Let me tell you a secret. I’ve made a blog about modeling and made over a hundred posts, but I still use spray paint on my models. Spray paints are a cheap and good alternative to the standard of modeling, which is using an airbrush. But how good are spray paints? What could we do to get the best results out of spray paint? That’s the topic for this post.
You can use regular spray paint on models because these paints are designed to work on almost all surfaces, including plastics. Spray paints offer a cheap way for beginners to try modeling without the hassle of choosing which paint or brush to buy.
This blog post will show you how to use regular spray paints to paint your model. I will give some tips to get the most and when to upgrade to an airbrush. Furthermore, I would talk about priming, which would also enhance the quality and durability of your paint.
Can you use regular spray paint on models?
Regular spray paint can be used on models, and you can expect great results if used properly. Spray paint is a cheap and effective way for modelers to try the hobby before upgrading their tools to airbrushes which are for experienced modelers.
Remember that in modeling, the quality of your materials doesn’t matter if you don’t use them properly.
Even if you have the most expensive airbrush, primers, or paint, it would only be a waste if you don’t use them properly.
As for me, I have a blog about modeling and have written over a hundred posts. However, I still use spray cans when modeling.
Rather than stressing about what brush and paint to use, beginners can skip that by getting a spray can.
Furthermore, compared to Acrylic paints, spray cans don’t require the use of primers. However, using primers would improve the paint.
Another reason to choose spray paint is its price. Compared to buying a high-quality airbrush, spray paint is cheaper.
Thus, even at this stage, I still use spray paint when designing my models.
When it comes to quality, spray cans can beat airbrushes, especially if the airbrush you’re using is not of good quality.
A poor-quality airbrush will not have a consistent spray flow, leading to deformities in the painting process. Furthermore, their spray would be too wide or narrow leading to bad paint jobs.
Thus, if you’re on a tight budget like me, it is better to stick with regular spray cans than try a low-quality model airbrush.
Do not rush getting a model airbrush and expect to have better results. If you didn’t get a good quality airbrush, it would be better to still use spray cans.
However, when I am talking about a high-quality airbrush, I am not talking of those airbrushes made for cars that can go for $500.
Getting a big airbrush is good since you can use it for painting other objects. However, if you’re only going to use it for modeling, then it’s a waste.
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A high-quality model airbrush like the Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus Airbrush is enough to achieve perfect results.
There is no need to go for the bigger and more expensive ones.
So, here is what I mean.
If you can’t afford a high-quality airbrush like me, it is better to stick with a spray can since you will achieve identical or even better results than cheap airbrushes.
However, what tips can I give to achieve great results using spray paints from experience?
The first is to use good quality spray paint. I use Bosny spray paint, but you don’t need to use the same paint as I do.
One of the best spray paints to use is Tamiya spray paint simply because their paint is specifically used for model painting.
You can check Tamiya Spray Paint here.
However, if you decide to use the same quality paint as I do, I heard that Rust-Oleum is available in the USA, and it produces the same paint quality as the one I am using.
You can check Rust-Oleum Spray paint here.
Other than the quality of paint, make sure not to over-spray. Be careful when spraying since one of the worst things you can do is over-spray.
Over spraying causes drip marks that are hard to remove.
To prevent drip marks, you can do two things:
- Slowly spray the paint and do not over spray.
- Make sure you are painting 6 to 8 inches away from the model.
Spray painting at 6 to 8 inches away from the model makes sure the pressure from the spray paint isn’t strong enough to produce drip marks or over-painting.
These tips are enough to achieve great results with spray paint, but you can add primers to strengthen the bond between the model and color if you want to achieve better results.
That’s the topic for the next section.
Have you wondered what’s the rattling sound while you shake a spray can? I opened a spray can in another post to figure it out. You may find it here: What is the thing inside the spray can?
Is priming necessary when spray painting?
Priming is not necessary when spray painting, but it is recommended. Primers serve as the link between the body and the paint. This allows the paint to adhere better to the body leading to a longer-lasting paint. Furthermore, this prevents wrinkling and bubbles on the finished product.
If you want your paint to last longer and prevent as much wrinkling as possible such as in the photo above, then priming can help.
Usually, these wrinkles don’t happen on spray paints unless you over-paint. That’s why I emphasized painting 6 to 8 inches away from the model.
Furthermore, applying too much paint can also cause this.
Thus, you can prevent wrinkling from happening just by being careful with the application process.
However, why am I saying that primers can improve the paint quality?
This is because primers serve as a bridge between the paint and the model.
Using primers will dramatically improve the durability of your paint.
So, if you want your paint to last longer and to prevent bubbles and wrinkles from appearing, then primers can help.
With these tips, you can use spray paints for your build and achieve great results. But what if you don’t have any means to apply primers?
Are there primer spray paints? That’s what we will talk about in the last section.
Can you prime models with spray paint?
You can prime models with spray paint since there are spray paint primers. Manufacturers have been producing primers that can be applied using the spray for easier application. However, using spray paint itself as a primer is a bad idea.
This question can have two meanings.
One is if you can prime models with spray. The answer there is you can prime models with spray since there are spray primers available in the market.
However, if you use the paint as a primer, that is a bad idea because primers are different from the paint.
In fact, spray paint has its primers to work better.
Spray paint will not produce the same bond strength as a primer leading to less durable paint.
Furthermore, using paint on top of another paint has numerous problems and would usually not work unless their solubility is compatible.
Thus, using spray paint as primers is a bad idea, but you can always opt for spray primers widely available in the market.
What’s next? I talked about the application of paint over another in another blog post. If you’re interested in the topic, you can find the post here: Can paint be applied on top of another?