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Beginner Modeller here, ran into a base coat problem


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Hello everyone! I've literally just started building my first car and have obviously ran into some problems. It's a Lotus Europa 1/24 from Tamiya and the main shell that came off the sprue is white. After the first base coat, I had some tiny paint holes and build up, like bubbling or mounds, one area near the front fender, and one under rear bumper. 

This is the part where I think I began to get overcomplicated and ahead of myself. I tried sanding down and filling the holes with Tamiya basic putty which is grey. I waited a day for the putty to settle then sanded it so was smooth and in the shape of the shell, and the holes were filled out. Then, since I sanded the first basecoat (because clear coat is not recommended to go on a sanded base coat IIRC?)I tried spraying another (2nd) basecoat of the pearl white, and to my dismay, I found out that the pearl white spray (TS-45) I was using was very translucent, and showed the grey putty areas. So, I sanded the car again trying to get rid of as many grey areas as possible. At this stage I have ran out of spray (100ml can), and am too eager to finish the shell. Now this was probably another rookie mistake,  I tried hand painting the more difficult grey areas with Tamiya flat-white enamel because I couldn't wait to buy another can of the pearl white.
 
Now I've bought 2nd can 100ml can of pearl white and sprayed the other parts (bumper, back engine cover, spoiler) and then on the main shell yet another basecoat (3rd). There is still some orange peel from my amateur spraying, one or two grey putty areas (3-5mm in size) you can see when it is well lit, as well as some scribing scratches. You can also see slightly raised patches where I've used some enamel in my amateur attempt to cover up the grey putty areas.
 
Now I've used two cans of Tamiya pearl white spray, and still have a pretty mediocre shell. Please refer to the photos.

So now, do I buy third can of the pearl white and spray to cover up the grey regions and fill scribing mistakes? Do I sand down everything and start again? Or should I just clear coat it now, polish, and just build the car.

Regards
LG


 

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If I understand correctly, you applied putty to correct problems found in the first coat of paint.  Don't do that, you'll then have to put a lot more primer and paint on in order to smooth everything out.  Instead, remove the paint and start over.  Tamiya lacquer can be removed with 91% rubbing alcohol which can be problematic to get lately.  

Once everything is clean, I'd start over with a base coat of solid white, or white primer if any putty was needed anywhere.  (The previous "paint correction" putty should all be removed...in general, most, if not all, paint removal will take putty along with it.)  The bubbling was likely caused by applying the paint right after shaking it.  I believe there is propellant mixed in with the paint.  Next time, let the can sit for a few minutes after shaking before spraying.  Even then, spray something else briefly before going right to this project.

The pearl will be translucent, so you do need a solid base color under it.  When applying one coat of Tamiya over another, you'll have to check the directions...you may have to apply the pearl (and clear over that) within a certain amount of time, or wait a couple of weeks to make sure the base is thoroughly dry.

No doubt others will offer advice too...let a few more folks chime in before finalizing a plan of action.

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A couple of things.

Fiirst washed the body with dish soap and water, and let it fully dry

Next, use white primer on the body before any color coats.

After then paint it with the color coat

 

And sanding and body prep should be done before any painting

 

Also, is that a resin model? I have only seen pin holes like that in resin. That needs a bigger cleaning if it is. I think most people wash resin with bleche white, but i would wait for other, more experienced resin modelers chime in

Edited by youpey
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To echo what Mark said, Tamiya paints (especially in the cans) are notorious for having IMO way too much propellant action in their cans for spraying. I get why they do that to keep paint flow consistent, but I wholly recommend doing what he said.

Strip the paint thoroughly and then repaint. Yes, letting the can sit for a spell (maybe a 1/2 hour) till the propellant settles down is not a bad idea at all. I take it you're not familiar with airbrushing, but this is the chief reason I'll decant spray cans and airbrush them on my own. I don't trust cans (even Tamiya's) for painting bodies as I've had some rather bad issues with them in the long ago past.

As I can see from my end, that looks an awful lot like trapped propellant which decided to gas out in bubbles after you did your paint coats.

Hope this helps.....to be honest that's not one of my favorite things------repainting bodies. But, it's a necessary evil if you want the model to be painted and look nice when done.

51 minutes ago, youpey said:

Also, is that a resin model? I have only seen pin holes like that in resin. That needs a bigger cleaning if it is. I think most people wash resin with bleche white, but i would wait for other, more experienced resin modelers chime in

That Tamiya's 1/24 Lotus Europa kit which I have. It comes molded in white, but whether it's white plastic or not, I like to primer bodies as it gives it a much more "solid" appearance.

