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Luka

Masking tape stripping paint

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Don't know if this has been covered yet, but my white-belt search-fu yielded nothing..

 

So the problem is that my masking tape (I use both Tamiya and Revell) will lift up parts of the paint job underneath. I really like the ease of use of acrylics over enamels, but it's sometimes nerve-racking to even consider placing a piece of tape on a painted surface.
My models are cleaned before assembly with water and dish soap, and with rubbing alcohol before priming/painting.

 

Wether I use automotive primer (Motip) first or paint directly onto the plastic (Revell, Vallejo, Humbrol) there seems to be little difference. Drying time doesn't matter either.
I am mostly a brush painter and at the moment I am even taking care as to avoid any tape over an airbrushed surface.

Does anybody have some good advice to solve this?

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1 hour ago, modelmaker said:

Enamel all the way, stays where it lands

Agreed! Tried Tamiya, Vallejo and Revell acrylics and had a ton of trouble getting them to do what I wanted. Started using enamels again after many years - AK Metals followed by Alclad Mil-Spec and haven't looked back since. Excellent results and far easier cleanup from my airbrushes.

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Being able to finish a model without accidently paint stripping it is all part of the "ease of use" of enamels for me. Some acrylics almost reduced me to punching holes in household plasterboard and stamping on kits.

 

I'll take paint that stays where you put it over being able to rinse a brush under a tap.

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I have seen modelers on youtube peel off masking tape from surfaces airbrushed with Tamiya/Gunze paints with good results.
However I must admit I can't recall Vallejo or Revell being abused in a similar manner without ill effect.

 

But what you are saying is that all this is a common problem with acrylics?
 

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I've always used Tamiya acrylic, I never wash parts and sometimes don't prime, but I have never had a problem with Tamiya masking tape as you describe. So in my opinion, it isn't acrylic paint that causing your problem - although I've no idea what is.

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I use Mr Color, which is very hard to lift. Having said that, surface prep and tape prep are good practices no matter what the paint formulation.

 

Surface prep: Before painting, I give the plastic a once-over with 91% Isopropyl alcohol. For larger parts, I'll use cotton makeup removal pads. For smaller parts and tight areas, I'll use cotton swabs, both the makeup variety as well as those pointed modeller's swabs.

 

Tape prep: I always wash my hands before touching my models. That gives my palm a good surface to detack Tamiya tape. Before applying to model, I apply the tape to the palm of my hand. 

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19 hours ago, Nocoolname said:

Agreed! Tried Tamiya, Vallejo and Revell acrylics and had a ton of trouble getting them to do what I wanted. Started using enamels again after many years - AK Metals followed by Alclad Mil-Spec and haven't looked back since. Excellent results and far easier cleanup from my airbrushes.

For years I thought I was the only one marching in step! I've never really got on with acrylics, although I can manage Tamiya etc as long as I use isopropyl to thin it. Trouble is, I can't easily get either, whereas I can go to my local art shop and buy Humbrol, which has always worked for me, and white spirit is even easier. Sorry to digress from the main question. Average modeller, but I enjoy it...

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28 minutes ago, Gorby said:

I've always used Tamiya acrylic, I never wash parts and sometimes don't prime, but I have never had a problem with Tamiya masking tape as you describe. So in my opinion, it isn't acrylic paint that causing your problem - although I've no idea what is.

I think the issue is that with acrylics it’s almost like a moody kind of alchemy. They always seem to need some kind of fiddling with and just when you think you’ve got the formula down it all goes sideways. I tried acrylics for 6 years, taking out 3 airbrushes in the process before moving on. I did get some good results but the amount of faffery involved was just absurd. For what would take 6 hours using acrylics I could do in less than 1 with enamel and unlike the ‘ready to spray’ acrylics I’ve tried, Mil-Spec really is and doesn’t need an added dose of thinner. And since the changeover all of my airbrushes have remained tip top with far less maintenance needed. And the notion of having to use a flow improver? 

