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ArthurAstroCam

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Are there any helpful tutorials available for the average builder starting out, as far as types, brands, and best practices for painting their rockets?
 

Zeus-cat

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What type of paint do you intend to use? Brush on? Spray cans? Airbrush?
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Spray, in all likelihood. And I would like to achieve a "higher gloss" look, and probably use clearcoat over base colors.
 

neil_w

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There really should be, but I'm not aware of one. There are loads of tips (and opinions) scattered everywhere, but I'm not aware of seeing it all in one place.

For LPR, I would say rattle cans are most common. Everyone has their brand preferences. In general, there are really four separate categories of paint products to deal with: primers, regular top coats, metallics, and clear coats. Sticking with the same brand for all is often safest but there are loads of exceptions.

I usually use: Rustoleum Filler/Primer, followed by sanding. Then (sometimes) Rustoleum 2x Primer, followed by Rustoleum 2x top coats. Finish with Future clearcoat. When I need metallics I use Rustoleum Stops Rust metallics which are consistently great.

#1 rule: Follow instructions regarding environmental conditions and dry/recoat times. Many many problems are encountered due to not allowing correct amount of time between coats.

If you read @hcmbanjo 's blog, he has lots of paint explanations in pretty much every build. http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/

Additional note: some folks hate the Rustoleum 2x paints for various reasons. I have had very good results with them, and they are cheap and readily available with wide color selection.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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There really should be, but I'm not aware of one. There are loads of tips (and opinions) scattered everywhere, but I'm not aware of seeing it all in one place.

For LPR, I would say rattle cans are most common. Everyone has their brand preferences. In general, there are really four separate categories of paint products to deal with: primers, regular top coats, metallics, and clear coats. Sticking with the same brand for all is often safest but there are loads of exceptions.

I usually use: Rustoleum Filler/Primer, followed by sanding. Then (sometimes) Rustoleum 2x Primer, followed by Rustoleum 2x top coats. Finish with Future clearcoat. When I need metallics I use Rustoleum Stops Rust metallics which are consistently great.

#1 rule: Follow instructions regarding environmental conditions and dry/recoat times.

If you read @hcmbanjo 's blog, he has lots of paint explanations in pretty much every build. http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/
Thank you. Exactly what I have been looking for, and a great start.
 

Scott_650

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The only more…interesting…thread than a glue thread is a paint thread 🤯

You’ve cracked open a can o’ worms!

Here’s my opinions, and even though they are informed opinions it’s what’s worked for me! not an absolute of any kind.

First, every brand of consumer grade spray paint has upsides and downsides - most problems with those rattle cans are caused by two factors: aggressive carrier solvents (they evaporate faster, minimizing VOC pollution, in order to comply with environmental regulations) and pigment quantities, the more transparent the paint, the heavier folks paint, the more those aggressive solvents cone into play. So regardless of what brand or type there are basic things that need attention - surface preparation, dry/cure times, paint compatibility. Here’s what I do (and I use multiple brands - Rustoleum, Krylon, various store brands - mostly Ace Hardware, weird proprietary stuff I bought at a surplus store…) for typical wood and paper rockets after filling any seams or papering my fins:

1. Light sanding, 400-600 grit
2. Wipe down with a non-residue cleaner - I like eyeglass cleaner or cheapo window cleaner
3. Coat of sandable filler/primer - I use Rusto high build that is usually in the automotive section or parts store
4. Sand smooth - 200 then 400 then 600 - wipe down again
5. Another coat of primer and repeat sanding if needed
6. Gloss white base coat
7. Here’s the most critical step - let the white base coat dry and cure completely! That can take over a week depending on humidity, temperature, paint brand. The sniff test is your friend - if it smells like paint it isn’t cured.
8. Light layers of final color coat applied per the instructions on the can - follow the recoat times and temperature suggestions as closely as possible.
9. When it doesn’t work - and sometimes no matter how careful you are it simply doesn’t work and the paint wrinkles - be ok with sanding it all down and starting over 😉

My paint jobs aren’t award winners or worthy of some kind of “show rockets” but I get consistent results that please me. The best advice I can give is to experiment until you find what works best for you.

Oh, only other tip is do test sprays on old body tubes, kitchen wrap and wrapping paper rolls etc to make sure of coverage, compatibility etc.

Good luck and happy painting!

Here’s some good resources on rocket painting:



 

ArthurAstroCam

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The only more…interesting…thread than a glue thread is a paint thread 🤯

You’ve cracked open a can o’ worms!

Here’s my opinions, and even though they are informed opinions it’s what’s worked for me! not an absolute of any kind.

