How to Paint Tamiya Models

By Larry Simmons

Since their beginning in 1948 with educational wooden models, Tamiya has grown to become one of the largest model makers in the world. From scale models representing WWII aircraft to remote control tanks, Tamiya creates a wide range of models for hobbyists of all ages. But once these models have been assembled, there still remains the task of painting them, and properly doing so with these detailed models requires a definite process.

Painting Process

Step 1

Wash the plastic model parts in soapy water without removing them from the sprue. This should remove the thin film of oil left over from the manufacturing process, which can interfere with the adherence of paint to the plastic. Rinse the parts and place them aside, allowing them to dry completely.

Step 2

Sand the surface of the large model parts until you've removed the gloss shine. This should give you a better surface for the paint to stick to.

Step 3

Place a layer of newspaper onto a flat work surface. Place your model parts onto the paper and then spray paint them with a flat black coat of paint as a primer, using smooth consistent passes of the can for an even covering. The black primer helps to add shadow to your finished paint layer, but other color choices can be used to give your model a slight tinge of that color through the final coat.

Step 4

Remove the larger parts of the model from the sprue using a hobby knife for a smooth disconnect. Place the parts onto the newspaper-covered surface and, using spray paint, paint these larger parts their final color.

Step 5

Remove the smaller parts from the sprue. Using a set of tweezers to hold these parts in order to prevent errant fingerprints, paint them using the acrylic paints with your brush. Apply the paint strokes lightly, and if you don't cover the part to your tastes with the first application of paint, add additional layers until satisfied with the results.

Step 6

Assemble your painted model parts according to the model instructions.

Step 7

Apply a paint wash to the model for the effect of shadows on the model. A wash is made up of 90 percent paint thinner and 10 percent dark paint, generally brown or black. You apply the wash by lightly dampening a brush with the wash mixture and painting over areas most likely to appear shadowed on the real object, for example, in the wheel wells or engine blocks of cars, or the weapon's mounts for aircraft.

Step 8

Apply a gloss or matte finish to your model to seal in color and protect the model from the elements.

About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.