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Liquid Mask + Lacquer paint = Frustration

Liquid Mask + Lacquer paint = Frustration

Old 09-08-2020, 12:24 PM
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Default Liquid Mask + Lacquer paint = Frustration

For my entire r/c "life" I've been masking bodies using masking tape. I cut out the design on a self-healing cutting board then applying the mask to the body. It has worked fairly well for me but every so often I'll get paint bleeding under the mask, usually around tight corners. The latest craze of putting small ridges on the sides or center of off-road bodies has made this worse. No matter how hard I try I can't seem to get the mask to completely stick in those tight channels of the body, causing the paint to bleed under.

I've also been using lacquer based paints, both spray cans and brush. I used Pactra in the past, and when I came back to the hobby this spring I switched to Spaz Stix combined with Pactra spray cans for large areas. I like using this paint a lot. 9 times out of 10 it sprays perfectly right out of the bottle and I like the way it applies to the body, and the clean-up doesn't bother me. I've tried water-based paints in the past but never had success with them. I couldn't get it thinned correctly, or the air pressure was wrong, or some other issue. And even if I could get it to spray correctly the paint would chip off the body very easily with my fingernail. Very frustrating, so I keep coming back to lacquer for its ease of use. (Yes, I'm washing the body in warm soapy water and using rubber gloves afterwards to prevent getting oils on the body).

So I figured the best way to solve my paint bleeding issues is to try liquid mask. I picked up a bottle of Bitty Design, read all the online instructions and walk-throughs, applied it with a foam paint brush in 5 heavy coats, waited several days for it to dry, cut out my design and started to paint. Everything was fine until I went to peel up my first mask layer. The paint didn't stick to the mask I was peeling up, causing the paint to not separate at the trim line. The mask peeled away but left this loose piece of paint behind, still connected to the paint that was adhering to the body. I had carefully cut the paint at mask line with my xacto knife to get the paint to separate. Very frustrating and time consuming to say the least.

I know there are a few pro painters on here that use liquid mask with lacquer paints. Does this happen to everybody? Do you effectively have to cut the paint on the trim line to get it to peel away correctly? Am I just wasting my time with liquid mask and lacquer based paints?

TLDR; When I peel up the liquid mask the lacquer paint separates from the mask, leaving the paint attached to the body. How do I correct this?

Any advice would certainly be appreciated, thank you!

Last edited by cartmen34; 09-08-2020 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:20 PM
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That only happens if you spray too much paint and it puddles along the cut line. I also like to start peeling my mask off when the last color I sprayed is still tacky. I don't wait for it to dry completely. My lines are nice and straight. I use spazstix and apply with an airbrush exclusively.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by xlgraphicspro View Post
That only happens if you spray too much paint and it puddles along the cut line. I also like to start peeling my mask off when the last color I sprayed is still tacky. I don't wait for it to dry completely. My lines are nice and straight. I use spazstix and apply with an airbrush exclusively.
You don't wait for it to dry completely before peeling; paint is still tacky. I'd have never thought of that. I'm applying liquid mask on my next body now. I'll try that.

Thank you xlgraphicspro!
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:02 AM
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Itís been many years, and I donít know if/how much Pactraís formulation has changed, but After completing a paint job with Createx paints and applying the last acrylic undercoat, I would give the entire body a final coat of either Pactra Black or White (depending on the overall scheme). The reason for these colors is that these two in particular just seemed to repel the dirt/dust from the on-road cars rather easily. Other colors tended to just attract it like a magnet and would be difficult to brush off...

Anyway, that final lacquer coat seals in the acrylic paint, protecting it. The car was sold off last year (the one in my avatar), but I still have the body for my old Nitro touring car, whose paint is still intact 20 years later.
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:22 PM
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I had the same issues (exactly) using lacquer based spray paint with liquid mask. I had issues even when the paint should have been thin enough to cause no problem.

My solution was to buy an airbrush and switch to water-based paint. I was skeptical, but I tested standard Createx paint on some scrap lexan. I coated the Createx paint with Krylon Matte Clear urethane. The results were stunning. The plastic flexes, contorts, and bends to extremes and the paint doesnít crack or lift. I can scrape and scratch the finish and the urethane makes the paint extremely durable (yet still flexible).

I recently finished my first airbrushed body using a mixture of Proline, Createx, and Createx Wicked Color paints. I used Bob Dively liquid mask (brushed on) and I coated the finished paint job with Krylon clear matte urethane. I am a total beginner with airbrushing and the body turned out great. Again, in my opinion water-based paint is the way to go and is so much easier to use (and without the killer fumes). Itís extremely durable too with a urethane topcoat. I put off airbrushing for years, but my wife recently convinced me to switch. Iím glad I did.
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Old 09-27-2020, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for the tips, one and all. I've been busy the last few weekends with house chores but I'm going to paint a body next weekend and try some of your advice out.

Thanks again!
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