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Painting Solar Panels

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  • Member since
    October, 2010
Painting Solar Panels
Posted by hypertex on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 7:59 AM

I'm looking for a quick and dirty way to paint solar panels. I'm building the 1/144 RoG ISS. I'm building it as a desktop model, but will hang it from the ceiling. I've never built any solar panels before.

The panels on this thing are big! The only detail are transverse raised panel lines. I'm not looking to add more detail. My Google skills have failed me, as I get hits for real solor cells or building architectural models.

I'm thinking a base coat of gloss black or a very dark blue. Then copper along the edges and panel lines.

Any ideas?

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 8:42 AM

Never built the ISS, but here is what I did on my Hubble- it worked very well.  The idea is to eliminate the need for tiny width masking tape.

I made decals from clear inkjet decal stock. I made a purple (filled) rectangle, then duplicated that rectangle in a big array. I could place rectangles right next to each other, with very thin gaps. I placed the decals on aluminum-painted kit panels.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 9:10 AM

Well Hello ;

    My solution to this is not to paint . I would use what I call Aurora Borealis ( A machine turned effect tape ) .This is a trim tape found in the Pine Car Derby decorating section at Hobby Lobby .

     Now , it comes in more than one base color so you would want to use the darker blue or purple background type . It's little squares printed on the tape with a nice clear overcoat .You can cut the little squares out OR just apply it in lengths .

  The light will reflect off of it beautifully , regardless of which base tone you go for .   T.B.

WZ2
  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by WZ2 on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 7:31 PM

Alternatively go to Amazon or eBay and search for "prismatic tape."   Comes in all colors and shapes.   Pick one you feel most resembles real solar panels.

 

Chris

  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: Boston
Posted by Wilbur Wright on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 7:06 PM

I built this a few years ago. The photos should still be floating around the forums somewhere.  If I recall I used Tamiya Gold acrylic, then the other side MM flat navy blue and when dry and then Tamiya clear blue over that.

I'm not a space modeller proper.  I think they use New Metal Foil etc. to get the really realistic effect.  NASA has a lot of great photos online.

It's quite a model.  I built a special base for it.  I should really donate it to a local school science department.

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:28 AM

My wife came home from a craft class she is taking this week and showed me a paint that might be just the solution for this!  It's a lot like Alclad, in that you have to paint a base coat.  If that base coat is white, the color of the finished product is a kind of irredescent blue.  Paint it over black, and it's an irredescent violet, looking EXACTLY like a solar panel.  The paint is still in the class, so I'll have to wait until the class is over to get the brand of the paint.  The class is done today, but it'll probably be tomorrow before I can see the paint. 

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Thursday, July 14, 2016 11:06 AM

Well, dang it, she didn't come home with it.  I think she had to order some.  She also did an effect with a 'rust' paint. It comes in three colors, and has some grit in it, so when you paint something with it, it already looks 'bubbled up', and can have the different coloration you always see on actual rust. 

I'll post up info as soon as I can get it.

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 3:42 PM

Sorry for the delay in replies.  My wife went out of town to visit a friend, so a solution will be delayed a few more days.  She comes home tomorrow, but I don't know when she'll be picking up the new stuff, probably no sooner than this weekend. 

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Saturday, August 06, 2016 4:25 PM

Well, finally!  The stuff she got is called: Art Alchemy Opal Magic paint.  It comes in two colors, Violet/Green and Pink/Blue.  I brushed some on a plastic fork I had painted gloss black:

Opal Magic paint

 

The Violet/Green was what I was thinking would be good to try for the solar panels.  If you paint on a black background, you get an opalescent violet color.  Paint it over white, which I didn't show here, you get a kind of turquoise green.  I'm thinking the finish might be a bit better if sprayed, but I didn't go through all that effort yet. 

On the tine-end of the fork, I was trying some other stuff she got, called Rust Effect Paste from Finnabear.  It's kind of gritty acrylic paint that comes in three colors for a more-realistic rust effect; brown rust, red rust and gold rust.  It comes as a kit.  I might try some of this on the FT-17 I'm working on now. 

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

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