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Paint Compendium: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor

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Compendium: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor
« on: Jan 03, 2017, 03:57 PM »
Spray Painting with Art Purposed Aerosol
Are you not getting sufficient results with your spray paint of choice? Are you having a hard time getting paint applied when it just drips? Are you needing a better color variety than what you find at the hardware store? Well, this tutorial is for you!

Many of you will opt to use spray paint to paint your armor, one of the many chores that is different from most other Star Wars costume builds, like a Stormtrooper just requiring a sanding, buff, and shine of the plastic. Painting is key to the build of a Mandalorian because color defines who we are in our uniqueness. From the color of your jumpsuit to the kill marks on your helmet, color and it's uniqueness define who you are as a Mandalorian.

The issue many run into, however, is the spray paint quality itself. For the average joe, the only spray paint you will ever come in contact with is hardware store brands like Rustoleum and Krylon, which in recent years thanks to factory changes, brand redirection, and anti-graffiti formula changes to make the paint easier to remove (looking at you, Krylon), have lost a lot of their color choices and have become subpar paints, many of them runny and watery, with loss of coverage, paint adherence, and can control. The only other substitute available to most is to pretty much hand paint with acrylics.

I'll make this known right now: if you do the shopping and spend the money and time acquiring it, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and have better results with your kit painting by using art purposed spray paint.

Little known to most of society, graffiti writers coming out of the 80's and into the 90's started making their own spray paint to have better quality and control of their art. The pioneers of these paints, MTN Spray Paint founded in Barcelona 1994 and Molotow founded in Germany in 1996, led a series of art paints and accessories that continue to pop up today. These paints can be acquired in many major cities, or can be found online.

The Pros and Cons of Art Purposed Aerosol
  • More Pigment in Each Can: Each brand of art purposed aerosol is based around the larger content of pigment in each can of paint. Most of these brands have up to four times pigment than you would find in a hardware store brand, meaning colors are brighter and and adhere more strongly than hardware store paint, meaning it will last longer, too!
  • Fast Drying: The propellant in these brands of paint are specialized for quick drying, since artists typically go over colors in rapid succession. Some paint will dry in under a minute depending on brand.
  • Easier To Shake and Prepare: The average can of paint has two to five mixer balls in them, meaning they mix faster when shaking.
  • More Can Control: Many f these paint brands are based in Europe and use a controllable European valve, meaning certain amount of pressure on your paint cap applies paint differently. Light application on a large surface cap will result in a thin, splatter spray, while full application will result in a full "dot" of paint.
  • Larger Color Selection: I cannot stress this enough. Art paints have larger selections of color than what can be commercially purchased by hardware store brands; the famous Montana Gold series has 215 colors! You also have the choice between brands for acrylic, oil based, synthetic, and sheen like matte, gloss, and satin.
  • Adaptable Spray Size (Caps): Thanks the the need for thin lines, faster fill ins and more adaptability, graffiti artists created different types of caps (or tips, as they are commonly called, too) to make thinner or wider spray. Use these to get move coverage on your project!
  • Screen Used: Here's the cool part; costume designer Glyn Dillon confirmed that Montana Gold is a screen used paint on the Shoretrooper in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
  • More Expensive: Because of the quality and standard at which these cans of paint are made, they cost more than the average can of spray paint. Brick and Mortar stores sell them usually at markup (i.e. Dallas Store selling Montana Gold for $9 a can), while art retailers online sell them cheaper, but still more expensive than regular cans of spray paint and require long ground shipping, sometimes across borders (ordering Molotow from Canada takes a week to get to Texas through customs). You also need to factor in caps if you want them, usually cans come default with a large "fat cap".
  • Harder to Find: Art purposed aerosol is harder to find, but not impossible. Brick and Mortar stores are not common, found mostly in major cities, and online retailers are sometimes scarce in stock.

Next Post will go into brand details and technical usage!

« Last Edit: Jan 21, 2018, 03:49 PM by Hik'aari Kelborn » Logged
"That guy who is sometimes around."

