Paints for LEGO Pieces
Painting LEGO parts is undoubtedly a tedious process. What's even more tedious is searching for paints that stick well and match to existing LEGO colours.
So I'll save you some trouble by listing all of the original, unmixed paints I've found and used for my Bionicle MOCs, as well as explaining what types of paints are best and how to apply them.
Above are the colours I have currently - mostly early Bionicle colours. The paints used are listed in section 3.
If anyone knows of any good paints matching colours not listed here, please share them below, particularly for the more rare or obscure colours like purple and dark turquoise.
I have a few other colours for LEGO sets, though they're all ones I've mixed, so I've neglected to post them here.
1. Types of Paint
In my experience, the best and cheapest paints that will stick to LEGO pieces are enamel and acrylic paints:
Usually thinner and harder to apply but sticks much better and usually looks more polished.
Usually thicker and easier to apply but is more prone to wearing off.
When applying acrylic or enamel paint, use a paintbrush to spread a small amount over a small area and dab it down with a sponge to make sure the paint is evenly distributed.
Painting LEGO pieces is very time consuming (especially with enamel) and requires three coats at minimum - unfortunately, you'll have no choice but to be patient with it. I suggest you try to avoid painting things where possible.
To wash pieces or paintbrushes, use a small amount of white spirit - if you are not an adult, do not use without permission, and take note of the health warnings on the bottle.
Keep your 'painting station' free of hairs and dust to prevent bumps appearing on the painted pieces (due to things getting stuck to wet paint). Also make sure the room you are working in is ventilated to avoid dizziness and headaches from paints and solvents.
Use spare LEGO parts to build sticks or stands to attach painted pieces to - this saves you from messing up the paint by handling the parts directly, and removes the need for gloves (although I'd suggest you use them anyway as enamel is particularly hard to remove from anything, including skin).
I use stands like these ones to paint LEGO parts, though you can use spare axles as sticks to attach to the pieces instead.
3. The Paints I've Found
Comparisons of the paints I use with the matching LEGO colours are shown above.
Note: some of the paints below are glossy - this is simply because they were the only ones I could find for that colour.
Any black paint will probably do, though these are the two I've used:
(Left on top image)
Painter's Touch - Black, matt finish
(Right on top image)
Humbrol - Coal Black (code #85) - enamel
(Note that the finish is slightly glossy.)
Humbrol - White Matt (code #34) - enamel
Humbrol - Yellow Gloss (code #69) - enamel
Tamiya Colour - Yellow (code XF-3) - acrylic
Humbrol - Emerald Green Gloss (code #2
) - enamel
Tamiya Colour - Sky Bue (code X-14) - acrylic
(Note that there's a slight chance that I'm referring to the wrong colour, but it was one of these blue Tamiya Colour paints that I used.)
Tamiya Colour - Orange (code X-6) - acrylic
Humbrol - Scarlet Matt (code #60) - enamel
I searched far and wide for this colour - the only place I could find it was at Halfords, a car store in the UK. They mix car paints that match commercial colours - I found a pretty good match (and the paint sticks relatively well to LEGO). I'm not 100% sure what car the paint was made for (I think it was a Toyota) - if you live outside the UK, I recommend you search at similar car stores and ask if they can mix paints. If they have a catalog of existing car colours, use that to search.
Humbrol - Pastel Green Matt (code #36) - enamel
Humbrol - Cream Matt (code #103) - enamel
Humbrol - Dark Slate Grey Matt (code #224) - acrylic
(Note: this paint is thick and difficult to apply evenly.)
Humbrol - Light Grey Matt (code #64) - enamel
4. WANTED (Desperately)
If anyone can find good matches for these colours, I'd be very grateful if you would share them - I can't find them anywhere:
- Dark red
- Purple (as in Onepu purple; not G2 Onua purple)
- Dark blue
- Dark turquoise
- Medium blue
5. Share Your Colours
If you find any good colour matches, please consider posting them here. You'll be saving at least one person a great deal of trouble trying to find them.
If you do find a good colour match, please post the following when you share it:
- Give the name of the LEGO colour
- Post a picture of the paint and what type (e.g. enamel) it is
- Post a photo of a painted piece next to the colour it matches with