Today, we will focus on doing the final cleaning of the Space Marines and we’ll lay down a nice black coat to give the base coat both depth and something to bite on to. We’ll also check in with Captain Lysander and see what needs to be done to prepare him for paint.
Cleaning and Priming the Space Marines
Now that the Space Marines are trimmed and tidy, it is time to focus on doing a thorough cleaning with alcohol or soap and water to insure an unobstructed bond between the paint that is to be laid and the figure. In the last post, I mentioned not to worry about getting finger oil on the miniatures because we will clean them later. Cleaning is definitely a must because of the aforementioned reason, but also because the models have release materials on them from the molding process.
To remove the excess oils from the miniatures, I prefer to use alcohol instead of soap and water. Not only is it faster, but it is generally easier to do as well. I used 70% isopropanol alcohol, but I recommend using 90%. I only had 70% on hand, so that’s what I had to go with. 90% will dry faster. A few Q-Tips were dunked into the alcohol and then used to thoroughly rub down the figures. After the rub down, check for any lint that was left behind by the Q-Tips. I let them dry for a few minutes and then moved on to securing them to a length of rectangular birch stock using Scotch tape.
You can pick up birch stock at any hobby store or DIY center. Anything of at least 2 feet can be used to secure the figures for painting. To attach the figures, take a length of Scotch tape and wrap it around the base (between the legs) and the wood stock. Make sure the tape does not cover the feet. Smaller miniatures such as Imperial Guardsmen may need to be attached using string or sticky tack. Give the miniatures a final rub down with alcohol before setting up to paint.
I highly recommend an outdoor area for spraying. Spray paint fumes can last for hours indoors. Be sure to follow the general instructions on the spray can for weather conditions to ensure a smooth finish.
The type of paint that I recommend is the cheapest kind you can find. We are looking for very thin spray paint. I would never use “One-Coat” labeled paints or name brand like Krylon or Rustoleum. Use the house brand. Anything under 2 dollars should do the trick. I believe I purchased this flat black at Walmart for 99 cents. Hobby shops sell high dollar cans (such as Army Painter and GW.) These are not the best for doing this and lay it on too thick, plus they cost a fortune.
The technique we want to apply while spraying a primer coat is different than a base coat. We do not require full coverage. We are looking for a mist of paint, just a quick spritz from the nozzle on the front, both sides, top, and back will be plenty. Some gray may show through, that is just fine. The point of this coat is to cover up the dull gray finish and provide bite to the real base color we will be applying shortly.
We don’t want to cover up the details, we just want to provide depth and bite. Be sure to test fire the spray can on a piece of paper before laying down any paint, sometimes the nozzle needs to clean itself. This small amount of paint should take no longer than 10 minutes to fully dry. After it dried, I looked for any lint or dust that was collected by the model from the painting process. This is bound to happen since most of us do not have a ventilated spray booth.
It is imperative that the models are not directly touched from now on. We do not want to have to rub them down with alcohol all the time especially when we start using acrylic paints as the alcohol can strip the finish. That’s it for these guys today. We will lay down the Filthy Brown base coat later this week and start doing some real painting.
Preparing Captain Lysander
I mentioned last time that we’d clean and assemble Captain Lysander today. However, a few tools will need to be picked up before the work can begin. So instead of major progress, we’ll, instead, talk a bit about the difficulties of cleaning and prepping a metal model.
Looking at the image, it is easy to notice the large amount of flashing left over from the molding process. Since we are no longer dealing with plastic and are instead dealing with a strong material, we will need to use different tools. However, the same steps still take place.
The side cutter will be used to trim most of the flashing away from the pieces. A file must be used to fully remove the flashing. After all the flashing has been taken care of, the mold lines and the uneven surfaces of flat areas such as the cape and armor will be smoothed using fine grit sandpaper.
Small files can generally be found at large DIY centers for around 10 dollars. For an even more detailed look, a die press is used to drill small holes into the gun (no gun on this model.) I do not think I will be needing to pin the figure, but that is definitely a possibility on larger models. Finally, the model will be rubbed with steel wool to provide a smooth finish. Properly preparing a metal figure will take three times as long as a plastic figure on average, but it is definitely needed for good results.
We will focus on prepping Captain Lysander later in the week. Keep checking back for the continual progress.