Paint rub is what happens when you paint a Minimate joint, only to have the paint rub off when you move the joint. This is a common problem with almost all types of action figure customizing. This article offers three suggestions to combat paint rub on custom Minimates.
1. Avoid it through part selection
People frequently ask me the best way to choose parts for their customs – do you pick it by what paint colors you have? By what decals you will be able to use? By how closely the overall color scheme will match your custom? The answer that I always give is that you have to look at the joints. Look at the color inside of the elbow joint and knee joint for sure, and if you are really picky, look at the color of the shoulder and hip joints. You can always repaint any other part of the Minimate, but choosing the right joint color to match your final custom will result in the most poseable figure in the end. I grabbed a custom off my shelf to show an example of this. See the knee joint on the Red Ghost custom below – I picked these legs specifically because they had the correct shade of red inside the knee.
2. Use Clear Coat
In the areas around the shoulder and hip joints, after you paint it your preferred color, give it a coat of clear acrylic paint to help protect the area from paint rub. This also works around the shoulder areas on Minimate jackets and other chest pieces. My new preferred clear coat is the brush-on clear matte acrylic paint by Vallejo, but the one I used for years, and still like, is Tamiya flat clear acrylic spray. This trick does not work on elbows or knees, because adding additional paint there only adds to the problem.
3. Shave down the elbows
This trick only works on the elbow joint. If you absolutely need to paint the joint, you can use a hobby knife to shave a tiny bit of plastic off both ends of the elbow on the forearm and upper arm joints. This leaves a tiny gap in the arm on each end, which prevents the paint from rubbing.
4. So what about the knees?
The only way that I have found to prevent paint rub in the knee joints is to not have any paint there at all. It is all part selection, as shown in step 1. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!