A return to model building and flying. Part 13

On the subject of paint

March 2005

I will reiterate for those that have jumped in at this page, I do not have any space in my small flat to spray anything, so I am forced to brush paint. I have nothing against this, but manufacturers of the types of paint I need, seem to mainly market spray cans of paint. Not an ideal situation.

As I am fed up with this problem and I don't like hard work being ruined for no reason, the following may stop someone else ending up in the same predicament. I am having to build these models in extremely cramped conditions, so I will never be able to achieve a superb finish, but it pains me that I am being frustrated in even achieving an average finish.


This is the paint in question, although the this is red
and the original problem colour was blue, both produce exactly the same result the same results,

Determined to get to the bottom of the paint fiasco on the combat model, the attempts to repaint and fuelproof the centersection left such a mess, that I tempted to strip the airframe and start again, I dropped some neat diesel fuel onto a scrap piece of wood I had applied the blue paint to prior to putting it onto the model. This had paint had been left for a week to dry and to all intents an purposes seemed to have dried with no problems.The result can be seen below.


The two pale spots, are where the fuel acted like a paint stripper.

The next step was to see if the fuel proofer would make any difference.


This uncovered another problem I had forgotten when I first used the paint. The fuel proofer dissolves it as well.

The glossy end of the wood is where I smeared some proofer to see if that would act as a barrier. I used a scrap piece of balsa to apply it, which was promptly covered in blue paint as the proofer attacked it

This was the point that I remembered having trouble painting the stinger, with blue paint coming off on the brush as I applied the proofer. It was for this reason I never proofed the white areas on the model, and hoped the paint would be fuel resistant.

paint stinger

As can be seen from the picture of my much abused Stinger, the white paint is untouched?

Why this should be so, I have no idea. The only difference is the white was a 'flat' finish, not gloss like the others. In all good conscience, I would advise anyone to steer well clear of this paint if you are using an engine. It doesn't even brush well.

After lots of searching, I finally tracked down a make of paint, Humbrol, that I had used for years with no complaint, at the local 'Homebase' store. I also used to use their cellulose paints as well but these seem hard to find these days. The graphic design on the tin is different, but the paint seems to be the same. Homebase also stocks 'Japlac', another paint that has been used on models for more years than I care to remember, but only in 2.5 litre tins at £6.00 (8.70 euro) a throw. Way out of range of my budget for experimenting.


Tests on this Humbrol paint were entirely satisfactory. No dissolving of the paint by the fuelproofer, and no reaction with neat fuel either. As can be seen, the block below is unscathed after soaking it in fuel and rubbing it hard with a paper tissue.


The uneven patches are a little deceptive, I applied the paint with a scrap piece of balsa. The marks were not made by the fuelproofer or the fuel. The deeper colour is the side that is fuelproofed.

So problem solved, at least for the time being. Now I might at last be able to concentrate on getting a better finish.

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