All About Paint

The first request I received was for painting recommendations and tips, so I wanted to make that one of the first posts.

When I first started making customs I used the cheap Testor’s Enamel paint that you could buy just about anywhere. Unfortunately it doesn’t bond well to certain types of plastic, and I ended up with several customs that had a permanent sticky texture. I graduated to Model Masters Acryl, the higher end brand from Testor’s, and I have been using that exclusively for the last six years. I know many people who recommend Citadel paints, and I really should try them one of these days. But Model Masters does everything I need it to do. They have a good range of colors and most of them come in both flat and gloss, with several also coming in semi-gloss. They also have Enamel paint, but the Acryl paint seems to work better with the minimate plastic, and clean-up is much faster.

Model Master Acryl

Model Master Acryl

The only problems I have found with Model Masters is that the consistency is not always ideal. Sometimes I get a paint that is too thick. That is not a huge problem, as they make acrylic paint thinner, and a few drops will usually thin out the entire jar of paint. Sometimes I get a paint that seems way too thin, but I find a large lump of thick paint on the bottom. After I spend a few minutes stirring it with a toothpick, the consistency returns to normal.

Acrylic Paint Thinner

Acrylic Paint Thinner

Lately I have been priming my customs with white paint before painting them. I don’t prime the joints, because of the paint rub issue. But priming the rest of the figure helps keep the final colors consistent. Also if you are painting a light colored section, such as yellow, it will save you at least two coats of paint in the end.

Priming can also help in the sculpting process. After I have sculpted and sanded something, I will often prime it to see what it will look like when it is painted. This helps to reveal flaws that you might otherwise miss until its too late to fix them.

I keep my paints fairly thin, so they go on smoother with no brush strokes. Most customs take about 4-5 coats of paint per color, plus a clear dull coat at the end. The factory finish for minimates seems to be somewhere between flat and semi-gloss, so I try to mix those two finishes whenever possible. The clear coat at the end helps even out the finish as well. Even though it is labeled “Dull Coat” it actually is more of a semi-gloss.

I keep a lot of extra minimate parts laying around that I call “crappy-mates”. These get used over and over again for keeping parts of the custom separated when painting. For example, if you are painting a yellow hairpiece black, good luck not getting any black on your nice flesh-colored head underneath. But put that hairpiece on a crappy-mate, and you don’t have to worry about getting paint on the head underneath. It makes the painting process a little faster.



I will cover brushes, sharpies, and more painting tips in my next post. Thanks for reading!

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3 Responses

  1. TM2 Dinobot says:

    I’ve been wanting to try Model Masters for a while. The only thing that has stopped me if the price tag: $2.50 for a 1/2 oz bottle. With no personal experience and only the words and actions of others to go on, I just don’t know it it’ll be right for me.

    What I find works the best out of what I’ve tried if Delta Dreamcoat’s Ceramic paints. They’re designed to be baked onto ceramics, however the paint as-is stays fine. That paint resists chipping like nothing I’ve ever seen. It is a bit thick, so keep that in mind, but if you want your paint to stand up to ‘playability’ i would highly recommend it!

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