Boat hull paint? - RC Groups
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May 20, 2009, 11:52 PM
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Boat hull paint?

I'm moving towards painting my RC sailboat hull, but I don't know what sort of paints are best. Sure, I can go to the hardware shop and buy cans of paint in the colours I need, and it's pretty cheap, but will these give good results? I don't want them to scratch off easily and leave my boat looking ratty after a couple of sails.

The hull is balsa, covered with fibreglass and epoxy resin. I'm thinking the hull might benefit from a gloss-coat over the paint for super-shininess, and most of the deck, I'll leave with just the normal paint, so it has less gloss, maybe even use some matt paint on the non-slip areas. I think that would look nice.

I don't want to spend a fortune on paint, as I need 5 specific colours for the VO70 Ericsson 1 paint scheme (including black and white), plus the gloss coat.

Any recommendations on what sort of paints will (or won't) be suitable?
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May 21, 2009, 12:45 AM
In The Sorrano Triangle
Try using appliance paint..It is one part epoxy high-gloss, and chip resistance. I use the white for the hull and black for the water line. With any paint..prepwork and patience are your best friend. A auto type primer, grey or red, sandable. Wash the fiberglass well and let dry. You will get results better than using an airbrush.
good luck
May 21, 2009, 12:58 AM
Registered User
Sounds cool. Where can you get this 'appliance paint'? Is it available in a good range of colours? Or will I have to get custom colours made up?

For the procedure...

Q-cell filler (doing that now)
Sand off to 240 grit
Wash fibreglass
Auto primer
Do I sand back the primer before painting?
For this epoxy paint, do you brush it or spray it?
May 21, 2009, 01:09 AM
Registered User
From memory, someone suggested auto touch-up paint. It's easy to get, and comes in a huge range of colours, including Acrylic top-coat, so this might be good, yes?
May 21, 2009, 11:27 AM
Registered User

Krylon ?

Hello Surfdabbler
I looked into paint when finishing my boat . Many members of RC Groups suggested Krylon and that is what I used . My hull is ABS not sure if the adhesion would be different for epoxy?
As it was my first model and I just wanted to get it in the water I did not pay to much attention to surface prep and between coat sanding.

I have bumped the dock a couple times and it did get a slight scratch but overall the paint job looks quite good.
May 21, 2009, 11:50 AM
In The Sorrano Triangle
They paint is in a rattle can(spray) and can be found at most all hardware stores. The colors are limited, at least the hardware store) to black, white, silver and beige.
The auto paints are great.......but if you start with them, then you need to stick with them because the solvents are different for each brand.
Tapeing is another place you can get into trouble...If the hasn't bonded well with the primer or isn't quite dry, you will pull the base paint off......if you can smell it it isn't dry.
Think of how you are going to paint and where you can hang your project before you start. I like to do a dry run on painting and hanging my project...Often I find that I am not as smart as I thought I was and can't paint everything I wanted to in one pass or where I was going to hang it was n ot stable or quit as big a space as I needed.
Just think a bit and plan ahead....Wear a paint mask and work in a open can always put your project in a smaller area to dry.
May 21, 2009, 10:28 PM
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fats_nz's Avatar
Hi There,

My suggestion would be car paint. the clear coat over base coat variety and get someone to spray it for you. It may take several trips back and forth to get the different colours but it comes up fantastic and very hard. If you have spent a lot of time to build your boat the paint job will make or break it, I feel. Using car paint has worked well for me, I have painted 3 like this so far. I was lucky to have a sparay booth at my work and a painter that ran on cold beer.
The graphics can be applied over the base coat before the clear is applied. These are relatively cheap to get done. my last boat cost me $100nz in graphics including 2 sets of sails scrren printed. Il attach a link to show you how my last boat came out.

good luck
May 22, 2009, 03:12 AM
Registered User
Great work on the paint, fats_nz! It looks like she sails pretty good in light winds too. I've done a bit of spray lacquer myself in the past, but I don't have the gear for small airbrushing work. I think I will go with the automotive touch-up paint rattle cans. If I achieve anything like your Prada boat, I'll be very happy. I haven't found anywhere in Brisbane to do the decals yet, but I'll keep looking. I don't know whether inkjet printed decals will really be good enough for what I'm after, and I don't want to destroy my nice boat with bad decals.
May 22, 2009, 03:54 AM
Registered User
Oh, another painting question - for masking, what sort of tape is best? Masking tape is the obvious answer, but I've had issues before of the paint wicking under the edges. I also have some tight curves that masking tape won't go around nicely. (Imagine a roughly 5cm diameter half-circle). Is there a better tape to use for the curves?

