How to Repaint Action Figures

Written by adam gilbert
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How to Repaint Action Figures
Give every action figure a unique look (handshake of gi joes image by timur1970 from

Action figures have been a childhood toy for many Americans. Because of their unique and interesting designs, repainting action figures can become a regular hobby for anyone. Repainting follows the same principles as painting toy models and replicas. Whether someone wishes to create a new design for their figure, or simply wants to do some touch-up work, repainting action figures is a simple process which can be learnt with time and practice.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clear flat lacquer
  • Model paints
  • Model paint brushes
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Paint primer

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  1. 1

    Cover your action figure with a layer of paint primer or rub down the figure with isopropyl alcohol to allow your paints to hold better. Let your action figure completely dry before painting.

  2. 2

    Water down your modelling paints. Use two drops of water for every drop of paint. Then begin to paint on the base colours of your action figure. Paint on several layers until the paint primer no longer shows through. Dry the base colours for 30 minutes to an hour.

  3. 3

    Paint on the details of your action figure. Use a mixture of both small and large tipped brushes to carefully add on all your additions. Then let the figure dry for 30 minutes to an hour.

  4. 4

    Touch up your action figure and add any more extra details you may have missed. Let the figure completely dry. Then use a clear flat lacquer to add a quality finish to the action figure.

Tips and warnings

  • Different painting methods will change the style and look of your action figure. Explore new methods to see which you prefer.
  • Look at other people's repainted action figures to get ideas on how to do your own.
  • Work in thin layers when painting. Never paint on thick coats of paint. This will make your action figure's paint job look rigid and blotchy.
  • There are many different brands of modelling paint. Explore them to see which works best for you.
  • Referencing pre-existing costumes and paint designs for your action figures helps if you're just starting out.
  • Be sure to look at how dark your action figure is. Switch your painting approach depending on the figure's colour tone.
  • Practice will increase the quality of your repainting skills. Be patient with yourself when first starting.
  • Don't go overboard with too much detail. Doing so will ruin your action figure's look.

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