Andy is the first to have taken advantage of the exciting "Ask Phil" link on the right hand side of this blog. He asks "I hate painting models as I usually ruin them. Have you any hints ?"
Painting's a pretty big subject with several books devoted to it (try this one, although it’s cheaper second hand) but as a general rule I find the most important thing is patience. I’ve ruined more paint jobs by trying to rush things than any other way. Usually I end up trying to hold parts that aren’t properly dry and leaving finger marks.
Enamel paint is good stuff – you can, with practise, feel when it is properly dry. Touch dry paint is soft to the touch. Leave it 24 hours and you can tell it has hardened. When it has you do what you like with it. Until then, leave it alone as a second coat will just cause the first to lift. This isn’t always a bad thing as when weathering you might want to blend the colours.
Another important point is to work out how you plan to hold something covered with wet paint before you need to. I like sprung tweezers for lots of jobs as they will sit and hold things without extra propping. Of course this doesn’t work with boat hulls of other large items !
Locomotive bodies are normally grabbed with a painting handle which is a sort of large flat sprung set of tweezers designed to spring open rather than closed. These are opened out inside the body and grip it. I often clamp them in a vice to support the item while it dries.
Hope this helps !