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When do you paint buildings?

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  • Member since
    February 2017
  • From: Harrisburg, PA
  • 636 posts
When do you paint buildings?
Posted by hbgatsf on Sunday, January 23, 2022 10:09 AM

Many years ago I used Floquil to airbrush buildings.  I would paint everything while it was still on the sprues and there would always be some paint left over to touch up when the building was assembled.

After Floquil was discontinued I was looking for an alternative and decided that if rattle cans were good enough for George Sellios they should be good enough for me.  I also started assembling the buildings before painting so that I wouldn't need to touch up glue marks or sprue cuts.  Of course that makes tasks like installing window frames and "glass" more difficult.

I am curious what works for you.

Rick

Rick

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, January 23, 2022 10:32 AM

First off there are two types of window frames in kits, ones that are molded in and separate ones (I only use the separate ones if possible so there are kits that I don't buy unless I am going to do the window in the same color as the building). I tend to rattle can the built building and spray the window frames after attaching them with painters tape to a paint sirrer. When instaling the window frames I put the window frames in place and add a dab of glue to the corners from inside the building. Glass is ussually oversized and held with canapy glue. Most of the window glass was prepainted with window shades, decals etc. and then painted black unless I want to see the interior, this removes most of the light leakage.

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, January 23, 2022 10:38 AM

My answer is the always annoying "that depends."  For kits with separate window frame castings I typically paint after basic assembly and then add details and that includes the separately painted window/door/storm shutter castings and adding the "glass" (OT but I often use real glass: slide covers).  For things like the Design Preservation Models kits where the windows are integral to the casting, I find it easier to paint the sides when still separate pieces (masking the edges to be cemented) because I usually brush paint the window frames and window sills/door lintels and find I have more control with a flat piece in my hand than an assembled cube.  Glass is added before assembly because my hand it too large to get inside some structures.  Then comes the roof, the floor(s) and such, and any view blocks

I have gone both directions with laser cut wood kits, but typically do paint before assembly, again trying to mask edges that will be cemented or glued (or leave them on the fret while painting).  But I have yet to tackle a really large and involved laser cut kit and would probably want to mull over what the pieces look like before deciding.  With laser cut kits I do paint inside and out and it is easiest to do that while the parts are still on the fret.  But sometimes they have broken free while in the package.

As a rule weathering comes after assembly but sometimes I have done some of that too before assembly particularly if I think final details are going to be too fragile to weather around.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by kasskaboose on Sunday, January 23, 2022 11:48 AM

Yes, I too go with "it depends." I tend to paint after the building gets assembled.  Once buit, I can see what requires weathering, etc.  I ALWAYS keep the roofts off the buildings to add any clear film to the windows.

Good luck!

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Posted by snjroy on Sunday, January 23, 2022 12:24 PM

I airbrush the parts when they are still on their sprues, except for those that will be painted a different color. That usually translates into airbrushing the large parts when they are still on the sprues. They are typically grouped together on the sprue "sets", so that makes it easy. Small, multicolored parts will be painted by brush, most often when they are still on the sprues. After it dries, I will remove the paint of the areas to be covered by glue, using an X-acto knife. Paint touch-ups are done after assembly. Weathering is done after. Windows (transparent part) are installed last.

I find that the airbrush is faster, and gives a better overall finish.

Simon

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, January 23, 2022 12:37 PM

I usually do walls after removing them from the sprue but before assembly.  I generally use rattle can spray for walls.  If I have separate window frames, I do those on-sprue with spray paint.  Otherwise, I paint the window frames with a very small brush and craft paint, using a magnifying lamp to do a better job with my old eyes..  For kits that have large numbers of large, multi-panel windows like factories or warehouses, I frequently glaze the windows on-sprue with canopy cement, which gives me a glassy surface which is clear, passes light but does not let me focus through it.  That way I don't need an interior.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, January 23, 2022 1:14 PM

MisterBeasley

I usually do walls after removing them from the sprue but before assembly.  I generally use rattle can spray for walls.  If I have separate window frames, I do those on-sprue with spray paint.  Otherwise, I paint the window frames with a very small brush and craft paint, using a magnifying lamp to do a better job with my old eyes..  For kits that have large numbers of large, multi-panel windows like factories or warehouses, I frequently glaze the windows on-sprue with canopy cement, which gives me a glassy surface which is clear, passes light but does not let me focus through it.  That way I don't need an interior.

 

I pretty much do it the same way. Sometimes I'll assemble the four walls before spraying them. That way I don't have to worry about getting paint on the glue surfaces which will weaken the joint. Depending on the type of corner joint, I will sometimes use a square beam in the corner and glue it to both walls to strengthen the joint. I do that with both wood and plastic structures.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, January 23, 2022 2:50 PM

I usually assemble the structure's walls then airbrush them.  If the doors and windows are part of the wall castings, I'll later paint them using a brush.
For separate window castings, I prefer to mask them while still on the sprue, covering the edges which are the gluing surfaces.

Here's some window castings, which were cast in dark green plastic, now covered with masking tape and grey primer...

...and after painting them white and then removing the masking...

The walls of this kit were cast in grey plastic, but I thought it too bland, so I brush-painted the stones in a variety of greys and tans...

