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Painting Plastic

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  • Member since
    September, 2009
  • 4 posts
Painting Plastic
Posted by Surian Path on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 3:07 PM
I have been away from the hobby for some 30 years and just got back into it when my 5-year old grandson showed more than a casual interest in trains. Boy, what a perfect excuse to unpack all the boxes stored in my garage! I got the bug really bad!!! Anyway, 30 years ago, when I custom painted a plastic diesel shell with my airbrush, I had to spray on Dullcoat to protect the plastic from the oil-based paints/thinners, such as Floquil, Scalecoat or Testors. Now I am seeing railroad paints made from an acrylic base that obviously will not attack plastic. I am just wondering if Floquil has changed its oil-based/thinner formulas so it does not attack bare plastic. I prefer working with this type of paint since it always flowed on very smoothly and won't clog up my airbrush like acrylic does. I also like the accuracy of colors Floquil has for sale, and the hobby shops I go to don't seem to carry a lot of acrylic based paint so Iit's hard to make a proper comparison. Can anyone give me some pointers?
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Posted by trnj on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 3:39 PM

Welcome back!  I have painted several engines and a few cars, besides weathering all of my locos and cars.  In my experience, Floquil is still the best choice.  I have never used "barrier" primer for plastic they offer or Dullcoat (until after decals were applied).  I spray the first coat on quickly and lightly and have had no problem with scoring of plastic.  Too thick an application would be a problem, however.  After the first, light coat of paint has dried (when the odor is gone), it has been my experience that the plastic is safe for Floquil.  I have two single-action and one double action airbrushes but strongly prefer the single-action brush for such work.  One "thick" spray with a double-action brush can spell disaster on a shell.  You are right--I have tried acrylic thinner, denatured alcohol, distilled water, etc. but clogging is always an issue, not to mention the difficulty of cleaning the airbrush if the paint dries in the brush (doesn't take long!).  Floquil Barrier may be a good choice if you have doubts about plastic scoring.

 TRNJ

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Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 3:40 PM

Welcome Back!

  Usually Dullcote is sprayed on 'after' you have painted the model to 'flatten' the gloss finish.  Scalecoat and Floquil both have plastic prep products to protect plastic.  Floquil has a Polly Scale line of acrylic paints.  This is NOT the same as the old Polly S line you might remember.

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by ndbprr on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 4:06 PM

It's been awhile since I have done any painting but I use FLoquil.  They now make a special material called Barrier that you can spray on before painting but I have found that keeping the paint almost dry when applying the base coat will result in no plastic damage.  If you haven't painted in 30 years I would suggest you have a learning curve regardless of material and the switch to non solvent base paint is probably a good idea.  Spraying with acrylics is not difficult and you can use rubbing alcohol to thin it so it evaporates easily upon spraying

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Posted by Surian Path on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 4:23 PM
Thanks TRNJ! Your approach sounds logical and sound. I appreciate your comments greatly. I am told that the new paint jobs found on todays locomotives and rolling stock are acrylic based. I have never seen such great paint jobs like the ones that are coming from Athearn. The precision is incredible. Of course, I'm going to have my own branch line, the Surian Path connect with the Southern Pacific, but I ran into another problem recently, when I decided to strip the paint off of an MP-15 using Testor's ELO. The stuff works great, but it does attack the plastic in a very strange way; it cracks the plastic, especially where the plastic is thin. After using a very soft toothbrush to apply the liquid and soak off the layers, it makes the thinner sections of plastic crack in half. I experienced this situation along both sides of the diesel walkways, at the entrance doors to the cab and to the tabs that holds a box-like affair in place on top of the shell. All can be repaired and the cracks won't show, but somehow, this stuff makes the plastic brittle the longer it's used. I am also told by one hobby shop owner who used to do all the master pre-production diesels for Athearn that the company is now using a new finely ground acrylic based paint that can take many applications of paint remover to get through the numerous coats Athearn applies to the shells. Next time, I going to try 91% Isopropol. When I was into model railroading 30 years ago, I used to deal with model shop out of Lansdale, PA. . Anyway, the owner used to sell this stuff that looked like over-sized epson salts. It came in a brown paper bag and he never would tell anyone what it was. All that was needed was to pour about one-quarter of it into a large mayonnaise jar full of the crystals, add water, stir, and put your plastic diesel shell in the jar. About 5 or 6 hours later, the paint on the diesel would be all wrinkled up. I'd pull it out and run it under warm water, use a toothbrush in the step area or small corners, rinse once more and let the shell dry. Before that stuff came along, all I had was brake fluid. Yuk. Thanks again for your help! David
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Posted by Surian Path on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 4:32 PM
Thanks Jim. I was not aware that there was a difference between Polly Scale and Polly S. I thought that Floquil had just shortened the name. After digging my old paint job out of their boxes, I could tell what a lousy job I was doing using Dullcoat. I always used it out of a spray can. After it dries, it actually leaves these little hills and valleys, just like a teenager gets before the first acne attack. They are hard to see unless the diesel is held in just the right light. I am wondering now what I was thinking back then. I should have used my air brush to protect the bare plastic. Dullcoat, I believe used to come in a bottle. Duh! When I painted brass, I never had any problems. I think I am going to try the Polly Scale and keep my Windex standing by if the air brush clogs up. I like the idea of not taking any chances with the fumes until I can get a new spray booth up and running! Thanks again! David
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Posted by dti406 on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 6:30 PM