ConDar Ward

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Re: Tutorial: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor
« Reply #1 on: Jan 03, 2017, 04:08 PM »
Nice ,  looking Forward to the Next installment ...   ;D


MMCC-#0059 /M.A.- 001 /M.A.D.- 067 /ALUMINATI -013
 Ni su'cuyi, gar kyr'adyc, ni partayli, gar darasuum - Remo Jadd - 0267


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Re: Tutorial: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor
« Reply #2 on: Jan 03, 2017, 04:48 PM »
Brands of Paint
Your selection of paint is rather wide and varied, but for the sake of simplicity, here are a few brands you can commonly find beiong used.

Montana Cans (German Montana)

Montana Cans (or German Montana in graffiti and artist circles because of it's separation from the original Spanish Montana Brand now known as "MTN") is widely considered the superior artist's paint across the world. Boasting three main lines of paints-Gold (Acrylic), Black (Nitro-Combi), and White (Synthetic)-Montana is widely available across the United States and Europe, with a massive color variety in each of it's can types.



Molotow (Pronounced MOLOTOV, the W is a V!) is the original German art paint, completely founded and built from the bottom up by graffiti artists. Proudly boasting 251+ Colors on it's famous Premium line matte paint and having a high pressure, higher pigmented can line with it's most popular colors, Molotow is a very accessible go to paint that usually has every color in stock at many major sellers.

MTN Colors (Spanish Montana)
The granddaddy of art paint. Founded in Barcelona in 1994, MTN Colors has consistently pushed out new boundary breaking series of paints for 23 years. Consists of the Hardcore series (Hi Pressure Gloss), 94 (Low Pressure Synthetic), Alien (Low Presure Satin in 250ml Cans), and Nitro (500ml High pressure meant to go over chrome). The 94 Series is commonly considered the premier line of artist paint for it's color selection and valve consistency, many professional artists choosing it over it's German counterpart, Montana Gold.

Ironlak is the new kid on the block. From Australia with a large color selection, larger reload sizes in it's popular colors, and boasting a "variable pressure control valve" that applies in different speeds and pressures from pressing the nozzles differently, it's a low presure satin/matte that dries in minutes, a great paint, but harder to find in America and Europe.

Other Brands Available
  • Flame: an Acrylic brand with two active brands, Flame Blue (Low pressure manufactured in Europe) and Flame Orange (High output, Hi Pressure, formerly synthetic, manufactured in Europe); the pioneer brand, Flame Red, was a Chinese Acrylic that has since been discontinued.
  • Fresh Paint: an American brand based in Houston, Texas with cans manufactured in China, Fresh Paint is a newcomer brand that's gradually getting attention. Valve control is sticky at some times, so it's better for full coverage than it is for fine detailing. I use this paint on my armor base color, it works great. Ordering through their website gives you a free can of paint with every order and an extra of that color with every six cans bought, each can about 4.95; great budget brand.
Retired Brands
  • Clash/Beat/Super Tramp!: An Italian brand that sold three separate types of paint under different names of Clash, Beat, and Super Tramp!, which were matte, satin, and gloss synthetics, respectively. I'm not sure what happened to this brand, they were getting popular about four years ago and suddenly disappeared, the only American distributor silent on why it was discontinued.
  • Evolve: a matte spray paint from China, they still exist, but are extremely uncommon in the United States, but to my knowledge is still popular in the United Kingdom.

Next post is technical aspects of your paint, accessories, and how to use them!

