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Painting : Painting 101

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: Painting 101
« on: Jun 28, 2018, 02:33 PM »
Painting 101: How to slap some color on your kit
Lead Author: Havelock
Edited by: MMCC Education Team

This guide should serve as a basic introduction to painting your kit.  It will touch briefly on weathering, but for additional - and more in-depth - information about weathering your kit, please check out the  Weathering Guide.

Getting Ready

So you've got your soft parts tailored and fitted, your armor cut and shaped, and you're ready to paint.  You might want to consider doing any 3d weathering or damage on your plates before you start painting; it's typically easier and yields better results if you add any gouges, cuts, scrapes, or whatever to your armor first.

We'll assume you know what colors you're using for your kit, but if you haven't figured that out, then check out the handy paint scheme tutorial.

Your first step once you know what colors and paint scheme you'd like to use is choosing your paint.  Spray paint - of whatever brand - is probably going to be your best bet, as it gives a smoother coat of paint, as opposed to using an acrylic or latex paint that you have to brush on.

With spray paints, for best results, you'll want to use the same brand for your primer and all your colors.  While it's possible to get good results by mixing spray paint brands, it can be frustrating, and it's far more efficient to use the same brand throughout.

Because of the way spray paints are formulated, temperature and humidity plays a big factor when you apply it.  Make sure you read the back of your rattle can to see the temperature and humidity range in which your paint works best.  Also, because different brands use different formulas for thier paints, they have differing temperature and humidity ranges - one of the reasons it's tricky and frustrating to try and mix paint brands.  In addition to the temperature and humidity ranges for your paint, the can will also have the distance you should hold the paint from your item. 

Before you get started on the actual application of your paints, you need to set up your work area.  Painting outside, if possible, is the typically the best choice from a personal health standpoint.  If you don't have an area outside in which you can paint, make sure your indoor paint station is well-ventilated, and protect the rest of the area by setting up a drop cloth, or even use a large box to make a small painting area.  If you have the space and materials available - either indoors or out - use a small table or even some sawhorses and a piece of plywood, so you don't have to squat or bend down to paint; this will save a lot of wear and tear on your back and legs.

Applying your paint

Once you've picked out and picked up your primer and paints, and you've got a safe, well-ventilated area in which to work, you can go ahead and lay out the pieces you want to prime and get to work.  We highly advise wearing some sort of respirator to keep from breathing in the spray paint fumes.

Wear a respirator

Applying spray paint isn't like taking a picture; pointing and spraying isn't the best way to apply your paint.  For best results, start your paint to one side of your items and sweep across the surface area of your armor plates.

While you can certainly make do with a single coat of primer (or paint and primer in one if you choose that route), for best results, you'll want to apply a couple of coats.  Using multiple coats of paint for each color gives your entire paint scheme a richer and fuller depth, and makes your entire kit look better.  Even if you choose to do heavy weathering with lots of damage and black wash; more layers of each paint almost always looks better.

It takes a bit of time for paint to dry, of course.  Ambient temperature, humidity, lighter coating versus heavier coating, all these play a factor in how long it takes for your paint to dry.  On average, though, a coat of paint should be dry within about three hours.  A good way to check if the paint's dry - without risking messing up the paint on your armor - is to have a small test piece next to your armor plates.  After an hour or so, run your finger over the test piece to see if it's smooth and dry.

If your paint's dry, grab a bit of smooth grit sandpaper and lightly sand your pieces, then wipe them off, ensuring that they're nice, clean, and smooth, and apply your next coat.

Torso armor primed

Once your pieces are nice and primed, you can apply a layer or two of clear coat, or just grab your preffered masking agent and apply it before adding your base color.  Once your plates are masked, spray away.  (For a much more in-depth look at how to weather your kit, check out our LINK TO WEATHERING GUIDE THREAD.)

Base color with masking

With your masking agent in place, sanding between coats is a much more problematic affair.  There are a couple of efficient ways to proceed.  First, you can apply all your base color layers and then move on to your accent color, or you can finish your base color and apply a couple layers of clear coat to protect your paint thus far. Using a clear coat gives your paint a bit of extra protection against natural weathering.  Not using a clear coat means you'll eventually do a bit more maintenance and repair on your paint.  Either choice is perfectly valid.

Regardless, once you've applied all the layers of your base color, remove your masking agent, sand, and clean your plates before proceeding.

Base color cleaned up

Once you're ready to move on to your accent color, tape off the areas that you don't want painted, and mask any areas that need to be weathered. 

Ready for accent color

Once all your paint is dry, remove the masking agent, the tape, clean up your plates, sand, and clean again.  Apply a clear coat if you'd like, and voila.  You're ready for any final weathering touches.

Ready for black wash

In summary

Painting your kit is a fairly simple process, and you shouldn't run into any particular difficulties.  Just make sure you read the instructions on the paint, work in a well-ventilated area, and wear your personal protective equipiment.

--MMCC Education Team--

« Last Edit: Jul 23, 2019, 09:37 AM by Raestin Ke'Varek » Logged
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