Painting Action Figures




About: I'm batman

This instructable will show you how to take old beat up action figures, or just ugly ones like I use in this instructable, and make them look great. I recently got my hands on a collection of action figures and wasn't sure what to do with the beat up and ugly ones. In the winter I paint models to pass the time so I figured I could treat the action figures like pre-assembles models. The photos above are a before and after to give you an idea what you can do.

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Step 1: What You Will Need

You will need: Everything here can be found at most hobby stores. -an action figure- goes without saying. -Sand paper- very very fine. Normal sand paper from a hardware store will leave big noticeable scratches. -paintbrushes- you will need a couple of brushes a few different sizes from a very fine brush to a little wider. -paints- you will want acrylic paints for this project. I used testors paints originally which are oil based but the problem is oil based paints don't react well with the plastic action figures are made of and never seem to dry properly always feeling tacky when you touch the action figure. -water- a small glass of water is used for cleaning acrylic paint off of your brushes and for thinning paint.(only works with acrylic paints)

Step 2: Sanding

This step is what will make your action figure go from looking like a toy to looking like a model. Look for all the seams where the halves of your action figure were glued together, usually running the full length of the action figure from head to toe down its sides. Sand all of these off so they look seamless.

Step 3: Priming

This step can be skipped. Some people just paint the action figure strait out but I like to start with a blank slate. Prime the whole action figure with some sort of primer paint. Make sure to put on thin light coats. Thick coats will glob up and leave streaks. Start by painting the hardest to reach areas. For me this was the back of the cape and under the arms. Pose the figure in a way that you can paint everywhere for instance with the figures arms in the air.

Step 4: Painting

Start by painting hard to reach areas and main colours, I started with black and painted the inside of his cape. Same as before, Pose the action figure in a way that's easy to paint every part of it, for example with its arms in the air. Paint light coats and be patient some times it will take several coats. If you get impatient it won't end up looking the best. Once this drys start painting more details. Don't worry if its not perfect the great thing about paint is you can switch back to other colours and repair mistakes.

Step 5: Details

Some places can be very hard to paint such as eyes, mouths and on my figure the bat symbol on his chest. There's Is a few tricks to this. One being use a very fine tipped brush and a steady hand, which is what I did for the eyes. Another trick which I used for the bat symbol is to take the colour your using and water it down a bit making it runny. Then all you do is dip your brush in the paint and dip it onto the spot you want your paint. It will flow easily into small places and cracks now with out needing to brush it on. Used the watered down paint methods and used gun metal black to do some shading.



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    6 Discussions


    Question 11 months ago on Introduction

    Oh Snap man I think I sold you that figure on ebay a few years ago. good job on the customization!

    1 answer

    Answer 11 months ago

    That hilarious that you found it again. Thanks.


    3 years ago

    I believe 500 but the finer the better for a smooth finish.


    3 years ago

    What grit sandpaper do you use?

    Excellent tip about the oil based paint. I learned that lesson the hard way as a kid.


    6 years ago

    No problem glad you enjoyed. I'm not sure why the toy came painted as like jazz batman.