Special Instructions for Properly Preparing Each Type of Material

Follow these special instructions for preparing the type of material you'll be covering with LustreKote. In all cases, it's very important to take the time to sand the surface, clean everything thoroughly and apply a coat of LustreKote Primer. Depending upon the specific type of material you're covering, we've included some additional tips and suggestions to be sure you get the best possible results.


  1. Wash the part with soap and water. This removes the release agents used in its production.
  2. Inspect the seams. If you see a gap or ridge, you'll need to apply filler. Begin by sanding the seam using #180-#220 grit sandpaper to roughen the surface and remove high points (basically, sand off all shiny material).
  3. Now inspect the entire surface of the part. In resin's curing stage, air bubbles sometimes pop and create small pin holes. These must be filled or they will show later.
  4. Prepare a mixture of epoxy or polyester resin plus Top Flite Microballoons. Use 5 parts microballoons to 1 part resin. The resulting mixture should have the consistency of toothpaste. Use it to fill the seams and pin holes. To fill pin holes, simply wipe the filler mixture over the surface with a spatula or playing card. Leave filler only in the pin hole.
  5. Sand the entire surface using Top Flite #320 or finer grit sandpaper. Remove all sanding dust with a brush or compressed air.
  6. Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol. Wipe off any remaining lint and dust with a MonoKote Tack Cloth.
  7. Apply LustreKote Primer. Follow steps 2-4 under "Metal."

CAUTION: Polyester resin will not adhere to fiberglass parts made from epoxy resin — you must use epoxy. Never use polyester resin on epoxy glass parts without first making sure that the resin will cure. However, almost any epoxy or polyester resin will work with polyester resin fiberglass. You can easily tell polyester resin from epoxy resin by smell. Polyester resin gives off a fairly strong odor. Epoxy is almost odorless. Wait at least 72 hours for polyester resin to cure before you apply primer or paint.

Aluminum and Steel

  1. Sand and clean the entire surface.
  2. Apply a thin coat of LustreKote Primer. Wait 2-3 minutes and apply a second, heavier coat.
  3. Wait at least three hours before wet-sanding the primer with #320 grit or finer sandpaper.
  4. Using a light, inspect the surface at an angle. Make sure that all deep scratches are filled. If not, repeat Steps 2-3 until the surface is smooth and scratch-free.

Balsa Wood & Plywood

  1. Seal the surface — otherwise, much unnecessary paint might be required to get a smooth finish!
  2. Sand the entire surface smooth with Top Flite #320 grit sandpaper. Check closely for any bare spots, and reapply filler to cover them as needed.
  3. Apply Primer, follow steps 2-4 under "Metal (Aluminum and Steel)."

Sealing bare wood

To seal bare wood, we recommend a light coat of hobby filler such as Hobbico® HobbyLite™. It fills the grain without significantly increasing weight. Other sealers pose some hazards. Epoxy finishing resin is very heavy, and sanding sealer is very flammable.

ABS Plastic

Smooth ABS plastic needs very little surface preparation before painting. One area that does require attention is the surface of a seam. The seam is the noticeable gap where two pieces, such as a right and left wheel pant, are glued together.

  1. Fill the seam crack on the outside of the part with a model filler such as Hobbico HobbyLite, or plastic filler such as Bondo®.
  2. Sand along the seam using #180-#220 grit sandpaper until only the crack is filled. There should be little filler outside the seam.
  3. Use a small squeegee or piece of plastic to apply one more very thin coat of filler. Press firmly to fill all of the scratch marks. Then sand the seam with #220 grit sandpaper. Remove sanding dust with a brush or compressed air.
  4. Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol. Wipe off any remaining lint and dust with a MonoKote Tack Cloth.
  5. Apply LustreKote Primer. Follow steps 2-4 under "Metal."

Painters Tip: To add strength to the seam and prevent cracking, first make sure that it's glued well with medium viscosity CA adhesive. Then reinforce the seam by adding a thin, 1/2" to 3/4" wide strip of 2 oz fiberglass tape with CA along the inside joint. Now you're ready to prepare the exterior for painting.

WARNING: LustreKote Paint will cause deformation of Butyrate plastic if applied too heavily. (see below)

Butyrate Plastics

  1. Mask the surface using vinyl masking tape or a masking compound to protect all areas of the canopy that you do not want painted. If the canopy is off your model, mask the interior, too. If it's on the model, mask off the entire airplane (simply cover it with a trash bag).
  2. Clean the surface to be painted. Use a tack cloth to wipe off any remaining lint and dust.
  3. Apply a thin coat of primer. No additional sanding is necessary. LustreKote Paint can be applied in 24 hours.

For easy model masking, brush Hobbico® Master Mask™ liquid film over areas you don't want painted. Then simply peel the film away after the paint has dried.

CAUTION: LustreKote paint has shown the tendency to soften and deform some Butyrate plastics. This is most common on very thin butyrate or when applied in very heavy coats. We have found that LustreKote can be used safely to paint the framework of typical clear butyrate model canopies, but if applied too heavily, it can deform the part. To prevent this first test the LustreKote on a spare part. Next fit the canopy carefully and glue the canopy firmly to the model. Failure to fit the canopy accurately can create a strain that may be amplified if the canopy material softens. Finally, apply the primer to the surface in very light coats. It is because LustreKote is truly the most fuel-resistant paint available from a spray can that these additional steps are necessary.

MonoKote Iron-On Covering

  1. Buff the surface to be painted using Top Flite #000 steel wool, until all of the covering film's gloss is removed. The gloss may interfere with paint adhesion.
  2. Clean the surface using rubbing alcohol. Use a MonoKote Tack Cloth to remove all lint and dust.
  3. Apply a thin coat of primer. After 2-3 minutes, apply a second, heavier coat. When the primer has dried, you're ready to paint. Lightly sand only those areas with imperfections, such as seams and dust specs. Use Top Flite #400 grit sandpaper wet.

REMEMBER: LustreKote can be applied directly onto MonoKote covering, but for proper adhesion the covering must be applied tightly — otherwise you'll eventually have to fix wrinkles in the painted surface. Those wrinkles can be removed with a heat gun, but be very careful. Too much heat will blister the paint. Take your time, applying only a little heat gradually until the wrinkle disappears.

Continue to: Applying the Color Coat

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Due to variations in monitor
models and settings, actual
film colors may vary.