Advice re: Star Trek NCC 1701-D Model

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mikejstevenson

New Member
Hi all - just wondered if there's anyone who might be able to give a bit of advice for a model build. It's the first time I'm going to build anything that isn't snap-together. I've got some Vallejo paints, I've got glue, I've got paintbrushes. I've got sandpaper. And I've just ordered some putty for the joints. Whether I make a good job of it remains to be seen, but I'll give it a good go! What I'm really not clear on is whether I should put 'primer' on or not, and if so what that primer should be. There seems to be completely different views across the community, with some saying you should, and some saying don't bother for a model ship like this, particularly since it's already the 'correct' color. And if I do use primer? What should I use? Is something like this the right sort of thing:


Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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basementdweller

Active Member
Plastic usually looks like plastic so some after treatment gives a better impression even if it's just a dullcote if it's a large surface model like this. I have painted directly on some small (palmsize models) utilizing the bare plastic colour, but it kind of depends on how you feel about it. I kind of regret it today, but it was fun when I did it. :)

Given how injection molding works you will have some "dimples" or sink marks, possible push marks and swirls in bare plastic besides that typical sheen. As soon as you do any puttywork and such as well as sanding you will want to paint it. Primer is to give you 1) an even surface and 2) provide more bite for the layers to follow. I have not used plasti-kote, but there are a lot of good automotive primers that are cheap and good and someone else can probably tell you about this brand. Also it's not entirely necessary to use a different paint on top if you have a primer that looks the way you want. Primer is usually sandable so it's a good way to get a really smooth base for fine top coat.

As for good spray colours I would push Montana (acrylic) sprays for really high quality pigments at a very low price compared to hobby specific stuff. Make sure to buy a pack of different nozzles and you are set with pretty good control lest you use an airbrush. They even have a nice plastic primer that I use as well as matte and gloss varnish. The only limit with this brand is finding specific hues that correlate to specific subjectmatter.
 

Analyzer

Sr Member
My fear with using base color plastic is that it may not age well. i.e. the plastic may yellow over time. I am not sure if this applies as much to styrene as some other types of plastic or not.

And as mentioned, if you will be gap filling, then priming is a must as some finishing paints may not stick well to the putty vs primer, plus you want to cover up the color variations in the putty with at least a base coat if not primer.

And if you are lucky and find the right color, your base coat can be your primer

The other thing I like about painting better is that you can naturally get subtle variations in tone, especially if going over a darker primer color. For me this give a bit more of a realistic surface look over bare plastic, even if the plastic is dull coated

One more thing to consider is whether you are lighting the kit or not. If so, then having a layer of primer and paint will help with light leakage far better than bare plastic

As far as brand for primer, pretty much anything works. Most people gravitate toward hobby specific primers (Tamiya, Army Painter, Stylenrex etc..) or cheaper automotive primers because they tend to yield a smoother finish
 

Riceball

Master Member
Personally, I've always primered everything that I was going to paint, from model kits to props. As far as what primer to use, I've always had good results using Testors primer in the past and I think I've also used Citadel branded primer as well.
 

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