How To Do an RC Paint Job Step by Step

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Introduction: Why do you need to do an RC paint job

When you shop around for an RC offroader, you will find some RC car with a very excellent customer paint job. You might wonder if you can own one of these also. In fact, it is not that hard. You may be just starting out and want to do something custom or you could be a veteran in RC crawlers and just need a new body. Your RC crawler might have been thrashed around for weeks or years and need a new paint job, but you’ll need to essentially start from scratch instead of doing spot jobs.

All you’ll need to have the best RC crawler, in terms of looks at least, on the market are a few cans of spray paint (Tamiya PS paints), masking tape, and a new body to actually paint.  As an RC crawling beginner, know how to paint a Lexan body is necessary.

However, if you want to watch a YouTube video on how to paint a LEXAN body, click this click.  

Make sure that you pick up the tip in the important notes section.  You will be happy for it.

Mark the locations of each body poles

When you start off, you’ll want to set the clear body over the chassis in order to know exactly where the body poles line up, then you’ll need to mark them with a permanent marker for later. Be sure your body is lined up just right, so you don’t put holes in your body later on and they end up to be in the wrong locations!

Some people like to use their hobby knives to make a small cut in the body to know exactly where the holes should go, but that’s up to you. The marker can easily be removed with a little bit of alcohol, later on, so don’t worry about that.

Wash your Lexan body thoroughly

It doesn’t matter if the best RC crawler body looks clean, it’s likely got something on it from your hands or just debris falling from the air onto the shell. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the inside of the body, as well as the outside, in order to remove everything that your eye can’t directly see. After it’s completely clean, you’ll need to dry it with a lint-free towel to make sure you’re not putting more microscopic debris on the shell. The better it’s cleaned, the better the paint will adhere to the shell, and the better it will look in the end.

Put on all of your window masks

Every clear body shell will come with window masks, so be sure you use them when you’re going to paint your new and best RC crawler. Simply apply the masks to the right windows and use your fingernail to press down the edges in order to be sure they’re flush and secure. You can also use a credit or debit card to press them down by pulling it across the mask as well as the edges of it.

Tape off the design (Mask it)

Just like a normal car getting a paint job, you need to mask off the parts you don’t want to paint right away, in order to have a design when you’re done. More complex designs like flames or lightning bolts are extremely difficult to do, so if this is your first attempt, you should go with basic lines and shapes.

Get to painting!

Before you start painting your shell, be sure all of your tape is secure and you have the right design in mind before you even pick up a spray can. When you’re ready to paint, shake your spray can very well and hold it around 10 inches away from the shell, then start painting. Be sure to use even strokes that are smooth, and always stop spraying after each stroke. You likely just need a single coat, unless you’re doing a metallic or candy coat, so be sure to look for thin spots after your first pass. If there are thin spots, go over the entire shell a second time and don’t focus on just the thin spots. If you focus just on the thin spots you will create a pool of paint that could run everywhere and make your finished paint job look odd.

Remove the RC paint tape/mask and put on a second color

Since you masked off the shell in the beginning, you’re likely doing a multi-color paint job, and now you’ll need to remove the tape and start over. You’ll need to wait for everything to dry, take a few hours for this, just to be sure your next tape job isn’t going to pull off your first few passes of paint.

After it’s dried, tape off the reverse sections and repeat the painting process!

(keep the window masks on for this because you’ll still be painting)

Peel off the window masks

When you’re done will all of your masking and painting, it’s time to take off your window masks to and flip your shell over to see the work of art you’ve created! Your best RC crawler isn’t finished just yet, you still need to add your decals and any other customizations that go on the outside, as well as drill in your body holes to attach the shell to the chassis!


Important Notes

Be sure to get a Tamiya Color Spray Paint (PS paints) for Polycarbonate instead of the TS paint; otherwise, you need to get a Tamiya paint remover (87183) to wipe off all the paint on the body and paint the Lexan body again. TS paint will not stay on the body. I learned it a hard way.

Happy RC paint!


Thanks for reading


Written by Tommy Carey

Edited by Carlos Santos, your webmaster



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