How do you make model paint shiny?

Like every collectible and antique, model kits lose their shine with time if kept in a dust-filled place. On the other hand, making your model paint shine from the onset can be quite tricky, especially for beginner scale modelers. 

If you want a shiny finish on your models, you must select the appropriate paint that suit the metal, plastic, or wood materials, prepare the surface of your model for painting and execute techniques that make your paint shine. 

With these steps, even the dullest paint will yield a high-gloss shine.

How do you get a high gloss finish on a model?

Getting a good high-gloss finish is harder than a matt finish. Unlike matt finish, you would have to master a gloss finish. For this reason, many modelers shy away from it. 

To get a high-gloss finish on a model, here are some things you need to consider: 

  • Know what kind of model you have and the material used for its build. 
  • Wet sand the bare plastic car body use 600 or 1500 grit wet or dry sandpaper. 
  • Wash with soap and water. Then, blow dry. 
  • Place the spray can in warm water before spraying to improve the paint flow. 
  • Prime the model, air dry and wet sand again to remove imperfections
  • Spray the gloss coat or clear coat to make it shiny.

To get a high-gloss finish on a model, you need to know what kind of model you have and the material used for its build. 

After this, you can use gloss paint, get a dryer to make the paint dry faster, and sand and gloss coat with a clear coat to make it shiny. 

The real secret to a good gloss coat for a model is in a technique called brinkmanship – the art of putting down the last coat so wet that it looks like it would run in teary shades.  

How do you know your coating is seconds from running? Position the light, so it reflects on the painted surface. The coat gets wavy just before it runs.

If you want to do super shiny, the best way to achieve this is to polish your model before painting. 

What tools do you need to make a shiny finish?

To make a shiny finish, consider getting these tools:

  • Good quality paintbrushes
  • Masking tape (25mm)
  • 240-grade wooden or rubber sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Sharp pocket-like knife
  • Plastic disposable sheets
  • Vacuum cleaner

Read more: 7 Best gloss coat for models (metal, Plastic, Wood)

5 Tips to smooth out model paint

It’s never easy to smooth out model paints, especially when you are just using them for the first time. However, here are five easy ways to help you smooth out model paint. 

  1. During application, avoid using force when stroking the paint around the surface. Rather, tease the paint on your model. Sometimes, excessive force on a drying medium can leave strokes as the paint is halfway set. 
  2. Avoid loading the brush too little when painting. The simple reason is that when you load the brush too little, the paint begins the drying process on the brush, which means that it goes on thicker and leaves brush marks.
  3. Do you use metallics and wash the brush in the same pot as your regular paint? You may have metal flakes gumming your brushes, and this could lead to tiny globules on the paint’s surface.
  4. Make sure your paint pots are never left too open. The longer the paint is open, the more air it gets and dries out. With dried paints, even the right consistency doesn’t guarantee a good finish, as the color has already begun to dry in the pot. 
  5. If you mix in a palate, make sure the paint is wet. Dry palettes mean the paints easily dry out. The consistency and mixture may be right. But, when they dry out, they leave marks.

Can you shine any type of model? Wood, metal, plastic?

If you’ve kept your model in storage for long and want to make them look new, the best way to make them shine is using glossy paints or applying polish to their surfaces. 

Alternatively, polish them with Windex or some ammonia-based cleaner. 

What Polish do model cars use?

While polishing pads are good for most surfaces on a model car body, they have trouble reaching smaller recessed surfaces that you can find. So, you may have to use polishing compounds. 

For automotive paints, use automotive paint finishing compounds. Otherwise, use the rubbing compounds or fine-cut cleaners.

Regardless, you can polish your metal models using a paste made of vinegar and baking soda or simply vinegar and olive oil. 

Plastic models will gain their shine when you polish them with mild abrasives like toothpaste and baking soda. 

How do you shine a diecast car?

Making your diecast models shine can be done in three steps. They are dusting, deep cleaning, and polishing or waxing.

If done right, our diecast car will not only shine but stay protected from dirt and other damaging debris that kills its shine. 

Can you use car polish on models? 

The purpose of polishing a model is to its original brilliance. This process takes place after you clean the model, to remove the thin coat of paint from the bodywork, giving it a new shine. 

While car models may be made with materials different from other scale models, you can use the same car polish for them

Simply make sure you use a polishing pad when adding polishing rubbing and other automotive compounds. 

Conclusion – Making your model paint shiny

Using gloss paints on scale models is often a time-consuming and difficult task. 

But, they give your models exceptionally smooth and mirror-like surfaces to make them look perfect and pop. 

Make sure to use the right painting and smoothing technique, gloss paint, polish, and tools so as to successfully attain that shiny finish you aim to achieve on your model with gloss paint.