First, every brand of consumer grade spray paint has upsides and downsides - most problems with those rattle cans are caused by two factors: aggressive carrier solvents (they evaporate faster, minimizing VOC pollution, in order to comply with environmental regulations) and pigment quantities, the more transparent the paint, the heavier folks paint, the more those aggressive solvents cone into play. So regardless of what brand or type there are basic things that need attention - surface preparation, dry/cure times, paint compatibility. Here’s what I do (and I use multiple brands - Rustoleum, Krylon, various store brands - mostly Ace Hardware, weird proprietary stuff I bought at a surplus store…) for typical wood and paper rockets after filling any seams or papering my fins:

1. Light sanding, 400-600 grit
2. Wipe down with a non-residue cleaner - I like eyeglass cleaner or cheapo window cleaner
3. Coat of sandable filler/primer - I use Rusto high build that is usually in the automotive section or parts store
4. Sand smooth - 200 then 400 then 600
5. Another coat of primer and repeat sanding if needed
6. Gloss white base coat
7. Here’s the most critical step - let the white base coat dry and cure completely! That can take over a week depending on humidity, temperature, paint brand. The sniff test is your friend - if it smells like paint it isn’t cured.
8. Light layers of final color coat applied per the instructions on the can - follow the recoat times and temperature suggestions as closely as possible.
9. When it doesn’t work - and sometimes no matter ho careful you are it simply doesn’t work and the paint wrinkles - be ok with sanding it all down and starting over 😉

My paint jobs aren’t award winners or worthy of some kind of “show rockets” but I get consistent results that please me. The best advice I can give is to experiment until you find what works best for you.

Oh, only other tip is do test sprays on old body tubes, kitchen wrap and wrapping paper rolls etc to make sure of coverage, compatibility etc.

Good luck and happy painting!

Here’s some good resources on rocket painting:



The only more…interesting…thread than a glue thread is a paint thread 🤯

You’ve cracked open a can o’ worms!

Here’s my opinions, and even though they are informed opinions it’s what’s worked for me! not an absolute of any kind.

First, every brand of consumer grade spray paint has upsides and downsides - most problems with those rattle cans are caused by two factors: aggressive carrier solvents (they evaporate faster, minimizing VOC pollution, in order to comply with environmental regulations) and pigment quantities, the more transparent the paint, the heavier folks paint, the more those aggressive solvents cone into play. So regardless of what brand or type there are basic things that need attention - surface preparation, dry/cure times, paint compatibility. Here’s what I do (and I use multiple brands - Rustoleum, Krylon, various store brands - mostly Ace Hardware, weird proprietary stuff I bought at a surplus store…) for typical wood and paper rockets after filling any seams or papering my fins:

1. Light sanding, 400-600 grit
2. Wipe down with a non-residue cleaner - I like eyeglass cleaner or cheapo window cleaner
3. Coat of sandable filler/primer - I use Rusto high build that is usually in the automotive section or parts store
4. Sand smooth - 200 then 400 then 600
5. Another coat of primer and repeat sanding if needed
6. Gloss white base coat
7. Here’s the most critical step - let the white base coat dry and cure completely! That can take over a week depending on humidity, temperature, paint brand. The sniff test is your friend - if it smells like paint it isn’t cured.
8. Light layers of final color coat applied per the instructions on the can - follow the recoat times and temperature suggestions as closely as possible.
9. When it doesn’t work - and sometimes no matter ho careful you are it simply doesn’t work and the paint wrinkles - be ok with sanding it all down and starting over 😉

My paint jobs aren’t award winners or worthy of some kind of “show rockets” but I get consistent results that please me. The best advice I can give is to experiment until you find what works best for you.

Oh, only other tip is do test sprays on old body tubes, kitchen wrap and wrapping paper rolls etc to make sure of coverage, compatibility etc.

Good luck and happy painting!

Here’s some good resources on rocket painting:



Thank you! Arthur
 

boomtube-mk2

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No worries - though be ready for another armchair expert (though, technically I’m a couch sitting expert right now!) to come along and tell you I’m completely wrong 😂😆
You are completely wrong!!
Just thought I'd get that out of the way.
 

samb

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Tons-o-tutorials. My 2 cents.

The NAR link I've posted before:


Tim fills a fin:



Whatever paint you use, I think most will agree on this: brand will not matter if technique is wanting. After you watch all the videos you can find and decide on the paint you will need to practice. So go get a can of paint right now and start spraying. Any cardboard and wood scrapes you have handy will work. A cardboard tube is actually a challenging surface to get a smooth finish without drips. You vary the distance and speed until you get satisfactory results. This is a learning process. Welcome to the eternal quest for the perfect finish.

[edit] Yes, Scott_650 is completely wrong ! ;)
 

dr wogz

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the short answer: practice!!

We each have our own personal practices and we've all learned with the various brands & such. Some love brand A, while some love brand B and hate Brand A, etc.. Some get crap results by following the can instruction to the letter (but forget a few things: relative humidity, not shaking the can long enough.. etc..)

Not all brands are the same and should not / cannot be interchanged
Its not a race.. don't try to paint a 3-tone rocket with clear coat in a week-end. a week or two between coats isn't uncommon..
Prep is likely the most important step. Any flaws prior to painting will be magnified! some will say 200 grit is enough, some say 1200 is the minimum..

Decals are another source or pride / frustration: water slide vs. cut vinyl..
 

Scott_650

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the short answer: practice!!

