Monday, October 3, 2011

Painting the HQ, or, Another Fine Mess I've Gotten Myself Into

Ok then.  The styrene is all cemented together and looking good.  All I need to do now is paint the thing.  I did exactly what the instructions said: wash everything down first to get rid of dirt or oil or whatever, let dry, and go nuts.

I went nuts, all right.

After spending a bit of time at the local hardware store, I picked Krylon Fusion for Plastic Satin River Rock spray paint.  I wanted to go with a kind of light gray look, because the original GI Joe Headquarters was grey.  Grey seems more like a military base color than BLINDING WHITE STYRENE I had going on here.  So I started painting with the River Rock.

And it looked pink.  Even after 3 good coats applied well after the the previous coat had dried, the BLINDING WHITE STYRENE under the River Rock kept the paint from looking dark at all.  At the end, it was looking kind of like a weak cream color.  Not at all the kind of bad ass look I wanted for my headquarters.  I wanted to find a good grey.  And what luck!  The store had this paint called Grey Metal for plastic.  The cap looked just right.  So I grabbed that and came home.

What we have here is River Rock in front, and Grey Metal in
back.  If the River Rock looked as nice as thisin real life, I probably
would have kept it.  But it was severalshades lighter than it shows up
on camera, and it didn't work at all.  Obviously, Grey Metal wasn't
what I was looking for either.
 Except, I was thinking kind of a gun metal color, and the paint was thinking metal metal color.  The stuff was shiny and not at all what I was looking for.  Maybe in a computer room or if I ever make a robot costume out of cardboard or something, but not want I wanted in my model.  It looked horrible.

I still have that Krylon Fusion for Plastic Grey primer that I have used for a few of my other painting projects.  Sure, it would leave that chalky consistency on top, but the color is exactly what I wanted and I didn't see any good grey paint at the hardware store.  So I went with that for the back, in what the directions call the tac ops center itself.  And it looked great.  Ok.  One room down, one to go.

And here is where the wheels kind of came off the wagon.

See, I couldn't find any white Krylon for plastic at the store, so I just grabbed some white spray paint for wood or metal.  Hey!  It couldn't be *that* bad, right?  After all, the plastic already had a good coat of paint on it.  What could go wrong?

This is why you should never use non plastic spray paint
on plastic surfaces.  Let this be a lesson to all.
The metal/wood white paint looked like shit almost instantly.  As I did my quick spray motions, I watched the stuff curl up into horrible looking spider webs of cracks and fissures.  To make matters worse, I sprayed a few more times over the cracks in the doomed hope that it would fix itself.  No such luck.  I did some looking on the internet, and yeah, non plastic paint should never be used on plastic.  It ends up looking like crap said pretty much every site on the internet.

If only I had checked it out before I started spraying.

So now I had options.  I could: a) accept the fact that the lobby looked like crap, decide this was my first project and give myself a pass.  b) try to fix it, knowing I had no idea of how to fix it.

Because I am optimistic and dumb, I went with option b.

At first I tried sanding the paint off.  Didn't work.  Then I went to the internet and did a google search on "how to I get spray paint off of plastic?"  It turns out there is a fantastic product in England that comes in a spray bottle that can be used to do this, but nope, that stuff isn't for sale in the US.  Which is probably good, because the fumes in my workshop at this point, between the paint and the plastic bonding compound, are pretty intense.
Out out, damned paint!  ...or maybe that should be
off off, damned paint.  eh, whatever.
Some websites recommended trying rubbing alcohol.  I have some rubbing alcohol on one side of my workshop that I use to clean out the contacts of my old NES game cartridges.  I grabbed the Q-tips I use for NES game repair, and started rubbing the rubbing alcohol on the paint with the Q-tips.  I started working on just the desk itself, as I figured that if it damaged the desk, at least I was not screwing up the entire room.  I didn't screw up the desk.

Didn't make much progress getting rid of the paint through, either.

My wife suggested I try using her nail polish remover.  Hmm.  I could give that a shot.  I put some on a rag and rubbed it into the paint.  Again, I tried it on the desk, but on the other side this time.  The nail polish remover worked slightly better than the rubbing alcohol, but not by much.  Then I thought of the mineral spirits.

"Don't use turpentine!" called our forum upon forum of internet discussion boards dealing with the topic of how to get spray paint off of plastic.  I can warp the plastic!

But Curious David was Curious.  And he was learning how not to do things, so he figured, why not try that?  He put some mineral spirits from his work bench on a rag...

...and the paint came off like MOTHERFUCKING MAGIC.


(cue Indiana Jones music) 

So after getting the paint off, he washed all the pieces in the sink and put them on the table to dry over night.  Tomorrow, hopefully they would not be warped and he would be able to spray paint the lobby room with white plastic paint.

Until next time.

Please don't warp over night, styrene.

David D.

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