Because Project Cars Don't Have to Ruin your Finances

Successes and Failures in Trying New Things

We’re always looking for ways to save money in our hobbies. For me, a major expense is paint.

I spray paint everything I can because I don’t like to airbrush...I can do it, but the clean up is just too big of a pain to me to justify using it. Unfortunately, I’m also super impatient, which means my preferred paints are Tamiyas.

Tamiya brush paints are acrylics, and their sprays are lacquers, both of which dry faster than Testors’ enamels. My impatience used to be why I couldn’t be a model builder of any level, but since I’ve discovered those paints, it’s really opened the hobby back up to me.


Anyway, Tamiya paints are expensive. I paid $9 for a can of primer that might get me through three kits, and I generally pay $6 for a can of color that does maybe 2 kits. With this in mind, I went to my local auto parts store and picked up a can of Rustoleum Plastic Primer.

Here’s a Top Tip: don’t use Rustoleum Plastic Primer. It just sucks. I don’t know why it sucks like it does, but its awful. It manages to be both extremely heavy AND does a poor job covering, which are both the opposite of what you want in a primer. I sprayed it on an AMT Cougar Eliminator and promptly ruined that Cougar.

Now, how about a success? Easy Off Oven Cleaner. I had heard about using Easy Off to strip paint, and this seemed like a great opportunity to try it out. I sprayed the Cougar while the primer was still wet, sealed it in a plastic container (the cleaner staying wet is apparently key to this process), and went about my business for a few hours. Then, running it under a tap, the old paint basically just washed right off. I used a toothbrush to get the stuff from in the tight areas, and it’s good to go another round.

Wondering if it was just this easy because of the new paint, I decided to try it on the brush-painted cab of my Bigfoot kit. Hosed it down with Easy Off, placed a plastic container over it, and let it sit for an hour. When I went back to it, the paint was basically bubbling off it...and this was thick, ancient enamel! I rinsed it, brushed it, then took a soft Scotchbrite pad to it to get the we’re ready for primer and paint once again. I’ve got a 1/32 Ferrari slot car I painted with lacquer years ago, I’d be very interested to see how it does against that paint.


So there we go, a failure and a success that came from it. I’m also trying out some Dupli Color lacquers, after seeing WhiteTrashSteve using them on one of his kits...a big can of Dupli Color is a little cheaper than a small can of Tamiya, so that would be a pretty good thing to know as well.

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