I started flying back in the early 90’s. We had several options for painting our models back then, Some could kill a few brain cells if you did not take precautions. When looking into a paint, one must take into many considerations. How is it applied, rattle can, spray gun, brush, etc? How do you clean up your tools? Do you have to have expensive thinners, water or just throw your tools aways. Can it be applied indoors or in a well-ventilated area, what PPE is required? What needs to be done to repair in a crash? Is the paint heave or light? What surface are you painting? Some paint will crack if applied to open back fabric like on wings. Is the finish safe for Glo or gas? How easy is it to customize the color? Do you need to topcoat it and what shine will you get?
So, a lot must be considered when picking the finish. For my L4 I was looking for a finish that I could easily have the colors needed mixed. A finish that would work well on open bay fabric covered areas and would hold up to gas. I came across an article on Latex house paint and decided to give it a try.
So in early 09 I started to apply the paint I had never tried this method so it was a little gamble on my part.
- Easy to cleanup with water.
- Could be sprayed with a spray gun and touch up with an airbrush.
- Very low smell and did not require any fancy PPE. I did use a respirator just because I was spraying inside my garage.
- Remains flexible so it will hold up to open bay fabric.
- Easy to have custom colors made.
Could not find any cons other then first time trying it.
I decide to use Home Depot Behr on my L-4 I walked into the store with my federal paint chip fan and had a quart of OD (olive drab) and netural gray mixed. They guy at the paint desk asked me what I was painting, and I told him a model airplane. He gave me a puzzling look. I went back a few months later and showed him a few photos and he was blown away.
A few photos of my project.
I have been given permission from Roy Vaillancourt at Vailly Aviation to post two articles he has about painting with Latex house paint. I will add that Roy is working on a part 3 and it talks about a lot of new latex formulas where the floetrol and windshield washer stuff does not work. Mostly the newer paints will say on the can that they are “Acrylic Latex”. These need a retarder (called Extender by Bejamin Moore) made especially for them.