I prefer Solvent Based Paints to Acrylic.  Since Floquil has changed to an Enamel based finish, I now use Scalecoat II paints for painting plastic.  Scalecoat II is especially formulated for painting plastics versus the standard Scalecoat Paint.  The major advantages of Scalecoat II is a primer is not needed on the model and the paint dries to a gloss finish right out of the bottle. 

Last night, I painted 5 boxcars in Boxcar Red in less than half an hour.  Normally it would have taken an hour and a half.  I did not need a primer coat, nor a gloss finish coat for decals, and the paint went on and covered all the nooks and crannies easily as compared to Floquil.

I would look into using Scalecoat II, but use a spray booth due to the fumes.  I have stopped using Floquil entirely.

 

Rick

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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Posted by Surian Path on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:39 PM
Rick: Sorry my reply is so long getting back to you. I had to go out of town for several weeks, but when I got back I started checking local hobby shops for Scalecoat II. No luck. Only one hobby shop had Scalecoat I. Looks like Walthers may be the only source for me. The San Diego area just doesn't have it. My favorite train store in the next county up doesn't have it either, and they carry just about everything. This is very curious. But I was really glad to get your information, since none of the hobby shops even suggested trying to find Scalecoat II. I also find this situation somewhat curious. Your suggestion is very informative since I now know I don't have to worry at all about the plastic surfaces or spending extra time putting down a protective clear coat. I was a big fan of Scalecoat years ago when I was painting brass. I have one brass engine left that was painted with Scalecoat 30 years ago and it looks as good as the day I painted it. Thanks again for your tip. Regards, David
Tags: Painting
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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 1:31 PM

Surian Path
I used to deal with model shop out of Lansdale, PA.

Hmmmmmmmm, this product sounds interesting.  Do you happen to remember which shop it was?  The Lansdale shops today are Penn Valley and Lins Junction.  Combined with Lins Junction is a place that deals with large scale, Hennings.  Any of those places sound familiar?

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Posted by stokesda on Thursday, September 24, 2009 4:53 PM

Surian Path
Rick: Sorry my reply is so long getting back to you. I had to go out of town for several weeks, but when I got back I started checking local hobby shops for Scalecoat II. No luck. Only one hobby shop had Scalecoat I. Looks like Walthers may be the only source for me. The San Diego area just doesn't have it. ...

David,

I assume you live in the San Diego metro area? Have you tried Reed's Hobbies in La Mesa? I live in El Centro, and frequent Reed's when I'm in the area. I recently bought some Floquil and ModelFlex (probably my last bottle of that crap, but that's another thread  Dead...) from them. I'm pretty sure they had Scalecoat I and II as well. If not, I'm sure they could order it for you.

 

Dan Stokes

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, September 24, 2009 7:36 PM

If you want you can order Scalecoat directly from the manufacturer, Weaver Models.  Web site is http://www.weavermodels.com/page11.html

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Posted by Mr. SP on Friday, September 25, 2009 8:00 AM

dti406

  The major advantages of Scalecoat II is a primer is not needed on the model and the paint dries to a gloss finish right out of the bottle. 

 

Rick

I prefer Scalecoat 2 for plastic but I use a primer. Tried the no primer route and it took too much paint to cover the black plastic. I use either Floquil grey primer of Scalecoat 2 MofW Grey as a primer followed by the colour of choice. Allow several days for the primer to completely dry before painting.

Scalecoat 2 and Floquil don't mix when applying Floquil over Scalecoat 2.

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, September 25, 2009 8:35 AM

Unfortunately, thinner based paints are probably on their way out, largely due to health / environmental concerns. Acrylics as noted can be a beast on a good internal-mix airbrush, I tend to just use a cheapo external mix Testor's airbrush for acrylics just because it can't get gummed up like my expensive (and now worthless) internal-mix airbrushes did.

Actually, whenever possible, I use Tamiya spray can paint now. It's not like the old style spray can paints, it goes in a nice smooth layer and it's pretty easy to get a result comparable to airbrushing.

Stix

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