Totally new, have done lots of research, still have tons of questions!



Hey everyone!

I'm completely new to airbrushing/spray gunning; I don't even have a setup yet. However, I'm a great DIY'r with the ability to do research and learn quickly.

With that said, what I'm interested in doing is painting video game consoles and laptop/desktop cases. So, the material being painted will almost always be plastic (but occasionally metal), and pieces will range in size from 16"x16" down to 6"x3". The type of painting I'd like to do is just solid colors, with any details handled through waterslide decals or stencils. I have no interest (or ability) currently in doing free hand, illustration type work. I'd also like to use a urethane top coat to give a "thick" candy-like shine, but I'm also interested in matte clear coats for some contrast effects.

My questions are:

I believe I will need at least two tools for this size range. Should I be looking to buy just a standard spray gun and a mini "touch up" spray gun, or should I get an air brush for the smaller work?
Is it better to prime plastic or to use an adhesion promoter?
I've chosen Createx's Wicked Color line as my first paints for their color fastness, compatibility with most surfaces and relatively low cost. Does anyone have a different recommendation?
Are all urethane top coats ridiculously expensive? Is there another, cheaper option for obtaining an "automotive paint job" gloss?

Thanks in advance for any advice, guys!
welcome home Mimetic.

I also thought a bit like you, but I believe you will find your artistic bone :)

I wont be able to answer all your questions. But what I have done in the past is used my local dent doctor vehicle repair place to clear coat for me - so I wont need a special dust free, ventilated room.
wicked is a good choice, especially if you can get it locally.
The rest of the answers I will leave to others :)
For plastic, its best to use an adhesion promoter, followed by a primer, then your base coat.

Decals make for easy art, but be careful with the clear coat over top of them. Most of the decals you can buy are not designed to be used under the harsh solvents in most clear coats, and as soon as the solvent hits them, they will shrink, crack, and warp. There are some ways around that, but best to make sure you use some that are designed for that purpose... or let your inner artist flow and do the artwork yourself.

I think you could get by with a touch up gun, or just a small HVLP.

As for clear coats, automotive urethane is great stuff, but might be a bit of overkill on the pieces you want to do. You might try a good acrylic lacquer. I've used lacquer for years on everything from guitars to helmets. The glass smooth finish all comes from how you sand it and buff it. Having said that, I would avoid polyurethane. It is very durable, but also very soft, and is a major pain to buff out.
All good advice so far. I too believe a touchup gun for size would be perfect. An airbrush with a .3-.5 mm nozzle might be a good ideas as well. Great for shading and shadowing. Something you will not be able to do with the touchup gun on something so small.

Another thing to consider for clear, if you want urethane, Coastairbrush carries a product called Spray max and Eastwood co has something similar. Urethane, 2 part clear, in a can. Only draw back is it's only good for about 24 hours once you inject the hardener and start to use it so you would want a few pieces lined up first.
Hey, guys! Thanks for the replies.

So, if I go the touch up gun route, I would still need another, larger nozzle gun for primer. Could I get away with one of the cheapo (Harbor Freight/TCP Global quality) for just primer so long as my base coat/top coat gun is good quality?

Thanks for the tip on lacquer! Looks like it will give the same type of finish I want and is 10 times cheaper than urethane! Createx recommends urethane as a top coat for their wicked color line, though. Would using lacquer cause problems?