Five Model Painting Tips

Some quick model painting tips from

March 19, 20192 min read

“When you want to make the main color pure and bright, don’t just keep adding bright colors on it. Just make the colors around the spot darker and dull. It will give the scene dramatical effects. I think life is the same.” - Hiroko Sakai

1 - Clean The Sprues

Clean the sprues When you open a new model kit you may get the impression that the plastic is completely clean and ready to paint, but in fact it will often be coated in a very fine layer of oily residue. This is used in the moulding process to ensure the plastic adheres properly to the details in the mold and can be removed easily in the factory. This coating is not good for painting over, especially if you are using water based acrylic paints. Water and oil do not mix and you will get pooling of your paint on the plastic surface. Washing new sprues in a pool of water with just a drop of dish soap mixed in will make all the difference and ensure you are painting on the best possible surface.

2 - Make Mounts for Small Parts

Make mounts Small parts can be difficult to paint. While it can sometimes make sense to paint them when still on the sprue - often the join between sprue and part also needs paint. For this reason a good tip is to make little mounts from Blu Tak allowing you to position and adjust the parts accordingly.

3 - Thin The Paint

Paint Thinner Bottle Different paints will come is different thicknesses and consistency can vary wildly even within the same manufacturer's product range. Never trust the consistency of the paint straight from the pot, it is almost always too thick for all but the most delicate work. Depending on what your paint is made of you can mix it with water, spirits or a manufacturer-recommended thinner. Properly thinned paint will often require multiple coats, but it will flow much better into all those small details, hide brush strokes and create a much more even coat.

4 - Store Mixed Paints

Small Mixed Paint Pots Despite the best efforts of ModelShade's paint conversion charts, sometimes the only way to get the shade you require is by mixing paints. But there's no need to re-mix a shade each time you spot another piece of model you forgot to paint. Any resealable plastic pot can be used to store mixed paint indefinitely. Some examples are contact lense cases, old film canisters or cosmetic jars. A quick search of 5ml plastic pots on Amazon will throw up many different and affordable options.

5 - Make Sure You Room Is Well Lit

It sounds obvious, but it is incredibly important to have a well lit painting area. Nobody's eyes are perfect and you don't want to miss a detail or imprefection because it wasn't visible under sub-optimal lighting. You will eventually see it in a well-lit environment and all those imperfections will suddenly spring out at you! So make sure you have a lamp or strong room lighting from the very beginning.