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Soft plastic is tricky, indeed. The material contains softeners/plasticisers which are moving to the surface even after years. But there might be some other kind of grease from the manufacturing process.
So first remove any remaining mould release agents. Usually a bath in dishwashing-liquid will do the job. Otherwise try acetone, spiritus or special silicone remover.
For priming I personally use grey Tamiya primer or automobile paint primer from the DIY-market. The bonding and bending abilities are important. Avoid sprays/colours on water basis. In my experience, the good old school solvents are similar to plastic glue, which is rather welding the plastic parts. Some soldiers I painted with Humbrol, Revell and Airfix enamels decades ago still hold their paint. Of course, highly bendable parts like swords or bayonets might need repainting from time to time.
Hi vlinkolic. Welcome to the world of 1/72. You got some very good advice on Hat forum. Now let me summerize here the steps, with my personal experience added.
1 Cleaning. With a sharp hobby knife remove excess plastic, usualy from seam lines. Some figures require more work, others much less.
2 Washing. In a large bowl put generously dish detergent, and add warm/hot water about 1/10. Stir and dump in the figures. I leave the figures overnight in this bath. I leave them to dry naturaly.
3 Converting. From now on, always have clean hands when handling the figures. The natural fatty oils on your skin require to wash hands before handling the figures. Simple conversions of the position of limbs can be achieved by throwing the figure in boiling water. Most figures are ok in the boiling water for many minutes, my only bad experience was with Emhar/Imex figures, where they melted a bit. Not so much as to make them unusable, but enough to make some details fade. Now take the figures out from the boiling water with something like a spoon and quickly bend the limb. Now throw the figure in cold water. Done.
For gluing soft plastic I use Superglue gel or Loctite "all plastics". I don't pin as that is extra work and if you don't drop the conversion on the floor the superglue will hold.
3 White gluing. This is a step that some consider unnecessary. However, I think that this step helps paint staying on the figures. In a bowl with 1/10 white glue/water I leave the figures overnight. After blowing off the excess glue or removing it with a brush, I leave them to dry for a day.
4 Priming. I tried several primers and I am best satisfied with Humbrol spray grey primer no 1. It is acrylic - waterbased. Dries quickly. 30 minutes. In a large carton box, with the figures lined on one side in large batches, spray from aprox 30 cm. Spray in a continious motion of the can, because if you keep the can still while spraying, the primer gets too thick on the figure and details disappear. After 30 minutes turn the figures on the other side and spray again.
5 Painting. You want armies in different colors. Use spray cans. Do not use enamels over acrylics. You can use acrylics over enamels.
It might seem complicated, but once you start, you will see that it saves time and the results are good. In a week you can have hundreds of figures finished.
hello and thank you very much for your interest
i posted the same / similar thread on several places so now i think i have the fine plan how to do this.
after i assemble all this armies i shall do
*) ?white glue?
3) applying vallejo primer
*) somehow for me it is equal to miracle to put polypropylene plastic figures into wood-white-glue. from your and several more comments i have idea that mix of white glue and water 1:10 would put a thin layer of white-glue-coating over the figures, and after that i would prime with plastic primer white glue instead of plastics.
another thing is that i am not sure of how much would white glue stick to the polypropylene - i am scared that i could easily take of that layer after the painting job - however i can try this first
i have no experience with this so it is a bit odd this tactics with wood-glue
vlnikolic, I can understand your anxiety about white (wood) glue. I was also skeptic when I was first told about it. But I tried it out many years ago, and now have no regrets. My figures keep their paint on after over a decade. Some use to apply another coat of thinned whiteglue instead of varnishing. I do not do either. Have read that in some cases of applying whiteglue AFTER painting, some figures can take a yellowish tint after several years.
For five years or so, I do not brush primer anymore. Grey spray, Humrol primer. Result is better than brush. And much quicker. Grey shows the details on the figures very well, details you hardly saw before priming. White primer and the painting over will need to be done in several layers, because there is a problem with homogeneity of paint. Black primer and the painted figures will look to dark. I tried several spray primers: Rustoleum, Tamyia, one for RC cars. One gave too thick layer, one was too sticky...
Enamels stick to plastic better than acrylics. Some painting with enamels have perfect results without whiteglue. But my favorite paints now are acrylics (I had used enamels before) and the favorite brand Vallejo.
Get back to us on your progress. As they say: different strokes for different folks.
Paint that bonds to a surface sounds good. All those superb tank and aircraft modellers who go to great trouble to show chips and abrasions on the paint surface show that in real life paint doesn't bond to a surface.
Everybody has their favourite recipe but the key is to have lots of thin layers of stuff so PVA glue etc are all good and with adequate drying time between coats or layers (days not minutes). The first layers should be matt as they have marginally better adhesive qualities (irregular surface structure) but then painters and decorators have done this for years on woodwork- 1. primer (matt), 2.undercoat(matt),3. the colour coat (gloss or semi gloss), 4. varnish coat(gloss) and so have the great artists with their masterpieces.
I watched a TV programme on the building of the 35 mile long NEAT* Gotthard Base tunnel which opens in June of this year and was surprised how many times those clever engineers found solutions from the past. With 35 miles to tunnel re inventing the wheel was not an option. I like the idea of the try outs on the sprues but then give the research some breadth and plunder history a bit and read a bit more on what processes are taking place. Watching and reading about how paint dries sounds a bit existential but in this instance could reduce the number of painted sprue duplicates and make them a bit more worthwhile to test ideas. Zinc Chromate was/still is used to prime aircraft parts-Rust-oleum?
Hobbies are a bit hit and miss and I have bits of polyethylene in the shape of figures that I painted with poor paint, not primed or washed or anything that have paint coatings as fresh as they were applied 50 years ago with my greasy crisp flavoured hands. A bit hard to replicate now but rapidity and enjoyment were the main considerations then.
Finally aerosols are fine but an airbrush produces a finer spray at a higher constant pressure and that is why they are used commercially. If the figure batches are small then two minutes spraying and 20 minutes cleaning with the airbrush seems a winning argument for the aerosol.
*new trans Alpine rail link -Neuen Eisenbahn-Alpentransversalen
Just bought Norman Cavalry. Where can I find painting details for this and other Strelets. Thanks!
Try spraying it with Plastidip transparent spray after the painting is done. It's transparent rubber that prevent chipping/flaking. I've been using it for year, without it I would not be able to paint soft plastic minis.
After this a layer of matte varnish is recommended as it's pretty shiny.