View Full Version : Painting Help Please...

02-22-2003, 12:13 PM
I think I've come as far as I can with head and limb swaps and would like to go the next step into painting. I'm a moron with painting. I also can't get a torso appart. How do you paint at joints so they can still be moved without rubbing off the paint? Is an air brush good to use or does everyone just put on 5 coats? If you pop a figure apart, can you boil painted pieces to pop them back together? Do you use a sealer?

Every time I try this I screw it up and get very frustrated. I would like to make an AT-ST Driver using the Imperial Officer body but I know that's WAY beyond me at this point.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Rogue II
02-22-2003, 01:04 PM
Try this website:


02-22-2003, 01:05 PM
What paint are you using?

As far as painting the figure with the limbs attached, some advocate not doing it and some like me do so anyway, use a very thin brush and a brush with long bristles. Use a thinned paint and just apply thin coats. give the painer a much longer drying time than you normally would, dry to touch means it's probably still wet underneath and movement will possibly crack the surface layer and drag the wet paint below.

Totally dry enamel paint should be safe to boil and pop. depends what you boils and pops. What you have to remember with enamels is that the paint retains some elsticity even after the reccommended drying time is up. This can be anything up to a month in total. It takes a long time for the solvent to evaporate and the solution harden. Acrylics I know next to nothing about. Just don't like the look or feel of the paint and think enamels used sparingly get you closer to a Hasbro look.
Airbrushes are fantastic tools but take a lot of getting used to. You need to mask areas off and there's a rubber like solution you can get at art stores for doing this. After you finish painting the rubber mask just rubs off and you have a perfect edge. Very coll stuff but possibly not cheap. It's used by watercolor artists a lot.
Airbrushing is a technique that's a bit like riding a bike, once learnt never forgotten. But it's a quite precise skill to master the gentleness and deftness of touch when painting something so small. It's possible to airbrush eyebrows on with skill and practice, but for simply covering large ares it provides the cleanest smoothest finish using the thinnest layer of paint. Which is the best thing anyone could hope to achieve on their figures. It's incredibly useful for blending colors together too, gentle gradients and shades can be achieved in seconds.

Are you wanting to take the arms from a different figure and stick them on the officer body? I realise you want to change the head but that's a simple boil and pop thing. The bodies of figures are constructed in a similar way but there's such a great diversity in methods of ataching the back and front pieces of torso together. Some like the comtech stormtrooper just post and hole connections where the post is what helps tighten the body together but others have nothing like that. With post and hole connections it's possible to prise the two halves slightly open and pull the arms and head out then swap for something different and just apply pressur to close the body up again. It works, but not always. My method is usually to take the torso completelt apart and use superglue to stick it all back together. With superglue you get a good minute of positioning time before the solvent totally evaporates.

I think the main thing I wanted to answer with is that yes you can paint figures joints and still get movement but even hasbro figures have paint wearing off problems, I reckon it's a case of being patient and taking your time to just paint a little at a time. if you're painting grey over black you'll probably need more than one coat anyway to get it all covered with no black showing through. And give your paint the time to dry, that's the most important factor in it all.

I'm sorry if I sound patronising here or elsewhere in the section. I don't mean it. :)

02-23-2003, 10:53 AM
One thing that I do is to clean the figure first(to remove oil and dirt) then of course to dry it. Some really good paints that I use can be found at michaels or other craft stores called apple barrel colors. There is a wide variety of colors available and they dry quick and look good. I also use sealing materials. If you want a dry look, i.e. clothing, use a matte varnish that is clear. If you want a shiny finish, i.e. boots, gloves, belts, etc. use a gloss coat. I have actually used a clear fingernail strenthener that works superbly. It dries quick and protects the undercoat of paint well.

02-23-2003, 08:31 PM
I go nuts trying to match colors. I have taken figures to stores (Michaels included) but can't seem to get a good match. Am I too picky? Mixing colors is fine but then how do you reproduce the color exactly for another figure?

Having movable joints after painting is still alluding me.

02-23-2003, 09:31 PM
I use a simple rule of thumb, one paint brush load is equal to one part. So if i have a blue and a yellow and want to mix a light green I might mix three parts yellow to one part blue. Adjusting until i find a decent mix and then making a note of what the mix was if i liked it. Might sound a bit anal but it does help me match up a color if I've had to mix it myself and there's a long drying time in between coats.

Humbrol the equivelent of Testors over here do a specific paint mixing set which uses a dry pigment and solvent. You get a load of paint chips and a few mini tins and all the instructions on how to do the mixing and matching to standard colors. But you could also use something like that to create your own colors and then you'd have a tin of the right color to hand when you needed it. Give me a few hours sleep and i'll see if i can find a brochure with the product number and details.

When you paint the joints, gently move them every few minutes at first. not a big rotation but like a tiny nudge. you might find that it keeps the paint from gathering at the lower side and setting there. stupid as it sounds gravity will force the paint to move down and that might be where you find the most sticking. Gloss paint is the worst for sticking as it dries from the outside in, a skin forms on the top and that's usually where the problem lies. If you have a scalpel or really fine craft blade you could try gently running it around the joint to seperate the paint if it meets in the middle and covers the join. I'd let the paint skin over first and almost dry off then just slice through the skin very gently with a new blade. you won't need any pressure so you aren't going to cut the figure. Hard to describe this without showing what I mean.

02-23-2003, 09:37 PM
I think I got it, thanks!

02-24-2003, 03:47 PM
Just as a sidenote with regards to airbrushing, http://www.testors.com has their airbrush system featured right now.

Also they do this kit for storing custom colors http://www.testors.com/catalog_item.asp?itemNbr=1170

The kit i was talking about doesn't appear to be in the testor catalog and the brochure i have doesn't have the product code unfortunately. But it's called the interblend kit and the complimentary super enamel color system, which is the one with the paint chips. sorry can't help further. :)