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Monday, April 9, 2012


A large part of RC car enjoyment is in their construction and running; however, final finishing and decoration can also provide great pleasure. Decorating and finishing is not only self satisfying, but an essential part of the hobby. A beautifully finished car even seems to go faster, and if it has been modified or customized, it will stand apart from the others.
Painting the body shell is the most important single step in finishing the car model.
Two types of bodies are used on R/C vehicles. Injection molded styrene plastic resin or vacuum formed transparent polycarbonate (Lexan) body shells. The usable paints and working procedures are very different between these two types of bodies.
Plastic paints use organic solvents, and can be harmful if improperly handled. Observe and follow the manufacturers rules for safe use and a good finish on the model.
Ventilate while painting 
Allow adequate ventilation in the painting area while working.

Avoid open flames 
Some paints and thinners are inflammable. Never use them near open flame.

Paint on a clear day with low humidity
High humidity can cause a cloudy finish (blushing) on the painted surface. if possible, paint on a clear day to avoid this problem.

Spray paint outdoors in a windless area

A spray can delivers a fine mist of paint that coats wide areas evenly. Spray paint outdoors in a shady, windless area. Use a cardboard box, newspapers, etc. to keep paint off the surrounding areas.
Paints for injection molded
 bodiesStandard plastic model paints, like enamels, acrylics, and lacquers, can be used in painting injection molded car bodies.

Paints for polycarbonate bodies
Specially formulated polycarbonate‘ paints are required for painting these transparent body shells. Conventional plastic paints easily peel or chip off, even with the slightest shock to the car body.
Some kits include separately molded plastic parts such as the driver’s helmet, spoiler, door mirrors, etc., which are added to the polycarbonate body. These plastic parts must be painted with regular plastic paints and not polycarbonate paint.
Brushes and other implements
Paint brushes come in several shapes and sizes, such as flat or pointed brushes. In addition, you will need the following when painting: Paint thinner compatible with your paint, empty paint jars or trays, masking tape, scissors, a modeling knife, clips or clothespins, rags and newspapers, etc.
The highly detailed and lifelike bodies are injection molded from styrene plastic resin. They are heavier and are more easily damaged in collisions at the track. Standard plastic paints are used in painting these bodies.


1. A subassembly to be painted in one color should be assembled prior to painting. Remove excess cement, fill in and clean up joints and seam lines. Smooth the entire surface using a modeling knife and fine abrasive papers.
2. Remove all dust and oil from the parts. Wash them in a mild detergent, and rinse well, allowing to air dry. Objects to be painted should be secured to a base so that you have access to all areas to be painted. For example, make a loop of tape, with the adhesive on the outside, then secure the body to an empty box or can. Small parts should be painted while still on the plastic tree, or by holding with a clip.

Painting procedures
First paint the body overall. Add small details after the first coat has completely cured. Spray paint the large areas and brush paint the details.

Tips on spray painting

Shake the spray can well prior to Use. Test spray to see if it is properly mixed.
Spray in one direction only, from a distance about 30cm from the model.
Always use a light coat over the entire surface, and allow to dry. Repeat this procedure or three times for a perfect finish.
When the distance between the can and
 model is too close, or too thick of a coat is applied, the paint will run or contain small air bubbles. In these cases, let the paint dry for two or three days, then sand off using abrasive paper. Clean and smooth the surface and respray.

Tips on brush painting
Thoroughly stir bottle paints using a metal or grass rod prior to application. Do not shake the bottle, as this causes bubbles.
Select a suitable brush size according the area to be painted. Use flat brushes for areas and pointed brushes for details.
Move the brush in one direction only. When the coat has fully dried, another coat applied in a different direction can be for an even finish. paint is too thick, add the exclusive for a smoother application.

When more than one color is to be applied, the use of masking tape is necessary. Use only a high grade, thin paper tape. Remember the golden rule when painting outside surfaces. Paint light colors first, followed by the darker colors.

For curved and irregular borders
If the edge between the two colors is curved or irregular, cover the area with tape and draw the edge line on the tape sharpened pencil. Using a sharp modeling knife, cut away the tape from where the edges are to meet. Be careful not to out the body.

Some tips on masking
When masking tape is not properly applied, paint will run under the tape and mar the surface. Press the masking tape down firmly with a finger nail for good tape adhesion. Special attention must be paid to recessed body panel lines, projections and undulating surfaces, plus edges and corners of a body, if these areas are masked.

Cautions when overcoating Experienced modelers and professionals of- ten use different types of paints to obtain better results. When doing this however, you must accept the fact that you cannot use lacquer paints over acrylics or enamels. The solvents in lacquer will melt and damage coat ing of other paints.

Mask off the window areas

Windows of car bodies should remain transparent, so masking is required. Mask from the inside using paper tape. Some kits include masking seals for the car’s windows when painting.

Paint the details first

As paints are applied from the inside, but viewed from the outside, the first coat will be the outermost color on the finished model.
You must be careful when considering the order of painting colors. Color application should start with the details, just the opposite from painting styrene bodies.
Paint darker colors first 
When more than one color is to be used, apply the darker color first. The masking procedure is also done in reverse.

If a lighter color is applied first, followed by a darker color, the overcoated area of the first color will be darkened when viewed from the outside.


Airbrushing combines the advantages of both brush and spray cans. By utilizing its features, a variety of painting effects can be achieved.
Paints can be mixed to make custom shades
Airbrushing uses bottle paints, so blending and matching colors to your desires is easy.
Fine lines can be done
Airbrush painting is done by spraying misted paint onto the surface, just like spray cans. However, airbrushes can spray lines of about 1-3cm and even down to 1mm in some cases. By using this characteristics, professional effects, such as subtle gradations, camouflage painting, or using it just like a paint brush. is possible.
An airbrush system consists of the handpiece, compressor, and the connecting hose. Propellant cans can be used instead of a compressor, but their duration time is limited, and they must be disposed of when empty. ln the long term, a compressor will be more economical than cans.
Tamiya’s “Spray-Work” portable airbrush system uses a Ni-Cd 7.2V battery as its power source. It can also be operated from household current, using a compatible AC adapter.

Decal and stickers are another important aspect in finishing car bodies. In addition to kitsupplied stickers, a wide selection of optional stickers is available on the market. One of a kind markings can also be made using selfadhesive sticker sheets.
Although the application seems easy, wrinkled or out-of-position stickers mar a model’s final finish. Completely removing the backing from the sticker prior to application will result in wrinkles or bubbles. Follow these procedures:

Add details and customize your can to build the one-of-a-kind model.
Your imagination is the limit. Add a visor to your drivers helmet using thin transparent sheet styrene. Cut out a photo of your favorite driver from a magazine and glue it in the helmet. Make openings in the front grille, air intakes, etc. and apply plastic mesh from the inside. You can operate your car’s headlights and tail lamps by using optional light bulbs and brake lamp units available on the market. However, make sure they have compatible voltage ratings with your battery.

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