...then applied some pre-mixed drywall mud as mortar.  After it had dried, I wiped off the excess...

...then painted the wall area between the second and third stories white, in preparation for applying signage, which was a two-piece decal in black, with the lettering areas left clear.
After the decal was in place and oversprayed with Dullcote, I gave the walls a wash of well-diluted water-based paint, to give some "age" to the stone.
Once that dried, the doors and windows were installed....

Kits for brick strutures all get the application of mortar, and many of them are not necessarily built as the instructions suggest.  I sometimes combine parts from different kits, or construct scratchbuilt add-ons. 

Many of the smaller railroad-owned structures are scratchbuilt, too, sometimes just to fill-in a bland area, or to use-up some leftover parts.

 

Wayne

 

 

 

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, January 23, 2022 5:47 PM

John-NYBW

I pretty much do it the same way. Sometimes I'll assemble the four walls before spraying them. That way I don't have to worry about getting paint on the glue surfaces which will weaken the joint. Depending on the type of corner joint, I will sometimes use a square beam in the corner and glue it to both walls to strengthen the joint. I do that with both wood and plastic structures.

I also reinforce my structure corners, usually with balsa strips, to both add strength and to block any light leaks at the corners.  The insides of the walls might be painted black, or I will print up a wall interior pattern if the wall might be visible through the windows.  I typically mask the glue surfaces before painting to get a better joint as well.  I seriously spend more time on detailing the insides of buildings than the outsides.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, January 23, 2022 5:56 PM

When do I paint buildings?  Well, it's not on a cold day in winter, or a day with snow and rain.  Any spraying is done outdoors in dry weather.  That's dry weather stuff, and having warmer surfaces and warmer paint cans, besides warmer fingers, really make the job easier.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, January 24, 2022 1:07 AM

Unlike Mister B, I paint at any time of year or day, as my paint shop is in my 160 year old garage, about 100' behind the house.
It was once a house, too, but I built a small insulated room (about 4'x8') in it, with a controlled air inlet and motorised fume exhaust.  In the winter (only about -25ºC) for the last couple of weeks, I simply plug in a small electric heater, which heats both the room and the rotary compressor in about 1 hour.  It runs intermittently while I work, keeping the room comfortable even in a blizzard.
In the summer, I sometimes move the compressor out of the paint shop, as it does generate a fair amount of heat, since it runs continuously. 
After almost 40 years in a steel mill, though, the heat is nothing, but it's not always good for the painting process.

Wayne

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Posted by mobilman44 on Monday, January 24, 2022 5:51 AM

The OP has some good questions, and looking back, I'm afraid my answer is also - "it depends".  But for the most part, I've painted the pieces first, being careful not to paint where adhesive wil be used.

Ones the parts are together then I'll come back for "touch up".  I prefer using a brush (oil or water), mainly because its a pain to take the work to the garage so it can be sprayed.  That said, I have taken larger pieces and sprayed them before assembly, and touched up afterwards.

As an aside.... I've found it amazing that I can finish a model and it looks very much up to my expectations.   But when I take a pic and post it, all these minute imperfections show up.  Guess that's the result of 77 year old eyes vs. high megapixel cameras.......

ENJOY!

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, January 31, 2022 9:46 AM

hbgatsf
After Floquil was discontinued I was looking for an alternative and decided that if rattle cans were good enough for George Sellios they should be good enough for me. I also started assembling the buildings before painting so that I wouldn't need to touch up glue marks or sprue cuts. Of course that makes tasks like installing window frames and "glass" more difficult.

I use Tamiya spray can paints as much as possible, and spray everything before assembly. Tamiya has a much finer spraying nozzle than hardware store spray can paints. Every color that they offer in a spray can is also available in a jar, so I get at least a small jar of the matching color for touching up paint if needed.

BTW for brick buildings, I paint both sides of the walls primer gray or light tan, then use an art marker to color the bricks, rather than painting the walls brick red and then adding some type of paint wash for the mortar.

Stix
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Posted by NorthsideChi on Monday, January 31, 2022 1:42 PM

^ what art markers do you use for bricks?  I really want to start doing that technique 


Usually after the core components like basic walls are glued, I'll paint. But not always the best method.  I feel laying them flat, then painting is the best.  That way paint will dry even. I usually apply painters tape where the glue will go, so that glue bonds to plastic, not paint.  Some solvents won't fully cure for 24+ hours so painting over uncured solvent may cause discoloration. 

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 3:49 PM

Looks like "ZIG Memory System" manufactured by Kuretake Co. Ltd. I get them at a bigbox art supply store (Michael's). They have one large tip and one finer tip. The large tips work best; the tips are just hard enough that you only paint the raised brick faces and leave the 'mortar' as is. You can also leave other areas the original spray-painted colors...forget what they're called, but the parts above and below the windows.

https://cs.trains.com/mrr/m/mrr-layouts/2289595.aspx

 

Stix
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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 3:54 PM

I paint them on the sprue.  Use a file along the window frames to scrape off enough paint for the glue to bond.

As a modeler of more modern era, buldings tend to have fewer windows so that makes the process simpler.

I remove some of the smaller details to hand paint them before assembly.

- Douglas

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