How to paint and touch up paper models


One thing that seriously gets on me about building models from card/paper are the white lines that show along the folds. I'm not an expert at papercrafting or something, but there's one small lesson that I picked up from the talented members on our forums - that is papercraft can actually be painted on, given the right treatment.
That's right, you can paint it like a Gundam model to achieve great effects!

Inspired by Avenic from our forums who did some experimentation by applying a gloss coat on paper with some gr8 results - it actually works, gives the paper a shine and even water proofs the material to make it like plastic - I set forth to paint my Lancer model and surprisingly I pretty like the results!

So here's a nice little tutorial to get all of you who work with card a start in what you need to know about painting.

Full article inside.

Use card, not paper
Paper modelling, paper crafting, that's what it's called. But try not to work with normal printing paper. It's too thin and the ink soaks through which loses it's colour and it's appeal. Also, you will need thick card in order to paint on. Thick card also makes the model feel and look sturdier.

Putty
Hobby putty comes out soft, but after time, it hardens into a rock hard substance that can be sanded, carved or even drilled. You can use this to touch up your model, seal up gaps, obvious "paper edges" - this will make your model indistinguishable from plastic! Have some screw drivers handy to carve and touch up on the putty after it has hardened.




Primer spray
A primer spray is used to coat the surface in preparation for painting. It helps in smoothing the surface as well as helping the further paint coats stay on. It's best that you get a can of this, although it is not 100% necessary. If you're a perfectionist, go grab a can from your local hobby store!

To apply it, hold the spray can approximately 15 - 20 cm away from the surface. Depress it steadily and move your hand across the models in passes. Allow the first wave of passes to dry, then repeat the process several times until the entire model is covered evenly. Do not spray too close or too far away or the droplets will not be even.


Hand brushing paints
Use acrylics or lacquer based paints, avoid water based paints like poster paints or the paint will bleed off when your model gets wet! Tamiya paints come in gloss or matt, so be sure to choose the right ones.

Mixing the right about of water to get the right consistency is important. Too much water and the paint spreads too thinly to cover the model. Too little water and the paint is too thick to spread properly.

Dry brushing technique
Dry brushing is perfect for achieving rusty metal, worn metal or other texture effects. To do this, dip a paint brush into the paint, then proceed to clean off the paint onto a piece of paper until the paint brush is dry. With minimal residual paint on the brush, rub the brush repeated on the surface you want to paint. The paint will transfer bit by bit onto the surface to get very nice effects.

Coats
Only coat after the paint has completely cured. There are a few types of coats available as sprays in the market. The main ones are matt, semi gloss and gloss. Matt achieves a flat finish while gloss is really shiny. Take care not to over spray or matt sprays will start to frost. Apply using the same technique for the primer. Allow it to dry completely before touching the model, or you'll ruin the surface.

Hope that helped!

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