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Re: Tutorial: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor
« Reply #3 on: Jan 03, 2017, 06:00 PM »
The Technical Details and Glossary of Art Spray Paint

When buying your paint to paint armor, you have to consider the following:

  • Can Size: the industry standard for all spray paint is 400ml, but most art aerosol brands have differing sizes, going from 50ml (barely the width of a spray cap) up to 750ml (Mega Cans, always high pressure). Select cans that can save you time and money, but also give you flexibility and save time if you have to use it.
  • Sheen: Referring to the many many guides on armor styles, fitting, and painting for Mandalorians, you will almost always want to go for a matte (or flat) sheen of paint. Please refer to the previous guide or brand websites for what cans provide what sheen.
  • Pressure: You think pressure makes no difference, but it does. Pressure determines how much paint comes out of the can, plus how it performs in certain conditions. High pressure comes out in larger, more space covering volumes, while low pressure is a more concentrated spray associated with technical paint jobs. Alongside this, most spray paint is rated for all weather, but an unwritten rule is that Low pressure clogs in cold weather, and high pressure nearly explodes with paint in hot weather. Base your paint selection on your climate as much as you do your color choices.
  • What Am I Painting?: This should be obvious, but within the Mercs, you are almost always painting on plastic, usually Sintra (Cut out armor plates), ABS/PLA/Styrene (Vacuum formed armor pieces), or Slushcast Resin (Helmets). Most often you are going over primer and silver for armor, so you will need a paint with good coverage that won't crack and reveal the silver. If you go pure shiny chrome (which I beg of you do not, as you will read below), you will need a "Silver Killer" blend of paint like MTN Nitro or Molotow Devil Colors.
  • What are the fine details of this project?: Usually you will have to stop what you are doing, mask something considered a "detailing piece" off, paint it, let it dry, then keep painting after removing the masking. If you are doing a solid color of your piece then going back on fine details, consider buying paint that is high pressure for the main coverage, then low pressure for the fine details. High pressure everything has a tendency to break through masking tape and sometimes even masking fluid if it is not dried enough.
  • How much paint do I need?: Oooh boy, the question most often asked. Understand this before you go buy five cans of the same color: YOU ARE NOT PAINTING WITH HOME DEPOT PAINT, AND YOU ARE NOT PAINTING A GRAFFITI MASTERPIECE. I lucked out on my build using paint I had left over from my legal graffiti for hire days and found out that you barely need more than one can of each color; a full can of Fresh Paint Dark Grey covered my entire medium armor kit and I had half a can left. Hardware store paint is notorious for having to redo it over and over again with more coats, but that's because of the lack of pigment and how runny it is. When you purchase art brand paint, you are subscribing to a level of coverage and color beyond the spectrum of home repair, so usually one can is all you need. While I say this, do not order less than what you could possibly need. Larger bits like full armor color, I'd recommend buying two 400ml cans in case you do upgrades, while accent pieces like armor lines require just one can that can last forever.

Problems You Can Encounter As You Paint

  • Can Clogging: the worst issue you can encounter. A variety of reasons cause this, once in a while, it's a broken valve, but that's incedibly uncommon. Sometimes it's weather messing with the pressure to the point that pigment clogs the straw and valve. Storage factors in, too. But most of the time? It's overuse. Always tip your can upside down and spray out extra pigment until the aerosol turns clear, no color in the air. Additionally, purchase extra caps and cap cleaner, it will save you money as you buy and later on as you paint, there is nothing worse than spending 9 bucks on a can and finding it doesn't work because you didn't take care of it.
  • Used The Wrong Color: Oops! You painted something the wrong color, you picked up the wrong can and went nuts. "Why is this a problem?" you ask, "I can just use turpentine and redo it." Yes, but that's hardware store paint, easily dissoluble by chemical treatment. However, we're talking about fast drying, highly pigmented art paint created by literal vandals who didn't want their art removed. Most cities have opted to cover up graffiti with industrial bucket paint instead of removing it because it's such strong paint Mineral Spirits or even Industrial Grade Turpentine can remove it. I once had to remove something on my helmet and couldn't get through one coat of Fresh Paint. However, most cans come with color coding "donut" rings on the top of the can, allowing easy color coordination of cans. Pay attention as you paint!
  • The Chrome Paint Dilemma: Alright, let me explain. There is a difference between silver paint and chrome. Silver is shiny, but does not give a reflective coating you can see your reflection in. Chrome does. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, USE CHROME PAINT. IT WILL RUIN YOUR PROJECT WHEN YOU PAINT OVER IT. Chrome paint when it's cheap (Rustoleum), will take a literal three days to dry and gunks up if you touch it when it's not dry. Expensive chrome paint (Like the luxurious and expensive Molotow Chrome) is so powerful it literally DISSOLVES PAINT THAT GOES OVER IT IF IT IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH. I'm talking about the strong brands like Montana and even Molotow, unless it's advertised as "super pigmented", "silver killer" or "goes over chrome", you will have cracks in your paint that will never go away with repeats of coats. It will be there forever. Opt instead for a main line of silver or aluminum for your armor metal coat.