We each have our own personal practices and we've all learned with the various brands & such. Some love brand A, while some love brand B and hate Brand A, etc.. Some get crap results by following the can instruction to the letter (but forget a few things: relative humidity, not shaking the can long enough.. etc..)

Not all brands are the same and should not / cannot be interchanged
Its not a race.. don't try to paint a 3-tone rocket with clear coat in a week-end. a week or two between coats isn't uncommon..
Prep is likely the most important step. Any flaws prior to painting will be magnified! some will say 200 grit is enough, some say 1200 is the minimum..

Decals are another source or pride / frustration: water slide vs. cut vinyl..
Ah, the good Doctor reminded me of the one important thing I forgot to mention - shaking the danged cans! I try to do at least 4-6 minutes (2-3 per hand, you know, so it counts as an “arm day”) per can and then keep shaking while using between coats. I really do need to rig a paint shaker attachment for my oscillating multi-tool (THE best improviser’s power tool ever! Electric equivalent of vice grip pliers).
 

neil_w

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Here's my process for LPR painting. It's fairly minimal and lower effort than what a lot of other folks do. Paint application in each numbered step is done in one session (that is, within one hour from start to finish):

1) One heavy coat of Filler/Primer, followed by sanding down to 400 grit (optional): I usually use the Rustoleum Filler/Primer (some prefer the Dupli-Color). This is an optional step, but it is useful for smoothing out assorted imperfections in the model. Most primer is removed with sanding. Sometimes parts are sprayed and sanded before assembly, sometimes after (depending on my mood). @hcmbanjo discusses this step extensively in his blog. As an alternative you can do a couple of coats of regular primer, let dry and sand.

2) One or two coats of Rustoleum 2x primer, followed by 2-3 coats of Rustoleum 2x color (base coat): When my base coat is white, I'll usually put down a coat or two of white primer before the base coat. If base coat is black, then I usually skip the primer. Note that I am *not* sanding this primer coat. Also, I'll never do more than 4 coats in one session, total. Finally: all coats are light until the final base coat which is heavier.

<let cure thoroughly, *at least* 48 hours but usually at least 4 days.>

3) If finish is not sufficiently smooth, wet sand and then apply one more heavy base coat: In my experience, that has always yielded a really good finish. I always hope to get a smooth enough finish from step two, but if needed step three has always done the trick.

<let cure thoroughly, *at least* 48 hours but usually at least 4 days.>

4) Mask and apply 2-3 coats of next color.

<let cure thoroughly, *at least* 48 hours but usually at least 4 days.>

Repeat step 4 for each additional color needed.

5) Apply decals/vinyl/whatever.

6) If going for gloss, apply one good coat of Future. If matte, apply two or three light coats of Krylon UV-resistant Matte clear.

Finished
.
 

BABAR

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Something rarely done but certainly useful, particularly for “trophy rockets” where a lot of work was put into the build and into the prep.

first, the most expensive top coat paints and the most exquisite and careful technique won’t do squat if the rocket isn’t built and prepped well. So unless you are willing to using sanding sealer, carpenters wood filler, paper, or lots of primer to hide the wood grain on your balsa, plywood, or basswood fins, don’t waste money and time on expensive topcoat paints. Same goes for spirals and fillets. The experts here (and I am far from that, I generally cheat and cover with Mylar tape or go unpainted) will tell you 90% of the effort goes into the prep.

second, on your trophy rockets where you likely with fly it once and out it on a display shelf, consider during the build using a scrap piece of body tube and balsa, do the same priming and prepping on the scraps, THEN test your topcoat on the scraps before you risk it on the rocket. I had a beautiful (well, too me) Estes SR-71 with decent black finish, out the decals on, then clear coated……total orange peel with clear coat. Probably a matter of not allowing enough drying time for the black. I would have caught this had I tested it on scrap.

best of luck!
 

Rob Campbell

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For larger rockets, Harbor Freight sells a knock off of the Binks Model 15 touch up gun. It sold for about $15 when I bought mine. You will need a compressor. It works very well with most paints.
 

neil_w

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I ask because that is the kind of look I would love to achieve. Not that I can come close to your skill. Really nice.
Getting good painting results is all about three things:
1) Good prep
2) Understanding the basics of the required techniques (this may include a heavy dose of patience)
3) Practice

With the Rusto 2x paints, I normally do two light coats followed by one heavy. That is a fairly standard approach. With metallics all coats are light; it's thin and will run if you do a heavy coat. Fantastic results are possible, heavily dependent on the quality of the base coat underneath.
1642083384142.png

That's Rustoleum Stops Rust blue metallic.
 

bobbyg23

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Getting good painting results is all about three things:
1) Good prep
2) Understanding the basics of the required techniques (this may include a heavy dose of patience)
3) Practice

With the Rusto 2x paints, I normally do two light coats followed by one heavy. That is a fairly standard approach. With metallics all coats are light; it's thin and will run if you do a heavy coat. Fantastic results are possible, heavily dependent on the quality of the base coat underneath.
View attachment 499552
That's Rustoleum Stops Rust blue metallic.

number 2 does not apply to my world. 🤣 🤣 I go fast!
 
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