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Glossy white paint

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Practice, practice, practice. Glossy white paint is not magical. It's just like any other paint, only more so :cheers: The key is (and this is huge), don't be afraid of it. For some reason people seem to be terrified of gloss white paint, like it's going to bite them.

There are many good off the shelf spray cans of gloss white that can be used successfully on models if you're afraid of airbrushing.

If you are airbrushing, my best results have always been using a fairly thin mix (more thinner, less paint), and misting it on in thin coats. You don't have to wait for the previous one to dry completely before adding another, just don't over-do it or you'll get runs.

Also, something I've found is that spraying an eggshell or semi-gloss works just as well for decals, and you don't get as much problem with fuzz or dust sticking in it as you do with high gloss. Also, scale effect definitely comes into play with glossiness as well as color, so for something like a small scale airliner, a super high gloss finish isn't really realistic anyway. Save yourself the headache of trying to achieve a super high gloss!


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Hi Nicolaas,

My personal favorite gloss white by a long shot is Tamiya synthetic lacquer in the rattle can. I use Tamiya Fine White Primer as and undercoat. This is a smooth, semi-gloss white primer, and cuts down on the number of coats of gloss white that have to be applied to get good coverage. I like to decant the Tamiya gloss white to my airbrush, and , like Jennings, like to apply a thin mix. I use Gunze Mr. Thinner to thin the paint (it's a synthetic lacquer thinner and compatible with Tamiya).

Tamiya lacquer dries fast and hard, so if you like that really high-gloss finish, you can polish it out with a fine-grit polishing kit (like Micro-Mesh). But I agree with Jennings that a really glossy finish looks unrealistic on a small-scale airliner, and prefer a more semi-gloss finish.

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I prime my airliners with Tamiya's white primer, which covers well and dries nice and level. I polish it up a bit so I can spray Alclad on it, and then I apply the Boeing grey or whatever other colors I need over that. I seal it with a semi-gloss clear, such as Polly Scale.


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Can anyone help me with a few tricks for painting white airliners?

Nicolaas, great question and one which I have struggled with. Acknowledging that others will have different methods that provide good results, this is the method that provides good results for me. I use Pollyscale Reefer White, found in the railroad section. I prime with Alclad Gray Primer. When dry, I airbrush the Reefer White until opaque. After drying for a day, I brush, not airbrush, Future floor polish onto the paint. Let dry for a day, then gently wet sand with a Squadron Tri-grit sanding stick, using the middle then fine grit. The surface is ultra smooth at this point. Brush on another coat of Future, and after about 10 minutes, buff the finish with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. Check for shine, repeat the Future and buffing until you're happy. Let cure for a day or more then decal, seal with Future, and buff. I typically leave the gloss finish, but if you wish, you can add a semi-gloss or flat finish. Testors Semi-gloss or Dull coat from the spray can works well for me. If I am painting a metal area such as leading edges, I airbrush Alclad Aluminum or appropriate color after the gray primer, mask, then paint remaining colors. That's it. It's worked well for me for many models. Good luck! Steve

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