|So many colours!
Going well with my onus on fuss-free, casual building, Tamiya spray paint is almost a godsend, with easy-to-manage cans (small), quick-drying paint with an assortment of colours. Further, the effect and finishing from those colours are remarkable, bearing metallic hues and shiny effects if the paint is applied properly.
Since a month back, I always keep a can of Tamiya Gunmetal and Light Gunmetal on hand to replace the blacks and greys respectively.
As you can see from the picture above, the tip of the katana looks rough and uneven. Although we can simply dismiss this as battle-damage, in actual fact I was a little too hasty with the painting. Also, the spray nozzle was too close to the kit, so do remember to maintain at least one foot of space between the spray can and the part to be painted.
Apart from that, you can see that the handguard is clearly coloured in titanium gold, matching the unit it is meant for nicely. Under good light, the blade's and hilt's colours are more prominent, but gunmetal and light gunmetal are simply too similar in shade and hue.
Sometimes the colours of the kits you get aren't really what you had in mind or differ vastly from the flattering, edited photographs of promotional material. You can resign to fate and build the kit in those dastardly colours or you can alter its hue even before construction. In this section, I will run through the procedure I use to spray paint entire runners before putting them together.
You may think that spray paint whole runners is easier than say, hand painting a part using a brush or a Gundam Marker. You are half right; the actual spraying is not rocket science, its the preparatory work prior to the spraying that will take up a lot of time.
To ensure that each part on the runner gets as much paint coverage as possible, you need to do some heavy nipping. The above picture shows the runner and its connecting sprues all intact prior to nipping.
Firstly, look at each individual part and find the sprue that will leave the least visible nub upon nipping. That will be the connecting sprue for that particular part.
Next, nip off all other sprues, including the support pieces. That means that if the entire frame has to go, it has to go. You can cut up your runners into smaller pieces if you wish, but do remember its lettering and/or numbering for ease of construction. Generally, I try to keep the runner in one piece. If there are nubs on the parts, carefully use a hobby knife and/or sanding sponge to remove it. Exercise as extreme caution as the part is connected to the main runner frame by the weakest connecting sprue.
From the picture above, you can see that the only sprues left are the ones at the end, and these will be covered with a layer of armor upon assembly, thus the nubs there will not be visible at all. Also, notice the trimming down of the sprues to ensure maximum exposure.
Prepare your spray painting facility. This means having newspaper taped to the floor of a well-ventilated area - you don't want dirty newsprint sticking to your wet paint. Also, prepare a hair dryer to hasten the drying process.
Bear in mind that light coats are always better than thick coats, so apply two to three thin coats to your runners as opposed to one heavy run. Paint tends to congeal and pool if you spray too heavily or too closely, resulting in an ugly, pockmarked texture.
Always spray the UNDERSIDE of the runners first. This is to full cover every millimeter of the part so that it would seem as though it was molded in that colour. One thin coat should suffice for parts bearing a similar colour to the paint, while contrasting colours would require more coats to fully cover the surface.
Hold the spray nozzle about a foot from the part and depress. Go in a Z-shaped fashion and turn the runner around so that every exposed surface will receive an even coat of paint. Use the hair dryer to quicken the drying before proceeding with the second coat and so on. Repeat until you are satisfied with the colour you are getting before allowing the runner to air dry.
Wait about an hour for the paint to fully dry before proceeding with construction. For the nub created by the last connecting sprue, you can use a marker or brush to fill in that colour. However, as it is often the least visible nub, it will be hidden upon assembly.