HELPFUL HINTS: PAINTS

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When looking for paints to complete your hobby project, it is important to choose the correct paint from the many options available on the market. There are four basic types of paint available in hundreds of different colors and textures.

Enamels:

Enamel paints are very versatile and can be used on paper, metal, wood, glass, some plastic,  and many other materials. Enamels should not be used on polycarbonate plastics such as lexan car bodies since the paint will not adhere well. These paints use an oil and resin base and can be thinned with mineral spirits. Enamel paints come in matte and gloss finishes and can be brushed or sprayed. If an airbrush is used, the paint must be thinned by 40 or 50%.

Acrylics:

Acrylic paints are just as versatile as enamel but will not hold up to moisture as well. As with enamel paints, acrylics come in matte and gloss finishes and can be brushed or sprayed. Acrylic paints can be thinned with water, acrylic thinners and isopropyl alcohol for use in airbrushes. In many ways, acrylics may be a better choice than enamels. They are non-toxic, have little odor and can be cleaned up with water.

Epoxy:

Epoxy paint is popular with R/C plane hobbyists because it offers a very tough finish and is fuel-proof when dry. Spraying from a can is the most effective method of application, airbrushing is not recommended since this glue will clog the brush.

Lacquer:

Most lacquers have a cellulose base so care should be taken in determining what materials to paint. Lacquers are primarly used on R/C car bodies where, if applied in light coats, the paint will fuse itself to the plastic giving a very tough finish. Lacquer is also very popular with hobbyists building wood kits of boats and planes because it is tough, fuel-proof and resistant to water when dry. In most cases, lacquer should not be used directly on plastic models but can be applied over an enamel primer. If applied directly, the paint will warp or melt a plastic model.

Many paints give off fumes that can irritate your skin, eyes and nose. Make sure that you use these products in a well ventilated area.

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