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From the looks of your paint job, you're holding the can way too close to the body when you're spraying it. That's what's causing the air bubbles. You want to hold the can 8-10 inches away when spraying.

Whenever you have a paint mishap, dumping on more paint isn't going to solve the problem. Stop, correct the issue and begin again. 

As I have also recently learned, Tamiya Pearl White can be a finicky color to paint. Even the slightest variance in the base color will show through. If you use gray putty on the body before primer, you need to spray the whole body with gray primer before white primer to get it all a solid color. Those gray spots will show through white primer as well. If you don't use any putty, you can shoot it with white primer. Once you have the body in a solid white primer base, two coats of Pearl White is all you'll need. Then you can spray a couple of coats of TS 13 over the Pearl White to get a decent shine.

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Everyone is so supportive and amazing here! Thank you for all the advice!

Lot's to take from here, now I'm actually considering repainting the model. Hopefully the structural integrity is intact after I've removed the coats and putty.
 

@Mark

Thanks Mark at one stage I was considering just scrapping fixing it anymore and just building the kit but everyone here is so helpful and encouraging I don't mind going back and re-painting it (although I wont get those two cans of tamiya pearl white back, lesson learned)
Note taken about the spray can, shake and wait. I'll buy some plastic spoons to do my test runs on!

Is there a technical name for 91% alcohol? I'll try have a look at the supermarkets tomorrow. I think the turpentine I have might be too strong?

I'm leaning towards the approach of doing the base coat and clear coat spray in one session, after the primer coat has dried.
 

@youpey

Thanks youpey, I've been washing the parts in soap and drying them before considering any paint work. I'll always try to prime from now on, of course along with body preparation and sanding. I think it's just a regular plastic kit, but don't count me on it. I'll just make sure to prime and hopefully the base coat won't have any yucky pin holes this time.

@MrObsessive

Thank you for the encouraging words! The propellant not being settled makes absolute sense, I'll take those precautions next time. So, I'll start again, first stripping all the paint, putty etc tomorrow and then when the primer (Mr Hobby Surfacer) arrives I'll try again! I'll prime it in white so the pearl white has a white base. I can definitely see how airbrushing would be the superior method,  but I'm currently just dipping my toes in the hobby..maybe I'll get one for my birthday. haha
 

@Plowboy

Thank you for the tips, I'll be more aware of the angle and distance I hold the spray can next time! You're right, I should have just done more research before taking things into my own hands. This great forum was just a click away haha..

and thanks for the heads up about the pearl white, could be good to make some exotic pearlescent finishes with something under the white? I think tamiya already has pearl clear that could do that with a green, blue etc base if I remember correctly.

 

I'll start by:

1. Stripping all the paint and putty, although I might lose some structural integrity because I used the putty to fix a part that I scraped off a bit of. (The left front fender)
- Is turpentine too strong for this? In that case I'll go find 91% alcohol

2. Priming it in white
3. Paint with two coats pearl white
4. Finish with gloss coat.
5. Compound polish and wax.

Sounds simple enough..
Wish me luck

Quick question though - what should I do if I find dust on the base coat? Continue to clear coat and then polish and wax? Won't the dust/debris still be there under the clear coat?

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I would like to add to be careful about letting the can sit for too long after shaking.

I respect Bill a great deal, but I believe that letting it sit for a half hour is too long for a paint with metallic or pearl in it.

The metallic particles will settle to the bottom of the can very quickly, and when you start spraying after you let it sit for that long, you'll get a blast of very heavy metallic particles that have settled as the paint is drawn from the bottom.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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I haven't messed with pearl white too much, only one paint job and that one was with Duplicolor.  I anticipate doing a few more jobs however, as my 1:1 car is pearl white and I've taken a liking to the color.

Next pearl job, regardless of paint brand, I'm leaning towards a base of solid plain white and just dusting on enough pearl white to get the desired effect.  The pearl doesn't dry with any appreciable gloss, and you can't polish it out, so you have to clearcoat it regardless.

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1 hour ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

I would like to add to be careful about letting the can sit for too long after shaking.

I respect Bill a great deal, but I believe that letting it sit for a half hour is too long for a paint with metallic or pearl in it.

The metallic particles will settle to the bottom of the can very quickly, and when you start spraying after you let it sit for that long, you'll get a blast of very heavy metallic particles that have settled as the paint is drawn from the bottom.

 

 

 

 

Steve

I agree. I shake my paint right before I spray and during. 

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1 hour ago, Lime Green said:

- Is turpentine too strong for this? In that case I'll go find 91% alcohol

Yes. Turpentine is way too strong IMO. Get alcohol. Plan on it taking a few days or longer judging by the thickness of your paint.

