Rustoleum flourescent paint disaster

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Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2002
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I have the dreaded 'crackling paint' syndrome on a small model I am working on. I am not worried about how it happened-- what is the best way to get past it? Should I primer over it after sanding with a known compatible primer, then repaint, or sand past primer and risk body tube injury?

I think you would be ok to sand it down and prime over it. I've had one rocket, a LOC Onyx, that started with Dupli Color mirage paint, then I repainted with Krylon flourescents, and now has Plastikote laquers on top of it. I'd try any paint combo's on scraps first for good measure though.
that sucks...

i had that happen way back...after that, i always stick to the same brand/type of paint.

good luck getting it fixed up.
let us know how you do it and if it works out ok.
Originally posted by Elapid
after that, i always stick to the same brand/type of paint.

But even sticking to the same brand isn't always enough. For example, Krylon makes a huge range of products, many of which aren't compatible. First line of defense is the compatability chart (see EMRR). Second line of defense is the old reliable scrap-sample test. Just prep the scrap just like you would the actual rocket, and check it out.

It's worth the time to get it right, since a failed paint job will have to either be undone and repainted, or stare at you from your display stands until it's either MIA or KIA.

1st and 2nd line of defence - good advice

regarding the sample test - I've done samples that looked OK but still ended up with the gooey crinkle coat on the real rocket - arrrrgh!!! the fluorescent colors are particularly bad for that.
this is some good advice, there are so many different knids of spray paint.
Qucikest easiest,smelliest and messiest way to fix your problem finish is to use Lacquer thinner. Make sure you have good ventilation, plenty of rags or paper towel pieces (small pieces), and a bucket or pail to work over/from. Pour a quart or so into your bucket.. I suggest doing this outside. Even my Great better 2/3rds reacts when I use Lacquer thinner in the basement;) Seat yourself so the bucket is between your legs with the model hangs over the bucket. Wearing rubber gloves! dip a rag in the liquid and flow it over the model soaking everything. Note! if the model has a plastic nose cone be very careful while removing the paint, Lacquer thinner will attack and melt ANY plastic parts in short order. keep wiping until all the paint and primer are removed down to bare body tube or balsa.
Tight places can be hit with an old tooth brush.
Once your happy with the bare model, set it aside to completely dry whick will not take very long at all. You should be able to begin applying primer the same day.

Fluorescent paints are the worst for crazing underlaying paints and primers. Your primer should be no problem IF you apply at least 2 coats of gloss white of the same brand as the fluorescent material. Apply fluorescent colors in LIGHT coats, allowing at least 3 -5 minutes between coat applications until you have built up the color denisity your looking for. Do not try to get full density on the first pass.
I can't stress enought how important it is to STICK with the same brand of gloss white base coat and Fluorescent color.
What must be understood about paint is that after the first coat is applied the second coat must be applyed within one hour or after 5 days to be on the safe side. What happens during the drying process after the first coat is the "thinner" in the paint rises to the surface and evaporates thus the paint drys. If you paint say 2 hours after the first coat then your now spraying paint onto the thinner that is now on the surface and that is why you get the cracking affect. Of course it's always good to stay with the same primer and paint because of the different ways paint is made with varying amounts of ingredients. Since I've stuck with the "before one hour or after 5 days" rule, i've never had a problem. By the way, I work for Valspar which is a major paint maker here in the US. All the guys in the lab confirm this also....... good luck.
Your observation is only correct on some paint brands, but you've hit on a far to common mistake made by all us hobbiest. We tend not to read the lables on the products we use. If the lable says "recoat in 1 hour or 5 days", than by goodness, ya better be watching the clock, or its crackly city.

Krylon has an entire line of spray paints with a "RECOAT ANYTIME" forumla that allows second, 3rd and so on coat whenever you want. This stuff is fantastic!
It is most important that you read the lable on any spray applied product you pick up. Primers flash off much faster for many reasons and may be sanded, recoated and resanded the same afternoon. It's usually the top coat colors that will kill you if you don't read the lables. Personally I will not buy any spray paint product that doesn't have the "recoat anytime" lable for general sport model painting. Krylon also has an excellent line of florescent colors.
After seeing this thread, I decided to buy a can of this stuff and try it out. I started with several coats of Kilz original primer. After a couple of days, I tested the Rustoleum flourescent orange over this on a test patch. Seemed OK so I gave the rocket a coat. All was well except for a silver-dollar-sized patch that bubbled. Maybe the primer was thicker there and hadn't out-gassed? Anyway, I waited for a bit until the orange seemed dry and lightly sanded this spot. After the next coat, the bubbles didn't re-appear and the finish looked fine. Shot a clearcoat (can't remember the brand, but it was tested in advance too), and am done.
I had primed with brush on Kilz. I wonder if I didn't get it mixed up properly?
Anyway, with some Paint thinner, razor blades, and sandpaper I am almost done removing to bare parts. Just the hard to reach spots left. WHAT A PAIN:(
If I can finish removing, it will fly naked at ST2004. If not, I will wait a while b4 next painting attempt.
I've never used Kilz primer.. I normally use the cheapest, sandable automotive spray primer I can find.. currently K-Mart Smooth and Easy in grey, brown, black and white. a Dutchboy division of Sherwin-Willimam company product. by the 12 -10oz cans in a case its .94 per can. Fresh & Easy has a 2 hour or 5day recoat time on the lable. I've used this under all manor of different top coat products without a problem.
I'm all but inscribing SkyHigh's post into the lid of my tool box.

After having bubbled about 20% of the surface of a Bertha clone (fixed just fine by sanding, repriming and repainting) I've experimented with leftover pieces as I've built other birds. I've managed to cause bubbling with a second coat of primer from the very same can. I knew there had to be a reason for the "coat right away or much later" warnings. Now I know what it is and what's been happening.

Be aware also the some fluourescent paints have a very rough finish. Rustoleum's "Specialty" line is one of these. They call it "high visibility". It's rough for the same reason highway signs have those glass beads. It can take an awful lot of clear gloss to smooth a bird after this stuff. Turtle Wax will not help. Don't ask.

On the other hand their flat paint is so fast drying that the problem doesn't happen. I used almost an entire can on a medium sized stealth-like object and ended up with a great finish looking like carbon composite.

Rustoleum's "American Accents" line gives a better finish than their regular stuff, and is cheaper. Unfortunately, no fluourescents. The only consistently poor results I've had with their stuff is the plastic primer. Their regular primer is better on plastic than the plastic primer is.

I've used up my Rustoleum fluourescent on the base of a tower launch pad. For my birds from now on I'm going back to those small cans of Testor's.
Rustoleum paint has a way of doing that crackle finish. Like others have said, either re-coat within a few minutes, or wait a week. I've given a few rockets the "crinkle touch", with rustoleum paint, and I've sworn the stuff off forever. It takes too long to dry anyhow. I've never had a crinkling problem using Krylon. You can re-coat Krylon anytime with no problems.
I haven't had any problems with Rustoleum metallics. They finish very nicely, although sometimes hard to get perfectly even. I use an off brand silver undercoat before the rustoleum metallic finish, and I've never had problems at all with crackling.