 

My acrylics - especially the Revell and Tamiya - are still used but only for fine detail brush work and for making up washes.

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With an unpainted model, it's often a good idea to give it a rub-down with one of your finest sanding sticks to polish the surface, which also imparts a key to the surface.  I'm thinking of the greenish grey side of a polishing stick when I write this.  We reviewed some from Ultimate not that long ago, so have a search in the Tools area.  I always prime everything, as it's also one last chance to see any blemishes, but also because you can then rub down your primer to a nice smooth finish before you paint.  If your model is clean before priming, and you don't over-handle it after priming, most acrylics will be fine from there on in.  Also, you need to use a soft-peel tape such as Tamiya kabuki tape, which is very low-tack.  Peel it off as close to 180o as you can to itself to reduce the potential pull-up, and do it quite slowly - the opposite of pulling off a plaster :)  If you've got oily skin, and some people have, consider grabbing a few pairs of white cotton photo-inspection gloves to wear during the final preparations too.  They're formulated not to shed fibres, although your grip will need to be adjusted slightly due to the difference in slipperiness of the cotton.

 

When I use Tamiya or Gunze acrylics, I usually use Mr Leveling Thinner, which results in a smoother, tougher finish than water or their own thinner, however I also use many other brands of acrylic that can't be used with cellulose thinner, such as Vallejo, Lifecolor etc.  They just turn into jelly at the mere sniff of cellulose, so don't be tempted ;)  The worst chance of paint lifting is on resin models, where the mould-release agent is not your friend.  A good wash, wipe in IPA, and even a scuff up of the surface is required, and be prepared to have to do some touch-ups.

 

Care and the correct tools for the job is the generic maxim here, and although enamels are without doubt sturdy, not everyone can or wants to use them.  Besides, telling someone to ditch their current paint system for another one entirely when the solution is relatively simple is like telling someone to throw out their PC and buy a Mac because they have a stuck-down key.  It's not a particularly helpful suggestion, and would likely be an expensive waste of money both in terms of your investment into Vallejo paints, and the new money you'd be throwing at an alternative.  Loads of folks swear by Vallejo, Lifecolor, enamels and so forth, so they're all clearly up to the job, you just need to get to grips with how to do it.  Throwing paint in the bin when you stumble at the first hurdle can get expensive, and is wasteful of our limited resources and your limited budget.  :innocent:

 

Sermon over ;)

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12 hours ago, Nocoolname said:

I think the issue is that with acrylics it’s almost like a moody kind of alchemy. They always seem to need some kind of fiddling with and just when you think you’ve got the formula down it all goes sideways. I tried acrylics for 6 years, taking out 3 airbrushes in the process before moving on. I did get some good results but the amount of faffery involved was just absurd. For what would take 6 hours using acrylics I could do in less than 1 with enamel and unlike the ‘ready to spray’ acrylics I’ve tried, Mil-Spec really is and doesn’t need an added dose of thinner. And since the changeover all of my airbrushes have remained tip top with far less maintenance needed. And the notion of having to use a flow improver? 

 

My acrylics - especially the Revell and Tamiya - are still used but only for fine detail brush work and for making up washes.

I really don't get this 'Tamiya is difficult to use' business. If you'd said Revell acrylic or Humbrol acrylic I would whole-heartedly agree. It's just as well I didn't know how difficult acrylics are to use when I returned to the hobby. On the very first occasion, I poured Tamiya paint into my brand new airbrush, added a little Tamiya thinner and it worked perfectly. First time. No faffing about or alchemy at all and I've heard many other people say how easy Tamiya acrylic is to use. I've had one airbrush fail, but I don't think I can blame acrylic for a crack in the cap. The other (relatively cheap) airbrush is still going strong after four years.

The only downside in my opinion is that it can be easy to damage until a protective coat is applied - so I'm careful when I handle it.

 

PS. I've never needed to use flow-improver either.

