Uneven finish airbrushing, advice moving forward?

Hi All,

I’m attempting to do my first natural metal finish model, an Eduard P-51, with the hopes of honing my skills before tackling the Tamiya P-38J. As you can see the finish is a mix between gloss and semi gloss. Overall it is smooth to the touch, minus one small spot of orange peel texture.

My process was Mr surfacer 1500 gray, then Ueno Black GX2, then straight MLT after in hopes of further smoothing/unifying.

What steps do we recommend I take? Do I micromesh smooth and then shoot just MLT? Sand everything smooth and redo the GX2? Is it ok to have uneven looking finish if it’s all smooth to the touch? The wings will hopefully get LP-11 or LP-70 so maybe it’ll cover up the unevenness?

It was my first time using GX-2, and I do now believe that my pressure was too high and I wasn’t close enough based on some research I did.

Any tips would be appreciated!


Step 1 is to remove the black and reshoot. A flaw in the early stages of a paint job only gets worse.
Who makes the GX2 and is it lacquer, enamel or acrylic? You will want a flawless undercoat before doing a top coat.


Thank you! Sorry should have said Gx-2 is Mr. Color Ueno Black. Lacquer based. Do you recommend I get down to plastic and then start completely over, primer and all? I’ve never stripped paint back to plastic so unsure of process. What about sanding down so it’s all smooth and then another layer of black on top? It’s all very thin layers so details should still be there.

Sanding often removes detail. If you wanted to do an unlimited air racer for the Reno air races, smooth detailess finish would be perfect. For WW2, all detail should be preserved. Another poster would be more helpful with the lacquer based stripping methods.

any error to the base will be prominently displayed by the natural metal finish.

Hence, the base must be perfect. It coud be correct that your pressure was too high but I think that you have put a too thick a coat of black in one pass.

I would try to polish the surface with several passes of 4000 up to 12000 grit sanding paper to create a completely smooth surface.

After that, you could leave the parts of the surface that is still entirely back for what it is, and perhaps airbrush the panels where the plastic shows through with different shades of black, or very dark grey. That will lead to a finish where individual panels are a bit darker/lighter

Thank you for this! I think I will try to sand up from 4000 grit to 12000 and then will redo an all over coat rather than individual panels to start.

Two questions: I had read that gloss shouldn’t be applied in light mist coats and should be a little heavier to end up smoother and glossy, but what are your thoughts?

Second, can I apply a flat black like Tamiya black and then cover with a gloss clear that I have not had an issue with in the past? I can spray future pretty smooth.

Appreciate everyone offering input!

As long as you get a black, mirror like finish I see no reasons why that should not work.

  1. I don’t know much about airplanes, but in any case, I would remove the orange peel with a waterproof sandpaper using water. This results in a perfectly smooth surface.
  2. Buy disposable spoons (I hope this is everywhere) and repeat each step on them. Then you can experiment without fear of messing up the model. (I don’t do this myself, but I want to do this every time.)

Thank you! so have you painted and not worried too much about the finish in the moment because you know that wet sanding will make it perfectly smooth? I am not a good airbrushed, and would feel less stress if I knew that it wasn’t the end of the world to lay down uneven paint every time.

Not sure if it works on Lacquer, but Zip-Strip paint remover takes off Testors enamels easy and doesn’t eat the plastic.

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I am very worried about the quality of painting: you have been building the model for a long time and at the last stage you can ruin all the work and beauty in a few seconds. I don’t have the mental strength to remove the paint - I’m throwing the model away. I have tried to wash off the paint before, but it was a negative experience.
It must be understood that the orange peel is not the final verdict. If it is on a flat and open surface, then with gentle movements of the emery cloth you can remove it. This will not damage the paint layer. Most importantly: very gently.
And in such cases it is better to have an emery sponge.

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Hello @Steve_Perkins.

Have a look to this video. I have been applying the technique showed in it to get a smooth shinny surface and no problems so far. Have used it with Lacquers and Acrylics and worked as a charm. Make sure you thin the paint as recommended and use the right air pressure in your airbrush.

(26) How To Get A Glass Smooth Finish When Airbrushing Plastic Models - YouTube

Have a good one.


i have used Tamiya gloss black (X-1) with good results as base for alclad II.

Point is, you have to give it a lot of time to harden (1 week) and you need to mist the alclad on in very thin layers otherwise it becomes a disaster.

Thank you!!