Also, I might be painting some logos to get the colours to match perfectly, and I will probably end up cutting stencils from stick-on vinyl. Will this be suitable?
May 22, 2009, 12:21 PM
Registered User
fats_nz's Avatar
for masking I used 3mm vinal pinstripe tape for the edge and then good quality masking tape for everything else. For decals I just went to a signwriter and he did everything, any good signwriter will do it. Its even better if you have a computer file with the graphics you want but if not some will recreate it by eye. The guy who did mine didnt have the exact lettering i wanted so had to trim letters by hand with a knife, very cool to watch
Aug 24, 2010, 01:07 PM
Registered User
hay i need a 50 inch rc boat hull ill spend p to $175 on it email me at
Aug 24, 2010, 07:04 PM
Registered User
siberianhusky's Avatar
Dupont nason 2 part automotive clear over plain old rattle can car paint. Tough as anything, Easy to spray, after it dries wet sand then buff it. The finish will look a mile deep and be very scratch resistant!
First used it on a nitro boat because its fuel proof, now I use it on electrics, sailboats and nitro boats. Even looks great before you buff it out.
Did 2 coats over a planked rg65 that was epoxy covered. Looks amazing and is also UV resistant! Almost as tough as 2 part epoxy paint.
Aug 24, 2010, 10:24 PM
Registered User
Dick L.'s Avatar
Do your math homework - and you will find out how quickly those multiple coats of color paint and clear coat add weight to the boat. Not a problem if not racing, but if you plan to race, use a small touch-up pressure type spray gun, thin paint and only use the number of very thin coats to get the color. If you have access, a HVLP puts even less paint on as it has to be thin to spray.

UV protection? Maybe a good idea if your hull is moored in the water all summer, but most boats over a season may only see a couple of days (total) of sunshine when all regatta hours are added together.

Good for discussions over adult beverages after sailing, however.
Aug 25, 2010, 08:27 PM
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siberianhusky's Avatar
Wow really sucks to be you if you only get 2 days sunshine on your boat a year! Why bother? I go out for 6-8 hours at a time! Had the last two days off spent 10 hours at the pond.
Guess you also don't understand about epoxy resin and uv protection.
Unprotected epoxy looks bad once it starts to blush and haze.
Hmmm I guess the wet sanding of color and clear coat adds weight, two thin coats of clear wet sanded between and buffed adds almost nothing to the boat. As does two light coats of color that are flat sanded.
And believe it or not the clear is reduced 4:1 so it lays out thinner and doesn't orange peel!
Never seen anybody try to brush 2 part clear, pretty sure thats a hvlp sprayer I have in my garage, or is it my riding mower?
Lots of assumptions there!
Is that enough homework for a finish that is impervious to almost anything and very scratch resistant?
Odd didn't see anything you said that could of been of any use to the original post! Where is your help?
Aug 25, 2010, 09:03 PM
Registered User
Dick L.'s Avatar
1) No where did I say "I" only got two days worth of sunshine. My point was - seldom if ever are model boats kept on the water or in the sun...... unless "someone" is dumb enough to leave it in the back window of their car - in which case, the UV breakdown would be the least of their worries. Thus, there is not much of a need for UV protection.

2) Might want to educate yourself a bit on epoxies - especially marine grades. Paint (just the regular old stuff in a can) provides UV protection to the epoxy/glass composite. So does varnish with built in UV inhibitors. Both can be thinned as you suggest. 2 part polyurethanes in "color" don't need a clear cost since they are also UV tolerant.

3) Amine "blush" is a by product of some epoxies and can form from humidity, as well as other factors. It washes off with soap and water, and if a clear wood finish is desired it nothing prevents a varnish, paint or polyurethane paint from providing the UV protection you think is needed.

4) Most home builders are lucky to paint with a "rattle can" and probably spray 4 out of 6 coats too many and too thick. I'm happy you have an HVLP at home - take a poll and find out how many other builder/owners have one - or have access to one.

5) How many owners spray hulls with "soft" enamel model paints? Another poll you can take. You see, there are paints and there are paints - and I can't count how many have used the wrong primer with the incompatible top coat only to see a lot of "wrinkles" in the painted finish. This is usually followed by a lot of scraping, sanding and re-primer. Even the simple rattle cans have instructions on how soon/how long to wait for additional coats. Miss the window of opportunity and you will also see "wrinkles" in the paint finish.

So back to my original comment - enlarged so you don't miss it ..... IF YOU RACE added paint layers adds weight. Not a problem (I said) if not racing.

If you have a magic way to "thin" rattle can paints to a thinner consistency to control the thickness of paint as it is sprayed on, I sure would like to hear about it.

Now, once we have a nice, shinny hull - shall we debate whether to wet sand parallel to keel line, and leave the hull alone - or polish and wax?

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