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"Priming and cleaning soft plastic figures" Topic

9 Posts

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Windward15 Sep 2023 11:44 a.m. PST

I'm working on a convention version of a surfing game. I found some nice surfing figures, but the are roughly toy soldiers (green army men). I'm going to need to cut them up for some different poses (paddling out and different boards).

But I'm unclear what to prime with and how to clean. I think a file will just mush them. You can see the big vent sprew on the head and the mold lines. I have 48 of the Bleeped texts, so I should be able to pick the cleanest casts.

Also suggestions for sealing them.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 12:12 p.m. PST

Wash with warm water and soap. Prime with a plastic primer. I frequently wash them with a diluted white glue before I prime them. Coat with clear Plasti Dip.


epturner15 Sep 2023 12:55 p.m. PST

Wot 79thPA said.


Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 2:03 p.m. PST

For clean-up, I suggest a new X-acto knife blade, to trim the sprue marks. Also, use this to trim the mold lines, if needed. Then prime.

See my other post. Rust-O-Leum Paint + Primer is good. Pick the color that matches the largest surface area (likely skin color), and apply to the whole figure. Then paint the bits that differ in color. I would still recommend a urethane-stain mix, as a wash, to bring out the details. A dark brown color will darken the flat skin areas somewhat, giving the figure a "tan." LOL!

If you want sandy bases, follow my other post's suggestions, and just use a light-colored sand mixture from your local hobby/craft store (Michaels, if in the USA). Cheers!

Dervel Fezian15 Sep 2023 2:03 p.m. PST

I have done a lot of plastic toy soldiers and what 79thPA says works. I have used vinyl paint from the auto store to prime then instead of washing with white glue, it works really well. Spray on clear Plasti Dip and then dullcote on top of that.

The vinyl paint is "flexible" and I have found the paint stays on the toy soldiers better than my metal ones.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian15 Sep 2023 5:53 p.m. PST

My experience is that it really depends on the figures.

I have found that some figures do not need priming, as whatever they did at the factory leaves the figures ready to paint.

At the other extreme, I just tried to put a wash on a plastic figure, and found it was repelling water! I didn't want to lose the prepainted colors, so I 'primed' with a clear matte spray.

Martin Rapier16 Sep 2023 2:14 a.m. PST

Give them a wash in soapy water.

Clean up flash with a (very) sharp knife. This bit is rather tedious.

Undercoat with undiluted PVA which both stiffens them up and helps modern paint stick to them. I never had a problem with paint sticking to soft plastic 40 years ago, but modern paints seem to be rubbish.

Blackhorse MP16 Sep 2023 5:57 a.m. PST

Matte ModPodge is my latest go-to. After washing with warm soapy water, apply a coat of MP as a primer. Then paint figure as desired. Then a second coat of MP is applied to seal the paint between two layers of protection, so when(not if) the figure bends and the paint wants to flake off it has nowhere to go. Finalize the process with a coat of matte varnish.

I've had solid success with this method. An alternative method which accomplishes the same goal is to use clear Plasti-Dip spray in place of MP. Good luck.

Windward18 Sep 2023 10:44 a.m. PST

Thank you all

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