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Monday, November 24, 2014

Bolt Action - Preparing Resin Vehicles for Painting

I have been painting resin vehicles for a few years now from various manufactures and I have had a few issues over that time which could have been avoided with proper preparation. I did not really understand how to prime resin to allow for the paint to bind and hold over the long term. If you are new to the scene this could help you out and it is based on my experiences only so opinions may vary. I am far from an expert and just your average Jo war gamer but I have learnt some small tricks along the way.

You can see the symptoms starting to appear, this is not a good day

There are a number of stages that I go through with preparing a resin vehicle, first off it is important to give it a wash in soapy water, apply a primer and finally apply a basecoat. You can then paint the vehicle but that may be for another article. Prior to a wash however it may be necessary to clean up any bumps or mould lines present.

Once you realise what has gone wrong you can easily remove it as the acrylic paint is actually not binding to anything.

 During the casting process a mould release agent is applied to assist the resin vehicle release smoothly from the actual mould. When the resin vehicle arrives at your door it may still have traces of the mould release agent present and as such it is recommended that you give it a wash in soapy water (I use dishwashing liquid).    The wash is also great for removing any other foreign objects that could have an effect on the painting such as dirt or hair.

Many people have said that they never actually wash their resin vehicles and have never had a problem. That may be the case but I still like to spend a few minutes giving them a wash in soapy water with a toothbrush then run the risk of my carefully applied paint job flaking off at a tournament.  Once it is clean I tend to leave it overnight to make sure all the parts are dry.

The next step is to prime the resin vehicle so first off what does a primer do? A primer in the most basic of terms creates a binding layer against the surface of the resin to which the next layer of paint adheres to rather then the resin. If you have ever tried to use acrylic paint directly onto a metal miniature you will see that it does not stick and will bead or flow, you need that paint to be able to adhere to another layer first.  Two main forms of primer are acrylic paint which is based on water or alchohol and enamel which is based on oil.

There are some amazing products out there that use acrylic paint such as the combined primer/basecoat Army Painter spray can range and these can be used for most resin vehicles.  There are some resin products however that reject acrylic primers such as the Die Waffenkammer range from JTFM. For these products it is recommended that you use an enamel primer and avoid the acrylic or you will see flaking and all your hard work slowly disappear. I have also had flaking issues with some other manufacturers resin where I used an acrylic primer so I play it safe now and use enamel on all resin products.

If you are using an acrylic primer and basecoat just spray it on and get painting, it is as easy as that. It will dry very quickly and you can start applying acrylic paint within a very quick time.

Using an enamel primer I hand painted this tank in a matter of minutes
I picked up a small bottle of enamel primer from my local hobby shop for a few $ $ and just hand paint it on using a larger sized brush, it really only takes a few minutes but I recommend doing it in a well ventilated area as the fumes may cause harm (especially if your wife smells it). Once the primer is on I generally leave it overnight.

I then applied an Army Painter black undercoat, this assist me with those hard to reach recesses and creates some colour variations when I put the primary colour on.
I then use a black acrylic paint straight over the enamel primer and follow this up with the base colour such as dunklegelb or Panzer Grey etc. Then it is a case of painting your vehicle is whatever colours take your fancy.If you prepare your resin vehicle well prior to painting then you won’t have the long term flaking problems that I had when I first started.

Plastic Soldier Company Dunklegelb spray

Painted and ready for action

All is not lost however with a quick strip of the old paint I applied the right preparation and painted it again in a scheme I am more happy with.

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