Quick question though - what should I do if I find dust on the base coat? Continue to clear coat and then polish and wax? Won't the dust/debris still be there under the clear coat?

Stop. Allow it to dry. Sand very lightly with 2000 grit. Shoot more color.

A little tip on preventing debris in your paint. Take a strip of painters blue tape around five inches long and make a loop sticky side out. Then put the loop on your index and middle finger and "blot" the entire body with the tape. This will pick up any type of debris. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Plowboy said:

I agree. I shake my paint right before I spray and during. 

Agreed.

If you have ever used a metallic paint designed for airbrushing, you can see this phenomena in the jar.

If you stir/shake the paint and then set the jar down, even for a minute, when you pick up the jar and look at the bottom, you will immediately see a layer of lighter colored sediment at the bottom of the jar.

This is the heavier metallic particles and solids settling out, and the same applies to rattle cans.

 

I shake my paint, even in an air brush cup, continuously throughout the painting process.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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Lots of great advice here. I agree. it must be stripped and start over. Try using 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol), and if that doesn't work, brake fluid will remove Tamiya lacquer, but it is messier to deal with. Dump your stripper into a container and submerge the whole body. With that much paint, it may take a few days to strip.

As mentioned, the paint has been applied much too heavy and too close. Two cans of paint on one little body is a lot. Apply your first coats by just dusting on a layer of paint, then let it set up for a few minutes. Don't even try for full coverage on the first coat, just get a thin coverage. Then shoot a second coat, also misted on though you can go a bit heavier then the first coat. Then apply your final colour coat a little heavier, making sure to get full coverage with nice gloss, but don't over do it. Once the colour coats have cured fully, you can shoot your clear coat, but again, don't overdo it. As has been mentioned, practice on plastic spoons to get the feel of the spray qualities

I have this same kit on the bench, so here's a couple of tips;
- As you may have noticed, the body is very thin, especially the 'A' pillars, which are paper thin. Go easy when handling the body during stripping and sanding, etc to avoid breakage.
- Once the paint has been stripped, glue the lower, front body piece (splash pan) and rear window surround body piece in place before repainting. 

- Test fit the deck lid before painting. Mine fits quite tight and needed sanding on the sides to improve the fit and account for the added thickness of the paint.

Good luck.

Edited by Bainford
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2 hours ago, Lime Green said:


Quick question though - what should I do if I find dust on the base coat? Continue to clear coat and then polish and wax? Won't the dust/debris still be there under the clear coat?

That depends a great deal on when the debris occurs in the process, the nature of the debris and the color of the base coats.

If the base color is a light color, such as you are using, debris can be much more visible than on a darker color.

If the debris is small and colorless and occurs on a "late" color coat, I will often leave it and rely on the clear coats and polishing to eliminate it.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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3 minutes ago, Bainford said:

Two cans of paint on one little body is a lot.

Oooo! I didn't catch that!

Yes, that is WAY too much paint!

I do most of my painting with an air brush, but just as a comparison, I generally get by on somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/2 to 3/4 of an oz. of color.

The average spray can of hobby paint is in the 3 oz. neighborhood.

While you will very likely use more paint spraying from a can, you should be able to get it done with less than a half of a can of color.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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Those bubbles will form in Tamiya paint when your wet coat is applied to thick. Tamiya works best with 3 light coats, or more (I actually do multiple light coats over high spots with an airbrush first). Follow with wet coats. Tamiya paint is actually very forgiving and shrinks quite a bit while drying, but still has its limits. I think the bubbles are gasses in the paint that are trapped due to the thick application, which could be caused by:

1. Painting too close to model

2. Painting too slowly over model

Watch some YouTube videos if you can and see how far away to paint and about the speed you want to pass the paint can over the model. Practice helps, but it’s tough to practice when spraying a $8 dollar can of paint. 
 

You should be able to easily paint an entire model with one can of Tamiya. 

Edited by Erik Smith
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Somehow, I missed that TS-45 was a thing until a week or so ago when it popped up in some other threads here. I don't remember seeing it at the LHS, but I will check next time I go.

That said, from what I have read on here, it is a translucent paint and *probably* shouldn't be applied directly over primer, even white. If I was using it, I would first paint the body with Pure White (for a brighter white) or Racing White (for a warmer white) basecoat over primer and then follow up with the TS-45 for the pearl white effect. Then some clear.

This has been mentioned in this thread a few times amongst all of the great advice that members of this wonderful (free) forum have given, but I am afraid that it may have not been clear enough. I hope you have good luck stripping the body. I have had poor luck stripping Tamiya with anything unless it was primed with something else first.

