Painting my first model

So, I recently started building gunpla during quarantine and it’s been a lot of fun. I want to try moving to the next level now, and try my hand at painting models, and making custom builds. I’m waiting for some IBO kits to arrive so I can try my first kitbash, but there’s no telling when they’ll be here. I decided to attempt to paint my gundam love phantom in the mean time, but I’m not sure where to start so I have a few questions.

Firstly, for a beginner which is better for painting: Spray cans or hand painting?

I’ve been looking more into spray painting it, but I don’t know which brands of paint are good or not. So, any tips on which paints to use or avoid would be very appreciated.

Also, I want to change the color of the scythe’s beam affect to red. Is it possible to do that while keeping it semi transparent? I saw that there are “clear” paints while looking at some Tamiya colors, but I have no idea what the difference between clear paint and normal paint is.


Tamyia spray can are great place to start and don’t be afraid of adding in small details with a brush. Get a good brush and quality paints,the Vallejo air are easy to use straight out the bottle with a brush.

Good luck.

Tamiya makes just about everything that you need. Their spray line is really good, I have used it many times. I’d start there for your main colors.

For the scythe, you could apply a silver base, or a chrome. Then paint it with transparent red. It’ll give it a candy coat coloring.

For me, Tamiya is pretty much my go to for most base colors. Then I use Testors or Model Master enamel paints for detail painting.

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Spray cans stink a lot, so you can use them outside or on a balcony with windows open. Tamiya sprays are good, especially metallic colours.

Acrylic paints in glass bottles are ok for use indoors. I use Tamiya and it works very well with a hand brush or airbrush. You can even use it without a primer on a bare plastic.

You can simply paint the beam scythe with transparent red. An air brush would give you the best results, but you can hand paint the part or dip it.

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First of all, thanks for all of the replies! They’ve been very informative. When you talk about detail painting, what kind of details do you mean?

I like to paint certain details of my kits to call attention to them. Whether it’s painting part of the frame a different color to be like it’s made of a different material. Or color separation in armor. Along with panel lining as well.

Tamiya paints are mostly acrylic or lacquer paints. While Testors/Model Masters are mostly enamel. Enamel paints don’t usually harm the Tamiya paints when used over them, and the use of lighter fluid to clean up any mistakes won’t strip Tamiya acrylic or lacquer. It’s just the method I use to ensure my paints work together.