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Old Jun 22, 2011, 07:20 AM
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United States, MA, Boston
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Are most paints foam-safe?

My terrible eyes make it hard to see my PZ UM P51 in some lighting, so I was thinking I'd paint it fluorescent yellow on top and pink or orange on the bottom.

Can anyone recommend a paint for this? Or will an ordinary hardware store spray paint be fine?
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 07:37 AM
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While it can stated that the paint is OK on the foam in many cases, it is the accelerator that attacks the foam. Sometimes one can spray lightly and not have it dissolve the foam, but the better way is to paint a primer first and then lightly spray several coats.

The one company that makes paint in spray cans that many use is Model Master found in most hobby stores. This can be sprayed directly on the foam without the problem of dissolving the foam.

For the money, the better deal is getting sample paint from Home Depot for $2 (last time I chk'd). Although it is a flat paint, one can spray a clear coat after for a shiny finish if desired. Applying the paint it is easily done by a foam brush and roller. Or you can use an airbrush, thinning the mixture with glass cleaner, as used by some.
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 10:44 AM
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Thanks for the reply.

Are the Home Depot sample paints you mention just the regular latex indoor paints?

Will these paints weigh enough to have a material impact on how this little thing flies?
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Latex house paints are too heavy for small, lightweight planes. Save it for large, gas powered outdoor planes.

A really good paint for foam is the Design Master line carried by Michaels, the craft store, although I'm sure there are other outlets that sell it. It very light weight and comes in an incredible array of colors. My wife was a florist, and they use them to color flowers and stuff when they make floral arrangements. I sneak into her stash and select my color of the month. Spray a couple of light coats, rather than trying to cover in one fell swoop. Ventilation required!!

Another safe painting method for foam is acrylic. You can get small plastic bottles of it at Walmart, Michael's, etc. It comes bottled as a thick consistency and must be thinned, especially if you're using an airbrush, which I'd recommend. You can get inexpensive airbrush setups at Harbor Freight and AirbrushCity.com. A lot of guys thin with Windex, although water works fine for me. Get a wheelbarrow inner tube for your air supply. Fill it to 35 psi at the gas station.
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Great info. Thanks!
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 03:08 PM
billyjim
Cullman, AL
Joined Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by 356Jim View Post

Another safe painting method for foam is acrylic. You can get small plastic bottles of it at Walmart, Michael's, etc. It comes bottled as a thick consistency and must be thinned, especially if you're using an airbrush, which I'd recommend.
JIM:

I use the Testors Model Master Acrylics (with their "air brush" spray can. Works well and offer quite a few colors. I have to spray lightly otherwise it affects my ultralight 'floater' planes adversely.

Also for small areas of coverage I go to the local crafts store ('Hobby Lobby,' down here in the South ... not to be confused with the R/C store) and buy their small bottles of acrylic (brand name: "Apple Barrel .. PLAID" -- but they have other brands too I believe.) A giant array of colors. The manufacturer told me, distinctly NO airbrush -- will clog it up.

Bill
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 10:52 PM
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JIM:........... "Apple Barrel .. PLAID" -- but they have other brands too I believe.) A giant array of colors. The manufacturer told me, distinctly NO airbrush -- will clog it up.....Bill
Bill did you mean that it WILL clog up an airbrush? ...or did you mean the opposite? 'Cause most "bottled" acrylics come out of the containers like canned pea soup - really thick. Airbrushes choke on that stuff!!

I have not experienced ANY clogs or stoppages using the acrylics from Michael's or Walmart as long as they're properly thinned. You also have to factor in the local temperature and humidity when spraying - high humidity, slightly less thinner and a little more if temps are high. Yeah, I know, it seems contradictory. Thinning achieves two goals. The first coat, if applied light, becomes a colored "sealer" for the second light coat - getting the lightest color application you can.

P.S., for those building with balsa (which used to be the "miracle" modeling medium), use RIT dye or food coloring. Very light!!
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 11:06 PM
billyjim
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Bill did you mean that it WILL clog up an airbrush? ...or did you mean the opposite? 'Cause most "bottled" acrylics come out of the containers like canned pea soup - really thick. Airbrushes choke on that stuff!!
JIM: Yep, the Apple Barrel people told me their stuff will absolutely clog up an air brush -- can't be used. It's a shame 'cause the stuff is so much cheaper than Testors Acrylic, and they've got a great array of color choices. So I only use it for small detail, like painting my balsa pilot for my WW1 bipes.

Bill
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 12:13 AM
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I've used $1 per 2 Oz Craft paint with an airbrush and it works OK if you cut it 50-50 with alcohol.

Takes a while to cover stuff, but its pretty light when dry. You can paint a whole plane before it clogs... but yes, it will clog.
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 06:17 AM
billyjim
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I've used $1 per 2 Oz Craft paint with an airbrush and it works OK if you cut it 50-50 with alcohol.

Takes a while to cover stuff, but its pretty light when dry. You can paint a whole plane before it clogs... but yes, it will clog.
UNGN: What kind of alcohol do you use? Sounds interesting!

Bill
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 07:00 AM
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UNGN: What kind of alcohol do you use? Sounds interesting!

Bill
Denatured alcohol and a lot of shaking.
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 07:48 AM
billyjim
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Denatured alcohol and a lot of shaking.
Well! I thought I'd never hear again my old R&R favorite: "A Whole Lot A' Shakin' Goin' On!"
Tnx.

Bill
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 08:01 AM
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I've had good luck with Tamiya paints. I don't have an airbrush, so I thin the Tamiya paints with Tamiya thinner and use a large, soft brush. I've actually got a few airbrushes, but my compressor isn't powerful enough. I've read about Testors 'air in a can', but haven't been able to find a local supplier.

Jay
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 08:22 AM
billyjim
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I've had good luck with Tamiya paints. I don't have an airbrush, so I thin the Tamiya paints with Tamiya thinner and use a large, soft brush. I've actually got a few airbrushes, but my compressor isn't powerful enough. I've read about Testors 'air in a can', but haven't been able to find a local supplier.

Jay
JAY: Down here in the South the Hobby Lobby chain (arts & crafts, not R/C chain) carries the cans. Try calling Testors Customer Service -- they should be able to give you a local source .. even in that one-horse town of Minneapolis ; their # is 1-800-837-8677.

Bill
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 11:25 AM
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If you strain the paint after thinning, then I suspect that airbrush clogging is caused by paint build-up at the tip is starting to dry. I also suspect that alcohol will aid that because of the rapid evaporation. Try dipping the tip in a bit of water or daubing it with a wet Q-Tip every now and then.
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