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By jbrown14777
I am new to modeling and have a series of questions I was hoping someone can answer. Now I have been doing some reading at different forums about painting, where to start, tools, paints, etc. I have noticed that I get the how and not necessarily the why. Why is washing your parts important? Why use toothpaste? Which tools are needed and which are best to use? I can go on and on. Any input would be awesome. Thanks
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By Fritz
From what I've been told, washing is useful because the molds are coated with a chemical that helps release the styrene from the mold once it's cooled off. Some paints react with the release chemical. It's not mandatory--I built models for years without washing them, and even now most of the time all I do is brush on some common isopropyl alcohol and let them dry.

The toothpaste thing I haven't really heard about.

The tools I use:

A good set of wire cutters or toenail clippers. Useful for taking the parts out of the sprues--twisting them to release them can leave some ugly scars.

An Exacto knife for slightly bigger part cutting.

Some people swear at it not by it, but Testor's non-toxic cement, the one in the blue tubes with the lemony scent. The stuff in the red tubes is more toxic, stinks even worse, but sticks better--but the blue stuff has been more than effective for me. The Polar Lights ECTO-1 is a snap-fit, so it doesn't require glue, but the AMT ECTO-1A will.

I prefer to use acrylic model paints, which are water-based; Testor's Model Master line most often. I do have a set of acrylic "paint pods" that is useful if I have, for example, one tiny little part that's suppose to be green but it's not really worth buying a whole new bottle of paint for.

Heck, this is the exact thing I have right here:
http://www.testors.com/product/0/9186/_ ... _18_Colors

Enamel paints are oil-based, and thus harder to clean up. I know modellers that insist that they look better, and maybe they're right, but the easy of clean-up and not having to deal with foul-smelling thinners as much more than makes up for it with me. The only enamels I use are for metallics, like aluminum, silver, gold, chrome, copper, etc, because metal acrylics are too watery and thin. An ECTO-1 has some chrome sections; it might be a consideration.

Brushes, it's good to have some small brushes for tiny details, and some large ones. I personally buy multiple sets of cheap brushes available at any hobby store or even retailers; I use one with the acrylic paints, and the other with the enamels when I have to use them. (I build a lot of spacecraft, so aluminum, gold, silver, etc do get some use)

There are other people who get more exotic, with spray paints and airbrushes, but those aren't really my bag.
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By jbrown14777
Thank you again Fritz for your advice and the time it took to share it. I read the toothpaste from slaysghosts thread. I have seen people use it as a mild abrasive but for use on plastic I could not say. How do you give your ecto a nice metallic finish?
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By Fritz
jbrown14777 wrote:Thank you again Fritz for your advice and the time it took to share it. I read the toothpaste from slaysghosts thread. I have seen people use it as a mild abrasive but for use on plastic I could not say. How do you give your ecto a nice metallic finish?
Well, mine mostly isn't metallic per se...but I did use a gloss paint.

I know it seems like a bit of a waste of time to paint white plastic with white paint, but the paint helps make it look less like a cheap toy. Plus if you mess up, it's a lot easier to paint over and make it match than paint over something which is otherwise the bare plastic.

Plus one other thing: waterslide decals adhere better to gloss paint than bare plastic. The ECTO-1A uses waterslide decals; the 2002 release of the ECTO-1 only had stickers, though according to Round2's web site the repop has both.
jbrown14777 wrote:Why is initial sanding important?
Eh...again, this is something I've never bothered with. I'll sand down parts that don't fit right, have some flash on them, or when there's an ugly scar no matter how carefully I cut it off the sprue.

I never pretend to be an expert at this, though. There's some guys here and at the Starship Modeller forum that are just amazing.
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By CaptCyan
Hey JB!
jbrown14777 wrote:Would spackle work as a seam filler?
Only on the walls in your house. You want to get some modeling putty like Milliput or Squadron, heck even Testors makes some. They adhere to the plastic, sand very smooth and take paint well.
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By CaptCyan
Personal preference...Acrylic.

Easy to use, no order, colors mix well, dry brushes nicely, thins with water and cleans up with soap 'n water. What's not to like?
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