Most scale RC driver figures are made from injection moulded styrene, but there are some (Tamiya Wild One, Associated RC10 "Classic", and the Spital Trial 12 to name but three) that have vacuum formed Polycarbonate (lexan) drivers instead.
Painting these in the way you'd usually deal with bodies made in that material is problematic - painting from the inside with polycarbonate paints will leave drivers in one colour (or maybe two, it you go to the trouble of a lot of fiddly masking) - and very shiny.
Clearly a different approach is needed. Some time ago I penned a detailed article on how to paint a Wild One driver figure, going into how you could use Tamiya polycarbonate brush paints on the outside of the vacform, using only four colours (PC-1 White, PC-2 Red, PC-5 Black and PC-6 Yellow) , variously blended to make the ten or so colours needed to make a halfway realistic job of it.
Unfortunately, Tamiya had quietly withdrawn the PC line of paints, and as recommending a method you couldn't possibly follow if you didn't already happen to have the paints (or got very lucky with finding some old stock) the article was shelved.
However, over in the forums, Tamiyabase user "Kermit" suggested using PS-55 Flat Clear (sprayed on inside) as a primer layer allowing the use of Tamiya acrylic (X & XF series) brush paints on polycarbonate - which won't usually stick without help. From there it wasn't a very big leap at all to use a PS series spray paint on the outside of a vacformed driver figure, finishing with X and XF brush paints - which I don't see Tamiya withdrawing any time soon.
Tamiya Wild One driver base - note the black paint extending up the base of the drivers hands: this avoids the "boxing gloves" problem usually seen on this figure.
On to the method ...
1 - Cut out the figure as required, remove any masking film from the outside, clean with washing up detergent, rinse thoroughly, shake & leave to dry. Or, If you live in a hard water area, dry with a clean, lint free cloth to avoid water marks.
2 - spray the outside with a suitable Tamiya "PS" paint - I used white. The first coat should be very light, the second can be heavier. See Paint part 14 for more info.
3 - paint two coats of your chosen "X" & "XF" series paints ... it might not look it, but there are eleven different shades in this example, including off white for the drivers suit (a lot of white mixed with a touch of brown).
4 - For greater realism, paint in "low lights" on edges, base of creases & anywhere else that needs a bit of definition - you'll have to experiment, but usually it's a case of adding a tiny quantity of a brown or black to your base colour. See Paint pt. 6 for more.
5 - Paint in "highlights" at the high points - tops of creases & so on - by mixing your base colours with white (again, see pt. 6). Also paint on any details (strap buckles, etc).
Adding decals will improve the final result too.
I find vacformed drivers lack the detail of injection moulded styrene figures and so don't come out as well, but this has got to be way better than a shiny single colour paintjob :)
Written by TB member Jonny Retro