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Miscellaneous - Painting Plastic Bodies
Contributed by BoostedLoser

This Guide Will Assist You In Painting Your RC Car Bodies!

Although I should note that this guide is mostly for plastic bodies because on lexan bodies the way you would paint differs! This is fairly a simple proccess so dont feel all overwhelmed, there will be a list of needed parts at the bottom!

Sooo... Lets get started!
(I will be using my car as referance, its 1/24th scale but it will work for smaller scales too!)

Take her apart

This is obviously the first step! Since you know you shouldnt get your delicate electronics wet or covered in paint! So just take the body and chassis apart! I kept all my screws in a old butter tub, cause its FREE and FREE is good!

Here is mine before taken apart!

Preparing Your Body

Your body may have stickers, paint, or striping on it! Well thats not good, we can't paint over that it would look like... uh... well it would look bad! So to take these off you can use GooGone, this stuff is great because it doesnt kill the body but it will soften the sticker glue. Just soak it in Goo Gone and let it sit for a bit. Then start peeling with your finger nails! Try to get as much of the sticker goop off as you can (all if possible) using goo gone, soap, water, and you fingernails or somthing that wont scratch the paint... such as a toothpick!

Once you get it all de-stickered dry it off!

Here she is with the stickers removed!


I went to Super Kmart and bought an tripple pack of sand paper. It comes with 180, 80, and 40 grit papers! These will be good enough to sand your body but if you want a SHOW quality paint job then you'll need a super fine paint job too for wet sanding in between coats!

Here is what the pack you need looks like...

If you dont get the pack (or if you do) these are the papers you will need... they are Aluminum Oxide 80, and 180 grit! (you should probly get some 220grit too if your platic is softer) Grits are told on the back of the paper, as below.

Now... if you have a HARDER plastic body or got some sticker stuff left over, do a quick once over on the body with the 80 grit aluminum oxide paper, but be carful not to scratch the crap outta the body! Then go over the body realy well with the 180 grit. If it left very visable scratches then you have some soft plastic body and you should go over it with the 220 grit now!

By now if there is any sticker goop left over it should be gone! Same with any paint that was on it!

I had to fill in a part that i didnt want on my body, you should'nt have to worry about it BUT if you do then let me know and ill tell you how to add that into the proccess!

Here is my body all sanded down! (you can see the fill work i did)


This is important because you got all "touchy" on the body when you sanded it. Hand oils or other oils and greases HATE paint! Paint wont stick to them well at all!

What works best?
Well you can use the goo gone for starters BUT i love dish detergent like dawn, because as the name says... It cuts grease! So apply it directly onto the car and rub it into the body... Then just wash it off with water really well. Making sure your hands are clean. Dont want to get the body all nasty again!

DRYING - very important

You must make sure your body is thoroughly DRY before you paint it!! You deffinetly dont want water seeping from cracks and running in your we paint!


Tape off all the areas you DONT want painted with masking tape and trim it carfully with a hobby knife/exacto blade! Dont cut your finger off... if you do then dont tell your mom you saw this here! :P


Now its time to add primer.
Here is a little lesson...
Using lighter primers can bring out the final color more.
Using Darker primers will make the final color darker.
Primer dries rather fast too so you dont have to wait that long to coat it more and more!
To hold the body you can either make somthing to hold it up from the inside, or you can hold it from the inside... If you wear gloves doing this, cool, if not youll have interesting colored hands! So to start just dust the body a bit with primer. Let it dry and dust again. Then you can coat it once... you should be careful not to run the primer (dont put a TON on at once). Recoat the primer until you cant see the body color anymore! (follow the directions on the can for recoat and dry times)

Here is my car with the base coat on (same as primer for the paint style i used!)

Painting The Top Color

Now this is where you can decide how good you want it to look! If you want it too look really good you should wet sand it between coats... The paint im using i didnt wet sand becaue its the color changing paint by "Dupli-Color" (found at autozone) So follow the same steps as the primer starting with light dustings and then spray the body evenly at the distance from the body thats marked on the can! Also wait for it to dry as writen on the back of the can.

After you got a nice even coat and the pain is dry.. this is when you would wet sand the paint with a super fine sandpaper... like 800+ grit! And then respray... wet sanding takes the teeny tiny imperfections out of the paint!

To do this just go over the body lightly with the paper (the paper should be wet - just run the paper under water)

If you dont need to clear coat the body (some paint has clear coat in it that rises to top as it cures) then just read below...

If you need to clear coat... skip to "Clear Coating" Now you should have a good looking body...

Let it dry REALLY well! This can take a day or a few!!! The paint needs to cure!

Clear Coating

There are also a couple types of clear too...
Dull - will kill any super shiney paint and dull any metalic paint... Basically giving you a "flat" finish Glossy/High Gloss - Just as it says glosses up the finish of the paint... this isnt always as effective with metalics cause it makes it look wierd if put on too thick! Just coat the clear evenly and as the back of the can directs you... Its hard to tell whats been cleared and what hasnt until its dry!

Now you should have a good looking body...
Let it dry REALLY well! This can take a day or a few!!! The paint needs to cure!

Here is my finished product!!

What you need, - A recap

80 Grit Sandpaper - use carfuly!
180 Grit Sandpaper
800+ Grit Sandpaper - for wet sanding
Toothpick - help get sticker goop out of corners
Goo Gone - sticker remover
Dish Soap - for cleaning - it cuts grease real well!
Paint - use auto paint like that from Auto Zone
Primer - Choose this depending on effect you want (see primer section)
Clear Coat - May not be needed depending on paint type (see paint and clear coat section)

Well thats it!

If you have any questions just ask!

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