Painting Plastics!

Plastic figures are popular because they are cheep. For the price of 8-12 lead figures you can usualy get 3 times that number of usable figures in plastic. However there is one issue with plastic, painting the little so-and-so's. The basic rule is ONLY USE ACRYLICS. Its about all we can agree on. Here is my guide.

1) Clean them: Once the figures are off the sprue/runners, clean any flash and then was them in next leave them overnight in a white vineger/water mix. Apparently the vinegar eats any residue muck, and can 'etch' some plastic creating a nice surface for paint and stuff to stick to. Blow the science, all I know is that flaking and other paint problems have reduced since I started washing in vinegar.

2) Clean them again: This time in warm water with detergent. Then rinse them in water. This is because grease and oil stick very well to plastic figures and it must be removed.

3) The dip: This is a watered down PVA glue which has provided a nice coat to the figure that paint can grip much better. Leave to dry at least overnight. Keep the mix of dip in an air tight container. You will need it again as a seal/varnish coat at the end.

4) Spray base coat: Get a spray can of Acrylic paint. Either use a base colour, or the colour prominent in the uniform. You can get better value from a car parts shop if you don't mind reducing your choice of colours down to grey, black or red oxide. I tend to use black. Try to use thin, even coats

5) Dry Brush main colour: In the case of say French for 1940, I would use a Khaki colour, for my Germans a Blue/Grey. Dry brushing involves using a brush that hasn't really got a point any more. Get the brush well and truly covered and the wipe off the paint with a tissue. Now start to paint the figure using broad, light down strokes. Do it right and folds in clothes remain the undercoat colour. This and a wash are also your main tools in painting vehicles. They are your best weapons. Learn them, use them.

6) Detail: I tend to do webbing, packs, boots, weapons then finaly the flesh tone in that order. Remember this is not supposed to be entierly accurate. Just the suggestion of a line is often all that needed, think of what you would see from a few hundred yards on a real person, if its visible then paint it. Vary the colour of the blanket rolls and the like if you want.

7) Wash: This is optional, I use a dirt wash It covers any mistakes and blurs the edges. Perfect for 20th century, not so good for Napoleonics. Covers a multitude of sins. Just water down some black or dark grey and dab liberally. leave overnight to dry.

8) Seal properly either with another dip or 2 of PVA, or a commercial acrylic varnish.

9) Flock bases: Actually I hardly ever do that bit.


Rules and scale.

The usual suspects for WW2.

Not 'the usual suspects' WW2

Painting plastic.


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