Spray) and Krylon (Fusion), but there are a lot of plastics in the world and no chemical formula is guaranteed the same reaction with all of them. I haven't tried either on plastic figures, but if I ever get around to painting 1/72 figures again, these are my first experiment.

Some spray paints also claim to bond to plastic: Rustoleum 2x Ultracover paints and primers, Tamiya spray paints and primers, and Testors (Model Master). I have used all of these on styrene plastic model planes, and they adhere very well. I've never tested any on plastic figures. One caveat: the non-flat colors (satin or gloss) make terrible undercoats, and must themselves be primer-coated before painting. I use Tamiya or Testors brush-on primers for this when I must. (I mostly use satin and gloss spray paints for military colors on planes which are supposed to be glossy.)

Tamiya brush-on primer is thick, goopy, and smells awful (use only outdoors), but adheres to 1/72 plastic figures really well. Ironically, I haven't used it on the styrene models it was meant for, because it's very difficult to spread without leaving brush stroke texture. I only keep this stuff around for repairs and touch-ups, especially on figures I bought or inherited painted that started to flake.

- Ix

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