Need Painting Tips - Who can save the day!? Ha.
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Need Painting Tips - Who can save the day!? Ha.

Posted in Custom Workstation

Overall question if you're not interested in my mini-background story for asking this is. What type of a paint seems to be the best paint to use when painting actions figures. The catch is I would like it to be able to be played with by a child and preferably non-toxic.

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I know there are a lot of experienced custom creators at this place so I thought I'd go straight to the pros. I'm new to customization of figures and am finding it more and more intriguing. I have a 4 year old son who loves action figures and super heroes (as I did "and do". I want to customize some figures that can be played with (preferably with non-toxic paint).

I got some testers model car paint (to my mistake was glossy) and tried my first custom. It looked pretty cool. I turned a Thor into a Superman. Trimmed his hair and made it black and painted his suit accordingly. The problem is, the paint began to rub off in the first week or two. He now just looks terrible and I want to trash him out of disappointment. Admittedly I did not prime him. I washed him with dawn soap and warm water. Dried him. Painted him. Clear coated him. Again, looked great but didn't last.

I'm desperately looking for painting suggestions to get a paint job that looks good and is durable for play (at least for a few months). What do the manufacturers use I wonder? I would love to make a Sandman like I've seen on this site, since I can't find a decent 3.75" figure for sale in stores. My son saw spiderman and will not stop begging for a Sandman (or Doc Ock for that matter). I refuse to buy him an inarticulate figure. So I'm putting my hopes in the hands of customizing tricks from this awesome site! Wish me luck.

Summary of my questions:
* What type (Brand) of paint should I use that will not rub off when played with? Type (brand) of primer and clear coat?
* What type of modeling clay should be used to customize figures that will withstand a 4 year old wear/tear for the most part?
* Is priming worth the time/cost/trouble?
* Would air brushing be better for base coats and dry brushing for top coats?

Thanks a million guys!


- A Childish Dad

Posted by Trustfulguy9100
on Friday, September 5, 2014
User Comments
Trustfulguy9100 -
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Truwe316... you are awesome!!! Thank you so much for responding and in such detail!!

I think I have a good idea of how to start this. I will indeed check out Fast Freddie and see his airbrushing techniques.

Thank you so much!!!

Truwe 316 -
Friday, September 5, 2014
I'll just give the summed up answers here, but if you want more in depth answers, most of these questions are covered in other subjects on this board.

What type (Brand) of paint should I use that will not rub off when played with? Type (brand) of primer and clear coat? Always go with Acrylic. Don't buy the cheap stuff, go to a hobby store and get something along the lines of Citadel, P3, Vallejo, etc. You get what you pay for. For primer, I use Duplicolor Vinyl and Fabric found autostores. For sealer, try to get whatever brand of paint you purchased. If the shop doesn't carry it. Krylon makes some great clear coats, just make sure that they say they work on plastics.

What type of modeling clay should be used to customize figures that will withstand a 4 year old wear/tear for the most part? Aves and Green Stuff have always done me right but any two part apoxie will do. Just make sure your son doesn't put it in his mouth when you are working and wear gloves when using it. Once it dries, it is safe to touch with the skin.

* Is priming worth the time/cost/trouble? Yes, yes, and yes. Primer helps paint bond to the figure, allows you to put less paint on the figure, and gives your paint an balanced look.

* Would air brushing be better for base coats and dry brushing for top coats? Depends on your skill level. I have had an airbrush for years and I am still learning techniques. Right now I use it for base coats for sure but I have started using it for top coats and I know a lot of guys that use it for more than that. Check out Fast Freddie on this site for a great example of different layers of airbrushing on figures.

Good luck!
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