Craftmaster Guide to Paint and Painting

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Craftmaster Guide to Paint and Painting

Post  Admin on Mon 12 Dec 2011, 3:08 am

Craftmasters Guide to Paint & Painting

This guide is just a brief overview of painting with some more model specific bits thrown in for good measure. The full ‘Hints & Tips’ document we produce is also worth reading (this being the abridged version) and is available at the following link


For a STW kit you’ll probably only need our Anti Corrosive Grey Primer, with perhaps a little Etch Primer in an aerosol for any brass components you wish to paint.

Please remember that Primer is porous and that a coat of primer does not really protect the steel underneath fully. To provide full protection a coat of Undercoat should be added to seal the primer. If water or moisture gets into the primer before its been Undercoated you run the risk of the paint blistering off on a warm day when the moisture tries to escape!


As mentioned above Undercoat is important as it seals the Primer. It is also essential as it gives the Coach Enamel Top Coat an even coloured base on which to be applied. This is especially important with Dark Reds which can be very poor at covering. An Undercoat adds build (to protect the metal underneath) and means that you don’t have to put so many coats of the (more expensive) Coach Enamel to get the paint to cover effectively

Coach Enamel

The top coat we recommend (and the only one we sell) is Coach Enamel. It is high solids meaning that when the solvent has evaporated out there is a large amount of what you applied left on the surface. It is also high in pigment content. We put more pigment into our paint as standard than any other company. This adds longevity and depth to the finish and also makes a better covering paint


Whether or not to Varnish is one of the most frequently asked questions at Craftmaster. Our Varnish is completely clear and doesn’t yellow. It adds high levels of gloss and is 98% UV reflective which will greatly prolong the life of the paint underneath. Also worth noting for models is that if you’ve lined your engine a coat of Varnish on top will protect it to a degree from scuffing and wear. It’s quite hard to touch lining in so for the reason we recommend a coat of varnish on models

The downside of varnish is that it needs maintaining. A new coat should be reapplied every few years – the problem being that as soon as it looks like it needs a fresh coat it’s too late and all the varnish will need to removed before a fresh coat is added. Also any scratches will need to be lightly rubbed down and varnish reapplied before the weather or any contamination can enter the scratch and cause the varnish to fail

It is still cheaper to apply a fresh coat every so often than to repaint faded and scuffed paintwork/ lining which is why we generally recommend varnish to those with models

Spray or Brush

The big question for most STW builders is whether or not to Spray or Brush their engine. We would always suggest brushing the first few coats as they will need sanding any way. Use these to ‘get your eye in’ and if you make a total pigs ear of it spray the final coats.

You put on much more paint with a brush and it looks better (in the writers opinion). Our painting guide of two coats per paint Primer, Undercoat & Coach Enamel is based upon brushed coats. Spraying puts much less on and whilst two coats may suffice more would be better

If you do decide to brush your engine it is well worth considering purchasing an airbrush for the smaller components. It can be quite tricky to get an adequate finish on smaller components as the brush doesn’t have the chance to draw the air through the paint and can leave small bubbles (which sometimes burst and sometimes don’t). Smaller components do also depend on the quality of the brush and to a larger degree the skill of the user

A guide to brush painting can be found in our online Hints & Tips (link above) it may also be worth giving us a call if there is anything you are unclear on –we’re always happy to help

If you’re going down the spray route, all our products can be sprayed. They must be thinned with a Synthetic Thinner by adding around 15% Thinners, a little more in winter a little less in summer. Whatever you do DO NOT use white spirit. It may appear to work but the damage it does to the paint can cause severe damage in the long run.


Very important. I have seen many people using very strange brushes for Coach Painting. We recommend Purdy Monarch Elite brushes (and usually have a deal available). They’re American and Synthetic but we feel they are the absolute best available. The smallest is a 1” Dale Elite cutting in brush which is why some smaller components may have to be sprayed

Other makes include Harris & Hamilton but we don’t feel they offer the same degree of quality as Purdy

If the paint is too thick (especially evident in cold conditions) add a little PPA Brushing Additive (maximum 10%) to ease the flow.
If its too cold or too hot the paint will not want to flow. In these conditions it may be necessary to to thin the paint slightly with synthetic thinners. It is however better to wait for conditions to improve to a climate more conducive to painting.
If your applying a Red and its patchy remember that Red is a particularly weak colour (Alfa Red excluded). Make sure that the undercoat is rubbed down evenly and plan for 3 coats of top coat.
If a fly lands in the paint don't pick it out with your fingers - this will cause much more damage than the fly will. Pick it out when the paint is dry.
If the paint is drying too quickly even though its the right consistency and flowing well - work more quickly or work on smaller areas. The secret of Coach Painting is the speed at which its done. The best way to keep a 'wet edge' once your confident is to go for it! and work quickly. Use the priming and undercoating for practice.


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