View Full Version : How best to paint n scale grab irons

9th May 2014, 02:38 AM
Hey: What brand of paint is best to paint metal grabs (Detail Assoc) for a loco I have installed them on ? I have heard you need Tamiya because of its sticking ability to metal. Is this true ? Do I want water-based paint or oil-based ? Do I need a primer ?? Finally, I have seen some youtuve vids with the modeller simply applying paint with a TOOTHPICK....does this go on evenly ?? What about simply Testors paint from a bottle that model-car kit builders use ? Its a light blue color I am applying over small METAL grabs.....thanx in advance !!

Tim R
9th May 2014, 11:27 AM
I would use a micro brush rather than a toothpick. For metal, I'd prefer an enamel paint (petroleum solvent) rather than an acrylic (water based). Just make sure they are clean. You shouldn't need a primer for this.

9th May 2014, 12:07 PM
I find that if you clean the handrails with alcohol first, or even better, with a degreasing cleaner (like SuperClean), the paint will adhere better and have less chance of flaking off easily later. And I agree, using a solvent-based enamel works better for me, too. I like to make sure that I add a little bit of thinner to the paint to make sure it flows well and doesn't clump. Make sure to mix well, and go with the microbrush.

9th May 2014, 02:26 PM
The ancient ones use to give the metal parts a bath in strong vinegar to give the metal a tooth. This roughed up the surface for the paint to adhere to better.

I've used all kinds of paints on all kinds of metals. The amount of flex the metal has to do with what causes it to flake off. Grab irons are rather stiff and usually in places not handled much. But paint wearing off them is prototypical weathering.

Method of application depends on your skill. Paintbrushes can flare if too much pressure is applied. The microbrush is just a plastic toothpick with a tiny bit of sponge on the end. Toothpicks and bamboo skewers have a lot of control over where the paint is applied. It won't flare or squish like a brush. You can blob the paint if you put too much paint on either one.

You might want to try paint markers. They come in many colors and tips. You can find water or oil based ones. Colors like white or safety yellow are common. So why pay more for a name on a label, buy it because the color is right.

9th May 2014, 02:44 PM
Liquid masking is quite useful in small detail painting tasks like grab irons:


Here is the Google search I used: