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Old Dec 21, 2014, 01:31 AM
willp14335 is offline
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Painting a Hull for Beginners?

I recently picked up a used Northwind 36, and am planning to paint it. Since I purchased her, I have added new carbon sails, new carbon booms, a new vang, a new sail winch servo and a new spectra headstay. The boat sails pretty nicely. The included picture was taken in two knots of wind. The guy I bought her from did a sloppy job with gluing and epoxying, and the boat has some scuffs and smears and small surface scratches on the stem and near the stern where it overhangs the DWL. The keel is also a little rough. I figure I will have to so a bit of sanding there. My main question is what kind of prep work needs to be done about this before painting. I am a student of yacht design and live on a sailboat, and hence know a fair amount about boats, however I am completely new to modelling. My previous boat, a Nirvana II had no need of a paint job. This boat does not look as pristine and could use a bit of a facelift. Any suggestions or tips for a beginner to go about this would be most welcome.
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Old Dec 21, 2014, 02:52 AM
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United Kingdom, Wales, The Mumbles
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Preparation, preparation, preparation!
Then if you can afford it (students normally drink and smoke their money) use Epiflanes 2K paint. Once recommended to me by Robot Yachts arguably the best model yacht laminator in the World:
Please keep us updated
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Old Dec 23, 2014, 08:30 AM
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Krylon for plastic or Rustoleum high gloss! Used both, great results!
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Old Dec 23, 2014, 10:20 AM
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If you arent using paints forumlated specifically for plastic (like duplicolor automotive rattle cans at auto parts stores), use the same manufacturer's adhesion promotor on the raw plastic. it softens the plastic just enough to give the paint some bite to it.

For my plastic boats, I sand and smooth the hull to 400 or 600 grit, then wash with dishwashing soap. a wipe with prepsol (or other wax/grease remover), let that dry, then spray the adhesion promoter. Follow the instructions on the can to allow time to finish kicking before applying your color coat. I usually put on quite a bit of the color coat (bunch of several light coats), and then wetsand that down to smooth surface (600 or 800 grit wetsand). Wash with dishwasher soap and prepsol, then spray the clear coat (i use a lot of duplicolor rattle cans, and their clear is very good). I put on a lot of clear in several coats, and let it harden for a week or so. I then wetsand the hull down to 1500 or even 2000, then compound/buff it with meguiars polishing compound.

Createx airbrush colors stick well over the duplicolor, and arent damaged by the duplicolor clear

Definitely try to stick with one manufacturer of paint, and one type of paint. Some acrylic and lacquer paints dont mix with each other.

On my EC12, I've got a can of automotive two part 2k clear. It has a plunger in the bottom of the can that when pressed releases a catalyst into the clear. It has a 24 hour pot life, and dries extremely hard in a week. That stuff is nasty, and you really need a good respirator if you intend on using it.
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Old Dec 23, 2014, 11:10 AM
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Kevin Gault
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Pomona, CA
Joined Apr 2007
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I have gone to the "Ed Crowell School of Model Boat Painting" You can see his work here

I use a little different materials than Ed but follow pretty much the same routine. I use Rustoleum white plastic primer, I think it goes on fairly heavy and wet sands nicely. Several coats of prime and wetsand with 600 to get the hull "perfect." Then I spray a fairly light coat of Rustoleum color, try to get it as smooth as possible, but don't waste too much time trying to get a "perfect" coat. Then after it has fully cured (I often let the boat sit for 1-2 weeks), wetsand the whole boat lightly with 1500-2000 grit to level the paint, and remove any imperfections, then hand polish with 3M Finesse it polish. I personally don't see the need for clear over the top.

I try not to put too much paint on, both to save weight, and I think a thicker coating is more likely to chip. My C-J sailed the NCR in September, had a few "bumps" and came through with only 1 tiny chip in the rail.

...and forgot to mention....for super sharp paint edges, use 3M Fineline masking tape. Expensive, but by far the best in my experience.

C-J #551
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Last edited by poltergeist; Dec 23, 2014 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old Dec 24, 2014, 01:22 PM
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If it floats....sail it!
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Sorry about that nick, Kevin. I was sure I was on starboard tack.

Will, there are about as many ways to paint as their are painters. However, as a new modeler you probably don't have a compressor & gun, and living on a boat you also probably don't have a place to do spray painting (overspray, explosive/toxic vapor and smell issues), so I would recommend a water-based paint that can be brushed on and still give a good finish.

I have used the System 3 marine paint that is repackaged from the stock gallons gallon containers to pints and sold by Nelson's Hobby He has plenty of stock colors and will also do custom colors if you need them.

When brushed on with a foam brush this paint gives excellent results that are almost indistinguishable from a good spray job (and a good spray job takes practice). It has an optional "cross linker" that makes the paint tougher (I use that but it is not necessary and does shrink the recoat without sanding window time) and a clear top coat that is solvent/fuel proof that can be polished like an automotive clear coat using the 1500, 2000, compound and swirl remover sequence mentioned above.

Because it is water-based, it cleans up with water, not expensive solvent, eliminating any fume issues. It dries by evaporation of the water so it does set up slower than solvent based paints in high humidity conditions, like around bodies of water, so you may have to keep it "bug free" longer in your living situation, but I think the trade offs are worth it.

Also, the paint bonds mechanically rather than chemically so it is safe with ABS and other plastics. Because of the mechanical bond, you don't have to sand down to 400 before painting. In fact it MUST be sanded no finer than 220 - a real time saver if you have large areas to paint.

It may be just what you are looking for. Check out the thread on this paint in the Painting Tips forum

Whatever you use, post some pictures when you finish.
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Old Dec 24, 2014, 01:38 PM
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Kevin Gault
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Ha!!! No worries Steve. As I recall we were on different legs, so I think we both came out of each other's "nowhere." If you were on starboard I apologize!!! I owe you a turn!!!

Actually I think the chip came from an "encounter" on Saturday, in a race where you were way ahead. That's the nature of racing. But that is one advantage to my "cheapo" Rustoleum paintjob. For touchups, I just spray a little into a cup, and dab a bit of paint into the chip, then a quick colorsand and polish and the repair is virtually invisible.

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