We’re sick of seeing “Top Tips” lists that are pretty much a copy of the last one. So we decided to take matters into our own hands and ask you for your Top tips! If you would like to add to the list then please pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a good read of the Tips and Tricks that are submitted – but don’t get the opportunity to try every one! So, use at your own discretion!
- Most importantly (and quoted about 20 times by our customers) – “Don’t be in a hurry, take your time and enjoy!”
- Never throw away unused parts, they always come in handy for other models!
- Don’t bother de-canting rattle cans of paint into separate jars, just cut a plastic straw about an inch long, push over the nozzle end and spray into the colour cup on my airbrush.
- Rubber window surrounds – Use a fine tipped permanent marker. Easier, cleaner and quicker than black paint.
- Toothpicks are great for holding tiny parts for painting. A drop of superglue, and attached to a section of the part that won’t be seen.
- I find pieces of Aldi PowerForce Eraser Sponge Pads perfect for filling wheel wells and stuffing in engine cowlings to protect painted detail when putting the main colour on. They are cheap as chips for a pack of 6, you only need small pieces at a time, and the super fine foam texture provides great protection.
- Use Wilko’s 4 sided nail buffing block to polish clear parts.
- Use plastic milk bottle tops as a palette for mixing small quantities of paint and then discard/recycle.
- If you want to remove paint from the model, spray with Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner, put in a polythene bag overnight, Seal tight and in the morning, swill under a cold water tap and all of the paint will come off the model. Awkward bits use a toothbrush.
- Ever wonder how much you can save on plastic kit glue? Do a search for MEK Methyl Ethyl Ketone. I bought a 1 litre bottle (and keep it in the shed for safety reasons), decant a small quantity into a smaller bottle and apply to kit joints with a small paint brush. You may be able to refill propriety glue applicators if preferred?
Also, mix it with Humbrol Model Filler and paint seams and moulding faults, then apply more MEK to smooth it down. Saves on much sanding later on using straight paste fillers. I use clean ready meal trays for mixing.
- To paint canopy’s or small parts, make a loop of masking tape, sticky side out. Stick to part and hold with the loop. Peel off when dry. Also good for positioning fiddly parts.
- Paint the inside of models black before assembling them. It stops light leakage and makes the model appear more solid.
- To help with framing on clear parts when using acrylic paint, you can remove excess with a damp cocktail stick, saving on buying expensive masks.
- Photo etch can be very fiddly and frustrating to place accurately so I use either a crayon or a small candle that has a sharpened point to pick up, hold and position until the glue is set. It’s great for very small pieces and saves time as well as making your model look more realistic and detailed.
- Never paint true black directly onto your model, lighten the tone a bit with greys for your base colour. Then you can add shading and shadows to add depth and realism
- I save old yoghurt tubs to separate small pieces for builds and also use them to soak airbrush parts to clean them.
- Weigh down the inside of the model with plasticine, modelling clay or lead, small models sit on their tracks/stands more realistically.
- When painting invasion stripes, paint the white area first then protect the white stripes with masking tape. After this spray white again & leave it to dry before spraying the black paint on top. This seals the masking tape & prevents the black paint from bleeding under it onto the white stripes.
- If you want to show chips in paint or paint wear. First paint the area that will be showing the chips/wear and let it dry. Then apply ‘Marmite’ with a cocktail stick and stipple the Marmite on the paint or very lightly spread with a paintbrush or tissue for wear areas. Spray your topcoat as normal – When dry, damp a cotton bud and wash off the Marmite. Voila, the lower surface paint revealed showing chipped or worn paint.
- Try and use reference photos of the subject before painting, it helps a lot if you want to weather your models to see how the real thing looks in a real life situation.
- Make sure to remove any paint from mating surfaces of inner wing components, because the fit is tight. This will give you a tighter and tidier finish.
- Spray white matt in light coats then cover with a gloss coat for the best white gloss coat.
- I extensively use baby wipes to clean up after painting and wiping down after sanding.
- If you don’t own an airbrush kit just use car/auto paint in spray cans. I usually undercoat with grey primer then chose whatever colour I want to use on top – this also helps you match specific car colours.
- I used to use sewing thread for aerials and ship rigging. Now I use Lycra thread. Super elastic, very light weight and will not cause the plastic to bow or bend.