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Can you paint Sculpey models?

Discussion in 'Just starting...' started by Bundook, Oct 2, 2022.

  1. Bundook Active Member

    I'm new to figures like these (I have an embarrassingly enormous collection of vintage plastic toy soldiers, though) and am looking to scratchbuild detailed figures (post-war British squaddies, WW2 Commandos and ancients mostly). I am mystified at which paints to use but will leave that until I've worked up something enough to paint. I have now thoroughly confused myself by watching videos of sculpting techniques. I have used Milliput for crafts before (not figures) and some polymer clay to make cartoon animals (but you can't paint those). I have seen something called "Sculpey" which seems very popular with modellers. Does anyone know if you can paint a model made with "Sculpey", or would it always have to be cast in resin?
  2. m@rp Active Member

    Hi, Sculpey may be painted as milliput. In any case you have to undercoat first
    with matt humbrol or car primer. The milliput is better ,for me, to sculpt miniatures.
    Nap, valiant and Bundook like this.
  3. Bundook Active Member

    Great, thanks. I'll get some and experiment a bit with it now.
  4. svt A Fixture

    You can paint polymer clay figurines just like you can paint epoxy putty, resin or metal. One has only to take into account that if you are sculpting from Sculpey, then the figure must go through a full baking cycle, and should not contain oils, which some sculptors sometimes like to mix into clay to soften it. The oil does not burn out and does not polymerize during the heat treatment of products, as a result, even subsequent degreasing of the surfaces will not help - the paint will peel off by itself, as in this photo.

    And if you need to soften polymer clay, then use a proprietary softener.

    In addition, I warn you that if you use a primer, paints or modeling chemicals containing acetone, this will destroy polymer clay - the paint does not dry, it becomes sticky, after washing off the paint layer, the surface of polymer clay will remain slimy and with traces of damage due to chemical component reactions. Test on a separate piece before painting.
    Nap, Bundook and Oda like this.
  5. theBaron A Fixture

    Yes. Once the putty has dried/cured, you can prime it and paint it like resin, metal, or styrene.

    Nap and Bundook like this.
  6. Bundook Active Member

    Full bake, no oil additives, no acetone based coatings and apply primer. I'll see how it goes. Thanks for the info.
    Nap likes this.
  7. Old Pete Active Member

    Sculpy MUST be primed with a water based paint
    Bundook likes this.
  8. Tony Barton Active Member

    I'd add to that : I have been sculpting in polymer clay for fifty years , and you must only use water based paints as the first coat. The medium in any enamel or oil paint actually dissolves the clay surface, however well it's fired, and you will end up with a glossy, sticky mess if you use oil-based paints straight onto it. The best thing to do is to work entirely in acrylics , or give it several coats of water based primer.
    Bundook and svt like this.
  9. Bundook Active Member

    What would be an example of a water based primer? (I'm very new to this whole painting lark).
  10. Old Pete Active Member

    You could use Pelican Plaka if you can get them Ive done quite a few Sulpey figures and this is what I use they do avery good white.I have heard Plaka are discontinuing this line but I,m sure you can still get them
    Bundook likes this.
  11. Bundook Active Member


    As you say, Pelikan Plaka appears to have been discontinued and stocks are dwindling. I'll see how I get on with a good quality white gouache. I can get that locally. Thanks for the advice, everyone.

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