Your Accessories


These are not to be underestimated, or overestimated. Caps like these are not the kind you buy on hardware store cans. While most commercial brands have gone to female caps or car paint style built in that cannot be removed, you will traditionally find Male caps (named for a stem coming out of the bottom of the cap) used with female valves (no stem coming out) on art spray paint. Caps will determine the size, shape, sharpness and fill of your spray. The two types of cap body styles are as follows:
  • New York (NY): Ceremoniously named for the original New York Graffiti writers, this style of cap is simple and can still be found on hardware store dollar cans, but art purposed utilize a stem suited for American and European Valves.

  • Euro Caps: Round and stubby, filling the whole cap column, these are caps that ones in this style pretty much come stock on all art cans. Tradtional Euros have a round top, Sharpshooters have a triangular top, and Banana's have a curved straight top. These are more comfortable than NY caps, as your whole finger tip is used rather than one tip pressing down. The downfall, however, is that most if not all of these caps are not compatible with American valves on hardware cans, even with cap adapters (to use with male valves).

Now, the types of these two styles are as follows:
  • Skinny/Thin Cap: Usually pencil thin lines if you get close, Magnum sharpie sized from about six inches away. .5-2 Inches wide
  • Outline: Bigger than Skinny, but not as big as Fat Caps. Usually used for lining a larger body of color. 2-3 inches wide.
  • Fat Caps: Large coverage caps, usually good for covering spaces quick with color. 3-5 Inches wide.
  • Super Fats: Wide to the point that a whole can can be emptied in a matter of minutes. 5+ Inches Wide
  • Calligraphy: A fan spray that can be turned with the black nozzle on the front of the cap, almost always a Euro cap.
  • Needle Cap: NY or Euro cap with a needle like tube coming out of it. Advertised as super thin, but is extremely drippy thanks to the thin needle and the pressure. I'd advise not to use this unless you use splatter weathering.

Finally, Spray Width and Hardness.

Each cap performs differently on each brand. Some have wider sprays, some smaller. Some are a little harder around the spray edges, some aren't. Read cap reviews on websites or consult your art store clerk as you purchase.


You may scoff at the idea of using a marker after learning all this about spray paint, but it can and will save your life. Markers fix details on armor that are commonly not fixable with spray paint, and are usually available from the same brand of paint with the same formula. Consider also using an ink marker, as ink like Krink brand go over virtually everything.

Cap Cleaner
Many art stores, websites, and even hardware stores sell cleaners for spray paint caps, sometimes a solution, sometimes an actual can full of cleaning material. Always have one to prevent can clog and losing money.

Mandalorian Painting Essentials
  • Masking Fluid: More adaptable than spray paint for battle damage, brush it on and let it dry before painting and rub it off with a towel after drying to achieve levels of weathering that are excellent.
  • Kosher Salt: The classic kosher salt and water mixed together method of weathering works well with art aerosol, too.
  • Masking Tape: Hey, sometimes you need straight lines. Do not remove from the project until the paint that went over it is totally dry.
  • Templates and Stencils: Kill stripes commonly, templates should be made from a thicker or paint resistant material like cardstock or authentic stencil paper.
  • Acrylic Paints/Oils/Inks: For blackwashing and weathering. Mix together and go over paint. You may want a thicker consistency, as this paint may be too strong for it to stick with it being watery.
  • Sandpaper: Good for scratches, just make sure not to overdo it to where you can see unpainted plastic. Fill in scratches with a wash or markers, too!

