Paints for LEGO Pieces

#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:

Enamel:
Usually thinner and harder to apply but sticks much better and usually looks more polished.

Acrylic
Usually thicker and easier to apply but is more prone to wearing off.

#2. Advice

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.

Black
Any black paint will probably do, though these are the two I’ve used:

(Left on top image)
Painter’s Touch - Black, matt finish

OR

(Right on top image)
Humbrol - Coal Black (code #85) - enamel
(Note that the finish is slightly glossy.)

White

Humbrol - White Matt (code #34) - enamel

Yellow

Humbrol - Yellow Gloss (code #69) - enamel

OR

Tamiya Colour - Yellow (code XF-3) - acrylic

Green


Humbrol - Emerald Green Gloss (code #2) - enamel

Blue

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.)

Orange

Tamiya Colour - Orange (code X-6) - acrylic

Red

Humbrol - Scarlet Matt (code #60) - enamel

Burnt Orange
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.

Lime

Humbrol - Pastel Green Matt (code #36) - enamel

Tan

Humbrol - Cream Matt (code #103) - enamel

Dark Grey

Humbrol - Dark Slate Grey Matt (code #224) - acrylic
(Note: this paint is thick and difficult to apply evenly.)

Light Grey

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:

  • Brown
  • 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

-Hazash-

46 Likes

i always thought dye was far better than paint to be honest but fantastic guide none the less, really comprehensive

I very much need some white paint that matches,

Thank you.
So much.

Alcohol based paints do wonders on Lego pieces.

It’s what is in Gundam Markers (which is how I paint EVERYTHING)

This is great help, its pretty difficult to find a well tested and specific guide like this. Now I can paint parts to nearly the same shade of lime green for my self MOC!


What color is this by the way?

Its official name is dark orange, but it’s usually called burnt orange in the community. It’s the colour you find on Hewkii’s Matoran sets.

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With masks, should I just paint the outside?

Depends on if you want to or not.

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Like he said.

But if you paint the inside you are also going to increase the level of friction on the peg use for connecting it.

2 Likes

You don’t have to. Since MOCs are usually for display, you’ll barely ever see the back on pictures - you want to try to avoid giving yourself more legwork with paints, especially if you’re painting a lot of pieces.

I usually use these stands to paint things (masks attached to Metru heads) - it saves you needing to handle the pieces, but there’s no way of connecting 2001/2002 masks in order to paint the back. To avoid messing up the paint (and removing the need for gloves), I’d just paint reachable parts of the back that you can see from the front.

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Cant you just use this part to attach the mask to the stand? or is the connection too fragile.

I can check later but I’m pretty sure you can’t because of the horizontal line that runs through the stud. It’d be way too easy to knock off anyway (it’s already difficult to keep the 2001/2002 masks on the Metru heads).

Would you be able to buy these paints at most hobby shops?

I think so. My local store in the UK has pretty much all of them.

@AwesomeJoel27 I checked using that piece and it works quite well, but I’d be careful as I’ve had several experiences of the masks falling off and picking up loads of hair off the floor -.-

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Are the any good metalic paints to use, like silver and gold?

id recommend krylon silver and gold, the silver matches pretty well and the gold just looks really good

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Is it safe for plastic, ive looked it up and appear to be a spray paint only brand

im certain you can get it in standard paint form, i usually use it in spray form, ive used it on plastic before but never on bionicle so i wouldn’t be %100