Ask Gunpla 101 is our advice column in which we take questions and share them with our readers. Do you have any questions for Gunpla 101? Be sure to contact us by email at [email protected].
Hi Gunpla 101, need your help. I applied topcoat to Gunpla for the first time, but it didn’t turn out well. The coat dried with some spots or bubbles on it. I may have sprayed too close to the parts. What can I do to fix this? —JC
It’s easy to get too close when you’re using a matte topcoat. Matte acts by making the surface microscopically uneven to reduce shine, and if you apply it more closer than six inches from the spray can, it can cause bubbles or spots. Sometimes you can also get this kind of problem when you’re using a can of topcoat that is past its prime, older than a year or so.
Now for fixing the issue, the best option is to remove the imperfect topcoat and try again. In order to remove the topcoat without damaging the plastic or underlying paint, you should apply 91% isopropyl alcohol. Soak the part for a few minutes, then lightly scrub it with a sponge or an old toothbrush. You may need to repeat a few times. After that, wait a few days before reapplying topcoat. And this time, make sure you’re spraying from at least six inches away!
Don’t have 91% isopropyl alcohol on hand? You can also get the same result if you use 4000-grit sandpaper. However, this could take a lot longer to do.
Is there anything special about kits that have gold on the box? —Michael
The color behind the grade on a Gunpla box is a quick way to check which universe the Gunpla you are buying comes from. Gold means this is a Universal Century kit. A silver background means it’s a kit from an alternate universe. Thanks to Tom Aznable for the tip!
As the weather warms up, how can I make sure my Gunpla paints don’t get damaged? Last spring I had to throw out some paint when it got chunky. —Anonymous
When the weather changes, it can vastly affect your paint. When paint is stored at a temperature below 60F (15C) or above 85F (29C), it could separate or become chunky.
You will need to worry more about acrylic and enamel paints—lacquer and oil are much more forgiving, even in freezing temperatures! However, acrylic and enamel can get ruined if they freeze even once. If you’re not sure what kind of paint you have, check out Paint Types 101.
It’s a good idea to keep your paint in a container with a lid that seals, like a plastic shoe container. Store the box in a room with temperature control. That means no storing paints in the garage, basement, attic, or toolshed unless they have been insulated. The basic idea is you don’t want to keep your paints anywhere the temperature will fluctuate.
Whenever you’re ready to bring your paints out of storage, open the box, put your paints in a slightly warmer room for about an hour, and they will be ready to use again.