Where can I buy plastic to practice applying spray can primer?

I’m wanting to start on a new project, the Italeri Jagdpanther with Winter Crew.
But, I’m wanting to pre apply primer on parts first.
Because, in one of my topics probably about the Sd. Kfz. 9 Famo from Tamiya.
Someone pointed out that it would be more easy to apply primer out of a spray can part for part.
And I’m thinking it would be most practical to do this even before I’m going to start building the model.
But, I’m not wanting to risk ruining my model by applying primer without properly practicing with it.
That way, if I’m not able to apply a good primer basis for my painting later on for my model.
At least the practicing plastic gets ruined instead of the actual model, which would not be nice since that means I’m throwing money away.
That being said, do you know where I can buy plastic to practice on without it be to expensive to buy?
Or, is it possible to reuse the plastic after my practicing with it?
To safe costs that way?
I’m hoping you are able to help me with this, then I get to work again with my projects and such.

Worn out or broken CD-cases
Some food packaging, must feel “dry” when you touch it. Cookies usually come in useable packaging

Old sprues off model kits and spare parts.

Interesting ideas, I think I will give this a try.
And after it’s over, just throw it away in the rest of the garbage?
Will also see if I can give this a try tomorrow, if I got enough time to do this.
And spare parts? I’m needing to practice the movements I have to make with the spray can.
But I will see what I can do tomorrow, thanks for quick replies.

We use a sort of corrugated plastic for political yard signs over here. I scavange it to use for target practice at the range and made my home built airbrush spray booth from it also. I’m sure you have something similar where you are from for advertising signs that are meant for short term use.

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I didn’t actually see something like that.
But @Uncle-Heavy did a interesting suggestion.
Using the plastic of cookie packaging.
If I have some, I will try it.

You can use anything which has a hard surface which doesn’t repel the paint.
Some plastics, they feel oily or greasy, will repel the paint. The paint or primer
does not stick to it, almost like trying to paint teflon.

Paper and other surfaces which absorb moisture will not give you the correct training.

That sounds backwards to me. If you prime the parts before assembly, you will have to scrape the paint/primer off the surfaces to be glued as the glue will not stick to paint.

Additionally, I have never had an issue painting fully assembled models, with maybe a few subassemblies to be put on after painting, but not normally. I will leave roadwheels and tracks off to be painted separately and added after the main parts of the model are painted, but that is about it. The way I look at it, if paint can’t get into a certain area when sprayed (airbrush or spray can), most likely, that area will not be seen anyways.

Lastly, I never see/feel a need to add the additional layer of primer. I have never had an issue with paint sticking to plastic, resin, or metal w/out primer.

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Don’t over think it,it’s just not that difficult.


Not overthinking anything. I’m just stating the facts as I know them.

Yea,I was talking to the OP

When I got back into the hobby in 1988, I built a Tiger kit using that method. Easily among the worst advice on modeling I’ve experienced. Here’s why:

Priming and or painting parts on the tree typically gives compromised quality for construction or paint finishing unless one does lots of extra work cleaning paint off, touching up etc. Even more so with harder to control rattle cans.

After reading the previously mentioned
download (3)

I understood:

  1. Build sub-assemblies.

  2. Wash sub-assemblies in warm soapy water, rinse and allow to fully dry.

  3. Prime (if needed) sub-assemblies

a) Rattle cans are convenient but offer less control. Two light coats are better than one heavy coat.

b) Airbrush less convenient but allows more control. Two light coats are better than one heavy coat.

  1. Allow primer to fully cure.

  2. Paint sub-assemblies as desired

Cheers :beers:


@Tojo72 My main concern is how fast or slow I need to move the can around. And how to aim the can where I want the primer to be. Remember, I didn’t have much luck so far with using spray cans.

@HeavyArty Thanks for the advice, would it make any difference if I first cut off the parts before priming? Or would it make things worse? It is worth thinking of, when the spray can or airbrush can’t quite reach a specific area, it won’t probably be seen anyway. Maybe this weekend I will have a first try at the Italeri Jagdpanther with Winter Crew kit I bought on Holliday. I’ll see…

I would think it would be worse. Now you have to label the parts to somehow know what the part # is and you still have to scrape paint off the mating surfaces.

Stick with building most of the kit first, then painting.

I totally agree that painting small parts is mostly a stupid idea.
Assemble as much as possible before painting since:

  1. Paint on surfaces to be glued need to be scraped off before asembling the parts
  2. If the fit is very precise an unwanted paint layer can cause fit issues
  3. It is easier to paint and keep track of few large chunks
  4. Glue/Solvent can get under the paint and ruin the paint and in some cases also damage the part. Very thin glues (actually solvents) will go in under the paint due to capillary action.
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Lots of ‘what if’ in the OPs question. Most kits are made of styrene. And not all styrene is created equal. Some styrene still has the release agent on it so cleaning is essential. I would suggest going to a hardware/home store and buying a cheap plastic trash/rubbish bin. Cut it up into manageable pieces. Or if you’re rich buy some Evergreen sheets.


If I may put in my penny’s worth. I find buying a Tamiya M1a1;

and using it as a test piece for countless projects and processes over the years, is a cost effective way of testing out new techniques and paints etc. And eventually you can bathe it in oven cleaner or whatever is the latest domestic product which removes all paint from plastic, and start again.

Seriously though, I’ve found this shape gives you lots of real estate to practice on, and you can find it, or similar shaped kits for pretty reasonable prices. And coincidentally my Abrams is probably older than your good self!

I learn something new every time I use my airbrush, you just need to go with it and enjoy the results, good or bad, it’s all progress…

Cheers, Jim.

I’m reading the book Modelling Military Tanks and Vehicles if I’m having the title right.
I’m already learning a lot of good stuff and I hope when I have finished reading the book.
I will be able to get my first improved kit/project done and be proud of myself of doing it most by myself.
And let’s hope I’m able to read more like these good books to help me improve and learn.
Because I believe, you need to know something and you need knowledge.
If you simply don’t know something, you can’t do something.
And you can’t improve or something with it.

A good idea and I may give this a try later on.

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GREAT reuse for those damnable pesky yard signs!