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I've been using mainly Vallejo and Lifecolor acrylics for the last 10 years, and I've heard the story before... however the title of the story should not be "acrylic paints are lifted by masking tape" but should be "acrylic paints are lifted by masking tape if the modeller doesn't do the job right" !

Water thinned acrylics are indeed more fragile and don't grip as well as other paints do, so the "secret" is simply a proper surface preparation.

Most important thing: these paints don't stick to bare plastic, so they always need a coat of primer ! If they lift off the primer then maybe the primer is not the right one. Try using a primer designed for modelling paints, like Tamiya or Vallejo. It could just be that the primer you're using simply isn't formulated to give acrylics a good grip while others are formulated with exactly these paints in mind.

Once you've primed with a good primer, the rules are the usual to follow with any paint: go for light coats rather than heavy ones and give the paint the proper time to set and cure. Certain paints may be dry to the touch but are still curing under the surface, so be patient and wait a little more just in case. With paints like Vallejo drying time is pretty fast, generally I wait 15-20 minutes between coats and it's enough. Different story for Tamiya and even more Gunze, they need more time... but then they aren't the same thing as Vallejo, being alcohol thinned more than water thinned.

Then there's the matter of the tape: some tapes are more aggressive than others, some Tamiya tapes for example are very sticky, IMHO too sticky When I notice that a tape may be too sticky I simply cut the length required and then stick this to my hands to remove some of the glue. When I feel that the "stickyness" is right, I can use it on the model. With other tapes I never had to do this and never had problems with paint lifting... of course after proper priming !

And of course, Mike's advice is very important ! Get rid of any mould release agent or anything else that may prevent the primer itself to stick well to the plastic.

 

After the model is painted, add your preferred gloss coat in preparation for the decals, followed by whatever final finish you desire. The finished article may not be as resistant to scratches as a model painted with enamels but will be capable of resisting the normal handling expected by a model.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Nocoolname said:

I think the issue is that with acrylics it’s almost like a moody kind of alchemy. They always seem to need some kind of fiddling with and just when you think you’ve got the formula down it all goes sideways. I tried acrylics for 6 years, taking out 3 airbrushes in the process before moving on. I did get some good results but the amount of faffery involved was just absurd. For what would take 6 hours using acrylics I could do in less than 1 with enamel and unlike the ‘ready to spray’ acrylics I’ve tried, Mil-Spec really is and doesn’t need an added dose of thinner. And since the changeover all of my airbrushes have remained tip top with far less maintenance needed. And the notion of having to use a flow improver? 

 

My acrylics - especially the Revell and Tamiya - are still used but only for fine detail brush work and for making up washes.

 

My experience is the complete opposite of yours. One of my biggest 'why didn't I try this earler ?!' moments in modelling was when I switched to acrylics. What I could do in 6hrs with enamels I could in one with acrylics. Drying time and clean up were the greatest improvements.

 

No judgements, just interesting how we differ :)

Edited by Avgas
typo's - don't eat and type!

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4 hours ago, Avgas said:

Drying time and clean up were the greatest improvements.

That's a very good point that I'd forgotten all about... probably because the last time I used enamels I was a teenager :rolleyes:

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Thanks for the reactions all, very useful!
I'm going to stay on the acrylic bandwagon a little longer and see how the tips and tricks work out. I have some experience with acrylics on miniatures, but there I never encountered the masking problem until I got into airplane modeling again.

I know enamels will even shrug off scotch tape like it's nothing (I used to use that before that hoity-toity Tamiya paper tape hit the market) but since my workplace is in the living room I'll think twice about messing with smelly thinners again any time soon.

