I was recently ask by a fellow club
member how I got such shiny cars. I sat down one Sunday morning
and typed out this guideline. I mentioned the conversation I had
with the club member at our last club meeting and was encouraged
to submit the guideline that I had provided to him for
publication in the newsletter.
There are many thoughts and
techniques for obtaining that killer paint job. Following is the
technique I use. I am always trying to think of a better way and
as a result may deviate somewhat from what is listed. This is
meant as only a guide, if followed, I think anyone can obtain a
satisfactory finish. I am not a pro, but generally the results I
get satisfy me, and that is all I hope to accomplish. If you
don't understand a term, feel free to contact
me. Remember, always
build for yourself!
Clean model with warm soapy water, rinse and let air-dry.
Block sand entire model. This provides a surface for the primer
to adhere to. I use 240-600 grade sandpaper depending on the
corrections I have to make to the vehicle. Use photos to get
correct contours for your vehicle.
Step 3. Rinse
model with warm soapy water and rinse again. This will remove
sanding residue and oil from your fingers. Let air-dry.
Prime model with Plastikote T-235 gray primer. You could also
use their red, black, or white. Your topcoat will determine
which color undercoat you use. I use the gray 95% of the time.
If you would like a brighter finish, use a lighter colored
Sand primer with 600 or 1000 grade paper or use a 4000 grit
polishing cloth. I've had success using any of the three. The
smoothness of the primer will determine which grade to use.
Paint model your favorite color. I like MCW auto finishes. This
is an automotive lacquer available from a company in NC. It
comes in 3/4oz. and 2oz. jars which are pre-thinned for airbrush
use. The cost range from $4-$9 per bottle. You can get factory
correct colors for the era of vehicle by going this route. I've
also used Dupli-color paint (also lacquer) in the small cans
with very good results.
Step 7. Let
model dry for one day.
Apply clear-coat. I like to use a clear coat. This allows me to
polish out the finish without worrying about going through the
color to the primer. I use Plastikote T-5 for the clear. I
transfer the clear to a jar so that I can use my airbrush. This
enables me to apply thinner coats than if I sprayed directly
from the can. (If you feel brave, you could sand before applying
the clear-coat, use a 4000 grit polishing cloth).
Let paint dry for at least 4 days.
Polishing: This is where it gets complicated and very time
consuming. I take between 25 and 40 hours to polish out a paint
job. The purpose of polishing is to remove all orange peel and
other imperfections in the paint.
A polishing kit is recommended
with grits ranging from 4000 - 12000. These are available from
If you want to try a shortcut,
you could use 2000 or 2500 grit auto sanding paper.
Always start with the highest
possible grit whether it is sandpaper or a polishing cloth. This
will help eliminate deep scratches (our enemy). If you think
that this first step is taking to long, then you can use a cloth
that is the next coarsest, that is to say a lower number. This
first step is the most important and also the most time
consuming. Patience is a virtue.
After polishing, I use the following Mequiars' products: #3, #7,
and #26 in this order. This removes all the swirls and other
marks. Number 26 is a wax, which brings the model to a high
Note: I have just clear-coated a
couple of models and have been satisfied with the results and
opted not to polish the finish. These were models I did just for
the fun of it without regard to competition. The previous
sentence brings us back to our motto, "Build for
I know some people have used
Future for the clear-coat. I have not tried this, but will at
Give it a try, you may even wow
yourself, happy modeling.