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Re: Tutorial: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor
« Reply #4 on: Jan 03, 2017, 06:33 PM »
Okay, Okay, I Get It. How Do I Paint With It?

Believe it or not, there's not much difference between this stuff and regular store brand spray paint. If you understand the basic principles of spray painting, you will adapt to this easy.

The Basics of Spray Painting with Art Paint.
  • Know Your Can: Know what brand you are using, what pressure it is, and what sheen it uses. Also mind what formula it is, some different formula bases (acrylic over nitro) will not work.
  • Follow Safety Procedures: Always wear a respirator, goggles, and gloves when painting. Respirator prevents lung cancer, goggles prevent a trip to the emergency room or bathroom for a twenty minute washout, and gloves prevent kidney failure.
  • Know What Caps You Will Use: I never outlined what caps are what, you can go to a graffiti website or store for that, but always plan what caps go with that. In retrospect, I prefer Outline Caps for smaller bits and Fat Caps for covering most of your base.
  • Always Prepare a Work Area: Work in a ventilated area and set up tarps or newspaper to prevent paint from dripping. If it gets on something you don't want it to, I assure you it will never come off.
  • Primer: Prime your project first. Paint adheres stronger to primer.
  • Shake Your Paint: Even the good stuff needs a good shaking. Too little shaking and it gunks up your project.
  • Utilize Spray Distance: Experiment with your paint and caps before you paint your project to know what is good spray distance for coverage. Usually 7 inches away with a fat cap gets good coverage without drips in a matter of seconds, while an outline cap needs a little more close proximity to prevent over spray.
  • Work from the Bottom Up: Create a plan on what to paint in order. Usually for Mandalorians, this consists of primer, metal coat, a black coat with masking for weathering, then the large base coat, details, then weathering.
  • Wait for it to Dry: Painting too quickly, even with the good stuff, leads to drips and gunking. Allow proper time for drying.

This process may take a few days, but the result is far better than what you'd get out of a botch job with hardware store paint.

For further information on painting, please see our many paint and weathering tutorials provided by the many respected members of our organization on the Costume Tutorial and Templates page on the main website or the Costume Tutorials sub forum on here.


After you're finished painting, you need to store your paint in proper conditions. throwing it in a crate will not work, you have to stand it up or rack it with a paint can rack, remove the caps, and store in a spot that is close to room temperature. That being said, you can store it where it gets hot, this stuff is all weather, but not to the point where a can can "pop", or burst open. Consider buying a small paint rack from an automotive supply, art store, or build your own!

Paint Retailers

Usually you can find paint brick and mortar retailers from a simple internet search of "Graffiti Supplies in *insert state, province, country*", but be advised they are usually based in big cities, and a percentage of them are either in bad neighborhoods, also smoke shops, or both, which is unfortunately the trade off for it being based in the vandalism scene. Please be careful in considering this option, and study the shop, it's owners, and the surrounding area. However, a lot of them are also respected art galleries, some even legitimate art super stores, so there is a trade off.

There are also a number of online art retailers. Almost every brand refuses to sell online through their website, but third party companies (usually the country distributor for the brand of paint) will sell and ship ground only, due to contents being under pressure. The three most popular North American Distributors are:

The United States distributor of Molotow, Flame, and some MTN Products.

Bombing Science

The Canadian Distributor of Molotow, Flame, and Ironlak. Ships to the United States.

Blick Art Materials

United States Based Art Supply Company, Offering Montana Cans, Molotow, and MTN Products.

I am not associated with these websites nor am I associated with any paint brand, this is just from my experience as a customer.

Thank you for reading, and have fun painting!!

"That guy who is sometimes around."
Re: Compendium: Art Purposed Spray Paint for Armor
« Reply #5 on: Jan 05, 2017, 12:04 PM »
Very informative, great article.  Keep up the good work.  I will look to these once my overstock of hardware store paint is gone.


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