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2 hours ago, Mike said:

That's a very good point that I'd forgotten all about... probably because the last time I used enamels I was a teenager :rolleyes:

Acrylics drying time is fantastic as is the less than toxic odour. But cleanup, from an airbrush at least, has been less than stellar in my experience. Some of  the acrylics I’ve used have set tighter than concrete, even on an unprimed surface. This includes Revell using their own thinners. But then I’ve found the opposite with the likes of Tamiya. Enamel stinks and takes hours to dry but once it’s down it ain’t moving for dynamite. At the end of the day it’s horses for courses and whatever suits you. For me the greatest ease and consistency I’ve found so far has been the Mil-Spec at the cost of a little nasal ‘phew’!

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As a Scotsman, I am too mean to use anything more expensive than Revell acrylics. I do splash put for Tamiya tape though, which as a precaution I cut to size and then stick down onto the desk and peel off a few times to remove some of the stick. I've never had any bother with the paint peeling off and I am often quite impatient so don't leave it long between coats.

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Revisiting this thread with experiences from results. In short; Mr. Surfacer 1200 primer, rattlecan edition.
This made all the difference. Of course I still clean the model, rub it down with alcohol, 'un-stickify' masking tape, etc., but I was delighted that even the notoriously vulnerable Vallejo acrylics stayed in place when peeling off the tape. So for now, this will be my way to go.

Thanks again all for the tips and pointers!

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Glad to hear that you found the way to sort the problem ! And welcome to the club of the happy users of acrylic paints 😃

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Without proper priming underneath, all acrylics tend to peel off from the naked plastic. 

 

As a Model Air user the solution I've found and working good so far is; stick the masking tape to inside of your hand or forehead, after that apply the tape over the model. This way, you'll get the strong tackiness of the tape, yet it'll have enough power to hold on to the model and will not remove the paint.

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On 5/26/2019 at 7:35 PM, Mike said:

With an unpainted model, it's often a good idea to give it a rub-down with one of your finest sanding sticks to polish the surface, which also imparts a key to the surface.  I'm thinking of the greenish grey side of a polishing stick when I write this.  We reviewed some from Ultimate not that long ago, so have a search in the Tools area.  I always prime everything, as it's also one last chance to see any bleY. s, but also because you can then rub down your primer to a nice smooth finish before you paint.  If your model is clean before priming, and you don't over-handle it after priming, most acrylics will be fine from there on in.  Also, you need to use a soft-peel tape such as Tamiya kabuki tape, which is very low-tack.  Peel it off as close to 180o as you can to itself to reduce the potential pull-up, and do it quite slowly - the opposite of pulling off a plaster :)  If you've got oily skin, and some people have, consider grabbing a few pairs of white cotton photo-inspection gloves to wear during the final preparations too.  They're formulated not to shed fibres, although your grip will need to be adjusted slightly due to the difference in slipperiness of the cotton.

 

When I use Tamiya or Gunze acrylics, I usually use Mr Leveling Thinner, which results in a smoother, tougher finish than water or their own thinner, however I also use many other brands of acrylic that can't be used with cellulose thinner, such as Vallejo, Lifecolor etc.  They just turn into jelly at the mere sniff of cellulose, so don't be tempted ;)  The worst chance of paint lifting is on resin models, where the mould-release agent is not your friend.  A good wash, wipe in IPA, and even a scuff up of the surface is required, and be prepared to have to do some touch-ups.

 

Care and the correct tools for the job is the generic maxim here, and although enamels are without doubt sturdy, not everyone can or wants to use them.  Besides, telling someone to ditch their current paint system for another one entirely when the solution is relatively simple is like telling someone to throw out their PC and buy a Mac because they have a stuck-down key.  It's not a particularly helpful suggestion, and would likely be an expensive waste of money both in terms of your investment into Vallejo paints, and the new money you'd be throwing at an alternative.  Loads of folks swear by Vallejo, Lifecolor, enamels and so forth, so they're all clearly up to the job, you just need to get to grips with how to do it.  Throwing paint in the bin when you stumble at the first hurdle can get expensive, and is wasteful of our limited resources and your limited budget.  :innocent:

 

Sermon over ;)