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With COVID-19, you might have hard time finding Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.  You do need at least 91%.  I buy mine (99%) in gallon size tin can at a hardware store.  It is in the paint thinner section and it is usually called IPA99 or Isopropanol99.  If they don't have it in stock, they should be able to special-order it for you. It will probably cost $30, but it is as strong as you can find (still safe on kit's plastic).

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You have gotten some excellent advice in these prior posts. However, I have been building models for over 50 years and I believe achieving a really good paint job might be the most difficult part of modeling. For beginners, I would suggest to stay away from metallic or pearl paint and work on getting the basics down first. The metallic and pearl paint is more difficult to work with than solid colors, especially for beginners. I would also suggest to use the same brand of paint for the primer, color coat and clear to greatly improve your chances of compatibility in all the products your using. I don’t know of very many people who have perfected this process right off the bat, as it will take time to get to where you would like to be as far as your skill level. The more you work at it the better your chances of improving. Take your time, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. It will take a lot of studying and research and a strong desire to improve to get outstanding results. After over 50 years I’m still looking for ways to improve and messing up isn’t out of my reach either unfortunately. Good luck. 

Edited by modelcarcrazy
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10 hours ago, Rodent said:

That said, from what I have read on here, it is a translucent paint and *probably* shouldn't be applied directly over primer, even white. If I was using it, I would first paint the body with Pure White (for a brighter white) or Racing White (for a warmer white) basecoat over primer and then follow up with the TS-45 for the pearl white effect. Then some clear.

I don't think Pure White would really make a difference. It's almost as transparent as the Pearl White. I had to strip a model painted that color when a spot where I had sanded through the primer showed after three coats. Everything under it was white. But, the primer and styrene were different shades.

The Racing White is totally different. I sprayed three coats over gray primer and it covered well. I may to give that a try sometime. I think it would have like a cream pearl look to it.

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22 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

I would like to add to be careful about letting the can sit for too long after shaking.

I respect Bill a great deal, but I believe that letting it sit for a half hour is too long for a paint with metallic or pearl in it.

The metallic particles will settle to the bottom of the can very quickly, and when you start spraying after you let it sit for that long, you'll get a blast of very heavy metallic particles that have settled as the paint is drawn from the bottom.

 

 

 

 

Steve

Steve, I meant the solids should be kept "undisturbed" for a bit. I missed where he was using a metallic and yes.....you want to keep the flakes suspended in the paint before starting to spray. As I mentioned when I used Tamiya's paints in the past, I found the propellant out-gassing after decanting to be horrendous! Maybe it was just that particular can, but I do remember it happening more than once.

It's why I just don't care for spray bombing anything except for a chassis or maybe an interior floor. Bodies I'd much rather airbrush as I have much more control over how and where the paint is applied.

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3 hours ago, modelcarcrazy said:

You have gotten some excellent advice in these prior posts. However, I have been building models for over 50 years and I believe achieving a really good paint job might be the most difficult part of modeling. For beginners, I would suggest to stay away from metallic or pearl paint and work on getting the basics down first. The metallic and pearl paint is more difficult to work with than solid colors, especially for beginners. I would also suggest to use the same brand of paint for the primer, color coat and clear to greatly improve your chances of compatibility in all the products your using. I don’t know of very many people who have perfected this process right off the bat, as it will take time to get to where you would like to be as far as your skill level. The more you work at it the better your chances of improving. Take your time, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. It will take a lot of studying and research and a strong desire to improve to get outstanding results. After over 50 years I’m still looking for ways to improve and messing up isn’t out of my reach either unfortunately. Good luck. 

^^^^^^^^
^^^^^^^^

What he said times 1000!! 👍

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1 hour ago, Plowboy said:

I don't think Pure White would really make a difference. It's almost as transparent as the Pearl White. I had to strip a model painted that color when a spot where I had sanded through the primer showed after three coats. Everything under it was white. But, the primer and styrene were different shades.

The Racing White is totally different. I sprayed three coats over gray primer and it covered well. I may to give that a try sometime. I think it would have like a cream pearl look to it.

Yeah, the racing white is a light cream color, more than white.  I was looking for this exact color for a while and found it accidentally 

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Another thing that helps is shaking the can side to side not up and down. Making the mixing ball go around the circumference of the can causes less bubbles . I found this when decanting for airbrush.

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I also like to warm the can, especially when it's cold out. You get more paint out of the can, and better flow.

Heat a 1-quart saucepan to a simmer, pull from the burner, and let it the can sit in the pan for 3-5 minutes, until it's warm top to bottom, but not too hot to hold. Agitate the can while heading to your model. Wrap it in a couple of paper towels to keep it warm and absorb any water.

NEVER, EVER use turpentine with plastic, unless you want a rubbery blob.

Charlie Larkin

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