Got some terrain for Shadow war from TT Combat!
No idea of the best way to paint it though, any tips?
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It's an absorbent material so you will need to put a coat of sealant that's not water-based down before painting. Beyond that, I'm gonna suggest Google.
I've heard tell of a mystical Sandable Primer spray that supposedly works wonders on MDF stuff, I think from Krylon. Local hardware store should have some on hand
a good undercoat and you should normally be golden
I use shellac and works good, just lett it try enough.
Ahhh... MDF, my old nemesis. During my studies we were encouraged to use MDF for various types of modeling projects. It's cheap, plentiful, and can be easily worked and shaped into very nice forms. The major down side is that the adhesives they use in its manufacture are horrible, and the dust it produces is very toxic. If you plan on sanding it at all, I highly recommend an air-tight dust mask. Read: not one of those paper cups with an elastic band attached; they do almost nothing.
As mentioned, the material is very porous and it will soak up the first coat or two of paint very quickly. I'd recommend a mix of the suggestions; give the parts a coat of a shellac or varnish to soak in and 'plasticize' the MDF fibers. Give it a light sand and then give it a coat or two with an automotive Scratch Filler + Primer; products like this can be sanded after application to make sure any stray MDF fibers are completely gone and leaves a plastic-like surface to paint. I use Dupli-Color Filler Primer, and completely swear by the stuff. This primer is so amazing you can treat cardboard with several layers of it, and make it appear to be plastic once it's painted.
One major thing to note is, paint/treat all the surfaces the same when you work, even if it's a surface you may not see. If you paint one side of an MDF sheet without painting the other, as the paint dries it can tighten enough to cause the part to curl or bend. Coat all sides the same to equalize the effect and avoid any warping.
Look for filler primer - the sort used for auto body work. It's not really any more expensive than normal spray primer and as others have said, MDF is semi-absorbent. This basically turns the board into a non-porous surface.
If you're planning on doing a lot of painting and weathering to the terrain, then Subtle Discord's advise is what I'd go with.
If you want a simple and striking paintjob, but don't want to spend very long on it, then I'd get yourself down to Halfords and buy some of their excellent spray paints. A grey sandable primer for the bulk (maybe quickly coat all the pieces before you remove them from the sheets and assemble them, to get a better coverage), a silver for the buttresses and gantries, and maybe a Camo Khaki for any bases and some "dusting" around the bottoms of the buttresses. (Oh, and you will want the terrain elements to be on bases, trust me! ). Finally, a clear spray sealer/lacquer for when you're all done with the main colours and the details.
Speaking of details, these can be added with some ripped sponge and some dark brown paint (for chipping / old rust spots), and with orange and an old brush (for new / fresh rust in small areas). You can paint simple hazards stripes in black and yellow too, before "chipping" them with some silver and brown paint applied lightly and sparingly with a sponge. Don't forget that other warning colours (like red and white stripes) and simple bold stripes are also possible, and that some easy details like big numbers/letters can also add more visual interest. Might be worth checking out some dry-rub transfers for these (example), as they are easier to use for things like this.
Will this will you awards for painting? No. Will you get a beautiful and practical result for modest effort? Absolutely. Plus, you can always go back and do more in future if you feel you want to!
Oh, another word of advice - be sure to seal the paintjob with a topcoat - paint comes off of MDF pretty easily (usually on your hands).
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