I didn't mean to kick a hornet's best when I mentioned that I prefer enamel paint, so I apologise if I have. I have tried all sorts of paint since I tee entered this hobby 25 years ago, having been distracted circa 1970 by motorcycles, girls, wife, kids then divorce.  I have, since then, tried various paints (including the odd tin of Airfix paint!) and for a time thought I was the only person in the world who still preferred to use enamel. I'm not trying to get anyone to change their paint stock from one for to another, but merely that I find little trouble with (Humbrol) enamel whereas I constantly struggle to work with these modern paints. I understand they do thin with water, apparently, although isopropyl makes some work better, but not others, causing some types to block airbrushes solidly.I just go to Wilko I and buy a couple of litres (nearly half a gallon) for a couple of quid, which thins all enamel. It never clogs my brush and needs no magic portions to flow more freely. I know and completely understand and respect that others have exactly the opposite view and experience, but I don't. I live in fear of losing my preferred paint as I personally can't get decent results with most acrylic I've tried. Others will be stumped that I can't and they can, but we all have things we get on with that others don't and vice versa. Could be talking about my ex wife...

On the subject of Humbrol' s finest, I keep being told by my clubmates that 'the new stuff is rubbish' but I must be doing something Wrong as I seem to manage ok with it. I can also buy it in my art shop in Studley, about a mile away, which is very handy as EVERY model I make needs a new shade of grey.

 

 Good hobby, although I am reminded of when I was a motorcyclist; enamel vs acrylic is NOTHING compared to the uproar you'll get if you mention British vs Japanese, 2 stroke vs 4 stroke, the list is endless. Keep on modelling, whatever paint you get on with!

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36 minutes ago, modelmaker said:

I didn't mean to kick a hornet's best when I mentioned that I prefer enamel paint, so I apologise if I have.

Absolutely not.  My hornet's nest is very resilient to any form of foot-related japery  :yes:

 

37 minutes ago, modelmaker said:

Good hobby, although I am reminded of when I was a motorcyclist; enamel vs acrylic is NOTHING compared to the uproar you'll get if you mention British vs Japanese, 2 stroke vs 4 stroke, the list is endless. Keep on modelling, whatever paint you get on with!

Don't ask people about WWII or WWI colours in a B&W photo then, as you'll really get the buns flying! :owww:

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Slightly off topic, and you might throw me off the forum, but am I the only codger who has trouble with saying the 'd' word? When I was a lad first embarking on what was to become a long, although not necessarily illustrious modelling career kits had waterslide transfers, and I'm sure in one case it has stickers! A lot of the models I make from my childhood still DO have transfers, according to the instructions! When, during my time off from the hobby did they change to 'decals'? It sounds at best like a made up word, and at worst French! (JOKE! I love France and the French and go there every year, and my French pal makes the same sort of jokes in reverse).  Just a thought......

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Posted (edited)

Technically speaking, Decal is the overall term, (According to Wikipedia) Which includes Transfers, AND Stickers. From my days marching around and playing with Fighter planes for real, Decals is also the term used for any marking that is pre-prepared and applied to the aircraft (as opposed to painted on markings from a stencil).

 

So I guess, Decals is a broader term, and transfers is a more accurate term. But Decals sounds more grown up.

 

I watched a Video on Youtube the other day, where the narrator constantly referred to Decals as "Dickles". The pronunciation was so distracting, I actually cannot remember what the video was actually about. Possibly an unboxing, but not sure.

 

Personally I prefer Dee-cals, although Deckals is probably valid too.

 

Transfers is just how I end up paying my Credit card bill after a big month on building the Stash!

Edited by Chaz Gordon

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I first encountered "decals" on US-produced models back in the late 50s, and the British always used transfers.  I believe "decalcomanie" is a French word, but don't know its true origins.  I always feel that British modellers using "decals" are stressing their cool-ness by using an American term.  Or just plain ignorant of the perfectly good English usage (language not just nation).

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