Prepping the Body for Paint

A how to guide for a great paint job!

  • Skill Level:  Novice to Intermediate
  • Time to Accomplish:  Approximately 1 to 2 hours
  • Materials Needed:  Sand Paper, Masking Tape, Sprue Cutter, #11 Exacto Knife
  • A note on the abrasion listing I have.  I use Micro-Surface polishing kits, the 1800 grit I have listed in the article is equal to 600 grit ANSI Standard. 

Real life auto painters have a saying, 90% of a paint job is in the preparation.  This statement is extremely true in the scale modeling world.  If you want that glass smooth, mirror like finish on your model, be prepared to spend some time getting the body ready for that award winning paint job.

Keep in mind also that the skills you learn prepping your model bodies can be transferred to real life cars as well.  Auto shops go through the same basic procedures to get a real car ready for paint.  Its just a matter of degree.

Getting a model body ready for paint can take anywhere from 1 hour to days.  The time it actually takes depends on:

  • How bad the body is to begin with
  • What you are trying to accomplish

The build I am going to do will be a stock build, using modeling paints.  Follow along as I outline the procedure I use to prep my bodies.  As a word of caution, never go on to the next step of this process until you have finished the step you are on!  The effects are cumulative! So what you may overlook in the beginning CAN and will come back to haunt you in later steps.

        Inspection of the body

        I first remove the body from the kit and inspect it closely, looking for obvious molding lines, sink marks, etc.  The pictures below show where the molding lines seem to show up the most. Along the tops of the fenders, and where the front and rear valance panels are molded to the body.  The kit in question is a Tamiya Ferrari 360 Spider.

 I will check to make sure both sides of the body look uniform.  I will also look at the molding of the emblems and scripts to see how crisp they are and predominate they are. 

If the scripts and emblems are faint or hard to see, this tells me that they will be lost under just a few coats of paint so I will need to take this into account when I finish the body.


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Last update on: 10/11/2013

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